Picking up Some Things at the Leftorium

PREAMBLE

Against better judgement, I still believe in this team.  There’s just too much talent for me not to.  The goal I had was to bring more balance to the line-up in terms of handedness and approach, as well as becoming more athletic overall.  I’m not looking to do a complete overhaul, instead just looking for pieces that will actually compliment this core.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

Write “tender,” “non-tender” or “rework/extend” after each player and their projected 2022 salaries. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.

  • Lucas Giolito: $10.8M-Tender
  • Dylan Cease: $5.3M-Tender
  • Reynaldo López; $3.3M-Tender
  • Adam Engel: $2.3M-Non-Tender(erosion of skills and injury risk is too much)
  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M-Tender
  • Kyle Crick: $1.5M-Non-Tender
  • José Ruiz: $1M-Tender
  • Danny Mendick: $1M-Tender

CLUB OPTIONS

Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout)-Pick Up
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout)-Buyout

PLAYER OPTIONS

Write “exercised” or “takes buyout.” The question here is whether you think Pollock could do better than one year and $8 million on the open market. I’m filling it in with “exercised” unless you can provide a compelling argument against it.

  • AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — EXERCISED

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021)-retain
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M)-let go
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M)-let go
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M)-let go

MANAGER

There’s some smoke about Kevin Long being a real possibility.  I personally would love this hire. His resume is exceptional and his ability to take analytics and interpret them for players speak volumes about his communication skills and ability to collaborate with the FO. If he’s allowed to name his own hitting coach, then I think there’s a real possibility of growth from a number of our players.  To me, this will be the most important move of the offseason.

FREE AGENTS

List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:

No. 1: Jose Abreu (2 years, 20 mil)– I have a Jerry like loyalty to Abreu and simply can’t let go. He deserves to see this thing through to the end.

No.2: Sean Manaea ( 3 Years/36 mil; 4th year club option)- Your new 5th starter.

TRADES

I used baseballtradevalues.com to see if these trades were any way feasible.  Surprisingly, both of these trades were pretty similar as far as value goes.

No. 1: Trade Bryan Ramos to the San Diego Padres for OF Trent Grisham. Tatis Jr’s future is in the OF.  That probably leaves Grisham as the odd man out and the White Sox can use his skills. He’s an excellent defensive OF who’s left-handed, doesn’t chase and take a lot of walks. While his overall offensive numbers are disappointing, he’s only 26 and still has that 20/20 upside. When Colas makes his inevitable debut, Grisham can split time with Pollock in LF and is a natural replacement for Robert in case of injury.  For SD, they clear a roster spot and add a high ceiling prospect to help improve their depleted farm system.

No.2 Trade 1B Andrew Vaughn to the Tampa Bay Rays for 2B Brandon Lowe and 2B/SS Xavier Edwards – This is very much a “baseball trade”. White Sox solve their 2B problem with another patient lefty with legit pop.  He can also play the OF in a pinch. The Rays add a high upside bat who can anchor their line up for the next 4-5 years.  Lowe’s back issues are a concern, but he’s an excellent fit to the roster.  Xavier Edwards serves as more depth in AAA as a high-contact speedster reminiscent of what Nick Madrigal was supposed to be.

SUMMARY

Opening Day line up looks something like this

C-Yasmani Grandal

1B-Jose Abreu

2B-Brandon Lowe

3B-Yoan Moncada

SS-Tim Anderson

LF-AJ Pollock

CF-Luis Robert

RF-Trent Grisham

DH-Eloy Jimenez

SP-Dylan Cease

SP-Lance Lynn

SP-Lucas Giolito

SP-Michael Kopech

SP-Sean Manaea

Bench

C-Seby Zavala

Util-Leury Garcia

OF/1B-Gavin Sheets

Util-Danny Mendick

Bullpen:

Liam Hendriks

Kendall Gravemen

Reynaldo Lopez

Aaron Bummer

Joe Kelly

Jake Diekman

Jimmy Lambert

Jose Ruiz

The payroll for this comes in just a shade under 195 mil. I feel really good about the position player side of things.  The position player side is balanced, especially with the injection of patient lefty bats in the form of Grisham and Lowe. Starting pitching is a bit thin, but signing Manaea allows Davis Martin to be used as a spot starter or next man up for injury.  I can also see the team reupping with Vince Velasquez to serve as depth since he wasn’t completely awful. Garret Crochet can also be allowed to stretch out in AAA to see if can become a starter.

If this is somewhat of an unexciting plan, it’s probably because I think that if the core of this team continues to get injured and/or underproduce, then this team is doomed anyway.  So, I just tried to plug holes with competent major leaguers who may not be stars, but have all star upside who bring some badly needed balance to this line up. If everything clicks, I think this team can be among the best in the MLB.

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BenwithVen
BenwithVen
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