The White Sox made clear their three-year rebuild is over, aggressively pursuing veteran free agents and landing several of them. They also locked up multiple core pieces with extensions.
Major League Signings
- Yasmani Grandal, C: four years, $73MM
- Dallas Keuchel, SP: three years, $55.5MM. Includes $20MM club/vesting option for 2023 with a $1.5MM buyout
- Jose Abreu, 1B: one year, $17.8MM (accepted qualifying offer)
- Edwin Encarnacion, DH: one year, $12MM. Includes $12MM club option for 2021
- Steve Cishek, RP: one year, $6MM. Includes $6.75MM club option for 2021 with a $750K buyout
- Gio Gonzalez, SP: one year, $5MM. Includes $7MM club option for 2021 with a $500K buyout
- Total spend: $169.3MM
Trades and Claims
- Acquired 3B Jonah McReynolds from Rangers for C Welington Castillo and $250K in international draft bonus pool money
- Claimed RP Tayron Guerrero off waivers from Marlins
- Acquired RF Nomar Mazara from Rangers for CF Steele Walker
- Yoan Moncada, 3B: five years, $70MM. Includes $25MM club option for 2025 with a $5MM buyout
- Luis Robert, CF: six years, $50MM. Includes $20MM club options for 2026 and ’27
- Jose Abreu, 1B: two years, $32MM
- Aaron Bummer, RP: five years, $16MM. Includes club options for 2025 and ’26
- Leury Garcia, OF/IF: one year, $3.5MM. Includes $3.5MM club option for 2021 with a $250K buyout. This contract replaced a one-year, $3.25MM arbitration deal.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Ross Detwiler, Andrew Romine, Gorkys Hernandez, Cheslor Cuthbert, Caleb Frare, Ryan Burr, Nicky Delmonico, Bryan Mitchell, Matt Skole, Adalberto Mejia, Zach Putnam, Christian Friedrich
- Yolmer Sanchez, Welington Castillo, Ryan Cordell, Jon Jay, Charlie Tilson, Ryan Goins, Ivan Nova, Josh Osich, Dylan Covey, Manny Banuelos, Hector Santiago, Juan Minaya, Odrisamer Despaigne
Though the White Sox’ offseason got off to an inauspicious start with the shedding of international bonus pool money in the Welington Castillo trade, they quickly made that deal a footnote by signing catcher Yasmani Grandal to the largest contract in franchise history. Grandal may be the best hitter and pitch framer among all MLB catchers, and he could represent a four-win improvement over incumbent James McCann (who moves into a backup role). The signing also allowed the White Sox to move past last winter’s failed pursuit of Manny Machado, proving they actually were willing and able to win the bidding on a top free agent.
Back in August, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times quoted White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu as saying through an interpreter, “[Owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf] several times has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey.” Though Abreu was briefly on the open market after the White Sox issued a one-year, $17.8MM qualifying offer, he later told reporters he didn’t consider other teams. With multiyear extension talks underway, Abreu chose to accept that one-year qualifying offer when the decision came due on November 14th.
In a cold and calculating sense, the White Sox could have exploited the situation and simply let the one-year deal stand, covering Abreu’s age-33 season. Pragmatically, restructuring the one-year, $17.8MM deal as a three-year, $50MM pact to snag Abreu’s age 34 and 35 seasons was not a good baseball decision by White Sox Senior Vice President/GM Rick Hahn. But clearly Abreu means more to the team’s owner and the franchise than just his WAR, and there’s no reason for fans to object to his contract unless it hamstrings the club from making other improvements.
That was certainly not the case in the short term, as the White Sox aggressively pursued the next item on their winter shopping list: a major starting pitching addition. There’s no evidence they were in the mix for Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, who signed record deals for $324MM and $245MM, respectively. So there was an expected level of restraint from a White Sox franchise that has always balked at the idea of guaranteeing more than five years to a starting pitcher.
Instead, the White Sox did about all they could to sign the third-best starting pitcher on the free agent market: hard-throwing righty Zack Wheeler. Wheeler ultimately signed with the Phillies for five years and $118MM, with the White Sox rumored to have reached $120MM. As Jim Margalus of Sox Machine put it, “For the first time in documented history, the White Sox reportedly finished with the highest bid for a free agent who landed a nine-figure contract…only it wasn’t good enough to actually land the player.” Wheeler reportedly had a strong preference to remain close to New Jersey. As Margalus noted in his post, it’s true that the White Sox could have pushed up into the $125-130MM range, but “at some point in the negotiations the losing party has to take the hint.” Plus, if the White Sox had overwhelmed Wheeler’s geographic preference by overpaying, there’s no telling how that kind of mercenary arrangement would have worked out in terms of Wheeler’s performance.
Veteran lefty Cole Hamels might have been second on the White Sox’ wish list, but he wound up with the Braves on a one-year, $18MM deal. If you look back to the December 4th scoops from Marc Carig of The Athletic and Jeff Passan of ESPN, news of the Wheeler agreement came two hours after Hamels’ deal broke. Both sets of negotiations involved the Phillies and White Sox, but it seems possible that the White Sox wanted to see what happened with Wheeler before signing Hamels – perhaps because they didn’t feel comfortable landing both and paying them more than $40MM in total in 2020. The end result: the White Sox continued going further down their starting pitcher preference list. Though there was sufficient time to pivot to a pursuit of Madison Bumgarner, it’s unclear whether the Sox had interest or if geography would have again rendered Chicago the bridesmaid anyway. So who was going to take the White Sox’ money?
Not Jordan Lyles, as he went to the Rangers a few days later for two years and $16MM. The White Sox were among the runners-up. Perhaps Lyles was intended as the secondary rotation piece, which eventually became Gio Gonzalez on a one-year deal. It will be a homecoming for the 34-year-old lefty, who was drafted 38th overall by the White Sox in 2004 but traded to the Phillies in the Jim Thome deal in ’05. Gonzalez then rejoined the White Sox, along with Gavin Floyd, in the December ’06 Freddy Garcia trade. Yet the Sox would trade Gonzalez again a year later, this time to Oakland in the Nick Swisher deal. Only then did Gonzalez make his MLB debut, so the 12-year veteran has yet to don a White Sox uniform in a regular season game. The lefty has often outperformed his peripheral stats, perhaps due to his success in limiting hard contact. An ERA in the low 4.00s would be sufficient to term the one-year contract a success.
By the latter half of December, the White Sox had turned to Scott Boras clients Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu by necessity. It seemed that both pitchers were willing to sign with the highest bidder. The White Sox wound up with Keuchel, who commanded a lesser commitment. The 32-year-old comes with a lower ceiling than Ryu but may also be the safer choice based on their health records. Keuchel is not nearly as exciting as Zack Wheeler, but it’s difficult even with hindsight to say the White Sox should have chosen a different free agent hurler. Perhaps the trade market could have offered a more interesting addition, with Corey Kluber and David Price eventually changing teams. But the Indians may not have been willing to move Kluber within the division, and the White Sox were in contact with the Red Sox on Price.
Alongside this pitching pursuit, the White Sox were simultaneously trying to upgrade at right field and designated hitter. They struck first on right field, adding Nomar Mazara straight up for center field prospect Steele Walker. Walker was expendable for the suddenly win-now White Sox, as the 23-year-old might top out as a fourth outfielder and has yet to play at Double-A.
Mazara, 25 this month, has logged almost 2,200 plate appearances for the Rangers but is mostly appealing for his potential. In his four seasons with Texas, Mazara has never exceeded a 95 wRC+ (100 is league average). The White Sox and new hitting coach Frank Menechino must believe they can find another gear in Mazara. The club explored alternatives before settling on Mazara, reportedly including Marcell Ozuna, Joc Pederson, Kole Calhoun, Nick Castellanos, and Yasiel Puig.
The White Sox made a solid addition at the DH spot with Edwin Encarnacion. Even at age 37, Encarnacion remains capable of a 120 wRC+ season. He’s cranked at least 32 home runs in each of the last eight seasons. No matter how the 2020 season shakes out, the White Sox will have the chance to try again with Encarnacion by exercising a $12MM option for 2021.
In late December, the White Sox turned their focus to augmenting their bullpen, which is anchored by Alex Colome, Kelvin Herrera, and Aaron Bummer. With most of the top free agents already off the board, Hahn snagged sidearmer Steve Cishek. The 33-year-old will jump across town after two successful seasons out of the Cubs’ bullpen. Though this group has had success at times, it’s still easy to picture the bullpen as a weak spot for the 2020 White Sox.
With most of their offseason shopping done, the new year was about locking down core pieces for the White Sox. First came uber-prospect Luis Robert, whose $50MM deal is a record for a player who has yet to appear in the Majors. The contract shuts down potential service time manipulation of Robert, and the Sox now figure to put him on the Opening Day roster. Other potential top 2020 rookies like Nate Pearson and Jo Adell, without big league contracts, are in a position where they will fail to gain any big league service in 2020 should the season be canceled. Robert wouldn’t gain service time either, but the result would be his first club option covering his last arbitration season and his second club option covering his first free agent year.
Putting aside potential coronavirus effects, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noted that “Robert will be paid at the top of the arbitration market, earning more than Anthony Rendon ($49.4 million), Harper ($47.9 million) and Manny Machado ($34 million) did before reaching free agency.” As a rival executive termed it to Rosenthal, the White Sox paid “superstar insurance” on Robert. Meaning that if Robert becomes one of baseball’s best players, he had a chance to exceed $50MM through arbitration, as Mookie Betts did and Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor will. There are certainly scenarios where the White Sox overpaid for Robert’s arbitration years – namely if he deals with significant injuries – but the contract could still be a wash for the team given the potential surplus value of the free agent year they bought out.
Next, the White Sox locked up Bummer. This, too, seems to be designed to protect against the chance Bummer would have started racking up huge arbitration salaries — which is a bit odd. He’s only accumulated one save so far in his career and wasn’t slated for the ninth inning in 2020. So it’s hard to see how he might have earned more than $16MM through arbitration. The White Sox still get club options on his first two free agent seasons, but trying to predict whether a reliever will be valuable five years out is a fool’s errand. Perhaps the Sox feel Bummer is a pitcher who will perform the best knowing he’s set for life financially.
The club’s third extension of the offseason went to Yoan Moncada. Like Robert, Moncada is a Cuban defector who had already banked a large signing bonus. It’s a bit of a surprise Moncada jumped at this offer given the $31.5MM he already had in the bank from signing with the Red Sox five years ago. Moncada didn’t reach the heights of Alex Bregman’s extension, which makes sense since his accomplishments didn’t quite stack up. But with all arrows pointing upward on Moncada, another season similar to his 2019 campaign would have set the bar above $100MM. So the White Sox did well to lock him up at $70MM and buy out two free agent years.
Perhaps the White Sox would benefit from a shortened 2020 season, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd has suggested. For example, their rotation was set to get a boost this year, with Carlos Rodon and Michael Kopech potentially returning from Tommy John surgery in June. I imagine the White Sox are kind of like someone who spent three years restoring a car in their garage and is now itching to take it out for a drive. While uncertainty reigns during this stage of the coronavirus pandemic, the White Sox are now built for an extended run of success. Even without a long-term deal in place (yet) for ace Lucas Giolito, the White Sox control him through 2023. Moncada is controlled through 2025, Eloy Jimenez through ’26, and Robert through ’27. And we haven’t even discussed prospects like Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal. Things are looking up for the White Sox, whenever they are able to take the field.
How would you rate the White Sox’ offseason? (Link to poll for Trade Rumors mobile app users.)
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
ChiSoxFan, I mean Jim. When are you going to post some more awesome content over at SuxMachine (I did the funny thing again!)
It’s unfortunate that Covid-19 interrupted the season. I was really looking forward to a 78 win season this year by the Chisox.
If they play a shortened season, 78/80 would be a successful season!
Hard to call it an A offseason when they showed zero interest in the top three free agents on the market. I’m inclined to give them a pass on the terrible Abreu extension if Reinsdorf doesn’t cry poor in two years, but let’s just say the track record doesn’t make me optimistic.
Last offseason the White Sox showed ample interest in the top two free agents, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Only the Phillies had equal interest in both players. In hindsight, the White Sox deserve an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for ultimately passing on Harper and missing out on Machado, especially with the emergence of Yoan Moncada as a much cheaper and younger superstar in the making as their new core third baseman.
For sheer dollar value, the White Sox figure to be better served going forward with Moncada at 3B and Nick Madrigal at 2B in the coming 5-10 years than the combination of Machado at 3B and Moncada at 2B. Their defense should also be considerably better with Madrigal slated to be their core second baseman with SS Tim Anderson rather than Moncada remaining at his former position.
What in the world are you talking about? The Sox showed a ton of interest in Cole and Wheeler, like half the league did. They chose to go elsewhere. Grandal is considered a top free agent. So is Keuchel. Stop spreading ignorant bs.
“Zero interest” is an overstatement, but with all due respect, the Sox were never a real player for Cole, Rendon, or Strasburg. Those were the top 3 FA this offseason. His post was not “ignorant BS,” just pessimistic.
But why does a successful offseason have to include pursuing the top free agents? Wouldn’t it be filling your greatest needs with the players that best fit those roles?
I think they will be better than 80 wins personally, and I gave their offseason a B. I don’t agree with the premise that a team must pursue the top free agents for an A, however, and I don’t think those who gave an A are wrong, because their offseason was really good.
IMO it is silly to knock a team’s offseason just because they didn’t go after the top free agents (which is false anyway). Spending most doesn’t equal best offseason
Spending is exactly why everyone acts like the White Sox had a great offseason. I think they did ok, given the fact Cole would have never signed with them. But they certainly didn’t get any bargains in their signings. They paid full freight for everyone.
I give no fox
Yea, it’s free agency. No one ever gets a discount on top end guys. Did Cole, Harper, Rendon, machado, strasburg, etc. take bargain deals? When was the last time a high end free agent switched teams at a bargain rate? The white sox had a great offseason because they brought in talented players to augment their young core while also locking up key young players to long term deals. Sure, it could all blow up and not pan out , but you can say that about every signing ever.
Yeah, I’m not saying they did anything wrong. The Abreu extension was idiotic though. I’m just pointing out it’s easy to say a team that finally spends a lot in an offseason did a great job. All teams that spend a lot in the offseason always are considered to have had a great offseason initially.
Solid ‘A’ grade for the White Sox offseason. Nearly 93% of MLBTR readers gave the White Sox and ‘A’ or ‘B’ which is as solid a consensus as one could expect from any poll on this site. The 7% who disagree are clearly White Sox haters mostly comprised of the trolling Cub fan minority or just haters in general.
OR Aaron you think that the WHITE Sox incinerated cash with the Abreu and Keuchel deals. OR perhaps you think paying a near 32 year old catcher 73 million bucks was a mistake. OR maybe, just maybe, you are of the opinion that Luis Robert’s guarantee was a bit premature.
OR maybe the Nomar Mazara trade left you feeling disgusted.
Don’t tell people how to feel, Aaron! The WhiteSox aren’t that interesting! I don’t see a historically great GM and franchise that is immune to critique!
No idea why felt the need to put WHITE in caps. Who’s saying they’re immune to critique. I’m a huge fan, but I didn’t like the Mazara deal when Castellanos and Ozuna were available. I didn’t like them losing out on Wheeler and Ryu and not going after MadBum.
But I disagree that they aren’t that interesting. They have the #3 overall prospect in baseball and 4 guys in the top 40. They have a budding ace, a potential TOR starter in Kopech, a guy who had an OPS of 1.093 in Sep/Oct in Eloy, and their best player is probably Moncada. Then there are the still-productive veterans they signed, including that catcher who is widely regarded as one of the top 2 in baseball. A *lot* would have to go right for them to get to the playoffs this year, but they’ve finally become relevant again.
Aaron’s thesis was the WhiteSox deserved an A or a B. Or you’re a Cubs homer or general hater. I refuted that because it’s nonsense. Just because they made a lot of moves doesn’t mean it’s an automatic A/B. I’d give them a C+/B-
They’re possibly in the San Diego Padres trap. The one where they spent money too early. If these deals turn sour in year 2 there’s only so much money Reinsdorf is gonna pony up.
Yeah, everyone always thinks that when teams spend a “lot”, which for the White Sox they spent a ton, that they automatically had a great offseason. We’ll have to see. They certainly need more pitching if the seasons ever starts.
The White Sox had exactly the off season the Angels needed: elite catcher with a plus bat, upside in Keuchel whose ground ball tendencies play into our defense, Gio for reliability, Chisek to solidify the bullpen.
For real, had the Angels made the same moves they’d be considered the winners of the off season.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Think your Angels will still get a Maddon bump. Excited to see Adell in a loaded lineup.
Keuchel absolutely does not play into WS, especially if they suppress Madrigal and play Leury Harcia. They have one of worst defensive infields in league.
They won’t suppress Madrigal for long. He doesn’t have much experience at AAA, but his floor is about as high as Garcia’s ceiling because of his elite defense and plus speed. Moncada played solidly at 3B, especially considering it was his first year there. Abreu’s not great at 1B and Anderson’s a garbage fielder, so I’d say half their infield is (or at least, will be) pretty solid and the other half is bad.
Halo – most teams would be happy with three solid pitchers and a catcher.
Good pitching has been in real short supply the last few years. Every team needs it and no one wants to trade it away without getting a huge return
First chance in a long time they can go over .500 and now this. 2020 go home.
hard to call it an A. overpaid for Grandal and Keuchel and really could have used a stabilizing factor in the rotation like Cole.
I think there’s enough uncertainty with some of the moves they made to give them a B, but I voted A. My reasoning was that they upgraded at too many positions from last year. Regardless of how this shakes out, Grandal, Mazara, Keuchel, Gonzalez, Cishek, and Encarnacion all make the team better. Time will tell how much better. We all would have loved Cole, but taking on a contract like that would’ve prevented them from doing much else.
Sox get an “A”!
But who cares?!
2020 MLB season cancelled.
Grandal’s best skillset which is pitching framing may be out of baseball before Grandal’s even plays for the White Sox. That sucks.
Sadly, this is a possibility. On the bright side, the offensive value is still a nice addition at such a thin position.
Grandal is absolutely one of the better hitting catchers for sure. But having electronic strike zone certainly makes him less valuable. Robo umps were going to be here without Covid soon anyway, but the virus just made it get here faster.
It’s apparent that Yasmani Grandal’s best defensive skill set has been his pitch framing. That said, he’s not exactly chopped liver with his other abilities behind the dish including with his Fld% and CS%. In fact, in his last 5 seasons as a starting catcher, Grandal has been above league average in both categories in addition to becoming one of MLB’s elite pitch framers. He did level off a bit last season with the Brewers, a season in which he also appeared in a career high 153 games including 137 at catcher with 124 starts behind the plate. That clearly won’t happen with an abbreviated 2020 season at best nor would it have with a White Sox team that features a 2019 All-Star as their backup catcher in James McCann.
Grandal, like McCann, is also revered for his ability as a mentor to a pitching staff which doesn’t have a metric in the game. Grandal is also one of MLB’s premier hitting catchers, especially in regards to SLG and OBP, two areas where the White Sox have lagged behind the competition since beginning their rebuild back in December of 2016. Grandal’s addition to the lineup, along with veteran DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion will boost the White Sox offense considerably, to say nothing of the continued improvement from their young core that includes studs like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Tim Anderson along with the impending debuts of Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn in 2020 and 2021.
I agree that Grandal is much more than a good pitch framer. That really wasn’t my point at all. My point was that not having pitch framing involved anymore takes away from his strongest skill set. That doesn’t mean he’s not a valued player still. Obviously he is. I’m just saying he has less value then before. All great pitch framers do, and the people that stunk at pitch framing probably get a bump in value.
Grandal’s best skill set which is pitch framing may be out of baseball before he even plays for the WhiteSox. That’s rough…
Grandal’s best skill set which is pitch framing may be out of baseball before he even plays for the WhiteSox. That’s rough.
I understood you the first time you posted this.
Obviously there was posting issues, genius.
Anytime a team has their biggest spending offseason ever the public is going to give them a high grade. Sadly, that’s not how it works. And Grandal’s value instantly does go down with the automated strike zone implementation from day 1 of his tenure with them. Which isn’t entirely their fault because of Covid, but it’s been obvious Electronic umpiring was coming for awhile.
I gave them an A, but not because they spent a lot. I think they overpaid on Keuchel (would have rather had Ryu, even with the injury concerns) and on Abreu, though the latter has off-the-field effects (such as showing the young guys the team is willing to take care of its veteran core when the time comes and providing lots of leadership to the young players, especially those from Cuba) that make it more forgivable. The A came from signing Grandal to mentor their young staff, replacing their #4 and #5 pitchers, and upgrading at RF (which goes to show how bad RF was last year), DH, and their pen. There’s also the extensions to factor in. They’re risky and aren’t Albies-level team-friendly, but they do give cost certainty and can extend their window of contention. It’d be closer to an A- than an A+, but until they actually play, I think an A is appropriate.
This is a good offseason on paper. Its hard to give it an A because they missed out on their top pitching targets. Not that I’m mad about it, 120 mil to Zack Wheeler would have been a mistake
Excellent, excellent offseason—-the ONLY scary part is that the bottom four on that list (Abreu, Encarnacion, Cishek and Gonzalez) may never play a (another) game with the White Sox. Until something agreeable gets resolved we cannot count on baseball being played in 2020.
With the uncertain economics of baseball coming up there is $43M in 2021 salary, if they so choose, to exercise.
Losing Grandal and Keuchel a year also hurts—-especially as age might creep in.
It’s very hard to give any team an “A” as we’ve seen teams like the Padres win the offseason so many times in the past—-but this offseason is about as high a B that anyone can get.
I just think that of all teams——this COVID situation and lack of baseball (even if it is shortened) hurts the Sox more than others.
@ myself——didn’t see that Abreu, lower in article was an extension….so he will still have a year at 16M
The last paragraph of this article has a link to a YouTube presentation that suggests the White Sox could stand to benefit more than most teams in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. You might want to check it out and rethink the last paragraph of your comment.
Always respect your opinion Aaron, but I will side with Buster Olney’s article on this one—losing a year of maturing with the young players, losing a year of those great contracts (Moncada is 1.8 this year–6.8 next—Anderson jumps (although still a great number)—they lose a year of that veteran leadership of Grandal and Keuchel, not to mention the money doesn’t look as good in shorter deals—-like I said they “could” lose Encarncion, Cishek, Gio altogether.
In the same respect if they are “a year away” and the Twins are better–that “year” goes away and the Twins will have similar player issues–I get it. I do see that side.
And I did say it was an excellent offseason and I would rate it as high a be as possible only because teams that “win the offseason” very rarely do and A grades almost always turn out way too high.
The video put together a pretty uncompelling argument. Can the shortened season help veterans? Sure. But every team has veterans. Might it help people come off injury? Certainly possible, but it also might hurt, as they may need time to re acclimate, time which will be in shorter supply. That might vary on a case by case basis. Will it help the rookies break out faster? Who knows. Some rookies are ready out of the gate, some take longer. There’s no one-size-fits-all mold.
If everything goes right, the Sox could be in fantastic shape this year. But a lot of teams can claim this. IMO, if I were the Sox, I’d probably rather have the rookies and the injured pitchers playing their way into shape, but I can’t guarantee you that’s the best way for them to go.
Either way, they should be better in 2021 than this year, unless arms start falling off their pitching staff.
Well the season potentially being canceled or massively shortened will effect all teams negatively (other than crappy rebuilding teams like the Orioles). No teams trying to win want to lose control on valued young contracts. It screws everyone a ton. So no point arguing that it’s better or worse for some teams. It screws everyone with valued contracts.
I disagree. Other teams with young guys already on the roster, such as the Braves or Blue Jays, lose out on a full-year of up-and-coming guys as well as their veterans, if there’s no baseball.
If there is, it gives the White Sox a better chance, albeit still a small one, of catching the Twins and a decent chance at contending for a WC. Plus, the delayed start means Rodon and Kopech miss less time, further strengthening either the rotation or pen. I believe the Twins will be hurt more by this, as Pineda will still have to serve the remainder of his suspension, which will amount to a larger portion of the season.
The Sox did a good job improving their team and are in position to compete now and for the next 5 years. That being said, I gave them a ‘C’ due to the Jose Abreu signing, probably my least favorite signing of the entire offseason. Not only is Abreu not worth anything close to 3/50 but the Sox have both a current and future log jam at 1B/DH. Andrew Vaughn is the top 1B prospect in the minors and could be the starting 1B as soon as next year. If so, that likely pushes Abreu to DH. They may have an opening of sorts there if they don’t pick up Encarnacion’s club option, however, they would have been much better off rotating people though that spot. They have two terrible defensive outfielders in Eloy and Mazara that could rotate through. They have perhaps the leagues best backup catcher in James McCann. It would have been nice to let Grandal DH twice per week to keep him fresh and get McCann in the lineup more regularly. Signing him to a 3 year extension wasn’t a great idea In general given the future structure of the team but doing so by paying him well above market was a terrible idea. Poor defensive 1B/DH types have never been easier and cheaper to come by (see Encarnacion). I can’t imagine they don’t regret this signing, probably sooner than later.
You make some decent points in regards to the Jose Abreu extension. You are also diminishing Abreu’s value to the White Sox above and beyond his proven powerful bat that has been a huge RBI producer for the team since being signed as an international free agent from Cuba back in October of 2013. Abreu’s contract extension was the result of many factors and based on a shared loyalty by both the player and the only MLB organization he has ever played for. It is also a contract that was fair for both sides and hardly crippling in terms of it’s length and dollar value for an organization that has since gone on to spent more significant dollars in adding outside veteran free agents and further internal extensions to their young core.
Abreu is a fan favorite on the South Side of Chicago. He has enormous marketing value to a team that struggles locally with their neighbors to the north. He is also the face of the franchise having taken over the reigns of team ambassador from the great Cuban Comet, Mr. White Sox Minnie Minoso who passed away in March of 2015 after taking Abreu under his wing.
Abreu has not only continued the White Sox tradition of mentoring other younger Cubans like Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert but also providing leadership for other emerging talents like Dominican Eloy Jimenez and Afro-American Tim Anderson. Abreu has also been a willing recruiter for the White Sox in their pursuit of other free agents like fellow Cubans Yasmani Grandal and Robert, just as he was wooed by former Cubans like Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo.
The White Sox have been one of MLB’s most aggressive teams when it comes to a minority presence including with the promotion of current Executive VP Kenny Williams to their GM position back in 2000 along with numerous minority managerial hirings that have included Larry Doby, Jerry Manuel, Ozzie Guillen up through current skipper Rick Renteria. This is a testament to front offices that have been led by two progressive owners in Bill Veeck and Jerry Reinsdorf during the majority of my 64 year old lifetime. It’s also no coincidence with the White Sox also playing their games on Chicago’s South Side, an area composed of many diverse ethnic communities throughout the years.
For the most part I don’t disagree with what you are saying. I have no problem with the Sox being loyal to Abreu and even being the top bidder for his services. The problem is they were bidding against themselves. My guess is if he was on the open market, he would have commanded about 2 years, $25 million, maybe $30 million at the most. They essentially gave him and extra year at $20-25 million for his age 35 season to fill a position where they will likely have a logjam.
I agree with both of you…he is important to the team on many different levels, but the length/cost was a little more than what would probably be advisable
Agreed on The Abreu extension. It was an unnecessary overpay, and will cause a logjam at 1b/DH as early as 2021
Covey and Banuelos are notable?
Covey and Banuelos are notable? losses?
@greatgame, yes, in the same way that having a 10-lb tumor removed is significant weight loss. The team is so much better with out them. And I’d add Despaigne to that, too.
Just beat the crap out of the Astros and Red Sox.
Luis Robert looks like a superstar addition. Forget about his contract extension and focus on what he could bring to the White Sox:
Great defense in Center
With Grandal and EE this team looks really good. And with Kopech and Rodon coming the division could be their for the taking.
It blows my mind that there are some who gave the Sox an F for this off season. While I understand the arguments between a grade of A and B I’m not sure how anyone with at least half a brain could give them an F.
I agree that Abreu is an overpay. But Reinsdorf is loyal to a fault. Abreu will be the DH after this year. Yes he’s not worth that contract.
The Sox did everything they could to get Wheeler. The guy wanted to play elsewhere. If they offered enough to get Wheeler to Chicago, the same people who are critical that they didn’t get him would be saying they paid way too much.
An F? Really? I’d like to hear from someone who graded an F. Explain yourself.
Cubs fans LOL
Every team has trolls. For the White Sox, it’s usually Cubs fans, sometimes Twins fans. They could have traded spare parts for Wander Franco and signed both Cole and Strasburg to below-market deals and you’d still have trolls giving them F’s.
“Notable Losses” section is a very generous descriptor. More like “Perfect for Tanking Phase Departures”.
friendly illinois brethren
Odrisamer Despaigne was so bad he should give Sox fans $10.
Lack pitching, defense and disciplined hitters. Their time could be coming but it isn’t now. Low budget division helps but expectations should be tempered for 2021.
I agree on tempered expectations, but their lineup should be significantly better with the additions of Robert, EE, and Grandal (who has a high OBP despite a low BA). You’re right on the lack of disciplined hitters (at least, by and large), but that doesn’t mean they don’t have good hitters.Their defense should improve with Robert, Madrigal, and Grandal. And their pitching should be better now that Covey, Banuelos, and Despaigne have been replaced by Keuchel, Gio, and Cishek. They’re not there yet, but they’re certainly a lot closer.
Idioms for Idiots
I’m really late to the party, but better late than never, I guess.
I’m not sure how to grade this. Maybe a B. I guess I’m still more focused on how the rebuild is panning out than the transactions. High marks for Grandal signing (Keuchel signing could teeter either way, but so far I’m OK with it). Definite high marks on the extensions (still can’t figure out the extension from Leury’s end, but we’ll gladly take it).
Mazara’s the real wild card, but they didn’t give up much, and worst case scenario he’s a one-year stop gap. That probably would’ve been a better trade last year while they were still in rebuild mode.
EE’s a good power hitter, but I didn’t care for it because he blocked Collins. Yes, Collins sucked in his first cup of coffee in June/July, but he tore it up when he got sent back down, and he didn’t look that bad in Sept. I want to see what Collins does this year. Back to EE, again good power hitter, but I don’t think it was a necessary signing. I’d love for him to prove me wrong with a 40 HR, 120 RBI season (or whatever the numbers are adjusted to with this abbreviated season).
This is their transition year, so I’m expecting about 85 wins, or more appropriately a .525 win percentage. If they exceed .525, great. If they somehow make the playoffs, even better. But the important thing this year is to improve in the win column and to get another year of valuable experience for the youngsters, so they can be ready to be contenders in ’21.