With the 2018 season being a road to nowhere in particular thanks to a lack of improvement from the prospects and injuries elsewhere, I view the 2019 season as a reset. Yes, I’m going to go after Manny Machado and Bryce Harper because if I land one (or both!) my rebuild takes a major step forward. But I’m not going to get either. Not because I’m not willing to spend the money, but because neither has reason to believe this is the place for them to be right now. Not when suitors will make similar offers and offer a clearer path to team success as well.
So I’m approaching 2019 with the idea of flexibility. I’m going to find a couple cheap veteran options on the free agent market and hope I can find a market for them in the summer. If I can’t, no harm no foul, we move on following 2019.
- Jose Abreu, $16M – Tender
- Avisail Garcia, $8M – Non-tender
- Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7M – Tender
- Carlos Rodon, $3.7M – Tender
- Matt Davidson, $2.4M – Non-Tender
- Leury Garcia, $1.9M – Non-Tender
- Danny Farquhar, $1.4M – Non-Tender
Write “pick up” or “decline” after the option.
- Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout – Pick up, I’m not thrilled about it, because I want someone in my pen I can rely on to stay healthy and fill innings with my rotation questions this year. But I have a feeling relievers are going to get paid more money than they’re worth this winter, so at $4.65 million, Jones is still a bargain.
- James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout – Pick up. It wasn’t the original plan but plans change. I need somebody to eat innings this season so I may as well use the guy who has already eaten innings for me and is respected in the clubhouse.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018) – Later, Miggy.
List three free-agent targets you’d pursue during the offseason, with a reasonable contract. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Josh Donaldson (one year, $15 million with an additional $5 million in bonuses). I’m assuming Donaldson’s market will be a bit depressed this winter, and while $15 million might be cheap, I’m going to include a bunch of performance bonuses based on games played, etc. It’s the kind of contract that doesn’t hurt much financially, and also makes him a lot more appealing in the summer should he be playing well enough to warrant trading to a contender in need of a bat. As for where he’ll play, putting him at third makes him more valuable and it’s a hole, but he can also get some time at 1B and DH as needed.
No. 2: Carlos Gonzalez (one year, $10 million). CarGo made $5 million last season with Colorado, so we’re doubling his salary. We might get him for less. The plan here is to use Gonzalez as a platoon player in LF/RF/DH against righties. While his overall numbers have declined, he still posted an OPS of .823, a wOBA of .350 and a wRC+ of 104 against righties last season. Like Donaldson, if he hits well enough we trade him in the summer. If he doesn’t, we don’t. But I think it’s important to improve on weak spots in the lineup with stopgaps in hopes of improving the team overall. The more games this team wins in 2019 the better it looks in the eyes of free agents next winter when we might be in the position to make that move forward.
No. 3 Lance Lynn (one year, $10 million, $15 million team option for 2020). Do I think Lynn is going to be anything special? No, but he’s never pitched fewer than 156 innings in any season and has gone over 175 innings five times. That’s what I’m buying him for. Just somebody to fill time in the rotation while Kopech rehabs and the rest of my young pitchers mature. If somebody plays their way to Chicago — Cease? — then Lynn moves to the bullpen, or maybe we can find a trade partner.
No. 4 A reliever or two (Somewhere between $8 and $15 million over two years). Doesn’t have to be a closer. Doesn’t have to be a name I recognize. Just somebody competent that won’t cause me to shield my eyes when he comes through that door. The Sox have been pretty good at identifying these guys in recent years.
No. 1: Trade Spencer Adams, Luis Gonzalez and another prospect to Tampa for Kevin Kiermaier. I could be giving up too much here, but even if he’s coming off a down season, Kiermaier is signed to a reasonable contract through 2022. He’s somebody who could be a part of this team when it’s good. He’s an elite defender that provides more of an offensive presence than Adam Engel. The plan would be to have a platoon of Kiermaier against righties (career .769 OPS, .330 wOBA, 111 wRC+) and Engel against lefties where he isn’t good but is better. This also allows Engel to be used as a fourth outfielder/defensive replacement either in center while Kiermaier moves to the corners, or vice versa. A strong defensive outfield would really help this team.
I’m not sure where I’m at with money but it’s hard to imagine I’ve gone over the max. I plan to head into the season with 12 position players and 13 pitchers. Here’s my roster:
1. Welington Castillo
2. Omar Narvaez
3. Jose Abreu
4. Daniel Palka
5. Yoan Moncada
6. Yolmer Sanchez
7. Tim Anderson
8. Josh Donaldson
9. Carlos Gonzalez
10. Avisail Garcia
11. Kevin Kiermaier
12. Adam Engel
LF: Eloy-Engel-Yolmer (I’m having him learn OF too)-Palka
13. Carlos Rodon
14. Reynaldo Lopez
15. Lucas Giolito
16. James Shields
17. Lance Lynn
18. Dylan Covey
19. Nate Jones
21. Jace Fry
22. Juan Minaya
23. Ian Hamilton
24. Unnamed Lefty Reliever
25. Unnamed Righty Reliever
Amendment: I published before I was finished editing and didn’t know how to fix.
In my final plan I non-tender Avisail Garcia to open room for Eloy in mid-April. As a result the position player depth chart should look like this
LF: Eloy-Engel-Yolmer (I’m having him learn OF too)-Palka
Non-tender? Tender, then release?
I can tack it on. I was testing a couple of front-end editors last night, but I couldn’t get either to work without screwing up the rest of the site, so that’s a project for next year.
If the plan is to have Eloy up in April I didn’t think it made sense to tender him just to DFA him. May as well let him go altogether. Thanks.
I like the idea of a Donaldson contract with bonuses, but he’s the anti-Matt Davidson: every time he takes off his helmet, I cringe at that hair.
i have a similar idea on kiermaier that i’ll be putting in my plan. as such, i love the idea here. i also think the FA targets are both necessary and realistic.
Kiermaier is going to cost way more than that.
He might, but at the same time, the Rays are never shy about shedding salary whenever possible, and with Mallex Smith, they might not mind moving him.
^ this. they also have austin meadows and tommy pham ready to go and they have to pay their cy young winner real soon. and kiermaier has missed 130 games over the past 2 years, isn’t a 7 WAR/year player anymore, and is about to cost 15% of their payroll.
Hes 28, really good and signed to a cheap deal for a bunch of years. Hes going to cost at least one real prospect.