Podcast: 2024 ZIPS Projections with Dan Szymborski


  • [Intro] The 2024 ZIPS Projections are dismal for the Chicago White Sox. Dan Szymborski, in a way, sees the White Sox more depressing situation than Oakland
  • [3:59] Why the White Sox coming into 2024 feels like the Scott’s Tots episode from The Office
  • [5:38] Luis Robert Jr. projections
  • [7:49] Dylan Cease projections
  • [11:01] Will it be a mistake if the White Sox don’t trade Cease prior to Opening Day?
  • [12:19] Added pressure on Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada
  • [15:19] What do we make of Andrew Vaughn?
  • [17:23] How the White Sox defensive strategy play out in projections
  • [19:25] Who is the White Sox starting right fielder right now?
  • [21:19] How ZIPS sees Erick Fedde
  • [23:43] What to do with Michael Kopech
  • [26:15] Which White Sox players could exceed projections?
  • [28:35] Over/Under 63.5 wins for the White Sox
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Im glad you guys touched on it at the end of the podcast because my biggest gripe about the off season and getz’s approach has been: Where is the upside? What acquisitions have been made via free agency or trade that has a look to the teams next contend year ? Feels like they needlessly have gone out of their way to take on 1 year deals, low upside players, and aren’t actively taking on higher risk but maybe more upside types that could figure into the 2025 or 2026 roster…

I dont even like most of the 2024 signee’s or trade acquisitions as deadline flips, lopez, stassi, maldonado, dejong… at best what do these guys get you? Maybe Soroka could get back on track and bring you a mid tier prospect but… again the upside on most of these guys is them being a barely viable major league player.


I think there is upside. Jim touched on it the other day in that these 1 year deals do provide cover for the prospects to develop. They’ve done a lot in the last year to upgrade the farm. With guys like Colson, Ramos, Quero, Nastrini, Eder, Mena, Bush, etc I think there is a solid group that could mix in with the best of the current group to form that next contending team.

And then the second bit of upside is payroll space. This free agent class was a dump. It just was. We could have signed one or two guys but why? Who is going to make a difference in this class? But next year’s free agent crop is quite strong. Strongest its been in a while I think. Now..this assumes we will spend that money. I understand why someone would be hesitant to believe that.


take the sox top 15 prospects you will be lucky if 1 becomes an all star level player and 3 or 4 become regulars

In what whitesox world do they come out of the gates next off season and spend in free agency?

Pair their lack of spending, with just a normal outcome of prospects and 2025 is still a year you are likely going to be up against it to not lose 95-100 games

im talking about upside for roster spots being given to guys in 2024… why invest 1 year deals in guys trying to salvage major league careers… guys like lopez, dejong, maldonado who have very little value to the sox because their outcomes are at best getting back to likely a level of play that a contending team would consider them as their 25-26th guy on the roster types

Throw some wild cards out there some guys who have arbitration control , guys who if they figure things out perhaps have actual trade value. Getz’s strategy has been basically trying to safeguard 2024 from 110 losses by only being a 100 loss team.


Assuming Yoan and Eloy are gone and Cease is traded thats over 50 million in payroll. Take the 1 year deals and you have roughly another 15-20. Then the Leury, Clev, TA dead weight is another 10. So you’re looking at roughly…80 mil less before arb bonuses. 50 mil committed. I think they will spend. WIll it be Juan Soto and a 300 million deal? Probably not. Could it be some combo of Santander, Torres, Bader, Bregman, Alonso, Bieber (Not saying all, but a 2-3)? I could see that. And those guys would provide more value than the current crop.

I am a bit more optimistic on the farm. I think we end up with a typical Twins type rotation of depth 3’s instead of the high end 1-2 punch. But if we had 7 third starters i’d be ok with that. I think the top 3 hitters show a lot of promise and i’m still looking to see what Gonzalez and Colas become.


You are far more optimistic about JR’s spending proclivities than I am. I realize that for a few years, the Sox had a top 10 payroll, maxing out at 5th. But the failures of those years, I fear, are going to stick with Jerry for a long time and he’ll be closer to $110M than $180M. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see them really going for it until they get a new stadium.


Its not that i think JR is all of the sudden going to be a big player like the Dodgers. But lets say you are right and they are wanting to be at 110 million and a 27th ranked payroll. They would have to spend 60 million next off season just to get to 110. If they keep the payroll as is, 80 million. And with those players I named, guys already in their 30’s (even though some are exactly 30), and looking at mid range deals instead of max, I think that’s the type of deals that could happen.

And I still don’t think that is really going for it. But they add a couple of major league ready guys via the Cease deal, maybe Eloy or Yoan is good enough to get 1 guy back at the deadline (hey…look what we got for Lynn and Gio), and a couple of prospects take a step forward. That’s a pretty reasonable path to adding somewhere between 7-10 good players to the team.

Last edited 27 days ago by Adam

Maldonado should help the pitchers. And the others fit the goal of change of “culture” and style of play. It may be as simple as that. It does leave little room for upside guys who become available because they fell out of favor or are out of options.

Last edited 27 days ago by JazznFunk
As Cirensica

Where is the upside?

There is none or very little. Maybe Fedde and Soroka becoming interesting. Other than that, this is just Getz buying a year.

Speaking of Soroka, I just realized Soroka is a Canadian pitcher. From Calgary, a freezing place most of the year. Not ideal for baseball development.


Only 9 guys have an 80th percentile projection of 2+ WAR (and one of them is Cristian Mena), so even if everything approaches best case scenario this team as it stands is doubtfully even Wild Card-worthy.

As Cirensica

Projections can be wrong though 😋 But I am with you, this team is definitely not Wild Card worthy. Screw that, no team in the Central division (including whoever wins it) is Wild Card worthy. Having said that, I stick to my bold prediction of more than 75 wins.


Pending what happens with Cease, I think talk of win totals in the 50’s is looney, and the 60’s is dour. I’m with you in the 70’s, though I’m tamping it down to lower 70’s.

We appear to be on a fairly deserted isle.

As Cirensica

We won 61 games last year with an inferior team. So yes, barring a trade of Dylan Cease, this team should win, et least 65-67 games. Whoever think we are in the 50-60 wins territory is talking non-sense.

Right Size Wrong Shape

As constituted, this team is not superior to last year’s team (which was terrible).

As Cirensica

I disagree, but your point is hard to discount.


I’m at 65. I don’t see a realistic scenario with this team where they eclipse 75.


I do think it’s something they should do more. But I also don’t know who they add. Guys with “upside” on the free market are usually expensive. I guess post-hype guys like Clint Frazier are available? But I just don’t know how much real “upside” they have.


I have a hard time believing romy, shewmake, rodriguez, lee and sosa dont have as much if not more “upside” then lopez malanado and dejong , their floors are all probably lower… but who cares, win 65 games or win 55 but throw some 22-26 year old talent out there and hope even 1 or 2 of them maybe hit…

stassi and fedde are 2 of the players I dont mind, you could atleast squint real hard and think a catcher who can hit a bit may have some trade deadline value, a starter pitcher on a cheap contract with a year more control could be of value…. those are the moves sox should make

cubs gave up a couple young arms for bush… shouldnt the sox have been willing to make a move like that… they have some decent sp depth in the minors why not switch taht out for a blocked player who could possibly be their long term solution at 2nd….

this off season just shows me so little vision toward the future


Fair enough. Like I said, I do think upside hunting is something they should do more of. But – and this is probably an unpopular opinion — I think there is value is propping up some kind of floor, even at the expense of some hypothetical future ceiling. Running with youth, come hell or high water, sounds like a good idea…until you actually get to hell. Then, you feel your flesh burning and start wondering, “is it even possible to get out?”

Something like a 65-70 win team, on the other hand, feels more like the depths of purgatory, with a glimpse of light.

On the other hand, I suppose I could accept that we’re already in hell.




These projections don’t exactly come as a surprise, but if someone is going to give me a prognosis like this, I’m glad it was you, Dan. No sugarcoating, but no spite either. Even a hint of sympathy.

To Err is Herrmann

Always a great interview with Dan. I’m glad he explained the Scott’s Tots reference, which I had merely forgotten, but I had to rewind twice to catch the horsemeat to kids growing up to protest horse meat analogy. I predict 57 wins, and if Cease is traded maybe 53. Would not be surprised they do better than that…. or worse.


At least they’ll end up with a likely top 3 pick for being this bad….

As Cirensica

No, they won’t. I mean, they can’t.


They can’t participate in the draft lottery two years in a row. Lowest they can pick is 10th.

I think Tweaky was being tongue in cheek. At least that’s how I read the ellipsis.

I concede that it appears that I have been whooshed.


It’s impressive when someone can read between the ellipsis.

Matt Verplaetse

Tanking in a laughably weak division in a year when you can’t even get a high pick #ChangeTheGame


Dude – the money gets saved whether the division is or not weak or not and regardless of how high the draft pick is. That’s the beauty of the strategy – it always works.


Great Pod, been taking time this offseason because too much White Sox can lead a person down some slippery slopes mentally, but appreciate the honest talk about this team. I can see a blueprint of what the plan might possibly be, but doubt its effectiveness until prove otherwise. Go Sox.


Cards DFA Moises Gomez, I wanted to get him last winter, and while he didn’t have the year I was expecting I think there’s still enough there to take a flier on to see if his power can play in the majors. He’s the kind of upside risk we should be looking for and he only costs a 40 man spot.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Can we bring back Moses Sierra? If we’re going to stink we can at least be fun.


This team is so bad they should be willing to look at Ruben Sierra.


Gomez passes thru waivers unclaimed, silly not to take a flier on him.


Twins trade Polanco to the Mariners.


If a top 80 mlb prospect and starting pitching depth is the cost of a Jorge polanco than Getz isn’t asking for the sun and the moon for Cease.


No kidding, especially since the Twins needed to move salary.


Bryan Woo, Cole Young, and Luke Raley for Cease? I would consider that.


This is what I’ve been saying. When I hear some of the rumored “crazy” requests Getz is making, I think, “Eh, is that it?”

This really hit home to me when my Reds fan friend was complaining about Getz’ ask. I told him, “go back to old Reds prospects and lists and tell me: would you trade the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th player on the list for Cease?” I gotta say, after going through this exercise myself, I thought, “maybe they should be asking more for Cease?”

Then, also, comparing what the Reds got for Castillo and how FG values prospects. Prospects just aren’t as valuable as fans think.