All eyes were on 2020 for the Chicago White Sox to start contending. The shortened season helped contribute to them being one of the more promising franchises early on. They even made their first postseason appearance since 2008.
Unfortunately, they hit some bumps along the way, especially once September hit, and they continued to show in their playoff series against the Oakland Athletics. After the conclusion of their season and just under two weeks from the start of their offseason, they began their offseason process in earnest by parting ways with manager Ricky Renteria.
Renteria was a likable manager that was a perfect “A to B” guy. But during his time on the Southside, he was never going to be the “B to C” guy and bring them the “C” — which is to lead them to a championship. The managerial hire is priority number one, followed by assembling the coaching staff and, finally, addressing the roster for 2021. The White Sox will likely look to add a starting pitcher, a right fielder, and a left-handed hitter.
Let’s get down to business. Here’s my 2020-21 Offseason Plan.
- Nomar Mazara (OF) – $5.6MM: Non-tender
- Carlos Rodón (LHP) – $4.45MM: Non-tender
- Lucas Giolito (RHP) – $2.5MM: Tender
- Reynaldo López (RHP) – $1.7MM: Tender
- Evan Marshall (RHP) – $1.3MM: Tender
- Adam Engel (OF) – $1.0MM: Tender
- Jace Fry (LHP) – $1.0MM: Tender
- Yolmer Sánchez (INF) – Uncertain: Tender
- Edwin Encarnación (DH) – $12M: (Decline) Encarnación was not the worst thing the White Sox have ever done, but if they pick-up his option this deal might enter that territory. This season he played almost 75 percent of games, hitting a career-worst .157 batting average and .627 OPS. He did have 10 home runs, but that is hardly enough reason to keep him for another season.
- Gio González (LHP) – $7M ($500K buyout): (Decline) González finally made his White Sox debut after being drafted by the team 16 years ago. He was not terrible overall but did not show enough to bring him back for another season.
- Leury García (UTIL) – $3.5M ($250K buyout): (Pick up) Before his thumb injury, García proved to be a solid utility player that can play both infield and outfield. He was not supposed to return this season but ended up playing in two playoffs games. After almost a month and a half away from the game, he went 0-for-6 in the postseason but that should not prevent them from bringing him back for 2021.
Impending Free Agents
- Alex Colomé (RHP) – (Made $10,532,500 in 2020): (Walk) Colomé was electric in his role in the White Sox bullpen over his two seasons as a Southsider. He had a 2.27 ERA (21 ER/83.1 IP) over 83 games and notched 42 save in 46 save opportunities. He will ultimately be allowed to walk and sign elsewhere as the price is a bit high when considering the young arms in the ‘pen that shined this past season.
- James McCann (C) – (Made $5.4M in 2020): (Walk) McCann and Colomé are in the same boat. Both spent two years with the White Sox and did more than enough to sign significant deals elsewhere. McCann revitalized his career with two productive seasons of offensive and catching contributions. He even earned himself an All-Star Game appearance along the way.
McCann was essential in the growth of Lucas Giolito but with the long-term deal of Yasmani Grandal, his fit and overall cost will have him finding a job elsewhere this offseason.
- Jarrod Dyson (OF) – (Made $2M in 2020): (Walk) Dyson’s tenure in Chicago will be short-lived. The 36-year-old played in 11 games and scored three runs, notched three hits, and stole two bases over that span.
These departures from the White Sox should open up some cap space.
- Manager: A.J. Hinch
- Bench Coach: Joe McEwing
- Pitching Coach: Matt Zaleski
- Hitting Coach: Frank Menechino
Arguably the biggest question of the offseason is who will be the next manager of the Chicago White Sox. Rick Hahn and the organization listed a few recommendations for the new manager. Those included recent postseason experience, analytics driven, and not to be Ozzie Guillen.
The postseason is now over and A.J. Hinch’s phone should be ringing nonstop. He does carry a bit of baggage being that he was caught up in the trash banging saga, but the consensus is that he’s worth overlooking it.
Keep Joe McEwing in place for now. As Patrick Flowers mentioned, if someone like Omar Lopez is available grab him. His experience in baseball both in the MLB and foreign league is a huge asset to hold. His voice could lend to be super helpful in connecting to the young Spanish-speaking players the White Sox have on their roster.
Sam Fuld is another solid option as he has already been a candidate for several managing positions over the last three years. If he does not land one of the current openings, his focus on analytics and the analysis of them could prove to be vital for the success of this franchise.
The White Sox have often promoted from within or had some ties to the organization for a role (at least from my knowledge). For the first time in 18 years, they will need a new pitching coach and they should look no further than Matt Zaleski. Zaleski has been a White Sox minor league coach since 2015 and was most recently the Charlotte Knight’s pitching coach. He is another guy that seems to understand what the benefits of analytics are and how they must be used. Chicago has several pitchers looking to make another jump in their development.
Frank Menechino spent 2019 with the Charlotte Knights and was promoted to be the White Sox hitting coach in 2020. There were very few teams that hit as well as they did this season so Menechino deserves to spend some more time in Chicago.
This could always be just a dream as I am currently writing this, it looks as if 76-year-old Tony La Russa may be back in a White Sox uniform.
Free Agency Acquisitions
- Marcus Stroman (RHP) – 5 years, $85 million: Stroman is approaching 30 and does have an injury history, but that should not prevent the White Sox from signing him this offseason. He opted out of the 2020 season, which should have allowed him to rehab and get ready for the next season.
The White sox are not known for spending large amounts on several players in the same year so they need to spend the most on priority number one. That is signing another starting pitcher. Stroman has a career 3.76 ERA and is someone who competes to win every fifth day. His persona and love for baseball will fit perfectly with the likes of Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert.
Trevor Bauer would be a great addition as well but the White Sox will fall short. I don’t see Stroman getting the same amount of money as Bauer but he should see a decent increase in his yearly salary. Soon-to-be 32-year-old James Paxton could be worth checking in on with a 1-year prove-it deal after a rocky 2020.
- Tyler Flowers (C) – 1 year, $4 million (2020 club option for $4.5 million): McCann will be hard to replace but with Yasmani taking on a larger role in 2021, they will seek a true backup catcher. Flowers now has a little postseason experience and already is familiar with Guaranteed Rate Field. For a few dollars more, Austin Romine is someone worthy of checking out.
- Sean Doolittle (LHP)- 1 year, $5 million- Doolittle has declined over the last two seasons but at 34 years of age, he’s worth the gamble. He has a 3.07 ERA and owns a 0.968 WHIP over 401 career games.
- Right fielder– The White Sox will look to find something through free agency to fill this spot but will settle on rolling the dice on Adam Engel for another season.
I do not have any trades constructed in my offseason plan. The White Sox should try to spend and find players to fill their roster this way instead of losing some in the process. If they do decide to go the trade route, I like Patrick Flowers’ trade proposal in his offseason plan.
If everything goes as plan, the White Sox will be one of the more aggressive teams this winter. I expect one big splash with a few minor signings to keep some cash in the man in charge’s pockets.
Based on how things went this past season, Sanchez and Danny Mendick could be competing for that spot.
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