The White Sox payroll has room for all arbitration figures and then someAvisail Garcia won his arbitration hearing last year.

The White Sox payroll has room for all arbitration figures and then some

A scorched-earth rebuild desensitizes a fan in so many ways. If the White Sox’ league-low TV ratings are any indication, most fans have removed themselves from the equation by deciding not to watch.

For the fans that still follow, it’s hard to get worked up about any individual development. If Rick Renteria hampers the chances of a comeback with a bunt call on a given night, it matters about as much as a bad month from Yoan Moncada, which matters about as much as a bad year for Lucas Giolito, which matters about as much as a flawless performance at Triple-A from Eloy Jimenez.

That’s what was great about Michael Kopech’s promotion — it finally tethered player development with an improvement to the MLB product. And, of course, it ultimately made zero impact because he tore his UCL after four starts.

Arbitration figures are another thing that don’t really matter, because the White Sox only have two players under contract for more than the league minimum in 2019. MLB Trade Rumors released its 2019 arbitration projections, and the White Sox have room for all of these players at all of these dollar amounts without a second thought:

  • Jose Abreu – $16MM
  • Avisail Garcia – $8.0MM
  • Yolmer Sanchez – $4.7MM
  • Carlos Rodon – $3.7MM
  • Matt Davidson – $2.4MM
  • Leury Garcia – $1.9MM
  • Danny Farquhar – $1.4MM

Last year, MLBTR missed by $4.9 million on Abreu’s projection, tabbing him for $17.9 million when Abreu agreed to $13 million. Abreu doesn’t have a whole lot of peers when it comes to his pre-arb salary trajectory, so it’s hard to know about this year’s figure, either. Conversely, it nailed Avisail Garcia’s number, and was close enough on the other five cases to make it an accurate-enough assessment for the group on the whole.

If that holds true — and if all contracts are tendered — the White Sox’ base payroll number is $56 million, give or take a rounding error. Welington Castillo ($7.25 million) and Tim Anderson ($1.4 million) are the only other Sox under contract for more than the league minimum in 2019, unless you bring back Nate Jones and his $4.65 million option.

I doubt everybody on this list will be tendered, and while Avisail Garcia could be a battleground in our offseason plans, I’m more referring to Danny Farquhar, who will be attempting to come back from his brain aneurysm. I could see him coming back on a split contract, where he makes something like his arbitration number if he makes the 25-man roster. If one party decides to move on, then the payroll is $55 million.

When you get to Garcia, it becomes a matter of direction.

If the White Sox decide to punt on 2019 — or at least add no further beyond a veneer of respectability — then they may as well tender Garcia. He addresses a need for the year and makes it easier to meet payroll floor commitments, and if that unprecedented power surge hangs around, he’ll outearn a number that right now easily outpaces his career averages.

If the White Sox harbor any sort of ambition to significantly improving this team starting in 2019 — even if 2020 or 2021 is still the actual start of fielding a contender — then non-tendering makes more sense. That $8 million salary becomes more significant when it could be used toward solving a 2020 problem, especially if they plan on acquiring an outfielder. Non-tendering Garcia puts the base payroll below $50 million, leaving plenty of room for a superstar and then some.

And there’s room in between. The White Sox could bring back Garcia for his final arb year while making several other moves and still open the season with a bottom-third payroll. That’s the kind of room they’re working with. Garcia’s last arb year isn’t worth gumming up the works, but he’s also better than any of the internal corner outfield/DH options who aren’t Eloy Jimenez, even with a balky knee.

History says the White Sox won’t make the big splash, but they’re also at the bottom of MLB’s payroll rankings while garnering baseball’s lowest TV ratings, and Abreu/Castillo’s salaries come off the books the following year to offset any internal gains. Maybe they’ll try to squeeze one more low-cost offseason out of these rock-bottom expectations, but I’d hope fewer people run interference for them if they do. The Oakland A’s and Milwaukee Brewers are right there as teams that formed contenders with a transactional approach to roster-building. Even if the top of the free agent class rejects a genuinely motivated White Sox front office, there are far fewer excuses for remaining so quiet over the winter this time around.

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KenWo4LiFe
Member

I just have the feeling he is going to have a pretty big year. If you combined his 2017 with his power of 2018 he’d be one of the best in baseball. If he’s going to do it, it is now in his free agent year. He isn’t blocking anyone and there is a spot as the right DH even if he is (Davidson is the one I’m booting). And if he struggles again? It’s 8 million. Not 25 million. Not worried about it.

bobbysouthsider
Member
bobbysouthsider

He’s blocking Eloy and Bryce

yolmers gatorade
Member

I agree about Avi. He is also just as good as any non Bryce Harper corner outfielder on the market. I think the Sox should look at Leonys Martin or Adam Jones for a 2 year contract to plug the hole in center field and maybe be a fourth outfielder in 2020. Add an infielder to push out another Yolmer everyday year. Add at back end starter on a 3 year deal for some insurance, and add a veteran on a one year deal for the 4-5 spot. Then call it a winter. The team will likely win more than 70 games without busting the future at all.

KenWo4LiFe
Member

In my world they sign McCutchen and Machado. That would still leave a hole in RF as I plan on playing Cutch in center the first 7 innings of a game this season. Avi plays right (unless they do the ultimate and sign Markakis).
1. Andrew McCutchen CF
2. Manny Machado 3B
3. Jose Abreu 1B
4. Daniel Palka DH
5. Eloy Jimenez LF
6. Yoan Moncada 2B
7. Avi Garcia RF
8. Tim Anderson SS
9. Welington Castillo/Omar Narvaez C

You can toy with the order. I was just trying to separate righties and lefties a little.

roke1960
Member

That’s a decent lineup, though I’m not sure McCutchen can play center field anymore. Against lefties, substitute Davidson for Palka at DH and move Eloy up to 4th and Davidson 5th.

KenWo4LiFe
Member

I think outfield defense is overrated. We saw a good centerfielder stink it up all season long. In the era of homers, strikeouts, walks and shifts i think having a guy that can make a routine play is good enough. Just my opinion. Move Cutch to left or right in the latter innings and bring Engel in. Next season, Cutch slides to RF if one of our CF prospects are ready to go.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Oh goody, we can have J.B. Shuck with a better OBP. No, Cutch should absolutely not be playing center field on a daily basis, though I do like the look of him at the top of a lineup for the next two or three years.

KenWo4LiFe
Member

Sox Park is far smaller than the outfields McCutchen has played in. He’d be good enough for a year.

Trooper Galactus
Member

That’s a massive over-simplification. He’s passable in a pinch, but on a daily basis it would erode any value his bat provides.

Soxfan2
Member

“I think outfield defense is overrated”…DId you see Palka play defense last year? With that being said, Avi is not good and provides no trade value or future benefit to the White Sox. Move on. I’d rather trade for a younger player that’s blocked on another team. For Example, Adolis Garcia is a 25 year old on the Cardinals. He is blocked at all OF positions in STL and profiles as an above average defender in RF with a solid bat. I’d much have him and his upside over Avi and his 0 upside. 

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

He can’t. Neither can Adam Jones. There’s basically one CF on the market this winter, AJ Pollock, but he’s constantly getting hurt.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

I disagree with this in several ways.

1) He’s not going to combine his 2017 with anything, because his 2017 was built off of an insane BABIP. He’s never going to hit anything close to .330 again.

2) His rate of extra-base hits was actually HIGHER in 2017 than in 2018. Avi hit more HR in 2018, but was not as much better in isolated power (.202 vs .176) than would be implied by the homer total. He basically stopped hitting doubles.

3) He gets hurt too much to be counted on.

Like Jim, I’m fine if they tender him if they do basically nothing this offseason. Also like Jim, though, I am not fine if they do basically nothing this offseason, so by extension, I am not fine if they tender him.

roke1960
Member

I could see tendering him if even they sign Machado and a couple of other smaller free agents. They have no one in the organization that is ready to play right field. With as small a payroll as they have now, his $8 million hit should not prevent them from making significant upgrades. Unless they sign McCutchen or Pollock or someone of that caliber, he is not blocking anyone in the organization this year.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Most decent OF free agents are corner guys (including McCutchen). If they sign a corner OF and retain Avi, then yeah, they’re basically setting up a scenario to block Eloy beyond early April.

yolmers gatorade
Member

Who would you put in right field then?

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Sign someone. I don’t think Avi should suck up $8M on a team that’s trying to be good. He’s only justified that level of investment (or any level of investment, really) one time in 5+ seasons in the majors.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Yes indeed. sign someone.
Avi doesn’t fit the rebuild. Sign him, then trade him. Non tender Davidson.
Danny F. something incentive based is the way to go.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Nobody wanted to trade any noteworthy talent for Avi coming off a season where he was an All-Star and due to make $6.7 million. Nobody wants to trade even crap talent for him making $8 million coming off a season where he posted a .281 OBP and had offseason knee surgery.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

of course not, did I say that? Signing him makes him easier to trade. He’s not untradeable. As I said before 8 mil. is high.
Even then no tender him, if you like. His time is at an end. He serves no purpose.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Signing him doesn’t make him easier to trade. The market has made it pretty clear that nobody’s really interested in him, even at the height of his performance. Yes, I would plan on non-tendering him.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Yeah, I am a little confused about “sign him, then trade him”. If he is non-tendered, he would sign for whatever the market says he’s worth, with the team that values him the most. A player in that situation by definition has zero trade value.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

A player signed has a set and defined value. a known value verses an unknown value. You trade for a player that is unsigned then offer arbitration, they decline, you have nothing.

Trooper Galactus
Member

How can a player decline arbitration? If they had that power players would be free agents after three or four seasons.

KenWo4LiFe
Member

I agree that he won’t hit .330, but I think he could hit something like .290 with 25+ home runs this year. It’s a free agent season. You’ll see a jump in production. If not? 8 million. Big deal.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Of course, despite hitting over .290 exactly once in his White Sox career (in an insanely BABIP-driven year) and never hitting so much as 20 home runs in a season, much less 25, we should absolutely be thinking Avi can do this in 2019. Seriously, Ken, who have you been watching the last six seasons that you’re confusing with Avi, because this is silly.

35Shields
Member
35Shields

Davidson’s number surprises me a bit given how awful he was before this year and the underwhelming finish he had to the season. I guess he’s got some decent counting stats, but geez.

denbum
Member
denbum

While many of us Sox fans understand the purpose and need for ‘rebuilding’, it is my guess that I’m not alone in being skeptical of the progress. For me, I would have hoped that Sox had already bottomed out and fans would start to see an upswing in performance and results. What I see is more losses, more bad losses, more poor fielding, more poor managerial moves, more strikeouts, less fannies in the seats, less nights where Sox are must-see TV., etc, etc, etc. I need to see progress from where Sox are today up until the arbitrary (2020? 2021? 2022?) date for return to contention. I believe you were right when noticing how Brewers & A’s built their roster. Sox may have reached point where they need to start acquiring players that are not AAAA retreads or down-the-road-three-years’-prospects, but actual young major league players that translate to wins, not hoped-for wins. As evidenced by the low attendance number and low numbers of TV viewers, the organization is hovering near nonrelevance. I would think the clock should be ticking on Hahn and staff, Renteria and coaches (all coaches), and maybe even Reinsdorf/Williams. Building the minor league/ prospect talent was a must and I’d say Sox made quite a headway on that. But the time is getting close when the team at GRF needs to be relevant. I’m giving them the first half of 2019 to show me that there’s some proof that this group has a real plan and has the competetence to pull it off. If 2019 ends and they still haven’t reached bottom, I’m willing to have someone else other than Hahn and his staff, and especially Renteria and his coaches guide this rebuild.

roke1960
Member

Absolutely right. They are almost irrelevant now. A winter of inactivity will push them even closer to irrelevance. It’s a shame that their September was dreadful and made us realize how far they are away from being good. The division will be really bad again next year. The Indians were not very good this year and will likely be worse next year unless they spend big money to keep their free agents. The Sox could have made a run at the division next year and if the stars align just right, they could anyway. Remember just 2 years ago the Twins went from 103 losses to the playoffs. But that would mean adding at least two quality free agents, and of course hoping for big improvements from at least Moncada/Giolito/Rodon. I’m a little leery about trading any of the prospects yet, because the top hitters are mostly a couple of years away. If they punt on this winter, then we will be likely having a similar discussion next winter, which would make it 4 winters in a row. The rebuild is over. Now it’s time for the buildup.

roke1960
Member

I should have said the tear down is over. The rebuild continues, but now the focus should be on acquiring serious major league talent.

MrStealYoBase
Member
MrStealYoBase

At a certain point, being bad affects the possibility of being good in the future. Moncada, Anderson, Giolito, Lopez, Rodon all have promise, but if they have nothing to play for every day they aren’t going to get any better.

If you look at teams that are good right now, how many of them have guys that came “out of nowhere” to be major contributors around the core? It because when you are competitive it drives everyone to play better and compete with one another. Having guys like Engel starting just doesn’t do that.

Sox should have gone for Brent Phillips. Should have gone for Tommy Pham. Should have gone for Corey Dickerson. These are guys who might not sell merchandise but at least have promise and can make the major league team a bit more competitive in the here and now. If the Sox don’t find a few guys like that this offseason to cover, CF, 3B, and at least two starting pitching spots. We can count them out til 2022.

roke1960
Member

The fact that they are garnering baseball’s lowest TV ratings goes hand in hand with them possibly being the worst team to watch in 2018. They really offered no entertainment value beyond seeing if some of the young guys would show improvement. And starting the season with essentially the same team (plus Eloy in late April) will guarantee near the bottom TV ratings again.

As Cirensica
Member

If the White Sox’ league-low TV ratings are any indication, most fans have removed themselves from the equation by deciding not to watch.

I actually watched very few White Sox games this year…probably a the fewest in recent years. I have mlb.tv subscription, and yet I found myself watching other games rather than suffering watching all the Tilsons, Engels, Giolitos, Fulmers, and so much incompetency and mediocrity almost every where else.

denbum
Member
denbum

In developing all these high-rated prospects, it’s just as or maybe even more important that players learn ‘how to win’. I hated it this year when the bullpen blew one of many winnable games, fans discounted it by saying wins aren’t important this year or were hoping for a lower draft pick. BS. And I’m on the fence as to whether I believe Renteria/coaches are able to competently guide them. After 2017’s 67 wins, the curve should have shown maybe 75-82 wins in ’18, 82+ in ’18, and then contender-like figures in 2020 moving forward. Instead, Sox went backward…..wins ARE important…so that’s why I say that the first half of ’19 is important. If they’re still going backwards, something will have to change. Does anyone think Omar Vizquel could replace Rentaria? Girardi? At this point, the top prospects are identified and their approximate timetables for Chicago are assumed to be 1,2,3 years. It’s the quality of acquisitions that Hahn adds to roster that will determine wins and thus, winning attitude.
And to return to this thread’s topic, every guy on that list can be resigned to start season. But by the end of July, the roster has to start looking more major league. Sox seem to have a handful of guys getting a lot of time that wouldn’t even be on this years’ contenders rosters.

roke1960
Member

That’s why September was such a depressing month. They really seemed to have something going in August and the young guys were “learning how to win”. For those that think we were better off with a terrible month in September to get the 3rd pick, I think that’s wrong. There needed to be some progress in 2018, and that September that they had ruined that. I would rather have had a winning September and get to 70-72 wins, which would have given us some optimism going into 2019. And as for Vizquel, I think he would be a great replacement for Renteria. He was a coach for several years, then got a taste of managing last year. He seemed to get rave reviews for his job down there. He reminds me of Ozzie- without the drama.

Sophist
Member

I don’t know . . . those 100-loss Astros seasons didn’t seem to prevent them from learning how to win.

Trooper Galactus
Member

The Astros didn’t trade away anybody remotely like Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, or Jose Quintana.

dongutteridge
Member
dongutteridge

There’s no upside to signing Avi. 

He wouldn’t be around past next year. 

The Sox aren’t gonna be in the playoffs next year. 

He isn’t gonna play well enough and stay healthy enough to get a return at the trade deadline worth that investment. 

Lastly, while the Sox putz around with him on the roster they not giving chances or development time to a player that might be a part of their future. Whether that player is currently in the system or not. Just say no to Avi. 

KenWo4LiFe
Member

Te White Sox have a bigger hole n cf and nobody coming up to play there 

roke1960
Member

I’m more optimistic of getting a decent season from Avi than I am from the center field mix (Engel/Tilson/Leury/Cordell and whoever else Hahn signs to take big league at bats).

KenWo4LiFe
Member

Absolutely this. If we are signing multiple outfielders- fine. But if any of these guys are in our lineup? They better keep avi.

Marty34
Member
Marty34

I think it’s time to move Moncada to his permanent position and I’d like to see that be CF.

I’d let Avi and Davidson go and include Sanchez in some trade to bring the payroll down to $41M with the goal of having this lineup:

CF Moncada
LF Jimenez
RF Harper
1B Abreu
DH Palka
3B Donaldson
2B Leury
SS Anderson
C Narvaez
UT Rondon

oljeto
Member
oljeto

Get real.  No agent is going to let his stud sign with this FO.

roke1960
Member

Get real. No agent is going to turn down the higher offer for his stud.

5742mail
Member
5742mail

Since 2019 is year 3 of so called rebuild, lets bring Avi back hoping he rebounds and stays healthy. Then find a hitting coach to give purpose. Rebuild from within. Opening day line-up of.
1, Luis Gonzalez c.f. 1 Carlos Rodon
2, Yoan Moncadda 2nd. 2 Reynaldo Lopez
3, Jose Abreu 1st. 3 Dylan Cease
4, Daniel Palma dh. 4 Lucas Giolito
5, Eloy Jimenez l.f. 5 Bernardo Flores
6, Avisail Garcia r.f
7, Tom Anderson ‘s. Bp Dylan Covey. Aaron Bummer
8, Jose Rondon 3rd. Ryan Burr. Jaun Minaya
9, Omar Narvaez. Caleb Frare. Jade Fry.
Ian Hamiton
Wellington Castillo
Holler Sanchez
Leury Garcia
Nicky Delmonico.
This roster would be more exciting and should win 10 plus more games. Gonzalez over Robert because of college experience, with a possible change with Joel Booker.
Lets go Sox.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Cease and Flores will not be on the Opening Day roster. Cease just set a career high for innings by a significant margin with a whopping 124, and that was considered a healthy, durable season by his standards.

KenWo4LiFe
Member

I’d be full out disgusted if this was the lineup.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Hey, hey, you should really give that Palma kid a chance.

jorgefabregas
Member

Daniels de Palma and Holler Sanchez will lead us to glory.

Trooper Galactus
Member

comment image

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Flores.
I read he won a Golden Glove award last week. So he has that going for him. I went to see him in August. Very steady, very focused.

denbum
Member
denbum

I’d like to see just one of our recent #1 picks fast-tracked to majors. So, if you’re going to play fast and loose as to where Moncada plays, let’s just give Madrigal 2B and leave him there …..

Trooper Galactus
Member

Sale and Rodon were both fast-tracked, and even Fulmer was up just over a year after being drafted. Burdi likely would have been fast-tracked had the team been in contention. Burger never had a chance to get fast tracked due to injury and Madrigal, well, we’ll see. The White Sox are still on the aggressive side of promoting players before 2018.

denbum
Member
denbum

You’re right, Trooper – but of the names you bring up, only Sale reaches all-star status – the others, well, we’ll see… It may be pie in-the-sky, but I’m ready for a Sox top pick to be a ROY candidate, not a platoon player on the team 3 yrs from now. Maybe Eloy?

Trooper Galactus
Member

The proportion of All-Star players in the first round is probably not nearly as high as you think. And while I don’t see that upside for Burger, Madrigal, or Anderson, I think it’s still very possible for Rodon or even Burdi.

Eagle Bones
Member

So now we’re not just looking for them to draft good player, we’re looking for them to draft lots of all-stars and have them up ASAP. That seems reasonable.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

FYI
BA just dropped it’s top 50 high players for next year draft today. worth a look.

Eagle Bones
Member

So I know several have voiced their opinions one way or the other, but I’m legitimately conflicted on what they should do this offseason. Not to spoil the offseason plans (which I’m sure are coming), but this is the first year where I can legitimately remember not being sure what to root for. Obviously if they could get Machado, I would be all for that, but I think we all know that that is, at best, a long shot (and more probably they won’t even be in the conversation). If that’s the case, should they jump in and try to splash around in the shallow end of the FA pool? I’m all for them trying to get better via FA, but we saw where that got them before. It definitely sounds good to add some nice vets and try to jumpstart the rebuild a bit, but what if they sign an AJ Pollock and Pat Corbin and they nose dive in year one? I guess what I’m asking is, if they’re going to do that, how is now any different than when they added Melky, Robertson, etc. a couple years back? Is the assumption that they have more system depth now to help cover the other holes? More financial flexibility to add around those guys? I’ll admit I haven’t done the back of napkin math to see where a handful of those mid-tier additions would leave them payroll wise. Just curious to hear everyone’s thoughts so I can decide what the heck I should be hoping to see when I refresh MLBTR in a couple weeks.

roke1960
Member

Very good post, Eagle Bones. I think we’re all conflicted as to what they should do. Repeating the Robin years when they added middle of the road guys seems to be out. Plus, with so much more young talent coming up, these guys probably wouldn’t have a place on the team in 2-3 years. Though I am not overly optimistic on them signing Machado, I think they will give it a good shot. I have given my reasons why I believe that many times in the past few weeks. They really do have to think big in the next two offseasons to supplement their young talent. It is imperative that they sign one of the top free agents in the next two offseasons or this rebuild will most likely not be successful. With a young core of Moncada, Eloy, Robert, Cease, Kopech, Lopez and so many others, they have a chance to be a special team for many years. But they need one or two elite, proven players to supplement that. The payroll flexibility is there now like it never has been before. It’s time for this team to join the ranks of the big market clubs. I’m cautiously optimistic that they will.

Eagle Bones
Member

Completely agree they should TRY to sign Machado (and the other elite guys this year and next). But even if Jerry is willing to loosen the purse strings, that seems like a long-shot (at least this offseason when they’re still so far down the win curve).

I’m not sure I agree with you when you say these non-elite guys wouldn’t have a spot on the team in a couple years. I don’t think they can really count on filling out a full lineup and rotation from within. Even the OF, which I think we all agree is an area of strength for the system, has a lot of question marks past Eloy. If a guy like Pollock can come in and maintain his current level of play (and maybe even stay healthy), I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t be among the three best OFs on the team in a couple years. Ditto a guy like Corbin in the rotation (not that I’m necessarily arguing for him). Are you saying if they can’t sign Machado, they should kind of do nothing again this offseason? Not saying that’s wrong, just curious. I’m also not sure about playing in that end of the FA pool. The added risk they’d be assuming by signing these guys the offseason ahead of what looks like another non-contending year might not be worth it.

I know pnoles (among others) has advocated that they add and try to win (which I’m not necessarily against). I’m just looking for a rationale that makes me feel good about that plan (as opposed to worried which I suppose you should always been when you’re signing guys in their 30s and the team’s owner has repeatedly shown an unwillingness to spend past mistakes).

roke1960
Member

I would consider Corbin and Pollock two of the top free agents and both would very likely have a place on the roster down the road. The guys I am against signing are guys like Granderson or Jon Jay or Carlos Gomez, who are not appreciably better that what we have now and would not benefit the long term outlook. Assuming Machado and Harper are long shots, then I could see going after Corbin, Pollock, McCutchen, Keuchel or guys in the 2nd tier of free agents, who would be able to stick with the team for several years. Obviously my first choice is Machado for many reasons. But if they can’t sign him, I’d like them to sign form the 2nd tier and then go after Arenado or Rendon next year.

roke1960
Member

I’ve been a fan of the Sox through the entire span of Reinsdorf’s ownership. He has in the past gone after big, big names when the time is right. As much as we criticize this front office (and they deserve it), they had to have a plan for coming out of the rebuild with all this cash. I know I’m in the distinct minority, but I believe that plan involved signing Machado. They showed real interest in him last year. He is a prefect fit for what they are trying to do.

Eagle Bones
Member

Gotcha, I was probably unclear when I said “shallow end of the FA pool”. I guess I meant just “non-elite”.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Dunno if the market will bear it out, but I’d say Keuchel is probably still an elite free agent, or at least really, really close to it. 204 innings and 3.6 fWAR is nothing to sneeze at, especially in a pretty thin pitching market.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I don’t know that Keuchel will wind up being “second tier” when it comes to his deal.

roke1960
Member

The first tier is Machado and Harper. No one will come close to them. I would put Pollock, Corbin, Keuchel and Kimbrel in the 2nd tier. That doesn’t count Kershaw, who almost certainly won’t leave LA.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I’d put him in the first tier even without getting Machado/Harper money just because I consider any nine-figure deal to be first tier, and I think that’s what he’ll be demanding.

roke1960
Member

That’s a good point, but he will still be $200+ million behind those 2. How about Tier 1A?

Trooper Galactus
Member

That works. One way or another, I think he’s getting a mega-deal and won’t settle for an Arrieta kind of bargain.

roke1960
Member

Yeah, I think he’s going to get $100+ million.

Eagle Bones
Member

I mean I guess you can say he’s better than the other guys below Harper and Machado, I just consider those guys to be Tier 1 by themselves due to the sheer size of the contract I’m assuming they’re going to get (which I’m assuming will be multiples of what Keuchel ends up getting).

Eagle Bones
Member

As in he’ll get more or less than that?

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

The warning from 2015 should be about execution, not about spending money at all. The alternative to not adding from free agency was wasting another year of Abreu, Eaton, Quintana, and Sale (also Garcia). Their failures were both not spending enough and spending poorly.

They’re in the same position now with the core they’ve called up.

The difference is that they do have a better farm to supplement the roster, their core doesn’t have as many players dragging down the roster, and they should have more money to spend. The big problem here is whether they’ve adjusted how they scout. But that’s a problem whenever they decide to spend money, this year or next.

My personal preference would be, if they can’t land Machado, to see if they can throw a stupid amount of 1-year money at some players, maybe with options or opt-outs, and see if it sticks. They’ve got room in the budget to try and fundamentally break the market.

roke1960
Member

You’re absolutely right. They can front load contracts with opt-outs because they have so much cash available now. They didn’t have that much available over the last 10 years to make a really big splash. So they tried to go after the middle tier guys to supplement what they had, but that didn’t work. Jerry broke the market when he signed Albert Belle. The owners were pretty pissed at him for giving out that contract. I don’t think he would hesitate to do that again. He has a ton of cash to do it with.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Of course, Albert Belle’s contract preceded the A-Rod mega-deal of 2001(?). Once contracts exploded into that level of years/dollars, Jerry never even remotely entered that tier, even all these years later.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Also note that Jerry basically backed away from the terms of that deal after two years because he didn’t want to pay any longer.

roke1960
Member

That’s why you have opt-outs. Jerry couldn’t back away from that deal on his own. Albert Belle had to agree to it also.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Not exactly. His contract had a clause stating he could demand to remain one of the three highest paid players in the league. Naturally, he invoked that clause. If the White Sox elected to pay him what was necessary, they could have kept him. Instead, they elected not to which made Belle a free agent. It wasn’t so much that Belle agreed to walk away from the deal, it’s that the White Sox decided they didn’t want to hold up their end of it, which instantly made him a free agent. The White Sox willingly ceded their control of him.

roke1960
Member

They essentially gave him an opt-out clause, or a mutual agreement. Any big contract they give now will have an opt-out clause too.

Trooper Galactus
Member

He couldn’t opt out, he could simply demand more money. The White Sox were the ones who opted out when he did.

Eagle Bones
Member

Isn’t this a little different than 2015 though in that those players (Sale, Q, etc.) were all already fully formed stars/contributors, whereas this current roster is still waiting for several guys to take a step forward? I could see an argument for doing that NEXT year after (hopefully) some of these guys take a step forward (that way you’re not taking on the risk this year in a probably non-contending year).

Your idea of going in on a bunch of short-term deals is interesting. I wouldn’t have a problem with that as long as they don’t block anyone that looks like a possible contributor.

roke1960
Member

The potetntial problem with waiting til next year is there is no guarantee Arenado or Rendon or any big free agent will make it to free agency. Machado (and Harper) are now free agents. They would be with the team for 10 years. Adding them a year early would not hurt the overall picture.

Eagle Bones
Member

Again, I’m fine with them going after any and all of those top guys. My concern comes when you move down to the next tier. Though I have to admit, the fact that a guy like Machado may be looking for one or more opt-outs does give me some pause.

roke1960
Member

Pretty much all of the top guys are going to get opt-outs. I would imagine giving Machado $120 million the first three years would get him, with opt-outs after that, and about $350-400 million for the 10-12 year life of the contract.

Eagle Bones
Member

Right, that seems like the norm now. I guess the key there is making sure the opt-out isn’t TOO early (so as to prevent a scenario where they’re finally getting good at the same time he’s opting out).

Otter
Member

Another thing: the Sox could get very creative in their offer for Machado (or Harper). Something like 8/$280, but with $100m in the first two years and $175m over the first four and maybe give Machado an opt-out after year 5 or 6.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Waiting for players to be fully developed creates risk of opportunity cost from not being able to take advantage of that development the year it happens.

Signing Pollock to 4/$80m is risk. Signing him to 1/$30m with incentives and a mutual option (for the sake of argument) is just the cost of trying not to suck.

Eagle Bones
Member

That’s a fair point. I guess I just feel like so many of their guys have a LOT of development left. It’s not like they were all good and trending up, but just not quite great yet. Giolito was outright bad, Kopech is gone for the next year. Lopez and Rodon showed promise but also had trouble missing bats at times. We’re all familiar with Moncada’s issues, etc. Not saying I disagree with you, it’s just really had seeing this core providing more than a couple of good support options for this coming year. But maybe I’m just traumatized by what I watched this year.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Plus, think of it as a test for the front office. Give them $100m or whatever to show they can scout and sign productive free agents for a single season before deciding they’re the ones who should chart out the next 3+ seasons.

roke1960
Member

They’ve failed every test so far, maybe they can pass this one!

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Average payroll last year was 138 million. If the Sox let Davidson and Avi go and spent up to the League average, that’s 90 million plus. Not happening but….

Josh Nelson
Editor

Eagles Bones, you are not alone in this boat. I feel the same way you do.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I’ve been prepping to do three offseason plans: extreme spending, limited spending, and no spending.

GrinnellSteve
Member

Something that’s not getting discussed much is the Sox’ TV ratings and attendance. You could argue they need an elite free agent or two to bolster interest. And won’t Jerry be negotiating a new TV deal soon? Machado and/or Harper plus the infusion of young talent could help turn the Sox into an interesting and winning team that people pay attention to.

roke1960
Member

You gotta spend money to make money.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Pretty sure they made tons of money this year without spending a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. I hold out two hopes: first, that Jerry is motivated to get another World Series trophy before he kicks the bucket, and second, that they will spend heavily to drive up the value of the team before selling it like the Cubs did back in 07-08.

roke1960
Member

And those are two very important factors to consider. We have never really seen the Sox in this situation, with very little committed. I guess there is no precedent for what they might do, which will keep us all guessing!