Matt Crawford’s “DFA Everyone” Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

I hated the 2022 White Sox more than any team in franchise history.  I wanted everyone DFA’d at some point in the season.  Their roster was flawed, they lacked heart and had a clueless fossil at the helm.  Decisions most fans will not like will be required to try and retool the roster and minimize guys playing out of position.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Lucas Giolito: $10.8M – Tender
  • Dylan Cease: $5.3M – Tender (Try to extend)
  • Reynaldo López; $3.3M – Tender (Try to extend)
  • Adam Engel: $2.3M – Non-Tender
  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M – Tender (Try to extend)
  • Kyle Crick: $1.5M – Non-Tender
  • José Ruiz: $1M – Non-Tender
  • Danny Mendick: $1M – Tender

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) – Pick up
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout – Decline

PLAYER OPTIONS

  • AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — Exercised (Hope he declines)

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) – Let go.  Build a statue but it is time to move on.  Allocating significant resources to an aging 1B with a pre-arb back-up in Vaughn ready to go is silly.  I do not care that he led the team offensively and the team’s issues are larger than any one player.  Giving Abreu $10M-$20M a year will handcuff the White Sox even further than they already are this offseason.
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) – Let go
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M) – Let go
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) – Retain, (1) Year $4.5M

MANAGER

Pedro Grifol for Mayor.  I wasn’t too familiar with Grifol but going off of his press conference I like what I heard.  This team desperately needs to improve their defense, fundamentals and be held accountable for their mistakes and/or lack of effort.  Exploiting opposing team’s weaknesses with the assistance of modern-day analytics is critical for this team to retake the AL Central.  Tony “Sleepy Head” La Russa was a complete failure when it came to managing the team.  I’m happy Hahn was able to get his guy and not be forced into tapping into another dried up old well with Ozzie Guillen.  

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Brandon Nimmo (five years, $110,000,000).  Biggest question I hear about who can replace Jose Abreu’s production if the White Sox let him go.  Answer, Brandon Nimmo.  Nimmo was a 5 bWAR player that had more homeruns than Abreu and a 130 OPS+ to Abreu’s 133 OPS+.  He had a 91 OAA in ’22 and will limit Vaughn/Sheets/Eloy in the outfield (who had a combined NEGATIVE 5dWAR).  Finally, the Sox sign a competent left handed outfielder.

No. 2: Tyler Anderson (three years, $50,000,000).  The soon to be 33-year-old had a breakout year.  A much-needed left-handed starting pitcher who almost had a sub 1.000 WHIP.   Double his ’22 salary and strengthen the rotation.

No. 3: Elvis Andrus (one year, $4,500,000).  Andrus filled in for Tim Anderson better than anyone could imagine.  A major upgrade from Leury to fill in when guys need a day off or ultimately go down.

No. 4: Jose Quintana (one year, $4,000,000).  I hate most reunions but let’s bring the band back together.  Another left-handed pitcher to eat innings and anchor the rotation.  The Quintana trade will be even more beautiful when Eloy hits 40+ nukes and Cease wins the Cy Young in ’23.

TRADES

No. 1: Liam Hendriks and Lucas Giolito for Gavin Lux.  The Dodgers have (3) starting pitchers that will hit free agency and they’ll also need a closer.  Let’s send them another closer and Giolito (who will be gone in ’24) for a left-handed pre-arb 2B who was a top 5 prospect not long ago.  The Dodgers have Michael Busch in the hopper who could replace Lux.

Why trade Liam you say?  Whether we like it or not the Sox have limited resources under Reinsdorf.  The $14M Liam is scheduled to make can be better used elsewhere.  This deal sheds approx. $24M and fills 2B long term with a cost-controlled player.  With Graveman, Crochet coming back and Lopez’s solid performance in ’22 I’m ok rolling the dice with an internal option for closer.  The Sox can also trade for a closer, if needed, later in the season since I don’t plan on trading any of the farm’s top prospects in the offseason.

No. 2: Andrew Dalquist for Steven Okert.  Okert is still in pre-arbitration, and he has been a valuable left-handed relief pitcher for the Marlins.  Walks are high but he doesn’t give up hard contact.  Marlins get a younger pitching prospect to work on with Dalquist and the White Sox can upgrade from MY guy and Shredder #1 pitcher Tanner Banks.

No. 3: Leury Garcia & prospect to whoever will take the bum.  Sorry for the lack of details but Leury can’t be on the squad next year.  The (3) year $16.5M extension (likely due to pressure from La Russa) is outrageous.  It was such an unnecessary deal with guys like Mendick, Romy and others around.  The Sox can either DFA him and eat the remaining $11M (preferred option) or package him with a prospect to get the $$$ off the books.  To stay under the $190M I’m moving Leury to whoever will take him and hopefully it doesn’t cost too much minor league talent.

SUMMARY

Let me be crystal clear.  Many players need bounce back seasons in order for the White Sox to take back the AL Central including international superstar himself Yoan Moncada.  Rick Hahn will not be able to spend his way to fix the roster without trading some of the more expensive assets that still have value, which there are few.  I focused on adding left-handed arms and bats to help balance the White Sox with a priority of strengthening the athleticism in the outfield.  Removing players that are clearly out of position coupled with a modern-day manager should significantly help this team.

The 26 Man Roster is the following:

Starting Lineup:

  • SS – Tim Anderson (RH), $12.5M
  • RF – Brandon Nimmo (LH), $22M
  • 1B – Andrew Vaughn (RH), $750k
  • DH – Eloy Jimenez (RH), $10.33M
  • CF – Luis Robert (RH), $9.5M
  • 3B – Yoan Moncada (S), $17.8M
  • LF – AJ Pollock (RH), $13M
  • C – Yasmani Grandal (S), $18.75M
  • 2B – Gavin Lux (LH), $750k

Bench:

  • Elvus Andrus (RH), $4.5M
  • Seby Zavala (RH), $750k
  • Gavin Sheets (LH), $750k
  • Danny Mendick (RH), $1M

Note:  Oscar Colas crushed the minors last year.  If he continues to rake in Spring Training and in Charlotte, I’d like to see him called up early June.  Colas is a left-handed power bat and a capable outfielder that has the tools to play some centerfield.  With the Nimmo signing the team wouldn’t need to rely on Colas to start hot right out of the gate and can slowly phase him in replacing Sheets.  

Starting Pitching:

  • SP1 – Dylan Cease (RH), $5.3M
  • SP2 – Lance Lynn (RH), $18.5M
  • SP3 – Tyler Anderson (LH), $16.67M
  • SP4 – Michael Kopech (RH), $2.2M
  • SP5 – Jose Quintana (LH), $4M

Relief Pitching:

  • Closer – Reynaldo Lopez (RH), $3.3M
  • RP1 – Kendall Gravemen (RH), $8M
  • RP2 – Aaron Bummer (LH), $3.75M
  • RP3 – Garret Crochet (LH), 750k
  • RP4 – Steven Okert (LH), $750k
  • RP5 – Joe Kelly (RH), $9M
  • RP6 – Jimmy Lambert (RH), $750k
  • RP7 – Jake Diekman (LH), $3.5M (the lone ’22 deadline trade, lmao)

Total Payroll – $188.85M

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Matt Crawford
Matt Crawford
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upnorthsox

So you are trading an All Star Closer and an All Star Starting Pitcher for a guy tracking Danny Mendick, a utility infielder. This is getting silly.

a-t

Nah, it’s approximately fair, though I’d explore if Gio is absolutely necessary for LAD to do this. I think the trade simulator is underrating him bc it tends to be absurdly biased towards the most recent year.

Lux was a tippy-top prospect and after some weird treatment from LAD, had a 3-WAR year in a little less than a full season, mostly at 2B with a lefty bat. He’s presently a good, above-average hitter & player with 4 years of control left, with star upside still extant if he can tap into more pop. He can also play some LF if need be.

Bonus Baby

I get the feeling this might be a recurring topic. I just responded in another post where I thought that the idea of Hendriks and Bryan Ramos was not enough to get a deal for Lux done (though I would love it for the Sox). To me, this deal seems about right for Lux. My only question is whether it is kind of trading a bit low on Giolito, who I’m thinking might have a bit of a bounce-back year.

In general, I like your plan a lot. The only potential kink I see is that Quintana might end up going for much more on the market this year. I’ve seen him estimated at $24 million over 2 years. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2023-top-50-free-agents/