Welcome to the fifth installment of the South Side Sox White Sox Offseason Plan Project. You’ve already had your appetites whetted with the invitation to crowdsource the GM role in the SB Nation offseason simulation, so hopefully the jingle bells already are jangling with ideas to improve the White Sox in 2019.
Last season, the bulk of SSS seemed to claim defeat in the face of a long and dreary offseason. Still in the developing stages of rebuilding, it was a given not much would happen last winter, and with just 34 plans linked to the 2017-18 offseason project tab, perhaps Rick Hahn did too good a job of convincing us that offseason activity was DOA.
With scant payroll commitments to speak of, and some elements of the rebuild being set into motion, for better or worse (Michael Kopech’s call-up and injury, Eloy Jiménez’s “additional defensive reps,” Reynaldo López’s emergence, Lucas Giolito/Carson Fulmer pooping the bed, Luis Robert’s chronic injuries ...), big questions surround this offseason.
All indications are that the White Sox, convinced on the heels of a 100-loss season that their window has been delayed (if not nailed shut), will err on the side of modest spending this winter.
But you don’t have to choose that route. There are blue chips available in free agency, hot corner options in abundance, and rotation help out there for the signing or trading.
So, if you’re new to this, welcome, and if you’re not, welcome back!
First, you have to take care of some White Sox housekeeping: decisions on how to approach arbitration and White Sox options.
From there, the entire league is at your disposal, as you sign free agents and orchestrate trades with other teams. Keep in mind, the SSS hive mind will keep you honest regarding the logic of your trades. so tip the balance too heavily in the White Sox’s favor at your own risk.
How do I write a FanPost?
Anyone who is a registered member of SSS can write a FanPost:
- Be sure you’re logged in
- Copy the template below
- Click “FanPosts” at the top of this page
- Click “New FanPost” on the FanPosts page
- Paste the template copy in the text editor
- Write up a brilliant and/or entertaining plan
Cot’s Baseball Contracts has summarized the White Sox’s 2019 salary commitments in handy spreadsheet form, as well as traditional bullet-point form. Chicago’s payroll heading into free agency and the winter meetings, given scant contracted players and presuming all arbitration-eligible players are retained, is just a shade more than $60 million, including the $2 million that went toward buying James Shields out of his contract.
To accommodate a top-heavy free agent class and pay more than lip service to cases some of you may make to spend dough and force open the window of contention, let’s set a payroll cap of double that, at $120 million. Truth be told, you can spend whatever you want if you justify it, but (see above), the hive mind here will not treat your $200 million White Sox payroll generously.
MLB Trade Rumors exhaustively lists the 2018 MLB free agents, along with each player’s age, a key factor in deciding terms of your free agent offer. Note which players have options and be smart about whether a team, player, or team/player option will be exercised, thereby taking the player off the market.
Everything make sense? OK then, let’s get started!
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[Insert your name]’s Offseason Plan
Feel free to summarize your plan here, outline your overall strategy, vent about the 2018 White Sox ... whatever will help us understand who you are and where you are coming from with your offseason plan. You are also free to delete the Introduction, as nobody told you there would be an essay portion of this test.
Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Write "tender" or "non-tender" after each of the following names, and explain any particularly tough choices. Remember that arb-eligible players can be signed to contract extensions, or be traded, before or after tendering a contract.
- José Abreu – $16 million
- Avisaíl García – $8 million
- Yolmer Sánchez – $4.7 million
- Carlos Rodón – $3.7 million
- Matt Davidson – $2.4 million
- Leury García – $1.9 million
Impending Free Agents
Re-sign, cut loose, or extend a qualifying offer ($17.9 million)? (Explain any tough or complicated calls.)
- Miguel González (2018 salary: $4.75 million)
- Hector Santiago (2018 salary: $2 million)
Using the list of free agents, tell us who you’d sign, keeping in mind our salary cap, and good, old-fashioned logic. Include your maximum offer (total years, total salary). Explain your choice at least briefly, even in the case of the most obvious, superstar signs.
There is no minimum or maximum number of free agent deals.
For illustrative purposes, here’s an idea that by no means you should implement:
Adam LaRoche (two years, $20 million). He’s back from Asia, bored on the farm, and ready to test clubhouse contentment in the new Ricky Renteria regime. Let’s tear down, before we’ve built back up!
Trades must make sense for both the White Sox and their trading partner. Explain your rationale, at least briefly. There is no minimum or maximum number for trades you may suggest.
Again, an example that should not be implemented under any circumstances:
Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease to the Chicago Cubs for Jose Quintana. Jiménez needs work in the outfield, and may not even make the majors in 2019. Besides, the White Sox owe Q dozens of wins for all those “quality start/no-decision” outings.
It’s not a requirement, but in the end, it makes sense to run out your starting lineup/rotation/bullpen, or at least your 25-man roster.
For those of you who think the White Sox can sign either one of the two clear, blue-chip free agents, I’m curious — if you haven’t explained it already — how you will entice a player who could literally choose any one of 30 teams that he should spend his next five to 10 years on the White Sox, beginning in 2019, of all seasons.
Again, no one is requiring you to be an essayist, but the more you can explain and rationalize your choices, the better discussion is generated, and the better your plan will be received. Consider these questions:
- How do you see position/rotation/bullpen battles shaking out?
- Which players might not make the Opening Day roster (like, say, a certain megamasher who needs more work on his pop flies), but are reasonable to regard as major components of the 2019 team?
- How does your offseason fit in the framework of a rebuild, given 100 losses in 2018 and the talent sitting in the prospect pipeline?
- Is the time right to depress the accelerator, or ease up due to various prospect development delays?
There is no “cheating” when it comes to offseason plans. By that, I mean if you see a national writer float an interesting idea or rumor, or if you wish to adopt a idea from someone else’s SSS plan, go on ahead. A good idea is a good idea. It’s polite to cite your source, but hey, the Winter Meetings can be a bloodbath, man.
Most of all, have fun. This is for exhibition purposes only. Please, no wagering.