After a dismal season, the White Sox enter the winter with weaknesses throughout the roster. First-year general manager Chris Getz is tasked with turning things around. He may have to do so with a tighter budget than was afforded to the front office last offseason.
According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the ChiSox opened 2023 with roughly $181MM on the books. That’s around $12MM shy of their ’22 figure, the highest in franchise history. Dan Hayes of the Athletic reports that the Sox are unlikely to match the franchise-record mark and suggests they could scale back relative to their ’23 spending level as well.
While that’ll be disheartening news for the fanbase, it’s worth noting that could still leave Getz and his front office with a decent amount of leeway. Chicago has around $84.5MM in guaranteed commitments for 2024. The arbitration class is projected for around $17MM. There’s a significant gap between the roughly $101MM they have committed for next season and the $180-190MM range. Even if ownership is unwilling to push back to those levels, there could be room for Getz to make multiple free agent acquisitions.
How advisable attacking the middle tiers of free agency would be for the organization is another matter. Getz flatly acknowledged the roster is “not a well-rounded club” at this week’s GM Meetings. Dylan Cease is the team’s lone above-average starting pitcher. Michael Kopech is the only other in-house option who seems likely to occupy a spot in the Opening Day rotation. Chicago offloaded a few veteran relievers at the trade deadline. While a sensible course of action, they’re left without much beyond Gregory Santos, Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet.
The position player group is similarly top-heavy. Luis Robert Jr. is a star center fielder. Andrew Benintendi is locked into left field for the second season of a five-year contract. Andrew Vaughn figures to get another crack at first base. Eloy Jiménez and Yoán Moncada have had productive seasons in the past but are coming off disappointing campaigns. Chicago could use multiple middle infielders after buying out Tim Anderson. Rookie right fielder Oscar Colás struggled in his first big league action. Korey Lee isn’t likely to provide much offensively if the Sox give him an opportunity at catcher.
Addressing that all in one offseason would be difficult regardless of the budget. It doesn’t appear as if the club will orchestrate a complete teardown and rebuild, although Getz has pushed back against categorizing anyone as truly untouchable. The first order of business was reshuffling the coaching staff under second-year manager Pedro Grifol. With that complete, the front office takes on the much more challenging task of reshaping a very flawed roster.