The Godfather is in the Dugout Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

Tony La Russa is back, and some fans and media personalities are up in arms because the Hall of Famer is 76 years old. I choose to look at the bright side. In addition to three World Championships, which the White Sox and Cubs don’t have between them in 100 years, Tony adds more urgency to the “win now’ mandate. After all, how many years can Tony stand in the dugout? That window is probably three years before the grim reaper makes him retire again, like Ali, as the greatest of all time.

The chairman apparently feels bad about firing Tony, or letting Hawk fire Tony, and allowing him to go on and win three world series championships. Poor Tony La Russa, we’re sorry for letting you escape to become a success!

In any case, this new hire provides opportunity. The Chairman himself is on borrowed time at 84 years old. The life expectancy of a male in the USA is 76.1 years. So, time is of the essence. Let us use that information to guilt the Chairman into getting the players we need to win.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS 

  • Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M – Non-Tender. He had a chance. He failed. He’s lucky we’re only non-tendering him.
  • Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M – Non-Tender. I don’t see how Carlito fits into the rotation. He’s made it clear through his wife and through his performance that he won’t fit into the bullpen. His career starts make us think he won’t be a starter on a good team, and nobody will trade for him.
  • Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M – Tender.
  • Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M – Tender. I tried to work out a deal with Tampa to move Lopez, Rodon, and Rutherford for Meadows (who really slumped in 2020) but the trade simulator said I was ripping off Tampa so we keep Lopez or do we?
  • Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M -Tender.
  • Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M – Tender
  • Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K – Tender
  • Yolmer Sánchez: Looks like Rick Hahn got mad and waived him before I moved into the office.

CLUB OPTIONS 

  • Edwin Encarnación: $12M – Declined by Rick and I agree
  • Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout) – Declined by Rick and I agree
  • Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout) – Picked up by Rick. His meddling is starting to remind me of the chairman. Tony and I would have said faugetaboutit but Rick made the decision without consulting the family.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS 

  • Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020) – I have his replacement so we don’t have the locker space.
  • James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) – What’s the market?  You can’t have too many pitchers and you can’t have too many starting catchers. 3 years for 27 mil?
  • Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) – Useless, so he gone.

COACHING STAFF 

  • Manager: Tony La Russa, with his shiny world series rings and died black hair.
  • Pitching coach: Curt Young

Waiver Wire

  • Brad “mister” Hand was put on waivers by the Indians. This is a twofer. We take from the Indians and fill the hole left by Colome leaving at the $10 mil that Mr. Hand is owed. Plus, he’ll come in handy against the Twins, who he dominated. It’s one year and remember, Tony and Jerry are living on borrowed time. This pickup buys us one more year to gain faith in Heuer and Bummer.

FREE AGENTS

Who? Corey Kluber, Adam Eaton, a Japanese pitcher who has won their Cy Young Awards, Cespedes or Oscar Colas? What about Springer and Bauer?

There is lot to shop for in the free agency aisle with various levels. The Macy’s store has George Springer and Trevor Bauer. Springer seems like the obvious choice, with rightfield wide open, but let’s get a reality check. He’s not coming to the White Sox, with the payroll we have to play with, and we’re not getting him to play for the numbers thrown around on this site. I love the idea of Trevor Bauer but he seems like a giant tool that runs uncontrollably and inevitably cuts off the best parts. Oh, he also wants $30 mil or so a year. That would give Jerry a heart attack and the first Bauer drone incident would probably end with Tony hitting the deck. However, he is an alternative to consider based on the fact that Jerry and Tony will die with smiles on their faces if he’s on the team. Heading into the discussion, Bauer is a backup plan that blows the budget.

A lot of would be GMs have been shopping in the Five Below store and trying to convince themselves that the merchandise isn’t from China. I’m not going to do that because remember (tick tock), we only have so much time. So, no to Quintana, Cahill, and those other bargain basement deals. Stroman isn’t any better so no Stroman for you.

Two Free agents, in the States, stand out to me. Adam Eaton did not have his option picked up because it was ten million dollars and he played below that level last year. However, he is a good fielder, in right, and he should return to his average after acting like a Covid 19 victim and hitting only .226 last year. The three prior years, including the championship year, had averages of .284, .297, and .301.  On base was over .390 for two of the years. He’s worth a look.

Adam Eaton   1 year 5 million with team option for another 5 million (Only as a backup plan to International Free agents, who will be given the first offer. Eaton is the backup plan)

The second player is Corey Kluber, who the Rangers let go rather than pick up the $18 million dollar option. He’s the perfect Kenny Williams pick up because he’s coming off two injury marred seasons. Can anyone remember the Sox pickup of Jake Peavy while he was injured. I did remember so I turned the page on Kluber, who I was slotting into the payroll I saved by letting Rick tell Gio G. to hit the bricks. I suppose if Kluber was willing to take $7 mil with a club option year at 11 mil, I’d give in but I’m hoping that we can find something else as we shop internationally.

International Free Agency

This is where the White Sox stand out. Look at all those foreign-born players!  Rumor has it that the there are some difference makers available. First, let’s touch on the easy acquisitions.

Oscar Colas is a dual threat lefty hitting outfielder who can pitch. He’s a Cuban born player with a contract problem in Japan that he needs to alleviate himself from immediately. We can help. Rick Hahn is an attorney and so is Tony La Russa. I think Tony can contact the Japanese team and “make an offer that they can’t refuse” to free Colas from his contract. Rumor was that Colas wanted to go to the Sox, who have the international money to spend this time.

If putting a horse’s head in the bed of the owner of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks won’t work, we’ll have to move on to Yoelqui Cespedes, who can play all three outfield positions. Cespedes is the number 1 international player because Colas is already locked up in Japanese contract lingo. He’s also 23 so he’s probably ready to go. Those Cuban kids are so advanced.

Sign Colas or Cespedes for International Money $2 mil, $3 mil, whatever

By now, you may be wondering where is the big deal that Jerry has to be talked into.

Tomoyuki Sugano is the best pitcher in Japan and he’s going to be posted. He’s 31 years old and throws about 92 miles an hour. He relies on his control and the Darvish like pitch selection. He was 13-1 last year after coming back from a back injury. He walks very few people and is considered a solid #3. So how much for a 31-year-old pitcher? The comp I used was Yusei Kikuchi who signed with Seattle a couple of years ago. I didn’t use Tanaka’s first contract or Darvish because they were considered #1 pitchers and were younger.

Sign Sugano 3 years for $45 million. Kikuchi signed a 43 million dollar contract for three years. We may also have to pop $20 mil to win the negotiating rights.

The Best Part?  If we can’t get Sugano, we pivot to Bauer and tell the Chairman that it is our best hope to win in the next two years. Someone suggested that the contract is 30 mil a year and let Bauer choose between 1 and 5 years. I like that idea.

TRADES 

Austin Meadows?

I was trying for an Austin Meadows trade, but I couldn’t make it happen. I could have traded Cease, Kopech or Dunning but I wanted to send Lopez packing.  I just don’t want to give up on Cease, Kopech or Dunning for a guy that hit .203 this year.

I did find a taker for Lopez. The LA Angels of Anaheim, or whatever name they go by now, I think the Angels, who are hurting for any kind of pitching, will think Lopez is the next Dylan Bundy and jump at the chance to provide two middling prospects.

Trade Lopez to the Angels for Maitan and Rivera

Lopez to the Angels for Kevin Maitan, who never lived up to his billing as a top international prospect. He plays SS, 3B and 2B and is a switch hitter, who originally was signed as the top international free agent in 2017. I would also ask the Angels to throw in Erik Rivera a lefty pitcher who is the 28th ranked prospect. Both prospects are only 20 and I’m thinking that the hitting coach can adjust Maitan and make him something special. Rivera is a lottery ticket.

SUMMARY

We’ve brought this payroll in at $128 million (or $143M if Bauer comes instead of Sugano). Is the team better? Well, we have a third pitcher and if Bauer is signed that third pitcher is former CY Young winner, Dallas Keuchel. If Bauer isn’t signed, it’s the 2- time Japanese Cy Young, Tomoyuki Sugano.  If we can’t sign either Colas or Cespedes, and have to settle for Adam Eaton, the payroll stands at $132.5 or $147.5. Whether Adam Eaton is in RF or Colas or Cespedes, the Sox defense and offense improves in that position. With Edwin gone and McCann sharing C/DH at bats with Grandal and Collins, we improve with addition by subtraction. We also keep Giolito happy and I swear it looked like that guy was going to cry a few times this year.

I would like to see Eaton back in RF but only because Ozzie Guillen said everyone hated him when he was on the team before. That would be must watch TV before and after games. Eaton would undoubtedly follow the leaders of the clubhouse and hide the personality traits that Guillen said made him a D-Bag type in the clubhouse. Remember, this is the guy that said 12-year old Drake LaRoche was a leader in the clubhouse, so he’ll certainly follow Abreu, Grandal, Keuchel, and McCann.,

Lineup

  1. SS Anderson $7.25M
  2. 3B Moncada $6.8M
  3. 1B Abreu $17.66M
  4. LF Eloy $4.33M
  5. CF Robert $3.5M
  6. DH/c Grandal $18.25M
  7. C  McCann $9M   DH Collins $0.575
  8. RF Colas or Cepedes $0.575
  9. 2B Madrigal $0.575M

On the bench

2B/3B Mendick   $0.575

SS/2B Garcia      $3.5M

OF Engel              $1.2M

Starting Pitching:

Keuchel                $18M
Giolito                  $3.9M
Sugano                 $15M  or Bauer $30 mil
Cease                   $0.575M
Dunning               $0.575M

Bullpen:

Bummer               $2M      7/8
Hand                    $10M    Closer
Marshall              $1.5M         6th
Foster                   $0.575M
Heuer                   $0.575M  7/8
Kopech                 $0.575 M  Multi inning guy
Cordero               $0.575M
Fry                         $0.9M

On the Farm

Burdi               Maitan             Rivera              Rutherford      Zavala             Dalquist

Crochet           Kelley              Thompson       Johnson           Stiever             Rutherford

Vaughn                       Adolfo            Sheets              Burger             Lambert              Pinklington

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GrabSomeBench

You are probably right about the LaRussa signing. The window is open for sure and Reinsdorf could be talked into spending. Let’s make sure it isn’t on second rate choices. I can’t believe how many people want Q to return and take a spot from Kopech, Dunning or Cease. I’d like those other posters to realize that Kopech didn’t pitch in 2020 and he still was a better pitcher than Q. I like the plan because I too kept McCann and signed Colas or Cespedes. The Japanese pitcher is a new one and I didn’t know about him. I also admit that I don’t know how much it would cost to sign him. He does sound like a good choice if Bauer isn’t signed.