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Whisoxman#’s 2018 Offseason Plan

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A hopeful if unrealistic plan for this offseason

MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers
Shooting for the Stars: Manny Machado is the top free agent on the market for this year — and WSM’s White Sox overpay to get him.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

I’m the most boring person I know. With that said, there are usually two things annually for which I break out of my shell: Dressing up for Halloween and coming up with an off-the-wall offseason plan. This year’s plan, admittedly, has way too many convoluted elements to work. However, each individual transaction has some degree of feasibility.

Arbitration-Eligible

  • José Abreu – $16 million: Yes
  • Avisaíl García – $8 million: Yes
  • Yolmer Sánchez – $4.7 million: Yes, but see below
  • Carlos Rodón – $3.7 million: Yes
  • Matt Davidson – $2.4 million: No, but see below
  • Leury García – $1.9 million: No — I like him, but he just doesn’t fit into my plan

Impending Free Agents

  • Miguel González (2018 salary: $4.75 million): No
  • Hector Santiago (2018 salary: $2 million): No
  • Danny Farquhar (2018 salary: $1.05 million) — No, but possibly sign to AAA deal.
  • Ryan LaMarre (2018 salary: $585,000) — No, but possibly sign to AAA deal.
  • Rob Scahill (2018 salary: $550,000) — No, but possibly sign to AAA deal.

Club Options

Type “pick up” or “buy out” after both players. (Explain any tough or complicated calls.)

  • James Shields: pick up $16 million option/buy out for $2 million: Buy out, but re-sign him for one year, $7 million.
  • Nate Jones: pick up $4.65 million option/buy out for $1.25 million: Pick up

Free agents

  • Manny Machado—10 years, $350 million deal, with several perks to entice Machado to come aboard. I’m not too worried about his postseason shenanigans — I’ve never anything about him being a bad teammate. Because the White Sox are saddled with relatively little salary, they have the opportunity to front-load his contract. The first year starts at $40 million, and declines by one million with each succeeding year. Secondly, it offers buyouts depending upon team success: The White Sox get one mulligan, and on Machado’s end, if the White Sox end the season below .500 twice or more during the contract, he has the possibility to opt out every year they fall below that mark. This contract thus is an impetus for the White Sox to start winning, pronto (that’s why I include the deals below). Finally, offer incentives like $5 million for a Gold Glove (which would give Machado an incentive to play 3B), $7.5 million for MVP, or $10 million for World Series MVP. I know this is steep, but unfortunately, because of the competition for his services and the Sox struggles over the past decade or so, we may have to overpay in order to install a new winning culture.

Dallas Keuchel — three years, $52 million for the former Cy Young Award winner. I thought about other pitchers with a fourth-year option that kicks in for $16MM if he reaches innings and ERA criteria.

  • Adam Ottavino—three years, $45 million. The Sox don’t have any proven closer at the major-league level presently. Their young flamethrowers will encounter some growing pains this year, so why not throw out a veteran that dominated out of the pen last year? As with most bullpen guys, what’s good today can be bad tomorrow. Thus, I don’t want to go more than three years. There may be tons of competition for his services, considering he struck out 112 in 77 23 innings, maintaining a 2.43 ERA while pitching half his games at Coors Field.
  • A.J. Pollock — three years, $51 million. Pollock’s 30, and has a significant injury history. He’s by far the best center fielder on the market, however, and will be reasonably affordable due to his difficulties avoiding the DL. The acquisition of Pollock would mean they’d have a center fielder that still has good range (which may be needed with Eloy and Avi as the corners) but can also hit, as well. I thought about a couple other guys instead, but since our corners don’t have the greatest of range, it’d be nice to have a starting center fielder who does.

Trades

Trade Dane Dunning, Blake Rutherford, Zack Collins and Matt Davidson to the Miami Marlins for J.T. Realmuto and Luis Palacios — This would actually kill me, because I’m a huge fan of all the prospects, especially Dunning. However, to acquire one of the top catchers in the game, locked in through 2021, may be worth it. There are several teams interested in Realmuto’s services, so we’d have to make Miami an offer difficult to refuse. The Marlins would get MLB’s No. 59 prospect and one of the best offensive catchers in the game in Collins, a young outfielder who’s hovering around MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list in Rutherford, and a serviceable young arm who could be major league ready next year in Dunning. The White Sox get a catcher who earned a 4.3 bWAR last year. Davidson is basically a throw-in, because he’s out of options and won’t be guaranteed a spot on the roster — he could actually start at first base for the Marlins in 2019. The Marlins would end up getting two local guys — Dunning and Collins — in this deal. The Sox, of course, get one of the best catchers in the game, who’s projected to be paid just $6.1 million after arbitration. Palacios is an 18-year-old southpaw starting pitcher who finished a nice season in the DSL.

Trade Welington Castillo and Yolmer Sanchez to the Washington Nationals for RHRP James Bourque and OF Andrew Stevenson — The Nationals are in the need of a second baseman and catcher and may be willing to offer their 17th-ranked prospect Bourque (great hockey name, eh?) and former prospect Stevenson, who would likely begin 2019 with Charlotte. This trade also helps save the team some salary too, and will keep Jose Rondon on the roster, as he’s out of options.

This is what my 25-man roster would look like, with 2019 salaries attached:

SP Dallas Keuchel ($17.3M)

SP Reynaldo Lopez ($555K)

SP Carlos Rodon ($3.7M)

SP James Shields ($7M)

SP Lucas Giolito ($555K)

RP Adam Ottavino ($15M)

RP Nate Jones ($4.65M)

RP Jace Fry ($555K)

RP Juan Minaya ($558K)

RP Ian Hamilton ($555K)

RP Caleb Frare ($555K)

RP Ryan Burr ($555K)

RP Dylan Covey ($555K)—need a long reliever

C J.T. Realmuto ($6.1M)

C Omar Narvaez ($560K)

1B Jose Abreu ($16M)

2B Yoan Moncada ($555K)

SS Tim Anderson ($1.4M)

3B Manny Machado ($40M)

IF Jose Rondon ($555K)

LF Nicky Delmonico ($555K)

CF A.J. Pollock ($17M)

RF Avisail Garcia ($8M)

OF Adam Engel ($555K)

OF/DH Daniel Palka ($555K)

Summary

Of course I went over the $120 million allotted for salary. However, it’s not too over-the-top. Based on my calculations, I came out to about $143.4 million, not including incentives to Machado. The infield looks dynamite — especially if Moncada and Anderson play up to capabilities. The outfield will be OK — especially considering that Eloy Jiménez will replace Delmonico by mid-to-late April. The starting pitching will be OK but not great, unless Giolito and Rodon pick it up a notch this year. I kept Delmonico on the team because he has three options left — there’s no problem with sending him to AAA once Jiménez is ready. We’d still have most of our top outfield and pitching prospects in the system available to contribute in 2019 or 2020. With Shields having a one-year deal, that would free up Kopech for 2019; I believe if Giolito struggles, he’ll be replaced by Dylan Cease. I also like the firepower out of the pen as well. We should be a .500 team (or better) with this squad — especially with improvement from our youngsters.

My lineup would be against righties, when Jiménez arrives: (1) Moncada, (2) Pollock, (3) Machado, (4) Jiménez, (5) Abreu, (6) Palka, (7) Realmuto, (8) Garcia, (9) Anderson.

My lineup against lefties, when Jiménez arrives: (1) Pollock, (2) Rondon, (3) Machado, (4) Jiménez, (5) Abreu, (6) Realmuto, (7) Garcia, (8) Moncada, (9) Anderson.