Sean’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE 

The reality of the 2022 White Sox is that they sucked away all the positivity and joy the team had generated the previous two seasons. This makes it difficult to see the bounce back potential from players who had supremely disappointing seasons.

A rebound for Moncada to his 2021 stat line along with Grandal becoming a serviceable player (2 WAR season) would do wonders and is within reason (a net of +5 WAR). Add in health for Jimenez and Robert, there starts to be some hope. The season may turn on whether Vaughn becomes the hitter the team and fans expect. With that, here is my plan!

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS 

  • Lucas Giolito: $10.8M – Tender
  • Dylan Cease: $5.3M – Tender
  • Reynaldo López; $3.3M – Tender
  • Adam Engel: $2.3M – Non-Tender
  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M – Tender
  • 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

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS 

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

MANAGER 

Ron Washington – he seems to strike a balance between addressing several White Sox deficiencies (defense and baseball competency) while also meeting the Chairman’s idea of an appropriate hire (not an Astro).

FREE AGENTS 

No. 1: Michael Conforto (one year with a player option, $15.0 M / 2nd Year Option 16.0 M). Can play a credible right field and is a left hander hitter with power and a strong OBP.

No. 2: Corey Knebel (one year, $1.0 M). Potential high leverage arm with significant injury risk. I like this allocation of resources better than similar money spent on Jose Ruiz.

TRADES 

No. 1: Trade Colson Montgomery and Norge Vera to Milwaukee for Brandon Woodruff ($13.2 M). This is a trade that has significant long-term risk with Montgomery going out but the Sox are in their window? Flip-side is we may be selling high on both players. Woodruff has two seasons left before he is a free agent so there is an opportunity to flip him if this season goes poorly.

No. 2: Trade Kendall Graveman ($8.0 M) to Texas for Danyer Cueva. This is a reallocation of resources where the Sox are not attaching anything to the player to dump. The usage of Graveman this past season was a worry and this is a good time to get out of this money. In return the Sox receive a high bonus international signing from 2021.

SUMMARY 

The completed roster would look like this:

1B – Vaughn / Sheets

2B – Mendick / Garcia

3B – Moncada

SS – Anderson

LF – Pollock / Sheets

CF – Robert / Haseley

RF – Conforto

C – Grandal / Zavala

DH – Jimenez

SP – Woodruff / Cease / Lynn / Kopech / Giolito

RP – Hendriks / Bummer / Lopez / Lambert / Kelly / Diekman / Knebel / Foster

The thought process here was to allow room for players in the minors (Lenyn Sosa, Davis Martin, Oscar Colas, etc.) to force their way to the team without counting on them in April and May. I see a platoon situation at second base and in left with Sheets also being a contingency for 1B. If the manager works the line-up correctly, we could see both positions be league average. Grandal at this point is strictly a catching option with a goal of 120 appearances for the season. The risk here is Zavala becoming anything resembling his 2021 season and being counted on to start 40+ games.

I am not factoring in Garrett Crochet until the second half so he does not make an appearance here but does serve as fortification for later in the season. This also allows the Sox to unearth relief pitching options from the minor leagues and non-roster invites. Almost every season you can count on one or two of these players to emerge (Lambert this past year!) and hopefully the Sox will stop spending on this area of the team.

This plan also allows for the Sox to reset salary after 2023 if the season goes south with expiring contracts and starting pitchers who will hopefully retain value in trades at either the deadline or next offseason. In most scenarios there must be a bounce back from the core players to see the team win 90+ games in 2023.

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HallofFrank

The Woodruff trade isn’t close. For reference, Woodruff ranked 35th in all of baseball for FG’s Trade Value series from July. Dylan Cease ranked 39th. To spin the trade back around: what would you think if the Brewers offered the Sox Joey Weimar (50 FV) and Abner Uribe (40+ FV) for Dylan Cease? In terms of value, that’s equivalent to your Woodruff trade.

To get Woodruff, you’d probably have to give up Vaughn. If you wanted to go the prospect-only route, I suspect it’d take Montgomery, Colas, Vera, plus one or two others. And even then, I’d be a little surprised if another team didn’t beat it.