freeryan_10’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The Sox are coming off a really promising 2020 season and are primed for playoff contention for the foreseeable future. My offseason plan will be outside the box and probably much different than the moves the team will actually make, but I believe I’ve effectively addressed the needs of the team in a fun way and if this scenario played out, produced a championship contender in 2021.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M Non-Tender
  • Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M Non-Tender
  • 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

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) Let go. I think a reunion here is a possible if the reliever market moves slowly and underwhelms.
  • James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) Let go. I, like many Sox fans, love the way James McCann plays the game, but with Grandal in the fold, this team just doesn’t have the playing time for him.
  • Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) Let go.

COACHING STAFF

  • Manager: I think the choice will be A.J. Hinch, which I’d be more than happy with, but for the sake of being a little different, I’ll go with Bruce Bochy. He led baseball’s most recent dynasty in San Francisco and like Hinch, is a former catcher that can understand the thought process of a pitcher. Plus, unlike Tony La Russa, Bochy hasn’t been away from the game for nearly a decade.
  • Pitching coach: I believe Matt Zaleski gets the nod, which I’d be plenty content with, but we’ll let Bochy decide in this scenario.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Kevin Gausman, 3 years for $33 million. Gausman isn’t the most exciting name on the market, but has established himself as a solid rotation piece over the last couple seasons, posting a 3.17 FIP in 2019 and a 3.09 FIP in 2020. At just 29 years old, Gausman should have plenty of mileage left on his arm and provides the Sox with a legitimate, stabilizing number three in the rotation. If the Sox miss out on Marcus Stroman, Gausman is a solid consolation prize.

No. 2: Marcell Ozuna, 3 years for $54 million. Ozuna is coming off an excellent year with the Braves in which he slashed .338/.431/.636 with a 1.067 OPS and a 179 WRC+. I don’t view Ozuna as a proper solution to RF, as he spent the majority of this season at DH and occasionally in left field. However, I am signing Ozuna to be the Sox primary DH.

No. 3: Tyler Flowers, 1 year for $4 million. I’ve seen many other Sox fans suggest this move and honestly, it makes quite a bit of sense. With the presumed departure of James McCann, the Sox will need someone to fill that backup role and I don’t believe Zack Collins will be trusted with that opportunity. The organization familiar with Flowers and he’s a solid defensive catcher with a competent enough bat, and has posted a BB% in double digits each of the last 3 seasons.

TRADES

I do think trades will be difficult to execute with no minor league season in 2020 and teams not having seen their prospects play in over a year. However, we’re going to have some fun here:

No 1: White Sox trade Andrew Vaughn, Matthew Thompson, Jonathan Stiever, and Bryce Bush to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Ketel Marte.

This is a big and sure to be controversial move for the Sox. Trading away Andrew Vaughn would really sting and there’s few scenarios that I’d be okay moving him. However, Marte is an excellent long term solution to RF for the White Sox, is under team control through 2024 and has a cost friendly contract. His 2020 season was a step back from his monster breakout in 2019, but he only played 45 games in 2020. At just 27 years old, I believe his best years are in front of him. In 2019, Marte posted a .329/.389/.592 slash line with a .981 OPS and a 150 WRC+. The Sox desperately need to add balance to their lineup, and as a switch hitter, Marte crushes both right and left handed pitching. The Dbacks, who started selling off at the deadline, get a potential cornerstone in Vaughn, two intriguing young arms in Thompson and Stiever, plus a lotto in Bush (that could be interchanged for another player). After Marte’s drop off in 2020 and their overall need for an influx of talent, I think Arizona would be open to listening to offers.

No 2: White Sox trade Reynaldo Lopez, Zack Collins and Blake Rutherford to the Colorado Rockies for Jon Gray. The Rockies are in a transitional period and are likely to begin a rebuild soon. Jon Gray has only one year remaining on his contract. Colorado takes a flyer on Reynaldo Lopez and can potentially give him innings that the White Sox no longer can afford to. Zack Collins has produced very well at every minor league level, but has never had a real shake in the majors. I don’t see the White Sox trusting him in their backup catching role, but the Rockies catchers are all terrible, and Collins power should play very well in Coors field. For the Sox, Jon Gray makes a ton of sense. He missed most of 2020 with shoulder inflammation, but was quite good from 2016 to 2019, especially considering the disadvantage for pitchers in Coors field. At just 28 years old, Gray could benefit from a change of scenery and frankly just getting out of Coors field. He gives the White Sox another rotational depth piece, and at an affordable salary of $6 million.

SUMMARY

I have a lot going on here and a lot of moving pieces. This 2021 team would look quite a bit different than the 2020 Sox, but I think the moves I’ve made coincide with the team’s long term plan and give them a serious shot to win a championship in 2021. Will these moves actually happen? Most likely not, but I wanted to have some fun with this and these moves would certainly make an exciting White Sox offseason. If my math is correct, this puts the payroll right at $135 million or so, which I think is reasonable and realistic enough.

Projected lineup:

SS Anderson

3B Moncada

DH Ozuna

1B Abreu

C Grandal

RF Marte

CF Robert

2B Madrigal

Rotation:

Giolito

Keuchel

Gausman

Gray/Dunning

Kopech/Cease

Bench: L. Garcia, Engel, Mendick, Flowers

Bullpen: Foster, Fry, Marshall, Cordero, Heuer, Bummer. I expect the Sox to also add a cheap veteran relief arm or two, perhaps even on minor league deals. There are also guys like Zack Burdi, Jimmy Lambert, or even Bernardo Flores and Tyler Johnson that could get a shot in spring training.

 

 

 

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