SMRooney’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The focus should be on one of two off-season tasks:

  1. Go all in and take advantage of the depressed financial market (from guesses on my part and reading the tea leaves of national reporters)
  2. Make some roster upgrades but keep the financial/prospect powder dry.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M – Non-Tender, aim for the stars. We can and should do better.

Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M – Tender, looking at this objectively, this is the type of risk you take on a starting pitcher. Young-ish with a high pedigree.  For less than $5.0M this is reasonable gamble for depth.

Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M – Tender, I think we’re past the point of no return regarding an early extension to avoid Lucas’s free agency.  He has earned it.

Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M – Tender, Same as Rodón.

Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M – Tender

Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M – Tender

Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K – Tender

Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain – Non-Tender, non-roster invitee if possible ($563,500)

CLUB OPTIONS

Edwin Encarnación: $12M – decline, I liked the parrot.

Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout) – decline.

Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout) – pick up.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020) – Let Go. I see plenty of reasons to sign Alex back on a reasonable 1-year deal but I have other plans and most likely so does he.

James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) – Let Go. there is a chance we see a Dexter Fowler situation play out but I will assume not for the purpose of this plan.

Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) – Let Go. I liked the one time you scored from 2nd base in the 10th inning.

COACHING STAFF

I have no flipping clue.  At the end of the day there is a very reasonable argument for Hinch but frankly you can say that about a lot of candidates. Not much time spent worrying about this.

Manager: AJ Hinch

Pitching coach: Matt Zaleski

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Yasiel Puig (one year, $5 M). With his splits, he could be what Nomar Mazara was intended to be.

No. 2: Jason Castro (one year, $3 M). If you expect to contend you need significant depth at C. Insert Flowers or Leon at a lower cost and I am fine also.

No. 3: Masahiro Tanaka (2-year deal, $30 M). A 3rd year added on at $15M if he pitched more than 160 innings both years). No one outside of Bauer offers the upside we need and I have concerns about Stroman’s availability. Going this route, we achieve some pitching stability and we also keep some salary flexibility for the big fish that may become available.

***I have learned not to spend money on outside RP; it does not work out.  I would rather trade in-season if we have any pitcher regression. (We will.) ***

TRADES

I believe this to be reasonable. Not likely but fun. Since I am not being paid to write this, I am having fun:

No. 1: Trade Jonathan Stiever and Andrew Dalquist to the Cubbies for Kris Bryant ($18.6M, Cubs retain $5M in salary) and Craig Kimbrel ($13M, Cubs pick up $1M buyout). I really like watching Kris Bryant play and would love to see him on the south side. There is some risk considering his down 2019 but I am a believer in the bounce-back prior to free agency.  I see Kris as the primary RF with some built-in insulation in case Yoan is not 100% next year. Regarding Craig this could be a black hole money-wise but there is post-season experience he can provide and some optimism that he did fix something at the end of the year.

For the Cubs, I would imagine the $26M in salary savings is a big plus along with two cheap pitching options for the now and the future. This trade may need some additional prospect depth included but I believe money is the great equalizer this offseason.

You could also look at swapping Jason Heyward in for Kimbrel but that would require a large financial subsidy on the Cubs part. This is a cleaner option.

SUMMARY

26-Man Roster (Batting Order):

C   – Yasmani Grandal (5)

1st – Jose Abreu (4)

2nd – Nick Madrigal (9)

3rd – Yoan Moncada (2)

SS – Tim Anderson (1)

DH – Rotate baby! This is like 2010 but with good options. (8)

LF – Eloy Jiminez (6)

CF – Luis Robert (7)

RF – Kris Bryant (3)

Bench: Jason Castro – C, Yasiel Puig – OF, Leury Garcia – IF/OF, Adam Engel – OF, Yolmer Sanchez -IF

P1 –Lucas Giolito

P2 – Dallas Keuchel

P3 – Masahiro Tanaka

P4 – Dylan Cease

P5 – Carlos Rodon

Closer – By committee until someone establishes themselves.

RP – Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Codi Huer, Matt Foster, Jace Fry, Craig Kimbrel, Reynaldo Lopez, Jimmy Lambert

I think this plan threads the needle between the two options I mentioned in the Preamble of this insanity. The Sox are taking advantage of a depressed financial market to buy contracts but also keep the long-term financial picture clean. There are very few bad 1-year contracts. I like the built-in depth with this approach which also allows for the continued development of younger players in a less stressful situation. As in-house options, there are Andrew Vaughn (hitter), Danny Mendick (IF depth), Garret Crochet (high leverage pitching), and Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning (SP). This also keeps some prospect shine in case that big fish #1 pitcher becomes available (look towards NY my friends).

Assuming my financials are correct, this will bring the team in at $149.963 M**Note I assumed a $575,000 salary for all the young non-arb arms, this is not 100% accurate but is reasonably close.

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