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DJ’s Offseason Plan

The rebuild is on, and that is the way the White Sox should continue

Darrin Jackson #22
I Luv it When You Analyze: Hello there, my offseason plan is better than everybody else’s. Yes, including you, Ed.

Rebuild, rebuild, rebuild. The White Sox are not going to be competitive in 2019, and 2020 should bear limited playoff hopes. Depending on when you believe the rebuild started, 2019 will be about the third year of the process, and the White Sox should operate like that process is ongoing.

Now, that does not mean free agents like Manny Machado and Patrick Corbin should not be targeted. They are good and young enough to play a role in a championship window — starting in two to three years. That means injury-riddled players like A.J. Pollock and older, on-the-decline players like Andrew McCutchen should not be signed to long-term deals.

Instead, Rick Hahn and the front office should try to use in-house candidates when possible. Ryan Cordells, Daniel Palkas, and Aaron Bummers of the White Sox system need to find playing time, even if they might be placeholders for other prospects.

The second option is to try the sign- or trade-and-flip guys. Manny Bañuelos, and free agents like Tyson Ross and Danny Coulombe, seem to perfectly fit that mold. Of course, there will probably be free-agent signings so under-the-radar that their outcomes are impossible to predict, like Tommy Kahnle.

The last option is to sign a guy like Nathan Eovaldi, who is young enough to be a part of the first playoff run while Hahn plays the service-time game.

Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):

  • José Abreu – $16 million - Tender

Try to trade Abreu in the offseason.

  • Avisaíl García – $8 million - Tender

Because of the vastly different 2017 and 2018 campaigns, along with García’s injuries last season, it will be hard to trade him in the offseason. With that in mind, I would still give it a go.

  • Yolmer Sánchez – $4.7 million - Tender

He is the most average player in MLB history. Odds are, no other teams want him, and with how good a clubhouse guy he is, might as well keep him.

  • Carlos Rodón – $3.7 million - Tender

The Sox need to keep Rodón at all costs, as he has the ability to be a future ace if he can stay healthy. If I were in the Sox front office, I would also try to sign Rodón to an extension. Spotrac has Patrick Corbin’s market value just over $20 million. I would try to sign Rodón to a five-year, $75 million extension that would cover three arbitration years and give the Sox two more years of control. He is a Boras client, so odds are Rodón will not sign early, but this would be a good year to see if Rodón will sign.

  • Matt Davidson – $2.4 million - Tender

Side note: If I am in the Sox organization, I tell Davidson to concentrate on hitting, not pitching, because he is not particularly good at either.

  • Leury García – $1.9 million - Tender

Garcia is the closest I came to a non-tender. He does not seem to have a place anymore, as the middle infield is solidly Anderson’s and Moncada’s. He also seems to not have a place in the outfield, as Eloy should come up mid or late April. Avi and Delmonico are better hitters and should find ways to be in the lineup. It pains me to say it, but Engel, with no bat, is more valuable than Garcia in center field. However, Leury is still good depth, and if he hits more like 2017, he could be valuable to a different team.

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) - Cut Loose

He is injury-prone and not good anymore. No real value in keeping him.

  • Hector Santiago (2018 salary: $2 million) - Cut Loose

Santiago is not good anymore. I could see a minor league invitation for him, depending on how many relievers the Sox sign in the offseason.

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


  • Nate Jones: pick up $4.65 million option/buy out for $1.25 million - Pick up

I have never heard anything bad said about Nate Jones the person, and with all signs pointing towards a very young and inexperienced bullpen next year, he should be kept at the very least for a veteran presence. Also, on the off-chance he stays healthy, he can be a good trade candidate.

Realistic free agents

  • Nathan Eovaldi: Three years, $40 million

One of the heroes of the World Series would sure look nice as a White Sox. This season was sort of a breakout year for Eovaldi. In 111 innings pitched, he had a 3.60 FIP, his best since 2015. (He missed all of 2017 for his second Tommy John surgery.) However, his fastball was back to averaging high-90s and touching 100 mph on occasion. His combination of a 93 mph cutter with an 87 mph slider proved deadly for hitters this season, especially against righties. He has had two Tommy John surgeries, so his innings will need to be monitored for the coming years, but he has the arm talent. The last pitcher to sign a contract with two Tommy John surgeries in the past was Tyler Chatwood, so the years and money are similar to his contract.

  • Tyson Ross: Two years, $10 million

He is not the same pitcher he was a couple years ago, featuring a mid-90s fastball with the San Diego Padres. However, when the Cardinals implemented him in relief, Ross was able to get his fastball back to 93-95 mph as the season wound down, so the velocity can still be there. You can utilize him as either a starter or in a fireman role. His FIP as a reliever this season was 3.65, albeit, in a very small sample size of just eight appearances. He had a shoulder injury in 2016, and as us White Sox fans know with Carlos Rodon, it takes awhile for a shoulder to get back to normal (still waiting for Rodón to be back to normal). Ross was much better in 2018 compared to 2017. His 2018 contract was one year, $1.75 million and with some improvement, $5 million per year should be the max.

  • Danny Coulombe: one year, $3 million

This is more outside the box, but it is a rebuild, and Coulombe could be a nice reclamation project. He has a great slider, and an above-average curveball. He is a lefty, so any sort of a good slider is a good thing to have. He had a 3.56 xFIP, so the advanced stats expected him to be good, he just wasn’t. He had a good sinker this year, but rarely used it, if he makes an effort to incorporate his sinker more and his fastball less, he could be a very good lefty bullpen option for contenders in July.

  • Denard Span: one year, $5 million

Span looks more like old man winter as he enters his age 35 season. If Hahn does not believe Cordell is a major league player anymore, might as well sign a veteran outfielder to help what will be a young and inexperienced outfield. He is not the defensive center fielder he was with the Twins, but he still does have some speed, and a much better bat than Engel. Span had an uncommonly low 10.2% walk rate last season. Though his power is not off the charts, his ISO of .155 in 2017 and .158 in 2018 were career highs for him. He was traded for at least something last season from Tampa Bay to Seattle. Simply put, I just cannot watch Engel swing a bat anymore.

Unrealistic free agents ... but why not offer them money?

  • Manny Machado 10 years, $400 million
  • Patrick Corbin: seven years, $200 million

These guys should be self explanatory, but guessing the Sox do not offer this much money when the rebuild is still in full swing.

Bullpen depth/rehab free agents

  • Trevor Rosenthal: one year, $5 million

He just signed with the Washington Nationals for 1 year and $7 million.

  • AJ Ramos: two years, $4 million

His injury might take him out of the entire 2019 season, so that is why he needs two years.

  • Danny Farquhar, Jeanmar Gomez, Boone Logan

They would spend most of, or at least the first half of the year, in AAA. Since the White Sox have multiple prospect arms near MLB ready, I do not expect as many of these older relievers to make the bigs as last year.


  • Trade Jose Abreu

For a first baseman/DH hitter, Abreu does not have many suitors. The Colorado Rockies should have some interest. If I am the Sox, I would target 1B/3B Tyler Nevin, who is in the Top 10 of most Rockies’ prospect lists. He does not have eye-popping power, but is a good contact hitter who walks a decent amount. The Angels are another team that could be interested, but because of Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols, whose contract is immovable (and he is basically a DH now), it’s not as easy a match. It will be tough to trade Abreu, but this is the year to do it. Otherwise, extend him.

  • Trade for Sonny Gray

Not sure how to keep bias out of trading prospects for a one-year pitching project, but Sonny Gray has the ability to be a great pitcher on a World Series champion. It is possible he just needs to be on a team that’s more out of the spotlight team (unlike the Yankees), and that alone could lead to a big improvement. It should not take much to get Gray, so I would trade prospects like Luis Curbelo, Lincoln Henzman, and Kodi Medeiros for him. The highest prospect I would be willing to trade for Gray is Luis Gonzalez, but it would be a one-for-one or two-for-one deal. I am probably low-balling with this offer, but then again, Gray only has one year of control, and was pretty terrible last season. When the Yankees traded for him, Dustin Fowler was the highlight of the deal for the Athletics — and he was coming off a gruesome injury. Other Rule-5 eligible guys the Yankees might find interesting, like Jordan Stephens, should be considered as well.


Note on my roster summary, some spots have multiple options.

My 40-man roster

  1. Aaron Bummer
  2. Ryan Burr
  3. Dylan Covey
  4. Caleb Frare
  5. Jace Fry
  6. Carson Fulmer
  7. Lucas Giolito
  8. Ian Hamilton
  9. Nate Jones
  10. Michael Kopech
  11. Reynaldo Lopez
  12. Juan Minaya
  13. Carlos Rodon
  14. Jose Ruiz
  15. Thyago Vieira
  16. Welington Castillo
  17. Omar Narvaez
  18. Jose Abreu
  19. Tim Anderson
  20. Yoan Moncada
  21. Jose Rondon
  22. Yolmer Sanchez
  23. Micker Adolfo
  24. Luis Basabe
  25. Ryan Cordell
  26. Nicky Delmonico
  27. Adam Engel
  28. Avisail Garcia
  29. Leury Garcia
  30. Eloy Jimenez
  31. Daniel Palka
  32. Matt Davidson
  33. Seby Zavala
  34. Spencer Adams
  35. Kodi Medeiros
  36. Dylan Cease
  37. Manny Bañuelos
  38. Free Agent/Jordan Stephens/Ian Clarkin/Charlie Tilson
  39. Free Agent/Jordan Stephens/Ian Clarkin/Charlie Tilson
  40. Free Agent/Jordan Stephens/Ian Clarkin/Charlie Tilson

Starting Lineup

C- Castillo/Narvaez platoon

1B - Jose Abreu

2B - Yoan Moncada

3B - Yolmer Sanchez/Manny Machado (but again, I doubt he signs here).

SS - Tim Anderson

LF - Nick Delmonico (Until Eloy Jimenez comes up)

CF - Adam Engel/Ryan Cordell/Free Agent

RF - Avisail Garcia

DH - Daniel Palka/Matt Davidson platoon


2B/SS/3B - Jose Rondon

Utility - Leury Garcia

Other platoon of Castillo/Narvaez

Other platoon of Palka/Davidson

When Eloy comes up, Engel and Delmonico have options, Leury Gracia does not. I would guess, if there are no injuries, Delmonico would be the one sent down if the season he had last year seeps into 2019.

Starting Rotation

  1. Carlos Rodon
  2. Reynaldo Lopez
  3. Lucas Giolito
  4. Free Agent
  5. Free Agent/Dylan Covey/Jordan Stephens
  • If the White Sox liked Jordan Stephens enough, he would have made starts last season. He is old for a prospect (26), but you could say the same thing for Covey at 27. In multiple advanced metrics, Covey was one of the better starters last season for the White Sox, so I expect him to get another turn in the rotation to prove himself.


  • Nate Jones
  • Juan Minaya
  • Jace Fry
  • Aaron Bummer
  • Ian Hamilton/Thyago Vieira/Free Agent

Ian Hamilton is the best option here, however, it is now or never to find out if Vieira can be a major league reliever or not. He is wild, but he has a plus fastball that will be more exciting if he can develop his slider and/or changeup more. Also, Vieira is older and has fewer options left compared to Hamilton, so might as well try to maintain roster flexibility.

  • Caleb Frare/Free Agent/Manny Bañuelos

Frare is major league ready, but might as well take advantage of the three option years he has left. Bullpen arms have huge turnover, so odds are Frare will see time and in a rebuild, it is more advantageous for the White Sox to attempt to sign and flip a bullpen piece like Bañuelos, so he should get the first shot.

  • Dylan Covey/Free Agent/Carson Fulmer

Same as before on sign and flip. This spot most likely will go to a pitcher who can go multiple innings if needed. I expect Covey to start for the White Sox in 2019, but if Hahn goes out and signs two starters, Covey should be the long guy in the bullpen. I felt bad for Fulmer and added him, but he will need to shine in spring training and Charlotte for him to see the majors this year.

Prospects who should be on the South Side at some point in 2019, for the first time

  • Eloy Jimenez
  • Seby Zavala
  • Jordan Stephens (if he stays with the team)
  • Zack Burdi
  • Spencer Adams

Outside chance prospects who see time in 2019, in order of likelihood

  • Zack Collins
  • Dylan Cease
  • Dane Dunning
  • Luis Basabe
  • Kodi Medeiros

If the Sox stay the rebuild course like I expect, they still should not be as bad as they were in 2018. Moncada, Giolito, Lopez, and Palka all were doing really good things down the stretch. If that can carry over to 2019, they will be better, and well, Eloy Jiménez will come up, too, and that should help. A full year of a healthy Carlos Rodón should inherently make the Sox better as well. A 100-loss season should be a thing of the past, starting this year, and it should only get better from here.