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Day 1: A slow start

News on our arbitration declines, and a couple of minor trades

NCAA BASEBALL: APR 05 Texas A&M at Rice
Starting with a whimper: Yep the first White Sox trade was for two Houston minor leaguers.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So, Day 1 of the SBN Offseason GM Simulation was on Sunday, which is traditionally a time for minor deals and decisions on tendering contracts.

First off, a quick review of our team decisions:

  • The White Sox offered arbitration to all players except for Yolmer Sánchez and Ryan Goins.
  • We declined the option on Welington Castillo’s contract (the simulation begins as of season’s end, so any trades, etc. since then in real life — e.g the Castillo trade to Texas — haven’t happened) and bought him out for $500,000.

That said, we didn’t just decline Sánchez’s arbitration and dump him on the curb with his new Gold Glove hardware, we offered him a two-year, $10 million deal to stick around as an infield sub and spot starter. We’re happy to report that he accepted.

As for trades, we accomplished just two on the first day.

  1. We dealt Jace Fry and Jake Burger to the Houston Astros for minor league pitches Brandon Bielak and Tyler Ivey. Bielak is out of Edison, N.J., and is a 23-year-old right-handed starter. The 6´1´´, 210-pound product of Notre Dame was chosen in the 11th round by Houston in 2017, and now resides in Triple-A. He has a career 2.94 ERA and 1.135 WHIP in 272 ⅓ innings. He was almost four years younger than average at Triple-A in 2019. His combined numbers at Double-A and Triple-A in 2019 were 11-4 with a 4.22 ERA and 1.216 WHIP. Ivey was Houston’s third-round pick in 2017 and is a 6´4´´, 195-pound, 23-year-old native Texan. He has a career 3.07 ERA and 1.082 WHIP in 201 ⅓ innings. The righthander never has pitched more than 112 innings in a single season despite mostly starting, so Ivey might be suited for a bullpen role.
  2. We dealt Evan Skoug to the Colorado Rockies for relief pitcher Wade Davis. This was a salary dump, obviously, for Colorado, as Skoug is no great return. We were willing to take on Davis’ $17 million salary for 2020, not anticipating too much success on the free agent market. Taking a flier on a relief pitcher who, until 2019, was pretty dynamite (his first year with the Rockies, 2018, saw him with a 4.13 ERA but a league-leading 43 saves) didn’t seem like a bad risk. Now, this Davis deal ended up being our biggest mistake of the simulation, but for some rather good reasons. But that’s just a tease of better days ahead ...

News comes slow on Day 1 of the simulation, so it was notable that the Boston Red Sox dealt Chris Sale and $15 million to the San Diego Padres for Wil Myers and Carl Edwards. (Spoiler alert: Boston is not having a good simulation.) And yes, before you skewer me as the head of our four-exec front office, I did indicate interest in Sale and would have offered more than the packet of magic beans San Diego sent back to Boston.

Notable teases for the future in the simulation include J.D. Martinez opting out of his contract, the Angels declining to offer Kole Calhoun arbitration, and Yasmani Grandal opting out of his contract with the Brewers.

We also struck up trade discussions with a variety of teams, including the Orioles, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Braves, Padres, Mariners, A’s, Pirates, Reds, Royals, Giants, Tigers, Nationals, Yankees and Cardinals, with the most substantial talks coming with Seattle, New York and Kansas City.

But otherwise, that’s it.

I promise you, tomorrow will be much more exciting.