The White Sox are a mess: the goal should be to make 2024 less humiliating for the franchise and less infuriating for the fans. “Competing” as in for a playoff berth is not as important in 2024 as is competing in every game rather than hearing Pedro talk about the need to “address” effort lapses and “tighten up” incompetence spells. I’d like the organization to be honest with everyone and aim for relevance in 2025 and dominance (at least in the AL Central) in 2026. For now, it’s about short free agent deals and some prospect acquisitions and development.
Move 1: Fire Pedro Grifol
Move 1a: Apologize to White Sox fans for making us think Grifol was sticking around and clarify that a manager hired by a front office team that made two “Lou Brock Trades” (see also Tatis Jr for Sheilds and Semien, Bassit et al for Szmardjia) can not be retained after a 100-loss season, no matter how mistreated said manager was in the “hat wearing” department.
Move 2: Hire Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long as manager and allow him to name a 1st base coach and bench coach. He was a finalist last year. He will be forced to work with Katz and Bannister, but should get a hire or two for his staff.
- Dylan Cease: $8.8M Tender & Trade
- Andrew Vaughn: $3.7M Tender
- Michael Kopech: $3.6M Tender
- Touki Toussaint: $1.7M. Tender
- Trayce Thompson: $1.7M Tender
- Garrett Crochet: $900K. Tender
- Clint Frazier: $900K Non-Tender
- Matt Foster: $740K Non-Tender
- Tim Anderson: $14M ($1M buyout) Decline
- Liam Hendriks: $15M ($15M buyout, paid $1.5M annually over next 10 years) Decline
- Mike Clevinger: $12M mutual option ($4 million buyout)
He’s leaving /Taking buyout
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Yasmani Grandal (Made $18.25M in 2023) gone
- Elvis Andrus ($3M) gone
- Bryan Shaw ($720K) try to sign 1/ 2.1 million
- José Ureña ($720K) gone —offer minor league deal
Isaiah Kiner Falefa 1 year/ 7 million
The promise of returning to everyday shortstop could get IKF to accept a 1 yr 7 million deal— he’s just one year removed from putting up a defensive bWAR of 1.9 while a full time shortstop; thus, he’s a good candidate to get our pitchers extra outs compared to the -.9 DWAR provided by TA at a premium position. IKF’s job is hold the position for Colson Montgomery, whilst providing good to elite defense and filling the 9-hole in the lineup.
Kevin Keirmeier 2 yrs/18 million
Since I’m open to possibly trading Robert to make our minor league system truly viable—with an eye towards 2026 as true contenders— we need some plus defense in center field… Kiermeier is aging but if he’s healthy, he provides plus-plus defense at another premium position. But to start the season, he’s our elite defender in right field, with Trayce Thompson getting some starts vs left handed pitchers.
JD Martinez 1/16 million
Yes, I know— another aging DH. But we need someone to protect Robert and hit some homers to give the home fans something fun as we endure another tough year. If Moncada, Robert and Martinez are heathy (one of the biggest, most infuriating “ifs” in Sox fandom ) that is a respectable 2-3–4 for the lineup. Plus Martinez is regarded as a student of hitting; coupling him with Kevin Long as manager could help shift the hitting “culture”—sorry.
Alex Wood 1/ 8 million
The Bannister connection makes it make sense to give it a try. Haven’t had a lefty starting pitcher since Keuchel. I’m aiming to have two while procuring a wealth of lefty starter prospects in the minor leagues.
Hyun Jin Ryu 2/16 million
Another lefty starter; veteran coming off injury but looked solid to end last season for the Blue Jays. May even be able to sign him for just one year. But with Boras as his agent he probably requires 2 years gaurenteed.
Kenta Maeda 1/8
Another veteran who missed some time to injury last year. But he finished the year pitching fairly well: sprtrqc had him at 2/11; a slight overpay could get him to take 1 year deal.
Victor Caratini 2/ 8.5 million
The opportunity for a nice raise and to be a starting catcher this year before (we hope) returning to a back up next year once (we hope) one of the soon to be two Queros is ready
Dylan Cease to the Brewers for Quero Jefferson C, LHP Robert Gasser and 3b/2b Tyler Black. After another early playoff exit, the Brewers may be willing to shed some prospects for another top of rotation starter as their Christian Yelich window is closing. We get their #2, 4 and 5 prospects for 2 years of Cease at a Brewers friendly salary rate. I also just like the idea of the answer to the query, “Who is catching for the Sox today?” to be “Quero…” whether it’s Q Jefferson or Edgar Q. This deal adds two top 100 and one top 10 lefty from MLB’s list to our system.
Eloy Jimenez and Gavin Sheets to the Reds for Jonathan India: Reds have a glut of middle infielders and may want to roll the dice on Eloy regaining some power prowess in their bandbox home ballpark. We get a major league caliber 2nd baseman. We’d also send the 3 million in Eloy buyout money if they elect not to pick up his option to make this deal more attractive for the Reds given the salary difference.
- Andrew Benintendi LF
- Yoan Moncada 3B
- Luis Robert Jr CF
- JD Martinez DH
- Andrew Vaughn 1B
- Kevin Keirmeier RF
- Jonathan India 2B
- Victor Caratini C
- Isaiah Kiner Falefa SS
- Hyun Jin Ryu
- Kenta Maeda
- Alex Wood
- Michael Kopech
- Touki Touisaint
2 spots up for grabs
Bench (it’s brutal)
Trayce Thompson OF
Korey Lee C
Lenyn Sosa INF
$52 million in 2023 free agents — all short term deals— designed to get us to 2025/2026 with almost no money tied up—other than the Benintendi and Robert contracts.
All told, this roster comes in at about $163 million and that includes the deadweight of Leury, the Clevinger payout etc. It still isn’t a great team, but it should be far more entertaining and likable than the last two seasons.
But if Getz and Co are daring and want to really show that they are wiping the Hahn/KW remnants away, I’d like to see them trade Robert to the Padres. The Padres are rumored to be shopping Soto to the Yankees—probably because he doesn’t want to sign with SD long term. As has been noted here, Preller is or should be on the hot seat—- he HAS to go for it with the contracts/team he’s built. If he trades Soto I could see him being interested in bringing in Robert and then signing Bellinger to play right to try to win with the core he’s assembled.
I’d say the Sox should only do it if they get something like:
Jackson Merrill SS,
Robby Snelling LHP
Samuel Zavala OF,
& Dillon Head OF
4 years of way under market rate of Robert should get you a haul—- this is a haul (Padres 2nd 3rd, 5th and 8th best prospects) that would rocket our minor league system, when mixed with what we already have and what we get for Cease from the Brewers, to a top flight system with 7-8 top 100 prospects. Of course, given that I’m $23 million under the 185 million budget, they could also not sign JD Martinez and not sign one of the pitchers and use all that money to offer Ohtani 10/450…. But we know a move like that wouldn’t allow the chairman to boast about how frugal and savvy he is at his next The Business of Modern Sports Symposium.