Let’s get this out of the way first: from my perspective the White Sox are almost done moving veterans for prospects. Other than trading away Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu, the plan for 2018 is a two-pronged one where the organization is letting prospects develop while also taking advantage of market situations to add elite talent this year that may not be available next year. The historic free agent crop of 2018 is going to break records and set new salary standards, and the White Sox ownership failed to adjust to the new normal the last time this happened in the late 2000’s.
So I’m proposing that the Sox make a move to declare that they will be in on these free agents, by trading for one of the highest paid and most productive players in the game, Giancarlo Stanton. This won’t take the Sox off the short list of teams never to have spent $100 million on a free agent but it would signal that they can and will authorize the $250+ million it would take to pursue Manny Machado in 2018 as well as shoring up a major cornerstone in the rebuild.
Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Jose Abreu, $17.9M - Tender
Avisail Garcia, $6.7M - Tender
Yolmer Sanchez, $2.1M - Tender
Carlos Rodon, $2.0M - Tender
Danny Farquhar, $1.5M – Non-Tender
Zach Putnam, $1.4M - Tender
Leury Garcia, $1.2M - Tender
Jake Petricka, $1.1M - Tender
Al Alburquerque, $1.1M - Tender
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)
Geovany Soto: Made $2 million in 2017 – Let Go
Mike Pelfrey: Made $8 million in 2017 – Let Go
The Mike Pelfrey rotation / bullpen experiment was fun, but is now over.
OF Melky Cabrera, 1 year $11 million plus option
Melky’s value as a solid professional hitter combined with his reportedly excellent clubhouse presence makes all the case I need to bring him back. He’d spend most of his time in the DH position.
RHP Addison Reed, 3 years $39 million
Adding in a proven closer who is familiar with our coaching would be a big plus for a bullpen in flux.
Dumpster Dive rotation special: 1 year, $7m-$11m
There’s a lot of bad pitching out there, I wont lie and say that I’m up on everything but we need an arm to fill innings, I don’t particularly care who.
Dumpster Dive bullpen special, multiple players: 1 year, $1m-$4m
Ditto on the bullpen, we need some arms and lotto tickets to see if we can find another Swarzak.
Trade OF Avisail Garcia, SP Spencer Adams, PTBNL (from White Sox list of prospects from #15-20 on the list) for Giancarlo Stanton and cash.
This is another trade that doesn’t make much sense for 2018, although it would bring in a fair amount of star power and legitimacy to a team that’ll need that the following year to sign free agents to finish off the bullpen and rotation. The 2018 White Sox aren’t ready to contend, but the 2019 White Sox might be if some of our prospects’ development breaks right.
Trade 1B Jose Abreu to Colorado for RHP Riley Pint, LHP Kyle Freeland, and RHP Antonio Senzatela
Abreu would immediately help a Colorado team that struggled to hit away from Coors but his relatively high salary and lack of controllable years limits his return to these high ceiling lottery ticket pitchers who can immediately step into either a rotation or bullpen spot.
C – Leury Garcia
1B: Yolmer Sanchez
2B: Yoan Moncada
SS: Tim Anderson
3B: Matt Davidson
OF: Nicky Delmonico (Eloy Jimenez)
OF: Leury Garcia
OF: Giancarlo Stanton
DH: Melky Cabrera
I’d expect the team salary to be at least $95 million once all the filler and lotto tickets are in. This doesn’t look like a contender to me, although stranger things have happened, but the following year if prospects can settle in and start actualizing their potential the bones of a contender are there. The big thing is that by adding Stanton there would be a solid flare to the club, and a position player to anchor around for the next few years.