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The South Side Sox 2020 White Sox Offseason Plan Project

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Perhaps the biggest question: After a pandemic season, is there money to spend?

Wild Card Round - Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics - Game Three
Nomar Mazara #30 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of Game 3 of the American League Wild Card Round at RingCentral Coliseum on Oct. 1, 2020 in Oakland.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Welcome to the seventh installment of the South Side Sox White Sox Offseason Plan Project. After a surprisingly strong showing in 2020’s truncated regular season, let’s hope a taste of the playoffs has given you plenty of ideas to improve the White Sox in 2021, taking them playoff-scraper to title contender.

How cool was it that GM Rick Hahn went against type and pulled in two blue-chip free agents (Yasmani Grandal, stunning the market; Dallas Keuchel, in a quick pivot after the Zack Wheeler setback) and still found some additional change in the couch cushions to bring in Nomar Mazara (via trade), Edwin Encarnación and Gio González? It’s as if Hahn executed an Ultimate Fantasy Blueprint from one of our own Offseason Plans.

And that doesn’t even mention the two LONG extensions to core players Luis Robert and Yoán Moncada.

It’s an exciting time to be a fan, and a fun time to be a GM for a day.

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: finding a manager, and making 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 2019 offseason plan, courtesy of BillyKochFanClub

I reserve the right to move plans from the FanPosts sidebar to the main page, because I’m the boss.


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 likely players are retained (via arbitration and declined options), is roughly $84 million.

It’s safe to say, especially after a no- (err ... “low”) revenue 2020, the White Sox will not be gangbuster spending. There should be room for more payroll with the club on the come, so let’s set a general ceiling of $125 million, which is $5 million more than we set payroll at a year ago.

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 2020-21 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

Introduction

Feel free to summarize your plan here, outline your overall strategy, celebrate the 2020 White Sox ... 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.

Manager

Who are you hiring as the new White Sox manager? Tell us who, and why. Remember ... “recent October experience,” per Rick Hahn.

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.

(all estimates presume a full season and no prorated salaries, as in 2020)

  • Nomar Mazara, $5.9 million
  • Yolmer Sánchez, $2 million
  • Adam Engel, $1.4 million
  • Carlos Rodón, $4.55 million
  • Lucas Giolito, $5.3 million
  • Reynaldo López, $2.2 million
  • Evan Marshall, $1.9 million
  • Jace Fry, $1 million

Impending Free Agents

Re-sign, cut loose, or extend a qualifying offer of $18.9 million? (Explain any tough or complicated calls.)

  • Alex Colomé (2020 salary: $10,532,500)
  • James McCann (2020 salary: $5.4 million)
  • Jarrod Dyson (2020 salary: $2 million)

Team Contract Options

Write “pick up” or “decline,” and explain any tough or complicated calls.

  • Edwin Encarnación (2021 salary: $12 million)
  • Gio González (2021 salary: $7 million)
  • Leury García (2021 salary: $3.5 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

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:

Luis Robert to the Chicago Cubs for Albert Almora Jr. The White Sox lost [insert large amount of money here] and have to cost-cut. Might as well start with the guy who rarely stays healthy and will dig up too much of the Sodfather’s turf with diving catches.

Summary

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.

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 2021 team?
  • How does your offseason fit in the framework of Year 5 of the rebuild, given the playoffs in 2020 and expectation to contend for a title in 2021?

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.