Tyler Flowers, $3.5M - Tender
Avisail Garcia, $2.3M- Tender
Nate Jones, $900K- Tender
Zach Putnam, $800K- Tender
Dan Jennings, $800K- Tender
These are all no-brainers.
Alexei Ramirez: $10 M, Pick up.
Another easy call. You're going to have to pay someone what you are paying Alexei and if the second half is any indication he is easily worth a 1/9 deal (since you are paying him a million either way).
Impending free agents:
Jeff Samardzija: $15.8M. Make the qualifying offer and pray to the Lords he takes it. He won't though. I am willing to sign him to a deal, but my guess is he gets more and would rather play elsewhere anyway.
Matt Albers: Let him go as a free agent.
Gordon Beckham: Let him go as a free agent.
Geovany Soto: I would like to resign Soto, and frankly, I like him better than Flowers. However, the White Sox didn't play him as much as he should have been playing and I'm fairly certain he can sign somewhere for more money and more playing time than the White Sox are willing to give.
Yoenis Cespedes: 6/$132M. This is the guy that the White Sox need. He is not only a monster at the plate, but is very good in the outfield and is also a ratings creator, all of which are things the White Sox desperately need. This will destroy the clubs current highest contract ever. It's time to do so. If the White Sox are serious about contending, Cespedes is the player that needs to be at the forefront of it.
Wei-Yin Chen: 5/$75M. The White Sox also need another starter. That starter is the former Oriole Wei-Yin Chen. Cespedes will not cost the White Sox a compensation pick, but Chen surely will. The Orioles will offer him that and for good reason. The lefty is 46-32 with a 3.72 ERA over his four seasons. He would fit in nicely in the White Sox rotation, even if he is another lefty.
Trades: The White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds make a trade. The White Sox acquire 3B Todd Frazier in exchange for RHP Frank Montas, RHP Erik Johnson, SP Spencer Adams, OF Avisail Garcia. The Reds are rebuilding and are getting two developmental arms that they can place directly into their rotation and one that is farther away with upside. I am a fan of Avi and I think he hasn't reached his potential, but due to the White Sox current circumstances, we can't afford to wait. The Reds, however, can and Garcia will fit in nicely there. Frazier fits in perfectly for the White Sox. He had a rough second half of the season and an amazing first half. The true level is in the middle. Either way, he'd be the first third baseman the team can be proud of since 2006.
Lineup vs. RHP: Eaton, Abreu, Cabrera, Cespedes, Frazier, LaRoche, Ramirez, Flowers, Sanchez. I think LaRoche is a pretty decent bounce back candidate and he should be given the opportunity to do so. If he struggles for the first two months, you can Keppinger him. Sanchez, although not really a KenWo guy, can play in this lineup especially against righties. You can afford his plus defense even though the bat is weak.
Lineup vs. LHP: Eaton, Abreu, Cespedes, Frazier, Cabrera, Ramirez, Thompson, Flowers, Saladino. We will crush your lefties. Thompson moves into an outfield spot and either Cespedes or Cabrera can grab a DH day.
Rotation: Sale, Quintana, Rodon, Chen, Danks.
Bullpen: Robertson, Duke, Jones, Petricka, Putnam, Jennings, Carroll
Bench: Thompson/LaRoche, Saladino/Sanchez, Rob Brantley (or another invite to camp type guy), Leury Garcia (or some other speedy, jack of all trades type guy).
The payroll comes in a bit over budget at 152.21M when you add in Cespedes' $22, Chen's $15 and Frazier's $7.5. You could change it up a tad and run with Erik Johnson instead of Chen and put in another piece in the trade with the Reds, but I am not comfortable with a 4/5 of Johnson and Danks. You need that other arm. Chen's $15 is what sent us way over budget, but if you're going to be serious about contending in the Sale/Abreu years, this is the picture you've painted for yourself. With LaRoche, Danks and Alexei coming off of the books next year, that number can come down a bit.