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The South Side Sox 2019 White Sox Offseason Plan Project

Steady with the rebuild, or depress the accelerator?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
Back-to-back: Are J.D. and JMc destined to be the 2019 and 2020 top White Sox free agents?
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

Welcome to the six installment of the South Side Sox White Sox Offseason Plan Project. With a first snow already hitting the ground, hopefully your jingle bells already are jangling with ideas to improve the White Sox in 2019.

It seems the one SSS tradition that migrated away from the site in the breakup was the offseason plan project. While many plans were forged, mostly all dreaming of big bucks being spent, not many of them ended up on our pages. Which is fine. It seems every year the plan date is moved up, as if we don’t have a long enough offseason ahead. Maybe in 2020 we’ll change our offseason plan project to the “All-Star Game Plan Project” or “Dog Days Plan Project.” Sheesh. Anyway, there aren’t many plans linked to the 2018 offseason project tab, but if you scan back a few clicks in FanPosts you’ll see a bunch more.

So, with the White Sox having messed the bed last offseason, becoming, truly, a major league embarrassment (acquiring Manny Machado family members, then whiffing on Machado in the final hours, meanwhile adding nothing of truly major import all offseason in the process ... sorry, James), it seems, well, you can’t do worse!

Yes, yes, this is the New and Improved Most Important Offseason Ever. But keep in mind, last year was unique: It’s almost certain that never again will there be so few teams competing to spend on the open market (I could be wrong, and Collusion Is Real). So while I personally would heartily endorse aggressive spending, don’t think you can pull in three-plus blue chippers in one offseason rush.

In fact, if you were to do an “honest” plan reflective of the White Sox’s usual modus operandi, it would consist of bargain-binning your way to a 26-man roster.

But that’s no fun.

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:

  1. Be sure you’re logged in
  2. Copy the template below
  3. Click “FanPosts” at the top of this page
  4. Click “New FanPost” on the FanPosts page
  5. Paste the template copy in the text editor
  6. Write up a brilliant and/or entertaining plan

Here’s a good example of a 2018 offseason plan

Reference Material

Traditionally, we’ve all turned to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for White Sox payroll, but Spotrac is another solid and attractive source. 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.

To 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. (That was last year’s cap, as well, but apparently, Rick Hahn wasn’t reading.) Truth be told, you can spend whatever you want if you justify it, but, the hive mind here will not treat your $200 million White Sox payroll generously.

MLB Trade Rumors exhaustively lists the 2019 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 2019 White Sox (or 2018 offseason) ... 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.

  • Alex Colomé, $10.3 million
  • Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2 million
  • James McCann, $4.9 million
  • Carlos Rodón, $4.5 million
  • Leury García, $4 million
  • Evan Marshall, $1.3 million

Impending Free Agents

Re-sign, cut loose, or extend a qualifying offer ($17.8 million)? (Explain any tough or complicated calls.)

  • José Abreu (2019 salary: $16 million)
  • Jon Jay (2019 salary: $4 millon)
  • Iván Nova (2019 salary: $9,166,167)
  • Hector Santiago (2019 salary: $2 million)

Free agents

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:

Yonder Alonso (four years, $40 million). It’s never too soon to start planning for Manny Machado’s opt-out!


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 is a terrible outfielder, and Cease is not durable enough. 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 26-man roster.

For those of you who think the White Sox can sign the prize of this free agent class, Gerrit Cole, 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.

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, but are reasonable to regard as major components of the 2020 team?
  • How does your offseason fit in the framework of a rebuild, given 89 losses in 2019 and the talent sitting in the prospect pipeline?
  • Is the time right to depress the accelerator, or push the contention window another year back, from our 71-win perspective?

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.