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Now that the free agency period is officially under way, it’s a good time to conclude the offseason plan project. I posted twice as many entries as last season, and had enough for some deleted scenes at the end.
Thanks to everybody who participated. It’s a good way to consider as many ideas and angles as possible, and also to try and prevent getting blindsided by a Kenny Williams move, although we’ll probably fail at that.
Our 16th and final plan comes courtesy of David, who goes by the cryptic name, “David.”
David’s 2011 offseason plan
1) Would you offer arbitration to:
*A.J. Pierzynski? (Type A) — No, I’d expect him to accept considering he will not get close to $6 mil in free agency, and the risk is too high for the Sox budget.
*Paul Konerko? (Type A) — Yes
*Manny Ramirez? (Type A) — No
*J.J. Putz (Type B) — Yes, Best case is he accepts for a slight increase and Sox only have to go year to year
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
Option picked up. He’s a very affordable backup catcher and might be in line for slightly increased workload
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Offer long term contract, four years, $35 million ($6M/$8M/$10M/$11M) with club option for a fifth year at $12 million, taking him potentially through his age 30 season.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
5) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
I would tender him but not his glove. Make him a full-time DH.
6) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
I would not tender him a contract, because despite his versatility, he hasn’t been very good.
FREE AGENCY: WHITE SOX
7) Which of the following impending White Sox free agents would you attempt to re-sign, and at what price:
*Paul Konerko: I would stay involved in discussions, but assume he will get more than the two years, $20 million I’d be willing to offer and would take the compensatory picks.
*A.J. Pierzynski: Did not offer arb.
*J.J. Putz: Detailed above; preferably he returns for approximately two years and $6-6.5 million, or accepts arb.
*Manny Ramirez: And take those dreadlock wigs with you on the way out.
*Omar Vizquel: The Sox re-signed him, but I’d have let him walk coming off of an overachieving year that was overrated.
*Andruw Jones: Re-sign for one year and $1 million.
*Freddy Garcia: Thank you for your service, again.
*Mark Kotsay: Before you leave, please tell us how you brainwashed Ozzie and Hawk?
FREE AGENCY: OUTSIDE HELP
8) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?
Right field, catcher, third base, relief pitching, left field.
9) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.
*Sign Frank Francisco, two years, $7 million (assuming Rangers don’t offer arb; he’s Type A).
*Sign Carlos Pena, one year, $4 million plus incentives (assuming Rays don’t offer arb; he’s Type B).
*Sign Justin Duchscherer, one year, incentive-laden deal.
I also like: Akinori Iwamura (minor league deal), Felipe Lopez (two year deal as utility infielder), Russell Martin (potential non-tender), Willie Harris (one-year deal as fourth oufielder), Jesse Crain (two-year deal) to name a few.
9) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
*Trade Dayan Viciedo to the Baltimore Orioles for Luke Scott: Baltimore gets six years of control of raw, flawed-but-talented Viciedo while clearing outfield logjam and payroll. Sox get two years of control of a lefty power/OBP bat in Scott, who can play first base or outfield.
*Trade Edwin Jackson Rockies for Chris Iannetta: Colorado gets solid starter with improving groundball rate for in-flux rotation (Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis are free agents). Sox get underacheiving but power/OBP talent in Iannetta, who is under control for two years at a reasonable price.
10) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
Roster as I’ve constructed is approximately $103-107 million.
Jake Peavy – SP ($16 mil)
Mark Buehrle – SP ($14 mil)
John Danks – SP ($6 mil)
Gavin Floyd – SP ($5 mil)
Chris Sale – SP ($400 K)
Justin Duchscherer – SP/RP ($1 mil)
Scott Linebrink – RP ($5.5 mil)
Sergio Santos – RP ($445 K)
Frank Francisco – RP ($3.5 mil)
J.J. Putz – RP ($3.25 mil)
Matt Thornton – RP ($3 mil)
Juan Pierre – LF ($8.5 mil, $3.5 mil from LAD)
Gordon Beckham – 2B ($500 K)
Carlos Pena – 1B ($4 mil + incentives)
Alex Rios – CF ($12 mil)
Luke Scott – RF ($6 mil)
Carlos Quentin – DH ($3.75 mil)
Chris Iannetta – C ($2.55 mil)
Alexei Ramirez – SS ($1.1 mil)
Morel – 3B ($400 K)
Andruw – OF ($1.5 mil)
Vizquel – INF ($1.75 mil)
Teahen – OF/INF ($4.75 mil)
Lillibridge – OF/INF ($500 K)
Castro – C ($1.2 mil)
My goal for the offseason was finding bargains, maintaining future financial flexibility and investing in the farm system so that success can be sustained without a prolonged dip while remaining competitive in a weak division. Picking up two high draft picks from Konerko leaving is a critical, though not a popular, decision. Everything I’ve read indicates the 2011 draft will be very strong and Doug Laumann’s recent draft record offers hope. I would not sign any players that will cost the Sox picks and made the assumption that both Pena and Francisco won’t be offered arb. There’s reason to believe neither will.
I’ve added three position players (Pena, Scott and Iannetta) with career OBP’s of at least .350. Each is also capable of 20 or more homers. Pena had an extremely low BABIP of .222 last season but still drew plenty of walks (87+ last four years) and is a good bounce-back candidate. Iannetta similarly had poor luck with BABIPs of .245 in 2009 and .212 in 2010 while still walking over 13 percent of the time.
The Sox need to find out if Sale has the ability to start. He’s infinitely more valuable in the rotation. The lack of a second lefty in the pen is a slight concern, but Francisco excels against left-handed batters. Power arm, more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings, and previous closer success. I’m a big fan of his.
I believe this team would have a deeper lineup with more power and the ability to get on base. The rotation and bullpen are full of power arms.
Below are some names of free agents and trade targets that hadn’t been discussed in previous plans. Some ideas may seem odd or unfeasible, but there is a certain lack of context for the rest of the picture, so focus more on the names, and less on the particulars.
*Johnny Damon: 1 year, $6.5 million. If the Tigers go with their younger outfield, Damon has no place to play with them next year and a return to the Yankees is unlikely given the significant drop in stats his time with the Tigers proved. He could, however, fit in perfectly with Ozzie’s desired “Rotating DH” model. (Chris)
*Nick Johnson: 1 year, $2.5 million. Johnson’s performance with the Yankees mirrored Manny’s experience with the Sox. He walked a lot, and occasionally singled. Johnson’s reputation for being constantly hurt wont help him earn any money next year, but it primes him for a Russell Branyan trial contract with Kenny’s misfits. (Chris)
*Victor Martinez: Four years, $32 million. (jmsdn58)
*Rafael Soriano: Two years, $15 million. (jmsdn58)
*Trevor Hoffman: Scrap-heap deal. (Doctor Memory)
*RF Carlos Quentin to Tampa Bay for SP James Shields: Rumblings on mlbtraderumors.com and from Buster Olney seem to indicate that the Rays are ready to part ways with James Shields, who they’ve already signed to one of their ingenious extension with options contracts. Shields, like Jackson, is a strike-thrower who occasionally has control issues and would fit in perfectly with the organization’s model of pitcher. In return, Tampa Bay would be able to replace the production they expect to lose from Pena’s departure, and at a relative bargain price for a power bat. (Chris)
*CF Alex Rios to Yankees for C Miguel Montero and RP Joba Chamberlain. In the wake of the Yankees’ elimination from the playoffs this year, Yanks GM Cashman will be aggressive about adding talent to the roster. Rios had a solid year offensively and defensively at a challenging position. With Granderson’s now-legendary struggles against left-handed pitching, adding Rios’ proven-production could appeal to Cashman.
While catcher is a harsh position to fill, there is enough proven free-agent talent to appeal to the Yankees’ because of the demands of their veteran pitching staff. This trade would also give the Sox the plus prospect necessary to land Colby Rasmus, and the payroll flexibility to enter the bidding for Adam Dunn. Max contract offered for Dunn, 31, could warrant four years, $46 million ($11.5 million / year). (Chris)
*Alexei Ramirez for Jose Reyes. Since your readership is adamant that Alexei is the best shortstop in the AL, won’t the Mets jump at the chance to reduce payroll, get a bit younger, and add a guy who hasn’t been hurt much of the past two years? This will give the Sox speed, defense, and BA. Pierre moves to the nine-hole, creating a speed-speed tandem when the lineup rolls over. Shoot, maybe the Mets will add $10 million to sweeten the deal. (Doctor Memory)