HakunaMoncada’s Offseason Plan: Former Cleveland Indians

PREAMBLE

The White Sox are fucking good. Next year we’ll be even better with a hopefully capable manager and a payroll more befitting a contender in a major market.

“The money will be spent. It might not be spent this offseason, but it will be spent at some point. This isn’t money sitting around waiting to just accumulate interest. It’s money trying to be deployed to put us in the best position to win some championships.”  ~Rick Hahn, February 20, 2019

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

Going to use the average of the three arbitration numbers for payroll calculations.

  • Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M. |  $5.8M.  Non-Tender
  • Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M  |  $4.5M   Non-Tender
  • Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M  |  $3.4M.  Extend 6 years, $120M (5/14/20/27/27/27)
  • Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M. |  $1.9M.  Non-Tender (Resign to minor league deal)
  • Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M. |  $1.5M.  Tender
  • Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M. |. $1.1M.  Tender
  • Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K.  |  $0.9M.  Tender
  • Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain.  (Resign to minor league deal)

Mazara experiment failed terribly. Rodon can’t stay healthy and injuries have kept him from reaching whatever potential he once had. Lopez shouldn’t get anything more than the league minimum this year, but I would keep him around in AAA as emergency depth.

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Edwin Encarnación: $12M.  Decline
  • Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout).  Buyout
  • Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout).   Pick Up

Easy No’s for EE and GG. Leury’s super-utility value outweighs his injury history so he’s on our bench.

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

Originally wanted to keep McCann but felt the money would be better spent rounding out other parts of the roster. Colome was really good for us this year, but I don’t feel comfortable paying him that kind of money going forward.

COACHING STAFF

  • Manager: 1A) Sandy Alomar   1B) AJ Hinch
  • Pitching coach:  1A) Ruben Niebla   1B) Matt Zaleski  

Honestly, Im open to a lot of guys not named Tony LaRussa.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Trevor Bauer RHP, 1 year – $36M

Best pitcher available. Spend the money.

No. 2: Michael Brantley RF, 2 year – $34M

Need a competent right fielder and also a lefty bat. Checks both boxes and cheaper than Springer.

No. 3: Corey Kluber RHP, 1 year – $8M, incentives up to $16M; club option 2022 – $20M, $1M buyout

I like him as a bounce back candidate. See if he will take an incentive laden contract with enough up front, and if he performs like his old self, lock in another year at a slight discount. If we can’t get Kluber here, Id like Jose Quintana on a similar $7-8M deal with a club option.

No. 4: Sean Doolittle LHRP, 1 year – $3.5M

Need more lefty arms for the pen. Has been very good aside from an injury-shortened 2020.

No. 5: Jason Castro C, 1 year – $3.5M

Great defensive catcher. Left handed. 100% of his hits in 2020 were extra base hits.

TRADES

None.   While formulating my OPP, I had tried to work a trade for Kluber, but MLBTR says he will likely be available in free agency. I don’t think many teams will be exchanging prospects after not seeing minor leaguers in over a year. Just as well, because the Sox should wait until the deadline to shore up any remaining roster weaknesses.

SUMMARY

Starting Lineup – $76M

  1. Tim Anderson – SS – $7.25M
  2. Michael Brantley – RF – $17M
  3. Yasmani Grandal – C – $18.25M
  4. Jose Abreu – 1B – $17.67M
  5. Eloy Jimenez – LF – $4.33M
  6. Yoan Moncada – 3B – $6.8M
  7. Luis Robert – CF – $3.5M
  8. Andrew Vaughn – DH – $0.6M
  9. Nick Madrigal – 2B – $0.6M

Bench – $8.1M

  1. Leury Garcia – UTIL – $3.5M
  2. Jason Castro – C – $3.5M
  3. Adam Engel – OF – $1.1M

Starting Rotation – $67.6M

  1. Lucas Giolito – RHP – $5M
  2. Trevor Bauer – RHP – $36M
  3. Dallas Keuchel – LHP – $18M
  4. Corey Kluber – RHP – $8M
  5. Dane Dunning RHP – $0.6M

Bullpen – $10.9M

  1. Jimmy Cordero – RHP – $0.6M
  2. Jace Fry – LHP – $0.9M
  3. Matt Foster – RHP – $0.6M
  4. Evan Marshall – RHP – $1.5M
  5. Sean Doolittle – LHP – $3.5M
  6. Dylan Cease – RHP – $0.6M
  7. Michael Kopech – RHP – $0.6M
  8. Codi Heuer – RHP – $0.6M
  9. Aaron Bummer – LHP – $2M

Total 26-Man Payroll – $162.6M

So I went a little over the stated limit but hear me out. This is how the 2021 OPP payroll would have finished in previous seasons payroll rankings: 2017 – 12th; 2018 – 10th; 2019 – 9th; 2020 ($60.2M pro-rated) – 16th. Some of you would say this is too rich, but this should be what we expect from ownership in the 3rd largest market, with a highly competitive, fun, and marketable team. This payroll might not even crack the top ten in the league next year, so I don’t think this is unreasonable. “The money will be spent.”

Now that I’ve validated my creation, lets see what exactly it is. This lineup is very good. 5 guys: Anderson, Abreu, Brantley, Madrigal, and Jimenez all hit .295 or better last year. There is good power interspersed as well as some speed. The only knocks I have against it are that we still don’t have a lot of plate discipline besides Grandal and Moncada and that we could use another lefty bat. I feel like we can find a good depth bench player and/or power bat in a trade at the deadline to help fill any holes.

The starting rotation could be filthy. Three aces is a playoff-winning hand and a 1-2-3 of Giolito-Bauer-Keuchel could give fits to any team in the league. If Kluber could regain even some of his former self, he would be a fantastic #4. I think Dunning has earned first chops at the 5th starter role. Let Kopech work in the pen in shorter stints to build back up, but he gets second shot if Dunning should falter. Cease can be shuffled between AAA, starting, and the bullpen until he establishes consistent control over his pitches, but I believe all three have at least one option year left.

The bullpen has some gassss. The only knock is that most of them are young and unexperienced, but relievers are volatile year to year anyways so give me a bunch of guys with Stuff and see who sticks.

Some random finals thoughts:

  • I hope whoever the new manager is, he uses an appropriate blend of old school leadership and analytics. Kevin Cash just showed what can go wrong if a manager is too stat-heavy, and dinosaurs like Ozzie or LaRussa wouldn’t connect with today’s players or use the new data available.
  • I wonder if there isn’t a true change happening with Jerry Reinsdorf’s sports ownerships. Jerry, widely known for his absurd loyalty to employees, fired GarPax after almost two decades, and fired Boylen shortly after giving him an extension. Now, with the Sox entering their “window of contention,” they cut bait with Ricky, even with a year left on his contract. I am hoping it signals that the standards have been set higher, and a commitment to winning is renewed.
  • A lot hinges on the continued development and production of core youngsters (Robert, Madrigal, Vaughn). These three are special in the Sox rebuild because so much was invested in them (2017 $26/52M signing bonus, 2018 pick 1-4, 2019 pick 1-3). They are to be cornerstones of the rebuild and will be counted on to contribute. The success or failure of the rebuild somewhat hinges on the capabilities of these three being at least MLB regulars to supplement a staff already with several stars. Otherwise, we are back to 2016, and the front office will have blown their best opportunity to build sustained success.

Thanks for reading my ramblings, let me know what you think. Cheers to an exciting offseason and a hot stove!

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HakunaMoncada
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mikeschach

I think they hired LaRussa