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The championship window is now wide open. It’s time to step and play with the big boys. Jerry, as a shrewd businessman, needs to spend now when prices may be a little deflated due to the pandemic.
- Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M Non-tender. His strong showing at the end of the season is not enough to bring him back.
- Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M Non-tender but re-sign. I know this one is not popular, but I want to see what a pitching coach who isn’t stuck in the 20th century can do with him. Put him in the pen to start and let’s see if they can turn him into another Andrew Miller type. Miller sucked for several years before someone finally put him in the pen and kept him there. If he leaves, Cleveland will sign him and then he will terrorize the Sox.
- Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M Tender. He is the biggest extension candidate, but I’m not going to include that here.
- Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M Tender. Another bullpen candidate.
- Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M Tender.
- Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M Tender.
- Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K Tender.
- Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain Non-tender. They can always re-sign him later in the year when someone else releases him.
- Edwin Encarnación: $12M Decline.
- Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout) Decline.
- Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout) Decline. His versatility and average play at 6 positions isn’t needed for 3.5 mil.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020) Let go. This was a tough one. I just think that $10 mil for someone who we have replacements for at a fraction of the cost is just too much.
- James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) Let go. I’d love to keep him, but he has priced himself out of a backup role.
- Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) Let go.
- Manager: AJ Hinch
- Pitching coach: Brent Strom
Hinch will bring the White Sox into the modern baseball world, and Strom will hopefully do with the Sox staff what he did with Houston.
Trevor Bauer (1 year, $38 million). Jerry’s kind of free agent. He loathes giving long term deals to pitchers- being able to get the top pitcher on the market for 1 year will be enticing enough for Jerry to break the bank. He and Giolito will be the best 1-2 punch in the AL.
Joc Pederson (2 years, $22 million) His last full season produced 36 home runs for the Dodgers. A decent glove will platoon in right field with Engel.
Michael Brantley (2 years, $20 million) A true professional hitter, who will slot right between Yoan and Abreu in the order. He and Eloy will share left field and DH. When Vaughn comes up after a couple of months in AAA, then Brantley, Eloy, Vaughn and Abreu will share LF/DH/1B.
Kurt Suzuki (1 year, $4 million) A quality backup catcher with some pop who always killed the Sox.
Carlos Rodon (1 year, $2.5 million). I want them to put him in the pen from the minute they sign him and see if Strom can fix him. There is just so much talent there- I want to see if he can be a Miller-type in the pen with that wipe-out slider.
None, but I would expect them to address any needs at midseason.
Here’s the 26-man roster:
Tim Anderson ss
Yoan Moncada 3b
Michael Brantley lf/DH
Jose Abreu 1b
Eloy Jimenez DH/lf
Yasmani Grandal c
Luis Robert cf
Joc Pederson rf
Nick Madrigal 2b
The lineup becomes more left-right balanced, with a patient .300 hitter at the top of the order in Brantley. I would expect a drop-off from Abreu, so Eloy would move into the cleanup spot and Vaughn would be up by June to allow Jose some days off if he needs them.
Adam Engel (rf against lefties)
I left an extra spot- it will be filled by Andrew Vaughn by early June.
Michael Kopech will start the season in AAA to work the rust off, then would be ready if Dunning or Cease struggle. The odds of 2 of Dunning/Cease/Kopech being able to adequately fill the 4/5 spots in the rotation is very good. They don’t have to be in the top end of the rotation.
Two of Carlos Rodon, Rey Lopez, Zach Burdi, Jace Fry
I think they can use both Bummer and Heuer as closers, and possibly even Crochet. Zach Burdi showed his velocity is back and his stuff was nasty but very inconsistent. He will be a big factor by mid-season. And Rodon and Lopez get their last chance with a new pitching coach. If it doesn’t work quickly, they’re both gone.
I came up with a total payroll of $150-155 million. If fans are allowed, and I think they will (it’s 5.5 months away), the Sox will draw 3 million next year. The Sox will be one of the top 3-4 teams in the AL, and Jerry strikes to get his 8th championship.