Working within Jerry’s salary restrictions requires a balanced allocation of funds. The Sox just cannot carry 3 starting pitchers making 18M/year without handcuffing their ability to address other positions of need. They’re also approaching 20M dedicated to the catcher position. It would be great to sign a defensive wizard that hits major dongs at backup catcher, but that money is better spent elsewhere. Lastly, the Sox love to spend money on the bullpen, but the potential return on investment there is limited with Hendriks cemented into the closer role. So we head into the offseason looking to retain our major assets while reducing the financial burden on the pitching side, and adding some value pieces to address the holes at 2B/OF and backup catcher. Let’s see what we can do to balance the Sox scorecard.
- Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – TENDER: Would love to sign Gio to an extension, but am choosing to prioritize the 2022 salary and having a Cy Young candidate on 8M/year is too good a deal to pass up.
- Reynaldo López; $2.8M – TENDER: Good value here if he can sustain the gains shown in 2021.
- Evan Marshall: $2.3M – NON-TENDER: Bring him back for rehab and hopefully a return to form in 2023.
- Adam Engel: $2.2M – TENDER: Assuming the hamstring woes are behind him, I expect Engel to step up as a borderline starter or one of the best 4th outfielders in baseball in 2022.
- Brian Goodwin: $1.7M – NON-TENDER
- Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M – TENDER: Sox fans deserve to see those guns back on the mound.
- Jace Fry: $1M – TENDER: Not counting on Fry to be a major contributor in 2022, but the Sox need some lefty depth in the arm barn and I think Fry deserves the opportunity to force his way back to the majors.
- Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – PICKUP & TRADE: See below
- César Hernández: $6M – DECLINE: His production doesn’t justify this salary.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) RETAIN, 1 year, 4M: Leury may max out at 2 WAR per season, but there should be a modifier to account for how many different positions those contributions come from.
- Carlos Rodón ($3M) – QO / TRY TO RETAIN: See below
- Billy Hamilton ($1M) – LET GO
- Ryan Tepera ($950K) – RETAIN, 2 years, 10M: Tepera provided a huge boost with his stable veteran presence, and the Sox need a right-handed set-up man in 2022.
No. 1: Carlos Rodon (4 years, $70 million, 15/17/18/20). Rodon’s arm fatigue in the second half was a bummer, but completely understandable as he tripled his workload from the previous two seasons combined. I expect him to come back next season and sustain his ace form. The second half stumble suppresses Rodon’s market with just enough doubt to allow them to sign him for 4 years of prime Hard Karl.
No. 2: Andrew Chafin (2 years, $12 million). I’m assuming Chafin declines his mutual option. He was fantastic for the A’s last year after acquiring him from the Cubs mid-season, but relief work is fickle so opting out in search of a 2 (or 3) year deal is the smart play. The Sox will need another lefty and have had recent success poaching from Oakland.
No. 1: Trade Dallas Keuchel to the Angels in a salary dump. The Angels need some stability in the starting rotation. The Sox may need to throw in money or prospects to facilitate, but they need to utilize Keuchel’s salary elsewhere.
No. 2: Trade Craig Kimbrel to the Phillies for Rafael Marchon. The Phillies are trying to compete but they had one of the worst bullpens in baseball in 2021. Marchon is a defense first backstop with good contact skills at the plate, but won’t see much playing time behind JT Realmuto.
No. 3: Trade Crochet/Burger/Adolfo/Beard/Sosa/+ to the Diamondbacks for Ketel Marte. Marte meets the Sox needs too well, and he’s on a value deal at 8M for 2022. Tony LaRussa is going to love him, as Marte is the next evolution of his favorite pokemon, Leury Garcia. I doubt this particular package of prospects gets it done, but it passed muster on baseballtradevalues. I don’t see Crochet converting to a starter and succeeding, so I want to trade him while his value is high due to controllable years remaining. Everyone after Crochet is interchangeable. The Sox could even throw in a Tatis to sweeten the deal.
Total salary comes in just under 170M (167.7).
Between Marchon and Carlos Perez, neither Collins or Zavala catch an inning in Chicago next season.
Vaughn likely starts the year in AAA to get everyday at bats.
There’s a lot of positional versatility between Marte, Garcia, and Gonzalez.
|Lynn (18M)||Hendriks (13M)||Grandal (18.25M)||Abreu (19.7M)||Marte (8M)|
|Rodon (15M)||Chafin (6M)||Marchon (0.575M)||Moncada (13.8M)||Jimenez (7.5M)|
|Giolito (8M)||Tepera (5M)||Perez (0.575M)||Anderson (9.5M)||Robert (6M)|
|Cease (0.575M)||Lopez (2.8M)||–||Garcia (4M)||Engel (2.2M)|
|Kopech (0.575M)||Bummer (2.5M)||–||Sheets (0.575M)||Vaughn (0.575M)|
|–||Cordero (1.2M)||–||Gonzalez (0.575M)||–|
I love the idea of Ketel Marte. I’m not entirely sure what Arizona’s present direction is. Do they believe a run at the Wild Card in 2022 is possible? Sure the Dodgers may not be as strong next year with departures, but I still think there are 3 big hurdles in that division for the D-Backs (Dodgers, Padres, and Giants). Maybe using Marte in a deal like the one you’re offering is best to stock up on more young talent.
You and I have similar thoughts on a Craig Kimbrel trade.