An Offseason Plan from Far, Far Away (give the kids a chance)

PREAMBLE

We the long retired, having watched and been subsequently influenced by the entire 2020 White Sox season and most of the Tampa Bay Rays season from down here in Belize hereby state our beliefs:

– that the White Sox could possibly win it all in 2021.

– that Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t getting any younger (and neither are we).

– that pitching and defense remain the most critical common components of championship teams.

– that the expected 2022 free agent list and upcoming CBA will provide abnormally favorable free agent buyer opportunities this off season. These factors will also contribute to a greater than normal number of trade opportunities during the 2021 season.

– that like a maiden claiming race, dismissing a potentially bad horse in favor of a proven bad horse doesn’t make a lot of sense.

We therefore offer the following for your consideration:

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Nomar Mazara: $5.6M non-tender
  • Carlos Rodón: $4.5M non-tender
  • Lucas Giolito: $5.3M TENDER AND EXTEND (would a six to seven year, 17M/year get it done?)
  • Reynaldo López: $2.2M tender and maybe trade after trying him out for a few outings in relief.
  • Evan Marshall: $1.4M tender
  • Adam Engel: $1.4M tender
  • Jace Fry: $1M tender
  • Yolmer Sánchez: non-tender

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Edwin Encarnación: $12M decline
  • Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout) decline
  • Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout) pick up

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020) going to assume he won’t stay for $6M/year (even if 2 years?)
  • James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) let go sadly
  • Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) let go indifferently

COACHING STAFF

  • Manager: Sandy Alomar Jr (This guy is ready to lead and doesn’t let anything get by him.)
  • Pitching coach: Let Sandy pick his own people, but suggest he invite and interview
    Matt Zaleski and a couple of the better technical college coaches like Andrew See (Clemson), Roger Williams (Louisville).

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Jackie Bradley Jr (three years @ $11.5/year should do it) Luis will look good in right field.

No. 2: Taijuan Walker (three years @ $6M/year but there may be stiff competition )

No. 3: Trevor May (two years @ $3.5M/year and he can thumb his nose at the Twins)

No. 4: Keone Kella (two years @ $3.5M/year 2nd year option for $500k club buyout) or…

No. 4a: Trevor Rosenthal (two years @ $3.5M/year 2nd year option for $500k club buyout)

TRADES

We would not initiate a trade before season start. We would listen to offers for more pitching or a bat if really enticing only. Otherwise, we want to see Collins and even Rutherford get in at least 150 AB’s before we give up on them. We would give Mercedes a shot to supplant Collins if necessary rather than pay too much for a Romine or Zunino type or acquire a 37 year old before we need to do so. When we are in the thick of it come late July, we can go shopping for rent a player deals. We also want to see uninhibited spending on the 2021 draft and international signings.

SUMMARY

2021 Budget is between $130.9M and $132.6M (Lopez vs Cordero) including a big Giolito salary bump before spring training, the Gio buyout, and excluding the $2.75M retained (if we could give all of that to Paulie, we would have included it, as is we write it off as charity).

Opening Day then:

C Z. Collins          SP L. Giolito

C Y. Grandal        SP D. Keuchel

IF J. Abreu           SP T. Walker

IF T. Anderson     SP D. Cease

IF L. Garcia          SP M. Kopech

IF N. Madrigal       RP T. May

IF D. Mendick        RP C. Heuer

IF Y. Moncada       RP E. Marshall

IF A. Vaughn         RP J. Fry

OF J. Bradley Jr. RP M. Foster

OF A. Engel          RP R. Lopez or J. Cordero

OF E. Jimenez      RP A. Bummer

OF L.Robert          RP K. Kella or T. Rosenthall

We have Dunning, Burdi, Crochet, Lambert, Steivers pitching in Charlotte to start the season. Spring Training may convince otherwise. If so then we make a late March trade offering or DFA the loser.

After a miserable economic 2020, we couldn’t imagine a payroll much past the $130M+ range to start the 2021 season. Now if we find ourselves legitimate candidates for a Ring come July, then we add $10M or so at end of season prorated salaries for soon to be free agent studs.

We look around baseball and don’t find that much comparable value in the free agent position players. We also think that the fringe players on our roster are not any more of a risk than the fringe players on any other team’s roster (do the LAD have any fringe players other than Joc Pederson?).

So our big free agent is a fast, gold glove, lefty bat CF with a lifetime .320 OBP. If you’re thinking that we are paying big money to have two Adam Engels on the team, we respond that:

a. It is not a bad thing.

b. We like Adam, but his body of work doesn’t meet JBJ’s.

c. We could use a left handed bat. Which FA left handed batter could help as much in the outfield? (Imagine Eloy in left, a Grossman or Brantley in right, and Robert having the worst nervous breakdown since Jimmy Piersall).

It maybe a little too much for J.Bradley Jr, but his salary expectations were formed in Boston and we just don’t see that much better reward over risk in the alternatives.

Right field ought to be cake for Luis Robert and he can then concentrate on not chasing shoe top sliders. Also Eloy won’t have much more than a 30ft wide avenue parallel the foul line to worry about. When Engel comes in as defensive replacement, we have a ‘no-sparrow-shall-fall’ outfield.

If Zack cannot pull it together in a month or so, give Mercedes his shot and start shopping for that veteran backup catcher.

T. Walker is no sure thing, but he is not $10M+ a year either (unless Cohen wants him). He has more of an upside than most of the pitchers on the free agent list and could use a good home. Sure, we could probably sign J. Quintana for $7-8M now that the Cubs have him graduating from the Leo Durocher school of performance sustainability. For another $6M in the budget we might pursue Smyly or Gausman instead of Walker, but we still like the financial flexibility and upside of our choice. We’re thinking “Save the money and rent Max Scherzer for 2 months at the end of the season if required and deserved”.

We might be offering a bit too much for Trevor May, but we are hurting the Twins in the process.

When we win the Series, we can maybe get that budget up to $150M just like the big markets in St. Louis, Cincinnati, San Francisco or Denver have done in the past.

Anyway, as mentioned, I’m retired. This has been way too much work. Rick Hahn keeps the job. We respect and admire the entire White Sox franchise and all of our fellow fans.

Travel finally permitting, we hope to attend some home games again soon.

Let’s have fun in 21!

Thanks to MLB, Spotrac, Statista, Fangraphs, and Cots for the financials and player stats.

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SouthSide Ex-Pat

First game attended 1959 (sadly, regular season only) . Parents would tell people that we lived in Bridgeport, but our address was really in The Gap neighborhood. Years of toil and grind and living beneath our means and savings. Helped raise my 3 successful children. Hobbies were White Sox and horse tracks. Retired to Belize 2012. Only come back for baseball.

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carbiner

Yolmer put up a 1.164 OPS in a whopping 21 plate appearances this year, showcasing how he’s evolved into one of the premium offensive players in the game.