Which kind of offseason do you prefer?

While this winter’s spending has been unprecedented, the pace used to be normal. You only have to go back to the mid-2010s to remember when all the biggest names could be counted upon to sign before the new year, with the Scott Boras hard-ball straggler the exception.

Signings started slowing to a crawl, partially because of the widespread adoption of analytics, and the greater appreciation of aging curves, but also because of some turbulent CBA negotiations with a world-rattling pandemic thrown in for good measure.

Most of those economic issues have been resolved, or at least stiff-armed, and owners like Steve Cohen and Peter Seidler have forced the rest of the league to respond to their market-setting aggression. Consequently, it’s the day after Christmas, and nearly all the top 30 free agents are spoken for, even accounting for the uncertainty surrounding Carlos Correa.

As for the White Sox, they still have to announce the Andrew Benintendi, and now that Christmas has come and gone, perhaps everybody can get together to give the largest guaranteed contract in franchise history the proper treatment. There doesn’t look to be another significant free agent addition looming beyond that.

Trades remain possible, especially if the fun, old-fashioned Toronto-Arizona deal hints at more deals that seek to aggressively address a need for a need. While I think it makes sense for the White Sox to explore trades involving Liam Hendriks or Kendall Graveman, it wouldn’t surprise me if they carried their current roster into the regular season, more or less.

There’ll be some news here and there. The international signing period opens on Jan. 15, and the White Sox usually announce their list of non-roster invitees a week later, with the player development roster to follow. Alas, there’s no SoxFest, which always used to fill a week at the deadest part of the winter.

I may have to exercise some muscles I haven’t used in a while if I can’t count on significant breaking news between now and February. As somebody in the content game, I didn’t mind the slow flow of rumors, because I didn’t have to dig deep into the bag of ideas to find something that would make people come to the site. As a baseball fan, I like when the free agents fly off the board, because it seems healthier when good players are appreciated for their talents, and teams act aggressively to improve their chances.

But as we ramp back up after Christmas, I’m curious how those who don’t have to worry about story ideas prefer to see the offseason unfold. Share your thoughts below, starting with the poll.

[yop_poll id=”9006″]
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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As a Sox fan how quickly the big fish come off the board, or the difference making talent changes hands, doesn’t really matter. My favorite team isn’t involved.
If pressed, I suppose it’s better to get it over with early, instead of hearing other fan bases gloat about their shiny new things until Feb.


That Arizona-Toronto deal is fascinating. It would be fun to have heard the weeks of discussions between the two front offices, given each team had multiple good options (young lefty outfielders vs. young catchers) that the other team wanted.

I’d especially want to know how much each team valued Alejandro Kirk, given Gabriel Moreno’s promise. When I heard the deal involved Varsho and Moreno, I immediately thought of the trade that brought Roberto Alomar to Toronto. That’s a pretty exciting Christmas present for a baseball fan without a particular rooting interest in either team involved.

Augusto Barojas

If Varsho’s best days are ahead, it really could turn the Jays into a beast of a team. They’re pretty good already.

Trooper Galactus

I kinda want the White Sox to ask about Gurriel’s availability. I don’t see the Diamondbacks competing while he’s under control, so maybe they’re willing to part with him at a cost we can afford.

Augusto Barojas

When “teams act aggressively to improve their chances”. If only this ownership ever did that.

What’s more is that the next free agent class pales in comparison to the past couple years. Ohtani, Devers, and possibly Machado available. Aside from those 3, next year’s FA class is not full of star studded players – which is undoubtedly another reason why teams much, much more serious than the Sox about winning were so active this winter. The Sox basically sat on their hands while the best opportunities passed them by. So next winter even if they finally wanted to spend, there won’t be almost any top tier players available. No really good 2b’s or OF’s, if those are positions of need.



It’s ok, I fully expect the White Sox to sign Machado. After the 10 year contract that he’ll sign with another team next offseason finishes up.

My favorite kind of off-season comes after a parade.

There’s always a parade. This year it was in Houston. I’d like the parade to be in Chicago.

Careful— a parade “in Chicago” isn’t necessarily a good thing from a White Sox fan’s perspective.

Just had to check and my hunch was confirmed: every single player acquired from another organization during the busy 2019-2020 off-season that led Hahn to boast that he’d only be satisfied “after the parade”produced at least 1 negative WAR season with the White Sox: Steve Cishek, Gio Gonzalez, Nomar Mazara, Edwin Encarnacion, Dallas Keuchel, and Yasmani Grandal.

Arguably the “best two” of those acquisitions—the only two who didn’t produce an immediate negative value in their first season with the club—combined to have a -4.0 bWAR last season, though Keuchel’s nightmarish stints with two other clubs contributed to that. It’s been said many times I this forum, but the fact that Hahn still is GM with a track record like he has tells you all you need to know about this organization.


I find it comical to bitch when they slightly overpay for premier talent and also bitch that they don’t do it. Grandal/Kuechel signings weren’t bad, but the fact the signings stopped with them is the problem. If the Sox had signed a Springer-like player the following two years, walking away from some dead money doesn’t hurt as much. Signing proven vets means the end of their contracts probably aren’t going to look pretty.

Hahn’s Id’s Nightmare

I find it comical to call Keuchel entering 2020 “premier talent.”

I did not and would not complain about the Grandal signing; though another bad season and it’s not “bitching” to use him as yet another example of how bad the FO is… it is indeed okay to overpay a bit for the last couple years of a veteran’s contract but when half the length of the contract is negative WAR seasons and when that contract stood as the biggest contract in team history, only to be eclipsed by $2 million in total dollars this off-season, I think both “bitching” about and “mocking” Hahn and co. is more than merited.

See ya at the parade(s).


Correct …Keuchel was not a tier 1 free agent. The Astros let him go because they had reservations about him moving forward. He was a tier 2 free agent . Grandal is the only tier 1 player we have signed this window.

Augusto Barojas

I never considered Grandal a true tier 1. I recall at the time being skeptical that the reason they signed him was that he was cheaper in terms of years and salary, due to position. I thought “he’s fine, as long as they sign somebody better than him at some point”.

Here we are, almost 4 years later, and they haven’t.

Joliet Orange Sox

Grandal was the 8th biggest contract in the 2019-20 off-season at $73M. There were only 4 contracts above $100M that year (Cole, Rendon, Strasburg, and Wheeler). You could argue Grandal was not in the same tier as Cole, Rendon, … but he was certainly closer to the high end than the usual Sox signing.

Trooper Galactus

He was the best catcher available, so he was Tier 1 in that regard, I guess. But, as Jim has stated many times, the White Sox are content to go for Tier 1 catchers and relievers because they generally fit into their pathetic budget restrictions (look at the recent MLBTR post about each team’s biggest contracts and it’s pretty sad to see the White Sox in the back with the A’s and Pirates). Tier 1 of almost anything else they’re either a hard pass on or very reluctant bidders.


I prefer the offseasons that other teams have much more than the Sox.


I’m gonna go out on a limb here, cause I have no idea what it feels like, but I think I would prefer the kind of off-season where my team reasonably addresses all the obvious gaps and doesn’t stop after filling just one of them. It doesn’t have to be highest- end shopping but it has to be reasonable. No squinting to see a scenario where you are competitive. Including reasonable depth.


And speaking of depth, Mark Payton just flew the coop.

Trooper Galactus

Honestly, Mark Payton isn’t really depth.

Bonus Baby

Voted fast and furious, which I think is particularly true for this year. Get on with the “more fruitful than free agency” trades already Rick! I’m terrified you’ll let us down again with no real additions to 2B and the OF. So prove me wrong! Get a good deal done!

Speaking of which, I’m going to re-up this: Figure out what it takes to get Ramon Laureano and Tony Kemp from the A’s, and do it. Giving them prospects saves them around $7.5M this year, and they seem very cost conscious. Plus it seems doable, whether from Sox prospects alone or a 3-team deal with Hendriks going somewhere for additional prospects to add to the deal.

Neither Laureano or Kemp are likely to be more than “mediocre,” which I know is a dreaded term here. But with Colas coming up in the OF, and Sosa or another RH2B coming up, a couple “mediocre” veteran fits — RHOF and LH2B — seems like a good idea to me. They suddenly have some much needed depth and flexibility in the two areas that they most need it right now.

Why not?


Kemp and Laureano are coming off of 1.1 and 0.8 WAR seasons and are under team control only for 2023. There’s no way the Sox should strip mine their bottom five minor league system for those two.

I agree with you that I don’t think Hendriks has as much trade value as people think, but trading him for those guys would actually make the Sox worse in 2023.

Last edited 2 months ago by hitlesswonder

Saying they would have to “strip mine” the minor league system for either or both of those two is a false premise. They’re not upper tier players, as the accurate part of your post points out, but they would still be upgrades over what the Sox currently have on hand.


I agree Laureano is an upgrade since the Sox have no 4th OF like him, but he’s still 1 to 2 WAR player…Kemp a modest upgrade as well although ZIPs has Sosa as a 1 WAR player.

But the Sox minor league system is so thin that you would have to trade three to four players from the top 8 to get those guys. Is the amount of upgrade you worth trading Ramos, Sosa and Vera? And that package probably doesn’t get it done…the As would want an OF as well and the only tradeable one the Sox have is Colas.

Bonus Baby

First point, you’re incorrect about control over Laureano. He’s still got two arbitration years after 2023, and only becomes a free agent in 2026. Kemp, however, is a rental for 2023.

Also, IMO we really should be considering more than just their WAR last year. Considering prior years, current projections, fit for lineup flexibility, and protection against injury — Laureano and Kemp should both be really useful for the Sox in 2023.

–He has 10.1 fWAR over his 5 years in the league. So for his career, he’s not a “1-2” WAR player, he averages 2+.
–Of course, that counts his high of 4.1 fWAR over 123 games in 2019. But his lower production in other years is partially accounted for by the fact that he missed lots of games in all 4 of the other years, for various reasons — his rookie year was short, COVID shortened 2020, injuries shortened other years, etc.
–There’s every reason to believe he’s still an MLB starting-level talent (he’s only 28), who’s likely to have 2+ WAR seasons if healthy and he plays enough games. It’s not surprising that Steamer thinks so, projecting him for 2.4 fWAR in 139 games in 2023.

–With respect to flexibility, just last year he played 240 innings in CF, with the rest in RF. So he can fill in at any OF spot the Sox need him. We keep talking about how Sox outfielders are likely to miss at least some games — maybe a big chunk for one of them — and he would be a perfectly capable MLB starter-level replacement.
–He’s also RH, with a career wRC+ against LHP of 121 (only 111 against RHP). So at minimum he’d let the Sox rest Benintendi or Colas against LHP.
–If it happens that all 3 Sox outfielders are healthy all year, and Colas does well handling starting duty from day 1, so that the Sox don’t end up having much of a need for Laureano in the OF, I’d chalk that up as a very good problem for the Sox to have.

–Adjusting for the shortened COVID season he’s produced 7.2 fWAR over the last 3 seasons. So an average of 2.4 per season. As with Laureano, it’s not surprising that Steamer projects him for 2.3 fWAR in 131 games this year.
–He’s certainly nothing flashy, but should give them at minimum a solid platoon option at 2B to hit against RHP (career wRC+ of 100 against RHP, but only 88 against LHP). And just like with Laureano, if the Sox turn out not to need him even against RHP, with Sosa or some other internal option producing like a quality starter all year, I’ll chalk it up as another very good problem for the Sox to have.

Total value in fWAR
–So with Laureano and Kemp, according to Steamer, you should expect a combined 4.7 fWAR from them in 2023. Steamer only pegs Hendriks for 1.3 fWAR — and even his career best year in 2019 was only worth 3.9 fWAR.

Hendriks and prospects needed
–To me, given the above, there’s no question that Hendriks straight up for Laureano and Kemp would be a good trade for the Sox.
–That can’t work b/c Oakland wouldn’t want his salary on their books, but bringing in a 3rd team might produce more in pure prospect haul than Oakland would need to part with L + K — so the Sox could end up with L, K and additional prospect(s) for Hendriks.
–I guess this depends on the value of prospects you’d expect Oakland to want, and the value of prospects you’d expect Hendriks to fetch.

TL;DR Hendriks for Laureano and Kemp — if it took that — would be a good trade for the Sox.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby
Trooper Galactus

Giving up an elite player (even a reliever) for two mediocre ones would not be a good trade.

Bonus Baby

This seems really silly to me, and I don’t understand it at all.

If the “mediocre” player is worth 2 WAR more than the guy who would otherwise be playing, then he’s worth 2 WAR to the team. Period.

There are lots of replacement-level or near-replacement-level guys in the league (including on the Sox), and having “mediocre” instead of them is just a huge improvement. In fact, it’s exactly the same as taking a single “mediocre” player (2 WAR) and replacing him with a 4 WAR player.

I’m pretty sure that no GM agrees with you on an “elite” reliever (who may only be worth between 1 and 2 WAR) being worth two 2-WAR players (“mediocre” players), when the alternative could be two replacement-level (0 WAR) players — or in reality, maybe even worse, like Billy Hamilton, who may have seen his last year with a WAR as high as 0.

Thinking about salaries should bear this out. Benintendi’s $15M/yr contract is giving him just under 2 WAR in value over each of the 5 contract years. A reliever paid the same $15M (like Hendriks) can be considered “elite.” But teams just don’t think the elite reliever in this case is worth twice as much as the “mediocre” guy signing for $15M per year.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby
Trooper Galactus

I would not bet on Laureano and Kemp providing a 2 WAR improvement over the incumbents, especially when the team could/should just get Segura and Profar and call it an offseason.

Bonus Baby

Signing mediocre players is of course better, but I don’t know if they intend to do that or not. Also I don’t think Profar can play CF, and he’s projected for 1 fWAR less than Laureano.

If L + K play a combined 160 games, they’re projected to be worth 2.8 fWAR. Hendriks is projected for well under 2 in a full season.

And Hendriks has good replacements waiting — Lopez, Graveman, Kelly, Bummer, Crochet — while w/o a signing it could be either Laureano or Hamilton in the OF. If Colas or Sosa has a rough time, it could be just a 0 or 0.5 WAR player out there.

I come back to salaries. There’s a reason mediocre position players are paid way more than elite closers.


I would not trade “mediocre” players for Hendriks, regardless of what WAR says. So guys like Kemp/Laureano or Escobar would not be enough of a return. Now if it’s for a quality player or a high-upside younger guy, then I could see it. The players I would put on this list are Michael Busch, Nolan Gorman, Gleyber Torres, Brandon Lowe (in a 3-way trade), or Jeff McNeil (and we pretty much have decided the Mets won’t do that). If they acquire Kemp/Laureano or Escobar, then Graveman or less should be involved.
And if that fails, then sign Segura. Otherwise, bring back Harrison or Andrus, and if one of the young guys (Sosa, Romy, Rodriguez) has a great spring, then make Andrus or Harrison the utility guy and get rid of Leury.

Last edited 2 months ago by roke1960
Bonus Baby

How about what the free agency market says?

Two 2+ WAR players (Laureano + Kemp) should cost $32M or more per year in free agency.


No relief pitcher, no matter how elite, has been signed for anything close to that per year — so obviously GMs/owners think two “mediocre” position players are worth a lot more than any closer.

I know it’s common here, but I’m continually baffled by how much value people put on Hendriks.

And that doesn’t even include the fact that the Sox BP without Hendriks is still very good and they have glaring needs at 2B and in the OF.

I agree on Escobar BTW, he’s not a good fit. But I’d be happy with Guillorme plus a top prospect.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

No way Kemp and Laureano would get $32M. 2nd baseman just don’t get big money. Look at the deals for Harrison, Cesar Hernandez and others. Segura is still out there and he’s the best of the bunch- likely because he isn’t valued as high as he thinks.

I’m ok with dealing Hendriks for the reasons you mention. I just think they should not settle for anything less than a solid major leaguer or a high upside MLB-ready prospect.


Generally, I’m with you that exploring Hendriks trades is a good idea. But you’re not properly evaluating Hendriks’ worth.

You seem to think all WAR is created equal. No. Hendriks doesn’t play as much as Kemp or Laureano, but, when he does play, it’s almost always in high-leverage situations. His talent has an outsized impact on the games he plays in. For that reason, something like Win Probability Added (WPA) is a better stat for evaluating Hendriks’ impact. In 2022, Hendriks WPA was 2.05 (consistent with ’21 and a tick lower than ’20). In 2022, Kemp’s WPA was 0.47 (his career high was 0.72 in ’21) and Laureano’s was -0.56 (though he’s historically been much stronger, even getting over 2.00 in ’19-’20).

To be clear, I’m not saying WPA is the only statistic to use. But I am saying that you can’t just compare WAR—especially when one of the players is a closer. Hendriks’ impact on actual wins and losses exceeds what he produces in the WAR column. If you want to build a team that looks good on a computer by racking up WAR, elite relief pitchers won’t help all that much. If you want to win real baseball games, elite relief pitchers do help a lot. And, for what it’s worth, they are getting paid like it 

And another for what it’s worth: you’re making some bizarre claims about the market. There are too many to address well here, but, for one, counting Laureano as a “2+ WAR player” (a consistent “2+ WAR player” he is not) and, for two, simply adding their AAV’s together, as if the combination of the two is more valuable than anyone making more than $32m/year. By that math, the market values a combo of Kemp and Laureano more than Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. That’s… just not how the market works. 

Again, I’m generally with you that the Sox should trade Hendriks. But, golly, I hope they aren’t evaluating his impact like you are—and I really hope they don’t trade him for Guillorme. That would be extending-Leury-level dumb.

Bonus Baby

Joint response to Roke and HallofFrank:

Hendriks for Guillorme plus a high prospect
That’s what I suggested, not H for G straight up. I’ll get to the value of various trades below.

Yes, this is exactly how the market works
As long as the two 2+ fWAR players we have in mind will be replacing replacement-level or near replacement-level players, then the two players are worth just about the same as if you sign a single 4 fWAR player to fill one of the spots, and leave the replacement level player in the other spot. I’m not sure why you think otherwise. Over the years they’ve looked at the question of whether the $8M/WAR formula is linear, and found that while it is not quite linear considering below-2-fWAR players — someone worth 1 fWAR is worth somewhat less than $4M — it appears to be roughly linear once you pass the 2 fWAR/year line:


Keep in mind, as this blog post explains, that contracts like Harper’s and Machado’s are very long contracts, and you have to consider likely decline in production as the player ages. Yes, a player signing a contract for $24M AAV for 12 years is likely to produce significantly more than 3 fWAR in the early years, but it’s only because they’ll likely produce less than that in the late years.

Harrison, Segura, Kemp, and Laureano
Roke suggests Kemp would not get 1/$16 b/c second basemen like Harrison don’t. But Kemp is very similar to Segura, and not at all close to Harrison:

Kemp: fWAR over the last 3 seasons (0.6, 3.1, 1.5); Steamer’s fWAR projection for 2023 (2.3)
Segura: fWAR over the last 3 seasons (1.1, 3.4, 1.7); Steamer’s fWAR projection for 2023 (2.5)
Harrison: fWAR over the last 3 seasons (-0.9, 0.2, 2.3); Steamer’s fWAR projection for 2022 (?)

Segura is likely to get close to $16M (or would if it were only a 1 year contract). Even before the market blew up this offseason, Ben Clemens thought he’d get 2/$26, and also thought that the Phillies should pick up his 2023 option for $16M.


Since Kemp’s WAR over the last 3 years and his 2023 Steamer projections are only slightly below Segura’s, Kemp would likely also get close to $16M for 1 year. How close? I don’t know, At least $12-14M I imagine. Harrison’s stats/projections are nothing like Kemp’s — and the $8M/WAR formula is only designed for 2+WAR players, not someone like Harrison.

Laureano is projected for 2.4 fWAR in 2023, right between Kemp and Segura, so he would also likely command close to $16M for 1 year on the open market. As far as “consistent” goes, I don’t know what level of consistency you want, HallofFrank, Steamer looks at his recent production and likely aging decline, and says “2.4 fWAR in 2023.” If you disagree that this is a good estimate, I think you need more reason than just to say he hasn’t produced 2+ WAR every year.

WAR, the Market, and Relief Pitchers
fWAR already takes into account leverage for relief pitchers: https://library.fangraphs.com/war/calculating-war-pitchers/

So fWAR should still be relevant for relief pitchers, contrary to HallofFrank’s suggestion. I don’t know much about WPA, so it’s hard to comment too much on it. I will say that it’s probably a useful data point in some ways, as you suggest, but I’d also say that for White Sox relief pitchers in 2023, Hendriks was #1 for WPA, but #’s 2 and 3 were Jimmy Lambert and Vince Velasquez — above Lopez, Graveman, and everyone else — and that doesn’t really pass the smell test to me.

I do buy that closers are valued a bit higher than their fWAR production by folks in MLB FO’s — it seems like this is the consensus — but only a bit. Why? Because until this year no reliever had ever been signed to a $20M AAV contract — not Aroldis Chapman, not anybody. If a position player worth about 2.5 fWAR per year should be worth about $20M per year on the open market, then this obviously means that no reliever has ever been valued by the league as worth more than a position player producing about 2.5 fWAR.

What is Hendriks’ trade value?
I’ve asked for a $ answer to this a few times, and gotten no responses. But it’s important, because I’m pretty sure GM’s do this kind of analysis.

Hendriks’ contract over 2 years is $29M, and he’s worth more than that on the market now. My guess is that he’d be worth at least $40M over 2 years on the open market (like Diaz’s contract, but fewer years). Maybe he’d be worth something like $44M over two years. That would make him worth $15M more than just his salary cost to any team he’s traded to.

So unless the Sox are eating part of his salary, Hendriks is worth in the range of $11-15M in trade value.

People rightly criticize aspects of this site:


Particularly with players with very little value in $, or with negative $ value, it doesn’t do a very good job of corresponding to reality, so you can end up with really silly looking trades that are supposedly “equal value.”

However, the basic premise is sound, and you should be able to roughly estimate who the Sox might pick up in a Hendriks trade.

According to that site, just to use as a rough estimate, here are trade values for players mentioned as trade candidates for Hendriks:

Gorman: $33.5M
B. Lowe: $30M
Busch: $27M
McNeil: $22.3M
Hendriks: $11.6M
Torres: $11.6M
Guillorme: $5.2M
Laureano: $6.6M
Kemp: $0.8M

You can all quibble with these values, but I expect they’re broadly accurate in that we can’t expect Hendriks to bring back any of Gorman, Lowe, Busch, or McNeil in a straight-up trade, and the Sox would have to add another significant piece or pieces.

Torres being worth the same strikes me as about right (given his contract).

Hendriks’ value laundered through prospects from a 3rd team and shipped to Oakland for Guillorme and Kemp should work. I’ve argued why this would be good for the Sox in field value (as opposed to trade value) given their weaknesses at 2B and in the OF, and relative strength in the rest of the BP, but you can take or leave that of course.

Guillorme and a prospect? I was thinking Parada, but his value ($26.1M) would probably require H plus another piece or two. Guillorme and Mauricio? M’s value ($11.9M) means that this trade might require a little more as well — or it could be pretty close depending on your view of H’s trade value.

TL;DR My suggestion was Guillorme + a high prospect for H (not straight up H for G), the market really does value players this way, and H is not worth nearly as much (in either trade value or field value) as many of the players people cite as their minimums for a Hendriks trade.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

Well, there’s a lot here but thankfully it’s not all directed toward me. Here are a few things:

Re: Hendriks for Guillorme. The fact that you keep saying “Hendriks for Guillorme plus a prospect” makes it clear that the heart of your idea is, well, Hendriks for Guillorme. If the prospect is someone like Parada, Baty, or Mauricio, then stop saying “Hendriks for Guillorme” and start saying “Hendriks for Parada plus a utility player (like Guillorme).” Hendriks for Guillorme is burying the lede. Those prospects are *way* more valuable than Guillorme and make such a trade far more enticing. Since you brought up the Trade Simulator, it thinks the closest value on the White Sox for Guillorme is Burger, Lambert, or Romy. If you want to move one of them for Guillorme, then sure. For Hendriks plus an unnamed prospect, no.

Re: The Market and 2+ WAR players. It really doesn’t work like that. You can’t just look at WAR/$ for the very reason you mentioned: excellent players don’t get the same AAV because they get like 10 year guaranteed deals. One player worth 4-WAR is *a lot* more valuable than two 2-WAR players. If you want proof of this, consider for about 5 seconds why Ohtani is so valuable. He’s two good players rolled up into one roster spot. One 4-WAR player is harder to find and therefore disproportionately paid higher than two 2-WAR players. That’s why Brandon Nimmo made more money this winter than about five 2-WAR players combined. That WAR evaluation is way off for that reason. Guaranteed money is, well, *a lot* better than non-guaranteed money.  

Re: Laureano’s value. You seem quite comfortable calling Laureano a 2-WAR player even though he generally hasn’t been a 2-WAR player in the last few years. If we could simply assume health for oft-injured players, we’d all feel a lot better about this season for the White Sox. 

Re: Hendriks trade value. I’d say this is close enough to right (which is why my trade ideas for McNeil include a couple of prospects) but, again, you can’t just look at AAV. Trading for Hendriks is a way a team can add surplus value now without committing $100m to a closer. So he may provide something like only $11-15m worth of surplus value, but it’s especially valuable to add a player of this caliber without committing to him for more years than you’d like. Flexibility is super important and doesn’t show up in surplus value.

Bonus Baby

Our biggest difference might be on the workings of the market I think. But I’m at least enjoying the discussion, so:

The Market
“When we talk about the linear cost of a win, we’re talking about there being a uniform amount teams are generally willing to pay per win on the free agent market; if the cost of a win is $9 million, a three-win player gets $27 million, a two-win player gets $18 million, and a one-win player receives $9 million.”


This blog article says I’m correct (for 2+ WAR players), no? If so, why are me and the blog wrong and you correct?

As for Nimmo, he’s signed for 8 years at $20M AAV. Do you think, given his injury history/risk, that he’s expected to average more than 2.5 fWAR over the next 8 years? I don’t think the Mets thought that he’d average anything significantly more than that (like 3 or 3.5 fWAR on average). So, no he doesn’t get paid any more per win than any above 2 fWAR player (at least roughly speaking).

Laureano (and Kemp)
I say 2-WAR b/c I’m relying primarily on Steamer to tell me what performance I should expect from this guy in 2023, and it says 2.4 fWAR in 602 PA (139 games). As for prior years and consistency, there are only 5 prior years: he was over 2 fWAR in 2 of them, he was on pace for 2.6 fWAR in a third year if you adjust for the fact that 2020 was shortened by COVID, and a fourth year was just shy (1.9 fWAR). Steamer’s projection for 2023 seems pretty reasonable to me.

Funnily enough, ZiPS for OAK just came out today, and I see that it gives him 1.7 fWAR in 432 PA. This is identical to Steamer’s projection adjusted for plate appearances — so it gives me more confidence that this is the best valuation we’re going to get for L in 2023.

Add in Kemp and even with reduced playing time I expect the 2 of them would probably be worth something like 3 fWAR for the Sox this year, though it could be more or less depending on injuries and Colas/Sosa performance. In this regard, I think I’m probably being more realistic (or pessimistic) about injuries and under-performance than you may be, since adding K + L creates flexibility/depth in the OF and on 2B where there was none.

I am pretty sure 3 fWAR will be more than Hendriks’ expected field value to the Sox in 2023 b/c nobody ever thought before to pay relievers over $20M a year, let alone the $24M that would be closer to true field value (see market above). And if I’m proved wrong about likely injuries and under-performance, with Colas/Sosa both producing like at least average MLB starters and all players in the OF and at 2B staying healthy next year, then K + L will obviously not be worth 3 fWAR to the Sox. But if we should get so lucky, I think I’d be happy enough to not mind losing H.

Said a different way, if the Sox could sign either L + K or H this offseason (pretend they didn’t have him already), I would want them to sign L + K. Do you think the Steamer/ZiPS projections are overoptimistic for L + K, or that H is still worth more to the Sox anyway, or some other combination?

I say is name b/c I’m not as concerned about which prospect(s) it is, even if they have more market value.

As I’ve said before, expanded out to 120 games, Steamer expects 2.2 fWAR from Guillorme this year — could be either more or less — equally likely, right? I don’t expect this trade would be much of an overall WAR win for the Sox in 2023 — maybe not more than a wash in field value. But I would still do it b/c I’d rather have the added flexibility/depth in the infield than H added to a BP that is already plenty strong. Plus, the Sox could use the new payroll space to sign Duvall. And if the Sox get G plus another piece, even if only a prospect that will be useful sometime down the road, this still seems like an obviously good trade to me.

For the Mets, it’s probably the other way around given Guillorme is not expected to play more than 55 games for them. So they should be willing to give up more than G (nothing else fits from the MLB team, so high prospect it is).

Hendriks Trade Value
I totally agree with you conceptually. But that’s why I was giving H as much as $44M over 2 years — I don’t think he would get $22M AAV for 5 years or more. I think this is accounting for surplus value — short contract term included.

BTW, I agree that if the Sox can trade H plus a minor league piece or two (or even Crochet) for Gorman or Busch or McNeil, they should do it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

The Market | It’s not that you and the blog post are wrong, it’s that you’re not telling (or seeing) the whole story. Not all $/WAR figures are created equal because of the amount of guaranteed money to higher WAR players. Let’s see if this helps:

Suppose you stroll into Reinsdorf’s office one day to try and convince him to sign a premium free agent. We’re talking a 6-WAR player. He says, “nah, I’d rather sign these three 2-WAR players. It’s the same, right? They equally help our team: 2 + 2 + 2 = 6.” How would you respond? 

Another thought experiment: suppose a 6-WAR player and a 2-WAR player hit the market at the same time at age 29. They both sign contracts congruent with the market. Now fast-forward 10 years. Granted, there’s a lot we don’t know. But given what we do know, would you guess that the 6-WAR player is about 3x as rich as the 2-WAR player? I’m not a betting man, but I’d bet *a lot* of money that, 9 times out of 10, the 6-WAR player is a lot more than 3x richer than the 2-WAR player. The reason? The market values the 6-WAR player more than 3x the 2-WAR player. 

To put it another way: the market values Brandon Nimmo a lot more than 2x a 2-WAR player. 

Laureano | Again, you can’t assume he’ll be healthy. Calling Laureano a 2-WAR player is like calling Luis Robert a 4-WAR player (what steamer projects him at, by the way). If they are healthy, sure. But you can’t just blow past the “if” and that “if” actually matters for their value. 

Guillorme | And I’ve I said before, you can’t just expand his stats out to 120 games. There’s a reason why he doesn’t play 120 games. He’s a platoon bat. Again, what we’re talking about is a slightly better version of Leury Garcia. Which, sure, has its place. But it’s not the centerpiece you want for Liam Hendriks. Again, I’m not opposed to adding Guillorme. In fact, I think it’s a good idea. But they should be able to get him for much less. 

Hendriks | Your problem here is the same as with the market. There is real value in less guaranteed money even if it means a higher AAV. Even if it means, that is, less surplus value. Consider: many (most? all?) teams would jump at the chance to sign a $44m/2 ($22m AAV) Hendriks over an $80m/5 ($16m AAV) Hendriks. That’s true even though the latter Hendriks offers far more surplus value this year. 

Bonus Baby

I don’t understand you point about “guaranteed” high salary players. Are you saying the 2 WAR players are likely to not be guaranteed? B/c I don’t think that’s right at all. Benintendi was guaranteed $15M AAV for 5 years. Just shy of the $16M posited for the 2 WAR player.

Reinsdorf Thought Experiment: If we were signing three 2 WAR players for spots where we had only replacement players, I would absolutely accept the three 2 WAR players as equal (or close to equal) to the 6 WAR player. I think something like this has been underlying many of my disagreements with people over “mediocre” players. If you’re swapping “mediocre” for replacement level, you’re gaining 2 WAR, which is not small at all.

Thought Experiment #2 (How rich are the players after 10 years?): This one misses the mark. The comparison would not be with the 6-WAR player who signs for 10 years and three 2-WAR players who at the same time sign for 3-4 years each — then following the same three players through later contracts over 10 years. The comparison would be the 6-WAR player vs. nine 2-WAR players who sign 3-4 year deals consecutively. See what I mean? The market surely wouldn’t project the first set of three as still being worth 2 WAR 7-8 years down the 10-year contract path, but it would project a new 2-WAR player as being worth that. Also, just to be sure we’re on the same page, we’re talking about average WAR over the life of the contract, yes? So the 6 WAR player is really close to Mike Trout territory when he hit free agency, right?

Nimmo: How does your Nimmo assertion compare with Benintendi? I think the market doesn’t expect Benintendi to be more than a 2 WAR player, on average, over 5 years. I also think the market does not expect Nimmo to produce more than around 2.5 WAR per year, on average, over his 8 year contract. What are the WAR expectations that you see in these two contracts?

The linear relationship: If you think that high-WAR players are paid more per WAR than 2-WAR players, then you have to think that the relationship between WAR and $ is non-linear above 2-WAR, right? But this is exactly what the blog and I deny — we say that it is linear (or close to it). I don’t understand how you can agree with the blog in a way that is consistent with your position.

However, maybe “close to equal” is a little bit of a hedge here. If a player is really projected for exactly 2 WAR, it’s super close to the non-2+ WAR territory where the formula is not supposed to work. Even though Edwards found the relationship between WAR and $ linear from 2+ WAR up, maybe it was just “roughly” linear, and there was a little bump for higher-end players, I don’t know. But I would still expect it to be close enough that we can treat it as largely irrelevant for present purposes.

Laureano and Kemp
Sure, injury possibility matters to their value, but it matters just as much (or more) with current Sox OF/2B options, right? If so, then the injury risk should be a wash — Yes, maybe L + K are injured and can’t provide much value, but also Robert and Sosa may be injured, and L + K not, so that L + K’s value would likely be their full season projections (4.7 fWAR), not just 3 fWAR.

He’s a utility guy for the Mets. Unlike the Sox, the Mets are chock full of veteran MLB options above Guillorme in the food chain. It’s not at all obvious to me that he’s a utility guy for the Sox. In fact, if he magically appeared on the team, I’d expect him to be the 2B starter next season.

The Leury comparison is silly at this point, but I forgive you given the traumatic effect that Leury’s had on us all at this point. Like I said in an earlier post on this, if we compare Leury’s best three-season stretch, at ages 28-30, to Guillorme’s best stretch three-season stretch (let’s assume it will be ages 28-30 — his next three years — to truly match Leury), then Guillorme will undoubtably have a much better three years than Leury (based on comparing performance for both at ages 25-27, just before this stretch). And Leury from ages 28-30 was amazingly enough worth 2.3 fWAR per 162 games. This does not make me think that Guillorme’s WAR projection expanded over 120 games (to 2.2 WAR) is at all unreasonable.

Again, I totally agree with you conceptually. When I said $44M over 2 years, I expected that H would not be worth $20M over 5 years, so I’m already giving him an AAV bump of at least $4M over a long contract. I think the problem is that I’m not adding enough $ to his 2-year contract for you.

The trade values site adds $11.6M over his current contract in surplus value. I up an additional $3.4M to account for the hot market. With that I was saying I think H would get exactly $44M over 2 years if he were a free agent now. Maybe I’m wrong though. How much do you think he’d be worth on the free agent market now over 2 years? If the answer is really that the Dodgers would swoop in and sign him for $56M over 2 years, then H would have exactly as much trade value as Busch (according to the trade values site), and I would expect that trade to happen — and be very much in favor of that over the other options we’ve discussed.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

Market | Yeah, if you don’t get my point after that, I’m not sure you will. But here’s one, last simple try.

All else being equal…
(1) A 6-WAR player provides 3x the WAR of a 2-WAR player.
(2) A 6-WAR player will earn a lot more than 3x the $ of a 2-WAR player.

If (1) and (2) are true, then it’s clear that the value of WAR and the value of $ on the market are incongruous (i.e., not linear). If you disagree, then do you deny (1)? Or (2)? Because that’s the only way out of this.

Laureano | You keep going back to Laureano + Kemp. I haven’t responded to any of your claims about Kemp. I haven’t really looked closely, to be honest. I responded to your claim that Laureano is a 2-WAR player. I’m saying: no, he isn’t. At least not a reliable one.

Guillorme | As I said, he’s a slightly better version. Garcia has played more, but there’s a reason he plays more. He’s more versatile. I’m not on the Garcia hate train here. I think he’s got some value, as does Guillorme. But trusting the 2B job to Guillorme, much less trading Hendriks for him, is a bad idea.

Hendriks | I don’t know what you mean by “I agree with you conceptually.” Is there another way to agree with me? The point is rather simple: adding Hendriks is a very cheap way to add an elite closer. He gives you both surplus value now and payroll flexibility later. We seem to agree on the surplus value now. You seem to ignore the payroll flexibility his contract affords later (which, I suppose, is unsurprising given your other views about the market).

Bonus Baby

I absolutely deny #2. The blog also absolutely denies #2 — in fact that’s the whole point of their analysis of contracts of players with 2+ WAR. They are specifically making the argument that there is no significant difference in the WAR:$ relationship at any level above 2 WAR, and that #2 is absolutely untrue.

I also think the Nimmo/Benintendi example absolutely contradicts #2 for the reasons I gave above.

I’m not sure why you think #2 is true. Maybe I’d start to believe you were right if you showed me a bunch of guys that seemed projected for about 2 WAR in value, on average, for the course of the contract, but got much less than $16M per year — or if you showed me guys that seemed projected for about 4 WAR in value, on average, for the course of the contract, but got much more than $32M per year. Failing that, I have no reason not to trust the blog’s analysis, and I expect that someone else would have written a takedown by now if it was just factually wrong.

Tellingly, to me, Roke’s attempt to prove this by bringing up Josh Harrison’s last contract did not prove the point at all, since Harrison would have been projected for far less than 2 WAR. But maybe there are good examples out there that I — and the blog’s authors — are just unaware of.

OK, I get your argument that Laureano is not a “reliable” 2 WAR player. I don’t consider this convincing for our conversation, however, since I trust Steamer’s projections and ZiPS projections, which match perfectly. I also pointed out that for 4/5 years prior to now, Laureano had (or was projected for in the shortened season) at least 1.9 WAR. 4/5 seems awfully reliable to me, and I’m not at all bothered by one of the 4 being 1.9 instead of 2.

He’s a significantly better version of Leury at his peak. And Leury’s peak 3 years weren’t bad at all. Having that guy on the team would absolutely make the Sox better. I wonder what WAR you think he’d be expected to have if he plays 120 games next year, and why you think that. I’m sticking by my expansion of the 55 game rate to 120, and I don’t see why there should be any reason to think that would be wrong. And if he’s worth 2.2 fWAR in 120 games, he’s definitely worth at least Hendriks to the Sox chances in 2023. I don’t think this is really debatable, to be honest, given all the things above about reliever contracts and WAR and the relationship between WAR and $.

Please just tell me how much Hendriks would get on the open market for a 2 year contract now. That includes all short contract bumps, right? I guessed $44M. What is your guess?

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

Sigh. I can’t believe I have to defend (2). You’re are thinking way too myopically. That’s why I said earlier that you’re not wrong, you’re just not looking at the whole picture. The FG article *does not* deny (2). It denies it for *one contract alone.* But that’s not sufficient to determine market value.

Machado, Harper, Correa are good examples of ~6 WAR players. Let’s say they’ll all make ~$300m+ over the course of their careers. For your assertion to be right that the market values 2-WAR players about 1/3 of these guys, then you’d need to assume that, over the course of their careers, 2-WAR players hitting the market at the same time as these guys will make (on average) over $100m. I don’t believe that’s true. Thus, I deny (2).

I don’t really know what else to say about Laureano, Guillorme, and Hendriks. Like above, you’re laser focused on one think (steamer projections) and ignoring other things that impact their value. For Laureano, it’s health concerns (and thus not making it to 2-WAR). For Guillorme, it’s being a platoon player. For Hendriks, it’s financial flexibility (and not only surplus value). Front Offices don’t evaluate players like you do. Well, maybe the White Sox do. But I hope not. I think I’ve been reasonably clear above, and you’ll find responses to all you’ve said here above. Alas, at this point it may be time to agree to disagree

Bonus Baby

Market, $8M/WAR, and Relievers
The article does deny #2, that’s the point. If by “one contract alone” you mean your 10-year contract vs. a single player over 10 years, that’s an invalid comparison and not what the $8M/WAR thesis is about.

A player signs a 10 year contract for $320M, let’s call him Frank. That’s $32M AAV, so Frank is a 4 WAR player ($8M/WAR). He’ll get more than 4 WAR in the beginning, and less in the end, but on average 4 WAR over the course of the entire contract. Another 2 players, let’s call them Fred and Joe, sign 4 year contracts for $64M each (AAV $16M each) so they’re 2 WAR players ($8M/WAR).

Now, Fred and Joe are not going to keep signing the same type of contract as they age along with Frank. After the 4 year contracts, they will no longer be 2-WAR players (their last year of the contract even, they should have gotten less than 2 WAR). To keep up with the $8M/WAR thesis, after year 4 of Frank’s big contract, you’d have to sign another two 2-WAR players (Jeff and Jim) for 3-year contracts for $48M each. And then another two 2-WAR guys after that (Sal and Minnie) for 3-year contracts for $48M each. Adding the contracts together for Fred, Joe, Jeff, Jim, Sal, and Minnie you get 2x $64M + 2x $48M + 2x $48M = $320M, the exact same amount as Big Frank signed for his 10-year contract, over which he was expected to average 4 WAR.

Are you saying that Big Frank is really going to be a 5 or 6 WAR player at the start of his contract? Well, OK, but that doesn’t change anything.

My only point with all of this is that the league does in fact pay 2 WAR players on the same $8M/WAR scale (or very close to it), as the truly big boys. And this means that an average starter in the MLB, per year, has been worth right around $16M.

But no relief pitcher until this year has ever been signed for $20M per year. And this unequivocally means that MLB front offices do not think that any reliever, no matter how good, is worth much more than a “mediocre,” average 2-WAR starting position player.

Financial Flexibility and Surplus Value
You seem to be saying that teams can never put a $ value on the financial flexibility gained by a short contract. But front offices in the MLB do that all the time. They pay things like $44M over 2 years instead of $100M over 5 years — or maybe it’s more like $50M over 2 years instead of $100M over 5. And they do this for the exact financial flexibility reason you cite (along with the fact that the player will probably produce a bit better during the next 2 years than the following 3).

So of course teams can set a dollar figure on Hendriks over the next 2 years that includes their view of “financial flexibility.” I’m just trying to figure out what you think it is. Is it $44M/2, or $50M/2, or $56M over 2?

Guillorme et al.
Guillorme is a “platoon player” only because he has been so far with the Mets, on other teams he would have started and produced higher WAR in more games.

Yes, I’m laser focused on Steamer and ZiPS b/c this is the best way we have to evaluate players’ likely future performance. Injury risk washes out for all of them unless they’re particularly injury prone. Yes, Laureano’s injury risk reduces his value, but it also reduces Hendriks’ for the exact same reason. I’m positive MLB front offices do the same, although they probably have their own proprietary versions of Steamer and ZiPS to perform the same function.

But all in all I’m fine with agreeing to disagree. Good discussion.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

I know that’s not what the WAR/$ thesis is about! That’s what I’m trying to tell you. That’s why it/you aren’t wrong. You’re only looking at one slice of the market. Again, it’s really quite simple: Take all the players who count as ~6 WAR players and take all the players who count as ~2 WAR players. At the end of their careers, the ~6 WAR players are going to be *a lot* more than 3x richer than the ~2 WAR players. That’s all (2) is saying. And—again—the FG article is not about that. And if that’s true, that means the market values the 6-WAR players’ services more than 3x the 2-WAR players’ services. That’s all I’m trying to say.

Bonus Baby

OK, does your point in any way undermine my contention that MLB front offices all treat 2-WAR players as worth about $16M per year, and 2.5-WAR players as worth about $20 million?

The reason I brought up the $8M/WAR issue is for specifically that point — so that I can then go on to say “because we know that before this year no reliever has ever been given a contract more than $20M per year, we also therefore known that no GM has ever thought that any reliever was worth more to a baseball team’s chances of winning than a ‘mediocre’ position player worth about 2.5 fWAR/year.”

Therefore, a player projected for 2.4 fWAR — like Ramon Laureano — at least if that projection is as good as we can get — is expected to be worth as much or more than any reliever ever signed before this year. Since people describe players like Laureano as “mediocre,” my essential point is that one “mediocre” position player is worth just as much to a team’s chances of winning as the elitest of elite closers. When you add in another “mediocre” player like Kemp, the two “mediocre” players are going to be expected to be worth about 2x as much — as far as winning games goes — as the elitest of elite closers.

The only qualifications are the people being replaced by the signings. If we expect the 2 “mediocre” players to replace replacement or near-replacement players for whole seasons, then the above is definitely true. If we only expect the signed players to play some fraction of the season, or the backups are better than replacement value, then you’d have to adjust the total down accordingly (same as you would have to actually adjust the total up somewhat if they were replacing below-replacement level players).

Similarly, if the elite closer is joining a team full of several elite closers, he’ll be worth a lot less.

So getting back to the Sox: 2B and OF are weak, and BP without Hendriks is still strong, so there’s every reason to think that K + L will be worth much more to the Sox winning chances than Hendriks.

Now, back to your “career” point. I’m perfectly willing to agree that the type of player that tops out as worth 6 fWAR per year on average over a 10-year contract once he reaches free agency (Big Frank), will earn more in his career than 3 of the 2-WAR players we’d have to sign along the way in 5-year increments to match Big Frank’s performance.

But Big Frank is going to earn more than 3x more than any of the 2-WAR players solely b/c of length of contract/performance and length of career. The first 3 2-WAR players we sign to match Big Frank for the first 5 years of his contract (for example) are very likely players that have reached the peak of their performance, say ages 28-33. For the 5 years immediately before that, they will have been below 2-WAR players, on average. Same thing for the 5 years immediately after their contract, again they’ll be below 2-WAR players by that point in their career. Another way of saying this is to say that the typical 2-WAR signing for 5 years is expected to be worth on average 2 WAR over 5 years for a total of 10 WAR. But the very same player will definitely not be expected to continue to be worth 2 WAR on average over the next 5 years, and so will be paid less per-year overall in the end than Big Frank.

So yes, Big Frank earns more than 3x a typical 2-WAR player signed in free agency solely because: (1) his average height of production (6 WAR) is spread over 10 years, not just five, so he gets paid for producing 60 WAR over 10 years; (2) the 2-WAR players will likely only make $16M per year for the 5-year contracts they sign at the height of their earning potential/production (much like Benintendi) — and will not make nearly as much before or after — so will not get paid for producing 2 WAR over 10 years (1/3 of Big Frank’s value); Big Frank’s career might also extend even farther than that (still getting paid) while the Benintendi-types of the world might well be out of the league entirely by the 10th year after Big Frank’s contract is signed.

If this is what you’re saying, then I agree — but this doesn’t in any way affect the idea that players are paid $8M/WAR for the average yearly production over the course of their contract. And as long as we’re talking about 2+ WAR players, they are always paid in that ratio (or near that ratio), so that the 6-WAR player does make only 3x as much as the 2-WAR player during the time of both of the contracts under consideration. What happens before or after those contracts is irrelevant.

And therefore, neither Hendriks nor any other reliever can possibly be expected to be worth more to a team’s chances of winning than a “mediocre” 2.5 fWAR player.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

Would you do this deal?

Yasmani Grandal and Leury Garcia to Boston

Sox get Chris Sale (owed $54 mil. for next 2 years) and Reece McGuire

Trooper Galactus



I’m all for anything that gets rid of Leury.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think Leury will be fine this year. Overpaid, but fine.


It is impossible to say without having access to Sale’s medicals. But I would be damn tempted. For 2023, getting rid of Grandal and Garcia’s salaries almost pays for Sale and you get a defensively skilled catcher who should never have been traded. You have replacements on the roster for Garcia. And, subject to medicals, the Sox get a sixth starter, which they desperately need. Both teams would be getting rid of under water contracts. The judgment would be whether they could potentially make better use of the other team’s under water contracts. 2024 could be the problem for this deal from the White Sox’ perspective.

Augusto Barojas

Grandal’s trade value has to be about zero. Sale’s health is too big a question mark for 27M/year and this ownership too cheap… could never happen. Plus nobody wants Grandal. Moot idea.


The question was whether I would do the deal, not whether the White Sox would.


I’m still of the opinion that the best thing the Sox can do is not make any trades.

1. That protects the team from Rick Hahn.

2. There’s no depth to trade from.

3. The bullpen minus Liam Hendricks would be very average and could cost them the division.

4. All they really need to do is sign Jean Segura and an inexpensive semi-decent RFer to start the season until Colas is ready.

Bonus Baby

Disagree on the BP w/o Hendriks.

I took a quick look at ZiPS, which has only released 15 of the 30 teams so far. But still, it’s a decent sample. The Sox w/o Hendriks would be #3 out of the 15 teams in projected BP value. The only teams higher than them are Boston and Cleveland, which barely beat them out. Perhaps more importantly, other contending teams like Houston, Toronto, and SDP have significantly lower projections than the Sox w/o Hendriks.

Current ZiPS projections for BP’s in fWAR (CWS w/o Hendriks):

Bos: 5.2
Cle: 4.9
CWS: 4.8
Hou: 4.3
Tor: 4.1
Ari: 3.6
Tex: 3.6
SDP: 3.3
Col: 2.8
Pit: 2.8
Min: 2.7
Oak: 2.3
CHC: 2.5
Was: 1.9

I expect when ZiPs is out for all 30 teams, the Sox would be in the top 5-7 teams in the league even w/o Hendriks. Which is probably better than where their whole team stacks up against the rest of the league — meaning that even after trading Hendriks, the Sox would still be over-invested in the BP relative to other contending teams.

Trooper Galactus

Hendriks is projected for 1.3 fWAR. Take him out of the mix there and fill in a replacement level guy and they’re already 7th and that’s with 16 teams still awaiting their projections. Losing Hendriks wouldn’t necessarily make their bullpen bad, but it would be very middling.

Bonus Baby

No. They’re projected for 6.5 with Hendriks. I already took Hendriks out.

Trooper Galactus

Oh, I misread (to be fair, your posts are really long). Still, it’s not worth it to part with him just to acquire mediocre players.

Bonus Baby

Why do teams pay elite closers so little then?

Two mediocre position players will cost you around $32 million a year in free agency. No “elite” closer has ever been paid close to that. Why?

Trooper Galactus

Why are we trading an elite player for mediocre ones when they can just sign mediocre ones?

Bonus Baby

Because they’re unlikely to just keep signing mediocre players given they’re already about at their stated payroll limit. You can keep complaining about that until your face turns blue, but I’d personally like to think of useful trades that keep them around the $190M the OPP’s anticipated.

And why has no “elite” closer ever been paid nearly as much as a mediocre position player?

Augusto Barojas

I’m not sure what you consider a mediocre position player and where you get the $32M number. The Sox signed Harrison for 5.5M, he is pretty mediocre. Garcia for 5M, Eaton 8M. If you want to argue that those guys are not good enough to be considered mediocre (hilarious because those are the guys the Sox signed since 2020), then this year Drury got 8.5M (17/2), Kiermaier got 9M, Gallo 11M. All of these guys pretty mediocre but not awful, getting substantially less than Liam.

Not trying to be argumentative and have not read through all of the posts, but curious who you had in mind as mediocre position players. Benintendi getting 15M per year, a little bit more than Liam, and a bit less than half the 32M number. I am not wild about Beni but would call him slightly above average, which to me is a little better than mediocre. Unless you are talking two pretty decent players that are better than mediocre, I’m not understanding the $32M number.

Bonus Baby

I forgot to add “two” to the post. We had been discussing Laureano and Kemp for Hendiriks. Trooper said he wouldn’t want to trade any “elite” player, even a relief pitcher, for two mediocre players.

I got $32M from the estimate of 1 WAR per $8M (which might be a bit low this year) spent in free agency.


So two “mediocre” players — Laureano and Kemp, who are both projected for over 2 WAR, would have cost $32M on the open market. And since no “elite” reliever has ever been paid that much, obviously two average starting MLB players (“mediocre”) are worth more than any reliever, no matter how good, in the eyes of every GM/owner in baseball.


Fangraphs has been blathering 8M/1War forever. It’s bullshit. Name me a 1WAR projected player who gets 8M. I get your argument and agree with large parts of it. Here’s my problem though: Hendriks wants to be out there with the game on the line. Graveman does not. Lopez is unproven in that regard. So is Bummer. There are no advanced metrics that encompass that fact, or at least what I consider to be a fact. Trade Hendriks for whatever and I can easily imagine April of 2023 going south with 9th inning blown saves. Hendriks should be on the market. But I agree with those who say not for “mediocre” talent. Laureano and Kemp are fine, I guess. But Graveman should be able to get you that degree of talent.


Mike Clevinger is a 1.3 WAR player who got $12 million

Last edited 2 months ago by mikeyb

The White Sox are not projecting him to be a 1.3 WAR player.

Bonus Baby

Yeah, I hear you about closers and wanting to be out there and such. And I know lots of folks share your opinion, but there are folks that don’t, including Dennis Eckersley interestingly enough:


You’re absolutely right about the 1WAR players, and they’ve revised the $8M/WAR thing in recent years to be only for players projected for 2+ WAR.


And it seems like recently — to my surprise — even that hasn’t been true for 2B in particular (Segura, Schoop). But Benintendi’s contract fits right in line with the theory in LF. Now that I think about it, Abreu’s contract is right about in line with the theory as well.

Maybe I should revise my argument about the maximum worth of closers: Until this year, no MLB team ever paid even $20M/year for any closer — and therefore no MLB team has ever valued a closer higher than about a 2.5 WAR/year outfielder (a “mediocre” OF), or other position player other than 2B.

If they can get K+L for Burger or Rodriguez or something, I’m all on board. I don’t know how much value Graveman has in trade right now, but him too would be fine. And I know you’ll still disagree, but I’d be fine with Hendriks too, for instance if it brought us back K, L + a prospect in a 3-team deal sending other prospects to Oak.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby

Over-invested is one thing. Zips projected War doesn’t tell the entire story of the bullpen.

I’m not concerned about Sox middle relief options. Where are the elite late inning and closing options after Hendricks?

Last year, the only reliable pitcher was Lopez. They’ve got no one in the minors that become the next Bobby Jenks. There could be serious problems without Hendricks and everyone knows that. There isn’t anyone that Sox fans feel comfortable with as the new closer.

Bonus Baby

I’m honestly not that concerned about closer as such, and view innings as innings for the most part. Even “high leverage” innings can often be those other than the 9th (Benetti is saying this all the time, and I agree). To me, you are treating the “closer” as a player who is just worth way, way more than closers are in reality worth, although I know many fans agree with you. I don’t think 1 WAR from a closer is worth much more than 1 WAR from a set up man, or middle reliever, or any other player. I’m not the only one that thinks this, of course:


Having said that, the two most likely candidates for closer I imagine would be Lopez and Graveman — and it wouldn’t particularly surprise me if any of Kelly, Bummer, or even Crochet could end up doing a good job closing games.

I would be perfectly fine going into the season with those guys and without Hendriks. I would feel much worse if we had only 2 decent veteran OF’s, were relying on a rookie OF to be good right away, and had essentially no useful player to replace them if anyone gets injured. Similarly with 2B.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby
Long time Fox fan

The type of off-season I prefer is one where my team does more than sift through the ashes after the good teams have torched the elite free agents.


I voted for fast and furious, like ripping off a band-aid. I still can’t believe the FO quit on this Rebuild/Window for Success. 5 frigging years of hellish baseball in order to finally get competitive, then after 2 years of meh results, it’s over. This off season was the last chance to actually go for it with this core. Now you look at what’s left to improve the team, and its nowhere close to what’s needed. I’m getting too old for this s–t.

Trooper Galactus

Give me fast and furious, because that beats months of White Sox fans speculating they’re in on a great player when there’s zero chance they’ll offer a competitive deal.

To Err is Herrmann

I think Jim is saying he might need 2 months of improvised content here if the White Sox don’t do anything else. Maybe set up a request line? According to Wikipedia, Shoeless Joe Jackson’s role in the so-called Black Sox Scandal is “still hotly debated,” so there’s that. Maybe a think-piece about how Charles Comiskey would have handled the recent rebuild? Possible new designs for the stadium that will replace Guaranteed Rate Field? A review of White Sox uniforms throughout the past 122 years? An interview with the groundskeeping crew? Who has the Goose now?


Did the Sox trade the Goose to General Iron for cash considerations? Has the Goose been scrapped or is it being repurposed for a playground or hunting lodge? What is the optimal usage of the Goose at this point in its career?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I would begin the search in Rich Gossage’s backyard.


I’m fine with the off-season this way. NFL Playoffs leads to NCAA Tournament which leads to Opening Day.

As for the Sox, I have no confidence that they ever have a real plan, so what’s the difference?