Before I begin, I just wanted to thank you for your work Jim I’ve spent the last 5 summers away from home: the first 4 as a guide in extremely rural Alaska, and now as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Colombia. Reliable internet and cable TV aren’t a part of my life anymore. In general it’s been great, but I miss getting to watch the Sox outside of a couple random nights of reddit streams at hostels when traveling around.
Anyways, your work at Southsidesox and now Soxmachine has been greatly appreciated in places far from Chicago. It takes away a little of the hardship of being so far from home. Thanks again!
My White Sox offseason plan:
Every move the Sox should do this offseason should be designed with the intention of maximizing the expected value of that players contract for our projected window of contention from 2020 or 21 thru ~25. I have no interest in Wellington Castillo type band-aid moves that might make the team a little more palatable for the next year or 2, but not really help us when it comes time to make a move for the postseason.
For trades I’m interested in using our budget to absorb bad contracts that come with a prospect attached who could ultimately contribute to the next good White Sox team.
Free Agency has repeatedly proven throughout the history of baseball to be an inefficient use of resources. I would get in contact with the representatives of Machado and Harper and ask they keep us in the loop if they feel as though they are not receiving fair market value from other teams, but almost assuredly I’ll be avoiding this as I don’t see it likely that either contract will produce much surplus value (more because of the likely opt outs rather than the AAV or even years involved in either contract). All that being said, almost every year it seems like there is one all star caliber player who for some reason slips through the cracks and signs a friendly deal, a la Justin Turner two off seasons ago. I see one such clear example this offseason, who Ill get too later.
Write “tender” or “non-tender” after each player. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.
•Jose Abreu, $16M. Tender
•Avisail Garcia, $8M Non-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
I’d be open to bringing back Avi, but with the moves that are coming up next he became very expendable. The rest of the moves were straightforward.
Write “pick up” or “decline” after the option.
•Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout PICK UP
•James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout DECLINE
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
•Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018) LET GO
•Hector Santiago (made $2 million in 2018 — added) LET GO
- Sign Catcher Yasmani Grandal to a 4 year 72 million dollar contract- I saw on pnoles twitter that Grandal has accrued ~23 WARP over the last 4 years. I saw on MLBTradeRumors that his projected contract is for 4 years 64 million. Even considering that catchers age less gracefully than other positions, sometimes framing numbers can get weird, and that he might not call the best game, that’s silly. Cut that WARP in half (which I don’t think is a fair projection, albeit not super unjust) over the next four years and he’d still be good value at this number. 3 WAR players get 20 mil/year all the time. Plus, this doesn’t even account for how this might positively impact our young arms going forward. Get this deal done.
***Note: I’m signing him to a deescalating contract. 25 mil year one, 20 mil year 2, 15 mil year 3, 12 mil year 4. I think more money upfront helps us land him, and his contract is less likely to get in the way when I go to add another star or two the following couple of off seasons. Plus, if I’ve got 110 million to spend I want to milk as much of it as I can.
1) Nate Jones, Omar Navarez, Adam Engel, 4 million dollars and Luis Basabe to Washington Nationals for Victor Robles- This assumes that Bryce Harper actually returns to the Nationals. At that point Robles would probably be the odd man out in Washington’s OF. I’d offer them any non Robert OF in our system to pair with Navarez and Jones in this deal. While the Sox would probably “win” the trade in most people’s eyes I think it makes sense for the Nats as well. We’re basically swapping players who wouldn’t really fit on their current rosters. Omar helps at least somewhat close what’s a pretty gaping hole on the Nats roster at a cheap price for years to come. Basabe makes up a fair amount of the difference between those 2 players. Jones is a fun upside play who the sox are pretty much paying for, and Engel might thrive in his true role of defense first 4th outfielder.
Robles becomes our CF right away and hopefully flourishes into an all star in a year or 2.
2) Jose Rodon and Steele Walker to the New York Yankees for Clint Frazier, Sonny Gray, Tommy Khanle and Jacoby Ellsbury- Khanle and Gray in someways are clogging 40 man spots for the Yanks, and could be easily moved. For our Sox they serve as nice, cheap upside plays for the that happen to fill holes currently on the roster. Gray becomes this years James Shields. We’ll see if Coop can fix Khanle again. Ellsbury is the price we have to pay to get Fraizer who should be available when you look at what the Yanks got going on with Judge and Stanton. He’ll be our opening day RF. Rodon helps them out with Didi out the first couple months, and Steele Walker is somewhat interesting. An additional factor is this allows the Yanks an opportunity to clear more space from the luxury tax before spending big this offseason.
3) Luis Robert to the Houston Astros for Forrest Whitley- While I don’t think you can ever have too many prospects at one position I want to leverage our surplus of outfield prospects into a premium pitching prospect. Whitley is definitely a higher ranked prospect, but with how pitchers breakdown 55 FV hitting prospects like Robert actually tend to outperform 60 FV pitching prospects like Whitley by about 4 million dollars over the life of their team control. We know how wide the range of outcomes of what Robert could be, but Whitley might have even more variance. He has legit ace potential, but only threw 26 innings this year after a suspension and last injury and was not as dominant his second time in AA. The list of RHP HS 1st round picks the last decade or so is NSFW stuff, but I feel good about our OF, especially after the moves Ive already made, that I want our crazy tool oozing Lottery ticket to be a pitcher.
****If Houston declines, I pick up the phone, call the Cardinals and offer Robert for Alex Reyes.
LF Jimenez (if he ever learns how to play defense)
Cease (give him 6 or 7 starts in AAA and if no one can touch him bring him up….no more wasting bullets in Charlotte)
Carlos Rodon 3 years for 33 million (11 each year) with two club options at 12 and 13 million a piece with a $1 million buyout on both.
I’ve seen the question asked: Why lock up Rodon long term when there are so many concerns about his health, and how good he actually is? Why not spin it, and explore if we can use his scary past injury to secure a contract with potential for some serious payoff when we (hopefully) have our playoff caliber team?
I’m not sure 100% sure if either side would love this deal, but Rodon gets to protect himself in the case of another major injury. True generational wealth and a pay raise higher than what he’s already made in his career might make sense for a guy who has already had one major shoulder injury.
As for the Sox, this deal is more of an exchange of his relatively useless surplus value now, for the opportunity to have it in a couple years if things go to plan. I think it’s at least worth a conversation for both sides.
I think I’ve improved the team from really bad to just below average here, even though that wasn’t really my intent. Eloy should be about 5 wins by himself over Tilson, Thompson and Delmonico. Grandal should give a couple more. I bet the new young OF’s are roughly 1 win improvements over what they’re replacing. I think Moncada and Giolito are poised for a fair amount of improvement, and Abreu will have some what of a bounce back year. The only place on the roster I’d project any kind of notable regression is with the bullpen. Still if you Start with 62 wins and add it all up and I think is team should win around 75 games next season.
Which is perfect cause next year the Sox would have the space to sign a star, use their stable of prospects to trade for another one, and still have the resources to fill in whatever holes they may have afterwards to bridge them back to the playoffs. That window should be open for a while with the structure of some of the signings and other moves we made this offseason. One more year of despair folks. We can do this!
The total payroll would come in somewhere between $105 and 110 million