MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams. Click here to read the other entries in this series.
Having completed a three-season rebuilding period, the White Sox must make significant additions and field a competitive team in 2020. With the Yasmani Grandal signing, they’ve already got a strong early start.
- Yasmani Grandal, C: $73MM through 2023
- Jose Abreu, 1B: $50MM through 2022.
- Kelvin Herrera, RP: $9.5MM through 2020. Includes club option for 2021.
- Eloy Jimenez, LF: $37MM through 2024. Includes club options for 2025 and ’26.
- Tim Anderson, SS: $21.75MM through 2022. Includes club options for 2023 and ’24.
Arbitration-Eligible Players (projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)
- Alex Colome, RP – $10.3MM
- James McCann, C – $4.9MM
- Leury Garcia, OF – $4.0MM
- Carlos Rodon, SP – $4.5MM
- Evan Marshall, RP – $1.3MM
- Non-tender candidates: Yolmer Sanchez (outrighted)
In the three weeks since the World Series ended, the White Sox have already made several notable offseason moves. The first was to ship catcher Welington Castillo to the Rangers, giving up $250K in international bonus pool space as a way of saving $500K in real money in the form of Castillo’s buyout. As James Fegan of The Athletic wrote, the question is “why a seemingly paltry amount of the major-league payroll is being prioritized over a significant portion of the international bonus pool,” as this is not the first time the White Sox have done so. To hear White Sox Senior Vice President/General Manager Rick Hahn tell it, the team’s international staff did not have any further signings they wanted to make, so he then set out to exchange the club’s bonus pool space for some benefit. The shedding of international bonus pool space invited skepticism in some corners, including from Jim Margalus of Sox Machine.
As this outlook was in progress, the White Sox signed the #7 free agent on the market, catcher Yasmani Grandal, to a four-year, $73MM deal. The contract surpasses Abreu for the largest in franchise history, a major commitment to a player who fits the team like a glove. The Sox have added perhaps the best hitter and pitch framer among all MLB catchers. And unlike last year’s failed pursuit of Manny Machado, Hahn and company proved that they actually are willing and able to win the bidding on a top free agent. While he’s not a $300MM player, Grandal offers a huge boost behind the plate over incumbent James McCann, perhaps on the order of four additional wins in 2020. McCann could stay on as a somewhat overqualified backup for Grandal (he did make the All-Star team this year), but he becomes a pretty clear trade candidate, especially given Zack Collins’ bond with Grandal.
Earlier this month the White Sox made the fairly reasonable decision to give Jose Abreu a qualifying offer, which served the dual purpose of cementing their longstanding interest in retaining him, and of creating a drag on the idea of another team signing him. The widely expected multiyear agreement didn’t happen by the November 14th deadline for Abreu, so the player chose to accept the strong $17.8MM salary on a one-year deal for 2020. At that point first base was filled for 2020, and the White Sox didn’t have to commit beyond Abreu’s age-33 season. Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf can be loyal to a fault, however, and the team chose to overwrite that one-year deal with a three-year, $50MM pact that surely had much to do with Abreu’s clubhouse presence as his production at the plate. Chalk this one up as a win for Abreu, who was unlikely to find this level of a contract on the open market. Should White Sox fans complain? Only to the extent that Abreu’s unnecessary new deal prevents them from upgrading the rest of the roster, which doesn’t seem likely at least this offseason.
One other notable move happened this week, with the club removing second baseman Yolmer Sanchez from the 40-man roster. Sanchez seemed unlikely to make it past Monday’s non-tender deadline anyway, but now the path is clear for prospect Nick Madrigal.
Due to the team committing over $123MM before Thanksgiving, this is beginning to read more like an offseason review than an outlook. However, there’s plenty of speculation left to do. One clear remaining area of upgrade for the White Sox is right field. While there’s a slight preference for left-handed bats, perhaps the addition of a switch-hitter like Grandal reduces that. Options in free agency include Nicholas Castellanos, Kole Calhoun, and Yasiel Puig. Both Marcell Ozuna and Eloy Jimenez seem limited to left field, making Ozuna a difficult fit. Nor have Corey Dickerson or Brett Gardner played much right field. On the trade market, one consideration is Mookie Betts, a potentially huge one-year rental if Hahn could pry him loose from the Red Sox. Perhaps of equal or greater acquisition cost would be the Mariners’ Mitch Haniger, who is under control for three more seasons. The trade market could also offer Josh Reddick, Nomar Mazara, Stephen Piscotty, and Hunter Renfroe, none of whom would be considered a clear upgrade.
The Sox are also wide open at designated hitter, and a few interesting options abound if the team is willing to use the spot mostly for one player. Chicago was considered the speculative favorite for J.D. Martinez if he’d chosen to opt out, with the thinking that the Red Sox wouldn’t necessarily have minded gaining relief from Martinez’s contract. If the White Sox indeed like Martinez, I wonder if they’d attempt to take him and his three-year, $62.5MM commitment off Boston’s hands. One issue could be Martinez’s ability to opt out after the 2020 season, which brings downside risk for the White Sox. It’s also plausible that the White Sox could attempt to use their financial flexibility to acquire Khris Davis and most of his $33.5MM commitment from Oakland. A simpler move would be to simply sign a free agent who could be plugged in as a regular DH, such as Edwin Encarnacion or Hunter Pence.
The White Sox will almost certainly add starting pitching this winter, with Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, and Reynaldo Lopez penciled in plus interesting options like Carlos Rodon and Michael Kopech. Even with Jake Odorizzi off the board, the free agent market is flush with options. Though they’ve never given out a $100MM contract, the White Sox have at least attempted to dole out a $200MM deal, and they could certainly compete on Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg if Reinsdorf so chooses. They’re also viable suitors for Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, Cole Hamels, and just about any other free agent. Signing Grandal early could have a benefit here: the White Sox have signaled they’re not messing around, and presumed “contenders only” names like Bumgarner, Ryu, and Hamels could get on board. The trade market doesn’t appear overwhelming, but certainly a Matthew Boyd, Chris Archer, or Jon Gray would be attainable for the Sox. If you want to get a little more fantastical with trade ideas, we can again speculate on financially bailing out the Red Sox, with David Price or even Chris Sale. The White Sox re-acquiring Sale would be particularly entertaining, but with a $145MM commitment and an elbow injury ending his season in August, it’s the ultimate long shot.
Like most teams, the White Sox could also stand to improve their bullpen. Colome, Herrera, and Aaron Bummer are guaranteed spots, while Evan Marshall and Jimmy Cordero will surely be in the mix. It remains to be seen how aggressively the White Sox will address the bullpen given their other needs, though the Braves have already scooped up Will Smith and Chris Martin from the top end of the free agent market. Plus, the Sox already can expect to pay Colome and Herrera around $19MM for their 2020 efforts.
Even after signing Grandal and Abreu, their projected commitments sit around $80MM. With so many big-market teams crying poor this winter, the White Sox are in excellent position to add several more impact free agents and make a major push into contention for 2020 and beyond.
Prediciton: relevant for 8 games out of the season
Prediction #2: Blackout game 2.0 with White Sox and Twins playing a tiebreaker to end the season. Abreu ties the game with a blast in the bottom of 9th, Eloy goes back to back with the walkoff.
Yeah. That’ll happen. Anyone that could make predictions like that would have made enough money to move to the North side by now.
Plenty of us have “enough money” to move to the North side, we just actually like some racial diversity and character in our neighborhoods.
Yeah. I was just joking. I’ve never been to Chicago. I just watch a lot if that show “Shameless” and it seems like they dislike Northsiders a lot because they think they are snoody or something and I’m assuming it has to do with money. I do have several friends from northside Chicago though and they are all black so I have to believe it’s not quite as racially segregated as you imply. I didn’t really mean anything negative about my statement but looking at it now and never having visited Chicago, I can see how it sounded pretty bad. I guess what I meant is that the ChiSox are expected to be a third place team next year and you are not only predicting that they go to the World Series, but that they do it in a very specific way involving 2 specific players homering in one very specific ALCS game and one of those players specifically hitting 2 home runs. My point was, if you genuinely believe that is going to happen like you say, Vegas would probably give you better than 100,000 to one odds on that. You could basically spend a $20 bill and be a multimillionaire before the end of next season. If your predictions were actually that accurate you would probably be a multibillionaire by now.
If your a betting man these are my last 4 WS winners bets that I put on in spring training. 16 Cubs, 17 Nationals, 18 Dodgers, 19 Yankees, 20 Yankees. So far 1 from 4 hopefully next year 2 from 5.
Kelly Wunsch N' Munch
Transparency: Scrub fan. You’re a troll walterfranciswhite.GTFO! The White Sox may not be “World Beaters” yet, but they’re trending up. Sorry that makes you butthurt. Your Scrubbies still look good. There’s no need for your petulance. A healthy season from Darvish, Lester on his tail end (still enviable), Hendricks is still good, and Quintana is an adequate starter. That’s four decent, projectable pitchers as far as I can see. I would still be more concerned about your own team, rather than trolling White Sox posts. You’ve got plenty to look forward to. They’ll be competitive you’d hope. I’m not a fan of them letting Maddon go so easily.
Would 1 year of Joc Pederson make sense for their RF hole? What would the Sox have to send back for him?
They’d probably save the prospects and just sign Calhoun. And because the white Sox have such a strong top 10 prospects, I wouldn’t expect any guys in that top 10 coming back. Maybe 2 guys from the 20-30 range in the CHW top 30 prospect list.
I’m not a fan of the White Sox signing FA Kole Calhoun to be their left-handed hitting right fielder in 2020. Calhoun’s defense seems a bit overrated per a career dWAR of -1.7 that also included a -0.4 metric last season. He also just turned 32 so his defense doesn’t figure to improve going forward. Offensively, Calhoun can draw some walks but he is a low BA hitter who strikes out a ton. The White Sox don’t need another Adam Dunn in their future batting order. They might already have that in young backup catcher/1B/DH Zack Collins.
If the White Sox want to address their need for a core left-handed hitter and right fielder with the same player this offseason it will need to be done via the trade route. For me, that’s Dodgers RF Alex Verdugo!
Short of that they might be better off signing a solid right-handed hitting free agent right fielder, perhaps even Yasiel Puig. The enigmatic slugger could probably be signed to a one year make good FA contract. Puig is 3 years younger than Calhoun and still possesses enormous potential which might finally be realized going to the White Sox. Chicago can surround him with 4 other Cubans in their starting lineup including two potential ‘big brother’ influences in Jose Abreu and former Dodger teammate Yasmani Grandal. I believe Puig would relish flanking uber-CF prospect Luis Robert as the new White Sox RF along with being a compliment to Yoan Moncada in their batting order. In my mind, this would be Puig’s best and perhaps last opportunity to finally achieve the stardom predicted of him when he signed as a high profile international FA with the Dodgers back in 2012.
Puig would be interesting.. I know a Dodger fan that hates him. Maybe he has seen enough teams and needs to be around Abreu and Grandal.
He has potential.++
Puig would want a three to four year deal. The White Sox are going to evaluate Adolfo, Basabe, Rutherford and Walker to see if one of them will be a future right fielder on the White Sox or potential trade for one or two rental like Marte or Pederson. It would not be smart to commit three to four years to Puig when the White Sox have these four guys in their system. Walker did show some potential while Rutherford showed improvement while Adolfo and Basabe are going to have to bounce back from last year after coming back from injuries.
Telling a high skill FA pitcher we plan to put 3 rookies in starting positions the majority of the year isn’t really that tempting. 2 is pushing it. Puig is someone pitchers like having on their team.
I would be shocked if Yasiel Puig lands a “three to four year deal”. I’m hardly alone with that thinking. This site predicts Puig to garner a one year, $8MM deal with the Tigers.
I still maintain that Puig would provide the White Sox with their best free agent RF option if they can’t land that core player in a trade this offseason. I’d also bet that Puig would rather take that projected low ball deal from a rising team with a cadre of Cubans in Chicago than the rebuilding team in Detroit.
I know Puig can be a knucklehead but might mature well with the Sox. He has potential for a bust out year, and helping a team if he plays well. Surrounded by the other Cuban’s is significant. he might fit right in, & I would bet Abreu has been asked to talk to him if the Sox feel he is a good option. I would pull for him as long as he played hard.
I’m on the Puig bandwagon as well. Don’t know if he’d go for a one year deal, maybe throw in mutual option for second/ third years or team option with a decent buyout to entice him. If it doesn’t work out after a year, go all in on Betts when he hits FA. My $0.02.
Absolutely. The White Sox new RF would ideally also be their much needed left-handed bat to balance out a lineup that still leans heavily right-handed despite the recent acquisition of switch-hitting C Yasmani Grandal. The only other current regular in the White Sox batting order who hits from the left side is switch-hitting 3B Yoan Moncada.
The White Sox reportedly were close to acquiring Joc Pederson last offseason before the deal fell through at the last moment. Unfortunately, Pederson only has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining now before potentially hitting next winter’s FA market. Because of him being a one-year rental along with the Dodgers plethora of lefty-hitting OF’s, Pederson’s price tag shouldn’t be steep in terms of assets going back. The White Sox would also stand a better chance of extending a player like Pederson over another potential RF rental like Mookie Betts.
All this being said, I’d just assume the White Sox target a different Dodgers outfielder before ‘settling’ on Pederson. That would be lefty hitting Alex Verdugo who comes with 5 years of team control including 2 more pre-arb years in 2020 and 2021. Verdugo would cost a whole lot more in talent but would fill the White Sox RF void better than Pederson. Verdugo has a better overall hit tool as a high contact line drive bat and also profiles as a potential Gold Glove defender in RF with a cannon arm to boot.
kole calhoun! great defense and even greater arm. with a right batting coach he can have his obp u, too!
They can still sign the multi dimensional, Jon Willie Jay to play all 3 OF positions, and he’s versatile enough to bat anywhere in the lineup. Preferably 12th.
Sox should look for a 1 year deal in FA market for a right fielder. This years options are mediocre and they have several outfielders with upside in the minors. One of Adolfo, Basabe, Gonzalez, Walker, or Rutherford could take a step forward this upcoming season and be the long term answer so the Sox just need a “stop gap” between now and then. If the prospects stall out, then next years free agent outfielders are much better signings.
Sign Calhoun as a stirct platoon RF vs. RHP. Leury vs. LHP.
Next year go for Betts.
A $10.5MM platoon player?
Kole Calhoun’s defense is way above mediocre. His career BA dropped to .249 because of a horrible 2018 season at the plate. He will be an asset to whatever team lands him. We called him the Red Baron because he’s often flying through the air to make a catch…not to mention he swapped out his left arm for a cannon.
Calhoun could make sense if its short term. A 2 WAR player is an upgrade compared to last season. Calhoun has reached 2 WAR in 5 of the last 6 years.
Calhoun is supposed to be a good clubhouse guy too. We like him but we no longer have room with Adell ready to come up this year.
I hope so a few of them are 1st round draft picks. I was hoping Blake R. would emerge. I guess Bsabe has a great arm. He was up for a few games and looked lost. Hope he is now seasoned. Adolfo might be the actual 5 tool player. still young.
If they are going to do a short term deal, go for Puig or Shogo Akiyama. Puig still has some untapped upside and will come cheap, while Akiyama is a solid defender and OBP machine who bats LH.
Frankly, none of the options this year are all that appealing.
I watched Puig a bit with the Dodgers. He’s a bit of a train wreck personally.
He is. But I think he would be managed better with presence of fellow countrymen and Renteria.
I just don’t see a lot of daylight between he and the other RFers to justify what will be a much higher salary.
Puig’s power hasn’t shown up yet for his intro to AL pitching, but his proof transitional .297 average for Cleveland is a much safer bet than Calhoun, Pederson and Dickerson.
You guys- years ago Yogi Berra used to play LF for the Yankees. So I only ask– can Vaughn play RF at all.? I’d be looking at all options. Many great suggestions on here. Give Ricky the right guys. Spend as needed. Trade as needed.. I hope they fill this spot wisely, I’d like to soon see 100 HRs from the OF. Asking too much…??
You can hide a poor OF in LF, it’s why Schwarber and Jimenez play LF. You can’t have 2 bad OFers though.
Joc Pederson is a good choice as a one year maybe him and a prospect for McCann. Sox dont really need a dh wit Grandal, Collins and Abreu splitting time there. Get a starting pitcher like Wheeler. Bosox will go take time in Betts trade to judge value but him and Price for a Lopez, Walker, Sheets and Steiver they eat 10Mm a year of Price salary makes sense for both.
Aside from being a one-year rental, the biggest concern with Pederson is he hits poorly versus left-handed pitching. All 36 of his HR’s last season came against RHP. The White Sox would need another outfielder to play RF to hit versus southpaws. These are reasons the Dodgers will be proactive in moving him this offseason.
LA has a plethora of left-handed hitters in it’s lineup and too many in the outfield. With Gavin Lux taking over at 2B, Max Muncie would likely slide over to 1B meaning Cody Bellinger plays more outfield. Alex Verdugo would also be a regular which would leave Pederson platooning with A.J. Pollock. Pollock is too expensive to be the lesser-sided platoon option in LF while Pederson would also be earning an arbitration salary approaching $10MM in 2020.
I like your break down, and aside from hard hit balls by Joc, it would seem he is a Tee ball player vs Lefties. For 1 year I’d be fine with Joc or Puig. It is an upgrade in HRs and RBIs for sure. Leury could go play RF but he misses cut off man. Dodgers have a great problem. Actually I was hoping that Basabe-or Blake Rutherford would be ready by now.. High draft picks seem to take a while to be a regular in the MLB.. Thanks for reply..!!
Like shogo on a one or 2 yr, lefty bat with decent BA with SB capacities , reasonable salary. Pouig is a loose canon
Rodon or Lopez and PTBNL
Way too much for a one year rental. Even Rodon, who has another year of control and hadn’t been able to stay on the field, should be kept over one year of Joc.
I think Lopez is destined for the BP anyway.. He’s got all the stuff in the world but gets the yips in the 5th. Long reliever in my opinion…but what do i know.
spread the money around.
Release the Hounds Rick!
I believe the White Sox are more likely to retain James McCann as their #2 catcher rather than trade him. Zack Collins will likely be the #3 catcher while also backing up Jose Abreu at 1B and gaining some PA’s as the DH versus RHP. Grandal could also perform those duties as well but will get the bulk of his time behind the plate. There is no need for the White Sox to overuse their new 31-year old catcher. Starting 100-110 games or 4-5 per week should be sufficient along with an occasional appearance at 1B or DH. McCann would arguably give the White Sox MLB’s best #2 catching option while defensively challenged Collins could learn from two plus defenders as the #3 as he gets some PA’s at DH and being Abreu’s caddy at 1B.
Collins may have a bond with Grandal but McCann has an even greater one with young White Sox ace Lucas Giolito. I’d just assume the White Sox keep McCann to be Giolito’s personal catcher while also spending more time tutoring young SP’s Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech as Grandal’s backup.
While I agree that they probably won’t trade McCann, they should. McCann’s career OPS. Was been below .700 every season until this year. And after the all star break this season, he was below .700 ops again. Since the catching market is being depleted very quickly, the White Sox should explore a trade to sell high on McCann. His value has never been higher, and is probably at its peak in his career.
The argument that can be made about this, is that they would need a #2 catcher, so they’d need to sign a guy like Romine, which may be tough because the catching market is depleted.
But do you think other teams don’t know all of that? You can’t exactly pull the wool over their eyes and hope they didn’t notice that McCann is a mirage.
truth is all the other teams would know that McCann was bad in July. His OPS was .789 combined for August and September. He had a bad MONTH.
Having a BABIP .50 points over your career average with a batted ball profile that looks highly unlikely to sustain it is the larger problem. He certainly improved offensively in 2019 but the numbers tell me he was playing over his head. I’m sure it told the ChiSox FO the same story. I can’t imagine they give Grandal the largest contract in team history if it did.
He’ll only be due 5 million bucks so if no team wants to give you anything useful. I’d agree they might as well keep him around as the #2 guy
his BABIP was increased and that could point to some regression, I agree. Maybe him playing in Chicago played a part in it as well.
The ballpark is 15ft shorter in left field and 20ft shorter in center. In 2018, he pulled 33% to left and hit 37% to center in the cavernous Detroit park centerfield while in 2019, he pulled 37% compared to 32% to center.
The spike in HR/FB might be due in some part to the juiced ball but putting it in the air to the shortest part of the park has to help as well. His batting average on grounders actually decreased this season but his average on flyballs showed a huge jump. So when he elevates the ball he is pulling it which made his significant increase this year, not because of a bunch of cheap grounders getting through the infield.
I’ll buy that. Good analysis. His GB% did spike though. If he could cut that back to his previous level that could lead to more pop.
Or he could revert back to his old ways and lose the gains. He did hit the ball much harder in 2019. No denying that. But his K rate did slightly worsen. His walk rate basically stayed the same. Neither is particularly strong. So there’s not a lot of wiggle room there with any misfortune in his BABIP.
Which I’m sure is why Grandal is now in town. Along w the framing and other aspects of his defense.
dazedatnoon: Your argument regarding McCann having an advantage at GRF over Comerica Park seems logical but it should be pointed out that he hit substantially better on the road for the White Sox in 2019 than at home: baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=mccan…
McCann played a lot and Wellington was off again.
No beef with that observation.
I’d have no problem with the Sox keeping McCann. Depth is never a bad thing. If another team offers something ridiculous then make the move, otherwise add some competition. Zavala and Mercedes could be a 3rd piece or “sweetner” in a deal for the Sox to add some relief help.
They need to keep Collins in AAA to work on his catching.
If McCann continues to hit, Collins would never play, and will rarely catch.
He truly is t a finished product, and his value is diminished if he can serve as a catcher.
Or Collins could just hire himself out, as a human ‘wind turbine’.
Give Collins another year to adjust.
They need a big signing starting pitching wise just like the Cubs when they signed Lester a couple of years before they won the WS in 16.
I don’t understand why certain people are so fixated on the fact that the Sox have never given out a deal more than $68mm prior to Grandal. Look at the positions some of these teams are in with paying “stupid money” to the Miguel Cabrera’s, Canos, Hosmers, Heywards, Darvishs, Chris Davis, Stantons, Price’s, Machados and Harpers of the world? The teams with the highest payrolls are now crying poor, and Hahn and co. are faulted for spending wisely, when they are acquiring their talent from scouting, ridiculously good trades, and smart FA acquisitions. They need to spend like a mid-market team and they have been doing just that, being able to field a good team as they stand today, with a lot more money to be used to turn a good team into a really good team. I commend the work the White Sox F.O. has done with this rebuild over the last few years. This team is just about to blossom with basically no contacts that will handcuff them from spending on top tier free agents. Well done Rick Hahn, continue the great work.
I don’t think people expect them to spend stupid money but a bigger market team not having any big splashes is questionable at best.
Chi town, did you EVER think that the reason people are concerned about Reinsdorks lack of spending on quality free agents- just might be, because they haven’t had a winning record since, what, 2012??? Oh that, and they reside in a major market.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Well said, the Sox have always been savvy about gauging player value, with a few exceptions (Danks,Dunn), and have been trend setters in signing younger players to team friendly deals
I tend to agree with you about the excessive criticism the Sox receive for not having signed higher priced free agents. Still, the team has the worst record in baseball over the last sever years. The last three years can be excused as part of this rebuild; but, prior to that, one can question whether acquiring some top tier talent might have made the complete tear down unnecessary.
Adrian Gonzalez German Marquez
No one other than the White Sox with Machado and maybe the Cardinals with Heyward threw a public temper tantrum when the players you mentioned didn’t sign with them and insist that their offer was better when it wasn’t.
I may not fully understand the purpose of these offseason outlooks, but I find no mention here of the White Sox’ best player (Yoan Moncada), nor their top prospect (Luis Robert). Yet, there’s Manny Machado’s name again. Can we turn the page, please.
And a Mitch Haniger mention. Mitch Haniger? K.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Indicting the team for blowing off the international market, while conveniently neglecting mentioning how they went all-in on Robert and have signed intl free agents in the past (Abreu, Alexei, Iguichi, Shingo) to cover for admitted deficiencies in scouting the amateur draft
Chuckle aside, I’ll give Tim Dierkes a pass here. It has to be tough for an acknowledged Cub fan to write an article about an up and coming White Sox team as his beloved’s window for contending appears to be closing. I feel he did a pretty thorough evaluation with the White Sox OFFSEASON outlook. I don’t believe for a moment that he neglected the mention of Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert out of spite. Rather, he knew that they were locks for 3B and CF in 2020 and was simply focusing on areas where the White Sox need to improve this offseason.
I have always found Tim’s articles and chats to be fair, same as with their other writers who each have their own favorite teams. Some even go out of their way to criticize their faves as Minnesota native Steve Adams frequently does with the reluctance of owner Jim Pohlad to spend more dollars to improve the Twins chances of winning a championship. Tim has also taken some shots at Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and front office executive ‘Boy Wonder’ Theo Epstein as well.
Machado did not have as good of a year as Yoan. I am actually glad they did not get Machado.
This team is looking like it is coming together.. If they truly are good they will push each other. 86 Wins would sure look good…
Nobody could draw a walk last year. Zac Collins will be the primary DH to start the season for that reason with McCann filling the role against lefties. See what you have immediately in Collins before adding two more rookies in Roberts and Madrigal in late May to the lineup.
I don’t understand why so many fans believe the White Sox will delay the MLB debuts of Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal until late May, nearly two months after the opening of the 2020 season. It’s possible and perhaps even likely their debuts will be delayed a few weeks in order to gain an extra year of team control before they can become potential free agents but the White Sox haven’t typically fretted over their young prospects becoming Super Two eligible in regards to arbitration eligibility.
With the White Sox looking to contend in 2020, I believe the Super Two concern will be moot. Hopefully, the entire MLB service time discussion will be moot as well with the White Sox offering both Robert and Madrigal contract extensions this spring similar to what transpired with Eloy Jimenez prior to opening day last March.
Aaron, you make a solid point. I just think the Kris Bryant hearing will spook teams and they will wait just a little longer to bring up the kids this year.
Lets see how well Robert and Madrigal perform in spring training. Bryant was ‘light’s out’ during Cubs camp in Mesa prior to the 2015 season and they still sent him back to AAA Iowa under the guise he needed to shore up his defense at 3B. A couple of weeks later, exactly one day after they retained his extra year of control, Bryant was promoted back to Chicago. We all know why the Cubs did this but the timing and the pretence was a joke, one that will likely cost them a chance of signing Bryant to a contract extension before he hits free agency two years hence.
I’ll give Reinsdorf and Hahn credit; they rode the “rebuild” horse as long as they could, and now, smelling that nobody believes it anymore, have decided to put on their big boy pants. Pretty good strategy; Jerry ain’t dumb. He’ll have to spend now, but look how much he saved running a AAA team out there for years. In an almost ridiculously weak division. He must have enough in the bank by now to float a 250M payroll.
They’re close, but they need to add more impact than they have. And clean up the defense; that’s going to start counting now.
During the rebuild they dropped $50 mil to acquire Luis Robert. So Tillman how does that allow your comment to make any sense? Please explain.
Like the Red Sox didn’t “drop” 70M on Moncada while remaining competitive.
Big market teams like Boston, NY, LA, LA, etc. did it; small market teams (much smaller than Chicago) like MIL, CLE and TAMPA did it. Tanking is death by a thousand cuts, and the ramifications will be felt for years.
And the knife-wielders made a lot of money…..It was the only reason for it in the first place.
Dumpster Divin Theo
This makes no sense. Is this a bit?
Dumpster Divin Theo
Isn’t riding the “rebuild horse” for a set period of time as you put it, a rather awkward turn of phrase, the very definition of what a successful rebuild requires? You know: Astros, Cubs, Ray’s, Royals? Or do you prefer a rebuild of 17 months?
angels have tried that way and now have money to build a winner if we can trust the owner.
‘Trust’ and ‘Owner’ in the same sentence? Bold.
Chicago White Sox Off-Season Outlook: Get snubbed by every significant free agent. Sign a bunch of garbage re-treads. Prepare for a 27th consecutive season of meaningless games by mid-April.
There, I shortened this article for you guys. You’re welcome.
I guess one of the best catchers in baseball isn’t a “significant” free agent to you.
Thanks for adding absolutely nothing to the discussion Rod. Well done as always.
I’m pretty sure a World Series happened sometime during the last 27 seasons. Rod…..go away.
White Sox were 4th in wins in the 90’s and 7th in 00’s — so yeah, go away rod.
Other than thinking James McCann has any trade value, this is a well written piece.
I’m still hoping they show patience.
Kopech, Robert, Madrigal, Cease, Lopez, Jimenez, Colome and McCann’s regression, Herrera’s flop, Timmay’s BABIP and Collins’ late season swing change are just too many “IFs” to go all in.
Develop the preopects Let the team’s play dictate next steps. If they surprise, add at the deadline.
“McCann has no trade valve” that’s what’s wrong with the way people think of the game today. Defense has no valve. Just out pitch them and out hit them. No need for a gold glove defender robbing homers or slick diving catches, or a pitch caller or framer behind the plate. Those are things that can be hard to come by. I can McCann HAS trade valve. He help our pitching staff front to back and do a whole hell of a lot more than Castillo did.
I’m trying to figure out what Tim is trying to say. McCann is overqualified to be a back-up but not good enough to be a primary? So where does he go? Hawking kicks at Foot Locker?
Need one good starter (not two) Wheeler , Joc Pederson & pomeranz would make this team an instant contender.!,
“Grandal offers a huge boost behind the plate over incumbent James McCann, perhaps on the order of four additional wins in 2020.”
2019 – Baseball Reference WAR
James McCann 3.8
BWAR isn’t good for anything in my opinion. fWAR tells you a different story.
You can just look at the raw stats and make the determination that Grandal is a significant upgrade. If we‘re to the point where WAR numbers are the only thing we can use to compare players we are all F’d.
My eyes are better than any alphabet soup STAT
fWAR (fangraphs) for catchers puts emphasis on framing. Which is where Grandal specializes and why the Sox feel he is a good fit.
fWAR includes framing. It does not “put(s) emphasis” on it.
It’s not what Grandal specializes in. It’s part of a broad skillset.
If the Sox keyed on that part of his game, it would be a first for them.
They’d also be very late to the party, as the skillset has become more normalized.
so if fWAR includes framing and bWAR does not then wouldn’t that be “putting emphasis” on framing???
He was second in framing behind only Austin Hedges so I could assume that would be his specialty. His broad skillset would include fielding percentage (.993) where he sits 46th out of all catchers with a minimum 100 innings or his DRS which sits at +1 which is good for 34th of all catchers.
BWAR is very flawed for position players. Especially Catchers. Use Fangraphs.
Hope they get 2 solid veteran starters such as MadBum 4yrs + Keuchel 3yr deals to join Giolito.
Be patient with RF to see who the market does not treat kind for savvy stopgap 1yr deal. Hold trade capital for mid-season if competing to add BP arms already in groove of a good year, future RF. By then, some of the AA OFs and other prospects may regain/up their value as viable pieces other clubs want.
I don’t get the love for Kuechel i wouldn’t touch him
Haven’t seen a lot of love for Keuchel, but there is no QO and shouldn’t command huge $ or years as a second addition (3/42 wild guess). Simply “competent” pitching that can log innings for a club that should put up lot more runs. If Boras sells someone else that bids him up, no doubt shift to other options.
Frankly, I don’t get the ‘hate’ for Dallas Keuchel.
Keuchel seems to draw more ire from fans who favor velocity above all else. I see a veteran starting pitcher who excels at achieving soft contact, inducing ground balls and has pitched very effectively in one of MLB’s most hitter and HR friendly ballparks as an Astro, including winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2015.
Keuchel could be an especially good fit with the White Sox. They could use a crafty veteran southpaw who sports a World Series ring to anchor a staff chock full of young right-handed power arms. Currently, the White Sox have no left-handed starters penciled into their opening day rotation with southpaw Carlos Rodon still rehabbing from TJ surgery and not expected back until mid-summer. A Keuchel deal on the Southside of Chicago could have a similar effect as the 2015 Jon Lester signing on the Northside of town.
Like the Astros, the White Sox also play their home games in a park considered to be hitter and HR friendly. Keuchel would seem to be a natural fit at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox do have some question marks in regards to their infield defense with Tim Anderson at SS and Jose Abreu at 1B. However, they also have a future Gold Glove contender ready to debut at 2B in Nick Madrigal along with an extremely athletic new 3B in Yoan Moncada who flashed some impressive leather at the hot corner in 2019. Anderson is also a very toolsy SS with his range and arm but needs to cut down on his high error totals. The White Sox also possess a pair of plus defenders at catcher with Yasmani Grandal and James McCann. Keuchel himself is a 4 time AL Gold Glove winner as a pitcher.
White Sox fans in particular might appreciate a pitcher like Keuchel. He is very reminiscent of former fan favorite Mark Buehrle, another soft-tossing lefty who was a staff ace, a multiple Gold Glove winner and a key component of the vaunted 2005 White Sox rotation that helped them win their first World Series championship since 1917.
Personally, I hope the White Sox target Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler first in their attempt to secure a TOR this offseason. If that fails, they can do worse than bringing in a pitcher like Keuchel.
My cubsoxual friend Aaron makes some good points but dam are they longwinded. Forget about Wheeler & Keuchel. Wheeler is a number 3-4 starter for $100 mil, no thank you. Ask a Mets fan about him. Keuchel hasn’t been good since he was Houston’s ace. Strasburg, MadBum & maybe Ryu target. If Jerry wont go that high; land a TOR guy via trade. Sign E.E. thats a slam dunk, no brainer.
I thought MadBum was a decent target too but apparently he’s become homer-prone. And we’ve seen that movie before…Shields.
Rather have a Ryu & MadBum signing. Ryu was a beast last yr. But he will want to break the bank too much injury history to give him a big contract though. Sign MadBum and trade for another solid SP. McCann is valuable backup and has no trade value. Rodon has to be on the block. Imagine if we still had a Tatis, jr. T.A. would be expendable, Sox could trade for a top end SP then ( T.A. plus Zavala). Dumpster fire division, the AL Central Sox better be in the race in Sept., for all the closet cubbie trolls commenting on their desire to extend this rebuild another year Jerry & Sox fans not interested in that. The time is now !
Another Red Sox outfielder option would be Jackie Bradley Jr. Great glove all over the outfield and hits for more power than Garcia. He would also be cheaper than Mookie.
Speaking from the Red Sox perspective, I hope you realize JBJ is projected for $11MM in arb for 2020. You take that money and you can have him for one mid-level prospect. And thank you.
That’s fine with me.
I think the question regarding RF for the White Sox should be, who’s going to keep up?
If healthy, I like to see Gregory Polanco in RF. If not would try to pry Conforto from the Mets. Mazara would be my third option, still think it’s some upside there.
How about getting S Choo out of Texas as a short term OF depth option? I know, he’s old, he’s not Joc P. But, he is a lefty, solid pro, has always shown good OBA, and he may be able to lure Ryu there to pitch. Yeah, the lure idea didn’t quite work last year. But hey…wouldn’t hurt to try again.
I also think McCann stays. Twins showed last year how a catching rotation preserves physical health and performance. Garver had a surprise monster season. With MN question marks in rotation and infield defense, and Cleveland’s financial strain and lack of OF quality, the White Sox may have a window of opportunity in the division for next 4-5 years. I think they’re ready to spend some money.
Cleveland’s “financial strain”? “Lack of outfield quality”? Are we talking about the same team which outspends the Sox? Whose rotation is five times better? A team that can draw a walk and field a baseball? I’m willing to admit the Sox are improving–heck, they single-handedly kept the Tribe from making the playoffs–but gimme a break. The Sox won only 72 games for a reason and the Tribe won 93…that’s not going to change much, no matter how insistent the Sox are in throwing money at free agents.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Yeah, the same Cleveland club that due to being in an unsustainable local market, will always be swirling towards the bathroom drain in looking to cut costs- unable to draw even the year they went to the World Series
Yes the Indians have trouble drawing fans to watch a winning team,attendance went down nearly 10% after an injury riddled 93 win season in 2019.
That says more about the fans than the team though.
The attendance issue doesn’t affect the front office,the ml coaches or the developmental staff and the Indians keep producing pitchers who get ml hitters out,cobbling together solid bullpens most years and have a deep and young farm system to rely on in the future.
The division will certainly get more competitive in the future than it has been recently but the Indians are hardly swirling down the drain.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Like the way you think. Choo would be a savvy move. Oba and seasoned well respected vet. Plus landing Ryu, whose stated a wish to play with Shin Soo.
Shin-Soo Choo could be a decent short term high OBP lefty bat for the White Sox lineup. The problem with Choo is two-fold. His OBP comes with a pedestrian BA and too many SO’s What’s even worse is his defensive range in RF which has become even more evident with his 37-year old legs. Do you really want to see Luis Robert debuting in CF with Eloy Jimenez flanking him in LF and Choo in RF.
Hard pass on Choo. Hard pass on Calhoun. If a trade can’t be worked out for a proper lefty hitting RF with some defensive acumen, the White Sox might be better served taking a flyer on right-handed hitting FA Yasiel Puig with a one year deal. If they can’t unlock his untapped potential in 2020 they could always go hard after FA Mookie Betts next offseason. While all this is occurring, one of the White Sox middle tier OF prospects could also emerge as an option come next season, be it Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford or perhaps even a great Chicago name like Steele Walker who could do double duty with da Bears!
Maybe this ‘Offseason Outlook’ wouldn’t have been so pedestrian if it had been written by someone who isn’t an unabashed Cubs fan. Just sayin’
I don’t doubt Tim can be a professional and write an objective piece about the Sox. it is kind of funny he did write this piece. Considering he doesn’t really write for MLBTR all that often anymore. One of the articles he does actually write is a non pressing piece on the ChiSox offseason outlook. But I suppose it wouldnt have been any different if he had came on and written a piece on the Cards, Reds or brewers either.
Wow only 73 million being the the highest paid player the Sox ever had??? A drop in the bucket for alot of teams.
RF: They should aim higher than Pederson
SP: Wheeler is ideal maybe Madbum as well
RP: Daniel Hudson would be a good fit
DH: Keep it an in house rotation. No need to overspend on a mediocre type, 1 dimensional hitter
As for McCann and Collins, no need to trade either right now. See how things shake out in spring training. Could always hold out till the deadline too.
Now that the White Sox have addressed their need for a core catcher going forward with the signing of FA Yasmani Grandal their next priority will be the starting rotation. The front office would reportedly like to add a free agent TOR before the Winter Meetings in two weeks.
The top two FA starting pitchers, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are Scott Boras clients with only the latter likely to sign any time soon. Strasburg would be a ‘pie in the sky’ possibility for the White Sox, Zack Wheeler a more realistic one with Dallas Keuchel as a decent fallback option. Strasberg and Wheeler both have QO’s attached to them, Keuchel (also a Boras client) does not. Keuchel, aside from being the cheapest of the three would also provide the White Sox with a southpaw in their rotation to begin the 2020 season.
Interesting that you bring up Boras. The Sox signed Grandal and seem to be targeting Wheeler. Those are probably the two best free agents not represented by Scott Boras. I do wonder if the Sox are planning on avoiding Boras’ clients or if, because the team wants some early signings, they haven’t gotten around to those players yet as Boras tends to drag out negotiations.
I actually believe that the long time feud between owner Jerry Reinsdorf and agent Scott Boras has cooled off somewhat in recent years. The White Sox did draft Carlos Rodon who had Boras as his advisor and retained him as his agent since 2014. Boras actually had kind words for the White Sox in regards to their handling of Rodon, especially in comparison to how the Cubs treated client Kris Bryant on the northside of town. The White Sox were also one of just a ‘handful’ of teams to show any interest in Boras client Bryce Harper last winter.
The biggest current obstacle with Boras and the White Sox is probably what you already mentioned, that he “tends to drag out negotiations”. I believe the White Sox would like to address their need for a TOR free agent sooner rather than later and not have to wait until January or February.
Most pundits feel that Zack Wheeler will sign sooner than Boras’ top pair of FA aces, especially Gerrit Cole. I also believe that Boras client Dallas Keuchel will sign relatively quick this offseason as a SP in the second tier of FA’s and without the QO that hurt him last winter. With so many other SP options in this class as opposed to last year’s, Boras will be hard pressed to demand ‘ace’ compensation for his client this time around.
2020 – Playoofs
2021 – WS Champ
2022 – WS Champ
2023 – trade all stars & begin again.
I’ll bet my house they make it to WS at least once in the next 3 years
Playoff, not the Palms version
Depends on who they add via free agency and trades later on. They need to sign one or two quality arms this offseason, and they need a few superstars to emerge (Moncada, Robert, Anderson, Cease).
Signing Wheeler would be a good start. I think even adding just Wheeler with the other young guys coming up this season could make the Sox a playoff contender
Agreed. If the rotation is deep and talented, the Sox will do damage next year. Depth at catcher and OF should give them trade capital to add a bullpen piece at the deadline. I like how Hahn has this team positioned. Masterful.
Acquire Wheeler, MadBum and Gio Gonzalez. Trade Lopez and push Rodon to the BP until he proves he can stay healthy for more than 75 innings. Or Trade Rodon and push Lopez to the BP until he proves he can get thru the rotation twice.
Pass on Gonzalez. Keep Lopez as a 4th or 5th starter—the kid has potential. So does Rodon, especially with better run support, which should be forthcoming. Evaluate them near the trade deadline, or slide them in a relief role as needed.
Lopez has potential. Give the kid a chance. Yes he regressed mightily in ‘19, but even Sandy Koufax had several mediocre seasons before turning it around.
Engle will be getting some essential playing time before the White Sox bring up Robert. The White Sox’s opening day outfield might be Garcia, Jiminez and Engel. Therefore the White Sox will be quiet in signing an outfielder and most likely wait until the trade deadline for guys like Pederson or Marte.
The White Sox are going to be evaluating farm players like Rutherford, Adolfo and Basabe during the season to see if they are trade bait at the dead line. Basabe and Adolfo are both coming off seasons after coming back from injuries while Rutherford is showing improvement. Meanwhile I think a guy like Walker is part of the Sox’s future in 2021 or 2022 but he can be a trade piece of these three other guys don’t start improvement.
I think L.Garcia will start the season keeping 2B warm for Madrigal.
I think Mendrick will get a shot for a few weeks before the White Sox bring up Madigral! Both Mendrick and Garcia would be two great utility players for the White Sox to use throughout the 2020 season.
Or they resign Yolmer at an appropriate rate and have him start things off.
I can’t see why Robert wouldn’t break camp as the starter next spring. Engel’s elite glove work makes him useful as a late inning substitute, but that’s about it. He’s Almora bad with a bat in his hands.
WTH is going on with Kelvin Herrera?
The White Sox will get better use out of Herrera in 2020.