Manonbench’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The White Sox have a lot of gaping holes that have existed for about a decade. This is an attempt to fill those holes and get this team to the talent of about an 85-win team, which is a 13-win improvement and realistic best-case scenario for a team with this leadership/ownership group. An 85-win team can have things break right and get to 90 wins. It probably doesn’t get them in the postseason, but at least we’d have some meaningful games in August and September. If I had to summarize, this is my attempt to make the White Sox the best team they can be knowing who writes the checks. One exception I make is that I’m not going to hold myself to the promise JR already made Abreu.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Alex Colomé, $10.3M – Tender
  • Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2M – Non-tender
  • James McCann, $4.9M – Tender
  • Carlos Rodon, $4.5M- Tender
  • Leury García, $4M- Tender
  • Evan Marshall, $1.3M- Tender
  • Josh Osich, $1M- Tender
  • Ryan Goins, $900K- Non-tender

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Welington Castillo: $8 million/$500,000 buyout – Decline

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Jose Abreu (made $16M in 2019)- Offer qualifying offer or let go*
  • Iván Nova (made $9,166,167 in 2019)- Let go
  • Jon Jay (made $4M in 2019)- Let go
  • Hector Santiago (made $2M in 2019 on split contract)- Let go

*In 2017, Mike Moustakas put up a very similar season to Jose Abreu’s 2019 season while playing a more valuable defensive position and being three years younger. He was offered the QO, turned it down and found there was no significant market for his services. He ended up returning to the Royals for one year/$6.5 million. I’m bringing Abreu back in that scenario or if he accepts the QO. If not, I hope he gets an outrageous deal like Moustakas’ teammate from that offseason, Eric Hosmer, and the Sox receive a draft pick compensation while Abreu gets paid. Let’s proceed as if Abreu signs elsewhere.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Yasmani Grandal (three years, $63 million)- The best catcher (can also play a little first) in baseball since 2015 gets rewarded with a three-year deal making him the second highest paid player at that position behind Buster Posey. The switch-hitter adds more left-handed balance and OBP skill to a lineup that lacks it.

No. 2: Nicholas Castellanos (four years/$56 million)- I may be in the minority, but I don’t believe JD Martinez opts out of his contract this off-season. Castellanos is a bat first, young (27), bad defensive outfielder. If this team is built appropriately Castellanos will split time between RF and DH. Even with an average year he’ll dramatically improve the production from RF and DH.

No. 3: Tanner Roark (one year/10 million)- A mid rotation piece who will throw respectable innings for you and won’t require more than a 1-year deal. Hoping to get a 2-war season and 160 innings from him in 2020.

No. 4 & 5: Wade Miley (one year/$6.5 Million) & Alex Wood (one year/$5.5 million)- Two lefties coming off opposite situations. Miley continues to be on the upswing after a nice 80 inning season with the Brewers and then a full season throwing respectable innings for the Astros. Alex Wood was bad but is one season removed from back-to-back ~2.5 WAR seasons. These guys aren’t going to start a post-season game for a team with a legitimate chance in October, but that’s not where the Sox are right now. Wood would start out of the bullpen for this team.

No. 6: Brett Gardner (one year/$9.5 million)- My guess is Gardner won’t want to leave New York, so hopefully this two million dollar increase and chance to join an up-and-coming team will convince him to move to Chicago and change to the other corner. He doesn’t have a great arm, but his defensive metrics still have him as above average in CF even at 36. He should be able to hold down the fort in RF 60% of the time and get some time at DH to save his legs.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Zac Collins & Jace Fry (or Josh Osich) & Gavin Sheets (or comparable prospect) to New York for Dominic Smith. The Mets should be looking to trade Smith to a team he can play first. They have 32-year old Wilson Ramos contract on a 1+1 club option, and trading for Collins gives them a chance to have him serve as the backup next year before determining if he is their catcher of the future. They also get a bullpen arm and a middling prospect to make up the difference between Collins and Smith. The Sox get a left-handed bat to even out the lineup and another young player to hopefully add to the core. It also gives them about 18 months to develop Andrew Vaughn before deciding which of these guys should be their full-time first baseman and trade the other.

SUMMARY

This team has the potential to be a very good offense, which it will need to be considering the lack of defense and pitching depth. The payroll comes out to right about 120 million, but don’t worry Jerry, I can dump Miley, Wood, and/or Colome for cash consideration in July and get under that threshold. Better yet, if they do well, we can keep Kopech in the minors (which I think is where he should start regardless) until we get another year of team control. That way, I’ll save you a few million six years from now. Here is how I recommend Ricky lineup his team on May 1st when Robert is up from the minors:

Vs RHP

Robert- CF

Moncada- 3B

Grandal – C

Castellanos- DH

Jiminez- LF

Smith- 1B

Anderson- SS

Gardner – RF

Garcia – 2B

BENCH:

McCann – C (Will start behind the plate against most lefties and Grandal will shift to 1b/DH with Smith and Gardner splitting time resting against lefties)

Engel – OF

Mendick- INF

Palka – OF/DH

Starting Pitchers

Giolito

Roark

Lopez

Miley

Cease

Bullpen:

Colome

Herrara

Wood

Fry or Osich

Bummer

Marshall

Cordero

Fulmer

This team probably isn’t good enough to complete with the top of the American League even if everything goes right, but it’s the best team on paper we’ve had this decade. You hope to get some mid-year reinforcements from Madirgal, Kopech, and possibly Rodon. Hopefully, some bullpen arms in the minors take a step forward and this team is much better in August than it was in May. Also, with Colome, Herrera, Miley, Roark, Wood, and Gardner possibly off the books next offseason, you should be able to go big game hunting and get this team to the next level.

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