Mrridgman’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The 2021 White Sox were one confounding team.  Major early injuries to Eloy and Robert compromised a great-looking lineup, but through the contributions from several unexpected sources they more than bailed water, building up a 10 game lead by the All-Star break.  Then the stars returned, but somehow they barely won more games than lost with a theoretical full lineup.  Far too many games were lost when the offense scored zero, one or two runs (this was continued into the ALDS, two of four games with one run).  While some of this was the result of a lot of rest, the end result was not equal to the sum of its parts.  The Sox need more L-R balance, and more walk-takers; this plan accomplishes that

Starting pitchers wore out toward the end of the season, which extended into the ALDS.  I am convinced that the most urgent need for the Sox is more starting pitching depth, particularly given that Kopech will be innings-limited and Keuchel was awful.  This plan secures the starting staff, for now and the future.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M  Tender
  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M  Tender
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M  Non-tender
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M  Tender
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M  Non-tender
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M  Non-tender
  • Jace Fry: $1M  Non-tender

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout)  Buyout
  • César Hernández: $6M  Decline

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021)  Retain $4M
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M)  Let go (considered QO, but he might accept)
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M)  Retain $1M – the new Engel
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K)  Let go – 34 yo, relievers are volitile

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Kris Bryant, 3B – 4 years $92M.  Sox need more home runs.

No. 2: Jon Gray, SP – 3 years, $33M.  A decent pitcher in Denver, probably a better one at sea level.

No. 3: Andrew Chafin, RP   – 1 year, $2.5M.  Sox need another lefty reliever.

No. 4: Tucker Barnhart, C – 2 years, $6M.  Backup catcher that shouldn’t be damaging starting 40 games a year.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Yoán Moncada to Los Angeles Dodgers for 2B Gavin Lux, relief pitcher Brusder Graterol, MLB # 28 prospect Diego Cartaya (C), MLB #100 prospect Andy Pices (OF).

I thought hard about this, my concern is the effect in the clubhouse.  The Cuban connection is retained (Pices).  Lux hopefully is the 2B for the next 5 years.  Graterol fills Kimbrel’s role.  Cartaya is the next starting catcher (ETA 2023-24).

No. 2: Trade Andrew Vaughn, Adam Engel and Dallas Keuchel to NY Yankees for RF Joey Gallo, SP Luis Gil, Yankees # 9 prospect Ken Waldichuk (SP ETA 2024), Yankees propect # 17 Brock Selvidge (SP).  Sox pay $6M of Keuchel’s salary.

Gallo fills the power RF gap for 2022, after that it’s Cespedes, Colas or a FA.  Gil becomes starter #6.  Waldichuk fills in the current minor league starting pitching gap and replaces Lynn in 2024.

SUMMARY

2022 Opening Day roster:

LINEUP
SS Tim Anderson
CF Luis Robert
RF Joey Gallo
1B Jose Abreu
C Yasmani Grandal
3B Kris Bryant
LF Eloy Jimenez
DH Gavin Sheets
2B Gavin Lux

BENCH
C Tucker Barnhart
UTL Leury Garcia
OF Billy Hamilton
INF Romy Gonzalez

ROTATION
SP Lance Lynn
SP Lucas Giolito
SP Dylan Cease
SP Michael Kopech
SP Jon Gray + Luis Gil

BULLPEN
CL Liam Hendriks
SU Aaron Bummer
SU Brusder Graterol
MR Andrew Chafin
MR Ryan Burr
MR Jose Ruiz
LR Reynaldo Lopez

You don’t see Garrett Crochet here.  If the Sox are serious about making him a starter (I agree), he starts in AAA.

PAYROLL: $171,050,000

The 2022 lineup should be better than 2021.  Sox lose a switch-hitter but gain 2 left-handed bats.  Gallo led the league in walks, and both Bryant and Lux have decent walk rates.  The bench is thin, but 2021 was as well.

The pitching should be significantly better, with Keuchel being replaced by Jon Gray and Luis Gil, MLB # 94 with 2021 MLB experience who has electric stuff but poor command (see Cease, Dylan).  Perhaps TLR overused some of the starters, leading to decline at the end of the season; regardless, I’m convinced the Sox need 6 starters in 2022, particularly given Kopech’s limited innings.  Some might suggest that more starters aren’t important in the postseason; tell that to the Braves (bullpen game) and Astros (Greinke – who didn’t make the ALDS roster) from World Series Game 4.  Handling the relievers might be a little challenging, given they would be down 1 from normal.

The minor league system, which some sources peg as the worst in MLB, takes a giant leap forward, including the addition of 3 top-100 prospects.  The 2021 season has convinced me that a team is better off ensuring an extended window rather than going all-in for one year.  The playoffs are a crapshoot – see the Giants, Dodgers and Rays.

The 2022 squad should be several games better than 2021; will they win those games?  Will TLR join the 21st Century regarding shifting, use of high-leverage relievers? How many getaway days will feature white-flag lineups likely to lose?  Time will tell.

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mrridgman
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colinski

I like this one. What does this work out as payroll wise?

GrinnellSteve

Yeah, the bench is thin. And I think Gray and maybe Bryant will command more money. But I think both trades make sense for both teams (some tweaking may be in order).

I really like this plan. It does what you set out to do. And what you set out to do is the way to go.

shaggy65

I like the 3B plan. I wouldn’t sign Bryant as a primary RF, but he’s still a good asset at the hot corner. I’ve also toyed with the idea of trading Moncada and if we can get a long-term 2B and our catcher of the future we’ll have done pretty well.

texag10

Jon Gray has averaged about 3 fWAR over his 5 full seasons starting in Colorado. He is going to get more then $11M AAV to pitch somewhere else.

While the trades seem reasonable from a value perspective, I don’t understand why the Dodgers or Yankees would actually agree to them. How do they get better with these trades? For that matter, how do we get better with the Dodgers trade? We are essentially paying more money for a worse overall player and potentially hurting clubhouse morale for the sake of “more dingers”? Meanwhile, the Dodgers already have Justin Turner locked in at third base for next season and, if his play maintains, 2023 as well. They are losing Chris Taylor to FA most likely so Lux should be slotting in at 2B for them. Why would I trade away a bunch of useful pieces for Moncada if I’m LA?

texag10

So they want Moncada so they can not have a SS or 2B and move Turner to DH? And Lux may not be startable for the Dodgers but we should trade one of our best players for him? The logic just isn’t there for the Dodgers with this trade. You even said it yourself, their core is getting old so why would they trade Lux?

metasox

I like the effort at depth and aggressive trades as I don’t think the mix last season was working and the team record was actually worse with more of the core in place. But I haven’t seen much written about how much Grandal can be counted on to catch next season. Would Barhart be OK for 80 games behind the plate?