This was an item of discussion both on the podcast and on Twitter when it first posted, but MLB Trade Rumors laid out their projections for the White Sox arbitration-eligibles and…
Let ‘em all go, I say. The lot of them. Bums. http://t.co/SEWQBlmREi
— Rick (@ChardSwissnym) October 14, 2013
Hyperbole from our friend Rick, perhaps. But how much would the Sox miss any of these players? There’s a considerably lower standard for tendering a player a contract and carving his name into the 2014 lineup card, but just for the sake of exercise:
Alejandro De Aza – Roughly league-average offense from a speedy centerfielder is an asset. League-average offense from someone whose speed doesn’t translate into competent baserunning nor fielding, and prefers to play left field, is pretty unremarkable and replaceable. It’s upsetting to think that there are some who confuse De Aza hitting more home runs and having higher raw run totals (when he played 22 more games) with him having a better season than 2012.
Gordon Beckham – 2013 was his best offensive season since 2009, but was far closer to the weaker entries of his oeuvre. He’s certainly playable thanks to his defense, but there’s obviously room for improvement, and what would be wasted if Beckham was the one who had to move on to create a spot for Marcus Semien? It should probably be Alexei instead, but there’s no future All-Star getting spurned here.
Dayan Viciedo - A bat-only player who hasn’t hit for any sustained stretch of time and regularly looks a mess approach-wise. He can only be hidden at first or in an outfield corner, and first basemen and corner outfielders are the only thing that can be reliably found on the free agent market. He would not be immediately missed.
Tyler Flowers - His biggest sample of work is best classified as “terrible.”
David Purcey – A journeyman left-handed reliever. He has purpose, but there are other journeyman lefties who are….mid-journey.
Despite the shared replaceability of everyone involved, Flowers seems he has far and away the best shot of getting non-tendered. Not only was he brutal in 2013, but so was his replacement, leaving the Sox needing to find a starter to maintain any hope of a respectable output from their catcher. New blood would force a decision between Flowers and Josh Phegley as a backup, and Phegley has at least displayed Ramon Castro-like platoon splits.
Purcey has no great hold on the Sox either, being a LOOGY with forgettable peripherals. Three spots on the 40-man being cleared by Ramon Troncoso, Brian Omogrosso and Bryan Anderson takes him out of a more immediate danger, and there are plenty of other candidates to be outrighted, but Purcery could still just be non-tendered because the Sox don’t have to pay him $600K to keep him around. The likelihood that he can be had for a minor league deal is high, and if not, so what?
Neither Beckham nor De Aza project to be remarkable, and maybe keeping them around clutters the roster and blocks upgrades, but that would be cleared through trades, not non-tenders. $3MM-$4MM may not sound like the cheapest amount for blah production, but it keeps both of them movable.
Giving up on Dayan Viciedo seems like an unlikely step for the Sox to take after a quietly decent second half (.291/.327/.466) and with the opportunity to have him with new hitting instruction on its way. Keeping Viciedo around excuses them from having to fill a spot with a free agent upgrade. There’s plenty of gasoline available, but it’s not clear the Sox really want to burn it all down or pay to build it all back up in a hurry.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan