As August begins, the White Sox 25-man roster is not very pretty (by design). While prospects such as Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Seby Zavala, Ryan Cordell, and Ian Hamilton could certainly see promotions by the end of the season, only players currently on the 25-man roster were included in this list of players who may or may not still be here next season.
Tier 1: >99% chance of being here
Tim Anderson, Jace Fry, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Yoan Moncada (pictured)
Barring injury, there is virtually no chance that the above players do not open the 2019 season on the Chicago White Sox. Moncada, Anderson, and Fry would be here both due to need and performance. Giolito and Lopez, despite very inconsistent seasons, will likely still be the team’s best options to round out the 2019 rotation, and optioning them to AAA could prove risky since they each have only one minor league option remaining.
Tier 2: 75-99% chance of being here
Jose Abreu (pictured), Avisail Garcia (pictured), Leury Garcia, Omar Narvaez, Carlos Rodon, Yolmer Sanchez
There are two routes the White Sox can take next season. They can either trade their remaining assets and have another deliberately poor season (in terms of wins), or they can make some moves and try to compete in what will be a very weak AL Central. I tend to think that they’ll do the latter, but only time will tell. In any case, while it is possible that the Sox try to trade the above players, it is unlikely that they will receive any tempting offers. In the cases of Rodon and the two Garcias, specifically, it makes a lot more sense to let them play and see what we have with them before selling them. For Narvaez, who has had a pleasantly surprising year, the White Sox may be best served to give him more time as the backup catcher and see if his defense can improve.
Tier 3: 25-74% chance of being here
Luis Avilan (pictured), Xavier Cedeno, Dylan Covey, Matt Davidson, Nicky Delmonico, Jeanmar Gomez, Juan Minaya, Daniel Palka, Thyago Vieira
25-74% is obviously a large range; however, as stated, it is difficult to say whether or not the team tries to compete at all next year. While the players listed in the first two tiers will likely be here either way, there is no certainty with any of these players. Avilan, Cedeno, and Gomez are candidates to get traded this month, but given that they are proven MLB arms that have contracts which keep them under team control in 2019, the Sox could decide to be competitive next year and subsequently keep them all, at least until the trade deadline. Covey, Minaya, and Vieira could see themselves in AAA given the sheer amount of right handed pitching depth the Sox have on the horizon. The organization will have to pick one to two of Davidson, Delmonico, and Palka eventually, and if they are trying to compete next year, it is likely that only one is kept. With much of this tier, performance in August and September plays a crucial role in their fate for 2019; this is why there is so much variation in their chances of being on the roster next season.
Tier 4: 0-24% chance of being here
Tyler Danish, Adam Engel (pictured), Hector Santiago, James Shields, Kevan Smith
Whether or not the Sox try to compete next year, it’s safe to say that the above players won’t spend much, if any, time on the 25-man roster. Danish, while a potential innings eater out of the bullpen, may get passed up by a more promising arm. Santiago and Shields have expiring contracts (and Shields will either be traded this month or have his option declined), and Engel and Smith are likely placeholders for prospects or free agent signings. While Smith isn’t necessarily a bad MLB catcher, he simply doesn’t offer the offensive promise that Narvaez does while being similarly lackluster defensively.
Overall, Tier 3 is by far the most volatile and interesting. One could argue that it can be split into two tiers, a 50-74% and 25-49% section, but this would largely be dependent on the currently unknown direction of the team’s offseason. Be sure to keep an eye on those players specifically, as many of them are currently fighting for an MLB roster spot in 2019.