VAfan Posted September 18, 2022 Share Posted September 18, 2022 (edited) Regardless of how the end of this season goes -- fangraphs still gives us a 15% chance of making the playoffs -- many of us have started thinking about next year. I know it's a bit premature, but it's on my mind, so here goes. The White Sox cannot be fixed by next year. Let's look at the challenge player by player. I'll start by going around the diamond. This is written after 146 games. 1. Yasmani Grandal. C, 1B, DH. 2022. 88 games, only 55 as a starting catcher. 67 OPS+, -1 WAR. Only a .505 OPS as a lefty, .818 as a righty. 2021. 90 games, 78 as a catcher. 155 OPS+. 3.7 WAR. .909 OPS as a lefty, 1.031 OPS as a righty. Contract -- 1 year left at $18,250,000. Evaluation: Grandal went from being the best hitter on the team to nearly the worst. But he was still injured for a significant stretch of the season and caught fewer than half of the games. His contract makes him untradeable, but he's also completely unreliable. Plus, he hits worse as a lefty when the Sox are desperate for lefties. 2. Yoan Moncada. 3B. 2022. 90 games. 78 OPS+. .569 OPS as a lefty. .856 OPS as a righty. 2021. 144 games. 116 OPS+. .817 OPS as lefty. .700 OPS as a righty. Contract -- 2 more years at $17.8M, $24.8M. Club option in 3rd year for $25M. Evaluation -- his OPS+ has been under 100 in 2 of the last 3 years. He seems to be hurt a lot, and he has been atrocious this year against right handed pitching. Like with Grandal, when the Sox are desperate for lefty power, Moncada comes up short. Can you trade him? Off this year, no. Off last year, probably. But the Sox paid for 2019 breakout year and he hasn't come close since. Like Grandal, he's not a reliable player. 3. Tim Anderson. SS. 2022. 79 games. 108 OPS+. All-Star. 2021. 123 games. 118 OPS+ Contract -- Club options for $12.5M next year and and $14M in 2 years. Evaluation -- One of the main leaders of the team, he's never healthy for a full season. Since 2019 he's played in 123, 49 (of 60), 123, and 79 games. He made the All-Star team this year, but it was his worst OPS+ since 2018. He has great speed, but with regular leg injuries, you can't afford to run him. Given his shaky health, it's hard to see the Sox giving him a big contract after his next 2 seasons run their course. And you need a backup SS to cover at least 40 games. 4. Second base. The Sox have trotted out a lot of 2B over the last 2 years. 2022. Harrison 81 games, Garcia 46 games, Gonzalez 18 games, Mendick 6 games. 2021. Hernandez 53 games, Madrigal 53 games, Garcia 36 games, Mendick 28 games. Hernandez and Madrigal are gone, Sox have a $5.5M option on Harrison next year, is a free agent, Garcia has 2 more years at $5.5M each, Mendick has 4 years of arbitration, and Gonzalez is under 5 more years of control. Evaluation -- Garcia has an albatross of a contract. Sox cannot trade him, so they need to eat $11M to be rid of him and his 42 OPS+. Harrison, Gonzalez and Mendick could cover 2B, but they are all right handed and don't begin to address the lefty power shortage the Sox have. Kolten Wong looks like the best lefty free agent 2B, but he's 32 and declining. Adam Frazier has been subpar for San Diego and Seattle and is not an answer. 5. Jose Abreu. 1B. 2022. 144 games. 137 OPS+ 2021. 152 games. 124 OPS+ Contract. Was just under $20M, but he's a free agent next year at 36. Evaluation -- The ONLY Sox player who comes to work every day. He's the oldest regular, but has played 20 more games than AJ Pollock, 23 more than Andrew Vaughn, 48 more than Luis Robert, 54 more than Moncada, 65 more than Tim Anderson, and 73 more then Eloy Jimenez. This is the biggest problem with the White Sox -- they have only ONE position player who they can count on to play every day, and he's the oldest regular on the team and is a free agent. I'm going to end my analysis right here because Abreu tells the whole story. 1. Most Sox regulars cannot be relied on to stay A) healthy, and B) hit according to their expected hitting norms. 2. The Sox are built around Grandal, Moncada, Anderson, Robert, Jimenez, Abreu, and Vaughn. The best and most reliable of those players is a 1B/DH and a free agent. The first 5 guys are regularly injured and otherwise unable to match their hitting norms. If you bring back Abreu, you are still left with Jimenez, Vaughn, and Sheets, who should all be DH or 1B guys, but 2 of them have to play the field and weaken the defense. Plus, only one of them is a lefty. 3. It's not just the offense. On the pitching side, Lucas Giolito has regressed to being a sub-par starter. Johnny Cueto had a great bounce back year, but is a free agent, and can he be counted on next year? Dylan Cease is the ACE. Lance Lynn seems to be back to normal, but is older and has health issues. And Kopech seems okay, but his record was terrible and he's not fully stretched out or reliable to pitch an entire season. So that's 2 sold starters and a lot of question marks. 4. The bullpen looks like the best part of the team, especially if Crochet returns to form. Hendrix and Graveman are solid, Lopez has found his groove, Lambert has done quite well. Add back Crochet as a lefty and this is a strength. The bottom line is that the Sox can't really trade anyone for some reliable lefty starters who play good defense. They have Oscar Colas in the minors, but he's not ready for MLB. They could try some patchwork things, but it's not going to make Grandal, Moncada, Anderson, Robert and Jimenez into reliable everyday players. Of those 5, only Robert and Moncada play good defense. So, of course the Sox can let go of TLR (he should retire) and fire the hitting coach, but even if they had money they can't reliably win with this core. It's pretty sad as a Sox fan. But I think that's reality. Edited September 18, 2022 by VAfan 5 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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