TCS Afternoon 5: What is happening in White Sox land?

1. Dioner Navarro's official terms have been announced.

Which is...a bit odd in that he will getting paid more than Avila, who if healthy and playing near his career averages--or even last year's platoon split--should definitely be getting the majority of the at-bats.

Navarro is a switch-hitter, but kind of like in the way that Melky Cabrera was a switch-hitter last year, where if you make the bad decision of letting Navarro hit against right-handed pitchers, he will bat left-handed when he does it. When you have a career 77 wRC+ against right-handers, switch-hitting is just optics.

As long as playing opportunities aren't dictated by small differences in pay grades, $4 million is unsurprising total to have to pay a major league caliber backstop for a one-year deal in 2016. And $6.5 million for the position total is even more fine, especially, you know, if this crazy plan actually works.

2. Perhaps we should have given more credence to Kenny Williams saying the White Sox didn't have a plan set yet for the offseason. Rick Hahn quotes from the last month have him leaving the door cracked open just open enough where he doesn't have to explain himself for how he feinted the entire Sox beat corps and certainly the blogosphere into believing Tyler Flowers was an entrenched defense-first starter for a team with bigger problems.

So the only blatant misdirect in their surprising shift to an Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro platoon, is the new guy Avila himself saying he thought he was entering into a timeshare with Flowers. One week ago.

Between Flowers' one-dimensional nature and the possibility for mediocre-to-forgettable results of the Avila-Navarro platoon, the most memorable thing about this move might be the WTF-nature in which it came forth. The Sox seem to revel in throwing the world for a loop, and can now add another notch in their belt.

3. Count Chris Sale among those thrown for a loop.

Merkin goes on in his Twitter stream to explain that Sale called Hahn after Flowers was non-tendered and had a decidedly less testy phone conversation than he had with Kenny Williams in 2012.

As Merkin notes, the Sox just ditched the guy who's caught every Sale start for the last two years. Aces of Sale's caliber frequently can get their personal caddies held on the roster as no-hit backups, let alone when their incumbent starters, so all things considered, the fact that he's still saying positive things about Hahn to media is about as good of a reaction as could have been hoped for from him.

3. Jacob Turner might yet fall into the same category of confusing moves..

Non-tendering him raised the question of what on Earth the point of picking him off waivers was, but compensating for that confusion by coming back and signing him for $1.5 million wasn't the solution the world was asking for. 

Larry from South Side Sox had a promising theory on why Turner might be getting more than his arbitration estimate: that it's not guaranteed.

That would be a more sensible use for Turner; stashing him in the minors and sweetening the pot a bit in case he actually makes good on the opportunity. However, early returns on the initial official announcement on Friday have no such stipulations, in which case, the Sox have given a guaranteed $1.5 million contract to a bad pitcher coming off injury.

That's never great, but is easily shrugged off in an aggressive spending offseason, and much less easily shrugged off if the Sox enter the year with gaping holes that they neglected to spend to fix.

5. With that in mind, the White Sox head into Winter Meetings next week with pretty much all of the same problems: a gaping maw on the left side of their infield, an expensive DH who could be toast, two very iffy young right fielder options, a likely good-glove, weak-bat second baseman, and possibly some need for starting pitching depth.

It's a good thing they're showing the capability to flout expectations, because right now everyone is expecting them to refuse to jump on the big-ticket solutions to obvious problems.