Well, the GM meetings are over, Christmas has past, and as we look to 2018 and beyond, I would like to instead look at the next few weeks of Hot Stove movement. I think we have a very unique situation here, because there are a few things going on: teams saving up for the 2019 free agent class, teams picking the bones of the Miami Marlins, teams that put everything into the Otani basket and ended up with shit, and on that note the Angels buying up all they can. But this has left us with way more free agents than we thought we’d have heading into January. So let me throw out a few options for White Sox Hot Stove action.
The Royal Flush
With a depressed market, the White Sox take advantage and dish out a bunch of contracts to members of the 2014 Royals and completely fill out the roster. This is the 5 guys they pick up to do this: Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, and Jason Vargas. Yeah, there are some big contracts here, but the Sox are currently around 60 million for their 2018 payroll, so you could theoretically spend a shit load of money and still be around the 150 mark. You could actually front load these contracts and give yourself some breathing room in the later years. Now, I know that some guys you really want to see will have to stay in the minors or will be relegated to the bench, but that absolutely has to happen at some point. And more importantly, you have to have depth at every position so when guys get hurt, there is someone to take their place. This won’t completely solve our pitching issues, but I’d like to see a lineup something like this:
RF A. Garcia
The Reclamation Plan
So yeah, the Sox probably aren’t gonna go out and grab a bunch of great free agents and contend in 2018. But maybe they’ll grab a Major League-esque handful of has-beens and never-will-bes. So let’s take a look at what’s out there. First up, Tim Lincecum. If there ever was a guy you’d like to see Coop turn around, it’d be this guy as his potential seemed limitless when he came up. He’s had some injuries, is basically out of the league, but as you’ve probably seen, he’s working out like he’s gonna be GloboGym’s starting pitcher and he’ll have some showcases soon. I’d like to see that. On a similar potential level, Neftali Feliz was supposed to be an amazing closer, but it never happened. Is there anything there? Let’s find out. On the offensive side, I’m looking at Lucas Duda. This is a power left handed bat, but he’s had trouble staying healthy and even just hitting the ball the past few years. However, in a RHP heavy division, this could be a nice option at 1B/DH that will be super cheap and easy to flip if he stays healthy and hits (which may be a lot to ask). Last is a guy that I would just love to see end his career as a Sox: Curtis Granderson. I might actually try to catch a HR ball if he put one out into the 108. I’m not sure he even wants to play this year, but I’d love to see it even though he’d steal some at bats from the young guys.
The Mexican Connection
In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a ton of Mexicans in Chicago. Hell, there are a lot of Mexicans in the 108. So these players are completely geared towards this group. Let’s pick these guys up and sell some Modelos! First up, Adrian Gonzalez. He’s the best Mexican MLB player since Fernando Valenzuela. Now I know his back is all jacked up and he might not be able to play much, but come on, he’s a Mexican legend. To round out the pitching staff, pick 2 of these three guys: Jaime Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Matt Garza. And last, sign Danny Espinosa‘s mustache. Now we’re ready for the simulcast on Telemundo.
None of this will happen, but I want to point out a couple of things:
- The Sox will eventually have to go out and get guys and they will put guys on the bench or in the minors that you may like, but depth is an incredibly good thing. Players get hurt and the Sox shouldn’t be in the position they were a few years ago where Austin Jackson got hurt and they had no idea what to do.
- The current market is moving slow and if the Sox can pick up a big free agent for less $ than their true value, they should do it. The Sox are almost certainly not going to shell out the bucks to get Machado or Harper next year, so they should take advantage of the fact that other teams are saving for that. Much like they used their position of being out on Otani to get some players for international bonus poll cash they couldn’t even use.