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First year of White Sox rebuild closing with 40-man maneuvering

Organizational depth vulnerable to Rule 5 draft scavenging

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals
Jordan Guerrero action shot.
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Though it feels like I’m a grizzled veteran of a roster teardown at this point, the White Sox rebuild still isn’t even a year old, so there are still some checkpoints that we haven’t encountered in this new light.

Monday’s deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft is one. The White Sox had more players than usual to consider, and they ultimately settled on seven roster moves — five on, two off — that brought the 40-man roster to 39.

The White Sox usually don’t have that many players who warrant protection. If there was a young player who looked potentially promising, he was usually already on the 40-man roster, if not the 25-man. This is the first five-player class in five years ...

  • 2017: Eloy Jimenez, Casey Gillaspie, Ian Clarkin, Luis Alexander Basabe, Micker Adolfo
  • 2016: Jacob May, Adam Engel, Brad Goldberg.
  • 2015: Brandon Brennan, J.B. Wendelken
  • 2014: Kevan Smith, Tyler Saladino, Frankie Montas, Rangel Ravelo
  • 2013: Trayce Thompson, Yolmer Sanchez
  • 2012: Jared Mitchell, Josh Phegley, Andre Rienzo, Santos Rodriguez, Charlie Shirek
  • 2011: Charlie Leesman, Deunte Heath.

... and unlike 2012, there weren’t players like Jordan Guerrero and Jake Peter who looked eminently rosterable left out of the mix.

Guerrero’s absence is conspicuous at a time when Gillaspie and Daniel Palka are recreating the “Two Spider-Men Pointing At Each Other” meme, but some of the 40-man roster’s lumpiness should be mashed out in 10 days when the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players arrives.

Looking at mikecws91’s spreadsheet from the Offseason Plan Project, here’s how the South Side Sox GMs have gone about offering contracts:

  • Jose Abreu: 100 percent
  • Avisail Garcia: 100 percent
  • Carlos Rodon: 100 percent
  • Yolmer Sanchez: 100 percent
  • Leury Garcia: 98 percent
  • Danny Farquhar: 54 percent
  • Zach Putnam: 48 percent
  • Al Alburquerque: 25 percent
  • Jake Petricka: 13 percent

A few of those players could be out of the mix after Dec. 1 to free up multiple 40-man spots. A fortnight later, the Rule 5 draft will resolve the uncertainty for Guerrero, Peter and their equivalents in other organizations.

There’s some low-stakes discomfort over the next four weeks, because the White Sox are carrying some 40-man roster bloat while leaving themselves open to scavenging in the Rule 5 draft, which seems counterproductive for a team committing to a multi-season rebuild.

I’m going to wait until the closing of the winter meetings on Dec. 14 before firming up my gripes. For one, the Rule 5 draft will tell us if the White Sox know something we don’t about new leaguewide tendencies. More than that, we’ll have personally experienced every stage of the baseball calendar post-teardown, so all expectations should be properly recalibrated by then.