FanPost

JoseValentin's Goatee Offseason Plan

After drawing inspiration from other plans and taking more time to think things through, I am running it back. Anything to avoid another panicked Cubs fan facebook post.

Jose Valentin's Goatee Offseason Plan

Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):

  • Todd Frazier, $13.5M - Tender
  • Brett Lawrie, $5.1M - Tender
  • Avisail Garcia, $3.5M - Non-tender
  • Miguel Gonzalez, $2.6M - Tender
  • Dan Jennings, $1.2M - Tender
  • J.B. Shuck, $1M - Non-tender
  • Jake Petricka, $900K - Tender
  • Zach Putnam, $900K - Tender
  • Daniel Webb, $600K - Non-Tender

Explain the toughest calls if necessary:

Contract options

  • Matt Albers: $250,000 buyout
We had our fun, but now it's time to move on from Fat Cat Matt, the Rotund Reliever

Impending free agents

  • Austin Jackson: goodbye.
  • Alex Avila: NO.
  • Justin Morneau: thanks for making things interesting for a bit in 2016. Enjoy your eventual White Sox front office job and complementary Hawk Harrelson bobblehead.

Elaborate if needed:

Free agents

No. 1: Josh Reddick (four years, $60M ($15M/year)). Jack-of-all trades outfielder will solidify the line up and hopefully take pressure off of Abreu, Melky, and Frazier. On the defensive side, Reddick is excellent in right. The hope is that this translates to LF, giving the White Sox plus defenders in the corner paired with plus-plus speed in center to bail out the pitching staff (and hopefully cover some of the loss from Sale's departure). In addition, the White Sox will not need to surrender a draft pick to sign Reddick, so we can keep stocking the ever-important farm.

The knock on Reddick is that (i) his offensive output tailed off after being acquired from the Dodgers at the deadline, and (ii) he is prone to streaks. However, these issues also place Reddick firmly in the White Sox's price range, and Reddick, warts and all, would be a substantial upgrade over Melky's defense in left or Avi's everything ever.

No. 2: Chris Ianetta (one year, $3.75M). Ianetta is a solid and improving pitch framer as a catcher. Offensively, he is a zero. This is basically a placeholder for Kieboom in the short term and hopefully Zach Collins in the long term. If Ianetta can boost the pitch staff's production through pitch framing, game calling, general pitching husbandry, he will be worth it (even if his offensive output is reminiscent of 2006 Chris Widger).

Trades

No. 1: Trade Chris Sale to the Nationals for Trea Turner, Eric Fedde, Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning, and Spencer Kieboom.*

*I'd fight like hell to replace Giolito for Fedde (or even Fedde and Dunning), but ultimately I think this is the best deal we can extract.

From the Nats perspective: the Nats add to their already strong rotation without giving up Giolito or incurring major financial obligations. This leaves Washington with a 2017 rotation of Scherzer, Sale, Strasberg, Roark and Giolito. Losing Turner is a bitter pill to swallow, but Revere, in his 3rd year of arb. eligibility, plugs in for 2017 with the hope that Victor Robles is ready to man CF in 2018. Adding Sale and his team-friendly contract also means the Nats can go full tilt on re-signing Ramos and/or Melancon without worrying about filling other holes.

From the White Sox perspective: The heart of this deal is Turner, who allows the White Sox to get younger and more athletic without entering into a full-blown rebuild. With Turner in CF, Eaton slides into RF. Suddenly the outfield defense doesn't look so brutal. On the offensive side, Turner's speed and career .361 OBP are a boon to the top of the batting order. Fedde looks to be a solid rotation piece for late 2017 or 2018, and Dunning should follow with a #3 starter upside in late 2018 or 2019. Lopez projects as a high-leverage bullpen arm, which recent history shows can be exceptionally valuable. Spencer Kieboom is no thrown in, either, as he provides much-needed catching depth for the Pale Hose.

Bonus ancillary benefits to the deal: (a) Sale in the National League means less of a chance that Sale haunts the White Sox, (b) watching Sale, with his oddly skinny frame, bat would be kind of funny, and (c) Dusty Baker riding Sale into the ground is the perfect revenge for the White Sox front office. Oh, now you miss the throwback jerseys and Robin's bullpen management, C?

It may be hard to completely filter out the homer or fantasy baseball player in you, but try your best to keep the suggestions sane.

Summary

1. Turner (R) - CF

2. Abreu (R) - 1B*

3. Melky (L) - DH

4. Frazier (R) - 3B

5. Josh Reddick (L) - LF

6. Eaton (R) - RF

7. Lawrie (R) - 2B

8. Ianetta (R neither, just keep your gear on and take pitches until you reach one of Adam Dunn's favored outcomes)- C

9. Anderson (L) - SS

*Abreu bats second in hopes of getting him the most at-bats possible. Plus, with Anderson as the "double leadoff" hitter, Abreu should see plenty of RBI opportunities from the two hole the second and third time through the lineup.

Bench: Saladino - INF, Sanchez - INF, Tilson/Engel (hello, spring training 4th OF battle!) - OF, Kieboom- C

Rotation: (1) Quintana, (2) Rodon, (3) MiGo, (4) Shields, (5) Fedde/Fulmer (hello, 5th spot spring training battle!)

Bullpen: Robertson (R) , Jones (R) , Jennings (L) , Petricka (R), Putnam (R), Burdi (R), Brian Clark (L)

Summary: The Sox deal their most valuable asset in Sale, but add young, cost-controlled major league talent that allows them to punt on a full scale rebuild. Adding Reddick give the White Sox another strong complementary piece without leaving the Sox cash strapped. The end result is a younger, more athletic and balanced team that feels foreign compared to the recent roster iterations. In addition, the hope is that Kieboom and Ianetta split time, with Ianetta eventually becoming Rodon's caddy. aThe Sox also avoid dealing any of their own prospects and keep their draft picks, which will go a long way to building a sustainably successful organization. Speaking of prospects, Narvaez is at AAA gaining valuable reps.

On the negative side, the rotation looks far worse, with Sale being subbed out for Fedde or Fulmer. The goal is to counterbalance this with drastically improved defense (particularly in the outfield), better catching, a more balanced offense, better bullpen management from the manager, and the hope that Shields can't be worse than he was last year (right? right? Fine. Maybe he sucks. At least the Padres are paying for all but $10M for this year and next year. Ugh!). By my count, the payroll comes in around $107M, which leaves leftover funds to chase some international signings and/or add payroll at the deadline if everything breaks right. I would prefer to keep this powder dry than chase someone like Wilson Ramos or Cespedes (see below).

There are also a few holes I wanted to fill but couldn't. First, the rotation sorely needs a boost. Unfortunately, the free agent market is slim pickings (which is why the Sox were able to nab such a haul for Sale in the first place). Second, the catching spot leaves something to be desired. My hope is that improvements in other areas can mask this, but this could wind up being a major issue. Third, an established second lefty would be nice, but that is a luxury for teams that are contending. If the Sox get off to a hot start and can't fill this role internally, this would be a trade deadline shopping list item. Finally, moving Shield's bloated deal would be great, but there's no way to do this without taking back a similarly bad deal or giving up talent. Welcome back, James!

What might have been: Here are a few moves I've seen in a few other (undoubtedly well thought out plans) that I am rejecting:

  • Jason Castro - C: He's pitch framing alone would certainly make him a worthwhile addition, but well-run teams do not let reasonably young catchers with strong framing numbers simply walk (insert Tyler Flowers lament here).
  • Wilson Ramos - C: best catcher available on the market, but I do not think the Sox will pony up for him. The medicals also scare me, especially because, rumor has it he is seeking a 4-5 year deal. On top of it all, he would likely cost a draft pick (the Sox will have a protected first, so it would "only" be a second rounder, but picks are vital, both in terms of bonus pool money and selecting players). On the other hand, if Ramos cannot catch long term, the Sox could plug him in at DH in 2018 (when Melky's deal is up) as his bat seems strong enough to warrant it. The downside is that this limits our flexibility going forward, especially if Zach Collins turns out to be a DH-only type.
  • Cespedes - OF: Certainly an elite bat and arm, but rumor has it he only wants to play CF (even though he is much stronger in RF, not to mention that Eaton has RF locked up). Plus, he will likely garner a massive deal and cost a draft pick.
  • Fowler - CF: Best centerfielder available, but I think he stays with the Cubs (despite their crowded OF). I could also see the Cubs giving him a QO, which would attach the dreaded draft pick cost.
  • Jose Bautista/Edwin Encarnacion: Both very talented, but expensive, draft pick, age = no.
  • Trading Robertson: I've got a hunch he will bounce back this year. Plus, will need a solid bullpen to make up for the lackluster starting rotation. Finally, if things go to shit, I think Robertson may have more value at the deadline (especially if said bounce back occurs).
  • Trading Quintana: Unlike Sale, Q doesn't have the name-brand recognition (yet) that allows us to get a kings-ransom return. Also, Sale's violent delivery still scares me (despite his relatively solid medical record). There is no guaranty that either Sale or Q stays healthy, but Sale's delivery does appear to be a red flag, especially when compared to Q's smooth and repeatable pitching mechanics. Lastly, I think a duo of Q and Rodon is fairly formidable and, if the above moves work out, the White Sox can contend over the life of Q's deal. If not, we trade Q next year, having already hedged out bets by cashing in on Sale.

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