PREAMBLE

I will not bore you with the numerous iterations of this OPP that I concocted and literally lost sleep over, that would be no fun for anyone. Instead, I will just bore you with the two I finally landed on. I had to create two because of one specific individual that will dictate the White Sox offseason – Lucas Giolito. To sign him to an extension or not to sign him to an extension, that is the question. In this iteration – dubbed Hollywood Faux Hahn – I, Faux Hahn, do lock down another cornerstone of the roster for the foreseeable future, but that leads to the loss of another young bat that many are penciling into the opening day roster to plug a hole that Real Hahn created at the deadline last year. This also means there is no money to do anything else so outfield/DH platoons, here we come!

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M
    • Extend – I would love to be able to give Lucas his cash up front, but money will be tied up elsewhere in 2022. Best I can offer is 6 year $150 million that escalates each year for the first 4 years – $13 mil, $20 mil, $25 mil, $30.5 mil (4-6). I don’t like backloading contracts, so to compensate, there will be a team option year 7 for $25 mil and a mutual option year 8 for $25 mil.

They said we would never give a pitcher more than a 5 year contract, but we did.” ~ Faux Hahn

  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M
    • Tender –  There are worse ways to spend $3 mil of Jerry’s money than on a swing man 6th starter. Maybe Katz can unlock something here with a second full offseason (what lockout?).
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M
    • Non tender/Resign – 2 year $2.5 mil deal. Year 1 is rehab and only 550k will be accounted for in 2022.
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M
    • Tender – Quite possibly the perfect 4th outfielder, if he can only stay healthy.
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M
    • Non tender – Maybe he needs to sign another minor league offer and he accepts his Charlotte designation at the end of spring training.
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M
    • Non tender/Resign – 2 year $1.80 mil deal. He gets some guaranteed livelihood and we save money on sleeves for his jersey – big win all around. TLR can probably utilize him better than Ricky did and there has never been a season where you don’t need at least 12 arm barn arms. This post was not tested on animals.
  • Jace Fry: $1M
    • Non tender– This came down to Fry vs Tepera and Tepera wins out.

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout)
    • Pick up – Too hard to part with Nicky Two Strikes and not get something out of it.
  • César Hernández: $6M
    • Decline – there are better options in free agency and the trade market (wink), even beyond Semien.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021)
    • Let Go – I don’t want to do it, but I could not work in a 6 million dollar contract into either offseason plan. He is a great piece to have on a world series contending roster, and I think fans who have not appreciated Garcia will feel his absence.
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M)
    • Let Go – Another gut punch. But with Keuchel making the money that he is, there is no flexibility in the budget for another $15 million for Rodon, especially when we do not know that he can even pitch 150 innings.
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M)
    • Let Go – Billy the Hitter, we hardly knew ye
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K)
    • Retain – 3 year $4.2 million (year 1 – $1.1, $1.4, $1.7) A great complement to Bummer in front of Hendriks. He stepped up when we needed him and Faux Hahn does not forget.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Manny Pina (2 year, $3.5 million). We need a proven major league backstop behind Grandal that won’t break the bank and that man is Manny Pina. 1.5 million in year 1 and 2 million in year 2.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Craig Kimbrel and Andrew Vaughn to Philadelphia for Jean Segura and pitching prospects Hans Crouse and Franscico Morales. Nicky Two Strikes is donning Cubbie Blue now and the middle infield free agent market is too rich to dive into with the Giolito extension. This is why Kimbrel was resigned though to trade to another contender that needs a lockdown closer. Andrew Vaughn is in a roster squeeze and Gavin Sheets outperformed him last year and is a lefty bat. This will complicate DH, but Segura has the track record and will be locked in for 2022 and 2023. Maybe the farm system will develop another second baseman by 2024. Getting Quadruple A arms in Crouse and Morales that still have upside is also very important as I do not want to rely on Lopez to be the main 6th starter and we know that we will eventually see a 7th, 8th, 9th starters at some point.

SUMMARY

Let’s hit the roster first:

Lineup

SS – Anderson
2B – Segura
CF – Robert
1B – Abreu
3B – Moncada
LF – Jimenez
C – Grandal
DH – Sheets
RF – Engel

Bench

Pina
Gonzalez
Mendick
Collins

SP

Lynn
Giolito
Cease
Keuchel
Kopech

RP

Hendriks
Lopez
Crochet
Bummer
Cordero
Tepera
Foster
Ruiz

The final payroll for Hollywood Faux Hahn comes to $175,750,000, pushing Jim’s $5 million cushion just a little bit further. I do legitimately think Reinsdorf would not quibble that excess at this point.

As mentioned, the rotation will be tested. If Keuchel can bounce back and be closer to his 2020 season, all the better. I do not think this is outside the realm of possibility. If memory serves, Dallas held out part of 2019 looking for a deal to his liking and followed that up with a pandemic shortened 2020. He may have had legitimate arm fatigue this year that contributed to the decline. As I am late getting this out, we already know that he has another gold glove on the shelf too, so he does bring something to the table besides eating innings. This plan also relies on Kopech seamlessly transitioning to the rotation; that is why Crouse and Morales are now in the fold. The bullpen looks solid for now, but everyone knows that bullpens are nebulous, and it would be wise for Jerry to maybe extend the budget a little more to bring in some more lockdown middle relief help.

The starting lineup looks good with Engel in right and Sheets at DH, but any other day, and we are already stretching thin. With Vaughn gone, that leaves a hole at DH which will end up being a “by committee” year again, which is acceptable for an NL team (universal DH anyone?) but not for an AL team. Alas, this is where we are and Collins makes the team as the third catcher/DH/occasional 1B/emergency corner outfielder. The other obvious weak link is centerfield as the only true centerfield option outside of Robert is Engel, who cannot be trusted to be healthy at any given point of the year. There is really no great option in Charlotte either, so here is to hoping Robert is healthy as I am already regretting the loss of super utility man Leury. Maybe Rommy or Danny can surprise and turn in at least one season of Leury type usefulness.

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burning-phoneix

Another offseason plan with Andrew Vaughn gone. That dude cannot catch a break.