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The Sox are ready to win. You know that, I know that, Hahn knows that, Ricky Renteria now unfortunately knows that, and Jerry is excitingly dialing his old drinking buddy Tony La Russa as we speak. Its go time! My goal with this plan is 3-fold. First, fill in our gaping holes on offense. It is amazing that we had one of, if not the best lineup in baseball with 2/9 of our lineup swinging with their eyes closed. Second, solidify the starting rotation. This is by far our most glaring need! Third, I want what good teams have, and that’s flexibility so if a player goes down, slumps, or gets busted for juicing (we’ve all been there!) we can plug the next guy in without falling off a cliff in production.
Here. We. Go.
- Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M – Non-tender
- Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M – tender + trade
- Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M – Tender
- Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M – Tender + trade
- Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M – Tender
- Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M – Tender
- Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K – Tender
- Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain – Non-tender (sign to minimum)
Mazara made my decision for me. I still think that Rodon and Lopez have the potential that make them worth a shot… just not a shot on a good team. They will be used for trade fodder as you will see below. The rest was very straight forward.
- Edwin Encarnación: $12M – Decline
- Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout) – Decline
- Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout) – Decline
All of these were easy calls. With Engel, Yolmer, and Mendick, Leury serves no discernable purpose and Edwin and Gio are now free to go and enjoy retirement!
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020) – Let go
- James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) – Let go
- Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) – Let go
These decisions hurt a little bit more, but in order to be in the $135M-$145M dollar mark it had to be done. Colome was a weird and ultimately incredibly reliable pitcher for us and I will be forever grateful to McCann for what he did to help our first born child Lucas Giolito! I hope he makes way too much money and has an incredible next 5 years in the majors!
- Manager: A.J. Hinch
- Pitching coach: Whoever A. J. Hinch chooses
“If you’re not cheating you’re not trying!” – George Washington (maybe?).
He’s the best manager on the market, he’s very smart, and he is extremely motivated. What’s not to love? Plus, its not as if our organization has never had a reputation for being a little bit sketchy… Its time to embrace who we are! I don’t need good guys to wear black, I need winners to wear black!
No. 1: Marcus Stroman (4 years, 80 Million. Club option on year 5)
I want Trevor Bauer so bad! However my gut is that he priced himself out of a move to the southside with his Cy Young worthy season. I love Stroman’s age, his ground ball rate, and I think we can get him at a price that will allow us to pursue further additions that we need. He is a strong #3 starter even if his ceiling is limited.
No. 2: Jose Quintana (1 year, 6 million)
Jose is not who he used to be, but he doesn’t have to be in this current White Sox team. Jose will provide us with durability (assuming we institute a strict no dish-washing clause in his contract), he is a great professional, and he already has a massive comfort level pitching at G-Rate Field and with many of his teammates. These first 2 signings turn our rotation from a weakness into a noticeable strength capable of competing with any other team in the A.L
No. 3: Michael Brantley (1 Year, 12 million. Team option for 2022)
This is where I am going to lean on the relationship that A.J Hinch has with his former players to get this across the line. Brantley instantly slots in as our DH and provides this lineup with a professional hitter who does a bit of everything from the left side. He shouldn’t fall off of a cliff like Edwin did this year is a tough out in the bottom third of our lineup. I was back and forth here with Joc Pederson, but ultimately went with Brantley to allow ourselves a shorter deal with more flexibility down the road. Plus there is something about Pederson that screams Laroche 2.0… or is it Dunn 3.0? Either way its scary!
Trade #1 Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Zach Collins, and James Beard to Kansas City for Whit Merrifield:
Whit Merrifield is a good baseball player on a team that is in the middle of a rebuild and will not be able to compete for the foreseeable future. Merrifield is on an incredibly affordable contract and slides in as my starting RF while being able to fill in at CF and 2B if needed. He has proven to consistently hit above major league average while being durable and providing professional at bats day in and day out. In this lineup with actual protection I think Merrifield only gets better while providing real quality flexibility. Kansas City gets 2 former first round picks who are interesting reclamation projects and a really fast outfielder. You know what Kansas City loves? Really fast outfielders! They also get Reynaldo Lopez as rotation fodder till more of their young arms are ready… Plus, I want to face Lopez as much as possible over the coming years! Everybody wins!
Here’s my 26-man roster heading into Opening Day 2021.
SS Tim Anderson $7.25M
RF Whit Merrifield $7.25M
1B Jose Abreu $17.67M
C Yasmani Grandal $18.25M
LF Eloy Jimenez $4.33M
3B Yoan Moncada $6.8M
CF Luis Robert $3.5M
DH Michael Brantley $12M
2B Nick Madrigal $0.5M
C The Yermanator $0.5M
IF Yolmer Sanchez $0.5M
IF Danny Mendick $0.5M
OF Adam Engel $1.4M
RHP Lucas Giolito $5.3M
LHP Dallas Keuchel $18M
LHP Marcus Stroman $20M
LHP Jose Quintana $6M
RHP Dillon Cease $0.5M
LHP Aaron Bummer $2M
RHP Evan Marshall $1.9M
RHP Codi Heuer $0.5M
LHP Garrett Crochet $0.5M
RHP Matt Foster $0.5M
LHP Jace Fry $0.8M
RHP Jimmy Cordero $0.5M
RHP Zach Burdi $0.5M
In conclusion, this roster puts us at a payroll right around 137.5M. What I love about this team is we have plugged gaping holes in both the lineup and the rotation, added flexibility, and still have given Dunning, Kopech, and Vaughn a chance to get up to speed in the minors before being called upon because of injury, performance, or simply forcing the issue themselves. This team is deep and ready to win a lot of games! This roster also gives Rick and Jerry the flexibility to add at the backup catcher position or solidify the bullpen midseason if the need arises.
Please pick it apart… but I’m pretty sure its perfect! 🙂
Lets go Sox!