I entered this plan with the idea that hiring Grifol indicates that Rick Hahn is getting ready to do a major revamp of the organization. I think that we will see, in the coming months, a change in the training staff and a total overhaul of the analytics department (think firing all 5 current members and hiring 15+ people who actually know what they’re doing). We should also see a revamp of our player development programs in the minors even with Chris Getz maintaining his job.
In addition, I think that Hahn is finally going to feel like he can do what he wants (because he often acts as a cowardly wallflower and chooses not to stand up for himself). I think this means that he will also try to make up for some of his own mistakes. However, the current roster makes it very hard to do a whole lot.
So, when he says he wants to be very involved in the trade market, I think he means more to unload players rather than add specific major league players. That leaves adding players primarily via free agency, but we don’t need that many new faces, which is why Hahn didn’t indicate he would be that involved in free agency.
That said, my plan for the 26-man focuses on simplicity. I limit an overhaul to only a couple new faces and a bunch of younger players who have performed with the big club at some point mainly because young players are cheaper and we need to start learning that we can’t/shouldn’t have a 5+ year vet taking up every slot on our roster.
I’m not wholly familiar with the intricacies of MLB contract, so I don’t know how money traded with players affects the total, but I left a little wiggle room from the $190M. (I think I ended at just under $180M.)
- Lucas Giolito: $10.8M Tender (and don’t be petty over the number)
- Dylan Cease: $5.3M Tender
- Reynaldo López; $3.3M Tender
- Michael Kopech: $2.2M Tender
- Danny Mendick: $1M Tender
- Adam Engel: $2.3M Non-Tender
- Kyle Crick: $1.5M Non-Tender (resign to minor league contract)
- José Ruiz: $1M Non-Tender (resign to minor league contract)
- Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) Pick Up
- Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout) Decline
- AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — EXERCISED
- He won’t find better, so he’ll exercise this, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep him. Trade him after he accepts it.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) Let Go
- I love Abreu, but I think this is more a situation where his silent leadership and steadiness aren’t as valuable as moving on from him for flexibility to get Vaughn at first.
- Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) Retain
- This is an odd one because I love his passion as a starter, but I think that his age and other options make him valuable in the bullpen. We might not be able to keep him if this is the plan, but this is my plan.
- Vince Velasquez ($3M) Let Go
- Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) Let Go
Pedro Grifol (This one was easy for me since I did this after the announcement.)
The all-lefty free agent signings:
No. 1: Cody Bellinger (two years, $36M-3rd year team option at $20M). The expectation here is that the Dodgers will non-tender him. (Let’s call him Jermaine Dye)
No. 2: Carlos Rodon (four years, $100M). There may be burned bridges here, but I think there’s something more telling in terms of value in why he signed with us before 2021. Plus, we did him a solid with not extending a QO.
No. 3: Andrew Benintendi (two years, $17M-3rd year mutual option at $10M). This creates a complete reformation of our outfield with lefties on either side of Robert. (Let’s call him Scott Podsednik)
I see Hahn being very active here, but I don’t have any definitive trade options. I picked a couple teams at random. The primary goal is to offload these players, which is why I’ve included throwing cash at the teams. (We need to trade Joe Kelly, too, but the template only asked for three trades.) It also helps with reinvigorating our minor leagues with depth rather than just a handful of highly prized prospects.
No. 1: Trade Yasmani Grandal and cash to St. Louis for minor leaguers.
No. 2: Trade Leury Garcia, Jake Diekman, and cash to San Francisco for minor leaguers.
No. 3: Trade Gavin Sheets, AJ Pollock, and cash to Colorado for minor leaguers.
The one thing that I wasn’t sure of was trading away Gavin Sheets. I think he could be a good bench piece, but that’s all I would want him to be. The problem is that players like Gonzalez and Mendick give far more positional flexibility. Plus, Sheets’ second half might have added some trade value to get better prospects from whomever.
This team is poised for an odd revamp where a lot of the changes will have to happen behind the scenes. The primary goal of my plan was to find ways to take pressure off our areas of need, diminish the glut of poor resources we have (we went from three 1B to one), and get a significant shake up without damaging our core. Because of this, we have to be able to address certain needs while accepting that there will be at least one spot (2B) where we are going to have to go young. By focusing on lefty free agents instead of just names, my hope is to bring greater balance and validity to the lineup. Yes, it will take money, but I’m hoping that Jerry and Kenny start to realize that the culture needs to shift and that requires this upfront investment.
We have the players on the team that we can roll with if we get the four free-agent signings (Rodon, Bellinger, Benintendi, and Cueto). We have players we should trade, but what we get back should be primarily minor league players, of whom I am mostly unfamiliar beyond something like MLB.com’s prospect lists. I won’t trade away our top prospects (especially in bulk) to get mediocre players who may not stay with us for more than a year or two. I want a strong minor league and a flexible and strong MLB roster. So, I traded for minor leaguers rather than trading away our minor leaguers. By using the trade market with smaller expectations (not aiming for major league players or top 100 prospects), we can get more value from a wider disbursement of talent.
This is what my 26 man will look like (I fully understand if you don’t like my number 2 hitter in that spot).
- Tim Anderson (SS)
- Yoan Moncada (3B)
- Eloy Jimenez (DH)
- Cody Bellinger (RF)
- Andrew Vaughn (1B)
- Luis Robert (CF)
- Andrew Benintendi (LF)
- Seby Zavala (C)
- Lenyn Sosa (2B)
- Carlos Perez (C)
- Danny Mendick (IF/OF)
- Romy Gonzalez (IF)
- Adam Haisley (OF) –Note that Oscar Colas takes over about a month or two into the season
- Dylan Cease
- Carlos Rodon
- Lance Lynn
- Michael Kopech
- Lucas Giolito
- Liam Hendriks (CL)
- Kendall Graveman
- Aaron Bummer
- Reynaldo Lopez
- Johnny Cueto
- Garret Crochet
- Jimmy Lambert
- Matt Foster
Bonus: Non-Roster Invitees
- Lewis Brinson
- Marwin Gonzalez
- Paul Fry
AAA Players that will move back and forth (though we may add some via the prospect focused trades)
- Oscar Colas (will be switched with Haisley in-season)
- Martin Davis
- Jake Burger
- Mark Payton
- Jose Ruiz
- Kyle Crick
- Jonathan Stiever
- Yolbert Sanchez
- Sean Burke
- Jason Bilious
- Nicholas Padilla