The Rays and Astros have roster decisions to make before their 10am deadlines. Both teams plan on adding a pitcher for the ALCS. For the Rays, Josh Fleming, Jose Alvarado, Ryan Sherriff, or even Brent Honeywell look like the top candidates to join the roster, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Brett Phillips, meanwhile, could be the odd man out now that Austin Meadows is back in the lineup. On the other hand, if the Rays choose to decide the roster spot by dance battle, Phillips should be safe. The former Royal and Brewer has appeared in four games this postseason, largely being used as a defensive replacement.
Now, lest we spend the entire evening on the postseason alone, let’s check in on a team that hopes to have these kinds of decisions to make in years to come…
- The White Sox have some options pending after their most successful season in over a decade, and the Athletic’s James Fegan provides a rundown. One of the easier calls will be declining the $12MM club option on designated hitter Edwin Encarnación. It’s true that Encarnación didn’t exactly dazzle this year with a triple slash of .157/.250/.377, but more telling is GM Rick Hahn’s comment about #3 overall draft pick of the 2019 draft: Andrew Vaughn. Per Fegan, Hahn said, “Given his makeup and given his tools, it’s hard to look at him and rule him out of being able to help a team in the not too distant future.”
- Like ships passing in the night, just as one #3 pick could soon embark on his White Sox career, another in Carlos Rodon could be nearing an end. The big lefty will be due at least a nominal raise on his $4.45MM contract, and there’s a decent chance that’s too rich given his inability to stay healthy. The White Sox will be looking for stability for their rotation now that their contention window has firmly opened. With that in mind, it’s likely they decline Gio Gonzalez’s $7MM option as well.
- Perhaps the most surprising tidbit in the group is Fegan’s suggestion that Nomar Mazara is heading for a DFA. Not so shocking when considering his 42-game .228/.295/.294 line he put up across 194 plate appearances this year. But taking the long view, this certainly isn’t where the 25-year-old appeared to be heading when he made his debut in Texas as a 21-year-old.
Sox should attempt to re‐sign McCann.
He’s Giolito’s preferred catcher.
He could DH (call up Collins to effectively replace Encarnacion), or Grandal / Abreu could split 1B/DH while McCann catches.
Wait I thought everyone wanted Grandal!!! I told you he was overrated and pitchers don’t like pitching to him. I would’ve taken Pina over him all the time and before you say his bat is better Pina came through just as much in the crunch. Not to mention a lot of times the game was well in hand because his defense didn’t hurt them like Grandals was
yeah it seemed Grandal went from some dude to superstar in that 1st half in Milwaukee, which really doesnt follow logically.
That is selective memory. Grandal was a borderline Star in LA but his playoff struggles prevented him from being a superstar. But his best in class defense and consistently above average offense made him a star. Following through and showing that he did it somewhere other than LA really just cemented his status
“borderline star?” he was a very good catcher in LA, but star bit too much.
@garebear, sorry but, Grandal might have been given decent credit for pitch framing – but even with that, his receiving skills are not good. His pitch blocking is truely well below MLB standards. And that is just one reason McCann was behind the plate in so many of their important games.
If the decision could be made over again, I seriously doubt Grandal would have been signed. He only batted high in the order, due to the lack of any quality LH bats.
Grandal’s skill set was supposed to be excellent pitch-framing, solid stolen base prevention, high OBP (with high pitches-per-at-bat), 30 HR potential (full-season). And he could play 1B in a pinch, His one known downside was actually catching the ball, with too many past balls/wild pitches.
That’s what the Sox paid for, and that is pretty much what they got.
He struggled at the plate to start the season, but the start/stop spring trainging and short “summer camp” along with the inability to watch video in-game, probably affected his start. He did better later. There is no reason to regret the signing.
Grandal’s catchers interference on an 0-2 count in game 3 really, really hurt the Sox vs Oakland. Looked like the White Sox might escape that inning until that play. He needs to up his defensive game in October.
….and up his game, from April thru September.
This past season was an aberration with spring training being cancelled in late March, a shortened summer camp and an abbreviated 60-game schedule. Yasmani Grandal is a tireless worker who figures to benefit the White Sox mostly young pitching staff similarly to what James McCann did in his first year with the team back in 2019 when the team was still in their rebuild mode. Having both veteran catchers return in 2021 would be an added bonus now that the White Sox appear to be viable postseason contenders.
It should also be noted that Grandal offers an aspect to the White Sox batting order that cannot be disputed. He has always been a high OBP hitter, a trait that the White Sox mostly lack with an inability to draw walks up and down their lineup. As a switch-hitter, Grandal also provides power from the left side, another feature that is mostly lacking in a White Sox batting order that leans heavily right-handed. The only other hitter in the current White Sox lineup who can routinely hit with power from the left side and draw walks is fellow switch-hitter Yoan Moncada. This is why the White Sox pursued the trade for Nomar Mazara last winter and may look to do likewise this offseason when trying to solve the quest for their core right fielder.
Good points Znik. Grandal had more walks in the post season than the rest of the lineup combined if memory serves. (Vaughn should add some discipline to the lineup.)
A lot of players had twilight zone-like seasons this year and I doubt that repeats for next season.
Who 1138? Abreu was Abreu, but this year with some protection, finally. Anderson was Anderson. Moncada was down due to covid. Roberts disappeared for a month. Eloy did as expected. DH and RF were well below league average. Who were these twilight zone players you speak of?
Can we build a green monster in left and hide Eloy like the Red Sox did Manny? All kidding aside, he is our future DH when Jose departs. Springer would be nice in right but not likely.
Honeywell hasnt thrown a game since, what, 2017? and that choice assume’s he’s even in game shape.
Not hard to be in game shape to throw 15 pitches. If he’s healthy and back to throwing close to where he was, they’d be stupid to not have him on the roster.
He has been throwing at the alternate site for a few months with sim games. He can throw at least 20 pitches
if Nomar becomes a free agent i think most teams should take a look. people forget the guy is still only 25. while he’s not be coming a superstar, he was at least viable in Texas and could still improve given his age.
Someone will always take a flyer on a guy.. well once the minors open back up anyway. I just think that Nomar did have an off year like a lot of players did, but he was a giant hole in the Sox lineup for most of the season and really killed a lot of rallies and potentially big innings. Basically it looks like pitchers figured him out, but he does not want to change. Shame that if he does, he will likely do that outside of the Sox org.
Mazar will figure it out at some point. Not too many guys start in the MLB at 21 and fizzle out by age 26. Profar comes to mind as another guy who hasn’t lived up to expectations so far.
Vaughn should start for the Sox in 2021, unless he has a disastrous ST.
Profar’s struggles were mostly injury related. He’s turned things around the last couple years, and he put together a nice season in San Diego this year. Granted, he isn’t the player many thought he would be, but he is at least a solid starter who can put up decent numbers.
Decent number ????,234 ave in 7 years ,the Cuban Jorge Ona only 23 years old Deserve a chance
He hit .278/.324/.428 with a 113 OPS+. That’s really solid for a utility man.
I think the Sox could trade Maz for something right now and not just DFA him. I know it wouldn’t be much, but I still think they could recieve a single A lotto ticket. Heck the Rangers traded their mid-30’s third string catcher (Brett Nicholas) for Emmanuel Clase a few years ago.
I don’t see any team trading for Nomar, when he is likely to get released. Any team that wants him can get him as a FA, much cheaper than his 5M salary this year, and without trading any prospect. His trade value is zero point zero. I can see where a team might take a chance and sign him to a 1M contract with incentives but that’s about it. The Sox might do that actually after they release him.
If Rendon is available please Brewers pick him up. Let him turn it around with you. I think he could work good in there rotation nothing against Chicago but change of scenery with Milwaukee having a roof might help the in the spring with the weather change so much during game could help the injury bug , just a thought
Class action suit against MLB will cost them their antitrust exemption and billions of dollars. Especially since they now officially own the minor leagues.
It also means minor league players will be able to unionize.
they’re not going to lose the exemption, they’ll just have to pay up.
The White Sox will not have a chance at a title if Rick Hahn keeps missing on so many acquisitions.
Idioms for Idiots
EE, Gonzalez, and Mazara should all be gone. Rodn also, even though I would’ve taken a risk on him if he weren’t so expensive. Unfortunately, McCann will be gone also (I can’t see them spending that kind of money for a backup). Colome I think is 50-50 right now.
With Vaughn coming up sometime in ’21 (probably soon after Super 2 date kicks in), the only offensive needed would be RF. Springer is the obvious choice, though they will probably get outbid for him (insert Dogbone troll comment here). I never thought I would say this, but I wouldn’t have a huge problem sticking Engel if RF full-time in ’21 (though I’d much rather have him as the 4th OF). I suppose you could upgrade the bench, but I don’t see a dire need (unless you have given up on Collins).
I’d only go for a TOR for a SP. Basically Bauer if you’re looking at F/A. Maybe Stroman, though he’s a bit risky. Walker is a huge injury risk and I don’t see any other F/A fitting that bill. Giolito and Keuchel are 1 and 2, Cease has the equivalent of one full season, so don’t give up on him yet, and Dunning deserves a spot. So you need someone that would be an upgrade to Kopech/Crochet (and we still have no idea the extent of Crochet’s injury). If they can’t get Bauer, which they will most likely be outbid (another Dogbone troll opportunity here), the trade is their best bet for a TOR. Dunning would be their best trade chip (unless Crochet is deemed healthy).
Bullpen is generally fine unless Colome leaves. Then there’s a glaring hole in the ‘pen (though the closer spot can be filled internally). Every ‘pen in baseball could always be improved, but I wouldn’t break the bank for a reliever, unless he’s an elite closer. And based on the Sox history with F/A relievers, I’d stay away from a bigger contract (unless, again, it’s an elite closer).
Idioms for Idiots
*Rodon (but I’m sure you could figure that out)
*sticking Engel in RF (again, I’m sure you could figure that out)
Most of the Sox offseason moves last year were busts. Only Grandal and Keuchel panned out. Mazara, Gio, Encarnacion, Cishek… all disasters basically. All should be gone, along with Rodon who should be based on having a higher ERA every year for the past 5 years and all but proving that he has nothing left. They should part ways with Cordero as well.
Their needs are
2. starting pitcher
3. relief pitcher(s)
4. right fielder
Engel is potentially decent enough that RF is less of a need than the others. Their DH should improve offense significantly, whether it is Yermin or Vaughn. The reason they did not win last year was pitching, not offense. Add another solid starter, re-sign Colome (or get another closer), and add another reliever or 2 to replace Cordero/Cishek/Rodon, and they should be good to go. Along with getting a better manager, which is probably more important for this team than in most cases. They don’t need someone great, just someone who is experienced and not terrible.
And they should try out Vaughn in the outfield, as he has said he played many different positions growing up. Would be great to avoid having him stuck at DH/1b, when Eloy potentially has no other place to go but DH. I’m not critical of Eloy’s fielding even though it is weak, but more that he is very likely to get injured playing the outfield. Vaughn likely would take time to adjust to OF, but he can’t be much worse in left field than Eloy!
Ricky is getting one more year (though some of those decisions he made… especially in the final stretch…. yeesh!) Relief was the one big bright spots for the Sox this season. They found a bevy of arms due to injuries and lack of good starting pitching, Heuer has possible closer stuff which may be why Colome may not be resigned. Bummer should come back and be fine as well. I say keep Colome if he does not cost you a fortune, though as you can never have too many bullpen arms (especially if your starter only average 5 innings per game.) and get rid of Cishek, hes only good if you want to blow a lead but mostly for garbage time now)
The White Sox had already DFA’d Steve Cishek and Ross Detwiler in the last week of the regular season to make room for Aaron Bummer and Carlos Rodon who were each activated from the 60-day IL. Both Bummer and Rodon took their places on the White Sox postseason roster as well.
@jhom, if I was you, I wouldn’t worry about Eloy injuring himself on defense – unless he gets hit in the head with a routine fly ball – because he’s developed a knack for shying away from walls.
If Colume, McCann, Rodon, Mazura, Encarnacion all depart, which seems likely, that frees up much coin. Hahn has a critical offseason ahead. DJ Lem for DH seems entirely possible, package Vaughn for a solid #3 starter and it starts to get interesting. If Kopech gives them anything, even a good #4 starter, really interesting.
@whiff The whole purpose of the way they are going about the rebuild is to be able to add via the FA market without trading prospects. Trading Vaughn makes no sense when they can sign a very good pitcher. I am sure they have no intention of trading Vaughn or they would have landed Clevinger… Vaughn by himself was better than the 6 mediocre players the Padres traded for Clevinger. I still can’t believe the Indians got almost nothing for him.
I’ll disagree slice. They have evolved beyond stockpiling prospects stage. It’s contention stage. Therefore trading prospects is now on the table.
No one giving love to the goat Yermin Mercedes?? Dude RAKES! Came all the way from the pecos league too which makes him even more of a goat
Hahn wasted 12 million and an opportunity to give Mercedes a look this past season. There was no need to sign EE.
No kidding. His numbers were better in 2019 in AAA than Luis Robert in every category. Seriously! How they did not play him instead of EE for at least some games this year is not possible to understand.
I’m surprised at the amount of posts mentioning Mercedes. He’s never got a real shot with the Sox. He tore up AAA . He tore up Spring training ( what there was of it)..
He could have had a shot in 2019 and Collins more of a shot , if the Sox didn’t give so many AB’s to Welington Castillo who was on his way out and AJ Reed . Curious moves for a team rebuilding to use a guy with one foot out the door in Castillo and another guy , Reed who was on his way down. Collins and Mercedes both could’ve got looks at C, DH and 1B.
The Sox sucked in 2019. I know Collins did get a few looks . Why Castillo and Reed were given AB’s over Mercedes the 2nd half of 2019 is a head scratcher..
They had a chance to give him a shot in 2020 but signed Encarnacion instead. If the Sox didn’t think they could win a World Series in 2020 the signing of Encarnacion made no sense. You were already taking a risk that he would be good in 2020 and and if he performed OK, the option for 2021 would’ve been even riskier because of his age.
Mercedes will never get a chance with the Sox. His best 2 years to get a shot were 2019 and 2020 and he got 1 AB . Too bad all he can do is hit. Collins being LH gives him the edge. Neither one is known for their fielding and Mercedes is getting a little long in the tooth to think he will ever get a shot.
If the Sox actually thought that Collins could hit, or was acceptable on defense- Grandal would never have been signed. Collins is useless. He was just used, to hype their fan base, so they wouldn’t be jumping in the Chicago River.
I say part ways with Mazara, Rodon, EE, Cordero and obviously Gio. Resign McCann and Colome. Pursue Stroman and maybe kick the tires on Puig. Springer is good but I don’t think they should spend that much. I like the idea of possibly moving Vaughn and it would be great to try to squeeze in Mercedes somehow. Leury Yolmer and Engel are great bench pieces. Not sure if they’ll need a replacement for Cordero if Burdi is back.