This offseason, Rick Hahn is likely to stay the course for the most part. However, over in a parallel universe, Nix Hahn is throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks...
- 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
Lots of easy calls at the top of this list.
Farquhar looked pretty good at the end of the season and has a history of decent MLB results, so I’ll tender him in the hopes that he can help stabilize the bullpen in the first half and get a Dan Jennings-type return at the deadline.
I’m interested in bringing back Putnam, Petricka, and Alburquerque, but will try to sign them to non-guaranteed deals.
IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Geovany Soto: Made $2 million in 2017
- Mike Pelfrey: Made $8 million in 2017
Bye bye, Big Pelf. Sayonara, Soto.
FREE AGENT SIGINGS
1. Sign LHP C.C. Sabathia, 1 yr/$15 mil
The Sox obviously need some veteran starting pitching depth, and I’d like to aim a little higher than the Hollands and Latoses (Lati?) of the world. Sabathia is coming off a 3-win season and a solid playoff showing, but I’d be surprised if he gets a multi-year deal at 36. If the Yankees want to re-sign Tanaka and add a guy like Darvish or Arrieta, I doubt they’ll also have the budget to retain C.C. So I’m throwing some Monopoly money at him, and hoping he gives the Sox 160 league-average innings while acting as a helpful mentor to Giolito and Lopez.
2. Sign LHP Hector Santiago, 1 yr/$6 mil
You can probably tell I got worn out by the Pelf/Covey/Holmberg carousel of mediocrity, because I’m throwing $21 mil at veteran starters. I was a big fan of Santiago’s in his White Sox days, and would love to see a reunion. He’s a good clubhouse guy and has enough upside to be valuable trade chip in July. It’s arguable whether he’s much better than a Holland-type at this point, but maybe a reunion with Coop will help.
3. Sign OF Curtis Granderson, 1 yr/$6 mil
Grandy was having a solid year for the Mets before a nasty post-trade slump with the Dodgers. Based on the market for corner guys last season, I think he’ll be reasonably priced, and his ties to Chicago are well-documented. He’s good insurance against a Delmonico backslide, as well as insulation against the Cody Asches of the world.
4. Sign INF Ramon Urias, 1 yr/???
Who’s Ramon Urias? He’s a 23-year old shortstop who’s hit .323/.405/.493 across 352 games in the Mexican League (roughly AA talent-level, albeit very hitter friendly), including .340/.433/.577 in 2017. He’s also the older brother of Padres infielder Luis Urias, the #48 prospect in baseball, so he has good bloodlines.
To be honest, Urias is more a proxy for what I’d like Rick Hahn & Co. to do – explore undervalued talent in foreign leagues, a la the Brewers’ Eric Thames signing. But I also think Urias is a good player to start with: he’s young, major league ready (or close to it), and would come fairly cheap. It’s unclear to me if he falls under international signing bonus rules or not (he’s in the right age range, but he also played in the Rangers organization as a teenager). Either way, the Sox should have enough room in the budget to get him, thanks to a Mexican League loophole.
5. Sign 2-3 Non-Roster Invite Relievers
Let’s find the next Anthony Swarzak!
1. Trade OF Avisail Gracia and C Omar Narvaez to Cardinals for C Carson Kelly and RHP Junior Fernandez
I suspect more people are in favor of keeping Avi (at least until July) than trading him right now. But even though I really loved watching him this year, he’s a volatile player and I'd like to move him this offseason, even for less than full value.
Is this deal more or less than full value? It’s hard to tell. Kelly is a good prospect to be sure, with a high-floor thanks to plus receiving and good bat-to-ball skills - but one that has emerged only in the last two seasons. He’s also uniquely less valuable to the Cardinals than most other organizations, as Viva El Birdos outlines here. I’d love to see him stabilize the White Sox catching depth chart and take some of the pressure off Zack Collins, who profiles better as an Evan Gattis or Mike Napoli-like part time slugger.
This deal would depend on the Cards perceiving Garcia as a big upgrade over Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty. He certainly would have been in 2017, as Avi's breakout season was at least a win better than either of the Cardinals’ outfielders career-bests. The Cardinals need to turn their adequate production everywhere into outstanding production somewhere, and Garcia could be the guy to do it – at least, the one who won’t cost J.D. Martinez money.
Fernandez is Cardinals’ #10 prospect – your standard live arm who has yet to translate plus plus velocity into results. Narvaez fills the hole on the Cards’ depth chart until Andrew Knizner is ready.
2. Trade RHP Nate Jones for INF Jurickson Profar
Jones and Profar are two more guys whose trade value is hard to judge. We all know about Jones: electric late inning arm, fantastic contract, big health questions. We’ve all probably at least heard of Profar: former #1 prospect in baseball, missed two years with health problems, hasn’t stuck with the Rangers since.
I’m going to call it a wash, and hope the Sox can flip Jones into a more impactful player. The key questions for Profar (besides health) are position and contract. After coming up as a shortstop, he’s played all over the place for the Rangers. And unfortunately, because he made his ML debut as a 19-year old before his subsequent health problems, he only has two more years of arbitration eligibility.
My hope is that the Sox buy low on Profar, and hand him third base for the first half of 2017. If he recaptures some of his super-prospect form (and for what it’s worth, he’s still only 24 and has almost always hit in the minors), I’d try to extend him – I imagine a guy with his health history would be amenable to a reasonably low guarantee in exchange for financial security. If he washes out, well, I’m not confident that Jones will ever be healthy enough to throw a full season again anyway.
My main goals were to add some upside (Profar, Urias) and shore up holes in the organizational depth chart (Kelly, rotation). With the potential midseason additions of Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, and more, it should be a bearable team in the first half and a very exciting one in the second.
Here’s my Opening Day 25-man roster:
Payroll: $92 million