Podcast: White Sox Free Agency Options Are Getting Slim

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Record Date: 12/15/2022

Rundown:

  • Update on the Free Agent Pick’em Contest
  • Carlos Rodon signs with the New York Yankees
  • Carlos Correa signs with the San Francisco Giants
  • Could we see MLB owners pressing for contract length caps?
  • What are the White Sox plans for second base?
  • Best remaining position player free agents

Listen below:

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jhomeslice

After they signed Grandal, we’ve all been waiting for them to sign somebody better. And we’ve been waiting, and they’ve done nothing for so long that Grandal’s contract is about to expire. That’s called squandering the whole rebuild, without even trying.

Trooper had a great post on the other thread about each team in MLB’s biggest FA contract, and extension. Only 4 teams have not given out either a 100M contract or 100M extension. They are KC, the A’s, the Pirates… and you guessed it. For anybody who would contend that Reinsdorf and his “group” are not cheap as fuck.

Sell the damn team already!

Last edited 1 year ago by jhomeslice
Trooper Galactus

KC’s extension for Salvy Perez eclipses any commitment the White Sox ever made too.

knoxfire30

MLB was trying to put together trade ideas for Hendrix last night, I believe they were as follows:

Hendrix and Crochett to yanks for Glyber Torres

Hendrix to Texas for Dunning and Josh Smith

Hendrix to Mariners for Flexon and Kelenic

Thoughts?

Last edited 1 year ago by knoxfire30
jhomeslice

I don’t like the Texas idea at all, personally.

Kelenic sure has been just god awful since being called up, even though he raked in the minors. Flexen is solid. There’s certainly good value and potential in that idea. Would be a absolute steal if Kelenic pans out, esp since he hits left handed. I’d be on board with that, in a heartbeat.

I could never see the Yankees trading Torres straight up for Liam. This idea makes more sense for them. Crochet plus Liam is an awful lot, and Torres will be a FA at the end of 2024. I’m just not thinking the Sox are going to be that good in the next year or two, to give up Crochet for someone who won’t be under team control for longer than 2 years, I’m not liking that idea much. I think Crochet has a ton of upside and could be worth an awful lot in 2 years, and part of whenever the Sox are on the upswing again. Torres is right handed and hasn’t been great vs righties the past 3 years, so he doesn’t even help their biggest problem in a big way. No way on Crochet (rhyme intended).

upnorthsox

Only Torres solves a problem and I’m not sure why I need to add Crochet to that.
So maybe, no, and no.

Hendriks to Cards for 2B? Gorman, Edman, or Donovan. I’d expand the trade if we could get Moises Gomez too.

I’m not against picking up Kelenic but certainly not for a frontline player.

jhomeslice

Flexen is a solid pitcher though, not a FA until after 2026. He wasn’t great last year but not awful, and had a WAR over 3 in 2021. So Kelenic more of a throw-in with that trade. I doubt Seattle would pony up that much for Liam, but I think a no brainer for the Sox if they offered.

upnorthsox

Adding a 7th SP solves little and opens another hole. Of course Flexen would be a nice to have but we’d be back to ignoring an immediate issue (LF, RF, 2B) to solve a problem that has no immediacy (like spending $17M on a RP to protect a lead that rarely happens because of LF, RF, and 2B).

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m not advocating in favor of any of the trades listed but I think a mistake the Sox have made over and over again over the years is undervaluing 6th and 7th starters (and beyond).

In 2022, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 132 of 162 starts.
In 2021, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 145 of 162 starts.
In 2020, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 50 of 60 starts.
In 2019, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 122 of 161 starts.
In 2018, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 145 of 162 starts.
In 2017, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 106 of 162 starts.
In 2016, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 138 of 162 starts.
In 2015, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 148 of 162 starts.
In 2014, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 136 of 162 starts.
In 2013, the 5 starters with the most starts covered 128 of 162 starts.

Over the last 10 years, the 5 starters with the most starts have covered 1253 of 1517 starts (82.6%) meaning on average 28.2 starts out of each 162 games have been covered by someone other than the 5 starters with the most starts. Rotation depth is not the biggest hole on this Sox roster but it has consistently been a hole for the Sox.

upnorthsox

6th and 7th starters should be a product of your scouting and player development not the result of trading the top closer in the game. It definitely should not be a priority over a 1/3 of your position starters.

Actually those aren’t too bad numbers.
2022 top 5 starters: Astros 140, Phillies 137, Guardians 137, Yankees 135, Dodgers 119.

At worst the Sox should be addressing their depth issues with minor league signings and yet while those have been flying off the boards, the Sox have done nothing, nada.

I do sympathize with your concerns though and wish we were at a point where it was at the top of our priority list.

Joliet Orange Sox

No disagreement. I wouldn’t trade Hendriks for rotation depth.

ChiTownMax25

For all the groaning about “Oh, if only the team were healthier the last two seasons…”: That’s about the position player group. The Starters have remained remarkably healthy, both in 21-22.

Other teams routinely have 2-3 of their top-5 starters get hurt at the same time, manage it, and still manage to win a lot over that stretch. Imagine if there a month or two where Cease, Lynn, and Kopech were all hurt! That would be a fairly typical problem most teams have to deal with at some point. How unprepared would this team be!

jhomeslice

This team isn’t likely to be great in 2023, I think that’s clear. Giolito and Lynn will be gone after the season. Clevinger likely as well, certainly if he is any good he will be. That’s 3/5 of their rotation. Flexen would cheaply solve one of those rotation holes, as well as gives them depth this year in case Clevinger stinks or is hurt, or one of their other starters is, which is possible. Joliet makes solid points about rotation depth.

Liam will be gone after 2024, for sure. To get a solid mid tier starter for 4 seasons plus a high upside young player who was a #6 overall pick, great in the minors and a top 10 prospect like 2 years ago, that works for me. Certainly Kelenic is a gamble and I’d only want him as a throw-in part of a deal, but let’s put it this way. If the Sox had him, and gave up on him after less than a full season of games, you could just see him doing well with another team. He’s only 23 and came up when he was 21, so maybe they rushed him. I’m guessing there are better days ahead for him, maybe a lot better. I’d rather have him than Sheets, just because Sheets will never be good enough to be an every day player on any team that claims to be serious about the goal of a WS. The upside with Kelenic as a left handed power hitter is there, undoubtedly.

upnorthsox

You’ve given up on 2023 and I still think a few smart moves can get us in contention (yes I know Hahn and smart move is an oxymoron). Gorman and Gomez for Hendricks and whatever reasonable it takes (Schultz or Martin or whatever) to get it done. Kelenic for Kelly absolutely, For Graverman? I could see it. The price was set when they traded Kyle Lewis for Cooper Hummel so a Sosa or Cespedes+ shouldn’t be out of the picture either. Sign Conforto for one year with the savings and you have him, Robert, and the 3 young OF vying for the last spot. Sign Fulmer and your biggest issues are health and Yas and there’s nothing you can do about either at this point. If it doesn’t work out then dump all the gone guys at the deadline including Conforto and you have a bunch of young guys ready to retool around.

upnorthsox

Ok didn’t see the Benentendi news but just swap Benentendi for Conforto and it all still applies. 🙂

Bonus Baby

Either Gorman or Donovan for Hendriks seems like a slam dunk to me. Honestly I doubt he’d bring back either by himself, but I may be more pessimistic about his true trade value than others.

Edman has a career wRC+ of 95 vs. RHP and 124 vs. LHP, so one of the others would be better IMO.

PauliePaulie

The seemingly foregone conclusion that the Sox will be trading Liam irks me.
Not sure how smart it is to lose 2 of their 3 best pitchers and replace them with Mike Clevinger and a guy fresh off TJ (Crochet).
Beginning to look to me like, for 2B and LF, the Sox are just waiting to see which FA’s have the lowest asking price. For RF it’s going to be a kid with zero MLB experience, without a good plan B if he struggles.

BenwithVen

I’m still not convinced they sign an actual starting LF. I fully expect Sheets to play there, with Eloy taking the field with when a LHP is on the mound.

Trooper Galactus

Are you convinced now

Josh Nelson

I was playing around with the MLB Trades Simulator.

One crazy idea I came up with:

Toronto receives: Liam Hendriks

White Sox receives: Whit Merrifield and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

I’m sure the Blue Jays would want a second piece to match up on players, but theoretically the White Sox could address both LF and 2B with one trade. That, I guess, would be “fruitful.”

As Cirensica

The Bluejays are probably only interested in trading one of their three catchers (Kirk, Jansen, Moreno). They all should be in the Majors, but they only have spots for two. All of them will be an upgrade for the White Sox.

Last edited 1 year ago by As Cirensica
upnorthsox

I think the good ship Merrifield has sailed.

Bonus Baby

I’ve always been thinking Hendriks for Cavan Biggio as the basic trade (maybe plus cash from the Jays, or whatever). If they can add in another piece and get Danny Jansen also, great, but I’m dying for the Sox to have at least one veteran lefty that has shown some ability to hit RH pitching at 2B.

HallofFrank

Yes, please. Under the assumption that they’d reallocate Hendriks’ money to the ’23 roster, I think I’m close enough on all three trades—though I’d want to tweak the Yankees and Rangers trade. I’d add a 40-45 FV-ish value prospect to each return.

asinwreck

Can’t wait for the press conference to announce they’ve signed Josh Harrison.

upnorthsox

I was thinking the same thing, we’ll get to Hahn’s deadline of Jan. 6th and all that’s left is Harrison. Of course his clubhouse leadership will be the big sell.

BenwithVen

I’m just waiting for the inevitable Ben Gamel signing

Nellie Fox

Moncada to the cubs for Madrigal. get the cubs to pay for his salary would be nice too.

dwjm3

No thanks….

Nellie Fox

throw in grandahl too? would that change your mind?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I don’t know who that is, but no.

FishSox

Can we get Glen Beckert thrown in?

Joliet Orange Sox

Even if Glenn Beckert were alive, I think he and Nick Madrigal are too similar of players for any team to want both. Both players only play 2b and hit for average with low strikeout percentages (4.4% for Beckert over his career, 9.2% for Madrigal) but don’t walk enough or have enough power to be really valuable offensively so all their value is defensive. Right now, I’d take Madrigal over Beckert because being alive gives him more range.

I think it says something about the original trade proposal (Moncada for Madrigal) that I found it more interesting when Glenn Beckert was added to the mix.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joliet Orange Sox
asinwreck

Are you confident that Nick Madrigal’s body in its present state can hold up better than Glenn Beckert’s body in its present state?

Joliet Orange Sox

I think it will but I can’t say I’m confident.

upnorthsox

Could Beckert pass a PED test is the question…

Trooper Galactus

Pretty sure he’d qualify for a medical exemption.

upnorthsox

I thought embalming fluid was on the banned substance list but I could be wrong.

Trooper Galactus

He gets an exemption for his disability.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF2ZhY8xX_w&t=9s

Nellie Fox

I am a ken hubbs kind of guy. Unfortunately, he died way too young.

joe blow

I enjoy these podcasts a lot. I don’t always agree with Jim and Josh (and that’s healthy), but it’s a smart baseball conversation. Doesn’t compare at all to the nonsense podcast on the Sox flagship

armchairGM

the 108 is fun nonsense though. and they crossover with sox machine a lot

Alfornia Jones

Trading Hendricks now would be the ultimate White Flag in Dec/Jan. That said, if they could get a 4 WAR premium position player (Torres) straight up for Liam, i am in now. A lesser prospect would be ok, but not Crochett.

Plenty of time in July to sell everything not nailed down. Hopefully there are some bargains once all the big spenders are done spending, but they need to try the first half. Selling now without massive over compensation feeds into the ongoing PR disaster.

Josh Nelson

I disagree on the White Flag notion. Trading Tim Anderson . . . sure. Kickoff the rebuild.

Alfornia Jones

personally, I am for trading both TA and Liam now while prices are high. They reside in the only MLB division where you can retool and still win the division. These are the only two guys outside of Cease/Robert that you can get excess value, and they aren’t that much better with both TA/Liam still on the team.

knoxfire30

Who says no to a Gravemen and prospect to Seattle for Kelenic

Sox save money that can be put to adding a 2nd basemen or maybe a SP for depth while getting an upside LF’er who hasnt proven much in the pros

Seattle gets back a player they loved and fortifies their pen for a player that has fallen out of favor that likely wont help them in 2023….

As Cirensica

Kelenic kinda sucks. Am I the only one thinking that? His highest OBP in the majors is .265! Yikes. No thank you.

knoxfire30

he’s 23, (about a year and a half younger then colas) his AAA slash line last year was 295/365/557

he has definitely failed so far in the majors but its a high upside play…. and free’s up the cash the sox may need to address another need

id rather go this route and hope kelenic figures it out over a veteran re-tread on a 1 year deal who isn’t that great

Last edited 1 year ago by knoxfire30
As Cirensica

The White Sox do not need to bet on young high upside players. We are supposedly in a contention window which turns out to be more like tiptoeing into a battered and withered fence.

bobsquad

Young high upside players are likely the only way this team even enters the playoff picture.

The only playoff teams from last season with fewer than 10 WAR from players under 27: the New York teams, San Diego, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. So 4 of the 5 biggest spenders in the league, and the perpetually overachieving Cardinals (and this team is no Cardinals).

jhomeslice

Betting on high upside young players that are controllable for multiple years is better than betting on the upside of veterans whose last good season was 2 or 3 years ago, on 1 year deals. With Kelenic, at least there is some chance he could be a core piece for a few years. If they sign Gallo and he miraculously does well, he will be gone next season anyway to a team that actually wants to pay for good players. Needing to get an outfielder every damn offseason is not the way to go!

I think young, controllable players who are cheap with upside are exactly what this team should be trying to get. Someone like Kelenic might help this year and beyond, and is a better idea than the scrub veteran free agents that we are used to them signing.

jorgefabregas

Ben Clemens has a piece explaining another reason teams are signing these long deals: rising interest rates changing the time value of money. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/why-are-teams-issuing-extremely-long-contracts/

jorgefabregas

Yep, wasn’t working for me earlier today. I thought it was my browser or something. Working now.

GrinnellSteve

Same here. Thanks, Jim.

Joliet Orange Sox

As the original whiner about this issue I want to confirm the problem is fixed for me.

bobsquad

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017 Chicago White Sox in 2023!

Rodon $27MM
Abreu $19.5MM
Moncada $17.8MM
Quintana $13MM
Anderson $12.5MM
A. Garcia $12MM
Giolito $10.8MM*
Robertson $10MM
Narvaez $8MM
Kahnle $5.8MM
L. Garcia $5.5MM
R. Lopez $3.3MM*

Total $145.2MM

*projected arb. salary

upnorthsox

You missed Bummer but yeah that staff didn’t age well.

nashsox

Benintendi

dwjm3

75 million for Benintendi ….seems like a lot for him doesnt it?

jhomeslice

I agree. I mean he’s a solid player but has only had one season with a WAR over 3. He doesn’t have the power and upside to get me excited. The Sox don’t exactly set their sights high. Meh.

dwjm3

At least we have a new club record contract. Better than not spending money.

bobsquad

Cursory glance at his spray chart and it looks like he’d have hit at least 6 more homers had he played half his games at Guaranteed Rate. I realize that only pushes him from 5 to 11, but it would make his stat line almost identical to that of Nimmo.

Foulkelore

Hey, a new record for the Sox!

PauliePaulie

Sox probably had to overpay to keep him out of the other rumored destinations.
Maybe $1mil per year heavy and one extra year than you’d prefer. But $15mil per year SHOULD be very managable.

Trooper Galactus

He’s only 28 years old. Theoretically, even if 2022 is his apex production level, he should have several productive years remaining instead of approaching the performance cliff we’re all too familiar with.

jhomeslice

At least it’s a hole they won’t need to fill again after the season like would have been the case with a 1 year deal for Gallo or Conforto. And his last productive season wasn’t 2 or 3 years ago. There should not be any chance he will totally suck, at least.

dongutteridge

That’s the same thing everyone said about every FA signing. That’s how much ballplayers cost right now. I give kudos to the White Sox for this one!

PauliePaulie

Finally some good news!
Truly a signing that makes sense.

Foulkelore

Ok, less potential upside, and obviously less power than Gallo or Conforto, but he’s also the safest of the three to be a minimum level of competence without disaster. Projected to be the best of the three. This helps.

Trooper Galactus

Benintendi kinda feels like exactly the sort of guy Jim worried about in the pod: 2-3 WAR player who they sign to be a 2-3 WAR player who promptly comes in and wets the bed. At least they’re getting him in his prime production years, though, and not investing in another 32+ year old player.

jhomeslice

If they follow up with Segura, that would help an awful lot.

Trooper Galactus

That wouldn’t be an exciting offseason, but it would at least be solid.

Foulkelore

Yeah, he’s really the only free agent option at 2B remaining who I would like. Outside of him, it’s improving via trade or it’s rolling with Romy or Sosa (with Leury looming).

Trooper Galactus

If TLR were still managing he’d be salivating at the prospect of starting Leury at 2B from day one.

roke1960

I’m thinking Hendriks for Michael Busch. That would then give a balanced lineup with 5 LH/switch hitters: Benintendi, Yoan, Grandal, Colas, Busch.

A lineup of:
Timmy ss
Benintendi lf
Robert cf
Eloy DH
Yoan 3b
Vaughn 1b
Colas rf
Yaz/Seby c
Busch 2b

has the potential to be pretty good,

Bonus Baby

I’d love this, but I’m growing increasingly worried that the Dodgers don’t really want to give up Busch at all, particularly now that they’ve passed on the big SS’s in the market.

asinwreck

I’m on board with this take. Average is useful given what we’ve seen in the recent past, and Benintendi is young enough that he has a good chance to be useful for all five years of the contract.

Foulkelore

Yeah, after what they’ve put out in the corner outfield spots the last few years, I’m not going to complain about “actual outfielder who’s average.”

jhomeslice

True, the contrast between an average player and a complete hole is a lot. But this team needs to add players who are way better than average to get to another level. I mean the goal is a WS, Benintendi isn’t a game changer in relation to their chances at that goal. Still, an improvement.

If they get Segura it would shore up another hole that they were not likely to get much production at. I just keep looking at the overall picture of this team, where it was 3 years ago, and how good they could have been if they added players a ton better than Benintendi, like they could and should have. But with 100M set to come off the books in 2 years, it’s about bleeping time they signed somebody.

asinwreck

If Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn should have learned anything from 2005, it’s that making sure each spot in the lineup has a competent player is so important. C and 2B had been real problems for the Sox before Pierzynski and Iguchi improved the roster.

Hahn’s buffoonery with RF the past several years proves they didn’t learn that lesson, and now we hope that Oscar Colás is ready while 2B remains a question. At least Benintendi cements Eloy at his natural position of DH.

upnorthsox

It would be nice if he had the arm to play RF but this is the Sox and we don’t get everything.

Trooper Galactus

He’s basically what they were hoping Rutherford would become.

Augusto Barojas

I’m in agreement with “I don’t love this for Chicago”. I mean he’s OK, but it’s super lame in comparison to what other teams more interested in winning are doing. He’s not a lefty masher like they really need, and now they’ve made a 5 year commitment to a useful, slightly above average player. Adding a slightly above average player to a slightly above average team doesn’t change things all that much.

This doesn’t change my sentiment toward this ownership in the least. For this to be the biggest contract in franchise history, beating Grandal by a couple mil, is a joke.

jhomeslice

This is how a team that is only willing to make half ass commitments operates. But still, it’s better than nothing, for sure.

dwjm3

Joey Gallo to the Twins

jorgefabregas

He might be good in 2023, but I have no faith that the White Sox could have nurtured him back to being a decent player.

Last edited 1 year ago by jorgefabregas
jhomeslice

I mean he was epic awful the past season and a half in two great lineups. I’m glad he’s not on the Sox, personally. Reminds me too much of Dunn who was not exactly a joy to watch.

Trooper Galactus

If Dunn were a Gold Glove outfielder, sure.

jhomeslice

True. I just know a Yankees fan who says Gallo was one of the worst hitters he has watched, and I believe him. At least during his tenure with NY.

BillyKochFanClub

Gallo is also a sneaky good base runner. Dunn…not so much.

Foulkelore

I wouldn’t have felt super confident about Gallo as the only outfield addition, but I would have liked him in addition to a safer option (such as Benintendi). Hedge against needing Colas right away, but if Gallo is a disaster, Colas is there as an option B.

asinwreck

I wanted Gallo on the Rockies.

upnorthsox

This is great news for Cease….or not. He’ll probably end up an AS with them. Such is life in the ALC.

jorgefabregas

Benitendi over or under 1.5 fWAR in 2023? Projected for 2.3 in 130 games by Steamer, but I’m adding the White Sox discount.

jorgefabregas

They desperately needed some left-handed power. Instead got a guy who does a lot of things decently, except for power.

Trooper Galactus

I’d say the projection is fair, and he might benefit from being in GRF in terms of power production.

PauliePaulie

Over.
But will be up to Grifol and his staff.
Sox Machine comment section liked the Manager and Staff hires. Now we’ll see.
Benintendi is young enough and has obvious strengths that a comeptent staff could foster and utilize.

a-t

I’m not the biggest fan of Benintendi as a player, bc he doesn’t show much pop. But he provides a really safe floor— he’s a competent defender and never put up a wRC+ under 100 save for two weeks of games in the pandemic season. Also, obviously, he’s a lefty. The Rate has a really high LHH HR park factor, so— hypothetically— a bouncier ball and power-focused hitting coach next year could result in a nice little power surge for him.

I can’t complain about the contract. He’s 28, so 5 years is totally fine, and $15M/y is not breaking the bank by any means, especially this offseason.

Augusto Barojas

I’d feel better about the signing if I could be sure that this won’t wind up the biggest free agent contract they give over the next several years.

Bonus Baby

My choice from the beginning, and I love it. I wanted the most sure-fire bet at a 2+ WAR this season, and he’s it among the main contenders (Gallo, Conforto, Profar, etc.), who mostly may have higher upside and more power, but are also more likely to turn in replacement level seasons.

I know folks mostly don’t agree, but for a team that for the most part is going to rise or fall on its existing stars returning to form, it’s a great pick to fill an obvious need.

BenwithVen

A cromulent player on whatever deal and he fills a rather big need. He’s 28, so a five year deal is fine. Would rather have him than Gallo and his 40% K rate or the shell of Cody Bellinger.

Interesting to see if they end up trading anyone to free up cash.

Bonus Baby

Now they should go get a player that’s cromulent-in-context for 2B, like Tony Kemp or Cavan Baggio. I’d be much happier with them on the team to provide LH options at 2B and protection in case the promising-ish yongsters (Sosa, etc.) don’t quite work out as well as hoped.

BillyKochFanClub

For a team counting on so many bounce backs next season, I’m on board with them filling a need with a pretty good, under-30 yr old player that should provide production that will not require “if he produces like he did in ‘21” hopes in order to provide value.

Last edited 1 year ago by BillyKochFanClub
dongutteridge

I doubt it. They haven’t worked that way in the past. It’s been free up cash first. Then, make a signing.

Trooper Galactus

In isolation, this is a laudable move. 28 years old, consistently average or better when he’s healthy, lefty bat (needed), decent outfield defender (needed), and doesn’t break the bank.

In the wider picture, it’s an indictment of the franchise that this is the biggest deal they could come up with. For all of their boasting, there are no Harpers or Machados or Wheelers or Springers or even Nimmos to point to after all these years, just a decidedly average-ish player in Andrew Benintendi.

So much more should have been done before.

So much more needed to be done now.

But this is it. This is what we get.

And the White Sox will act shocked that fans are still unsatisfied and outraged and not buying tickets.

abehickock

It will be nice having a corner outfielder that actually knows how to play the position.