Seven. That’s the number of plans I drew up for the White Sox this offseason. Ranging from “not doing a damn thing” to “tearing the whole roster down.”
This particular year is difficult because we didn’t see enough from the White Sox in 2018 to have any certainty from the young players to know how good they will become. Or, maybe we did, and I’m just in denial.
The plan I’m settling on is not a satisfying one. From the many offseason plans I’ve read there are fun solutions to the White Sox’ roster problems, such as spending money that the franchise has never done before and making drastic changes. That’s something I’m very much in favor of, but then reality sinks in, and I know that this isn’t what the White Sox will do. Then I become very depressed, questioning the meaning of life, and damn 2018 to one more level of hell.
Here is my boring offseason plan.
- Jose Abreu, $16M: Tender
- Avisail Garcia, $8M – Tender
- Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7M: Tender
- Carlos Rodon, $3.7M: Tender
- Matt Davidson, $2.4M: Tender
- Leury Garcia, $1.9M: Tender
- Danny Farquhar, $1.4M: Non-Tender – This is official as the White Sox outrighted Danny Farquhar, Ryan LaMarre, and Rob Scahill to Charlotte.
- Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout: Pick up
- James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout: Decline
There will be some internal screaming if Nate Jones gets hurt again. James Shields I’m sure will sign a minor league contract with a fringe contender and make their rotation. If not, wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Sox to work something out if they are concerned about Lucas Giolito’s performance in the majors.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
- Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018): Let go
None – I’m giving the prospects an additional year of development to enhance their value either to being part of the 2020 25-man roster, or leveraged in a trade.
FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
Let’s get the boring signing out of the way first.
Lance Lynn — one year, $12 million
This is identical to the contract Lance Lynn signed last year with the Minnesota Twins. He was performing below average with Minnesota, and got traded to the New York Yankees, where he was above average. My hope is that this Lance Lynn is more like the Yankees pitcher and not the Twins. Regardless, this will be a short marriage as he’s here to fill in the void Michael Kopech left for a season. If Lynn pitches well enough, maybe the White Sox can move him to a contender in July.
Now for the exciting move (at least to me)…
Nathan Eovaldi: Three years, $43.5 million + club option for 2022 with buyout (total four years, $57 million).
I think Nathan Eovaldi has $100 million stuff. He’s proven to be quite the weapon for Boston ever since they acquired him midseason, and has taken his game to another level this postseason. Averaged 97 mph on his four-seamer but we’ve seen him stay between 99 to 101 mph during the postseason. Will that be the new norm for Eovaldi? I’m sure in short stints where he can pair his 92-mph cutter and just devastate hitters for an inning or two. What’s impressed me the most and made him my free agency crush this offseason is being able sustain his stuff for five to six innings. I think the 2019 White Sox need Eovaldi to be that type of starting pitcher. For 2020 and 2021, hopefully he can still be that starting pitcher, or he gets move to the bullpen as the go-to-guy in high leverage situations. Eovaldi is a multi-faceted weapon on the mound. If he wants to be a starting pitcher, the White Sox have that opportunity for him.
Joe Kelly: Two years – $9 million
Because I am certain that Nate Jones will feel discomfort in his pitching elbow, go on the 10-day DL, have Hahn say that the discomfort is nothing major, and proceed to miss the second half of the season.
Payroll: $90 million (Link to spreadsheet)
Oh, were you expecting some new position players in my plan? I’d love to say that the White Sox will bring in Manny Machado or Bryce Harper because they do fit with this franchise window of building a future contender. I just find it so unfathomable that’ll happen I can’t even dream up such a scenario, and that sucks.
Instead, 2019 is going to be just like 2018, watching games focused more on development than wins and losses. The season can be quite enjoyable if Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez play exceptionally well; if being in their contract years lights a fire for Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia to perform at their best. If Carlos Rodon is healthy, he and Eovaldi are quality enough major leaguers to help lead a rotation. It’s not better than Cleveland’s, but it would be second-best on paper in the AL Central. Hell, maybe Adam Engel can carry a .300 OBP.
The bullpen is still young and feisty with intriguing arms, and there are the impending callups of Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. It’s a homer pick, but I think Jimenez will be the American League Rookie of the Year in 2019, and will be the player that turns doubters into believers.
I remain hopeful that this core will figure it out and 2019 will be a better year. With a new television contract on the horizon, if this team can find a way to reach 75-plus wins there will be no excuses left for the White Sox front office to not go on a wild shopping spree. More cash in the organization, better understanding of remaining needs, and quality players to go after.
As Hahn said at this past SoxFest,
“Ultimately, competing for free agents and targeting big-ticket items and hopefully converting on them will be the next logical step when the time is right.”
One more season to go before the time is right.
If this post was too dour of a tone, I’ll start my 2020 Offseason Plan here:
FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
Nolan Arenado – whatever he wants.