This is part 3 of a Series.

Part 2 is here Chicago White Sox Off-Season Project Part 2

Lets rebuild.

Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):

  • Todd Frazier, $13.5M- Tender
  • Brett Lawrie, $5.1M- Tender
  • Avisail Garcia, $3.5M- Non-Tender
  • Miguel Gonzalez, $2.6M- Tender
  • Dan Jennings, $1.2M- Tender
  • B. Shuck, $1M- Non-Tender
  • Jake Petricka, $900K- Tender
  • Zach Putnam, $900K- Tender
  • Daniel Webb, $600K- Non-Tender

Explain the toughest calls if necessary:

It doesn’t really matter to me if I’m rebuilding I still want to get rid of Avi, he is never going to be a good major league baseball player. No reason to pay him 3.5 million to prove it for the 3rd year in a row.

Contract options (pick up or buy out)

  • Matt Albers: $3M for 2017 or a $250,000 buyout

Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)- Let Go

  • Austin Jackson: Made $5 million in 2016- Let Go
  • Alex Avila: Made $2.5 million in 2016- Let Go
  • Justin Morneau: Made $1 million in 2016, although he signed during the season- Let Go

Elaborate if needed: No need for any of those guys on a rebuilding team

Free agents

No. 1: Brett Anderson, 1 year $15 million.

There will soon be innings that need to be pitched available in my rotation. Anderson could be an ideal bounce back candidate that we can either trade mid-season or offer a QO after the year if he recovers. If he doesn’t, so what, Wins aren’t going to mean much in 2017.

No. 2: Andrew Cashner, 1 year $10 million.

Same exact reason. Jerry might be dreaming of a sub 60 million payroll but this isn’t the Rays, we are going to still spend a bit of money to try to really make this rebuild work.

No. 3: Mitch Moreland, 1 year, $7 million.

After a pretty crappy year we give Moreland a 1 year deal with guaranteed AB’s every night to try to turn it around for one last pay day.

No. 4: Colby Rasmus, 1 year, $4 million.

Rasmus was absolutely terrible last year for the Astros, so he will be searching for a “prove it” deal with guaranteed AB’s as our LF. Welcome to the White Sox and the righty heavy AL Central. Could easily be flipped at the deadline.

No. 5: Tommy Milone, 1 year, $2 million.

I’m not doing the whole James Shields thing again, as seen by Cashner and Anderson. Milone can provide some depth for when I cut shields in May as our long inning guy/injury insurance.

No. 6: Brett Cecil, 2 years, $11 million.

Our bullpen needs a lefty. If he is really good we can trade him.

Trades

No. 1: Trade SP Chris Sale and LF Melky Cabrera to the Boston Red Sox for CF Jackie Bradley Jr, C/LF Blake Swihart, SP Michael Kopech, SP Trey Ball and 1B Sam Travis

Here it is. Personally I think the Red Sox ultimately win the Sale sweepstakes, they will be heavily motivated after this postseason and have the major league ready talent the White Sox are going to want in return. The Red Sox refuse to part with Moncada or Benny and that’s fine, we will gladly take JBJ+ instead. The Red Sox can swallow this because Betts or Benentendi can play CF and Melky can slide into LF, where his lack of range won’t hurt him as much. For the White Sox, JBJ allows Eaton to stay in right and is their long term CF. They also get Blake Swihart who they can try out at catcher in 2016, and if it doesn’t work he slides into LF and joins JBJ and Eaton as the OF of the future. Additionally, the White Sox get SP prospect Michael Kopech who has the potential to slot in behind Q and Rodon as a #3, Trey Ball who has fizzled out in the Boston system but could easily turn it around and become a #4/5 starter type, and 1B Sam Travis, who should be a solid Major League bat soon.

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*For those wondering how I came up with my return, I used FanGraphs top 50 trade value chart to compare Sale to JBJ, figured Swihart and Kopech was a fair premium to jump from 28 to 15, and then included Ball and Travis to compensate for Melky and meet the Sox demand of 5 players. It might be a bit heavy of a return but The White Sox hold the leverage here, the Red Sox just got swept despite having the best offense in baseball and David Price was no help at all. They need to get Sale.

No. 2: Trade 2B Brett Lawrie to the New York Mets for C Kevin Plawecki

I don’t fully believe in Omar Narvaez long term so I am focusing on catchers throughout these trades. Plawecki has good defensive numbers which I covet, and maybe a full season of AB’s helps him figure it out at the dish. Lawrie can play 2B if Neil Walker leaves or 3B for when Wright gets hurt.

No. 3: Trade RP Nate Jones and 3B Todd Frazier to the Colorado Rockies for C Tom Murphy and OF Ramiel Tapia

The Rockies could actually be pretty good next year, but as always, they need some pitching, and they aren’t going to be shelling out for Jansen/Chapman/Melancon type relivers. Instead we will give them Nate Jones, but also include Todd Frazier, who can fill their gaping hole at 1B and easily crank 45-50 HR’s at Coors. In return we get another catcher, this one with a very solid defensive reputation and some pop, and a nearly MLB ready OF in Ramiel Tapia who could blossom into a solid MLB hitter. We also shed some payroll.

No. 4: Trade RP David Robertson+Whatever it takes to the Los Angeles Dodgers for SS Gavin Lux.

The Dodgers clearly need late inning help (Joe Blanton didn’t work out so well) and the Sox made it clear the way twhey feel about Lux in the 2016 draft. I’m willing to toss in Putnam or Jennings if that helps, or even help pay D-Rob’s salary. The 2016 draft is our one success in a while, and if Lux was our guy at 26 I want him in the system. I think the Dodgers could be convinced because he is years away and that Seager guy promises to be the SS for a long long time. Like I said, I will do what it takes to make this deal work if D-Rob alone isn’t enough, and that means Jerry might have to eat his contract. We need to get Lux.

Summary

First I should address why I am holding on to Jose Abreu, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton. Abreu’s value is probably at its lowest right now and I would rather see if he can put up a big first half and be dealt at the deadline. If not, he is still a surplus value at $11 million more than likely so having him on the team isn’t the worst thing in the world. Simply put I’m not trading him at his valley. I chose to hold on to Jose Quintana because the whole point of re-builds is to get guys like him. He is signed through 2021 so hopefully we are good again while he is still good and it’s not like we can’t trade him at the deadline or next off-season. I know many people would argue trading one of Sale/Quintana but not the other defeats the purpose but I chose to keep Jose. If nothing else, I also find it much more likely Jose would agree to a long term extension than Sale. For now Jose stays in Chicago. And on the same note, I keep Adam Eaton as well. He will probably regress a bit in 2017, I mean he was a 6 win player in 2016 that’s pretty damn good. Still, he is a massive surplus value and signed long term so I don’t see why we need to trade him when he is the exact player we would target in returns. Him and JBJ combine for an incredible outfield defense. At the end of the day we need to move some guys, so Sale, Todd, Nate, Lawrie and D-Rob go, but the idea we need to completely tear down our roster I can’t get behind. We will just be robbing Peter to pay Paul. Quintana and Eaton are the guys you rebuild for, we have them now, lets see if we can keep them. I can easily trade them at the deadline or next off-season if my re-build is going to take longer than I dream.

2017 Lineup (*NSFW*)

  • Tim Anderson, SS
  • Adam Eaton, RF
  • Jose Abreu, 1B
  • Jackie Bradley Jr, CF
  • Colby Rasmus, LF
  • Mitch Moreland, DH
  • Blake Swihart, C
  • Tyler Saladino, 3B
  • Carlos Sanchez, 2B

Bench:

Kevin Plawecki, C

Tom Murphy, C

Charlie Tilson, OF

Matt Davidson, 3B

That Lineup is awful

Pitchers

  • Jose Quintana
  • Carlos Rodon
  • Miguel Gonzalez
  • Brett Anderson
  • Andrew Cashner

RP- James Shields/Tommy Milone

RP- Zach Putnam

RP- Jake Petricka

RP- Brett Cecil

RP- Dan Jennings

RP- Tommy Kahnle

RP- Zach Burdi (CP). [We drafted him to close games, so let’s see what he is made of].

We keep the #12 pick in 2017, all our current minor leaguers and add Kopech (Top 100), Ball, Travis, Tapia (Top 100) and Lux (2016 1st Round Pick) . We pick in the top 10 again in 2018 for sure, and probably finish like 70-92 or something. Overall, this rebuild brings us a long term CF, a long term LF (Tapia or Swihart should work), a decent chance at finding a C who sticks as a long term starter, and high-ceiling interesting young talent in Kopech and Lux, along with some possible MLB players in Ball and Travis. Moreover, we keep plenty of parts that we can trade at the deadline to even further the rebuild, depending on how things are looking (Rodon’s progress, Abreu’s recovery, emergence of a Catcher). With the right moves (and I don’t trust Kenny Williams to make them), this team can sit out 2017 and 2018 and then add payroll and be right back in the hunt in 2019.

2019 Loose Projected Team

C- Tom Murphy or Zach Collins or Blake Swihart or Kevin Plawecki

1B- Jose Abreu hopefully has been traded by now, so Zach Collins or Sam Travis.

2B- Gavin Lux, Tyler Saladino

SS- Tim Anderson, Tyler Saladino

3B- Free Agent Signing

LF- Ramiel Tapia

CF- JBJ

RF- Adam Eaton

DH- Zach Collins, Swihart, Travis, or a FA.

  1. Jose Quintana
  2. Carlos Rodon
  3. Michael Kopech
  4. Carson Fulmer
  5. Spencer Adams/Alec Hansen/Trey Ball

RP’s- Zach Burdi

That team has almost no payroll, basically Eaton and Q’s cheap deals and then Tim, Rodon and JBJ’s Arbitration and or Extensions. This means theoretically there is plenty of room in the payroll to get a big bat at 3B or DH or 1B to supplement that lineup.

Add in 2017 #12 pick, and top 10 2018 pick and the likely MLB-caliber return from a Jose Abreu trade after he hopefully recovers his old groove. Also the chance of Anderson, Cashner, Moreland, Rasmus or some of the relievers becoming actual trade bait for 2017.

Guys like Tilson, Engel, Michalczewski, Fisher, Guerrero, Stephens, May, Danish, Call and Curbelo all remain so gotta imagine a couple of them become major leaguers, just depth guys but better than the J.B Shucks and Matt Albers’ that have plagued us for years.

Plus I give the current draft team some juicy picks in the 2017 and 2018 draft, and unlike Kenny Williams I actually trust them to show me some R.O.I which is nice.