I was sick today so I went all out making this. I had a bit too much fun. Start: $88.7M kinda stole this from Pnoles because I was too lazy to add up everything myself so credit to him. Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Tyler Flowers, $3.5M Tender
Avisail Garcia, $2.3M Tender (I'm guessing more like $1.75M since he actually made me miss Dayan Viciedo this year)
Nate Jones, $900K Tender
Zach Putnam, $800K Tender
Dan Jennings, $800K Tender
Flowers is Sale’s barnacle, and you must deal with his embarrassingly high strikeout rate for his good catching. Avisail is going to be the lottery ticket of the deals I will discuss.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
Alexei Ramirez: $10M for 2016 or a $1 million buyout
Buy out and sign him to a 1 year/$4 million contract. Sigh. He is probably the best option until Tim Anderson comes up. Saladino is good on defense but his bat doesn’t earn him a starting spot and I love him as a utility infielder. The free agent market is pretty dry of shortstops (if Hahn signs Ian Desmond, I might start a riot). A lot of people are saying pick up the option, but I would be floored if any team offered a 34-year old -0.5 WAR player anything above $9 million. Impending free agents (re-sign, let go, or qualifying offer?):
Jeff Samardzija: $15.8M qualifying offer
Matt Albers: sign for maximum of $4 million (I’m guessing $3 million with $5 million option for 2017)
Gordon Beckham: I swear to God, Hahn
Geovany Soto: Let go
Matt Albers was a very good addition this year. I hope his finger injury lowered his value so we can pick him up cheap. If a team offers more than $4 million, let him go. Geo was good and keeping him would still be a good idea, but I think their is a cheaper option. I hate you Gordon Beckham.
Free agents We need defense. I don’t think anyone can stress that enough. Sale, Quintana, Danks, and Samardzija were all top ten in the league for highest BABIP so improved defense could get Sale that Cy Young he deserves so much. Also these signings require no compensation pick so we would still get to boost our farm system to recover from some trades. I'm going to go with two plans: Hahn with cojones and Hahn with no stones.
Gerardo Parra (2year/$15million) - Gerardo Parra had a very good year at the plate and a very bad year in the outfield. Both of these are flukes. It just seems implausible that he could go from a 41 DRS and 31.1 UZR player to a -10 DRS and -18.1 UZR player in two years without a significant injury to his lower half and being under the age of 30. His increased fly ball rate is promising. I predict him as a 90-100 wRC+, 10 DRS, and 1.0-2.0 WAR player.
Alex Avila (1year/ $1 million or MiLB deal) - Avila has a lot of warning signs such as his injuries, but Soto had the same issue and he remained healthy throughout 2015. Avila could be a good platoon partner for Flowers. I hope Hermy can keep him together. Credit to larry for this idea.
Mark Buehrle and AJ Pierzynski (1 day/$IDK,000) - The Sox need to sell out sometime this year and Mark Buehrle pitching to AJ who then gets himself ejected in the 7th inning is the best way to do so without Paul Konerko and 2005 to keep selling to fans.
Tommy Hunter (1year/$4million) - Get him to fill in Montas' spot when he gets traded. He is coming off a bit of a down year so we could get him cheap.
Operation No Stones
Colby Rasmus (2 year/$16million) - To me Rasmus is the perfect platoon in RF for Trayce Thompson. Rasmus would add power to the lineup and play an average RF. He could possibly milk out a multi-year deal from someone else, so that’s why I have the Jay Bruce Route.
Mat Latos (if Rasmus gets too pricy, see Frazier trade) (1yr/$7million) - Latos had a very bad year, but he still had a 3.72 FIP and I believe he can rebound. At his worst, he would be at the back end of the rotation with Erik Johnson. At his best, he lines up as a good #2 or #3 starter. This would make up for the Danks-Bruce expansion pack part of the Frazier deal.
Jason Heyward (7yrs/$170million) - That's right Hahn and Jerry. I'm calling for your balls. Hand the over. Don't enter the winter with them tucked between your legs or shoved up inside your bodies. Dammit, use some Bulls money Jerry. You should even shell out $180 million here if needed. In order to compete next year and years to come we need something bold. Heyward is the boldest option. He's 26, is an amazing fielder, and is an above average bat. Throw in an option for 2023 and 2024 as well. We are talking about a player with a 7.1 WAR difference from Avisail. The fact that he will be 33 by the end of this contract is very good and his performance earlier would for sure be able to cover that. Yeah every team and their mothers wants him, but I think we can cover the cost. Danks and LaRoche together take up $26.25 million and they are done after next year. He would fill this void with about a 4 WAR increase in production.
In summary: fix third base
White Sox-Rockies: RHP Frankie Montas, RHP Spencer Adams, LHP Jace Fry, OF Avisail Garcia, and 1B Adam LaRoche for 3B Nolan Arenado - Damn you Josh Nelson for putting this one in my head. This is a bit of a stretch, but please hear me out. The Rockies are rebuilding. They traded Tulo and picked up some arms. They will probably trade CarGo. They also have 3B prospect Ryan McMahon for the future. Montas can be the cornerstone of their bullpen. Spencer Adams is the hardest one to part with here. Avisail and LaRoche are the lottery tickets. Since the Rockies won’t compete for a few years, why not sprinkle your magic Coors Field fairy dust of decreased gravity on these two farts and hope Avisail becomes something to maybe replace CarGo and LaRoche makes a comeback. Arenado play Gold Glove defense at third and provide a 110 wRC+ behind Abreu. We get a 3B who is under control for four years, which could be a reason why the Rockies would keep him and this deal would not happen.
Operation No Stones
White Sox-Reds: RHP Frankie Montas, LHP Jordan Guerrero, 2B Micah Johnson, and OF Avisail Garcia for 3B Todd Frazier - Trappist Monks have the Toddfather trade as part of their offseason plan for the White Sox. That is how often I have seen this deal. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a third basemen who keeps his teammates close and his division rivals closer by making baseballs sleep with the fishes, but it is more conservative, realistic, and short-term option than throwing the farm at the Rockies for another Donaldson trade. Frankie Montas replaces Chapman who could leave this year via trade or next year via free agency or could become a good starter if the Reds think he can do it. Micah has his major flaw, but maybe Zach Cozart could teach him a thing or two about fielding. They would then get a good replacement for BP. Avisail would be a good lottery ticket replacement for likely trade candidate Jay Bruce.
OF Jay Bruce for LHP John Danks (if Rasmus wants a multiyear deal)- The Reds get a solid veteran innings-eater who can lead what became an all-rookie rotation by the end of the year. Bruce becomes the platoon partner for Trayce in RF.
LHP- Zach Duke
LHP- Dan Jennings
RHP- Zach Putnam
RHP- Matt Albers (Hey Hey Hey)
RHP- David Robertson
RHP- Daniel Webb
RHP- Tommy Hunter
IF- Tyler Saladino
IF- Micah Johnson
Cost: $141 million. I am assuming that Arenado makes $14 million in his first year of arbitration (I honestly have no clue but I'm guessing this based on Scott Boras and his outstanding year). I hope I didn't make any errors (I would love for someone in the comments to check). This is a bit over budget, and I am definitely dreaming about LaRoche leaving without taking all $12 million from Jerry's pocket. It would be about $153M keeping LaRoche which is almost $20 million over budget, but I am challenging Hahn and Reinsdorf’s guts here. Why am I the only one not trading Erik Johnson?
RHP- Mat Latos
RHP- Erik Johnson
Bullpen: same as other plan
Cost: $128.2 for Rasmus plan or $125.45 for Bruce plan. Again I'd love it if someone checks this more carefully. This team could get a WC spot if we get lucky.
My cheaper plan is the plan for the cautious White Sox front office. My aggresive plan is what I think is the better plan, even with LaRoche staying. This team should go for it. If they succeed, then they will compete for the next few years. If they fail, they can blow up the team and do an Epstein-style rebuild. The only problem is that Kenny, Hahn, and Jerry are too afraid to do this.
I have to give credit to Larry, Pnoles, and ParisSox for some of these ideas.