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What to look forward to in the White Sox offseason

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Yeah, important stuff happens before Opening Day

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians
Mouse Ears, Activate! Yeah, this is the dude who snapped the White Sox’s long streak of arbitration avoidance.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most painful seasons of most of our lifetimes is over, and without even a few blue chips to watch in a September call-up, it couldn’t have come fast enough. Let’s bring on 2019, eh?

We now have 114 days until pitchers and catchers report to Glendale and get spring training rolling.

Here is what to look forward to, over the course of those 2,736 dark hours remaining sans White Sox.

World Series

October 23-31

The Los Angeles Dodgers visit Fenway Park to fact the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series on October 23, with a potential Game 7 landing back in Boston, on Halloween. Scary enough for ya?

Free Agency Begins

Morning after World Series

The morning following the conclusion of the World Series, players who finished the final year of their contracts will officially become free agents. Miguel González, Jeanmar Gómez and Hector Santiago are Chicago’s three outright free agents. James Shields has a $16 million White Sox option (which most definitely will be declined) and a $2 million buyout, making him a free agent. Nate Jones has a $4.65 million White Sox option (coin flip) and $1.25 million buyout.

Awards

November 5-15

The Baseball Writers Association of America award finalists are announced on November 5, with the winners trotted out daily between November 12 and concluding on November 15.

Befitting a 100-loss team, no White Sox will be in contention for any of the major awards, although Daniel Palka should show up downballot for Rookie of the Year.

40-Man Roster Finalized

November 20

Before the Winter Meetings get rolling, every team locks in its 40-man roster. Many players of value not on the 40-man are at risk of being snatched away in the Rule 5 Draft. It was just a year ago that Jordan Guerrero had a hissy fit over not being protected on the White Sox 40-man — and then ate a little bit of crow (and locked his Twitter account) after going undrafted by the 29 other clubs in the Rule 5.

Non-Tender Deadline

November 30

This is the final day for the White Sox to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. The White Sox have six: José Abreu, Avisaíl García, Carlos Rodón, Yolmer Sánchez, Leury García and Danny Farquhar.

Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft

December 9-13

After traditionally being in the mix for signings and trades during the winter meetings, the White Sox sat the 2017 meetings out. Against most of our best wishes, with the playoff contention window possibly having been pushed back (holding down Eloy Jiménez, TJS for Michael Kopech), GM Rick Hahn may sit idle for a second straight winter. Perhaps someone will tweet out a photo of his notepad, filled with ticket sales slogans for a dead-team-walking 2019.

Then again, in the Hahn (or near-Hahn) Era, offseason splashes the White Sox have made didn’t quite turn out: Adam Dunn, Jeff Keppinger, Adam LaRoche, et. al. So maybe nap time for Rick is best.

Arbitration Filing

January

In January, all arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts in November can avoid the process by taking a White Sox contract offer. The White Sox traditionally sign their guys, and had a long streak of avoiding arbitration with their players — until 2018, when Yolmer Sánchez wanted $250,000 more than the team offered, and won. Odd that a quarter-million for a “core” player would be the team’s first arbitration case in years.

If the two sides can’t come to terms before the deadline, they will go to an arbitration hearing in February.

SoxFest

January 25-27

The annual my-god-it-can’t-get-any-colder-but-we’re-celebrating-a-summer-sport extravaganza at the Hilton Chicago marks the official ramp-up to the 2019 season. All your favorites from White Sox past and present will be in attendance, and undoubtedly we will be covering it here, backwards and forwards.

Pitchers and Catchers Report

February 13

Welcome back, baseball!

H/t DRays Bay for the format of this piece.