The Chicago White Sox spent less than $75 million on payroll this season and with one of the best free agent classes in recent time coming upon us, the team needs to drop the billzzz.
Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the big kahunas of the offseason and it would be a dream come true to land one of these beasts. Early estimates are that both players will command somewhere near $250 million if not more and I expect most teams to be chomping at the bit to make offers. This offseason will be a full on reality show similar to what we usually get out of the NBA. I don’t think Bryce Harper knows that Chicago has two teams and even though I think he’s one of the best when he’s at his best, he is too unpredictable to lock up for that long at that price.
That brings me to Machado. Manuel Arturo Machado needs to be the starting shortstop for the Chicago White Sox next year. I would prefer if he went back to third base, but he is good enough to make his own decisions in that regard. An infield of Abreu, Anderson at 2nd, Machado at short, & Moncada at 3rd would easy catapult us into one of the best teams from a defensive standpoint. On the offensive side, Machado brings both the power and average that this team so desperately needs. We have one player with a WAR above 2 and
Machado’s was almost 6 in 2018. I’m also a big Nolan Arenado fan and know he’ll be available after 2019, so not all will be lost if Hahn misses out this, but we need to start being aggressive this offseason. I predicted an 82-80 record for the 2019 White Sox when 2018 ended and the only way we get there and get into position for WhiteSox2020 is to add some star power. Machado’s reputation took a hit during the Dodger’s World Series run with questionable ‘hustle’ comments and more than one dirty play. I understand why the MLB didn’t suspend him during the playoffs, but they definitely should’ve applied something for the beginning of next season or at the very least significantly increased the fines.
That being said, he is still an animal and worth whatever distractions come along. I think his hustle comments were a bit out of context as well, because outside of the single that he pimped in Game 3, he showed great effort. I consistently saw Manny running out ground balls and throwing himself all over the diamond on the defensive end. He might be a dick, but he’s not a killer and I think that’s really all we can ask for from our athletes these days. Honestly, if you’re good enough, you might even get a one murder pass.
We are going to need some additional pieces beyond Machado or Harper and even more so if we aren’t able to land either of them. I think there are some solid veterans on the market to consider who would dramatically improve our team. We are going to continue to have an influx of minor league talent brought up during the 2019 season, so we need that ever important “veteran presence”. There are three free agents that I believe fit this build and I would be ok with offering any of them a multi-year deal.
– LeMahieu has spent the past 7.5 seasons playing infield for the Colorado Rockies after starting his career with a brief stint on the north side of Chicago. The 29 year old is a career .298 hitter who brings great consistency to a lineup that direly needs it. He is the ultimate utility for your lineup and can contribute from the top, middle, and bottom of the lineup.
– The former National League MVP and 5 time All Star has seen better days, but can still be an extremely valuable asset to a team trying to build a winning culture and contend. He still has some pop and should give you 25 home runs and 75 RBIs along with a .275 average. These numbers are what we should expect from current outfielder Avisail Garcia, but this gives us an upgrade on the defensive side and potentially allows us to trade Garcia for some prospects.
– The oldest of the 3 listed here, Murphy brings extended postseason success to the table. He can play multiple positions and makes contact with the best of them. Daniel My Brother may not have any more years of batting .340 in the cards, but if he can hit to his career numbers he would instantly become an upgrade and worth the cash.
Some questions have started to be answered in terms of the current White Sox roster, but there a still plenty of unknowns as we embark into the MLB offseason. The South Siders decided to decline James Shields’ option for 2019 instead paying him $2 million to get out of town.
They then chose to pick up Nate Jones’ option for $4.65 million. Jones is currently the longest tenured Sox player and has been with the organization since they drafted him in 2007. I personally really like Nate Jones and have always thought he would be an important piece to a playoff bullpen. His injuries have derailed him year in and year out, but at under $5 million for the year, I don’t think this is a bad move. Our bullpen is full of a bunch of no names and mailmen, so it’ll be nice to have a recognizable face out there in 2019.
The other question that is sure to come up over the next few months is what to do with Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia. We had the same discussion last season after Garcia’s monster year and it never ends with Abreu as he is our most valuable asset. I was calling for a Garcia trade last year because I knew he would not be able to have a repeat performance. I imagine we could have pulled in a team’s top 10 prospect given the All Star year, physical build, and age of Avisail. He still was a beast for small stretches of 2018, but was largely ineffective, so we should take what we can get at this point which is more in the ballpark of a top 20 prospect.
When it comes to Jose, I will always be TEAM NO TRADE. We need Abreu like a diabetic needs an insulin shot. The White Sox will at least attempt to compete in 2019 and we cannot do that without our trusty first baseman hitting .300, 30 home runs, and 100 RBIs. His current contract runs through next year, so we 100% need to let him play that out and then resign. In fact, I wouldn’t mind a Jose Abreu extension this offseason. In Hahn We Trust!