Not to indicate a diminished level of excitement for this year’s team–how can we ever write off the chances of a team with superior health maintenance and a perennially top 10 payroll competing for the No. 5 slot in the AL?–but Chris Sale being locked into a potentially $60 million bear hug for potentially the rest of the decade led to thinking on the 2015 team.
Why 2015? Well, to reduce to one player, it’s when Adam Dunn‘s contract–that the White Sox simply have no chance at getting full return on–goes off the books. It’s also when Jake Peavy and Alex Rios reach the option stages of their contracts, and the White Sox have to come to some decisions about their future.
I didn’t include all of the pre-arbitration guys, because this list is long enough, and these guys are not relevant beyond “hey, Quintana can hold down a rotation spot and still make the league minimum in 2015.”
But as you can see here, the White Sox have $34.75 million committed to four players in 2015. Peavy can force his own way on by meeting innings cutoffs and exercising his option. That has everything to do with where Peavy is at professionally after these next two years, but the Rios decision is more of a statement on both Rios holding up, and whether multiple starters have emerged from this current prospect glut of Jared Mitchell, Trayce Thompson and maybe even Courtney Hawkins by this time.
De Aza might be getting pricier in arbitration, but probably not as much as Beckham, who seems hard-pressed to provide the value necessary to avoid getting non-tendered by that point given that Keppinger and Carlos Sanchez could be sapping away his plate appearances. Considering ‘what will Angel Sanchez and Brent Morel fetch in their second year of arbitration?’ is waste of time, too.
- A starting rotation of Sale, Old Peavy (at this point), Danks, Santiago and Quintana–something that was considered multiple times just this off-season, is already under payroll potentially at under $40 million, which is not accounting for Scott Snodgress or Erik Johnson or Simon Castro or anyone at all rendering one of the first five names irrelevant.
- Thinking about that group of relievers–Nate Jones, Donnie Veal and Addison Reed–all hitting arbitration for the first time is a trap, since the likelihood of all three retaining their current standing on the team is slim. Donnie Veal is 28, has 29.1 major league innings to his name, and only 13 of them were any good. And he was the most dominant out of the three.
- There’s not much offense here. Paul Konerko is likely gone, Dunn is not here, Rios is an option. Dayan Viciedo could become a focal point the offense, or more offense could develop from the farm system, but the main thing you’re supposed to look at here and walk away with is: The 2015 White Sox–Got some pitching in place, got some money to spend still, need to figure out their offense.
In a way, the 2015 Sox will have a lot in common with this year’s club, which makes sense, because these teams get built the same way most times.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan