Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
• Tyler Flowers, $3.5M Tender
• Avisail Garcia, $2.3M Tender
• Nate Jones, $900K Tender
>• Zach Putnam, $800K Tender
• Dan Jennings, $800K Tender
There were no tough calls, All worth the price of admission.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
• Alexei Ramirez: $10M for 2016 or a $1 million buyout: BUYOUT For me this decision was fairly easy, Alexei is heading into age 34 season, for a shortstop thats pretty old. My second reason is he doesnt show great leadership or the desire to be a winner. My third reason is the just flat out Alexei swings at EVERYTHING, had an OBP somewhere in the .280 range. My last reason is that money would be better served somewhere else.
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go, or qualifying offer?)
• Jeff Samardzija: $15.8M qualifying offer: QO, And let walk
• Matt Albers: Made $1.5M in 2015: Resign, 1/$2.5M
• Gordon Beckham: Made $2M in 2015: Let go
• Geovany Soto: Made $1.5M in 2015: Let go
I gave Samardzija the QO and let him walk to get the valuble compensation pick. In the case of Albers I thought that he was a very valuable(underrated) bullpen pieace who did a terrific job with lower velocity then hes used to. I think Albers has figured something out the last couple years, And with a fully healthy season he should be even better with increased velocity. Beckham just has to go, there is no place for him in this organization. I know most people liked the idea of keeping Soto to be the backup but i had a better idea.
No. 1: Ben Zobrist(3years/$45million)The white sox get a great pure hitter who has been a very consistent player for a long time. With signing Zobrist the white sox fill the need at 2b, the white sox could be flexible with Zobrist and play him all around the diamond and in the the corner out field spots. Zobrist is a great OBP guy which is very valuable to a team that didnt do much of that at all last season. When it's all said and done I think it might take an extra year to get Zobrist but i feel this is a very reasonable price for him. The last thing I want to say about Ben Zobrist is he is part of a trend in players that I have aquired in my offseason plan, And thats 3 things I like to call the 3 IT FACTORS: 1)He's a WINNER. 2)He's CONFIDENT IN HIS CRAFT AND IN HIM SELF. 3)He's a GREAT TEAMMATE.
No.2: Kenta Maeda(5years/$60million)I think getting this Japenese import would be a great move. I think Maeda projects as a solid mid rotation starter who gives you 200IP and a low 3ERA to a high 2ERA. Over in Japan Maeda posted a 2.09 era this past year and pitched over 200 inings. Maeda has sat in the low 2's in era for his career but did have a break out year in which he posted an era of 1.53. I think he projects well in the MLB and i expect him to be a very solid contributor in a major league staff.
No.3: AJ Pierzynski(1year/$2million) I think it would be benificial in many ways to brink AJ back as the backup catcher, First of all he had a really good season and batted over .300, secondly he brings great clubhouse leadership, lastly he brings an attidtude with him but its a good kind of attitude.
No.4: Norichika Aoki(1year/$5.5million) For me I felt like Aoki fit in really good with my ofseason plan and Aoki is a guy who will bat near .300 and get on base a good amount. In my plan Aoki will be a part outfielder who mainly DH's.
No.5: Mike Aviles(1year/$4.5million) I think getting a guy like Mike Aviles could be very valuable to the depth of a team. Aviles is a guy who can play basically every postion in the infield and some corner outfield. Aviles is a very valuable utility guy who is much needed.
No.1: Tim Anderson, Tyler Danish, Chris Beck, and Matt Davidson for Evan Longoria. This offseason I think were going to hear Evan Longoria's name a considerable amount, 3b has been a big need for a very long time, and out of all the guys who are going to be availble, I like Longoria the best and I think there's a decent chance he gets dealt. As far as the trade goes, I see it as very fair with the sox sending arguably their best prospect and two young pitching prospects. Davidson is a throw in essentially, Maybe the Rays could tap into his power potential. And the WHite sox get their 3b and middle of the order bat they have long sought after. I know Longoria's production has gone down a little bit the last couple of years but i dont think thats because of the skill level diminishing, A fresh start and maybe playing with actual allstar caliber players like Abreu will put Longoria back at the level hes capable of. Evan Longoria is also a guy who has those 3 IT FACTORSp>
No. 2: Adam Laroche, John Danks, and Avi Garcia for James Shields. In my opinion the White Sox and Padres lineup perfectly for a bad contract for bad contract(or contracts in this case) trade. The padres would love to unload James shield's contract and this trade gives them a great oppurtunity to do just that. White Sox would love to unload at least one of either Laroche or Danks and in this trade it gives them the oppurtunity to do both. Looking at it from the Padres point of view: San Diego is strapped into a bunch of long term commitments, And San Diego would like to clear some of that so in this trade they get just ONE year of John Danks and Adam Laroche and both of them fill needs for spots on the team. Adam Laroche takes over at first base where hes an upgrade over yonder Alonso, Laroche will feel at home in Petco where he has found a lot of success in his career, Laroche will also be able to player first base everyday (which he often complains about like a big baby). John Danks fills a rotation spot which should be valuable for San Diego with Ian Kennedy a free agent, Danks should have better success in that big ball park and the National league the place for broken pitchers. The last guy Sand Diego gets is Avi, Avi hasnt reached his so called potential in Chicago and has dissapointed in all areas of his game, San Diego may see it as a chance to pounce on 24 year old outfielder who also fills a need with Justin Upton leaving and maybe he could tap into some of that potential in San Diego. Overall for San Diego they clear the long term commitment of James Shields and fill three vacant needs. In the White Sox point of view they unload the two worst contracts on the team with both of them having no spots on the club anyways, And putting Avi in the trade should be pretty easy. Avi is below average defender who strikes out a ton and doesnt get on base, Oh yea he doesnt have any power either. Enter James Shields, Shields has been a really good pitcher for a very long time and the sox put a really quality innings eating arm in the middle of the rotation in the AL central where hes very comftorable. Shields hs 3yrs and about $57M left on his deal but when you take account for the guys were giving up who add up to about $30M for just next year with those 3 out and Shields in that saves an extra $12M in payroll for 2016, Shields's contract now looks like something in the vacinity of 3yrs $30M which is very reasonable for a pitcher of Shields's quality. Overall this is a trade that makes a TON of sense for both organization.The trade I have suggested makes a lot of sense to me but putting in a guy like Tyler Salidino in the trade to finish it off may have to be done, and I would do it. James Shields who was also teamates with Longoria and Zobrist coud be a benifit to clubehouse chemistry.
No.3: Jose Quintana, Tyler Flowers, and Trey Michalczewski for Jonathan Lucroy.First from the Brewers standpoint they get the highley coveted Jose Quintana, Quintana has everything you want in a top of the rotation starter and hes only getting better and very cost controlled. In Flowers they get a servicable catcher who has shown that hes at the top of the league as far as pitch framing, But his hitting is poor and his game calling is questionable in my opinion. Flowers is a serviceable replacment for Lucroy. The last guy the brewers get is young 3b Michalczewski who has climbed through the white sox farm system, He's a nice hitter with little power, Brewers dont have a clear third basemen so Trey could fight for a job their in Milwaukee. Going to the white sox point of view the get one of the best all around catchers in the league at a cost controllable price, enough said! It was though a costly price in highly thought of Jose Quintana. Overall a win win for both sides And as far as the money part for both sides they almost even out in fact the white sox save a little bit more. The last thing I want to say about this trade is that Jonathan Lucroy has the ever so crucial 3 IT FACTORS!
No.4: Erick Johnson, Frankie Montas, and Micah Johnson for Javy Baez. Cubs and white sox of potetnial trade fits across the board, the white sox need a shortstop and the cubs have three of them, the cubs need arms and the white sox have a stockpile of them. From the cubs point of view, In Erick Johnson they get a quality arm they can put in the bottom of the rotation. With Frankie Montas the get a power arm who is probably more suited for the back end of the bullpen.The last guy the cubs get in the deal is Micah Johnson who they could be very flexible with, they could either make him a utility player or start him at 2b and the use Starlin Castro in another trade. The cubs do lose Javy Baez but he just hasnt reached hid potential in the big leagues yet and he strikes out a ton, the cubs already have enough guys who strikeout plenty enough. Also Baez is just one of three extra shortstops, so its a win for the cubs. Now going the white sox point of view they get a potential franchise shortstop who could turn into power hitting beast with the potential to be Josh Donaldson like. The white sox of course give up a lot in this deal but the sox are wealthy in arms and I feel they could be flexible with Micha Johnson at this point with Carlos Sanchez also in the organization. Going back to Javy Baez, I feel in the right situation free from pressure and a feeling like he has something to prove and nothing to lose will propel him to reaching his potential. Javy Baez has the IT FACTORS in him, they just have to be instilled and be used on a consistent basis.
In my offseason plan i feel a gave a realistic pathway to a payroll in the $130million range. With the trades I made I empyed the farm pretty good but I put a team out there with long term stability. I filled holes at 3b,2b,C,DH,and the rotation. I have two guys in Shields and Zobrist with 3 year left on the deal, Evan Longoria who has 7 remaining at a very reasonable price. I signed Japenese import Kenta Maeda for 5 years at a price of 12million per year, which i think will end up being a bargin deal for a guy like Maeda. I aquired one of the best catchers in the league who has very good cost controlable years on his contract. And I signed a couple 1 year deals with AJ and Aviles. Overall I think every free agent deal and every trade that I made were fair on all sides and are very realist deals. Last Rick Hahn said he wanted to add complementary players to go with the core already there, In my opinion the core was not even close to being done, so in my offseason plan I added to the core and the complementary players. My plan improved the Offense, the defense, and the pitching. I feel like I put together an offseason plan that was deep and in depth and serves as a bold but at the same time a realistic plan.
7th spot up for grabs, may need to auire additional bullpen help
Payroll number ends up in the low 130 million dollar range. Hey, you give me lemons I make lemonade