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As my twitter handle is “@whitesox2021” you can tell I’ve been waiting for this season since my account’s debut in 2018. In the midst of a 100 loss campaign, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and was excited to have 2021 be the first year of legit contention. This team is good, but a few moves away from being great. Now let’s implement the most talented team in franchise history.
Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M
NONTENDER – I didn’t hate the move when it happened since all he needed to do was replicate his 2019 numbers to make a difference. His 2019 wRC+ of 110 against righties would have made right field at least serviceable instead of the major weakness we know it as. I think the 55 wRC+ against righties this year was a fluke anyway. His exit velocity numbers improved, though somehow his launch angle went down. He’s a project, but not on this team.
Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M
NONTENDER – This was hard for me. I have always loved Rodon, and I have always supported him because he put up good numbers when he was healthy. His numbers were deflated by the games he obviously pitched injured. The increase in fastball velocity when he came back is promising for him, but like Mazara, he doesn’t fit on this team. There’s just no spot you can trust him next year that warrants over 4 million dollars.
Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M
TENDER – Let’s get an extension for our ace. I’m not comfortable with the possibility of letting our best pitcher being able to walk after 3 years. I’m going to try to fit the mold of what the White Sox like to do with their extensions. Let’s go 4 year 54 million. 5/11/16/22 with a 25 million dollar club option for 2025. That’s a possible 5/79 which would be one of the highest extensions for a first year arbitration eligible pitcher ever.
Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M
TENDER – Has he been good? No, but for only about 2 million you don’t let him go. After working with Zaleski (spoiler alert), he looked serviceable. Maybe it was just small sample size, but for his projected role, serviceable is all that’s needed. Won’t be too upset if he gets nontendered.
Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M
TENDER – Did you know Evan Marshall led the team in xERA and was eleventh in all of baseball this season? His name should be more involved in future closer talk in my opinion.
Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M
TENDER – If you follow my account, I loved Adam Engel before it was cool. He was never suited to be an everyday player, but he exceled in that forth outfielder role. He is in the 100th percentile for sprint speed.
Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K
TENDER – Increase use of his sinker helped him put together a solid year. Good arm at the bottom of the bullpen’s depth chart.
Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain
NONTENDER – I think this is finally the end…for real this time.
Edwin Encarnación: $12M
DECLINE – In attempt to add stability at DH, father time officially caught up. It’s Andrew Vaughn season now.
Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout)
DECLINE – He played his role. There’s a much better use of 7 million.
Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout)
ACCEPT – He was in the middle of what looked like a really good season, easy choice for only 3.5 million to serve as the super utility man. He also looks like the only other competent shortstop if TA misses time.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020)
LET GO – I’ve been hard on Colome, but he did his job very very well. That being said I don’t think he’s truly in the top tier of relief arms that warrants what his contract will be.
James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020)
LET GO – When you have an elite catcher already, you do not need to spend starter money on a backup. Yes, Lucas will be fine without him. I’m going to miss having the best catching tandem in the league, but I will not miss arguing how Yasmani Grandal is the superior player. He definitely benefitted from the role he was in, and I truly hope he doesn’t get exposed catching full time.
Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020)
LET GO – He’ll end up finding a bad team who’s willing to pay him a few million, then get traded to a contender at the deadline. Pretty good gig if you ask me. Hopefully there isn’t international pool money to be traded next deadline.
Manager: AJ Hinch
Everyone deserves a second chance. People will hate him, but he is a great manager. He knows how to manage a team loaded with talent and understands analytics. Sign me up. Not often is there a manager this good available. Can’t miss opportunity.
Pitching Coach: Matt Zaleski
If you follow me, you’ll also know I’ve been gushing over him for quite some time now. I feel there was no coincidence seeing all of the arms coming up from Schaumburg succeed. Overhaul the clubhouse with two forward thinkers, and I think we’re onto something.
No. 1: Trevor Bauer – 4 year for 110 million (26/26/28/30)
Bauer is really good and brings the upside the White Sox need to go all the way. Led every single starter in xERA this year. Two out of the last three years he has had a FIP and xERA below 3. And if his bad is a 3.3 fWAR year, I’ll take that every time. I’m not concerned about his bad to average years 3+ seasons ago, distant past definitely doesn’t impact the future. Bauer looks elite right now, and there is no reason to believe he won’t be elite for the foreseeable future. I don’t expect him to take a 5 year deal, maybe even a 4 year is a stretch, but let’s try to lock him up for as long as possible. He pushes his teammates and has a vested interest in making them better. Is Stroman more likely? Probably, but I really want Bauer and Lucas to be in that 1A and 1B role.
No. 2: Joc Pederson – 2 years 16 million with a 12 million dollar club option for 2023 (8/8/*12)
The White Sox don’t necessarily need a lefty, but they do need a righty killer. This team was below .500 against right handed starting pitching. That is why Springer would be amazing, but I don’t think they sign both top guys. Joc had 36 HR and a 136 wRC+ against righties in 2019. Sign me up. He struggled in 2020, but the peripherals look good. He was one of the unluckiest hitters in baseball in this short season.
No. 3: Tommy La Stella – 2 years 10 million (5/5)
A 151 and 134 wRC+ against righties in 2020 and 2019 respectively. La Stella is a righty killer, and also one of the most discipled hitters in the league. In this short season he led the league in BB/K with 2.25. To put that in perspective, Juan Soto was second with 1.46. That number is most likely unsustainable, but even his career 0.90 would lead this team. Grandal’s 0.52 led the White Sox in 2020. I would like him to take the role Yolmer just had. That probably is too expensive for the first infielder off the bench, especially when Leury Garcia exists, but I really want these splits and his discipline in the lineup. Also, with Madrigal possibly missing time early in the season, this would be a fantastic acquisition. La Stella seems more like a luxury, but he definitely would make this team considerably deeper.
No. 4: Trevor Rosenthal – 3 years 24 million (8/8/8)
Rosenthal will probably cost less money than Colome, and he was maybe the best pitcher in baseball this short season. I personally hope the Sox don’t appoint a set closer and just let Bummer, Rosenthal, Marshall, Heuer, Foster pitch situationally.
No. 5: Tyler Flowers – 1 year 3 million
Sorry, Zack Collins, I don’t want you catching once or twice a week. I love your offensive outlook, but there just isn’t room on this team nor the ability to gamble at catcher. Let’s bring back Flowers. Surely Chris Sale’s ‘personal catcher’ can connect with Giolito.
***IF the Indians decline Roberto Perez’s option, I’d look into getting him for similar cost. Might as well go get one of the best defenders in the league if available.
I’ll be surprised if a big trade is made. If so, I would want it to be for Michael Conforto, and they immediately lock him up. I’ll try one trade though.
Mychal Givens (Rockies) for Zack Collins and James Beard
Does that happen? Probably not. Is that fair? Not sure, but to me that’s a better package that what the Rockies gave the Orioles for him. Maybe they would want a ground ball pitcher in Bernardo Flores, who knows. The Rockies had the worst production out of catcher in the league, so I feel like they could be at least maybe be a suitor for Collins. Givens is the exact type of relief arm that I would love to see traded for. He has two more years of arbitration.
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal, Tyler Flowers (2)
Infield: Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Tommy La Stella, Danny Mendick, Andrew Vaughn (6)
Outfield: Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Joc Pederson, Adam Engel, Leury Garcia (5)
Starting Pitchers: Lucas Giolito, Trevor Bauer, Dallas Keuchel, Dane Dunning, Dylan Cease (5)
Relief Pitchers: Aaron Bummer, Trevor Rosenthal, Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer, Mychal Givens, Matt Foster, Garret Crochet, Jimmy Cordero (7)
I have Lopez, Fry, and Kopech starting in AAA. I feel like Kopech facing minor league hitters for a handful of starts wouldn’t be a bad thing considering there isn’t a gaping hole in the rotation.
I created this plan to make the White Sox better in all areas of weakness. I added Bauer to add to the upside of the rotation, Pederson and La Stella to rake against righties, La Stella to improve the overall plate discipline, Rosenthal and Givens to make this bullpen even more dynamic.
This plan is probably unrealistic since it puts the payroll at just under 150 million. They likely won’t add someone like La Stella and signing Stroman instead of Bauer would put them near 135 million, which is realistic. Anything less, this team will not be a legit contender. Open the wallet Jerry!