The White Sox completed their first major order of offseason business with the hiring of Pedro Grifol as manager.
The GM Meetings are being held this week, with executives from every team gathering in Las Vegas to lay the groundwork for the offseason.
Free agency officially is underway, and players can begin signing with new teams on Thursday. The trade market is already open for business.
But before Hot Stove season truly kicks into high gear, a few things are on the White Sox' to-do list.
Changes are coming to the White Sox coaching staff with Grifol taking over as manager.
General manager Rick Hahn said at Grifol’s introductory press conference pitching coach Ethan Katz and bullpen coach Curt Hasler will return in 2023. Hahn also announced Charlie Montoyo as the new bench coach.
Hahn said the White Sox have “a number of names” for the remaining positions and will conduct interviews with Grifol.
“There will be some internal candidates from within the White Sox organization for some of these spots,” Hahn said. "But I suspect at the end of the day, based on conversations we've had over the last couple of weeks, that the majority of those spots will be filled by individuals outside the White Sox organization.”
The team has not yet made any announcements about the rest of the staff, though the Chicago Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen reported third base coach Joe McEwing will not return after 16 years in the organization.
Nearly all the decisions regarding White Sox contract options — which are due Thursday — have been settled.
On Monday, the White Sox picked up Tim Anderson’s $12.5 million club option for 2023 while declining Josh Harrison’s $5.5 million club option. Harrison is owed a $1.5 million buyout.
That leaves outfielder AJ Pollock, who has a $13 million player option for 2023 or $5 million buyout.
Pollock, who turns 35 next month, hit .245/.292/.389 in 138 games after coming over from the Dodgers in the Craig Kimbrel trade. That includes a .935 OPS against left-handed pitchers.
The non-tender deadline this year is earlier than past offseasons. It’s scheduled for Nov. 18.
The White Sox and MLB's other 29 teams have until then to tender contracts for 2023 to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players on the 40-man roster. If they elect not to do so (i.e. non-tender), the player becomes a free agent.
So, which White Sox players are eligible for arbitration?
The White Sox have seven players eligible for arbitration:
*Kyle Crick was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte last week.
Teams have until mid-January to agree to terms with their arbitration-eligible players. If not, they go to an arbitration hearing. The deadline for each side to submit salary figures is Jan. 13.
Rule 5 Draft protection
After being canceled last offseason amid MLB's lockout, the Rule 5 Draft will return next month at the Winter Meetings. It's scheduled for Dec. 7.
Teams have until Nov. 15 to add Rule 5-eligible players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the draft.
What about White Sox free agents?
Sunday opened the five-day exclusive negotiating window between teams and their own free agents. What will the White Sox do with their four — first baseman José Abreu, pitchers Johnny Cueto and Vince Velasquez and shortstop Elvis Andrus?
Abreu, 36 in January, has spent his entire nine-season career with the White Sox after signing with them out of Cuba in 2014. But his future with the team is up in the air. Hahn was non-committal last month when asked about Abreu’s status.
For what it’s worth, here’s what Grifol said about Abreu — who’s ineligible for a qualifying offer this winter — last week:
“I think all 30 managers want to see José Abreu in their lineup,” Grifol said. “He’s obviously a guy from the other side that when you see him play, he comes to play every day, he works hard, he plays hurt, he performs.
“He's performed for a long time. But again, we have to sit down and see how this roster shakes out in the next couple of weeks and beyond and see where we go from there.”
Andrus sparked the White Sox after Anderson went down with a finger injury in August and figures to generate interest from teams in need of a shortstop. Cueto was a boon to the rotation after signing around Opening Day.
Velasquez provided depth to the rotation in addition to contributing multi-inning relief outings.
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