Welcome to the ninth installment of the South Side Sox White Sox Offseason Plan Project. Does an 81-81 record in the middle of a contention window make you feel like you might do a better job than GM Rick Hahn and the White Sox “brain trust?” Well, this is your chance to help show the South Siders the way.
It’s been three years since Hahn “broke the bank” 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. Two years ago, however, was a return to form, as Hahn bid against himself and added to strength (Liam Hendriks), made a brilliant starting pitcher acquisition (Lance Lynn) and then crossed fingers for No. 4 and 5 starters, and completely gakked on any new offense (Adam Eaton? At the START of the free agent season!).
Last offseason, Hahn was given a blank checkbook and ran up an all-time high of $206 million, adding even more to his megapen (Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly) and skimping on lineup holes at second base (Josh Harrison) and in right field (no one). Aggravatingly, Hahn didn’t even try to retain ascendant star starter Carlos Rodón with a relatively-paltry $18.4 million qualifying offer, leaving the club woefully thin in the rotation.
Let’s help Rick out this year. Money will stay stagnant, given Hahn BLEW AWAY last season’s payroll cap of the offseason plan project of $168 million. The current payroll with no additions projects to $175 million. It is almost certain Hahn will not get the go-ahead to INCREASE spending beyond last year’s $206 million, so let’s set the cap at $200 million. That allows for $25 million in acquisitions without having to shed a single player from the roster. In my mind, such a swelled figure is unlikely, but who knows.
If you’re new to this, welcome, and if you’re not, welcome back!
First, some White Sox housekeeping, then arbitration and White Sox option decisions.
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.
- Be sure you’re logged in
- Copy the template below
- Click “FanPosts” at the top of this page
- Click “New FanPost” on the FanPosts page
- Paste the template copy in the text editor
- Write up a brilliant and/or entertaining plan
I reserve the right to move plans from the FanPosts sidebar to the main page, because I’m the boss.
While there are a lot of sources on White Sox payroll, Spotrac is the best and easiest and most complete. The site also lists all 340 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. Also, you are strongly encouraged to use Spotrac’s market value estimate for your contract offers, as they are a reality check for anyone trying to “steal” a free agent and stay under budget.
Everything make sense? OK then, let’s get started!
[Insert your name]’s Offseason Plan
Feel free to summarize your plan here, outline your overall strategy, castigate the 2022 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.
Below are the White Sox players eligible for salary arbitration, with their MLB Trade Rumors arbitration estimates attached as their 2023 salary. 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.
Dylan Cease $5.3 million
Michael Kopech $2.2 million
Lucas Giolito $10.8 million
Reynaldo López $3.3 million
José Ruiz $1 million
Adam Engel $2.3 million
Danny Mendick (recovering from knee surgery, may not be ready to start in 2023) $1 million
Kyle Crick (just outrighted off of the 40-man roster, to Charlotte) $1.5 million
Impending Free Agents
Re-sign or let go? This year’s qualifying offer is up to $19.65 million, but there is no one to offer it to (Abreu has already been extended a QO in his White Sox career. (Explain any tough or complicated calls.)
José Abreu (2022 contract: $18 million, Sportrac market value: $9.1 million)
Elvis Andrus (2022 contract: $14.25 million, Sportrac market value: $4.5 million)
Johnny Cueto (2022 contract: $4.2 million, prorated based on late start to $3.2 million)
Vince Velasquez (2022 contract: $3 million)
Team Contract Options
Pick up, decline, or rework the deal — and explain any tough or complicated calls.
Tim Anderson $12.5 million (or a $1 million buyout)
Josh Harrison $5,625,000 (or a $1.5 million buyout)
Player Contract Options
There’s no way Pollock is giving the White Sox $5 million to pursue free agency instead of collecting $13 million. Don’t even play otherwise, people.
AJ Pollock $13 million (or a $5 million buyout)
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), and for the top talent, consult the Spotrac market value. 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:
Dallas Keuchel (three years, $90 million). The “authoritarian” that Liam Hendriks is craving!
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:
Andrew Vaughn to the Chicago Cubs for Nick Madrigal Every White Sox player will have to defend under Pedro Grifol.
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 2023 team?
- How does your offseason fit in the framework of the contention window being WIDE OPEN now?
- How did you juggle payroll to keep things relatively flat while re-shaping the team into something able to make a run at the playoffs next year?
There is no “cheating” when it comes to offseason plans. If you see a national writer float an interesting idea or rumor, or if you wish to adopt an 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 free market is a bloodbath.
Most of all, have fun. This is for exhibition purposes only. Please, no wagering.