Calling all armchair general managers to set the course for the White Sox this offseason
Welcome to the Sox Machine Offseason Plan Project.
If you’re new to the OPP, it’s something I put together for the last four years at South Side Sox. Copy the template below, paste it into the text editor on this page, fill it out* and submit it. Here’s a good example from years past.
(*In case it isn’t etched into your memory like it is mine, Andy Gonzalez’s number is 26. You will need to know that.)
Last season, the offseason plans were limited, because so were the choices. The White Sox decided to tear it all down the winter before, and there was no clear path back to 85 wins without sacrificing all other upward trajectory, so this was the first time over the course of the OPP where the overarching path had already been determined.
This time around, there’s a bit of daylight. Or it might be a mirage. The White Sox have a better idea of needs that can only be addressed from outside the organization, but should they pursue solutions aggressively now for a team that might not crack 70 wins on paper? You make the call.
A few guidelines before proceeding:
*Cot’s Baseball Contracts has the White Sox’ payroll obligations, with the exception of Nate Jones, who has a $4.65 million contract option that requires a decision. If you bring back Jones and tender contracts to all arb-eligible players, the White Sox’ base payroll is in the neighborhood of $60 million. The payroll constraint for this exercise is $110 million, which I feel is the ceiling for an aggressive White Sox offseason. (Note: You can spend more, but you’ll have to make the case to ownership.)
*MLB Trade Rumors has the list of 2018-19 free agents. Note the players with club options and exercise common sense when it comes to their potential availability. (For example, Carlos Carrasco will not hit the open market.)
*There are such things as dumb ideas — Boston won’t be trading Mookie Betts — but the threshold is fairly high to cross it. The idea is to generate as many feasible names and combinations as possible, so even if you guess wildly wrong on the price, that can be hashed out in the comments.
Rosterbators: Mount up.
————— ✂️ [cut along the perforated line] ✂️ —————
Establish where you see the White Sox at this point, and your mindset/philosophy/strategy in putting together the roster for the upcoming season.
Write “tender” or “non-tender” after each player. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.
- Jose Abreu, $16M
- Avisail Garcia, $8M
- Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7M
- Carlos Rodon, $3.7M
- Matt Davidson, $2.4M
- Leury Garcia, $1.9M
- Danny Farquhar, $1.4M
Write “pick up” or “decline” after the option.
- Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout
- James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
- Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018)
- Hector Santiago (made $2 million in 2018 — added)
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Gordon Beckham (one year, $5 million). The White Sox need a third baseman who isn’t Yolmer Sanchez, and I think the last couple years in the minors give him the developmental time he’s lacked.
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 Yoan Moncada to Boston for Chris Sale. Sale is a free agent after the season, and I think bringing a Captain of Attitude back to Chicago in his walk year will work out for reasons undetermined. Who’s Jeff Samardzija?
If you finish up with a fairly firm 25-man roster, roll it out here. If you don’t, at least offer a sense of the payroll required, but more detail is always welcome.
What’s more important is describing how you settled on your plan — how or whether it resolves key positions, and what kind of position it leaves your White Sox in heading into 2019 and the following offseason.
Every plan may not be comprehensively sound, but even the shakiest ones may have one name or argument worth filing away for a position. The point of this exercise is to generate as many possibilities as possible, to see which players are the most popular, and to see how those of you who don’t see Manny Machado in the cards work around it.