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Better late than never?? I wrote this two weeks ago and then put it aside and never finished it when I got busy with work. Looking at it again now, since I had JD not opting out, some of it is more relevant/interesting than ever. Here it is:
The Sox should have gone for it last offseason. Instead, they balked in such a cheap, disingenuous, incompetent, deceitful way that they completely lost the trust of their fans. Not a good look. This winter, with an emerging core that looks promising, they have even less of an excuse for sitting on their hands. The good news for them is there is a way to make up for the sins of last winter.
- Alex Colomé, $10.3M NON-TENDER. This is a tough call, but I just don’t think he’s worth that much money. Cheaper alternatives exist.
- Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2M NON-TENDER. Tough call also. I’m a Yolmer fan, but this is a business decision.
- James McCann, $4.9M Tender
- Carlos Rodon, $4.5M Tender
- Leury García, $4M Tender
- Evan Marshall, $1.3M Tender
- Josh Osich, $1M Tender
- Ryan Goins, $900K NON-TENDER.
Write “pick up” or “decline” after the option.
- Welington Castillo: $8 million/$500,000 buyout He gawn
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
- Jose Abreu (made $16M in 2019) Re-sign for 2 years, $32 million, with a club option for the third year. Jose coming back is a foregone conclusion. This price seems fair.
- Iván Nova (made $9,166,167 in 2019) He gawn
- Jon Jay (made $4M in 2019) He gawn
- Hector Santiago (made $2M in 2019 on split contract) He gawn
No. 1: Madison Bumgarner (four years, $66 million). The biggest thing this team needs is some credibility in the rotation, and that’s what Bumgarner brings, with the added benefit of being left-handed. Despite all the mileage on his arm, he is only 30 years old. An acceptable back up would be Dallas Keuchel — another former Cy Young lefty. Neither of those guys are quite what they once were, but they’re not washed up. They’re dependable.
No. 2: Jason Castro (two year, $16 million). James McCann was a nice surprise last year, but he’s best suited with a less prominent role, and I’m not a believer in Zach Collins at all (bat or glove). Yasmani Grandal would be great, but he will be in great demand and cost quite a bit. The truth is, with the lineup I have assembled here, the Sox don’t really need a catcher who is an outstanding hitter. i think terrific defense is more important. Castro also helps me stay under budget.
No. 3: Kyle Gibson (two years, $17 million). I know he didn’t finish the seasons trong, but I’ve always been a fan of Kyle Gibson for some reason. I think he is a bounceback candidate if his UC issues are in the past.
No. 4: Daniel Hudson (two years, $14 million). Back home! He is a reliable enough veteran bullpen arm. Cheaper than Colomé with similar expected results.
No. 1: Trade Dylan Cease, Andrew Vaughn and Codi Heuer to Boston for Mookie Betts. And here’s where things get interesting. Most Sox fans have their sights set on J.D. Martinez, and for good reason: he fits this team very well. But what gets hand-waved-over is why exactly Martinez would opt out of his contract with the Red Sox at all. As a DH, his market would be very limited. In fact, outside of the White Sox, what other teams would reasonably be expected to make a big play for him?
Think about it from his perspective: Would you leave the certainty of your current contract with a contender to leave yourself at the mercy of a penny-pinching, lowball-offering franchise that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs in a decade? If that’s the frontrunner for my services, I’m not certain it’s worth it. So in my scenario, Martinez decides not to opt out, leaving the Red Sox nervous to move salary elsewhere.
So, Mookie Betts. This is a lot to give up for one year of a guy who is highly unlikely to sign an extension. But the fact is, if the Sox don’t make this move, someone else will. And in that case, the Sox will have zero chance at adding him as a FA next winter. Though Betts won’t sign an Goldschmidt-like extension immediately upon coming to a new team, the White Sox can absolutely afford to eventually get him to re-sign. And in this scenario, they do: 10 years, $370 million, next winter.
This is the price I am willing to pay for that opportunity to both improve the team and restore the franchise’s image and trust. Again, if the Sox don’t do it, someone else will. MLBTR took a look and came up with the Phillies, Padres and Mets as the most likely suitors. The White Sox can do this.It’s controversial. But it is calculated, and we know the Sox credibly kicked the tires on trading for walk-year Manny Machado two years ago.
The high price is worth the prize.
No. 2: Trade Jonathan Stiever to New York for Brandon Nimmo.
I kicked the tires on Kole Calhoun and Corey Dickerson as reasonable back ups but let’s be honest, don’t those guys strike you as exactly the kind of players that immediately become awful when they join the Sox? Nimmo is a good-OBY guy who can be worked into an OF-DH rotation.
Total payroll: $122.6 million (I did the math and can show my work.)
That lineup is going to get on base, hit for power and score some runs. The defense is generally very good (Eloy can be rotated into the DH spot with Nimmo). The rotation is a little shaky but will receive a reinforcements in the form of Carlos Rodon sometime midseason, kicking the weakest/most injured starter to the pen. The bullpen is not very good, but those are always a work in progress. If the team is good, they can pick up an arm midseason.
Most importantly, there is an absolute buzz in the ballpark with this team. With the Betts move, the franchise redeems itself after least year’s failures, and fan excitement would be incredible. This is the way to relevance and competitiveness.