Work to be done here, including the biggest FA deal in franchise history, but this doesn’t feel like anything too radical to put the team over the top. The needs are obvious: RF and 2B first and foremost. Fortified SP is always good also.
I’m not a fan of the flavor of the month buy-highs. I see Marcus Semien’s name a lot, but I just don’t think he is a good bet at all to live up to the massive contract he is going to get. In two year’s time, there’s a chance he’s in Ian Desmond territory. I really like him, but for the amount of money he’s going to command, I don’t blame the Sox for a second for passing. There is also too much buzz around a buy-high Chris Taylor for my liking.
That said, RF and 2B have to be addressed somehow. My aim is to add flexibility to this roster, so they can withstand an injury or three.
- Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – Tender
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M – Tender
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M – Nontender
- Adam Engel: $2.2M – Tender
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M – Nontender
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M – Tender
- Jace Fry: $1M – Tender
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – Pick up
- César Hernández: $6M – Decline
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) – Let go
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) – QO (I would’ve done it, though the Sox obviously didn’t.)
- Billy Hamilton ($1M) – Let go
- Ryan Tepera ($950K) – Try to retain
No. 1: Kris Bryant (five years, $118 million). Here’s a solution that can plug in many holes. Ostensibly, he’s your starting RF. But depending on who else steps up or steps down (or gets injured) in the line up, he can slot in many other places across the diamond, specifically DH, 3B and LF. While I’m bearish on guys like Semien and Taylor living up to the lofty contracts they’ll get, I am more confident that Bryant will age gracefully as a premier hitter.
No. 2: Ryan Tepera (two years, $14 million). Tepera pitched really well while he was here, and this bullpen will need continued steadiness going forward.
No. 3: Manny Pina (one year, $2.5 million). A credible backup catcher is needed. Rick Hahn knows it, even if he won’t publicly admit it now.
No. 1: Trade Craig Kimbrel and $4 million to San Diego for Adam Frazier. Swap of two 2021 deadline busts. Frazier offers more flexibility, as he can fill in at RF and 2B. I’d like him to start at 2B.
No. 2: Trade Garrett Crochet, Jake Burger, Micker Adolfo and Zack Collins to Oakland for Sean Manaea. The fire sale is on in Oakland. I like Burger, but there is no inch of daylight for him on this Sox roster. Adolfo is out of options but the A’s could give him a big league roster spot. Manaea is a great mid rotation starter, taking the role of Dallas Keuchel, who…
No. 3: Trade Dallas Keuchel, Zack Collins and $4 million to San Francisco for minor leaguers. I honestly was initially fine with keeping Keuchel, who is obviously not going to live up to his contract but is only one year removed from a fantastic season and is a reasonable bet to bounce back a bit to at least respectability. But I was simply over budget and so had to save some dollars. The Giants have a lot of starters to replace, and Keuchel seems like a guy who would do well there. They can plug Collins in to some Buster Posey/Brandon Belt back up rotation. The Sox save $14 million.
Payroll: $179.8 (I kept it under $180, that should be good enough!)
That’s an absolutely monster line up, with all kinds of switch and swap ability. TLR will be frothing at the mouth. But I think it’s really important. 162 games is a long marathon, and attrition happens. That offense is insulated against a lot of breakdowns. The rotation is very solid as well, but thin. I’d like a 6th guy there ahead of Lopez and Lambert, but money’s too tight right now. The bullpen leaves something to be desired, but bullpens come together in unexpected ways. Maybe Matt Foster returns to respectability, or someone from out of the blue becomes a difference maker. We saw how a big-money bullpen didn’t get things done anyway, so there’s no point in blowing payroll room there. Get some minor leaguers, retreads and NRIs in, and make a trade midseason to fortify.
If money allowed, I’d like another SP for depth. Otherwise, I think that’s a World Series team there.
Had to unload Collins so badly that I traded him twice, apparently! I meant to take him out of that Oakland deal.
I like this list outside of Manny Pina and trading away Crotchet.
Manny Pina flat out cannot hit. I don’t really demand good hitting from backup catchers but I think you can provide Manny Pina levels of backup on less than 2.5 million (Perhaps Luke Maile?)
Crotchet looks like a stud in the making, trading him away plus others for Manea seems short sighted. He’ll be in the rotation next season probably.
Manaea is technically a one-year rental, so, in re-evaluating, his cost might be a bit lower. Maybe the Sox could get it done without Crochet, even if it means including one of the low minors arms (maybe Kelley, Thompson or Dahlquist). The bullpen certainly would look better with Crochet in there in place of Fry.