Lets be honest. There isn’t a whole lot to work with here. The team isn’t good enough to trade many minor league guys for major leaguers. There aren’t many good major leaguers that anyone wants and the free agents aren’t even all that great to get excited about. But here we go.
- Dylan Cease: $8.8M- Tender
- Andrew Vaughn: $3.7M-Tender
- Michael Kopech: $3.6M-Tender
- Touki Toussaint: $1.7M- Non-tender
- Trayce Thompson: $1.7M- Non-tender
- Garrett Crochet: $900K- Tender
- Clint Frazier: $900K- Non-tender
- Matt Foster: $740K- Non tender
Write “pick up” or “decline” or “rework” after the option.
- Tim Anderson: $14M ($1M buyout) Decline
- Liam Hendriks: $15M ($15M buyout, paid $1.5M annually over next 10 years) Decline
Write “exercised” or “takes buyout.”
- Mike Clevinger: $12M mutual option ($4 million buyout) Exercised- He was the Sox best pitcher last year. I believe he’s already weathered the majority of the storm here. Nobody traded for him at the deadline which may be an eyeopener. I think he will accept the contract.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, extend qualifying offer, or let go?
- Yasmani Grandal (Made $18.25M in 2023)- Gone
- Elvis Andrus ($3M)- Retain 1/3
- Bryan Shaw ($720K)- Retain 1/1
- José Ureña ($720K)- Gone
Elvis Andrus 1/3 – He did well enough last year to get another contract if he wants it. None of the young guys played better than Andrus did and he can also play shortstop if need be.
Bryan Shaw: 1/1 – He pitched everyday so he needs to come back because who the hell is going to take those innings. He did well enough for a million and if he stinks then it won’t cost much.
Amed Rosario: 2/16– Rosario played pretty well for the Guardians before being dealt to the Dodgers. He’s a passable major league shortstop that will bridge the gap to Montgomery and move to second base next season. He has a bit of power and steals some bases.
Eric Lauer: 1/5 – Lauer held down a spot in the Brewers rotation in 2021 and 2022 going 18-12 with a 3.47 ERA. This year was different though as he struggled mightily. He was sent to the minors and the rough year continued down there and he was outrighted off of their roster. He elected free agency. If you listen to Brian Bannister it seems like he likes working with guys that have sort of lost their way. So here is a cheap option for him to work with.
Jack Flaherty- 1/12 (Mutual 12 year option next year or 4 million buyout)- Giving Flaherty the Clevinger deal to see if Ethan Katz can do something with his former player. Flaherty needs help harnassing his control. Maybe Katz and Bannister can bring back his former results.
No. 1: Trade Yoán Moncada to the Royals for Salvador Perez and Mason Barnett– Pretty much a bad contract swap. Moncada goes to the Royals where they have nobody at third base and one of their top prospects is a third baseman in double A. So they spend a little more this year to save a little next year. I don’t want Pedro Grifol, you don’t want Pedro Grifol, but he’s here. As long as he’s here they may as well get his best student. Perez comes in and takes the spot of Grandal. He’s not what he once was but he can still hit some homers and the Sox don’t have anyone close to the majors that is better. Barnett comes in to even out the contract disparity.
No. 2: Trade Dylan Cease to the Orioles for Anthony Santander, Coby Mayo and Hudson Haskin – The Orioles have so many top position player prospects and not a lot of places to put them. Mayo is the big get here. He’s one of their top prospects that is a third baseman and hits a ton. The Orioles have Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday coming quickly, which makes Mayo expendable. Santander is a free agent at the end of the year and the Orioles have already called up two top prospects. Haskin is a little farther down the prospect line for the Orioles but he will be one of the top ones for the Sox. The Orioles need a top of rotation guy and Cease can fit right in there.
No. 3: Trade Bryan Ramos to the Blue Jays for Alek Manoah – Manoah was one of the best starters in baseball in 2022. 2023 was a disaster for Manoah and the Blue Jays. Manoah didn’t appreciate being yo-yo’d up and down. Ramos continued to develop in 2023. He gives the Blue Jays a future third baseman with Matt Chapman likely to move on.
At the end of the day, the Sox gained some much needed power in the lineup, filled their rotation with guys that Bannister can get his hands on. Added a couple guys to their minor league system and won’t do any worse than they did last year.
- Benintendi LF
- Robert CF
- Santander RF
- Jimenez DH
- Vaughn 1B
- Perez C
- Mayo 3B
- Rosario SS
- Andrus 2B
Bench- Lee or Carlos Perez, Remilard or Romy, Sheets or Colas, Sosa or Rodriguez
- Mike Clevinger
- Jack Flaherty
- Alek Manoah
- Michael Kopech
- Eric Lauer
- For the last three spots battle it out with the relievers on the 40 man. I don’t want them spending anything on relief pitching this year. Lets see what the live arms that they have can do.
The final tab is somewhere around 180 million. My original plan had them tendering Toussaint and not paying Flaherty but I figured what the hell make Jerry spend some extra money. I’m putting stock in Brian Bannister in this plan with a starting rotation that has four guys coming off of down years. If he could move them back the other way it could be a cheap and quick way to rebuild that group. The offense should hit somewhere close to 200 bombs without squinting too much. Grifol gets his guy to help the culture. The bullpen has some big arms that need to find their role in the majors. This is their chance. Overall, we won’t win 80 games but hopefully it can be a year where they improve from last year and sort things out for the future.