Thinking outside the box

PREAMBLE

This team needs more than a tweak. It’s gonna take some inventive thinking and moving a young popular player or two to stay within the budget constraints given by JR. Need to improve the defense as well. Here we go.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

Write “tender,” “non-tender” or “rework/extend” after each player and their projected 2022 salaries. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.

  • 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

CLUB OPTIONS

Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.

  • Tim Anderson: $12.5M ($1M buyout) Pick Up
  • Josh Harrison: $5.625M ($1.5M buyout)  Decline

PLAYER OPTIONS

Write “exercised” or “takes buyout.” The question here is whether you think Pollock could do better than one year and $8 million on the open market. I’m filling it in with “exercised” unless you can provide a compelling argument against it.

  • AJ Pollock: $13M ($5 million buyout) — Took Buyout!

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?

  • José Abreu (Made $18M in 2021) Let Go
  • Johnny Cueto ($4.2M) retain
  • Vince Velasquez ($3M) Let Go
  • Elvis Andrus ($14.25M) Let Go

MANAGER

Pedro Grifol

FREE AGENTS

  1. Wilson Contreras – C- – 4 yr/$65M . This solves a definite hole in the current lineup as well as the future as the Sox have no real catching option in their system for the future. Defense is average at best but with Grifol as manager, he can probably help improve that. The bat is an upgrade to the lineup.
  2. Kevin Kiermaier – OF – 2 yr/$13M . This puts a lefty bat in the lineup and improves outfield defense tremendously. It’s not an impact bat at all but the defense will be a welcome addition and can take over center if/when Robert goes on the IL.
  3. Billy Hamilton – OF – 1 yr/ $700,000  Billy is a good guy in the clubhouse and n the bench. he’ll provide some energy and can fill in any outfield position when needed. This club needs some energy and Billy will fill that role as well as being JR’s favorite thing…..cheap.

TRADES

C Yasmani Grandal and 1B Andrew Vaughn to San Diego for LHP Blake Snell and minor League LHP Jay Groome. : In order to trade Grandal, you’re gonna have to either eat most of the salary or give up a major piece. In this case, I’m sending Vaughn with Grandal to get this deal completed. The Padres need a 1B and Vaughn is a cheap option. They will actually use Grandal at C and DH as they are light in the catching position. They have excess pitching and Snell is probably a good fit for the trade as the contracts are similar even tho his value is much higher than Grandals, which is why I’m sending Vaughn. Groome was a former top pick but has had major injury issues. Last year he was healthy the entire year. He could fit in as a lefty pen piece but is basically a throw in.

Lucas Giolito to Toronto for OF Teoscar Hernandez- Jays need pitching. Sox need outfielders. Both are FA in 2024. Similar contracts. Easy deal. Good for both sides.

Liam Hendriks to LA Dodgers for IF Max Muncy and Minor League C Dalton Rushing: Another trade matching needs for both teams. Dodgers need a closer. Sox need a lefty 2B. Muncy can play 1b, 2b and 3b so can fill in nicely if/when Moncada goes on the IL. Similar money and the Sox would actually save about $4M on the deal. While Muncy had a down year last year, he still can hit 20-25 homers and is versatile around the infield.

SUMMARY

The defense will be vastly improved in the outfield with Kiermaier and Hernandez. Offensively, the team will be improved at LF, C and 2B and possibly RF. Defense will be the same or better at C as perhaps Grifol can work with Contreras and improve his defense. he already has a stronger arm than Grandal or Zavala.

The lineup will have more balance and more overall pop. Jimenez stays as DH so maybe he stays more healthy thru the year. Even if Moncada doesn’t improve offensively, Muncy at 2B will make up for that missing offense. 1B, where the team had a glut last year has been thinned out and would be less offensively. Here’s a potential Lineup with this offseason:

TA, Muncy, Robert, Jimenez, Moncada, Hernandez, Sheets, Kiermaier, Contreras.  Starting rotation of: Cease, Snell, Lynn, Kopech, Cueto. I’ll let Lopez see if he can close. If not Graveman has been a closer before and with Crochet back he could be that end of the bullpen piece as well.

Finally, the payroll would be less than $190M, I got rid of the Grandal contract but had to move a potential future core power in Vaughn. If Colas proves he is ready sometime during the season and Kiermaier isn’t hitting, we move him up.

This team is better and better prepared to make a move at the deadline as well.

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SkeeterSkeeterman

Nice job, thanks