Carlos Correa deal should motivate White Sox front office more than clubhouse

It took until St. Joseph’s Day, but the AL Central finally made offseason/preseason noise that reverberated around the rest of baseball when Carlos Correa signed with the Twins on a three-year, $105.3 million contract.

Minnesota is a stunning destination for the market’s top free agent, which means there’s a catch. Correa’s contract stands a very good chance of being a one-year deal, as Scott Boras negotiated opt-outs after each of the first two seasons. That uncertainty makes it easy to overstate the threat. If Correa does what he’s supposed to do while the rest of the team lives up to its projections, the Twins will have whiffed on its only swing at the piñata, which makes the situation inherently less imposing than a solid three-year contract designed for a team to consolidate around him.

What the Correa contract accomplishes is hope. On paper, his presence means the Twins have pulled into a tie with the White Sox with regards to position-player WAR, according to FanGraphs’ depth chart projections.

  1. Yankees, 32.4
  2. Astros, 30.1
  3. Blue Jays, 30.0
  4. Rays, 28.3
  5. Angels, 27.0
  6. White Sox, 26.9
    Twins, 26.9
  7. Mariners, 24.9

Now, Minnesota’s pitching staff is bottom-half, with a lack of standout options. The starting rotation could be deep, or it could be a rotation full of guys whose ERAs are closer to 5.00 than 4.00, as the younger starters have fringe stuff that requires A-game execution. The Twins made a big step in addressing the rotation by trading for Sonny Gray, but they probably need two more arms to change the conversation. They’re rumored to be interested in Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea, either of whom would help.

(Minnesota might be within a few wins of the White Sox’s projections had they held onto José Berríos, which makes the decision to trade him worth revisiting at the end of the year.)

But even if the Twins ended up stopping here, they’d have done a decent job at making themselves way more interesting without forcing a stuck window open (see the Rockies and Kris Bryant). Josh Donaldson’s a good player, but he’s one calf strain away from further congesting their DH picture if he can offer them anything at all. Finding a taker for his whole deal and using those resources on Correa is a terrific maneuver whether he’s around for one year or three. You’d rather see a team do that then eat the money and call it a rebuilding or retooling.

Correa also adds to the division’s cumulative talent pool. No team is still close to the White Sox, but the competition is getting stouter, Cleveland aside. Detroit seems like it needs one more year to integrate some bats, but the additions of Báez, Eduardo Rodriguez and now Michael Pineda add talent and depth where there was none. The Royals made some huge strides in their farm system, and Zack Greinke takes some of the stress off a rotation that has six young starters for five spots. Maybe none of these teams is a good bet to take down the Sox, but they might be able to drag the White Sox into a rock fight, especially if the Sox’s starting pitching depth gets tested this time around.

There’s a temptation to say that this should serve as a wake-up call for the White Sox, but that’d require a premise that they planned on coasting. They have too many young players still trying to establish their place in the game for that, and even if that weren’t a concern, a franchise that has never won consecutive division titles its six-score history can’t assume anything.

But that only pertains to the clubhouse. With regards to the front office, the Correa signing should be an inspiration, because the limited scope of its commitment should appeal to Jerry Reinsdorf and Rick Hahn. The former of those parties hasn’t approved a deal above $73 million, and the latter sounded a little too certain that he’d be the one figuring out what the White Sox are going to look like in 2030 during the whole Manny Machado thing. Opt-outs always favor the player, but a team with huge win-now stakes might be able to grind a win-win out of it, especially when that player is among the last moves made, and thus isn’t a core component of future plans.

This is why the conversation keeps coming back to Michael Conforto as his free agency drags on, even if he isn’t on Correa’s level. There are reasons to think he’d want to opt out after a year and revisit the market after a better performance and without draft-pick compensation tied to him. Not only would he address right field in a way to a degree Hahn has never tried, but he’d be able to back up “the money will be spent” in a way that flatters him, with a decent chance that only half the money would be taken.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
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.

Articles: 3566
97 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Willardmarshall

The roster trickle-down from a Conforto signing would be epic….

calcetinesblancos

Vaughn to AAA?

a-t

Vaughn figured it out midsummer last year, but it was covered up by that back injury he tried to play through that dropped his production off a cliff. He doesn’t need any time at AAA, unless he has a burning desire to visit beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina

dwjm3

Eloy will likely spend some time on the injured list. It is ok to have depth.

This organization acts like only pitching depth is important.

jhomeslice

No kidding. I know Engel is in the mix but he is not exactly a great bet to play many games. I never thought of him as an everyday RF, but if he is healthy and can play at a high level (importantly defensively), that would be about the biggest thing they could hope for. But if he’s not, then they are counting on Vaughn and Sheets to occupy the RF and DH spots, while neither did very well last year against same handed pitching. They have very little outfield depth to say the least and could sure use some in the form of any solid player that does not make Sox fans groan.

roke1960

Yes, ideally Vaughn and Sheets take up one spot in the order, not two. A bottom three in the order of Conforto, Sheets/Vaughn, Harrison/Leury is pretty good.

Trooper Galactus

I think Jim has stated several times that part of the value of developing in the minors isn’t just getting used to a higher level of competition but developing a routine that helps you last through a full season of play.

asinwreck

Jerry Reinsdorf has signed high-end free-agent talent late in the spring before, but that was in 1981. The Carlton Fisk signing started 3 years of seeming like his version of the White Sox would compete with anyone for talent.

That ended after Roland Hemond claimed Tom Seaver as compensation for Dennis Lamp before the 1984 season. Ted’s Sporcle last week shows the lack of ambition, both compared to Reinsdorf’s first three years and to the rest of the league, including the big-market Twins who are owned by the freewheeling Pohlad family. Maybe there’s an Albert Belle-sized exception with Conforto, but I wouldn’t count on it.

itaita

This off-season (and the others before it) have been easier to handle since adopting the mindset of the Sox never being a player for major free agents as long as Reinsdorf is alive and running the team. Just focus on what we have and enjoy the players that stumble into our lap and whatever overall success happens is a fun extra.

Basically the same mindset as the Blackhawks with Bill Wirtz, although at least to Jerry’s credit hes not THAT bad.

calcetinesblancos

“At least he’s better than Wirtz” is a sad statement.

itaita

Its the little victories.

Augusto Barojas

Not a lot you can say. In the past two winters, arguably two of the best opportunities to compete for a championship during their “window”, they have not signed anybody who they are paying more than 13M in a season. Nobody this winter who will make even 10M for 2022. That’s just not going to get it done, and can only be called weak and pitiful.

We can all hope, but hope is not actionable when it comes to winning a World Series. Which clearly is not the primary goal for Reinsdorf, maybe not even a secondary goal. I hope he gets some sense of the fan sentiment surrounding this offseason and shocks us all with a Conforto deal to try and save some face.

Last edited 4 months ago by Augusto Barojas
MrStealYoBase

The Twins front office has shown more creativity in the last two weeks than the White Sox have shown in the last 15 years.

dwjm3

Jerry doesn’t want to break the bank on tier 1 and yet employs a GM that isn’t good are finding low cost talent. He can’t have it both ways.

calcetinesblancos

You have to admire their attitude.

Trooper Galactus

Credit where it’s due, the Hendriks contract was pretty creative.

dwjm3

Jerry keeps putting together off-seasons that are just bad business in my view. We are on the verge of heading into the third season in a row where there is deep frustration in the fanbase. The fanbase is questioning why right field isn’t being filled with external help and questioning the ambition of the organization. I suspect when you operate like this you end up losing revenue on the margins, the extra 20 game ticket package goes unsold. A good business man maximizes his revenue potential in part by keeping his customers happy.

Last edited 4 months ago by dwjm3
jhomeslice

Spot on. These past two offseasons made a difference in whether I would attend several games, or none, speaking for myself. Yes it is bad business. And way less than honorable for a man with his kind of wealth.

calcetinesblancos

It’s especially stupid considering the Cubs are supposed to be bad for a bit; it’s a great time to steal the spotlight. But even they have gotten a lot better recently, especially with the Suzuki signing.

Peter

FWIW I’m one of the 20 game ticket packages that will go unsold this year. At the end of the 2019 season I bought a premium 20 game package with access to the guaranteed rate club (food and drink included)because I wanted to see the young guys in the earliest stages and then follow them through as they began to compete in the post season. No games in 2020 but last year. 2021 was great fun until the post season. I decided to hold off on renewing until I saw what this off season brought. I’m not surprised. I’ll check back after the trade deadline.

dwjm3

I appreciate you and the posters above sharing their experience. I think it is important to hear where fans stand.

Root Cause

Circa 2018 I said a rebuild was not a realistic or appropriate business plan for any company. I likened it to a restaurant who said that they lost the chef, our food is awful but hang in there and support us. We will spend the money (someday) I also suggested that fans boycott to show their displeasure and was told the TV contract negated the need for fans. I was run off of this forum and decided that I was too cynical, sucked it up, and well, here we are.

I have been a fan since I followed Thomas and Ventura from college. It is difficult to walk away when you have such great articles here, and Stone and Benetti calling the games. I am going to continue to watch but taking a step back. Call me a fair-weather fan but they deserve it. I will also watch an NL team that is close by and hope to find some joy between the two rather than languish watching only the Sox piss away this opportunity. Hope I am wrong and maybe its my Karma that changes things for the good of the Sox. I hope so. signing off.

dwjm3

I think watching from afar until Jerry moves on is a reasonable position. It is sad people are faced with that choice.

texag10

I’ve been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember but I’ve always had an NL team I would root for. Back when I lived in Houston, it was the Astros. Once they moved to the AL, I jumped on the Braves train because I liked Freeman and that Acuna kid in the minors. Now Freeman is gone so maybe I’m just cursed like that.

WHITESOX_RIGHT_SOX

Sure hope he does lose revenue. There’s enough pushback from people on social media platforms to make me think he won’t see a significant enough drop to make it hurt or change his business philosophy. Folks are too stuck on that ~190MM figure this year to see through the BS. 🤷

roke1960

That’s definitely a two-edged sword. Two things can happen if Sox fans boycott and Jerry sees a decrease in revenue: 1. Jerry says, “Wow. Sox fans are pissed that I’m cheap. I better spend more money.” 2. “Revenues have decreased- I have to reduce payroll.” Which one do you think Jerry will do?

ForsterFTOG

Looking forward to the Kimbrel/Keuchel giveaway trades and Jerry doing nothing with the saved funds so the Sox can get back out of the top 10 payrolls.

calcetinesblancos

I wonder if a two-year high AAV deal with an opt-out would do it. I would have to think it would considering Correa settled for a three year deal and he actually had a banner walk year. I also love the idea of Conforto playing for us with his livelihood on the line, and I think the protection he would get in our lineup would be very appealing to a free agent trying to re-establish his value.

Lastly, even in his “bad” 2021 he still hit .243/.348/.444 against RHP. The Sox could really use that production in RF.

dongutteridge

The Sox have no excuse not to sign Conforto. Unless some team signs him for a guaranteed long term contract whatever he signs for we’re gonna think the Sox should have done that.

calcetinesblancos

I don’t think Conforto is worth a massive contract, so I would understand us not getting him if some team is willing to give him one, but I really doubt it. For him to get a long deal I’m pretty sure it would have to be a lower AAV, and at this point him signing for like 5/100 would just be dumb imho.

dongutteridge

I wish the Sox would have done this instead of signing Joe Kelly.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2022/03/giants-sign-matthew-boyd.html

After,
Logan Webb
Carlos Rodon
Anthony Desclafani
Alex Wood
Alex Cobb

They still signed Matthew Boyd, Jacob Junis and Carlos Martinez for the same cost on 1 year deals.

HallofFrank

Jim alluded to this on the podcast, but it’s interesting to consider the ripples if the Sox sign Conforto early in the off-season. Maybe the Twins still sign Correa? But there’s at least a chance this is partly in response to the White Sox inaction.

It’s a different situation, but it reminds me of the Machado affair. Another team sees an opportunity in the Sox dragging their feet.

Trooper Galactus

I’d say that’s a fair assessment of the situation.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

I just don’t understand why they signed Harrison, Kelly, and Velasquez right away. Why not wait a week to see how the FA market plays out, maybe Conforto could have fallen into their lap, or even Correa. They just had the worst offseason plan possible, and executed it with haste.

Trooper Galactus

Nobody understands it. Even if they think Velasquez is only a minor Ethan Katz adjustment away from turning his career around, that’s no excuse for signing him to a guaranteed roster spot. Harrison is a cool pickup, but not when you’ve already signed Leury to a 3-year deal. I’ve stated elsewhere that for a team that decided not to pick up Cesar Hernandez’s option at $6 million (and let him sign elsewhere for $4m), guaranteeing Harrison $7 million when the shape of his 2021 season was practically identical to Cesar’s is utterly perplexing.

As for Kelly, he’d make a lot more sense if they hadn’t already committed the vast majority of their offseason spending to relievers, didn’t still have lingering nerve issues in his throwing arm, and if relievers with better projections weren’t signing for less elsewhere.

PauliePaulie

Hahn giving a Phillies-level master class on how not to allocate $190mil.
Picking up the Kimbrel option looking like an offseason wrecking move.

peanutsNcrackerjack

The only thing Rick Hahn is working on is trading Kimbrel. Maybe that nets a back up catcher. Nothing else happens until Kimbrel money or some percentage of it are off the books.

peanutsNcrackerjack

Off topic but, was at the game yesterday. Cespedes hit a rope over the left field wall that got out in a hurry. The ball really explodes off his bat. With 2 strikes and men in scoring position, Jose Rodriquez ripped a single the opposite way. He looks good at the plate.

Trooper Galactus

I still believe Cespedes has the best all around set of tools in the system, and (outside of maybe Colas) has the highest ceiling. There’s plus power there that can produce 25+ home runs. He’s a plus runner who can probably steal 20+ bases given the opportunity. He can cover all three outfield positions reasonably well and he has a cannon arm that makes him an even bigger asset in right field. The problem is his swing. Even on the home run you mentioned, you can just see the ridiculous length in his swing path. I think until he tightens that up and tempers some of the aggression in his approach, he will not be able to make the most of his potential.

peanutsNcrackerjack

Cespedes threw out a runner at third with a one hop strike from center field today.

Trooper Galactus

“…he has a cannon arm that makes him an even bigger asset…”

roke1960

I am not going to defend Jerry and Rick at all. Not adding a quality second baseman/RF/legitimate SP depth is inexcusable. That being said, all is not lost. I know preseason predictions mean nothing, but there are 3 sets of power rankings that I’ve seen this spring. Two have the White Sox 2nd behind the Dodgers, the other has them 4th. They are still a powerhouse.
Now look at what our pals the Astros have done. They let Correa walk and then replaced him with…Niko Goodrum? Or maybe Jermy Pena, who hasn’t played above A-ball. Plus they lost Greinke, and of course retained Verlander, who is in uncharted territory as a pitcher trying to come back from TJ surgery at 39 years old. They are definitely weaker than last year. Their bottom 3 in the order are Chas McCormick, Martin Maldanado and Goodrum. Not exactly murderers row. It makes our bottom 3 of Sheets/Vaughn/Harrison look not so bad.
The Blue Jays have obviously improved greatly, as have the Mariners, but both missed the playoffs last year. The Rays are the Rays- they will rely on a bevy of slider pitchers and a pretty good offense. The Red Sox pitching is not great, and they’ve lost Sale for the start of the season. The Yankees starting rotation is Cole and a bunch of question marks. The Twins have Dylan Bundy as their number 2 starter. The Indians probably don’t even have a AAA offense. The Royals and Tigers have definitely improved, but will need their young pitchers to take several steps forward to compete.
So as bad as it is, the Sox can still lay claim to be the best overall team in the AL. Which makes Jerry and Rick’s inactivity even more appalling. Adding Conforto and Manaea to this team makes them extremely formidable. Let’s hope they still make at least one of those moves. But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for either one to happen.

Augusto Barojas

The Rays won 100 games last year in a division with 3 other teams better than everyone in the Sox division, which may or may not include the Sox. The Sox were only 1 or 2 games ahead of the Jays, Yanks, and BoSox, and 3 ahead of the M’s, in spite of having the weakest schedule in all MLB by a mile. If a ton of things go right then perhaps it is possible that they will be better than I or most people believe. But I think laying claim to being the best team in the AL while having won one game each of the past two playoffs and addressing none of their weaknesses is pretty ridiculous.

The Astros may be weaker, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict they will make additions before the playoffs. Verlander’s velocity yesterday was the same as it was in 2019 when he won 21 games. It’s unlikely he will be that dominant again but probably very likely that he will be quite effective. They have been to the ALCS 5 straight years. I don’t know where the Sox rank but it certainly should not be ahead of Tampa, the Jays, or Astros.

roke1960

My guess is Astros fans who have lost Cole, Springer and Correa in consecutive offseasons would disagree with you.

jhomeslice

They did not need Cole or Springer to mangle the Sox last October. Or get to the ALCS. And unlike the Sox, trading for a big contract mid season is not out of their possibilities. I doubt they are going to have a gaping hole at SS come October.

roke1960

So the Sox trading for Kimbrel was not adding a big contract? It may not have been the best move in hindsight, but no one was upset when they made the move, because they were going for it. I would guess Jerry would make a similar move this summer. The question will again be, “Was it the right move?”

jhomeslice

No, I don’t consider a total of 32M for two years of Kimbrel a big contract. Not when the contracts of any free agent this offseason that would have actually made this team better were bigger than Kimbrel by at least a factor of 3. But Jerry agrees with you. Hence, their offseason.

Trooper Galactus

Functionally, the White Sox only covered about $7 million of Kimbrel’s 2021 contract, plus his $1 million buyout. They weren’t on the hook for his 2022 money until they elected to be. There wasn’t a big contract, they just made it bigger by choice.

roke1960

Nobody trades guys on long-term contracts at the deadline. They are almost all guys in the last year of their contract. That is what I meant by adding a big contract.

jhomeslice

That’s Jerry’s idea of adding a big contract too!

Trooper Galactus

Such contract dumps usually happen in the offseason, yes (Nolan Arenado being the most recent example), but I don’t think it’s unprecedented. If the Phillies are scuffling again at the deadline, one would have to believe that Harper might be up for grabs along with cash to offset the remainder of his contract.

Trooper Galactus

It wasn’t adding a big contract, they just sorta made it that way by picking up his contract, and no, I don’t think 1/16 qualifies as “big”. And I think most people here have gone on the record saying it was the right move and it turned out horribly, and Hahn doubled down on a bad result in an effort to salvage something. On the Cubs’ side of things, Heuer is gonna be out over a year, so a lot rests on Madrigal panning out for them to get what they needed to out of it.

Trooper Galactus

Actually, Houston has a bottom five system and, by at least one list I remember looking at, is the only other organization without a top-100 prospect. They will need a lot of prospects to take a big step forward if they want to make a significant trade before the deadline.

Augusto Barojas

I don’t think Astros fans would concede anything to the Sox because of losing Correa. I think they would laugh at the idea that the Sox are top dog in AL.

roke1960

The problem that most of us have is that we look intensely at the White Sox moves and just glance at the other teams’ moves. Look at the Yankees. They literally have unlimited funds, but are always worrying about going over the luxury tax threshhold. They have done next to nothing to address their starting pitcher questions. The Astros tried to lowball Correa, and then when the Twins offered him this reasonable contract, they obviously let him walk. Their fan bases have to be furious with them. I agree 100% that Jerry is cheap, but my guess is Astros fans are calling Crane cheap for letting three studs go in the last three years.

Augusto Barojas

In 2019 the Astros payroll was 8th while the Sox were 26th. In 2020 the Astros were 5th, the Sox 20th. And last year when the Sox were 15th, the Astros were 5th. Their payroll difference was 55M. Call me crazy, but I would love for a cheap owner like that to buy the Sox!

Last edited 4 months ago by Augusto Barojas
knoxfire30

The 2022 off season summed up:

“Like” semien and Ray

As Cirensica

Vastly underrated.

Papa Giorgio

“We have Semien and Ray at home”

rugbysox

I support as many at bats as possible for Sheets and Vaughn, but those should come at the expense of Adam Engel and Collins (if they have a terrible idea of him occasionally DHing). Even with Conforto, there’s enough opportunity for Sheets/Vaughn to show whether their bats are 1B/DH capable for the longer term.

Trooper Galactus

The White Sox have spent three of the last four straight offseasons refusing to add any significant pieces from outside of the organization. Despite Rick Hahn directly telling myself and those in attendance at SoxFest 2017 that there was no “magical upper limit” preventing them from signing a nine-figure contract, their record to date is Grandal’s whopping 4/73, which also is the only guaranteed four-year deal they’ve inked in that time for a free agent. It’s amazing that the team can be spending this much money yet still be this cheap.

Soxfan2

As much as I dislike Jerry as an owner, Hahn deserves much of the blame this off-season. As it stands right now, the Sox have the 5th highest payroll in all of baseball. With a top 5 payroll, they still have massive holes at 2B, RF, SP, and back up catcher. While the Sox realistically should be running $200M payrolls, it’s Hahn’s fault for his piss poor allocation of resources. I mean, they’ve added close to $20M in payroll this year just on Kelly, Garcia, and Harrison. They picked up Kimbrel’s option, only for him to still be on this team as all the free agent talent dries up. Not offering Rodon the QO was a terrible mistake.

Joe Kelly for 2 years, $17M with limited funds left and huge holes in other positions? Jeurys Familia and Daniel Hudson are projected for the same fWar as Kelly this year. Familia signed for 1 year, $6M. Hudson signed for 1 year, $7M. Kirby Yates signed for 2 years, $8.5M. It goes on and on.

When Conforto signs elsewhere, it’s mostly on Hahn, not Jerry.

jhomeslice

The one thing you did not mention was contract duration. Hahn is constrained to 1 and 2 year deals. Even if he had a 30-40M budget this offseason, if he is restricted to 1 or 2 year deals, he’s only going to get mediocre players. I mean instead of paying Kimbrel and Kelly a combined 24 million, they could have had Springer in terms of annual salary. It’s the refusal to allow any medium range 4-5 year deals that is preventing this team from getting better. It is beyond stupid. In the end it comes down to Jerry not having the balls for bigger contracts. That’s not on Hahn. As someone else said, how can you go from being in on Machado, to this bullshit?

Trooper Galactus

Your point about the 4-5 year deals is on point. Just look at MLBTR’s top-20 free agents list:

1) Carlos Correa: 3 years w/opt outs
5) Kevin Gausman: 5 years
7) Robbie Ray: 5 years
9) Max Scherzer: 3 years
10) Nick Castellanos: 4 years + option
11) Marcus Stroman: 2 years + option
13) Starling Marte: 4 years
14) Eduardo Rodriguez: 5 years
15) Kyle Schwarber: 4 years
16) Chris Taylor: 4 years + option
17) Raisel Iglesias: 4 years
18) Carlos Rodon: 2 years w/opt-out
19) Jon Gray: 4 years
20) Seiya Suzuki: 5 years

Almost every one of these guys would have been excellent additions to this team, signed contracts that were perfectly within the team’s ability to cover, and I’d gather most of them would have happily come here for a similar offer (I get that somebody like Gausman or Taylor wasn’t possible due to franchise loyalty and Stroman had his own personal reasons for avoiding the Sox). For Kendall Graveman to be Hahn’s crowning offseason achievement in a go-for-broke offseason is just inexcusable.

PauliePaulie

Can someone direct me to where any reputable source has reported that Hahn can’t sign players beyond 2 years. (Like he did with Grandal, Hendricks and Keuchel)
I’ll gladly eat the crow, if there’s proof to back-up the claim. But I feel like the push to absolve Rick of his terrible decisions has reached it’s zenith.

Trooper Galactus

I haven’t seen anybody report on it at all, but Hahn’s track record during the window of contention offseasons suggests that anything beyond three years for a free agent requires special approval. Grandal is the only one who was guaranteed a fourth season, and he was literally the best catcher on the market by far. Keuchel only got a team/vesting option for a fourth year. Hendriks will get his fourth year money but the way it gets paid is subject to change. This offseason nobody got more than three years, and the two three-year deals total what Max Scherzer will make in 2022.

Until they sign a deal past four years that doesn’t return/extend an incumbent, or successfully ink a nine-figure deal (or both), it is not unfair for fans to assume these are actual restrictions. Of course, that doesn’t excuse Hahn entirely, because even under those restrictions it was possible to make a much better allocation of resources than he has.

PauliePaulie

I have spoken with a sports agent who says that negotiating with the Sox is unlike every other team in baseball, in that Reinsdorf has to give final OK on every contract given to a major leaguer.
But he never said annything about contract length restrictions.
Either way, with a $194mil opening day payroll, they should not have this many glaring weaknesses. Restrictions, or not.

Trooper Galactus

Why am I not surprised that the White Sox are unique in their approach to free agents?

Last edited 4 months ago by Trooper Galactus
Soxfan2

Interesting take. I don’t agree or disagree, but I’m curious why you think he’s only limited to 1-2 year deals? If Jerry gives Hahn the green light to run a $190M payroll, what’s the difference if $20M of that is tied to one player vs 4 $5M players? The money is being spent either way whether it’s on one good player each year or on multiple meh players each year.

Regardless, 30-40M is enough money to improve the team. Yes, Hahn should be given more money, but a GMs job is to build the best team he can within their financial limitations. If your theory is true, then Rodon should have been offered the QO no matter. If he accepts it, you’re not going to get that good of a player for one year. And Kimbrel shouldn’t have had his option picked up.

jhomeslice

The reason for being confined to 1-2 year deals is to avoid being on the hook with future payroll dollars. It’s not like there are any guys taking 1 year deals for 20M, so if Hahn wants to spend 20M, he had to sign 3 players with little impact/upside rather than one player likely to make a significant impact, since that would require a multi year deal to actually sign. This approach just does not work. If they actually took the plunge on a good player with a multi year deal, it would mean they would have one less hole, and waste less money with this nickle and dime stuff every offseason for the exact same needs (Mazara/Eaton, etc).

Soxfan2

I understand what you’re saying but I don’t see any proof or logic to it. If the Sox payroll is $190M over the next 3 years, it wouldn’t matter if 10% of the payroll is tied to one player on a multi-year contract or just spending that 10% on multiple players each year. A $190M payroll is a $190M payroll, regardless of how you get there.

When Kimbrel, Harrison etc come off the books next year, are the Sox going to add players via free agency to replace them? Or not in the name of payroll flexibility?

Regardless, Hahn has butchered his allocation of resources this year and can’t trade for solid player because he built the worst farm system in baseball.

jhomeslice

The Sox payroll will be nowhere near 190M next year or the following year, unless they keep it there. Next year Abreu, Kimbrel, Keuchel all come off the books, ditto Harrison, Velasquez. At the end of 2023 they will lose Grandal.

Anyway look at the list of free agents in Troopers post and notice how they are all better players than anybody the Sox have gotten the past two seasons, and all have multi year deals, and the longest deal the Sox have given during this time is Hendriks for 3 years at way less of an annual salary than any of the players in his list.

Further look at the Cubs. They gave Lester a 155M 6 year deal almost a decade ago, as their big FA signing. Grandal at 73 is the Sox biggest, not even half that. Heck, Seiya’s contract by itself is bigger than any in Sox history, along with just about every player in Trooper’s list. So the Sox payroll is higher this year for a change. Last year it was 15th, in 2020 it was 20th, and in 2019 it was 26th. Yeah, tell me the Sox have no aversion to long term deals or spending money like other teams do. Right.

Last edited 4 months ago by jhomeslice
roke1960

You have to remember that the guys he signed to long term deals (Moncada, Anderson, Eloy, Robert) will all have significant increases in salary over the next two years. So Jerry can say that the payroll remains high even if they add nobody of note. Of course, the question then becomes, if they don’t win this year and take a step back, will he start trading some of those pieces before they get too expensive? That’s why this year is so important- they need to take a step forward or the window starts to close, and it could close quickly if Jerry remains cheap.

roke1960

The players under contract (the four I mentioned above) plus Bummer, Hendriks and a couple of others have $16M more due them in 2023 over this year. Plus the increases in arbitration of Giolito and others will likely see another $7-10M increase. So now we’re looking at about $25M in increases. You know Jerry is going to overpay to keep Abreu around. So even if he does nothing else, the payroll will still be around $190M. That’s without doing ANYTHING to improve the team. So if this season goes south, I could easily see Jerry start to get rid of his highest paid players (Moncada, Giolito) if he continues to operate as he has over the last 10-15 years..

Trooper Galactus

The problem with using extensions for Moncada, Anderson, etc. as a defense of White Sox spending habits is that these players are under control for that time anyhow, and their initial free agent years are team-friendly options, so the guarantee is not that extreme (even Robert’s guarantee is only $50 million for 6 years). The other problem is that these contracts to not do anything to address any shortcomings on the roster by bringing in talent from outside the organization, which is the whole point of spending in the first place.

roke1960

I’m not defending the Sox spending habits at all. What I’m saying is that these increases will keep the payroll up in the $175M+ range even if they sign no one of value going forward. But they will give Jerry and Rick an excuse to say the money has been spent. But of course as those contracts increase by year, Jerry will probably deem them too expensive and sell them off. Moncada, for instance, makes $24M in 2024. What are the odds that Jerry will pay that?

Trooper Galactus

I mean, most of that money is tied up in options. They can literally just opt not to pay it if they decide to slash payroll.

a-t

This may be unpopular, but I don’t actually much want Conforto. He projects for just 2.4 fWAR per ZiPS, which is just not very good for the ~$20M AAV he’s looking for, hence why he’s still a free agent. He’s a good hitter but not a great one, and his defense in RF is well below average; last year it was as bad as Schwarber’s butchery of outfield defense.

Schwarber and Castellanos both project better, but they would’ve only contributed further to the clog at “guys who should probably DH”. I think the plan for RF is to see what the Sheets/Vaughn/Engel troika does in the first half, and trade for a RF solution at the deadline if they don’t step up, and frankly I think it’s fine.

2B is another matter, and it’s more of a concern for me. There’s much less upside with the guys there– Harrison/Leury/Romy– and I would like the depth on the team a lot more if both Harrison and Leury were used as utility guys. I would really love a trade for Kolten Wong from Milwaukee for some corner offense that the Brewers could really use.

Trooper Galactus

White Sox right fielders collectively project to 1.8 fWAR, and that’s including a defensive value projection for Sheets that is FAR too generous. Conforto doesn’t just improve them from their incumbents, he creates depth for the roster that is sorely needed. The Engel/Sheets/Vaughn triumvirate is a mediocre plan A. As a plan B, however, they’re excellent.

joe blow

I’d bet at the end of the day a Engel/sheets/Vaughn platoon puts up Conforto numbers. I’d rather see more money spent on pitching

peanutsNcrackerjack

Has anyone heard anything about Engel? No sign of him at spring training games.

knoxfire30

his shoulder cleanup was actually full blown torn labrum… my guess is he wont be available for a while as he recovers

jhomeslice

I had not heard that… is a shame. He really has progressed as a player but seems like one of those guys who might be lucky to play 70 games a year. I looked it up, sounds like he had the surgery in November, at least he did not wait too long to get that done. Would hope he isn’t far off, they really could use him.

Trooper Galactus

What pitching (and I assume you are specifically referring to starters)? Not a single starter from Fangraphs’ top-50 free agents is still on the market. Unless you’re hot for a 36-year old Johnny Cueto, who hasn’t had a good season in six years, nobody’s left that will be a definitive improvement over Keuchel at the back end that I’m seeing.

joe blow

Cueto doesn’t help anyone. There are pitchers available via trade, Conforto isn’t the answer

Trooper Galactus

What part of what I wrote suggested Cueto would help? And any trade for a worthwhile starting pitcher will probably weaken their roster elsewhere because they don’t have enough value in their farm system to swing such a trade.

shaggy65

It’s less about Conforto’s overall value and more about the fact that he addresses the Sox’ key weakness: hitting tough RH pitching.

Who do you want facing Gerritt Cole in the playoffs? Adam Engel… or Michael Conforto?

Trooper Galactus

Yup, he checks about every box for what they’re looking for except for the only one that matters to Jerry: CHEAP.

a-t

tough opposing RHPs were not why they crashed out of the playoffs last year. McCullers shut them down twice, it’s true, but adding Conforto alone would not have done much to prevent that. They also gave up 16 runs in those two McCullers games.

The bigger problem was that their pitching staff, up to that point the best in baseball per fWAR, were completely unable to control the Astros’ scoring. Houston scored at least 6 runs every game and averaged nearly 8 across the series. Hence Hanh’s current obsession with “pitching depth”, by which he means have enough arms to have the best ones rested come October. Which I would love to see result in a trade for Manaea.

HallofFrank

Yes. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen comments to the effect of, “the White Sox can’t beat the Astros, so they need to do x, y, z.” But almost none of those solutions reckon with what actually happened in the Astros series: Giolito, Lynn, and Rodón—their elite pitchers—got beat.

Now, that’s not to argue they shouldn’t sign Conforto. They should. But no FA signing is going to reverse the fortunes of that series.

Trooper Galactus

Well, scoring only one run in half the games didn’t help either.

HallofFrank

Sure, but the idea is the same: if Anderson/Abreu/Robert/Eloy/Grandal/Moncada etc. are going to muster up 1 run between them, the Sox are gonna lose. The Astros series was a failure at the very fundamental structure of the team. It’s not like they just need a little more depth. Their best players got beat.

So, the point is that: you can’t approach the offseason thinking, “how do we beat the Astros this time based on what happened last time,” unless you’re willing to tear it all down. Instead, you should realize it was a small sample size and that the current Sox should play better. Again: NOT an excuse to not make moves. It’s just about framing.

Trooper Galactus

I just approached the offseason thinking, “what players can we sign that will almost assuredly make the team better”? Conforto does that, period, and he’s the last free agent available that will move the needle if added. Sure, maybe they could swing a trade, but given the state of their farm, there’s a big chance they’d have to subtract from elsewhere on their roster and from their immediate depth to make it happen, and even then it’s unlikely they could outbid other suitors for any sort of in demand talent.

vanillablue

Reportedly Conforto isn’t vaccinated (along with several other players from last years Mets team, including old friend James McCann). That may be why the Sox and other teams aren’t signing him. If that is the case, I’m fine with passing on him – but it’s not an excuse for leaving the RF hole unaddressed.

shaggy65

I’ve always felt that opt-outs aren’t as bad for teams as they’re made out to be. Pay for a guy while he’s in his absolute prime and then let him go elsewhere for his decline phase? Yes, please! It’s never the first or second years of a big contract that kill you.

Trooper Galactus

Kinda depends. In the case of the Twins, they might be more than happy to just get an elite player on a one-year deal while they try to flesh out more of their long-term plan.

HallofFrank

Yeah, I agree. They are obviously player friendly, but if I were a GM I’d more aggressively offer them if they were a difference maker for a player.