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My plan is simple: Last year, our team wasn’t balanced, played people out of position, was sloooooow, and lacked skill. We need baseball players who know the game and can play to their strengths.
- Lucas Giolito: $10.8M – TENDER
- Dylan Cease: $5.3M – TENDER
- Reynaldo López; $3.3M – TENDER
- Adam Engel: $2.3M – NON-TENDER
- Michael Kopech: $2.2M – TENDER
- Kyle Crick: $1.5M – NON-TENDER
- José Ruiz: $1M – NON-TENDER
- Danny Mendick: $1M – TENDER
- Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) – PICKED UP
- Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout – DECLINE
- AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — DECLINED
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) – LET GO
- Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) – LET GO
- Vince Velasquez ($3M) – LET GO
- Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) – LET GO
Pedro Grifol. Hopefully he can build a powerhouse team of coaches around him.
No. 1: Trea Turner (7 years, $200m). Will play 2b and be a huge clutch hitter for us. Dude’s a baseball player.
No. 2: Michael Brantley (2 years, $15m). Insurance for injuries or performance issues. Working in a p/t role should help Brantley to deliver max impact…plus he’s lefty.
No. 3: Brandon Nimmo (6 years, $120m). Plays CF and we move Luis to a corner to help maintain his health.
Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Trade Liam Hendriks, Gavin Sheets, and Lenyn Sosa to the St. Louis Cardinals for Jack Flaherty and Matthew Liberatore. This helps both teams:It gives the Cardinals a great closer they sorely lack and a strong utility man with potential. This helps the Sox with getting Flaherty to be a 5 (keeping Martin as the swingman), Liberatore to be a future 4 or 5 (and a lefty which we need), and removes Hendriks’ salary. I think this trade seems pretty even between the two teams or even a bit slanted towards the Cardinals given the lack of team control for Flaherty/Liberatore in the near future.
After all is said and done, here’s the new line-up and pitching staff:
C- Yasmani Grandal
1B- Andrew Vaughn
2B- Trea Turner
3B- Yoan Moncada
SS- Tim Anderson
LF- Luis Robert
CF- Brandon Nimmo
RF- Oscar Colas
DH- Eloy Jimenez
BENCH: Leury Garcia (INF/OF), Danny Mendick (INF), Seby Zavala (C), Michael Brantly (OF)
- Tim Anderson (R )
- Brandon Nimmo (L)
- Luis Robert (R)
- Eloy Jimenez (R)
- Trea Turner (R )
- Oscar Colas (L)
- Andrew Vaughn (R)
- Yoan Moncada (S)
- Yasmani Grandal (S)
SP1- Dylan Cease
SP2- Lance Lynn
SP3- Lucas Giolito
SP4- Michael Kopech
SP5- Jack Flaherty
CL- Reynaldo Lopez
SU- Aaron Bummer
SU- Kendall Graveman
MR- Garrett Crochet
MR- Joe Kelly
MR- Jimmy Lambert
MR-Jake Diekmann/Tanner Banks/Davis Martin/Matt Foster
Waiting in the wings if the need arises:
IF: Jose Rodriguez, Colson Montgomery, Jose Rodriguez, Carlos Perez
OF: Yoelqui Cespedes (could be good 4th outfielder)
SP: Liberatore, Sean Burke
RP: Whichever of Diekmann/Banks/Martin/Foster don’t make the team, Taylor Schilling
This plan does many things including:
- This will be the fastest team the Sox have fielded in a long time with 6 of the starters capable of stealing a base at any point (and 2 bench players as well). That will also help to ensure more people can score from 2nd on base hits and to reduce double plays.
- R/L lineup balance. 4 of the 9 starters are lefties or switch-hitters.
- Outfield defense. The outfield has 3 legit outfielders (all of who have played CF recently) with good arms to keep prospective tag-up runners honest and to support the pitching with better overall fielding.
- Infield defense. We now have square pegs in square holes and Turner can spell Anderson at shortstop to give him rest days.
- More square pegs in square holes. Garcia and Mendick are now super utilities. Vaughn is now a full-time 1b and can focus on elevating his bat (whereas last year he had to focus so much on learning the outfield). And finally Eloy is a DH.
- Pitching succession. Giolito and Flaherty could be free agents in the next year or two and we need to have a bench of people who can jump in. Liberatore (and Martin) give us 2 close-to-ready 4/5’s who are very close and between them and Burke, that should buy our younger pitching prospects (eg Vera, Kelly, Thompson, etc…) some time to continue to grow and not be rushed.
- Insulation in the lineup. Pressure will be taken off of Grandal, Moncada, and Colas to carry the lineup and they’ll be free to get back to form or at least be the best version of themselves. We have some other big boppers that can carry the majority of the load.
Some fair criticisms:
- All 5 starters are righties. Noted. I couldn’t really find a great lefty fit for my plan and I didn’t want to just punt and say “Quintana” or “Rodon.” I don’t think there’s an easy answer here.
- Power. Abreu’s homeruns (or typical homeruns) won’t be made up by Nimmo or Turner. However, I’d expect Vaughn, Moncada, Anderson, and Grandal to improve in that category this year and Colas has the potential to hit 20-30.
- Payroll. This lands at about $195-200m. Unsure if the Sox would want to do that.