Record Date: 12/18/2022
- After the weekend, how do Josh and Jim feel about the White Sox signing Andrew Benintendi?
- Why targeting Michael Conforto still makes sense.
- With Dansby Swanson signing, the premium free agents are gone. Should the White Sox use this opportunity with the market set to explore an extension with Tim Anderson?
- Welcome back, Billy Hamilton.
- A look at the offseasons for Minnesota and Cleveland
Conforto still does make sense, but I think a one-year deal for Adam Duvall makes the most sense of any remaining FA outfielder. He’s old (35) and has always struck out a ton, but otherwise he’s the perfect 4th OF for now.
(1): he can still play all three OF positions with average or better per defensive metrics.
(2): his offensive production is highly dependent on the long ball, and the Rate is perfect for that. as such, his offense was down in ‘22 with the dead ball (87 wRC+) but
(3) he’s a RHH who still mashes lefties, with a 129 wRC+ vs them in ‘22, good for platooning.
So: he should be both a decent (HR production dependent) backup at all three positions in case of injury or severe underperformance, and if that’s not necessary, will also be useful to platoon Beni/Colás. He’s also got connections with our new hitting coach, of course.
TL;DR: he’s a limited and aging player, but his skillset appears to fit what the Sox need in a 4th OF quite well.
I think Duvall might make a decent 4th OF but I still wouldn’t give up on Conforto. Let’s have a strong OF for once.
Are we sure Conforto can even throw anymore? He might be a DH / left-fielder going forward.
That’s a risk for sure but it’s only a year and you’d have Colas in the wings. I’m more worried about sapped strength at the plate but whatcha gonna do, there isn’t much left.
I agree. I think it’s worth the risk on a 1-year deal, assuming it isn’t known that the surgery was a botch or something.
FWIW, from mlb.com today:
Dec. 19: Concerns about Conforto?Free agent outfielder Michael Conforto missed the entire 2022 season recovering from right shoulder surgery, and some teams who have shown interest in the 29-year-old slugger are concerned about his ability to throw at full strength, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required). If Conforto is unable to play in the field, and is strictly seen as a designated hitter candidate, his value may drop.
Conforto’s agent, Scott Boras, said Conforto is throwing at a distance of 150 feet. Rosenthal reports that the Rangers, Mets and Blue Jays are eyeing Conforto as a left-handed-hitting outfielder to plug into the lineup.
This is concerning, my guess is he’ll need to hold an event if he wants to get serious offers because even 150 feet at this point is discouraging. Wasn’t he supposed to be ready in August?
On another note, the fact that the Sox are not part of the reported mix is everything that’s wrong with this organization. Why would showing an interest in “a left-handed-hitting outfielder to plug into the lineup” be undesirable? The tone deafness of this org is astounding.
Why not both? Conforto and Duvall make sense for different reasons. Conforto is the high-upside play: you want him in the lineup every day and hope he can recapture his old form. If he can’t or he gets hurt, then you can pivot to Colas. Duvall is the 4th OF—and that’s where you want him to stay. You talked me into him being a good 4th OF option, but I hope they sign Conforto, too!
Not that I think we can’t spend all that money, I really doubt they are going over CBT this year. So we have around $27M left. I would use around $20M of that for Segura and Duvall. I want a LHSP on NRI and maybe they make a trade at the deadline, so I would “save” the last $7M in CBT to use.
There are ways to free up money, too. For example, by trading Liam Hendriks. Either way, I certainly don’t expect the Sox to spend this money. But it’d be a good use of money, is my point.
The Sox should set their sights on Segura way before Conforto. There is a much better chance that Colas winds up being adequate in RF than of anybody being that at 2b.
I’d rather get a cheap 4th OF type like Duvall who is backup to Colas than the other way around. Conforto didn’t play at all last year and wasn’t good in 2021. I’d only want to see Colas on the bench or at AAA in favor of somebody who was actually reliable and good recently, not 3 years ago. Colas can field, which gives him more than a decent chance at being an upgrade over Sheets. Nobody can convince me that there isn’t a decent chance that Colas will have just as good a season in 2023 as Conforto, because Conforto might not even be healthy or all that good in the first place. And he won’t be uber cheap either. 2b should be their top priority at the moment over OF.
Well, Colas has never been “reliable and good,” so Conforto has him beat there. If all you’re saying is that you’d prefer a better OF than Conforto, then sure. But Conforto—assuming he can throw and play the OF, which seems to be in doubt—is absolutely still worth adding and starting Colas in AAA.
I really don’t understand the handwringing over starting Colas in AAA. I promise you: if the Sox sign another OF above Colas on the depth chart, Colas will play. A lot. I’d be surprised if he got less than 350 PAs, in fact. And if he mashes and forces his way in even without an injury, great! If Conforto stinks, you can relegate him to a bench bat or DFA him or whatever and have Colas in by May.
But Conforto (again, assuming he’s healthy) can help the Sox. He was excellent in 2020. But even if he can’t recapture that form, the 2021 version is still useful. He had a 119 wRC+ vs. RHP—that’d have been 3rd on the 2022 White Sox, behind only Eloy (who didn’t play a full season) and Abreu. That’d help this team.
The thing to remember with 2023 payroll is that there is the one time boost from the Disney sale so there’s no reason not to be looking at one year deals. They could do $30 Mil in one year deals.
I think Benintendi has not had his career year yet so we most likely will get that, maybe 2023 but more likely 2024-25. Something like .315/.395/.450 with 22HR. We’ll see.
Can’t remember the last Sox player who approached a .400 OBP.
Without looking – Jim Thome?
Yup, it was Thome. He had a .410 OBP in 2007.
In my lifetime (Since 1984), only four White Sox hitters have qualified for the batting title while carrying a .400 or better OBP.
Frank Thomas: first 8 years of his career his OBP was always between .426 and .487. Guy was a freak.
Lofty agreed, but nothing unreasonable from his current highs in each.
Konerko was the last .390+ in 2010 and Thome the last .400 OBP in 2007 so yeah a long time.
Even if his OBP is .370, that’s a huge lift to this lineup. Factor in that it would probably be higher against RHP, that’s an even bigger lift. .370 is not at all unreasonable.
I was looking at it from a career year in the middle giving the contract breadth but yeah If he can give us .370 in ’23 like he did in ’22 that would be great.
I agree there could be a career year yet to come and your estimate of its shape makes sense. My point is we can still have more tempered expectations for production that would be extremely valuable to this club.
4th OF, Billy Hamilton or Oscar Colas. Do you still want Hamilton?
Colas should not be a 4th OF. Either you bring him up to start or keep him getting AB’s in AAA.
Our 4th OF though get 250 ABs so if Colas got 150 ABs in AAA before coming up he should be good.
Or to put it the other way, would you really want to watch 250 Billy Hamilton ABs?
Regardless of how early Colas comes up and whether he sticks, I’m taking the over on 250 Billy Hamilton ABs.
I was at the penultimate game of the 2022 season and Hamilton played a passable 2nd base for the Twins? Don’t be surprised when he gets infield reps in ST.
I feel like I just had a clairvoyant nightmare of hovering over RH’s desk when conferencing with KW and JR.
Where’s my Maalox?
Maybe the ghost of Eddie Einhorn can visit Jerry Reinsdorf to convince him a high-profile acquisition can redeem him.
Call it A Fiskmas Carol.
Sorry I don’t have that much negativity in me to go with that bold of a prediction.
Assuming 2 of your outfielders are Benintendi and Colas, Hamilton makes sense as a 4th. His RHH complements 2/3 of your OF and he has 2 carrying skills that can be deployed tactically: game-changing speed and elite defense. Those are 2 reasons to insert him late in games. Too often our bench guys have been little more than a different warm body so a starter can get a rest.
You don’t want Billy the Hitter getting 250 PA. That’s what Payton or Cespedes are for. Limit Billy to spot starting and late-inning work.
I have zero desire to see Anderson in a Sox uniform beyond his 34th birthday.
As his legs continue to age, his BABIP dependent bat evaporates along with the slightly above avg glove.
I like Tim a lot. But he’s the kind of guy you have to be smart enough to let go.
I tend to agree, bit depends on the offer.
Fun aside, not sure if anyone mentioned it yet, but TA made The NY Times crossword (I saw it in Friday’s Sun Times):
41 Across – M.LB. All-Star Anderson
Some big assumptions here. For starters, Tim’s BABIP doesn’t come from legging out infield singles, it’s largely flares to the outfield which aren’t speed dependent at all.
I doubt he’ll ever play 150 games again, but given his career path and production thus far, he’s a guy I’d be willing to bet remains reasonably productive when healthy.
I’d also add that more than anything TA’s strengths are his growth mindset and adaptability. He’s effectively overhauled his swing and approach before.
I see TA having a big year in 2023. He’s seeing the contracts for top line short stops and that would incentivize anyone, though Tim has always had a strong work ethic.
It’s not just his offensive profile, his defense relies a lot more on his athleticism to be passable than any instincts or savvy at the position, and if he isn’t playing shortstop his value takes a huge hit.
You don’t think a 2B who can hit .300 with 15 dingers has value? A lot of folks around here are pounding the table for Jean Segura who is… literally exactly that profile.
I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see him turning in years like that at ages 35-37. Would I be happy spending $25M a year for it? Probably not.
Yeah, I don’t know why paying Jean Segura that much money has any appeal.
I don’t think he’ll be able to stay middle infield, and with his hands and actions I definitely wouldn’t want him at second.
But if the move is to CF, as was one of his original projections, doesn’t he retain that value?
I agree, but I’m not interested in him after the next two years when his deal is up. He won’t be giving out any discounts at that point, so in this current SS arms race, I would try moving him now when he is a definite sell high candidate. We’ve seen peak Tim Anderson, and he’s a complementary player who can do many good things, but you’re not a very good team if he’s your best player.
I bet we haven’t seen peak TA yet — which I know is a little weird b/c he’s going to be 30 next season. If you average his WAR/game from 2019-2021, and multiply it by 140 games, you get 5.5 fWAR. Same exercise with bWAR gives you 5.4 WAR.
I think he still should be capable of a single season better than the per game averages from 2019-2021, and I’m still hoping that a better training staff can get him around 140 games.
Having said that, and having been one of the biggest TA boosters here recently, I agree that his game looks likely to age poorly. And what if Montgomery over the next year seems to prove he can handle SS? You’ve now lowered the value of your best prospect, unless you can trade him. Truly love the guy, but a huge contract for TA out to age 37 doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.
With the assumption the starting lineup is filled out by Sosa at 2nd and Colas in RF or that FA’s are brought into start sending both those players to AAA the bench is definitely shaping up to be Zavala, Sheets, Garcia, Hamilton.
The TA situation is gonna be one to monitor closely, you cant blame him for wanting “swanson” type money if you approach him for a deal but at the same time I dont think he will age as well. Already showing some injury worries, his profile as a high average guy without the walks and power give him limited cushion for any other parts of his game to trend downward…..Swanson put together an elite defensive year with 25 homer pop. Id offer something like 4 years 100 mil on top of current deal Anderson has which might be a little light on length but hits the higher annual number.
That’s a pretty shitty bench, add to it 2 starting rookies, A starting C who could very well be done, and 3 guys who are serious health concerns, man I don’t like that roster and AAA is worse, a lot worse so no help there.
Yea this team has holes, news at 11… lol
Most benches are pretty shitty.
Sure but that would be particularly bad and then you add the rest of the shit……
I honestly don’t even think that bench would be particularly bad compared the rest of the league. It becomes a problem is you assume large amounts of playing time due to injuries but the expectation will always be spot starts. It also helps that Leury is hopefully not being expected to be a full time starter.
With “fresh eyes” over seeing this team its hard to imagine if Leury is as bad in 2023 as he was in 2022 he doesnt quickly become DFA’d. This team cant pretend to want to win and have that guy on the active roster if he is as bad again in 2023 especially not if an injury or two occur and forces him into regular playing time.
There’s a non-zero possibility he stops chasing so much and goes back to only a below average bat that can be played in multiple positions to give guys a day off without being a complete defensive blackhole. He’ll never be a 2 WAR player but he doesn’t have to be to be useful to the team. A proper front office would have him on a very short leash though and cut ties as soon as its apparent he’s toast, if that’s the case.
My very young cousin is a huge Sox fan and eternally optimistic. It made me realize that the people getting screwed over the most by stingy ownership are the young fans and the people who bring them to games. Adults can see what’s going on, boycott, etc. But all that mgmt stuff is too much for a young fan to deal with, and no parent wants to boycott a team that their kid likes or not take their kid to games and make great memories just because they have a beef with ownership.
Craig Calcaterra pointed out in his newsletter this morning that Benintendi’s “record” deal is the exact same contract that the Tigers gave to Magglio Ordonez in 2005.
And a season later Maggs helped lead them to the World Series. Andrew, the bar has been set!
So the one we refused to match….until 18 yrs later.
Which reminds me that 5/$75M was the contract they offered Torii Hunter after the 2007 season
It says a lot about our organization that a record contract for us gets us Benintendi and a record contract for the Yankees gets them Judge. A person that didn’t follow the Sox over the years like all of us could get an idea about the direction of travel of this organization just by looking at figures like that.
And a record free agent deal for the Astros gets them Abreu (although they have had massive extensions that dwarf that contract).
If you want to avoid giving out huge free agent deals find yourself a front office that is masterful at farm system building and picking up low cost-free agent that make meaning contributions. Then you don’t have to make massive free agent deals similar to the Astros.
Jerry chooses to go through door number 3 which is keep my mediocre front office that lets me stay in the room. He then proceeds to refuse to spend over their mistakes with deals for tier 1 agents. This is what ultimately causes so much consternation because he puts the franchise in perpetual no mans land when he doesn’t have to.
Also, that deal is 23rd in AAV this offseason, and 12th in total dollars.
1.7 decades late, but not a dollar short!
Re TA’s health
They do have new conditioning and training staff. It’s not entirely apples to apples but we saw what a difference achieving some competence in that department can make with Rodón.
2B trade trades for consideration:
Whit Merrifield for Kendal Graverman + ballast – I’ve come back around on my thinking on this one. This makes a lot of sense for a one year go for it. He’s handedness agnostic, plays both 2B and OF so a Billy Hamilton on the bench doesn’t hurt as much, has familiarity with the new manager, and would be cost neutral. We also keep our closer. An offseason of Benintendi, Conforto, Merrifield, and Clevinger would force my to give Hahn begrudging praise.
Nolan Gorman for Liam Hendricks – This is still my preferred trade as it gives us a young LH power bat who could slip to 3B if needed. It also saves money toward a Conforto signing. I don’t know how willing St Louis would be to do this.
Ezequiel Duran for Kendal Graverman – He’s similar to Sosa but produced in his major league callup. He has 15HR power and good D, he also could slip to 3B if needed and saves money for a Conforto signing. We also keep our closer.
Michael Busch for Liam Hendricks – An early favorite, I’m not sure how available he is now but makes a bunch of sense. It also saves money toward a Conforto signing.
Brendan Donavan for Kendal Graverman – He doesn’t have Gorman’s power or handedness but he did produce in the majors, he also could slip to 3B if needed and saves money for a Conforto signing. We also keep our closer. I don’t know how willing St Louis would be to do this. I think they’d try to cash in on the ROY.
Terrin Vavra for Gavin Sheets – I like Vavra a lot. He hasn’t shown a lot of power yet but has good bat skills and a quality glove who can move over to SS if needed. Sheets seems about the right in trade though we do lose his LH power bat. You could still make this trade with the Merrifield trade and give us options should we not be able to sign Conforto.
Nick Madrigal for Gavin Sheets – I like him less than Vavra but the trade feels about equal. You could still make this trade with the Merrifield trade and give us options should we not be able to sign Conforto.
Isaac Paredes for Kendal Graverman and Gavin Sheets – I don’t have a lot of hope for this trade coming about but you never know. He has 15HR power and good D, he also could slip to 3B if needed and saves money for a Conforto signing. We also keep our closer.
Please no Madrigal. I’d rather give one of the AAA kids a shot.
Yes there are 6 other trades I’d rather do, actually 7 though the last isn’t very optimistic. Best to leave him for KC (so he can terrorize us for the next few years).
I worry about Merrifield becoming a 1 WAR guy whose lingering presence on the lineup owes more to his veteran status and willingness to play wherever than any upside he has left. Whit Leuryfield
I do too but it’s one year and he finished last year relatively strong.
If he doesn’t need to Vax I don’t need to spell. 🙂
The 2B trade that seems most obvious to me is Hendriks plus other stuff for Jansen and Biggio. Biggio’s not as good as many of your 2B targets, but he has a career wRC+ against RHP of 103, and seemingly at least plus defense at 2B (7 OAA last year in only 320 innings). That should work with one of Sosa/Gonzalez/Rodriguez as a RH2B. Jansen to pair with Grandal seems like an obvious upgrade.
Plus now the Sox should then still be able to afford something like 1/$7M to sign Duvall, and gaining these three bench guys would be be close to net neutral in payroll terms. A bench of Jansen, Biggio, Duvall and Sheets sounds light-years better to me than a bench of Zavala, Garcia, Hamilton and Sheets.
I don’t know if Hendriks plus Crochet gets this done, or Hendriks plus a couple minor league pieces, or something else, but it feels doable.
As for your St. Louis trades, it seems like the Cardinals are willing to part with Gorman but not Donovan: https://www.fanduel.com/theduel/posts/three-players-foiled-cardinals-plan-trade-sean-murphy-01gm5zmrhr1j
I still think Hendriks for him would not fly, but I’d be psyched if it did.
I like Jansen but Biggio not so much. Biggio is not a plus defender at 2B (thus why he’s spent so little time there the last 3 yrs) and offensively disappears for long stretches at a time. Would I consider a Jansen and Merrifield trade? Of course, but I was trying to not be greedy.
Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be so greedy as Jansen and Merrifield, which seems unlikely.
But Biggio is essentially #3 on the depth chart at various positions — 2B being the position he spends most time at (both career and last year). I agree that Merrifield is better defensively, but that doesn’t mean Biggio isn’t also above average there:
— For his career, he’s been above average at 2B in all three of DRS, UZR/150, and OAA.
— Same thing last year, except for DRS, which was just average.
Overall, Steamer projects Biggio as providing only slightly less value than Merrifield per game. Adjusted to the 122 games projected for Merrifield, Steamer projects Merrifield for 1.1 WAR and Biggio for 1 WAR. Given his apparent position on the Jays’ depth chart, and that he seems to be not far behind Merrifield in value, it just seems like an easier trade to work out for the Sox.
Ooh, and I just noticed that Merrifield’s career wRC+ is 17 points lower vs. RHP than vs. LHP. Add in the fact that we’d have 3 years of control for Biggio, at a lower salary, and I prefer him regardless of the trade costs. But I get your position.
I like Merrifield for Graveman, both because I like Merrifield and because I don’t like Graveman. Grifol and the others should have a view as to whether Merrifield’s bad second half means that he has fallen off the table. I don’t much like Trading Hendriks although it depends on the return, and I don’t much like getting Conforto.
To be honest, I didn’t want either Benintendi or Conforto to start but how things went and once Benintendi was signed Conforto et al feels like a necessity.
Merrifield was pretty good for the Jays so maybe he was effected by the deadline talk. The thing I like about Merrifield is that he gives us an option in RF to start the season, can move to 2B if Colas is ready and will get 500 ABs if he’s healthy/worthy. We could also pursue a Vavra or Duran to bring in more competition for 2B/UT.
I would prefer keeping Hendricks too.
What about trading… Liam Hendriks for Bryan Reynolds?
Okay, that’s the clickbait headline. The idea is a 3-team trade. Here’s one proposal, though you could easily alter it:
Sox receive: Bryan Reynolds
M’s Receive: Liam Hendriks, Gavin Sheets
Pirates Receive: Oscar Colas, Jared Kelenic, Emerson Hancock, Norge Vera.
Does that get it done?
Would the Mariners want Gavin Sheets or is he just there to balance it out as an outsider?
I’m more trying to get the balance of value right. See my “formula” below: that’s what I’m after. I suspect Hendriks market is robust enough that the Sox would have ~10 or so options for this. It’s just the question of lining up the right fit: who’s willing to offer the prospects the Pirates like most?
The Mariners lack left-handed hitting power and DH is open. I would expect them to fill through free agency, but they’ve been curiously inactive this offseason.
Ok by me.
So the headline should be…Liam Hendricks, Gavin Sheets, Oscar Colas and Norge Vera for Bryan Reynolds. Steep, but yes.
The Mariners don’t strike me as a team that would be willing to give up much for a somewhat expensive closer. Their bullpen is already pretty good, even without an established closer. They’d probably rather get Reynolds themselves.
m’s would rather get Reynolds themselves than do that. their pen is great and very RHP heavy already
I picked the M’s because the Kelenic-for-Hendriks idea was floated by some national baseball outlet recently. Switch to a different team: the Rangers, Yankees, Dodgers, whoever. The main point is this formula: Colas + Vera + x = Reynolds. Ask the Pirates: what contenders can give you x? Then go to those teams and ask: do you want Hendriks for x? If not, what else could the Sox add to Hendriks to get x?
It seems plausible that we’re at least in the ballpark with this formula. It doesn’t have to be the M’s.
Where would we play Reynolds? RF? I think he only plays center or left usually.
The Pirates have said repeatedly that they don’t plan to trade Reynolds. Could still happen, but I think teams like the Dodgers who have a loaded farm system could give them way better prospects, easily. Exceedingly unlikely trade possibility here, realistically.
It’s got imagination and I could live with the give, just need to convince the other two.
Regarding the Guardians injury luck: having the youngest group of position players AND the youngest group of pitchers may have something to do with it.
“If Conforto reverts to 2019 form…”
“If 2019 Moncada shows up…”
‘We need 2019 Lucas Giolito…”
A winning baseball team cannot keep wishing it’s 2019.
True, if Moncada and Giolito hadn’t been good since 2019, but they were both good as recently as 2021, so it’s a little more likely they can bounce back from a down year.
I thought we all agreed we were trading Moncada to the Cubs for the rights to Gary Scott. The Cubs have finally decided that Scott’s spectacular 1991 spring training was a fluke and are moving on but we want him because he looks like a ballplayer and Moncada doesn’t.
Apparently the billboards have been funded:
TA will NEVER receive Turner/Correa/Bogarets/Swanson dollars because of his defense. TA is a good offensive player, but his defense is atrocious. TA’s value to the Sox is to move him to 2b (ala Brandon Crawford on the Giants) or used in a trade. I truly believe we as Sox fans overvalue our hometown heroes. TA made the all-star team one year as a replacement player and started another year as Bogarets elected to not play the All-Star game and told the voters such. Love TA’s offense, but his durability and defense becomes a liability. I truly believe the Sox will NEVER win a World Series with TA playing defensive shortstop. However, with him at 2b, I have much more hope. Andrus could still be signed for a shortstop and Montgomery is on the horizon. An extended contract for TA is a gamble at best. TA will be 31 after this year contract expires. It’s very possible his best years are behind him and his durability has been in severe decline.
So if the Sox sign Anderson to a 3 year extension, that would be through ’26 season, is that correct?
And if it is and let’s say Montgomery is ready ’24/’25, would the Sox throw him at 3rd until Anderson is gone or aren’t the Sox that high on Colson as a SS?
I know Montgomery is very young but I just saw that his fielding stat in the minors is .940. Ouch.