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Boy the 2022 White Sox Sure Suck: An SB Nation GM Simulation Review

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Someone out there really hates the South Siders.

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
If you had Starling Marte as a future owner of the most lucrative free-agent contract in White Sox history on your card, the SBN GM Sim says BINGO!
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

So, one of the things South Side Sox has been lucky to participate in over the years is Royals Review’s SBN GM Simulation; even prior to Brett taking over here in 2018, SSS members had run the team in prior sims (believe it may have been Ken Neadly for a few years, before he turned SSS antihero).

Each year, we’ve had success, with 2018 improving on the actual team by five wins and bringing home significant surplus value, put together a 2019 team that projected to 88 wins, and spending far less (big surplus value) than the real White Sox did in 2020 and thus projecting only 86 wins (rather than the mid-90s the short-season actual club projected to over 162 games).

After three offseasons and some robust participation in the sim, this year our GM team (Brett and seven assistant GMs, as is our tradition running here the sim Sox) was, apparently, dismissed by RR honcho Max Rieper.

It seems the Royals needed someone to utterly torpedo the team that ran away with the AL Central in 2021, because there is no other explanation for the GM sim debacle that was thrust upon our club in SSS’s absence.

Seriously, damn your eyes. This offseason, SBN-wise, was horrifying.


White Sox pick up the option on César Hernández
Considering that Hernández in real life is among one of the better options in a weak free agent class at the keystone, one can see why the Hack Sox GM pulled the trigger here. That’s only if you squint, though. You don’t have to get too creative to find better options. It could be argued that you could just fall out of bed and find better options at second base.

Atlanta trades Touki Toussaint to White Sox for Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger, and Vince Arobio
Toussaint has never quite been able to turn his electric arsenal into outs, which makes shoehorning not one but the two best bats Chicago/Charlotte train into a deal for him rather ... curious. When injuries pressed the 25-year-old into a starting role in 2021, he had his best season — but before you think this is a swell deal bursting with promise, Touki’s “career year” went for 0.3 bWAR over 50 innings. Steamer projects him as a reliever in 2022, and not a very good one.

But, chin up, readers, we only gave up two of our three premier rookie bats to get a guy who will anchor the Charlotte rotation.

White Sox give a qualifying offer to Carlos Rodón
Of all of what you read in this post, this is literally the only move that our team at SSS would have made.

And, as it turns out, Rodón rejected the offer in the sim and signed a five-year deal with the Tigers for $80 million.

(A reminder that this GM sim should be viewed through a lens of more teams wanting to win than in the actual major leagues, spending more aggressively and freely; free-agent contracts are routinely bid up far beyond what happens in the real offseason. The fact that a year ago we signed Masahiro Tanaka and others in rather sneaky fashion and on the cheap was a rare coup in this sim.)

But hey, take notes Rick Hahn, at least we came away with a compensation draft pick for losing Rodón!

White Sox trade Craig Kimbrel to the Tigers for Rony García
We LOVE it when the GM goes by the book. And the book says that when an up-and-coming division rival spends $300 million on a star shortstop (yes, Detroit signed Carlos Correa), you should salary dump your *pause* Hall of Fame closer to that division rival, right?

García is 23 years old and had a knee sprain last year suffered playing long-toss in the outfield, cutting his season short. He has a career 7.30 ERA, although in his two games in 2021 it was 2.35. He projects as a 4.81 ERA reliever per Steamer in 2022. This deal was apparently made to stretch the streak of Garcías on the White Sox (Leury signed a modest contract with Atlanta) to 10 seasons.

White Sox sign Jake Diekman to a one year, $6 million deal
Sure. No such thing as too many relievers.

In his age-35 season, Steamer projects Diekman to rack up 0.6 WAR in 2022, so the White Sox are overpaying the lefty here by roughly triple.

Royals trade Mike Minor, Ángel Zerpa, and Dylan Coleman to the White Sox for Andrew Vaughn and Andrew Dalquist

So ...

Minor is 34 and will be paid $10 million in 2022. He is coming off of a 1.0 bWAR season. Zerpa, a southpaw starter, is 22 and just made his major league debut in September. His MiLB numbers aren’t special, but he has been much younger than his competition at every level. Coleman, a righty reliever, is 25 and seems to have a pretty electric arm, eating up Triple-A and a cup of coffee in the majors in 2021. Let’s call him a Codi Heuer.

Still, this is trading incredibly low on Vaughn and even Dalquist.

Or, in other words ... what in the goddam hell?

(Even the Royals GM, on the RR sim thread, could not believe his eyes on this one and snapped the trade offer up before smelling salts were cracked for the South Side GM.)

White Sox sign Jed Lowrie to a 1-year, $2 million deal
Why get a 95 wRC+ with ONE switch-hitting second baseman when you can have TWO?

White Sox sign Dellin Betances to a 1-year, $1 million deal
See: Diekman, Jake

White Sox sign Ronald Guzman to a minor league deal
When you trade not one, not two, but three slugging corner infield/DH/1Bs in one offseason, it’s just smart money to sign a far more mediocre one to an MiLB deal.

White Sox sign Drew Smyly to a 1-year, $2 million deal with incentives
“With incentives.”

The White Sox have now acquired three southpaw starters, one old and overpaid, one young and unproven, and now Smyly, old but not necessarily underpaid. Progress!

Athletics trade Lazaro Armenteros to the White Sox for Kade McClure
Armenteros is from Cuba, so yeah, All the Cubans — but at 22 is still stuck flopping in Single-A, without distinction. Perhaps White Sox ACL/Kanny rising star Misael González would be a comp, but González is a better fielder and wait, seriously, why are we trading out best young high-minors starter (or second-best, behind Jimmy Lambert, no matter, it’s not saying much either way) for this guy?

White Sox trade Dallas Keuchel and Wes Kath to the Rangers for Steele Walker
Seriously, the hell? Wes Kath was first round talent in Chicago’s eyes, getting him “cheap” in the second round, had a solid first pro season, and suddenly he’s just Splenda in a dump-Keuchy deal. Holy lord. Walker, in case you took him off of your Google News alerts or whatever, has actually gotten a little worse since he was dealt away for Nomar Mazara.

Wow, they White Sox are really giving up a lot to shed salary! They must have some big moves in the pipeline!

...

White Sox sign Starling Marte to a 3-year, $75 million deal
Cool? Setting a new franchise contract record to overpay a 33-year-old coming off of a career year isn’t exactly what we’d do if we traded Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger, Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Dalquist, and Wes Kath.

That’s what we got out of all that: Mike Minor and a $25 million salary for Starling Marte. Cool!


Honestly, these moves read as if the decisions were made by dice roll: Some of these moves seem to point to rebuild, some more all-in for 2022. Perhaps Robby the Recapper stole our GM gig this year.

Likewise, as much as we had a huge strategy (h/t Luke Smailes and Zach Hayes) going into a sim we were locked out of, and would have murdered the competition again to bring home a winner, dressing down this crap team might be more fun. So we reserve the right to refuse an invitation next year, if extended.

Enjoy your 2022 SBN GM Sim White Sox!

C Yasmani Grandal
C Zack Collins
1B José Abreu
2B César Hernández
SS Tim Anderson
3B Yoán Moncada
IF Jed Lowrie
IF Romy González or Danny Mendick
LF Eloy Jiménez
CF Luis Robert
RF Starling Marte
OF Adam Engel
OF Micker Adolfo or Blake Rutherford

SP1 Lucas Giolito
SP2 Lance Lynn
SP3 Dylan Cease
SP4 Michael Kopech
SP5 Mike Minor

CL Liam Hendriks
LHSU Aaron Bummer
RHSU Dylan Coleman
RHRP Dellin Betances
LHRP Garrett Crochet
LHRP Jake Diekman
LHRP Drew Smyly
RHRP Reynaldo López

Bullpen is about the same (?). Rotation still has holes, although vs. 2021 at least there is some (weak but improved) depth among Minor, Smyly, Toussaint. Second base is really bad. Right field is improved, fingers crossed, but at a steep cost. Bench is significantly weaker, given that the battle for fifth OF is among untesteds like Adolfo, Rutherford and Céspedes.

Rough math, this roster actually adds about $7 million to payroll compared to 2021?

Yeesh.