My goal here is to stay around $150mil. And put together a team that is Jerry Reinsdorf competitive (in it long enough). In the AL Central, that looks like an upper 70’s/lower 80’s win total. To get there from the shit-hole the team is at to end the 2023 season, we focus on a few things on the margins that can get you some extra wins: being a pest on the base-paths, good defense, and taking advantage of your home ballpark. Since the G-Rate is notoriously friendly to left-handed power, my thought was to limit the opponent’s leverage there by adding two left-handed starters. One of them is from the KBO and would require the Sox to pay a posting fee, so I have doubts Jerry would pay extra. But, hey, it’s my plan. I say what goes!
I also focus on adding left-handed good defenders. Not all have big power, but the hope is that even the low-power can take a bit more advantage of G-Rate.
Write “tender,” “non-tender” or “rework/extend” after each player and their projected 2024 salaries. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.
- 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
These seem like no-brainers to me.
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
These decisions were the last part of the plan for me. I wanted to really see if I can put something together without TA. And the truth is that I think I’d rather cut TA and give him a shot somewhere than see him have another depressing season but at second base. I will root for TA always. Him and Abreu have been the only players I’ve considered in my “favorite” tier since Joe Crede.
Write “exercised” or “takes buyout.”
- Mike Clevinger: $12M mutual option ($4 million buyout) Takes 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) – let go
- Bryan Shaw ($720K) – 1/$2 mil (incentive for extra 1mil if he throws in 81 games)
I just want BeefLoaf to get as much mileage as he can out of the Bryan Shaw meme as possible. …and I think a young bullpen would benefit from seeing Shaw take the ball quite literally everyday and learning to be effective.
- José Ureña ($720K) – let go
No. 1: Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP) – 4/$85 w/opt out after years 2, 3, and 4 (20/25/25/15)
We are tackling two items with this purchase of services: 1) a LHP SP who misses bats at a pretty good clip and doesn’t give up too many homers. This will help neutralize a potential strength of our opponents. 2) passes the quirky vibes test by being the second Eddie Rodriguez on the team. It will charm me, and that’s really what matters.
I think Rodriguez takes this because he gets $20 mil more than the 3 years he would have gotten from his DET contract. I also think Bannister is enticing to work with for a pitcher like Rod.
No. 2: Shota Imanga (LHP) – 4/$70 ($17.5/year) [posting fee = $12.375mil]
Another LHP SP to neutralize the lefty power bats that come in and rake against the Sox. If we aren’t going to hit lefty home runs, nobody is! I think Shota takes this, but I’m not convinced Jerry would spend it, since it’s him technically paying 4/$82,375,000.
No. 3: Rhys Hoskins (1B/DH) – 2/36 (3/50 w/ mutual option)
We get a consistent first baseman who gets on base at a .350 clip in his career, is taller, and has about the same amount of power as Vaugn. Plus is that he has more personality than a cornfield. I’m not getting rid of Vaughn (though I wouldn’t complain), but the two can split DH/1B duties.
No. 1: Eloy Jimenez, Aaron Bummer, Wilfred Veras (35+ FV), and Jonathon Cannon (40 FV) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tommy Edman
I think this trade actually gets done. The Cardinals didn’t have a steady DH last year and Eloy is super cheap. And, they are a team that usually keeps their players healthy. They love contact-oriented pitching (Bummer), and then they get two young prospects to develop.
Edman would be a big get for the Sox. He doesn’t whiff or strike out very much, is about average offensively, but has a gold glove caliber glove (2021 winner at Second Base). He is much better at second but is still above average at SS. So, once Montgomery is ready, Edman will shift to second. Seems like he can play 3B, too.
No. 2: Lenyn Sosa (45 FV), Nick Avila (40 FV), Wes Kath (35+ FV), and Tanner McDougal (35+ FV) to the Boston Red Sox for Alex Verdugo
I don’t know if this trade gets done. I feel like the White Sox need to really overpay to get anyone and I’m okay with that. If it would require more, take more prospects, take Jared Kelly and Norge Vera!
I really like Verdugo’s fit on the White Sox. His left-handedness and RF prowess meet a lot of what Getz has been preaching. He’s very competent with the bat.
No. 3: Gregory Santos, Garrett Crochet, and Jacob Burke to the Colorado Rockies for 2B Brendan Rogers
I’m not sure this trade actually gets done. No one really ever knows what the Rockies are doing. If it doesn’t, it’s about $2mil back to Jerry’s budget. If it does, it’s because the control over two flame throwing, back of the bullpen arms in Santos and Crochet is enticing. The Rockies #1 prospect is a 60FV second baseman, so I think they would feel safe letting Rogers go.
Rogers cleans up the defense up the middle with Edman. Also, if Montgomery reaches the majors next year, you can do a platoon with Rogers/Edman at second. *chanting “more bats than spots!”*
Ultimately, if this doesn’t happen and Romy is your second baseman for 3 months….then okay.
All in all, this is not a flawless plan. It is a plan that highlights speed, defense, and limiting opponents’ competitive leverage at home games (limiting homers from lefties with more LH SP). With this team, you are sound defensively at most positions. I concede that we have to put up with Benni the noodle in LF and mediocre defense at 1B. Korey Lee actually grades out as pretty strong blocking, and I get the sense that his throws will start to get more accurate as the first longer-look in the majors is now over. I also opted for Cespedes over Sheets as my bench bat because if I am going to replace an outfielder in the later innings, it won’t be Luis Robert. It’ll be to swap out a lefty (Verdugo or Benni).
My budget comes in around $156 mil before the posting fee ($169 after). It’s possible that it is still the biggest budget in the division.
The most volatility comes from the bullpen, but that’s weirdly the area I think the Sox are able to pick from the scrap heap piles and get at least 3-4 decent arms.
I think this team competes for an upper 70’s win-total. Which, if the Twins are cutting payroll, I think will keep the Sox competitive into August. If Jerry actually let Getz get to $180-190, you either get Bellinger instead of Verdugo or another quality starting pitcher.
Batting Order versus Righty:
- Verdugo – RF (L)
- Rogers – 2B (R)
- Robert – CF (R)
- Moncada – 3B (S)
- Vaughn – 1B/DH (R)
- Hoskins – DH/1B (R)
- Benni – LF (L)
- Edman – SS (S)
- Lee – C (R)
Batting Order versus Lefty:
- Cease (RHP)
- Rodriguez (LHP)
- Touki (RHP)/Kopech (RHP)
- Imanga (LHP)
- Nastrini (RHP)/Eder (RHP)/Bush (LHP)/Scholtens (RHP)
Romy Gonzalez (IF – R)
Carlos Perez (C – R)
Yoelqui Cespedes (OF – R)