Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Write "tender" or "non-tender" after each of the following names. Two notes: 1) You can trade before or after tendering a contract, and 2) we’ll just assume Jose Abreu is in the fold for roughly $11 million regardless of whether he chooses the arb route.
- Todd Frazier, $13.5M - Tender
- Brett Lawrie, $5.1M – Non-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
This year arbitration eligible players candidates are pretty straight forward, and I believe most people would agree. The toughest call here could be Lawrie. I like good players, but I also like players that can play 140+ games. Lawrie is not one of them. In the last 5 years, Lawrie has averaged 450 PAs per season, and 420 PAs in the last three in what are supposed to be a big chunk of Lawrie’s "peak years". He is still young (27), but his production does not scream "this is a good all-around can't miss baseball player". I believe Lawrie’s production can be obtained with a combo of Saladino-Sanchez at a fraction of the price. So I made this decision solely based on money.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
- Matt Albers: $3M for 2017 or a $250,000 buyout - Buyout
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)
- Austin Jackson: Made $5 million in 2016. => PASS
- Alex Avila: Made $2.5 million in 2016. => PASS
- Justin Morneau: Made $1 million in 2016, although he signed during the season. => PASS
Elaborate if needed:
I do not see too much value here. Perhaps Avila has some value as a back-up catcher, but money is tight and needs to go somewhere else.
The White Sox are in a terrible situation. They have a bunch of good core players singed for very affordable contracts, and also not so good regulars signed for a lot of money (Shields/Robertson…maybe even Melky). These not so good players are practicably untradeable this off-season unless the White Sox eats up some salary. They may have (or build) some value at the trade deadline, but right now, they are dead weight. Hahn has no other options than build around them, and this is why Hahn cannot afford more dreg.
Tear it down? Build later? Keep going? Tearing this team down puts the Sox in a non-contender situation for various years. Our farm system isn’t good yet. Trading Sale/Quintana/Eaton would only make sense if we can obtain a ton of youngsters (Under 20s preferably) with a lot of talent that are 2 to 4 years away from reaching the majors. Trading Sale for a major league ready player reduces Sale’s value to bringing only one great prospect and a bunch of lesser players, a couple of Tilsons, and whatnot. No thank you. Sale won’t bring you Benintendi AND Moncada. Stop dreaming. I have decided I won’t tear this team down, but mostly because I don’t have too much of knowledge as to work out trades of the Sale/Quintana magnitude.
So, we need a catcher (And a backup), a center fielder, a LH reliever, and a DH. Maybe a 5th starting pitcher.
FILLING DH: 70 million deal for 4 years to Edwin Encarnacion. EE is still 33 years old, he has shown no signs of decline, and elite DHs may be able to produce in late in their 30s like Ortiz did this year. Abreu/EE/Frazier combo represents a credible home run threat albeit too right handed. We will lose a draft pick here.
FILLING LH RELIEVER: 12.5 million for 2 years of Brett Cecil.
FILLING CF: This has become nearly impossible after Hahn missed the opportunity in 2016. Even if the money is there (Which is not) there are no great options other than Yoenis Cespedes. Playing Eaton in RF has proven to be advantageous and even a diminished Austin Jackson was providing value even if by just putting Eaton in RF. Sign Jon Jay for 1 year and 6 million. Jay is a risky proposition because he can find himself injured quite often. He is a LH hitter which comes handy. Tilson would be plan B in case Jay falls into the DL.
FILLING C: Obtain B. McCann for Danish/Burdi/L. Garcia and have the Yankees eat 14 million of the remaining salary. This puts McCann in the 10 million per year salary. The Yankees have Gary Sánchez making the next 2 years (Potentially 3 if the option vests) of McCann unnecessary. McCann is getting older, but he still can provide decent defense, framing, and comes with a decent left-hand bat with power which comes very handy. He can still be productive, and pretty sure he will outperform the 10 million price tag
FINAL COMMENTS: Yes, the team is getting older, but that not necessarily equals to be bad. Outside the "core",no contracts here goes beyond the 3 years mark except EE’s, and plenty of players could be valuable assets at a trade deadline if things go south. I know the ideal thing is to get younger and leaner, but this can only be achievable by promoting players from the minors or by trading for young players. Our minor system is not there to produce in 2017 talent other than Fulmer and maybe Burdi. Obtaining young good players in trades means the White Sox will need to trade Sale/Quintana/Eaton, and that only would work if Hahn decides to go full rebuild.
5th SARTER INSURANCE: Signing RA Dickey may be doable without expending a lot of $. Dickey can really eat up innings while providing 5th starter value. He is a fantastic teammate, and a great fielder. The Bluejays discovered that Dickey can be more effective if he is pulled off the game after 70-80 pitches. With González and Shields, Hahn needs to have a 5th starter insurance since at the moment there is only Fulmer or a bunch of ugghs, and even him may be a shaky option. Shields may be done as a pitcher.
EATON – L
CABRERA – S
ABREU – R
ENCARNACION – R
McCANN – L
FRAZIER – R
JAY – L
ANDERSON – R
SALAD/SANCHEZ – R/S
O. NARVAEZ or K. SMITH– L or R
SALAD/SANCHEZ – R/S
TILSON – L
SALE – L
QUINTANA – L
RODON – L
M. GONZALEZ – R
SHIELDS/DICKEY/FULMER – R
JENNINGS – L
CECIL – L
JONES – R
ROBERTSON – R
PETRICKE – R
PUTNAM – R
YNOA* – R
FULMER** – R
*YNOA spot could be replaced by another bench bat from the minors (i.e. Coats)
**If Shields somehow does not suck.
Total payroll for this team is 135.354,000