- Jose Abreu, $17.9M - Tender
- Avisail Garcia, $6.7M - Tender
- Yolmer Sanchez, $2.1M - Tender
- Carlos Rodon, $2.0M - Tender
- Danny Farquhar, $1.5M - Tender
- Zach Putnam, $1.4M - Non-tender
- Leury Garcia, $1.2M - Tender
- Jake Petricka, $1.1M - Non-tender
- Al Alburquerque, $1.1M - Non-tender
The non-relievers are all no-brainers. I don’t have much interest in paying the 2014 closer platoon tandem of china dolls arbitration salaries; neither offers enough upside or team control to justify their respective levels of risk. I don’t see the point in keeping Alburquerque. Farquhar, on the other hand, is sneaky-useful and with another three years of control and Don Cooper in tow, he seems like a good bet to at least justify keeping him around for now.
Impending free agents
- Geovany Soto: Made $2 million in 2017 - Let him go
- Mike Pelfrey: Made $8 million in 2017 - Let him go
No explanation required.
No. 1: RHP Clay Buchholz, 1 year, $6 million
Give Clay the Derek Holland contract and hope that the combination of Coop and Herm can resurrect his career. Someone will have to whisper in his ear that he needs to work more quickly, however. We’re still trying to keep the on-field product watchable.
No. 2: LHP Hector Santiago, minor league deal
I like Hector Santiago. After a rough 2017, he might find it desirable to reunite with the organization that brought him along, especially given that there could be some opportunities to start games.
No. 3: OF Carlos Gonzalez, 1 year, $10 million
The White Sox can offer Gonzalez regular playing time in the outfield and at designated hitter to allow him to rebuild some value and take another stab at free agency next year. A resurgent Gonzalez could make himself trade-able by the middle of the summer or bolster a roster that winds up being surprisingly competitive.
No. 4: RHP Addison Reed, 4 years, $36 million
This move would serve two purposes. First, it gets a jump start on reconstructing the bullpen. It’s plausible that the current reliever depth chart (excluding current starters like Carson Fulmer and Reynaldo Lopez) contains zero relievers that will pitch for the next competitive White Sox team. That leaves a lot of work to be done when the White Sox decide to flip the switch. Having Reed already in tow will minimize how much needs to happen in a single year. Good relievers are always needed and also don’t “block” players, so this is a way to secure a future piece without hampering flexibility in roster construction.
The second purpose is that the White Sox are going to be breaking in young relievers over the next couple of years. Having an experienced arm that can handle the 9th will not only ease the burden on Rick Renteria but will also help to avoid exposing players to roles for which they’re not yet ready.
No. 1: Trade 3B Matt Davidson to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Eric Skoglund
Matt Davidson was given a big opportunity in 2017 and despite some heroics and excitement, he basically fell flat on his face. Dingers are dingers, however, and the power-starved Royals are watching both of their starting corner infielders walk this offseason. With the left-handed Brandon Moss occupying DH and only Hunter Dozier as a legitimate name in the mix at the infield corners, the rebuilding Royals should be in a better position than the White Sox to let Davidson try to figure out the whole plate discipline thing.
Eric Skoglund had a similarly terrible year. The fourth-best Royals prospect coming into 2017 (note: he would have been somewhere around 10th-ish in the White Sox system) lost a lot of whatever luster he once had by posting a 9.50 ERA and a miniscule 2.2% K-BB% in the majors, despite some respectable Triple-A peripherals. It’s extremely likely that Skoglund is nothing more than Quad-A filler, but there was once hope that he could be a back-end starter, the Sox have a better reputation than the Royals for developing pitchers, and we’re only giving up Matt freakin’ Davidson.
No 2: Trade lottery ticket (think Alex Call, Jameson Fisher tier) or “cash considerations” to the Miami Marlins for RHP Edinson Volquez, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Drew Steckenrider, and RHP Tyler Kolek
The Marlins want to slash payroll, so we’ll do them a favor and cut $20 million off of their books in the form of Volquez’ and Tazawa’s salaries. Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery and might not even pitch next year. If he does come back late in the year, he could eat some innings if and when the Sox decide to shut down their younger starters, but that’s not critical. Tazawa also looks washed up, but he’s a durable veteran arm that can eat innings out of the Sox’ depleted bullpen. Both guys are free agents after 2018.
Kolek is a big name because he was drafted one player ahead of Carlos Rodon. He underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2016, then came back as a 21-year-old in rookie ball in 2017 and somehow walked 14 guys in 3.2 innings (across four “starts” and five games!). At this point, he’s a very risky bet to ever contribute to a major league team, but his ceiling is probably higher than your generic lottery ticket.
The real prize here is Steckenrider, who was promoted to the major leagues last year and struck out almost 36 percent of hitters, albeit with some control issues. He looks like he can be a reliable late-inning option and should be under team control through 2023.
The key structure here is to include Steckenrider, Volquez, and Tazawa. The compensation in either direction can be adjusted a little bit to even things out to the extent necessary.
No 3. Trade OF Avisail Garcia to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Taylor Clarke, OF Marcus Wilson, and LHP Mack Lemieux
Avisail Garcia broke out in 2017 with improvements in both his defense and contact profile. He’s unlikely to post a BABIP close to .400 again, but he should be an above-average major league outfielder going forward. Pretty much no one saw it coming, and this blasted game has once again proven how little we all really know.
Unfortunately, the White Sox needed Garcia to step up in their previous attempts to compete, and with just two years of team control remaining, he’s most valuable to a team that should be in contention in each of the next two years. The Diamondbacks are losing right fielder JD Martinez to free agency and while Garcia won’t be able to replicate the destruction that Martinez unleashed on the National League, he should give Arizona a quality player at a price that won’t blow up their budget.
Taylor Clarke is Arizona’s third-ranked prospect. He’s a hard-throwing fastball/slider pitcher that reached Triple-A last season with middling results. Whether he can stick as a starter will depend on how well his changeup progresses, but he should at least have a future in the bullpen regardless. Wilson is a 20-year-old athletic outfielder that had a breakout year at A-level Kane County last season, hitting .295/.383/.446. He’s currently ranked as Arizona’s eighth-best prospect. In a perfect world, Wilson would develop into a guy who can stick in center field and bat near the top of the order. Mack Lemieux is a baseball player named Mack Lemieux. He does not carry much official weight in this deal, but that said, if Arizona refuses to include him, the deal is off, because “Mack Lemieux”.
- Leury Garcia - LF ($1.2M)
- Yoan Moncada - 2B ($0.5M)
- Jose Abreu - 1B ($17.9M)
- Carlos Gonzalez - RF/DH ($7.0M)
- Nicky Delmonico - RF/DH ($0.5M)
- Yolmer Sanchez - 3B ($2.1M)
- Tim Anderson - SS ($1.0M)
- Omar Narvaez - C ($0.5M)
- Charlie Tilson - CF ($0.5M)
Eventually, Eloy Jimenez and possibly Ryan Cordell will push into this mix for playing time, supplanting whoever is hurt or whoever isn’t showing enough.
- Kevan Smith - C ($0.5M)
- Adam Engel - CF ($0.5M)
- Tyler Saladino / Jake Peter - INF ($0.5M)
- Alen Hanson - UTIL / Willy Garcia - OF ($0.5M)
- James Shields - RHP ($10.0M)
- Lucas Giolito - RHP ($0.5M)
- Reynaldo Lopez - RHP ($0.5M)
- Carson Fulmer - RHP ($0.5M)
- Clay Buchholz - RHP ($6.0M)
- Addison Reed (CL) - RHP ($9.0M)
- Drew Steckenrider - RHP ($0.5M)
- Juan Minaya - RHP ($0.5M)
- Gregory Infante - RHP ($0.5M)
- Junichi Tazawa - RHP ($7.0M)
- Aaron Bummer - LHP ($0.5M)
- Danny Farquhar - RHP ($1.5M)
- Nate Jones - RHP ($4.0M)
- Carlos Rodon - LHP ($2.0M)
- Edinson Volquez - RHP ($13.0M)
Total Payroll: $92.8 million
This is the fourth iteration of the South Side Sox Offseason Plan Project and of the four, this is the offseason that probably requires the least in terms of big moves. This plan adds some to the Sox’ minor league depth while leaving them an outside chance at being a surprise team in 2018. Also, Reed is the only expenditure added for 2019 and beyond. $46 million of the above $92.8 million is comprised of expiring contracts for 2018-19 free agents, so there should be plenty of payroll space to cover arbitration raises and allow for flexibility to pursue premium free agents when the White Sox decide to add more seriously.
Let’s hear it.