Sorry for the clickbait title.
Okay, okay: even a bar so low as “AL Central Champs” won’t be easy for this team to clear. 2023 was a disaster and it’s not clear where improvement comes from. I’m not optimistic and punting in ‘24 to look beyond should be seriously considered.
But here’s why I’m giving it a go: Jerry says he wants to win in 2024 and I have no qualms spending his money, the Sox play in a historically awful division, they have the best player in that division, and a group of prospects knocking on Chicago’s door.
Of course, this team isn’t a few tweaks away from being a juggernaut. But the following changes put them in a position to compete for a crappy division. It’s a laughably modest and silly goal. But such is the plight of a White Sox fan.
- Dylan Cease: $8.8M – TENDER
- Andrew Vaughn: $3.7M – TENDER
- Michael Kopech: $3.6M – TENDER
- Touki Toussaint: $1.7M – TENDER
- Trayce Thompson: $1.7M – NON-TENDER
- Garrett Crochet: $900K – TENDER
- Clint Frazier: $900K – NON-TENDER
- Matt Foster: $740K – NON-TENDER
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Tim Anderson: $14M ($1M buyout) – DECLINE
- Liam Hendriks: $15M ($15M buyout, paid $1.5M annually over next 10 years) – DECLINE
And now I’m sad.
Write “exercised” or “takes buyout.”
- Mike Clevinger: $12M mutual option ($4 million buyout) – BUYOUT
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- Yasmani Grandal (Made $18.25M in 2023) – LET GO
- Elvis Andrus ($3M) – RE-SIGN
- Bryan Shaw ($720K) – LET GO
- José Ureña ($720K) – LET GO
Sign Cody Bellinger – 6 years, $150m
He fits so well. It’s a no brainer. So I fully expect Jerry to pass.
Sign Lucas Giolito – 3 years, $48m (PO after year one + TO)
I don’t really know what to pay him. But he’s young enough and dependable enough that I think he’ll out make his performance (two consecutive years as below average starter). But I think he’s desperate for player option. I’ll give it to him. In exchange, I’m adding a team option after the three guaranteed years. If Giolito doesn’t exercise his option after year one, the Sox can opt into 2 more years at the same price after year 3. So this could be 1/$16m, 3/$48m, or 5/$80m.
Sign Elvis Andrus – 1 year, $3m
Someone should play SS, I guess, until Colson is ready.
Sign Martin Maldonado – 1 year, $4m
Good gap to Quero and mentor to the young guys.
Trade #1: Jake Eder, Peyton Pallette, and Jose Rodriguez to Angels for Reid Detmers, Tyler Anderson
Why the Angels do it: Assuming Sho-time is leaving, they’ll look to cut payroll and rebuild. With this trade, they move Tyler Anderson’s ~$26m and push present value into the future. I know many Sox fans are low on Eder, but I’m not one of them. He’s working back from injury and after a strong AFL showing I think he’s still interesting. I’m open to different prospects being included here, but I think the value is in the ballpark.
Why the Sox do it: Detmers is a much needed, dependable young arm and I like Anderson as a bounce back candidate. Not that, though I trade some prospects, I see this as a good move for the future. 2025 should be in the Sox sights and someone like Detmers helps them (and beyond).
Note: This doesn’t pass through Baseball Trade Values, but I think they’ve overvalued Detmers and Anderson. Anderson (-2.9) should be closer to Moncada (-14.5), I reckon. And Detmers (48) shouldn’t be quite as high as Cease (50). The years of control are nice but he’s been ~league average for two straight years.
Trade #2: Andrew Vaughn and Aaron Bummer to the Yankees for Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres
Why the Yankees do it: The Yanks are looking to cut payroll (maybe to make space for an Ohtani push?) and they have some excellent MI prospects. They’d love to get Rizzo off the books and while Gleyber is solid he won’t be cheap in arb 3. So they cut more than $30m in payroll. But they also add some upside in Vaughn, who I suspect they can unlock something in a way the Sox can’t.
Why the Sox do it: I like Rizzo as a bounce back guy and he holds down the fort for a year or two. Gleyber solves 2B and the Sox extend him.
Note: This passes through Baseball Trade Values.
Extend Gleyber Torres – 8 years, $150m
Gleyber locks in his big deal and the Sox solve 2B for a long time with this 27 year old. $14m in 2024, then the rest divided across the next 7 years.
After the trades and signings, here’s how the roster shakes out:
$62.2m – Moncada, Benintendi, Jimenez, Robert
Returning Arb Players (estimate from MLBTR)
$15m – Cease, Kopech, Toussaint, Crochet
Free Agents & Extensions
$62m – Bellinger, Giolito, Andrus, Torres, Maldanado
$30m – Rizzo, Anderson
$9.2m – Detmers, Colas, Sosa, Lee, Perez, and 7 fillers
Total Payroll for Players – $178.4m
Buyouts for Clevinger, Anderson, Hendriks – $6m
Total = $184.4m
Toussaint, Crochet, and whoever else is around.
I’m appealing to Jerry for more money to keep Tim Anderson. But I only have so much money and I’m tired of finding 2B and RF for the OPP. I need the money.
This team isn’t great. But I think they can win the central—and they should be in a good spot for 2025.