The White Sox, circa 2022, were built to hit homers and they failed to do so. The 2023 strategy should recognize that rule changes are going to bring back base stealing to the game. I’m also recognizing that the team defense and individual defense was lacking, non-existent and less than stellar. The Sox were tied for the 4th worst ranking for defensive runs saved costing the team a negative 35 defensive runs saved. Some of those are easily corrected because 22 of those runs were lost in the outfield, primarily by playing players out of position. The lack of defense and lack of hustle are the two top reasons for the Sox 2022 failure. A close third place would be the lack of hitting from the left side of the plate, thanks to Grandal and Moncada barely showing up. This plan seeks to correct those problems.
Arbitration-eligibles (Total Contracts: $22.6m)
Dylan Cease $5.3 million Tender
Michael Kopech $2.2 million Tender
Lucas Giolito $10.8 million Tender
Reynaldo López $3.3 million Tender
José Ruiz $1 million Tender
Adam Engel $2.3 million Non-Tender. Offer minor league deal.
Danny Mendick (recovering from knee surgery, may not be ready to start in 2023) $1 million. Non-Tender. Offer Minor League Deal
Kyle Crick (just outrighted off of the 40-man roster, to Charlotte) $1.5 million
Impending Free Agents ($13.5M)
Three of the four pending free agents were plus players for the White Sox in 2022 both on the field and in the clubhouse. Andrus was particularly solid at shortstop with only 1 error, exposing the fact that Anderson is/was a subpar shortstop, despite his athleticism.
José Abreu (2023 contract: $9.1 million, Sportrac market value: $9.1 million)
Elvis Andrus (2023 contract: $4.5 million, Sportrac market value: $4.5 million)
Johnny Cueto (2023 Backup plan)Cueto served us well. I’d like to give him another year. But he’s a backup plan in favor of signing someone else in a lucrative long-term contract.
Vince Velasquez (2022 contract: $3 million) Sign him for the same 3 mil.
Team Contract Options
Pick up, decline, or rework the deal — and explain any tough or complicated calls.
Tim Anderson $12.5 million Pickup Decision already made.
Josh Harrison $5,625,000 (or a $1.5 million buyout) Buyout decision probably already made since his uniform number was torn off and put on the manager’s jersey.
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)—Agreed. Mama Pollock didn’t raise any stupid kids. He exercises the payday.
Sign Kodai Senga for 6 years 90 million dollars. We can opt in for the last 2 years at an additional 18 mil a year. Four year guarantee is for 60 million. He can opt out after five years.
Spotrac didn’t have an estimate for Kodai Senga, the 30 year old Gold Medalist Japanese starter. However, MLB Trade Rumors estimated his contract at 5 years and 75 million. Some question whether he can be a dominant starter but I’m betting "yes". If not, everyone agrees he can be a high leverage reliever, which Hahn should love.
We have to improve the defense in left field, right field, and second base. Since we signed Abreu for one year above, we don’t have room for both Andrew Vaughn and Eloy. I decided to keep Eloy and move Vaughn.
Trade Number 1: Andrew Vaughn and Burger to the Tampa Rays for Josh Lowe and Brandon Lowe. Josh is a 24 year old outfield prospect that hasn’t put it together for Tampa. Brandon is the power hitting second baseman who was injured last year. Tampa is stacked with middle infielders and don’t need Brandon as much as they need a first baseman. We can always cherry pick Vaughn in Free agency in the future. Baseball Trade Values approved the trade.
Trade Number 2: Kendall Graveman for Fletcher. Arizona needs relief pitching and the White Sox need outfield help! The first trade gave us Josh Lowe but we’d like to add one more outfielder. Arizona has Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas, and minor leaguer Dominic Fletcher, their #13th ranked prospect. They can’t play everyone. According to reports, Arizona isn’t moving Caroll or Varsho. My choice would be McCarthy but Baseball Trade Values ruled that even if we throw in Giolito, Arizona would be making an overpay for McCarthy or Thomas. Even for Fletcher, the site claims it is a minor overpay but would probably be accepted. So, it’s Fletcher, with Colas sitting in AAA to relieve either Fletcher or Lowe. Fletcher played at AA and AAA last year and hit .312 with a .378 obp. He also hit 12 homers and drove in 75 runs. He has average speed but can play all three outfield spots. While trying to procure McCarthy, I would also try to keep Graveman and give up Kelly but I assume Arizona doesn’t need bullpen help that badly.
We had commitments for 10 players at 110.46 million, added Anderson’s 12.5 for 122.96 million. Pollock’s 13 makes it 135.96. Our own free agents (Abreu and Andrus added 13.6 to make it 149.566. We subtracted Graveman’s 8 million but added Brandon Lowe’s $5.25 million for 154.816. Josh Lowe, Zavala and Fletcher are in at 720,00 each for 156.916 million. The arbitration players add 22.6 million for a running total of 179.516 million. We add VV back in at 3 mil since we have money to burn. After adding one 720,000 salary for our pitching staff, we had one more spot left for the free agent signing. I would have liked Rodon but Spotrac estimates his value at 31.6 million per year. Ouch, that would have put us over budget. So, you get our second choice and a 197.516 million dollar budget. That extra money can be used when we go shopping at the trade deadline.
The Pitching Rotation of Cease, Lynn, Senga, Kopech, and Giolito is backed up in AAA by Lambert, Stiever, Crochet and Martin. Wish we had a lefty starter but having a mediocre lefty like Quintana is not what we need. Rodon would be the guy but he will get paid.
The bullpen has Hendricks at the back end, with a rejuvenated Kelly, Lopez, Bummer, Diekman, Ruiz, Velezquez, Foster and Banks.
1. Anderson SS (RH)
2 . Abreu 1B (RH)
3 . Lowe 2B (LH)
4 . Eloy DH (RH)
5 . Robert CF (RH)
6 . Lowe RF (LH)
7 . Grandal c (SH)
8. Moncada 3b (SH)
9. Fletcher LF (LH)
Andrus, Garcia, Pollock and Zavala are the bench players. However, Anderson will be utilized as a Swiss Army Knife (pardon me if that is not politically incorrect any longer) playing short, designated hitting second, left, center and right. Pencil in Pollock as insurance in case Fletcher or Josh Lowe can’t handle MLB pitching. Zavala will split catching duties based on how much and how well Yasmani can play. Garcia can fill in for sore muscle days and pinch run at times!
If Arizona is willing to trade McCarthy or Thomas instead of Fletcher, we’d prefer that deal and that player would take Fletcher’s place. Fletcher provides a second leadoff hitter at 9. Moncada is dumped down to number 8 until he can show some pride and play better. You can't have him batting in the first six spots with the 2022 performance hanging over the park. Hopefully, his demotion lights a fire under him.
I suspect that Andrus would be a real asset in the field if we can play him about 120 games and give him enough rest. The new Sunday lineup should have Anderson at short. We don’t get the big names like Judge or Turner but we are within budget and our defense and speed should be 100 percent better leading to a more exciting and prosperous year.