A Return to Normalcy — Shaggy’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

This season will mark a return to the White Sox annual tradition of seeing July playoff hopes fade by September.  We’ve taken a few years off, so it will be nice to get back in our comfort zone.

 

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Alex Colomé, $10.3M – TENDER
  • Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2M – RE-SIGN BEFORE TENDER DEADLINE –
    • $5.5M/1 year
    • Sanchez and the team appreciate each other more than any other suitors would.  Getting cheap/cute around the margins has kept the Sox from contending for years.  Cutting him would risk spoiling a clubhouse atmosphere that looked pretty good this year.  Danny Mendick might be just as good, but who knows?  What if Madrigal comes out of the gate cold?  Let’s not pinch pennies on a fan favorite 27-yo who is coming off the worst of his last three seasons.  Let’s keep Danny as Plan C instead of Plan B.  It’s not like no team ever loses two infielders to injury at once.  And anyway, someone has to play 2B in April…
  • James McCann, $4.9M – TENDER
  • Carlos Rodon, $4.5M – TENDER
    • We aren’t paying him for 2019.  We’re paying half of his 2020 salary a year early.  If he doesn’t pitch this year he’ll get $5.5M in next year’s arbitration and he’s well worth a total of $10M/1 year.
  • Leury García, $4M – TENDER
    • Sweet Leu is here as a 4th outfielder.  The infield experiment needs to end–he’s brutal there.
  • Evan Marshall, $1.3M – TENDER
    • Showed enough in the 1st half to be worth keeping
  • Josh Osich, $1M – TENDER
    • Nothing wrong with back of the bullpen veterans.  Osich improved as the season went on.  Heck, the guy still has an option left.  Worst case scenario stick him in AAA until you need him.  Every team is looking for this player come May/June.
  • Ryan Goins, $900K – NON-TENDER

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Welington Castillo: $8 million/$500,000 buyout – DECLINE

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Jose Abreu (made $16M in 2019) – RE-SIGN
    • 2020 – $13M
    • 2021 – $13M
    • 2022 – $13M club option/$1M buyout
    • Middle ground salary projection – I think the Sox should pay him a little less, but I expect them to pay him a little more
  • Iván Nova (made $9,166,167 in 2019) – GOODBYE
  • Jon Jay (made $4M in 2019) – GOODBYE
  • Hector Santiago (made $2M in 2019 on split contract) – GOODBYE

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Zack Wheeler ($110M/5 years)   Since Gerrit Cole isn’t coming (oh, Hahn will be a contender…) and Strasburg isn’t leaving Washington, this is the Sox best option.  He’s not an ace, but he has talent, and with more tread left on the tires than your average 29-yo.  His injury issues seem to be behind him.

No. 2: Yasiel Puig ($45M/3 years)  Are you a troubled Cuban player? How would you like to come play baseball for Serie Nacional del Norte?  Honestly, this fit is just too perfect.  On no team will Yasiel feel more comfortable.  He’s still close to his prime.  He plays solid defense, runs a bit, hits fairly well.  He’s not a lefty but has actually hit with reverse splits for most of his career so he still fills that role.  He’s intense at times, but an up-and-coming team could use a little bit of an edge.

No. 3: Alex Wood ($8M/1 year; $12M mutual option for 2020)  Best case scenario Wood looks like the lefty we need in our rotation.  Worst case he still has back problems and his audition ends when Kopech is ready.  Middle of the road–he becomes the swingman in the rotation…a rich man’s Hector Santiago, if you will.

No. 4: Jason Castro ($4M/1 year)  Rick Hahn gets the lefty bat he’s been craving in the lineup!  Ok, so obviously you aren’t signing Castro for his bat.  But he does walk and has a history of great pitch framing–kind of a poor man’s Yasmani Grandal.  He pairs well with McCann; can take over starting duties, if necessary; and could serve as a catching mentor for Collins.  Maybe he’ll even have some tips on how to beat the Twins!

NOTE:  I originally included J.D. Martinez but I couldn’t make the money work.  If Jerry decides to break the bank and go over $120M I think Martinez will be the reason.  Either way, we’ll be “in on him” until he signs in February.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Gavin Sheets to the Dodgers for Kenley Jansen.  Dodgers to pay $24M of the remaining $38M on Kenley’s contract.  Sheets is blocked above by Abreu/Collins and Vaughn is coming from below.  Sox get a veteran late-inning reliever who still has some elite peripherals but whose time in L.A. may have come to an end.

ROSTER

2020 Lineup:

  1. SS Anderson
  2. 3B Moncada
  3. 1B Abreu
  4. LF Jimenez
  5. RF Puig
  6. CF Robert
  7. C  McCann
  8. DH Collins
  9. 2B Madrigal

2020 Bench:

  1. OF Garcia
  2. IF Sanchez
  3. C Castro
  4. DH Mercedes

Outfield goes from a weakness to a strength.  Collins gets plenty of at-bats from the DH spot, but he still catches 1 game a week and works on it behind the scenes.  Mercedes DH’s and pinch hits against lefties; he also gives up catching and backs up Jose at 1B so there’s one less thing for Zack to worry about.  OF Engel and IF Mendick are your back-and-forth guys from AAA and both will technically open the season with the Sox while Robert and Madrigal…um, work on their defense?

2020 Rotation:

  1. Giolito
  2. Wheeler
  3. Wood (L)
  4. Cease
  5. Lopez
  6. Kopech

Kopech starts in AAA.  If and when he looks ready for the show (assuming all are healthy) Cease could be optioned to AAA to work on things or Wood/Lopez could move to the bullpen.  If Rodon comes back in August it’s all gravy.

2020 Bullpen:

  1. Colome (CL)
  2. Jansen (RH-SU)
  3. Bummer (LH-SU)
  4. Herrera (RH-Mid)
  5. Marshall (RH-Mid)
  6. Cordero (RH-Mid)
  7. Fry (LH-Mid)
  8. Osich (LH-Mid)

Colome and Jansen can battle it out for the closer role.  Plenty of young arms are in AA and AAA for depth.

SUMMARY

It’s nearly impossible to build a World Series contender on $120M these days, so ultimate success remains a pipe dream until Jerry opens his pocketbook.  But the above Sox team should be the most entertaining in 10+ years.

  • Lineup   (B-) Not too shabby while starting 3 rookies
  • Defense (C)   Getting better every year, but still a ways to go
  • Starters (B-)  A lot of talent there but also a lot of question marks
  • Bullpen (C-)  Mostly has-beens on the downslope of their careers

The contention window will be wide open by 2021.  I won’t be heartbroken if we don’t spend through the roof this offseason, but we’d better be prepared to set a new franchise record next winter.

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