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The White Sox should be contending this year, and maybe should have done more last offseason to move closer to contention (*cough* Manny Machado *cough*). If it’s not for the division, at least be in the conversation for the wild card going into the last week of the season. Last month? I’ll ask low for this front office, this ownership, and this team. But, perhaps, in the end, this plan will only be good enough for “first losers,” as the magnanimous owner says.
Spicy takes in 3, 2, 1…
- Alex Colomé, $10.3M – tender
- Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2M – nontender
- James McCann, $4.9M – tender
- Carlos Rodon, $4.5M – tender
- Leury García, $4M – tender
- Evan Marshall, $1.3M – tender
- Josh Osich, $1M – nontender
- Ryan Goins, $900K – nontender
Sorry Yolmer, you’re one of the favorites in the apartment, but business is business. I wouldn’t be against, like, a two year deal at just above that number to keep him (and his glove, and his gatorade cooler) around, but I won’t. The rest are hopefully self-explanatory.
- Welington Castillo: $8 million/$500,000 buyout – buy him out
No. 1: Jose Abreu (three years, $30 million). He played well when the White Sox were bad, so let him play above average (and apparently great with RISP?) while the White Sox are good. Intangibles and such also, etc etc.
No. 2: Yasmani Grandal (five years, $80 million). The White Sox need a catcher with respectability. This will also add some power and a lefty (well, switch hitting) bat in a lineup in need of power from any side. It’s a contract in line with Russell Martin’s with the Blue Jays, which seemed to be a sticking point for him last offseason.
No. 3: Yasiel Puig (two years, $25 million). That may be buying a little high on a Puig that is not the 4-5+ WAR player he was in his best years with the Dodgers, but 1. I like the idea of Abreu, Robert, and Puig all hanging out, hitting homers, and licking baseball bats, and 2. He’s only 28 and maybe a new scene will be good for him after bouncing out of the Dodgers’ good graces, then flaming out with the Reds before almost pushing Cleveland to the playoffs despite themselves. I don’t expect him to produce 5+ WAR every season, but 3-4 and maybe an All Star nod wouldn’t be out of the norm. Also a shorter “prove it” deal may be good for him.
No 4. Zack Wheeler (four years, $75 million). Well, the White Sox need a top half of the rotation starter and, scrolling down, they won’t have the payroll or probably the sway anyway to sign Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. In comes Zack Wheeler, who’s been mentioned like five billion times on the site and podcast, and I agree with all those takes.
No. 5: Mike Moustakas (one year, $13 million). Good infield depth, can play second while the White Sox suppress Nick Madrigal’s service time, and can serve as a DH that mashes (hopefully) 20-30+ home runs. Also never seems to get the due that should be given to him, so sorry Mike, you get another one year deal and another raise.
No. 6: Iván Nova (one year, $4 million). Re-signed as starting pitching depth.
No. 1: Trade Yoan Moncada, a fistful of prospects to Colorado for Nolan Arenado. The White Sox need an impact bat, more homers, better defense…a lot of things, and Arenado fills a lot of those things. Losing Moncada (and I assume some combination of Kopech, Cease, Dunning, and/or someone else I love; I don’t want to think about it too hard because, honestly, I’m bad at thinking up reasonable trades, and personally it hurts too much to consider but it needs to be done) would hurt, but placing Arenado at the middle of the lineup near every day will help. And maybe he can solidify the left side of the defense with Anderson for years to come, until he opts out for more money. Hey, why’d you stop reading?? I can dream!!
I see the opening day lineup something like this:
C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Jose Abreu
2B: Mike Moustakas
3B: Nolan Arenado
SS: Tim Anderson
LF: Eloy Jimenez
CF: Luis Robert
RF: Yasiel Puig
DH: Zack Collins
DH is obviously still a giant chasm on opening day, but Abreu, Grandal, Moustakas, and Arenado can all play there while taking an off day from the field. And Moustakas can slot in there after Madrigal is called up.
Also I’m tired of service time manipulation. If the Padres can bring up Tatis on day one from AA, then the White Sox can stop playing with Robert in the bouncy house that is AAA Charlotte and get him to actually learn what he needs to be learning.
The rest of the roster lines up roughly like this:
- Lucas Giolito
- Zack Wheeler
- Reynaldo Lopez
- Dylan Cease
- Ivan Nova
A good start to the season rotation, with hopefully (maybe, given the trade?) Kopech filling in soon after (possible pushing Nova or Lopez to the bullpen?) and Rodon in midseason. Dunning maybe a September call up, or even earlier, and hey there’s always Hector Santiago to sign off the streets if all else fails. It’ll be another weakness to look at after 2020 depending on how Lopez and Cease grow.
- Alex Colome
- Kelvin Herrera
- Aaron Bummer
- Evan Marshall
- Jimmy Cordero
- Dylan Covey
- Jace Fry
- Some non-roster invitee that surprises
No surprises or additions here, but if the White Sox are contending by the trade deadline or even the All Star break, I’d expect additions through trades. Or maybe they can find another Anthony Swarzak that has less disappointing connections in his personal life.
- Danny Mendick
- Leury Garcia
- Adam Engel
- James McCann
McCann deserves better after the first half of last season, but no he doesn’t after the last half of last season. He can still be Giolito’s catcher, if that’s an agreement they both want, and can otherwise work to give Grandal rest. The rest are infield depth (Mendick), outfield depth (Engel), or both (Garcia).
This goes a little above the $120 million limit by about $10-20 million (maybe more, I didn’t do the exact math), but if they’re trading away Moncada for Arenado, they have to spend a little to really prove they’re going to contend. It may not be enough to really win. But I like the idea (adding impact bats at several positions, adding marginal starting pitching, ignoring the regressing bullpen), if not the execution.