I wasn't going to do a plan this year, but it's a cold, wet and dreary day, so I had time to work on this. My first thought was a four word "plan": Blow this f***er up! Instead I decided to do a "tear down on the fly".
The White Sox have a track record of developing pitchers and
utility middle infielders, so it's time to deal from strengths to fill some weaknesses. I don't know if the end result of my plan would win anything, but it should certainly be more enjoyable (dare I say entertaining?) to watch than what we've seen the past three seasons.
- Tyler Flowers, $3.5M --tender
- Avisail Garcia, $2.3M --non-tender
- Nate Jones, $900K --tender
- Zach Putnam, $800K --tender
- Dan Jennings, $800K --tender
I haven't given up all hope for Avi, but I need the money to use elsewhere.
- Alexei Ramirez: $10M for 2016 or a $1 million buyout --buyout
Again, I need the money to sign other players.
Impending free agents:
- Jeff Samardzija: $15.8M qualifying offer --QO
- Matt Albers: Made $1.5M in 2015 --let go
- Gordon Beckham: Made $2M in 2015 --you're kidding, right? -- let go
- Geovany Soto: Made $1.5M in 2015 --let go (unless he'll return at the same salary)
I'd love to have Albers and Geo on the team, but I have to cut the fat (pun intended) to make my plan work.
Sign Justin Upton, 6yrs./$150mm (AAV; $25mm) The White Sox need to make a major signing to send a message to their fans that they're serious about contending in 2016. Breaking the Reinsdorf imposed salary limit should convince fans disillusioned after this past season. I think Upton will sign for less than $25mm per season. I have seen estimates of between $19mm and $25mm so I used the high number.
Sign Mike Leake, 4yrs./$60mm (AAV: $15mm) $15mm a year seems a bit high to me, but whatever it takes, I'm signing him, so I went with the high number again.
Sign Ben Zobrist, 2yrs./$16mm, 3rd year option (AAV: $8mm) This one is my personal "Kenny always gets his guy" signing. I just want Zobrist on my team.
Sign Yovani Gallardo, 4yrs./$48mm (AAV: $12mm) With the plethora of pitchers hitting free agency this time there should be some talented players signing for $10mm-$12mm per season. I put Gallardo's name here, but Mark Beuhrle or any of a half dozen others would fill the bill.
Sign the best #2 catcher $1.5mm will buy. It doesn't really matter who it is, Robin won't use the guy much. Just to put a name here I'll go with Brayan Pena.
Adam La Roche plus $8mm to Houston for an A-ball lottery ticket. I floated the idea of trading him to Houston at the trade deadline. Houston platooned two guys who hit worse than La Roche did last season. If not Houston there is surely some GM willing to take a chance on a rebound for next to nothing.
Tim Anderson, Micah Johnson, and Eric Johnson to the Reds for Todd Frazier. The Reds get their middle infield of the future plus a SP for their thirdbaseman of the present. (Anderson becomes expendable with the trade below.)
Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana to the Cubs for Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber. In the words of my old man; "You have to give up something good to get something good". The Cubs fill the hole left with Dexter Fowler leaving and add a top of the rotation pitcher. If Theo Epstein still wants to sign David Price for $200mm he will have a rotation with John Lester as the #4 SP. In return the Sox get a major league ready shortstop and a DH whon can actually hit. I'm sure I'll catch flak from Sox fans saying you can't trade Q and Eaton, but I think if I asked at BCB Cubs fans would say the same thing about Schwarber and Baez, which probably means it's a fair trade.
With Eaton traded Trayce Thompson becomes the CF. I don't know what to expect from him with the bat, but his defense will carry him regardless. J.B. Shuck is the 4th OF. Tyler Saladino is the utility IF and fall back plan if Baez craps out.. Pena (or whoever) is the 2nd C. A left handed bat would be usefull to a manager who uses his options, but . . . Robin.
With Eaton gone there is no obvious lead-off man, so I'll stack the top of the line-up with OBP guys and put the speed at the bottom of the order.
Montas (Or Carlos Sanchez as a 4th bench player)
If I am not mistaken I come in about about $9mm over the budget, but I deliberately used high estimates for my FA signings, and with some creative back-loading of contracts this plan is very doable. The pitching is slightly worse but the offense should score a hell of a lot more runs. For the dinger lovers I've aded around 100 more home runs and the overall defense should be a little bit better.