Bonus Baby’s Offseason Plan


I tried to fix what I think are the three biggest overall problems with the Sox Roster. First: Everyone should play a position they can actually handle, and the Sox should play at least decent team defense. Therefore, no Sheets, Vaughn or Jimenez running around the outfield (although occasional spot duty is probably OK). None of them can play decent defense out there, and Jimenez is liable to injure himself every time he plays the field.

Second: There shouldn’t be any glaring holes on the roster – anywhere. Good players can have down years of course, so there are no guarantees, but you should be able to look at every position and say: “yeah, if he’s healthy that guy should be at least an average MLB starter.” This means, for example, no 2B by committee with Mendick and Sosa or Gonzales or Garcia, because none of them has ever produced 2+ fWAR in a season (average MLB starter-level production), and none of them has ever even been projected to have a season that good. They also don’t form any kind of L/R platoon that you’d expect to combine to produce 2+ fWAR.

Third: Some balance would be nice, so we’re done with an overwhelmingly right-handed lineup.

Final note: I like Fangraphs’ version of WAR, and I like the player projection models Fangraphs uses for 2023. So I use these a lot.


  • Lucas Giolito: $10.8M – TENDER
  • Dylan Cease: $5.3M – TENDER
  • Reynaldo López; $3.3M – TENDER
  • Adam Engel: $2.3M – NONTENDER
  • Michael Kopech: $2.2M – TENDER
  • Kyle Crick: $1.5M – NONTENDER
  • José Ruiz: $1M – NONTENDER
  • Danny Mendick: $1M – TENDER

Total Arbitration Dollars: $22.6M


  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) – ALREADY PICKED UP
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout) – ALREADY DECLINED

Total Club Option Buyout Dollars: $1.5M


  • AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — ALREADY TOOK BUYOUT

Total Player Option Dollars: $5M


  • José Abreu ($18M in 2022) – LET HIM WALK
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) – LET HIM WALK
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M) – EXTEND QUALIFYING OFFER
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) – LET HIM WALK


I’m very happy about the Grifol hire. Espada was the other guy that I thought would be a good fit.


No. 1: LF Andrew Benintendi – 4 years, $56M

I’m a believer in Oscar Colas. The models also seem to believe in Colas – Fangraphs’ two models project him for 1.1 or 1.3 WAR over only 79 games in 2023, with a wRC+ of 115. I assume he can play more games than that (maybe 120 total) and continue producing at that rate. As a lefty, he also helps balance out the Sox lineup. The Sox should pencil him in at RF.

With Robert in CF, and Pollock leaving, LF remains a glaring hole. Benintendi is another lefty bat who should provide solid starter-level production, at an affordable price. Fangraphs projects him for 2.3 WAR over 130 games in 2023.

No. 2: SP Jose Quintana – $2 years, $24M

Jose’s 2022 was a return to glory: 4.0 WAR with a 2.93 ERA in 32 games (165 IP). Will he be that good in 2023? Probably not, but Fangraphs still projects him for 2 WAR (eating up 165 innings in 32 games). He’d also add a lefty to the rotation – and everyone loves Jose, so why not?

No 3: 1B Josh Bell – 2 years, $20M

With Vaughn leaving via trade (see below), the Sox need a new first baseman. It won’t be Abreu because the Sox can’t sign him and fill their other big roster holes (LF and SP) without going over budget. Bell should be significantly cheaper than Abreu, and he’s not a bad 1B option at all. Fangraphs projects him for 2.1 WAR over 143 games in 2023. Gavin Sheets can also fill in from time to time against right-handed pitchers, who he hit for a wRC+ of 118 last year (projected to be even better in 2023).

Total Free Agent Dollars: $36M


No. 1: Andrew Vaughn for Brandon Lowe

I was initially leaning toward signing Jean Segura to fix the hole at 2B, keeping Vaughn. But that would leave the Sox with only right-handed players in the middle of the infield – with the possible exception of Leury, but he has a career wRC+ of only 71 against right-handed pitching, and in any case the plan is to let him go to dump part of his salary (see below). No other lefty second basemen on the market is good enough, so it has to be via trade.

I’ve read that the Sox consider Andrew Vaughn and Dylan Cease untouchable. I’m with them on Cease, but I think they should reconsider on Vaughn. Reports suggest the Rays might be willing to part with Lowe, and they could use a solid 1B starter. As to whether the Rays would take Vaughn for Lowe: suggests the Sox might actually be overpaying a little here, although I’m not really sure how reliable the values are on that site. Also, both players are under team control for 4 years, with Vaughn as the cheaper option, and he Rays seem to like cheap.  In the end, I think the deal should work as long as Vaughn for Lowe straight up is somewhat close to equal value: If the Sox have to give up a mid-level minor league player or two to get the deal done, I’m fine with that. If the Rays should really be giving the Sox a minor piece instead, I’m fine with the Sox requesting that as well, so long as the deal gets done.

Why is this good for the Sox? First, Lowe should be a solid starter at 2B for the next several years. Fangraphs projects him for 3.4 WAR in only 134 games next year, he’s still only 28, and he’s under control for the next 4 years on a team-friendly contract. Second, the Sox could really use a lefty at 2B – it would help balance the overall lineup and fit well with current 2B backup options (Mendick, Sosa, Gonzalez) who are all right-handed. With Lowe starting, at least one of these backups should make for a good semi-platoon (Mendick probably the best). Lowe has a career wRC+ of 137 against righties, but only 106 against lefties, while Mendick last year had a huge wRC+ of 170 against lefties (albeit in a small sample size). Finally, trading Vaughn shouldn’t hurt the Sox too much at 1B, since they can get a reasonably-priced replacement on the market.

No.2: Hendriks/Diekman/Leury salary dump.

Hendriks is one of the best closers in the game, and probably the only player among these three who probably has a contract under market value ($14.3M in 2023, with a $15M club option in 2024). Diekman’s contract ($3.5M for 2023, with a $4M club option in 2024) might be a bit on the high side, and Leury’s contract is a minor albatross ($5.5M in each of 2023 and 2024).

Letting Hendriks go is the right thing to do because the Sox are currently over-invested in the bullpen, and they have several relief pitchers who might be able to step up and own the closer spot (Lopez, Kelly, and Graveman being the most likely candidates). Also, they need a solid FA SP right now more than they need Hendriks to anchor the back end of the bullpen. If they are approaching the trade deadline next summer, none of the current Sox players has really stepped up in the closer spot, and they look like they’re a closer away from a World Series, they should be able to pull the trigger on Montgomery and pick up a closer then.

With lefties Crochet and Bummer already set for the bullpen, Diekman is expendable. Leury probably still has enough value that some team would want him for a minimal salary (he can play several positions, and Fangraphs projects him for 0.3 WAR in 70 games). But someone else would be a better fit for the finite spots on the Sox 26-man roster, and dumping as much of his salary as possible would help (maybe another team would trade for him if the Sox picked up $4.5M of his salary for each of the two years). Finally, I can’t take another season of watching him come up with players on base and immediately swing through the first three pitches – none of which were particularly close to the strike zone. Enough already.

I estimate that all of this allows the Sox to get these three contracts off their books, but at the price of an additional $3M paid to other teams – so I’ll have to add a line item of $3M for that.

Total Trade Dollars: $3M


Starting  Rotation – 5 players – $48.8M

SP1: RHSP Dylan Cease – $5.3M

SP2: RHSP Lance Lynn – $18.5M

SP3: LHSP Jose Quintana – $12M

SP4: RHSP Lucas Giolito – $10.8M

SP5: RHSP Michael Kopech – $2.2M

Bullpen – 8 players – $28.5M

RHRP Reynaldo Lopez – $3.3M

RHRP Kendall Graveman – $8M

LHRP Aaron Bummer – $3.75M

LHRP Garrett Crochet – $720K

RHRP Joe Kelly – $9M

RHRP Jimmy Lambert – $720K

RHRP Vince Velasquez – $3M

RP: Player to be named later

Hitters – 13 players – $100.8M

C: Yasmani Grandal – $18.25M

People are really hating on Yaz right now, and he was terrible last year, but in 2021 he was good for 3.6 WAR in 93 games and he’s due for a bounce-back. Fangraphs projects him for 2.3 or 2.4 WAR in only 89 games this year. If he comes anywhere near that, and Seby comes anywhere near the 0.7 WAR he’s projected for in only 52 games, the Sox will get starter-level production at this position. There’s no sense in wasting payroll or trade resources on a new catcher.

1B: Josh Bell – $10M

2B: Brandon Lowe – $5.25M

SS: Tim Anderson – $12.5M

I have no idea why so many Sox fans seem eager to either get rid of him or move him to 2B. Accounting for games played, the guy has produced all-star level WAR for every one of the last 4 years, and he’s projected for 3 WAR in only 139 games next year.

3B: Yoan Moncada – $17.8M

Not good at all last year, but in 2021 he was worth 4 WAR over 144 games. He should have a bounce-back year, and Fangraphs projects him for 2.5 or 2.6 WAR over 138 games in 2023.

RF: Oscar Colas – $720K

CF: Luis Robert – $9.5M

Projected for 4 WAR in 2023. If they can figure out how to keep him healthy and getting consistent playing time, he might be much better.

LF: Andrew Benintendi – $14M

DH: Eloy Jimenez – $10.3M

He was a monster in the last couple months last year, after he finally got some consistent playing time. Job #1 has to be trying to keep him healthy enough to keep him in the lineup hitting. That might mean some new training regimen, but I’m guessing it should also mean Eloy should (almost) never play defense again. He’s projected for 3.4 WAR next year, and I would not be surprised if it ends up being more than that.

Bench C: Seby Zavala – $720K

Bench 2B/SS/3B: Mendick – $1M

Bench 1B/DH/PH: Gavin Sheets – $720K

Bench OF: Player to be named later

TOTAL PAYROLL: $187.55M (including buyouts and trade kickers)

There are still two unfilled spots: a 4th outfielder and an 8th bullpen arm. They’ll have to be filled with whatever the Sox can get for $2.45M. I don’t have particular players in mind, and I assume that there will be more options after the tender/non-tender deadline. As for the outfielder, someone with a bit of speed (pinch runner?) and who can play defense would be ideal. Adam Engel wouldn’t be a terrible option, but they’d have to be able to sign him as a FA. Or there could be someone better. They can also probably throw Sheets out there if it’s really necessary from time to time. As for the last bullpen arm, I guess the best they can manage with the least.


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So you are trading Hendriks and getting…nothing?
MLBTR has Bell at 4 yrs/ $64 mil, you at 2yr/$20 are just a little light.
I just don’t get the love for Adam Eaton’s week armed little brother. Benintendi’s arm is so bad there’s no way you can put him in RF or CF. At best he’s a younger AJ Pollock but doesn’t have the same power profile and won’t have the benefit of Fenway’s short porch in RF.
No plan B for Colas.


Getting nothing for Hendricks, who is their most attractive trade bait seems insane. Trade him to the Dodgers who need a closer and get another 3rd or 4th starter. I’d consider giving Sheets a year to prove himself at 1B and use the Bell money for an update in OF to Benitendi. If Sheets does not make it, go FA in 2024 to fill 1B.