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2020 was, overall, a great year for the White Sox. There were some rough spots that need the front office’s help (SP, DH, RF), and some that we’re hoping don’t (Moncada).
Overall, I had a few major goals in putting this offseason plan together.
- Solidify positions of need (RF, DH)
- Extend players to secure future
- Improve Starting Pitching
- Add some balance to the lineup to improve against RHP
These are in an effort to
- Win 95+ games in 2021
- Go to ALCS in 2021
- Win WS by 2025
We really don’t know what finances for arbitration will look like so I’m gonna assume the median option for all arbitration cases.
- Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M
NON-TENDER, Nomar Mazara was a decent idea for RF in their first competitive season, but even if he still has potential, the White Sox can not devote that much money and playing time to a player with a possibility of being just above average.
- Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M
NON-TENDER, It’s simple. Carlos Rodón has a good wipeout slider, but he doesn’t get outs. Like Mazara, maybe someone else can figure it out—it’s gonna suck when he throws 7 2-hit innings against us in Cleveland— but the Sox aren’t going to figure him out, and he isn’t worth $4.5M.
- Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M
EXTEND, potentially after arb deadline so tender and extend later in offseason. It’s clear that Lucas Giolito is the Ace of this staff and he should stay in Chicago for the better part of the next decade. With finances being weird, backload it, and secure Giolito for an extra two years.
- Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M
TENDER, Reynaldo Lopez has not been good enough to justify a starting role in a competitive rotation, but for >$2M, he has been good enough to come up for a couple starts in the case of an inevitable injury. This should not be looked at as a promise of a starting role, but we know him well enough for him to be a starter in Charolette and make a couple spot starts.
- Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M
EXTEND, potentially after arb deadline so tender and extend later in offseason. In my eyes, Evan Marshall is a half tier lower than Aaron Bummer. The Sox have a very solid, young bullpen, and locking it up for the next few years for cheap could be huge. Get an extra year of Evan Marshall for not much money.
- Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M
TENDER, He’s good enough to be a 4th outfielder. He’s never going to be a great hitter, but every year it gets better and he surprises. He hits lefties well, and plays some great OF, so he deserves a bench spot on the Major League team, especially for less than $1.5M.
- Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K
TENDER, I guess. Bullpen depth is always important, and he definitely showed potential in 2018 and 2020. Cheap, good lefty relievers are hard to come by, so while I don’t expect him to be pitching the 8th, but the worst that could happen is that they spend $900K on the risk; if he pitches well and isn’t needed as a late reliever, trade him for a position of need at the deadline.
- Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain
MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT, If he can get a major league contract somewhere else, good for him. But it’s always good to have a speedy, versatile, contact oriented, good bunting, defensive replacement in your system. I think if he doesn’t get a Major League offer, he’s back in Charolette. Because there was no MILB season, we didn’t develop this year’s Danny Mendick, so it’s good to have Yolmer around.
- Edwin Encarnación: $12M
DECLINE. He is bad. I don’t need to go further into it than that.
- Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout)
DECLINE. It was worth a shot for 2020, but he does not deserve a spot on a contending team, especially for $7M.
- Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout)
Pick Up. He has been a sneakily solid hitter for years. He shouldn’t be starting any games (unless its something like TA is out for a couple weeks), but he’s a good enough player to stick around for $3.5M.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020)
Let Go. He’s been great here, but I think there are cheaper ways of getting a level of production closer to what he provided.
- James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020)
Let Go. I’m not saying they won’t or shouldn’t try, but he just isn’t going to sign with the Sox when there’s a starting role available in New York or Philadelphia, so unfortunately, I don’t see him coming back.
- Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020)
Let Go. Unfortunately, he was the only deadline addition, and I guess he was okay, but he’s not worth bringing back.
- Manager: AJ Hinch
I know it’s the basic answer, but I really believe he is the best fit; better than Bochy, Cora, and yes, better than Tony La Russa. From what I’ve heard and read about him in Houston. He does well with players, analytics, the media, and ultimately, he wins games. I really appreciate new-school management. We know that he uses analytics well, as he comes from Houston, so I don’t think he’ll have a problem bringing that to the White Sox. Geoff Blum talked about how he’s particularly good at player motivation and getting 100% out of every guy. He has a psychology degree, which I find intriguing for a manager, and I think he will pair well with this team. The only downside that other candidates hold over him is language. He speaks some Spanish, but is not at all fluent.
Some people say they don’t care about the cheating, “Just get the best guy”. I do care, but the difference for me is between him and Alex Cora. While Hinch was in charge, he did not aide the cheating, and he destroyed their monster a couple times. I don’t think either one would go and cheat again, but Cora was heavily involved, and I think that would give him more of a problem with players who are mad about it. Everything else I’ve seen about Hinch has been positive, and I think he will take them to the next level.
But honestly at this point, I’ll take anyone as long as it isn’t Tony La Russa.
- Pitching coach: Matt Zaleski
I think Hinch could come in and choose someone we’ve never considered, but if we’re looking in the organization, Zaleski seems great. Young guys always credit him when they come up and pitch well, and I think he would succeed at the Major League level.
No. 1: Lucas Giolito
It’s clear that Lucas Giolito is the Ace of this staff and he should stay in Chicago for the better part of the next decade. With finances being weird, backload it, and secure Giolito for an extra two years.
Contract Specifics: $63M/5Y
2021-$8M, 2022-$10M, 2023-$15M, 2024-$15M, 2025-$15M
No. 2: Codi Heuer
Heuer looks really good, and could be a big piece of the bullpen for years to come. This is a small deal, but locking up young talent is something the Sox do well, and so far, it seems to be going well.
Contract Specifics: $10M/5Y
2021-$2M, 2022-$2M, 2023-$2M, 2024-$2M, 2025-$2M
No. 3: Andrew Vaughn
Andrew Vaughn is the next, and the last, big prospect to come out of this system from the rebuild. And just like the rest, he should get that long term contract that locks him up before he ever plays a major league game. He may not be quite the player that Moncada, Eloy, or Robert will be, but he’s a very good hitter, and the White Sox will benefit from having him here for not too much money for the next 6 years
Contract Specifics: $57M/6Y
2021-$3M, 2022-$3M, 2023-$10M, 2024-$12M, 2025-$13M, 2026-$13M
No. 4: Evan Marshall
In my eyes, Evan Marshall is a half tier lower than Aaron Bummer. The Sox have a very solid, young bullpen, and locking it up for the next few years for cheap could be huge. Get an extra year of Evan Marshall for not much money.
Contract Specifics: $11M/4Y
2021-$2M, 2022-$3M, 2023-$3M, 2024-$3M
No. 1: George Springer (six years, $150 million, AAV $25M).
I think many FAs will be signing one year deals to test the market next year, but Springer is an exception. He is the big fish in the market this year, but the White Sox are a favorable place to play now, and they still have the financial flexibility to spend big. Right Field is the only position on the field that has room for improvement; everywhere else has someone who is intended to stick around for a while, and locking up one of the best hitters in the game would do wonders for this already very talented lineup. Once the Sox have Hinch, they have a leg up on everyone else because they were close in Houston.
No. 2: Marcus Stroman (four years, $64 million, AAV $16M).
Marcus Stroman is really good, and I haven’t heard his name thrown around enough recently. He isn’t a strikeout guy, but he gets ground-balls, knows how to pitch, and isn’t injury prone. He would be a great addition to the top of this rotation. In addition to being a good addition on the field, he’s a good dude. I’m not saying it’s how you should make all your decisions, but its always a plus to have a good guy in your clubhouse and representing your team.
No. 3: Jose Quintana (one years, $5 million; 2021 Club Option for $5M, AAV $10M).
I look at Quintana as this year’s Gio Gonzalez. He’s a lefty with the ability to start or he can be a long reliever, depending on need. Like Stroman (and Gonzalez), he’s a GB pitcher with veteran experience. He would bring some much needed stability to the rotation, and while he’s not pitching Game 3 in the playoffs, you don’t mind him pitching every 5 days.
No. 4: Jason Castro (one years, $4.5 million)
The last need I see is a solid backup catcher, especially with the trade of Zack Collins. Jason Castro is a good option there. He’s not quite league average anymore, and he’s certainly a downgrade from McCann, but signing Castro means the White Sox still have what’s probably one of the better catching tandems in baseball.
CHW receives: Jeff McNeil, Edwin Diaz
NYM receives: Dylan Cease, Zack Collins, Andrew Dalquest, Nick Madrigal, Blake Rutherford, PTBNL
Yeah I know. It’s big. But I really think this is good for the Sox. McNeil slots in where Madrigal was, but he’s a lefty so he adds some balance. Without Colome, you have some impressive stuff in the back end of the bullpen, but no one who’s closed before. With Diaz, he slots in as the closer, and this bullpen continues to be one of the best in the league. You hate to see the guys you looked forward to watching go, but I’m not sure the Sox are ever going to figure out Cease or Collins, and Madrigal is just worth giving up in this deal.
1. R-Tim Anderson-SS
2. R-George Springer-RF
3. R-Jose Abreu-1B
4. R-Eloy Jimenez-LF
5. S-Yoan Moncada-3B
6. R-Luis Robert-CF
7. L-Jeff McNeil-2B
8. R-Andrew Vaughn-DH
9. S-Yasmani Grandal-C
BE.R-Yolmer Sanchez-2B,SS,3B(,RP as proven in 2020)
RHP Lucas Giolito
LHP Dallas Keuchel
RHP Marcus Stroman
RHP Michael Kopech
RHP Dane Dunning
LHP Jose Quintana
LHP Garrett Crochet
RHP Matt Foster
LHP Jace Fry
RHP Codi Heuer
RHP Evan Marshall
RHP Edwin Diaz
LHP Aaron Bummer
Retained Players: $99.8
Free Agents: $40.5M
Total 2021 Payroll: $146,850,000
This number is flexible because I did not determine exact 2021 salaries for FAs. I added it up as if they are somewhat backloaded, but you could easily shave off another $7M by backloading Springer and Stroman more.
I think this plan works well, and has a legitimate shot at a championship because seriously, go back and look at that lineup. That’c crazy. And it could happen.
It will only happen if Jerry opens up the checkbook, and we don’t know what finances look like, but it’s possible, and honestly, I expected the total to be higher before I added it all up. The White Sox are ready for a payroll of $150M+, and these guys are worth the money.
I know people want Bauer, but I don’t want a guy who’s only going to sign a one-year deal. This plan definitely sets up to go all the way in 2021, but it also puts them in a really good spot for the next half-decade. This plan relies on young talent continuing to produce at a high level, but I have no reason to believe that they won’t.