Giving this piece a bump in light of the White Sox striking hard, pre-Winter Meetings, to sign Grandal. The rest of this sim report gives you an idea of what can be accomplished with a little luck and some capital allocated for improvements.
The best part of it all is that if Grandal’s “discount” from SBN sim to real life ($25 million per year vs. $18 million, a 28% reduction) means this entire plan, if everything else adhered to a “less competitive market” discount, could be had for about $105 million.
Eighty-eight wins for $105 million? Not bad.
This year, representing the White Sox as their GM in the SB Nation offseason simulation, we made two trades and signed a whopping seven free agents.
Last year, our post-sim roster projected to 83 wins ... but in reality (aka, actual WAR performance in 2019), the team would have nabbed 76. Still better than the actual White Sox, but not too shocking an upturn.
This year, thanks to the green light from Jerry Reinsdorf (played in this film strip by the dashing Max Rieper of Royals Review), we dialed things up something fierce, in the neighborhood of 86-88 wins.
(projections provided by Steamer via FanGraphs)
Yasmani Grandal ($25 million): 4.8 WAR in 144 games
James McCann ($4.9 million): 0.4 WAR in 53 games
Zack Collins (minimum) 0.1 WAR in 23 games
Total 5.3 WAR for $30.5 million
I’m not going to project the current White Sox roster, because it’s obviously going to change with some additions this winter. Right? Seriously, right? All three players will also see time at first base and DH. Collins would probably spend the balance of the season in Charlotte, honing his catching skills so he can take over when McCann leaves as a free agent after the season.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo ($11 million): 2.5 WAR
Several players will see games at first base, but I have Tsutsugo down for about 70% of the play there. Obviously, he was not projected by Steamer, so my WAR estimate was based on a .899 OPS last year, subtracting 100 points for the transition to the majors, then looking up a similar player profile from 2019 with around a .799 OPS. Lo and behold, the best match was fellow lefty and fellow new White Sox Kole Calhoun. So, 2.5 WAR it is (incidentally, that’s 0.1 WAR better than José Abreu in 2019).
Running sim total: 7.8 WAR, $41.5 million salary
Yolmer Sánchez ($5 million): 0.6 WAR
Yolmer’s position by the end of the year will be as infield sub at second and third, with Nick Madrigal eating into his reps. But the difference between the two players, WAR-wise, will probably be pretty negligible, with Madrigal being a rookie and all.
Running sim total: 8.4 WAR, $46.5 million salary
Tim Anderson ($4 million): 2.0 WAR
Running sim total: 10.4 WAR, $50.5 million salary
Yoán Moncada (minimum): 3.8 WAR
Running sim total: 14.2 WAR, $51.1 million salary
Eloy Jiménez ($2.3 million): 2.3 WAR
Running sim total: 16.5 WAR, $53.4 million salary
Luis Robert (minimum): 2.2 WAR
Running sim total: 18.7 WAR, $54 million salary
Kole Calhoun ($10 million): 1.3 WAR
Leury García ($4 million): 0.0 WAR
I haven’t quibbled with any WAR estimates yet, given that these things are usually accurate. But these two are brutal. Calhoun is projected as seeing his WAR halved, and García is reduced from a productive player to nothing. Yikes. I have García as as true supersub, seeing 81 games spread across second base, shortstop, center field and right field, and it’s hard to believe he’ll garner no WAR at all in so much action.
Running sim total: 20 WAR, $68 million salary
J.D. Martinez ($23 million): 3.6 WAR
Martinez will see a few games in left and at first base, but he gets the lion’s share of DH duty.
Running sim total: 23.6 WAR, $91 million salary
Lucas Giolito (minimum): 2.9 WAR
Dallas Keuchel ($22 million): 2.7 WAR
Michael Kopech (minimum): 1.0 WAR
Gio González ($13 million): 1.6 WAR
Dylan Cease: (minimum): 1.9 WAR
Carlos Rodón is not included on our roster at all. Kopech does not get an estimate, so I placed him at a very conservative 1.0 WAR. Gio’s projection is very dour; I believe he’s only been as low as a 1.6 WAR pitcher once in his career.
Running sim total: 33.7 WAR, $127.8 million salary
Alex Colomé ($10.3 million): 0.4 WAR
Jimmy Cordero (minimum): 0.2 WAR
Evan Marshall (minimum): 0.2 WAR
Reynaldo López (minimum): 1.5 WAR
Aaron Bummer: (minimum): 0.9 WAR
Caleb Frare: (minimum): 0.0 WAR
Sergio Romo: ($3 million): 0.2 WAR
Javy Guerra: ($1.3 million): 0.0 WAR
López’s Steamer projection is as a starter, but pair him with Kopech, and consider the two being estimated at 2.2 WAR; that sounds OK. Frare gets a 0.0 WAR projection, although you’d like to think he or whatever lefty fills those shoes will be at least a small positive. Do I think Guerra is going to be in our bullpen? No, but just estimate a 0.0 WAR spot for the absolute last guy in the pen.
Running sim total: 37.1 WAR, $145.4 million salary
Dead money owed to Yonder Alonso, Welington Castillo, Wade Davis and Rodón’s arbitration salary take the total team commitment to what I estimated as $162.7 million, qualifying as 13th in baseball after the simulation ended.
Also, we inked Iván Nova and Curtis Granderson to minor league deals, as emergency options.
Different sites use different baselines for how many wins a team a replacement team would have in the majors, but using the very lowest estimate, 48 wins, means our 37 WAR roster would finish 85-77. Higher-end estimates would place us at 88-74.
Using a miserly $4 million value per WAR, that would give the sim roster a $152 million value — higher than the $145.4 cost of the actual roster, but lower than the total cash outlay when considering buyouts and such.
That’s the cost of winning, people. I’m guessing the division push this White Sox team would put forth might sell enough tickets and garner enough additional TV ratings to more than make up the deficit.