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Jimmy Lambert Jersey White Sox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rick Hahn will, along with the rest of baseball’s team-runners, make the trip to the desert this week for the general managers meetings.

Hahn will speak to reporters for the first time since his end-of-season press conference in September. And while not too much has happened in terms of player movement in the perennially slow-to-get-going baseball offseason, his comments could shine some new light on what the White Sox are hoping to accomplish this winter.

We know Hahn’s front office will look to plug holes in right field, at designated hitter and in the starting rotation. But there’s a lot about the specifics that we don’t know. Hahn’s not the type to come out say exactly which free agents the White Sox will attempt to sign, so don’t expect that. But his answers to questions this week could provide some clues about what kinds of players the team will look to add to the mix.

Here are five things we could learn about the White Sox offseason.

1. Are the White Sox still focused solely on long-term additions? And will that prevent them from signing potentially helpful short-term pieces?

Hahn has long preached a long-term vision during this rebuilding project, and rightfully so. It’s that valuing the long term over the short term that has created the White Sox exciting young core and put them in position to potentially vault into contention mode in the near future. But that dedication to the long term has disappointed certain fans who have craved additions that would make the team more competitive in the immediate.

The idea that the White Sox will continue to try to enhance their success over a long period of time isn’t going anywhere, but Hahn said the White Sox are moving into the “next phase” of the rebuild. Rick Renteria said that “it’s time to turn the page.” Lucas Giolito said this: “Our goal will 100-percent be making the playoffs and getting as deep as we can. If we don’t, then I don’t think we’ve come close to what we should be doing.”

Does all that declaration mean that those short-term additions are suddenly on the table?

Hahn refuses to set specific expectations for next season until he knows what his roster looks like, a wise stance. But he’s also pledged aggressiveness and that “the money will be spent” on premium free agents. The kind of move he’s envisioned as a goal of his rebuilding project — like the ultimately failed attempt to land Manny Machado last winter — has always seemed an obvious long-term move, one that will fuel the White Sox for years to come. The best players in the game rarely sign short-term contracts, and teams often want to lock those players up with long-term deals that will extend their championship window.

But once that window opens, short-term moves can be mighty beneficial.

Insight into this thinking will apply to how the White Sox go about numerous things this winter. For example, let’s look at that vacant designated hitter spot. J.D. Martinez seemed like the perfect long-term fit, but he opted to stay with the Boston Red Sox. So does Hahn turn to a short-term option like Edwin Encarnacion to plug that hole? Or does that kind of short-term move — one that would benefit a run at a title in 2020 and nothing more — still not make sense for these White Sox?

2. Are the White Sox in a position to consider a trade for only one guaranteed season of one of the best players in baseball?

This kind of goes with the first item, but the Red Sox quest to get under the luxury tax has made them the most notable sellers in the game. Martinez. Mookie Betts. Jackie Bradley Jr. Andrew Benintendi. David Price. Nathan Eovaldi. Those are some pretty gigantic names, and every one of them has been speculated about potentially leaving the Bay State in the name of fiscal responsibility.

The first two names on that list are arguably the best designated hitter and right fielder in the game, respectively, so perhaps the White Sox, given their positional needs, should be interested. But both Martinez and Betts would be acquired with just one guaranteed season of club control, making any deal a risky proposition.

Part of the reason Martinez opted to stick with his current contract is because he can do all this again next offseason, deciding whether he wants to become a free agent or not. So, like 2019 was, maybe 2020 is the final year before he seeks a new multi-year deal. The Red Sox couldn’t get rid of his $23.75 million just by wishing it away, but they might be able to via trade. The White Sox seemed to have a perfect solution to their DH question ready for the inking, but it didn’t happen. Doesn’t mean it still can’t.

Betts, meanwhile, is projected to receive $27.7 million through the arbitration process, perhaps pricing him out of Boston’s already packed payroll. Well, he would look pretty good in right field at The Rate. He’s a year removed from an MVP season, and the White Sox sure could use one of the best hitters in baseball in their lineup. Though he seems to be set on reaching free agency when it rolls around for him next winter.

Neither would be guaranteed to stick around past 2020. So is Hahn ready to ship some of that carefully collected prospect capital away to Boston to make a big splash that might dry up once the 2020 season’s over — with potentially nothing to show for it but a short-term surge in shirsey sales?

It’s all part of the long-term-vs.-short-term game the White Sox have been playing for a while now. Prior to this winter, the answer was always an easy one. But with increased expectations come tougher decisions. The question is do Hahn’s expectations for the 2020 season warrant that big of a gamble?

3. What’s the deal with the starting rotation?

(Note: That is to be read in your best Jerry Seinfeld impression.)

There are a ton of things we could learn this week about the White Sox pursuit of pitching, something Hahn has hinted was coming for some time. While he stocked the farm system with arms that seemed primed to battle each other for spots in the much discussed rotation of the future, things haven’t exactly panned out that way — yet.

Tommy John surgeries for Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert slowed their respective rises. Giolito blossomed into an All Star and an ace, but only after putting up the worst statistics in baseball a year earlier. Dylan Cease’s first taste of the majors didn’t go much better than Giolito’s. Reynaldo Lopez continues to pinball back and forth between top-of-the-rotation promise and a guy Renteria needs to remind that he’s pitching.

All of those pitchers could still reach their high potentials, but the general mystery over what comes next for any of them — not to mention the glaring lack of major league ready starting-pitching depth in 2019 — put starting pitching at the top of Hahn’s offseason to-do list.

But here are some questions:

What kind of starting pitching is Hahn looking for?

There are two huge names at the top of the market, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, who figure to command contracts that last much of the next decade. They’d be rotation-toppers, and if the White Sox are interested, they could install a bona fide, Hall-of-Fame type ace in the No. 1 spot for the foreseeable future, making for a pretty terrifying 1-2 punch when you add in Giolito. But at least one report has indicated they might be more interested in veteran types like Dallas Keuchel and Cole Hamels. That leaps over the idea of them chasing another veteran in Madison Bumgarner. Or are they searching for younger but less top-of-the-rotation arms like Jake Odorizzi and Zack Wheeler?

How many starting pitchers is Hahn looking for?

He slotted Giolito, Cease and Lopez into 2020 rotation spots back in September, leaving two spots unclaimed. But Kopech will start spring training with no restrictions after his Tommy John recovery and figures to be slotted into one of the vacancies. Will he be on an innings limit of some kind? Dunning, Rodon, Lambert, they’ll be back at some point. How much do the White Sox expect to get from those guys? And how much opportunity will Lopez continue to get if his unpredictability stretches into a season with more meaningful games? All that works into how many starting pitchers the White Sox will target this winter.

How will the White Sox address their depth issues without a repeat of the Ervin Santana experiment?

Santana’s addition during spring training seemed like a fine low-risk move — until there was no reward. He made all of three starts and was crushed in every one of them. That was a valiant attempt at providing another big league arm, but it didn’t work and, along with Rodon’s season-ending injury, opened the floodgates for the parade of ineffective fifth starters that lasted until season’s end. There needs to be more depth and more reliable depth, but that’s easier said than done. The White Sox can’t sign six guys to big league contracts, mash them together with their in-house starting staff and then just put the rest in the bullpen. Quality pitchers aren’t going to sign up for a job they might not have. Now, as Santana’s signing last spring showed, there should be options available who will. But will that create the same problem all over again?

With the starting-pitching market seemingly so rich this offseason, there are a lot of directions in which the White Sox could go. But which one will it be? Maybe we’ll find out this week.

4. Will the White Sox deviate from their stated objectives to make a big splash?

Right field. Designated hitter. Starting pitching. You’re probably getting sick of me talking about those three positions at this point. But, as I recently chronicled in great detail, there are some pretty big names on the free-agent market who don’t fall into those three categories. Will the White Sox close the door on those opportunities from the outset, or will they rearrange their priorities to capitalize on such an opportunity?

Hahn showed just last offseason he’s willing to chase a player who plays a position the team has filled in the name of adding that “finishing piece” to his rebuilding puzzle. The pursuit of Machado irked incumbent shortstop Tim Anderson, and perhaps it’s Yoan Moncada who gets bugged by the White Sox chasing Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson, or James McCann getting miffed the South Siders are going after Yasmani Grandal.

Hahn essentially answered this question already, asked in September if position would be a deal-breaker.

“The talent pool is a little different free agent-wise this offseason, but I’m not going to say we won’t be creative in a couple elements, whether it’s via trade or free agency,” Hahn said. “Our roster does have a little bit of flexibility in it, and we hope in the coming years to have more flexibility built in in terms of different positions that guys can go out and play.”

But maybe there’s more to learn. Moncada has supposedly told Renteria he can play the outfield. Does that make a pursuit of a free-agent third baseman more likely? What about at catcher? How do the White Sox view their long-term future there, considering McCann’s All-Star first half yielded to a far less appealing second half and Zack Collins is very much still an unknown after only a couple months of big league action in 2019?

5. What is the latest with Jose Abreu?

Seemingly the most predictable part of the White Sox offseason was the assumed re-signing of Abreu, who spent the entirety of the 2019 campaign giddily describing how badly he wanted to remain on the South Side and join the youngsters in their planned ascent to contender status.

Well, a multi-year deal keeping Abreu in what Jerry Reinsdorf supposedly told the first baseman is the only uniform he’ll ever wear still seems the obvious outcome. But this situation is not without its interesting wrinkles, particularly after the team extended Abreu a qualifying offer last week. It still strikes as the White Sox simply covering their bases and lining themselves up to receive a draft pick in the unlikely event Abreu winds up somewhere else. But now there’s talk of a potentially weak market for Abreu and with it, some incentive to take the one-year contract worth $17.8 million.

It’s extremely rare that a player accepts a qualifying offer, though there’s speculation Abreu might. We’ll find out his decision this week, as his 10-day window to accept or reject started last Monday.

Again, the most likely result remains him inking a new multi-year contract to stay on the South Side. But, as Hahn pointed at as a possibility back in September, Abreu actually made it to free agency and remains not a White Sock at the moment. Will that soon change? Maybe the general manager has some updates.

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Michael Jordan Jersey White Sox

If you could have a beer with any former or current member of each Chicago sports team, who would you choose? This question has been burning in my mind for a while now, so I figured it was time to present my top candidates and the reasoning behind each in article form. Without further ado, here goes.

First of all, I need to give an honorable mention to Chicago legends Frank Thomas and Walter Payton. However, I could never pass on an opportunity to have a drink with Michael Jordan. Could you imagine talking with the GOAT about anything you want? I would bring up the three-peats, how he overcame those aliens in Space Jam, and if he was tested for PEDs after drinking Michael’s secret stuff, because we all know it wasn’t water. In all seriousness, to be able to talk to a guy who is a popular favorite for being the greatest player to ever pick up a basketball, how did he overcome the denial from being cut from his high school basketball team? Why North Carolina over Duke? Why did he leave for baseball? Sure, you can find all of these answers online, but nothing would beat hearing the emotion in his voice while we’re smoking cigars and polishing our Concord elevens. It would be an absolute treat and a truly unforgettable experience.

Photo: Andrew Bernstein/Getty Images
I have spent a lot of time dwelling over this next one as both a fan and partier, and I couldn’t think of a better candidate to drink with than Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. Kaner is an animal. The guy loves to party, have fun, and Crack Um. Aside from being a mainstay in an extremely successful dynasty, a multi-trophy winner, and scoring the series-winner in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, he has a wild story. He was born and raised in America, which is awesome, but that already makes for a weird start to the whole being a phenomenal hockey player thing. He has had legality issues on more than one level. The drunken conversations that would happen could absolutely not be scripted. Going shot for shot with Kaner and downing some beers would make for a great time while day drinking.

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
As far as the Chicago White Sox go, I would have a great time cracking open a cold one with Eloy Jimenez. Eloy just seems like such a cool, down-to-earth, good-hearted kind of guy, as exemplified by his goofy antics in the dugout and saying hello to his lovely mother every chance he gets while on television. Chuck Garfien would have to be an obvious plus-one. I’d love to discuss any and all of the prospect awards he has earned and why we are the same age and yet he’s so much richer and more successful than I am.

As a fair-weather NFL fan, it was not the easiest choice picking a Chicago Bears player. But as an avid Sunday Funday participant, I was able to catch almost every Bears game. One name I never failed to hear was Khalil Mack. Yes, I knew of him prior to this, I was not born under a rock. Mack is a freak of nature, no doubt about it. I feel like there’s never too much drama surrounding the guy, which is always a good sign (at least for him). However, I’m in it to talk about the crazy and the fun, not necessarily the workout programs and what kind of protein he uses. I’m here for hearing why he didn’t want to give out Halloween candy to the punks of Chicago. Okay, okay, I’m being sarcastic. In all honesty, learning more about Mack would be incredible. Going from a lesser-known player at the University of Buffalo of all places to one of the most elite NFL players in recent memory has to have a damn good story behind it. The guy is a beast. You want to know what it takes to be great? Talk to Khalil Mack.

chicago bears football GIF by NFL
Max Strus is easily the go-to member of the Chicago Bulls for me. How could I not pick him? He’s a hometown kid. Growing up in the Chicagoland area and attending Stagg High School, I could’ve walked or driven past him a thousand times before. Now that he’s made it to the big boy league after killing it at DePaul, that won’t be too likely anymore. It would be incredible just to be able to talk to him about the process, the hometown friends after fame, and if he’s going to donate an entire gym to Stagg (shoutout Dwayne Wade). To have a beer with him and reminisce about walking around the Chicago Ridge mall or whatever it is would be truly awesome.

Photo: Alexa Sandler/The DePaulia
There are so many Chicago athletes I would love to just have a conversation with, let alone have a drink with, but narrowing it down to one legend and one from each of the four major sports was much more difficult than I had originally thought. Who would be your famous Chicago sports drinking buddy? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter.

Ron Santo Jersey White Sox

CHICAGO — Ron Santo is remembered as a Hall of Fame third baseman who played for 14 years with nine All-Star selections and 337 home runs on the North Side of Chicago with the Cubs.

But the last year of Santo’s career, coming in 1974, saw Santo move across town to the White Sox in a trade that sent Steve Stone and Steve Swisher to the Cubs. Santo went deep for the White Sox five times in a short tenure, and he actually played 11 more games in ’74 at second base than at third, where he played 2,130 of his career 2,201 games.

Here’s a look at 10 more players who produced amazing accomplishments during baseball careers that included brief tenures with the White Sox. Maybe fans remember them — how can a playoff team featuring Ken Griffey Jr. and Jim Thome in the same lineup be forgotten? Some stints are not as memorable.

Steve Carlton, 1986
After being signed as a free agent on Aug. 12 following his release by the Giants, the Hall of Famer made 10 starts for the White Sox and produced a 4-3 record with a 3.69 ERA. The southpaw pitched for the Indians and Twins over the next two seasons before retiring.

Tom Seaver, 1984-86
The right-hander chose to pitch for the White Sox over retiring, according to reports, after they surprisingly claimed the then 39-year-old in January 1984 from the Mets. The Hall of Famer had pitched for the Mets in his first 11 seasons and returned in ’83 after pitching six seasons for the Reds. In ’84, Seaver was added to a White Sox team that won 99 games and the American League West title in ’83 but finished 74-88 the next season. He picked up 33 victories in parts of three White Sox seasons, including his 300th career victory at Yankee Stadium via a complete-game effort on Aug. 4, 1985. The White Sox traded Seaver to Boston for Steve Lyons in ’86, and Seaver finished his career there at age 41.

George Foster, 1986
It’s easy to get overlooked as part of the historic Big Red Machine when iconic players such as Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion and Ken Griffey Sr. are your Cincinnati teammates. But Foster was a force, hitting 121 homers with 390 RBIs and a .939 OPS from 1976-78. His numbers with the White Sox didn’t come close to that after they signed him as a free agent on Aug 15, 1986. Foster hit .216 with one homer and four RBIs over 15 games in his last of 18 Major League seasons.

Jose Canseco, 2001
Although he didn’t start the 2001 season with any affiliated team, the mercurial slugger was added by the White Sox from Newark in the independent Atlantic League on June 21. Canseco, who finished his career with 462 homers and 200 stolen bases, made an instant impact with 16 homers and 49 RBIs in 76 games as primarily the designated hitter, but the White Sox finished at 83-79 in the 36-year-old Canseco’s last big league hurrah.

Ken Griffey Jr., 2008
The Hall of Famer had one of the franchise’s most memorable defensive plays in quite possibly the most exciting game in White Sox history. Griffey’s throw to A.J. Pierzynski nailed Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer at the plate to end a scoreless fifth inning on Sept. 30, helping the White Sox earn the AL Central title with a 1-0 victory over the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. It is known as the Blackout Game in White Sox lore. Griffey had 150 plate appearances and three home runs after being acquired from the Reds for Nick Masset and Danny Richar at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Griffey retired two years later as part of the Mariners.

Griffey’s 609th homer
Aug 21st, 2008 · 0:34
Griffey’s 609th homer
Manny Ramirez, 2010
Ramirez’s second-to-last hit came with the White Sox before one of the game’s great offensive forces completed his career in 2011 with a 1-for-17 showing as part of the Rays. The White Sox tried to trade for Ramirez in July ’10 but instead ended up claiming him on waivers from the Dodgers on Aug. 30. He wasn’t completely healthy during his time in Chicago and hit .261 with one home run and two RBIs in 24 games.

Andruw Jones, 2010
From 1998-2007, Jones was one of the best — if not the best — center fielder in baseball. His 10 Gold Glove Awards, five All-Star appearances and 434 career home runs would support that hypothesis. Jones arrived in Chicago near the end of his career as a free agent, and promptly hit nine home runs during his first 22 game in ’10. His production tailed off, finishing with 19 homers overall, although Jones connected for his 400th career homer at home against the Royals on July 11. He played two more seasons with the Yankees before retiring.

Jones’ grand slam
Sep 13rd, 2010 · 1:01
Jones’ grand slam
Kevin Youkilis, 2012Brent Morel didn’t get the job done at third base for the 2012 White Sox. Orlando Hudson was brought on, but the veteran didn’t provide any sort of boost offensively. So, the White Sox turned to Boston in acquiring Youkilis in exchange for utility player Brent Lillibridge and righty Zach Stewart on June 24, 2012. Youkilis quickly fit into the lineup for a White Sox squad sitting atop the AL Central for much of the summer in Robin Ventura’s first year as manager. Ultimately, the White Sox fell short, Youkilis and his 15 home runs hit free agency and he joined the Yankees.

Youkilis’ solo homer
Sep 15th, 2012 · 0:49
Youkilis’ solo homer
Jimmy Rollins, 2016Tim Anderson, the current White Sox shortstop, moved fast through the organization but he wasn’t big league ready at the outset of 2016. That’s when the White Sox turned to Rollins as their starter for his 17th season in the Majors. Rollins had a few big moments, including a game-winning home run on April 5 near his hometown in Oakland, but the switch-hitter and former National League MVP Award winner lasted a mere 41 games before Anderson arrived. Rollins’ time with the White Sox marked his last season in the Majors.

Rollins hits go-ahead home run
Apr 6th, 2016 · 0:46
Rollins hits go-ahead home run
Justin Morneau, 2016
The left-handed-hitting first baseman seemingly made a living with the Twins by pummeling the White Sox, hitting 25 home runs and driving in 109 runs in his career against the South Siders, so it was a strange switch to see Morneau move within the AL Central. Morneau won the batting title with the Rockies in 2014 but was coming off surgery to repair ligament damage in his left elbow before joining the White Sox. He played 58 games and hit six home runs in his final season.

Morneau’s two-run homer
Sep 27th, 2016 · 0:30
Morneau’s two-run homer
Special mention: Lee Elia, 1966
The well-respected coach might be best remembered in Chicago for a historic 1983 postgame rant while managing the Cubs. But he also played very briefly for the White Sox, hitting all three of his career homers in ’66.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Bobby Dalbec Jersey Red Sox

Yordan Alvarez and Pete Alonso took home the AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards for the 2019 season. The Boston Red Sox didn’t have a candidate in the running but that could change next year.

A popular candidate for the league’s top rookie in 2020 will be Red Sox infield prospect Bobby Dalbec. He showed a lot of power in 2019 with a .221 isolated power to go along with a .816 OPS.

Dalbec definitely has the ceiling to be a major-league star, but his game seems to revolve around an all or nothing play-style. A player with a similar mentality and game plan is Michael Chavis, another Red Sox infielder.

Chavis also put his power on display in 2019, going into May he had the 5 longest Red Sox home runs. However, the Ice Horse struggled to produce consistent offense, posting a 96 OPS+ to pair with 127 strikeouts in 95 games.

The key for Dalbec will be if he can cut down his strikeouts (139 in 2019) while increasing his batting average. He has a near-elite walk ratio, nearly 1 every other game. If he can increase his average, with his power, Dalbec has the chance to make his stat line something to remember.

Making consistent contact would allow for the right-hander to better his on-base percentage along with his extra-base hits. Improving all of those stats would allow for an increase in OPS. He will likely be tasked with hitting fifth or sixth, but if he lives up to the hype and proves that he’s a quality major-league bat, then he could be pushed up to the top of the order.

On the defensive side of the ball, Dalbec has primarily been a third baseman. However, with the emergence of Rafael Devers as one of the best players in baseball, he had to prove his defensive versatility and move to first base. Now, Dalbec has a clear path to the majors, no longer blocked by Devers.

Dalbec ended up playing 24 games at first base in 2019 and made 2 errors. If he played 162 games, he’d end up making about 13 errors. There can definitely be improvement and growth from Dalbec, but it is a very encouraging first step for a player that never fielded the position before. As long as he ends up producing at the plate to his full capabilities and plays an average to decent first base, he should be in the race for Rookie of the Year come next November.

Over the past few years the Red Sox have excelled at developing young third baseman into quality everyday players. Devers, Chavis, and now Dalbec are sure to contribute to the 2020 Red Sox. The trend is sure to continue with Triston Casas in the minor-leagues.

Josh Osich Jersey Red Sox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After a few days of uncertainty, Derek Law walked into the Giants clubhouse Tuesday morning. He was designated for assignment but cleared waivers and will remain in the organization, though as a non-roster player.

Law’s longtime teammate, Josh Osich, is now dealing with the same fate.

Osich was designated for assignment on Tuesday afternoon to clear a roster spot for Jose Lopez, a 25-year-old right-hander claimed from the Cincinnati Reds.

Lopez, a former sixth-round pick, has a 4.25 minor league career ERA while primarily serving as a starter. He has 474 strikeouts in 493 innings. In 2018, Lopez had a 4.47 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in Triple-A. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi likes looking at a player’s prior track record, though, and Lopez had a promising 2017 campaign in Double-A, posting a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts.

[RELATED: Bumgarner says he ‘would love to stay’ with Giants]

The Giants do not have much starting depth at the upper levels of the minors, and Lopez could slide right into their Triple-A rotation. What they do have a lot of is left-handed relief pitching. Osich was in camp with Will Smith, Tony Watson, Ty Blach, Pat Venditte, Steven Okert and others, and was an extreme long shot to make the roster.

Few in the organization have better stuff than Osich, but he has had trouble with his command. In 160 major league appearances for the Giants, Osich had a 5.01 ERA.

Dustin Pedroia Jersey Red Sox

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has been one of the most recognized players on the team over the last 14 years. Unfortunately for Pedey, injuries have derailed him in four of the last five seasons. Yes, a great season in 2016, only to follow it up with 114 games over the last three seasons including just nine games over the last two. Pedroia has turned into our version of the Mets third baseman David Wright.

Pedroia is still on the books for another two seasons but now more than ever might be the right time to call it a career. He’s won the Rookie of the Year, the Most Valuable Player Award, and he’s a three-time World Series Champion. Pedroia owes nothing to anyone. He’s done it. Pedey is now 36 years old and his career was dwindling.

The Red Sox have been able to build around the second base position which has remained one of weakness until 2019.

Prior to Michael Chavis joining the team, the Sox really had no clear cut second baseman. Eduardo Nunez was never going to be the answer and neither was Brock Holt. Chavis caught fire almost immediately, and with a slash of .254/18/58/2 in 95 games, I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t excited to see what the future was going to hold for the young rookie. At 23 years old, he’s more than a decade younger than the former second baseman.

Will Pedroia be a Hall of Famer? No. With three hits spanning the last two seasons and just under 200 hits for 2,000, barring a miracle, I don’t think anyone thinks he will get there. He has had a great career in Boston and playing for one team his whole career won’t be something fans forget. Could he come back as a hitting coach or special instructor for the team? Sure! The days of him playing, however, appear to be over.

Boston has $13.125 million owed to him in 2020 and another $12.125 million in 2021. Multiple players will not be coming back unless they take a significant pay cut and I doubt any player will do that unless they live in Boston and want to end their career here. Will Pedroia leave over $25 million on the table to help Boston financially? Time will tell, although he probably thinks he will play in 2020 albeit, a limited role. There is no way Pedroia starts over Chavis unless he struggles.

Chavis, if we assume his numbers represented nearly a full season and taking into account some injury time, it’s possible to expect Chavis slashing around the .254/25/81/3 mark. Not bad considering we all expect him to get better over the next couple of years. It’s more damage than what Pedroia would have done. Pedey has always been an on-base machine, not a power guy.

J. D. Martinez Jersey Red Sox

J.D. Martinez did not opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox.

By remaining with the Red Sox, Martinez can earn $62.5 million over the next three years: $23.75 million for 2020 and $19,375,000 for both 2021 and 2022. He also has the option to opt out after each of the next two seasons, as long as he does not spend a lengthy period on the injured list.

“J.D. has advised me that his decision is about assuring that he plays for a competitive team and wanting to continue to play in a place where he knows that he can be highly productive,” Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, told The Boston Globe.

Over the past three seasons, Martinez leads the league in home runs with 124 and is second in RBIs at 339, batting average at .313, slugging percentage at .619 and OPS at 1.007 over that span.

The Red Sox, who had the highest payroll in baseball last season ($243 million), are looking to get below the luxury tax threshold ($208M). It remains to be seen how this will affect newly hired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s ability to also retain Mookie Betts, the 2018 MVP who will become a free agent after next season. Betts made $27.7 million last season and is likely to get more in arbitration this season.

Martinez, 32, led the Red Sox in home runs, RBIs and hits in 2018, on the way to winning his first World Series title. His numbers in 2019 fell off as he battled back spasms, but in his two years in Boston, he hit 79 homers and drove in 235 runs. He has been an All-Star both of his years in Boston.

Though he played 38 games in the outfield this year, Martinez is primarily a designated hitter.

Martinez takes a meticulous approach to hitting, analyzing at-bats and opposing pitchers, and several Red Sox players credited him with helping them improve their approach.

Martinez broke in with the Houston Astros in 2011 and was released by the team in 2014. Martinez decided he had to change his swing, and worked with Robert Van Scoyoc, now the Dodgers hitting coach, and Craig Wallenbrock.

He signed a free-agent deal with the Detroit Tigers in 2014, then was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in July 2017. In 62 games with Arizona, Martinez hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs. That landed him the deal with the Red Sox.

In other roster moves on Monday, the Red Sox reinstated Dustin Pedroia and Chris Sale from the 60-day injured list. Catcher Juan Centeno, who played in seven games for Boston in 2019, elected to hit free agency and has been outrighted from the roster.

Andrew Benintendi Jersey Red Sox

Andrew Benintendi was projected to have a breakout year for the Boston Red Sox in 2019. Instead, he took a step back.

The 25-year old turned in the worst season of his career, hitting .266/.343/.431 with 13 home runs, 68 RBI, and 10 stolen bases.

Benintendi’s sweet swing produced a .290 average last year and he was a 20/20 duel threat the previous year. He’s shown us flashes of being a five-tool player and this was the year he was supposed to put it all together. The regression from this young outfielder with superstar potential who is viewed as one of the cornerstones of this team’s future was one of the most underrated disappointments of the season.

That notion isn’t lost on Benintendi based what he told’s Ian Browne about his frustrating 2019 campaign.

“I feel like there was always something. I’d figure one thing out, and then there would be another [issue]. Not as consistent as I’d like it to be,” explained Benintendi. “Pretty much there was one good stretch, a two-week stretch. Other than that, it was trying to basically just grind and get the job done. Hopefully I can learn from it.”

There’s plenty that we can learn about why Benintendi’s production dropped off by analyzing his numbers.

Let’s start with the batting average, which sticks out like a sore thumb at .266. It wasn’t a matter of bad luck either considering his .333 BABIP was the highest since his abbreviated debut season. The main culprit was a sharp uptick in strikeouts. Benintendi’s strikeout rate hovered in the mid-teens over the previous two seasons before jumping to 22.8% this season, per FanGraphs.

Benintendi swung at a career-high 51.2% of pitches and swung more frequently at pitches outside of the zone with a 33.0 O-Swing%. He made contact on pitches outsize of the zone at a career-low 68.9% rate. Combine that with a steep increase in his swinging strike rate to 11.6% and it’s easy to see why he struck out more. Benny chased too many bad pitches. As frustration built from his mounting struggles at the plate, he may have been pressing more which only made matters worse.

While there’s plenty that went wrong with Benintendi’s season, we can find a few promising signs that point to future success.

Benintendi has struggled against fellow lefties in the past, hitting .247 with a .696 OPS in his career against southpaws. That changed this season when he erased any noticeable platoon splits, hitting slightly better against lefties with a .269 average and .796 OPS.

“I hit lefties better than righties, which is somewhat out of the norm for me,” Benintendi said. “I know I can hit lefties. I think if I hit righties the way I usually do, it’s a completely different year. I still feel like I hit a lot of doubles. There’s a lot that didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but there’s definitely some positives.”

His home run total dropping for a third consecutive season is a slight concern but the Red Sox don’t need Benny to be a homer-happy slugger. Benintendi’s swing is tailor made for knocking opposite field shots off the Green Monster at Fenway so reaching 40 doubles for the second consecutive season has to be viewed as a positive sign.

It’s also encouraging that his .165 ISO is higher than it was in 2017 when he hit his career-high 20 homers, suggesting Benny’s power is on the rise even if balls aren’t leaving the park quite as often.

According to Baseball Savant, Benintendi set career highs with a 37.7 Hard Hit Percentage, 88.6 Exit Velocity, and 8.1 Barrel Percentage. He’s squaring up the baseball and hitting it harder than ever, trends that typically lead to positive results.

Tzu-Wei Lin Jersey Red Sox

Welcome to Over the Monster’s One Big Question series. For those unfamiliar, this is something of a season roster preview where over the next 40(ish) (week)days we’ll be taking a look at each player on the 40-man roster prior to the season. If changes are made to the roster between now and Opening Day, we’ll cover the newly added players. Rather than previewing what to expect in a general sense, the goal of this series is to find one overarching question for each player heading into the coming season. We’ll go one-by-one alphabetically straight down the roster, and today we talk about Tzu-Wei Lin.
The Question: Will Tzu-Wei Lin be able to earn himself a more permanent role for future seasons?

Looking at the various sections of the Red Sox depth chart, there is really no wiggle room with the infield as long as everyone is healthy. That’s true for most of the roster, but the infield is a big group whose roles aren’t entirely clear but their spot on the roster is guaranteed. They have the four starters, Brock Holt, Eduardo Núñez and whichever first baseman isn’t starting that day. None of those players, if healthy, are in danger of losing their roster spot any time soon. If Núñez struggles mightily for a couple of months that could change, but I’d be surprised if that happened. Obviously, injuries can and likely will change things over the course of the season, but the point is that the depth options in the high minors are going to be hard-pressed to force their way up to the majors with strong play alone. It’s a situation Tzu-Wei Lin knows quite well.

Lin may know what it’s like to be blocked in the majors unless an injury opens up a spot, but he also knows that injuries can change everything for minor-league players. Remember, at the start of the 2017 season no one expected Lin to make his major-league debut that year. In fact, most everyone never expected him to make his major-league debut at that point. Lin exploded in Double-A that year with one of the biggest breakouts the system has seen in recent years, and the Red Sox found themselves devastated by injury and underperformance on the infield. They were desperate for bodies, and Lin got his chance. So, while it’s frustrating to not have a realistic chance at a major-league job without injuries, if you play well enough anything can happen.

That was a couple of years ago already, and Lin now has two years under his belt as an up-and-down player. In other words, the 25-year-old is going to enter the season with just one minor-league option. If he gets to the majors this year — and as the top infielder on the minor-league depth chart he almost certainly will — this will be his final year with an option. That makes this a very important year for Lin as this represents his chance to make his mark and get himself a permanent job for 2020 and beyond.

Despite playing in only 62 games, we know the utility man enough to know what he has going for him if the team or another team is to give him a bigger role at some point in the near future. The biggest item in the “pro” category is his defense, both in terms of his skills and his versatility. Even when Lin wasn’t hitting in the minors, he was a plus defensive shortstop who some thought had a future on the back of that alone. I’m not sure I’d still call his defense plus, but it’s still very good and at a certain point we’re just picking nits. More importantly, he’s good at a number of different positions. Lin has experience at second and third on top of short, and I’d be comfortable with him at either spot. Furthermore, the team has been using him in center field to expand his value. There’s still some learning to do there, but he has the athleticism and the work ethic to make it work. In other words, he is a true super-utility player with the glove.

On the other hand, the big question with Lin has always been his bat. Most of his time in the minors was spent as a weak-hitting middle infielder, but the aforementioned 2017 breakout included unprecedented power and quality of contact. Now, the .189 Isolated Power (SLG – AVG) probably overplays his potential there, but there were real changes that led to more consistently hard contact. His swing and hitting style isn’t really built for power, but the adjustments should help to lead to consistently higher-than-average batting averages on balls in play. Lin will also draw a bunch of walks. On the other hand, his power will probably max out around .150 in his best years, and even that is probably generous, and he strikes out a bit more than you’d expect from someone with his profile. Overall, I’d expect his true-talent level to settle in with a wRC+ in the 85-90 range. That’s fine, but obviously not anything special.

If Lin can prove me right and make teams believe that’s his true-talent level with his performance in 2019, someone will believe in him for a bench role in 2020. It’s not the highest bar to clear, of course, but his versatility and acceptable level at the plate is nothing to sneeze at. The question then becomes what team it will be with, and that becomes trickier. The Red Sox could have some room, but it depends on how they value other things. Both Núñez and Holt are set to hit free agency after the season. At this point, I’d assume Núñez is all but gone for the 2020 season. Things can change drastically in a year, but that’s where we are at this point in time. Holt, on the other hand, is a bigger question. Strictly from a baseball sense, letting Holt walk for Lin would be the logical choice. Holt is better, to be sure, but he’s older, has a history with head injuries and will be significantly more expensive. The margin in talent isn’t that great. However, Holt is also perhaps the clubhouse favorite as well as a huge fan favorite. It’s tough to put a price on those things, particularly for the outside, but those are legitimate factors that need to be considered.

Still, even if Holt does stick around, Núñez’ absence would open up a roster spot for Lin, right? Technically, yes, but it doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense to keep both Holt and Lin at the same time. They are very similar players. On top of that, there are other players who could be looking for a job. Michael Chavis and possibly even Bobby Dalbec should and could be pushing for a jump to the majors. The first basemen being free agents helps there, but it’s still another name in the mix. Then, there’s the Marco Hernández question, not to mention someone like C.J. Chatham possibly making his way up by next year. The point is 2020 is a long way away right now and there’s a chance there’s room for Lin, but there are a lot of scenarios where it doesn’t make sense to keep him with the Red Sox.

With all of that being said, whether it’s with Boston or not Lin has a chance to get himself up in the majors for good if he can have another successful year in 2019. Most of these questions have to do with a player’s effect on the team, but for Lin his season is more important for himself than it is for the Red Sox. As long as he can maintain the strides he’s made with the bat over the last few years, Lin will get a chance somewhere after this. Someone will want his versatility, but continuing to make the consistent contact he’s made the last two years could be easier said than done. It’s also what stands between riding the busses for another year and getting a shot at consistent major-league time.

Marco Hernandez Jersey Red Sox

The Red Sox have agreed to re-sign infielder Marco Hernandez to a split contact, a baseball source confirmed Tuesday night. Hernandez will be placed on the 40-man roster and earn a $650k salary if in the majors next season.

Robert Murray was first to report the agreement. The team formally announced the move Wednesday along with the signing of lefty Josh Osich, who was also non-tendered Monday.

Hernandez was non-tendered Monday in what turned out to be a procedural move that preceded a new deal that gives the Sox some more flexibility if Hernandez needs time in the minors next season. The new contract calls for Hernandez to earn different salaries in the majors and minors, with his pay being dependent on if he’s active for the Red Sox or not.

Hernandez, 27, battled back from three shoulder surgeries to appear in 61 games for the Sox in 2019. He hit .250/.279/.338 with two homers and 11 RBIs but struggled down the stretch, posting a .186 average and .443 OPS in the final two months of the year.

Hernandez will provide an option at second base, where the Red Sox currently have Michael Chavis, Tzu-Wei Lin and — if healthy — Dustin Pedroia in the wake of Brock Holt hitting free agency. Boston could also add an external second baseman, potentially to platoon with Chavis.