Today’s post has been in the works for a couple days now, and it of course has to deal with the offseason. The Offseason plan project I recently did limits moves to maybe a more realistic realm of opportunity when it comes to offseason moves and planning, where as mine that I discuss today is still possible, but it’s highly unlikely. For all the moves in this post to happen, two things have to happen. 1, Rick Hahn has to be aggressive. If he’s not willing to bend, then unfortunately this won’t happen at all. 2, Jerry Reinsdorf has to open up the check book. This team is in Chicago, not Baltimore, not Oakland, not Tampa. We’re in Chicago, we need to start acting like we play in a Major market and take advantage of that. Without those two things, this plan isn’t even feasible. If trader Rick isn’t ready to make moves then we can’t get established players, and the payroll to field a proven team is expensive nowadays, so Jerry’s payroll has to eclipse $130 million, it’s the price of doing business folks.
First things first, non-tender Avi Garcia and Leury Garcia to open spots in the outfield.
Then, make your best offer for Bryce Harper. Give it some gas and try a 10 year, $335 million offer with opt-outs after years 4, 5, and 8. Let a franchise superstar take over right field for a hopeful decade and be the face of the franchise. There has seldom been questions about Harper’s heart of hustle and may gel better with the clubhouse given that. This also makes a statement saying that the White Sox are committed to winning for a prolonged period of time, signaling to other players and teams that we mean business.
Extend Jose Abreu to a 3 year, $50 million extension, keeping one of the most consistent bats in the league in your lineup, also signifying to players from the outside that the organization will take care of their players if they do their job. Abreu is a clubhouse leader and consistent voice of wisdom for the young players and feel this would be a great veteran to anchor the lineup for the next 3 years. Not to mention that there is no heir to the first base throne, and no real solution in Free Agency in the next two off-seasons’ other than Paul Goldschmidt who will be a hot commodity in the market.
Trade Welington Castillo, Luis Robert, Dane Dunning, Zack Collins, and Jordan Stephens to the Marlins for JT Realmuto, given that we can get a 48 hour window to discuss an extension. JT doesn’t want to stay on a rebuilding club, so doing the 2 previous moves and pitching the rest of this plan should get him to stay with the Sox. 4 years, $84 million to solve the turning table of catchers behind the dish for the Sox. Steep price to pay, but you have to give up something to get something, and you’re getting the best all-around catcher in baseball for the next 4 years in the prime if his career. If you can’t get the extension, then that price would go way down for me. I’m not going to pay all of that for just 2 years of control, especially if Collins is going over to Miami in the deal.
Sign both Dallas Keuchel and Nathan Eovaldi to 4 year deals. Keuchels for $78 million (don’t think the price will go up higher because of age) and Eovaldi for $72.5 million (Extra year may get him here, injury concerns) and let them anchor the rotation while Kopech recovers and Cease continues to develop, who we consider to be the eventual real aces anyway.
Trade Jose Rondon and Luis Mieses to the Yankees for Sonny Gray. Give the Yankees a possible stand-in for Gregorious if they don’t get Manny, also a young outfielder with possible upside to sweeten the deal for the Yankees who have flat-out said that Gray will be traded this offseason. This is a low-risk, high reward situation with Sonny Gray coming off a bad year and only one year left, so it’s worth risking it against Mieses’ upside and Rondon’s possible everyday player ceiling. Gray can fill in some innings for the Sox in the last year of his contract and possibly be flipped at the trade deadline.
This folks, is the most interesting deal in this plan:
Trade Carlos Rodon to the Reds for Nick Senzel and James Marinan. Rodon is represented by Scott Boras, so you know an extension is out of the question. With only 3 years of control left for Rodon, he is set to become a free agent right when we hope to be getting to peak form, so why keep him if you can set yourself at another huge hole in the team? The Reds need pitching very desperately to even think about competing and they’ve recently extended current third basemen Eugenio Suarez to a 5 year deal, making the games 6th best prospect blocked for the foreseeable future. The Reds get 3 years of Rodon, which can anchor their staff for the meantime, and the Sox get their third baseman of the future along with a righty pitcher to even out the major league proven Rodon. This makes not getting Machado the right move and also opens the rotation enough for Kopech and Cease for when they’re both ready. The 23 year old Senzel is in AAA and is very much ready for the Majors, so gaining the 7th year of control is an easy choice along with Eloy for this season.
Sign Adam Ottavino to a 3 year, $33 million deal, sign David Phelps to a 2 year, $14 million deal. Let both guys be the veteran options in the bullpen, let the younger guys develop and get major league innings under them. Eventually they’ll be replaced, which is why you can’t get too ridiculous with these contracts.
Trade Nate Jones and Juan Minaya to the Dodgers for Andrew Toles. Toles can be a left handed portion of a new centerfield platoon with Adam Engel for the Sox, and they don’t have to give up too much to get him. On the flipside, the Dodgers receive two able-armed bullpen options that at their best can bridge the gap to closer Kenley Jansen, who is undergoing heart surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. You have to give up both Jones and Minaya due to both of their inconsistencies or arm issues, paired with Toles still being extremely controlled. Toles won’t be a star, but can help hold down the position until Luis Basabe, or Blake Rutherford are ready to take that mantle.
If you did the math, the team looks like this 2 weeks into the season:
2B Yoan Moncada
C JT Realmuto
RF Bryce Harper
1B Jose Abreu
LF Eloy Jimenez
DH Daniel Palka
3B Nick Senzel
SS Tim Anderson
Bench: Narvaez, Engel/Toles, Sanchez, and Matt Davidson
Rotation: Keuchel, Eovaldi, Lopez, Gray, Giolito (Waiting on Cease and Kopech)
Bullpen: Ottavino, Phelps, Fry, Frare, Hamilton, Burr, Covey (Covey can get replaced by Ruiz or Fulmer or whoever)
The lineup is deep, has a good mixture of vets and young talent, and the farm is still strong enough to maintain success. The payroll is the issue here, if my math is correct, an average payroll year is somewhere in the neighborhood of $140-145 million dollars after pre-arbitration salaries. Success is not cheap. Like I said, we have to spend the money to be good. This is a pipe dream scenario for me, and I feel like it puts this team into a full contention mode in 2020 and beyond.
Don’t like a signing/trade? Let me know on twitter at @SchinsTalksSox1 or on Facebook at Schindel Talks Sox.