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The White Sox are in unchartered territory going into 2022. In 2021, the White Sox achieved back to back postseason appearances for the first time in franchise history. It is now Rick Hahn’s job to make sure we achieve the first ever back to back to back postseason appearances in franchise history, as well as, the first ever back to back division titles. You would hope that the situation they are currently in would allow them to maintain a payroll that is not only the highest in franchise history, but would also put them squarely in the top 10 in the league. $170m feels like a logical White Sox limit based on history, but $190m+ feels like the price point needed to turn this group into a true contender. We can use all the money we saved on switching to blank black towels for Game 4.
Write “tender,” “non-tender” or “rework/extend” after each player and their projected 2022 salaries. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.
- Lucas Giolito: $7.9M- Tender. I doubt he takes an extension. He knows his worth and won’t sell himself short.
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M- Tender. He can see the pitch calls now!
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M- Non Tender. We will always have 2019, good luck rehabbing that arm back to full strength. Maybe our paths will cross again in the future.
- Adam Engel: $2.2M- Tender. Please stay healthy.
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M- Non tender. It was fun for awhile.
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M- Non tender. This is one is one that requires more information that I don’t have but the Sox should. They know how his tommy john recovery is going so they have a better idea of whether he’s worth bringing back.
- Jace Fry: $1M- Tender. I’m not sure I would actually tender him but he has an option left so I think this gets picked up for bullpen depth.
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout)- Pick up. Apparently this decision has already been made according to Jerry’s mouthpiece. Hahn better have a really good idea of what value there is for picking this up because I’m not quite finding it.
- César Hernández: $6M- Decline. I actually considered picking this up despite his poor performance post trade. The 2B market is thin outside of the elite shortstops who can play 2nd.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021)- Let go. I think we saw about the peak of Leury’s value over the last 4 months or so of the season and I am just not willing to bet on it happening again. I think Tony will probably convince Rick he needs Leury back but I would allocate those resources somewhere else. (Circling back while I was finishing my roster up, Leury would be a great fit if Jerry will give me a few extra million….)
- Carlos Rodón ($3M)- Qualifying offer. I think he takes it but with Boras you never know. I just don’t see many teams handing him huge multiple year offers.
- Billy Hamilton ($1M)- Let go. If he wants a minor league contract with an invite in the spring, he can have it.
- Ryan Tepera ($950K)- Let go. We will discuss with his agent what it will take to bring him back, but ultimately, it will be too much.
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Yan Gomes (one year, $4 million)- The Sox need a better backup catcher than Zavala and Collins. This spot can be reserved for a number of cheap catching options, I just landed on Gomes. Barnhart is the dream for this spot, but he may be out of my price range.
No. 2: Carlos Rodon at the qualifying offer (1 year, $18.4m) or Robbie Ray (3 years, $65m)- Pretty straight forward here, we either need Rodon back for one more year or we have to fill his spot. I actually think Stroman is a great fit, but he won’t play for La Russa, so I ruled him out. Kevin Gausman and Noah Syndergaard are also options here, if Carlos Rodon does not take the qualifying offer.
No. 3: Minor League contracts with invites to spring training (Middle infield, SP, RP… anything really): Hey Rick, nice job finding cheap depth options last season. About time! Since our payroll is capped to $170mish, we will need to fill the edges of this roster with cheap depth options. Maybe Brian Goodwin is coming? Does anyone else think last year’s team was missing something that could tie the team together like a happy-go-lucky middle infielder who likes to pour Gatorade on his head? A reunion with old friend Chris Devenski? The options here for these signing are endless! (And most of them will be bad so cast a wide net Rick).
Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Trade Craig Kimbrel and Jake Burger to the New York Yankees for Joey Gallo and Clint Frazier. I don’t think either of these teams envisioned their big trade deadline acquisitions going quite like this. We all know how the Kimbrel deal worked out for the Sox, but Gallo was similarly poor for the Yankees, hitting .160/.303/.404 after moving to the Bronx. The bright lights of New York might not be the right for fit for Gallo, but maybe the south side of Chicago will work better? We will let him get dressed whichever way he would like.
Furthermore, I believe the Sox are adding the better of the “prospects” involved in this trade with Burger. He can help the Yankees solve their third base issues. Clint Frazier has had a roller coaster of a career in the Yankees system and he looks like a guy who could use a refresh (pending clarification on the Frazier head injury). If they need Micker Adolfo in addition to what we are giving, we can make that happen since we are likely to lose him for nothing, if he’s not traded this offseason.
No 2: Trade Andrew Vaughn, Garrett Crochet, Wes Kath and Jared Kelley to the Tampa Bay Rays for Brandon Lowe. Is it every really a good idea to trade with the Rays? Well, we are about to find out. If this was pretty much any other team, I would assume Lowe is not available, but the Rays tend to trade some of their best players before they get too expensive and right when they hold their maximum value. I think my package may be a little light after Lowe busted on to the scene as a 5 WAR player this season, but I would like to see what the Rays think of the potential upside of Garrett Crochet. Brandon Lowe would slot right into the top half of the Sox lot lineup and give them the best offense in the American League. The Rays can have their pick of the litter on the Sox minor league prospects. (True be told here, if Lowe is truly available, I have serious doubts the Sox would be able to have the best offer out there, even when giving the Rays whatever they want from the farm paired with Crochet & Vaughn)
SS Anderson- $9.5m
2B Lowe- $4m
CF Robert- $6m
C Grandal- $18.25m
1B Abreu- $19.7m
RF Gallo- $9.5m
LF Jimenez- $7.33m
3B Moncada- $13.8m
DH Sheets/Adolfo/Frazier- $0.575m
Romy/Mendick/spring training invite- $0.5m
Backup catcher- $4m
Adolfo/Sheets/Frazier/Spring training invite (think Lamb/Goodwin)- $0.6m (Frazier is estimated at $2.25m but has an option so it will depend on his spring and his health)
Rodon- $18.4m (If he rejects the QO, we can fill this with a free agent starter)
Keuchel- $18m (Would love to get rid of this, but I just don’t see it)
Spring Training Invite/Minor Leaguer with a good spring/Jimmy Cordero- $0.6m (Cordero is at $1.2m)
Total Payroll: $171m (Sorry, Jerry)
So, there you have it. The bullpen looks a bit thin and we are rolling the dice at designated hitter, but other than that, this is a roster that is good enough to win a world series. If Jerry wants to pony up a little more cash, we can go get a real DH or some major league caliber relievers or better depth options across the board, but being held to around $170m means those are luxuries that we just can’t afford. With this roster, I would figure the primary focus of Rick Hahn at the trade deadline would be adding relievers, which just so happens to be the most readily available thing come July every year. Another nice thing about this plan is the lack of additional big multiple year commitments, which I am sure Jerry will be happy to see while his “core” players get more expensive over the next couple of years.
Happy Offseason and Go Sox!