Armchair’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The goal of the 2022 offseason is to put together a team that can win at least one playoff series without punting the future.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M – tender
  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M – tender
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M – non-tender (offer minors deal so he can TJ rehab w/ our doctors)
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M – tender
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M – non-tender
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M – non-tender
  • Jace Fry: $1M – non-tender

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) – pick up and trade
  • César Hernández: $6M – decline

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021) – let go
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M) – extend qualifying offer, which will be rejected by Scott Boras.
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M) – re-sign 1 year/$ 1 mil
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K) – re-sign 3 years/$10 mil (1.5; 4; 4.5)

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Justin Verlander (one year, $16 million). Giolito and Kopech’s idol shores up the back end of the rotation in a ride into the sunset kind of year. This move only happens if Rodon rejects the qualifying offer. Don’t be weird to Kate when you see her at Comiskey.

No. 2: Carlos Martinez (one year, $2.5 million). Katz reclamation project that could pitch meaningful innings out of the bullpen if he can stay healthy.

No. 3: Roberto Perez (one year, $1.5 million). Defensive-minded backup catcher who can provide some info on Cleveland’s pitching strategies.

No. 4: Cesar Prieto (international free agency). left-handed, Cuban version of Nicky Mads. If the Sox are tapped out after the Oscar Colas/Erick Hernandez signings, they’ll have to convince Prieto to wait a year.

TRADES

All trades except one were run through the BTV simulator and accepted. Player values are in parentheses.

No. 1: Trade Andrew Vaughn (35.3) to Miami for Jazz Chisholm (28.4) and Jesus Luzardo (10). Vaughn is a little redundant for the Sox but has a lot of untapped potential in that bat. Marlins haven’t been shy about upgrading ceilings (they traded Zac Gallen for Chisholm) and Vaughn has the highest ceiling here. TA gets a new double play partner and the Sox finally get the pitcher who was supposed to be the centerpiece in the “David Robertson to the Nationals” deal. Both are controllable through 2026.

No. 2: Trade Craig Kimbrel (0.6) to the Mets for Joey Lucchesi (0.6), Robert Dominguez (0.7), and Dominic Hamel (0.8). Kimbrel needs a change of scenery and the Mets are weird & rich enough to try to pair him with Edwin Diaz at the back end. Sox cut bait on a plan that didn’t work out and acquire a back-end starter recovering from TJ (basically a deadline acquisition in advance) and two heavy ball but unheralded prospects that are analytics darlings. They’re on the Mets MLB Top 30 Prospects list if you want a scouting report with a little more detail. Lucchesi is controllable through 2024 via arbitration.

Supplemental Deal to No. 2: Trade either Rick Hahn or Kenny Williams to the Mets for Jeff McNeil (11.8). This is the one that was not put through the simulator (because look at it). The Mets’ search for a new President of Baseball Operations is going as bad as you would expect, so this is a move that wholly capitalizes on that desperation. McNeil had a down year in 2021 but carved out a solid career as a left-handed contact hitter who can play multiple positions in his 3 years prior. He is controllable through 2024 via arbitration and is my new Leury Garcia.

No. 3: Trade Aaron Bummer (7.8) to St. Louis for Genesis Cabrera (7.9) and Jordan Hicks (0.5). St. Louis gets a set up man ideal to pair with their infield defense while the Sox get a worse heavy ball lefty and a Ferrari of a right arm that needs to be taken to the shop every other week.

No. 4: Trade Zack Collins (0) to Arizona for J.B. Bukauskas (0.8). It’s a busted prospect swap. Bukauskas can and will be optioned to Charlotte but has a pitching profile that I think this team can work with.

SUMMARY

Catching: Yasmani Grandal, Roberto Perez

Infield: Jose Abreu, Jazz Chisholm, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Jake Burger

Outfield: Luis Robert, Adam Engel, Gavin Sheets, Eloy Jimenez, Jeff McNeil (also 2B/3B, but really its Romy Gonzalez), Billy Hamilton

Starting Pitching: Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel

Bullpen: Liam Hendriks, Genesis Cabrera, Jordan Hicks, Ryan Tepera, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez, Jesus Luzardo, Carlos Martinez

Payroll is a couple million under the $170 million budget, so there’s room for a deadline move. Would have loved the budget to be luxury tax so I could sign Corey Seager, but I get it.

Sox are in a potential championship window right now, so it was important for me to develop a team that can hold off potential breakouts in Detroit and Kansas City for another division crown and have enough flexibility to be peaking right around the time of the playoffs.

The consensus areas of need were 2B, SP, and RF. I swapped Vaughn for Chisholm, so 2B is set for the next several seasons. Verlander fills the SP void for one year, but 4 of my bullpen arms can throw at least 100 innings if we need to put a pitch count on Verlander and Keuchel. I did not forget about Crochet – I have him in Charlotte getting acclimated to a starter’s workload (unless he comes out in Spring Training throwing like he did in 2020). I’m fine with a Sheets/Engel platoon in RF for this season (or McNeil lol). The OF upgrades in free agency are either way out of our price range or Seiya Suzuki. And I’m not interested in the podcast suggestion of “trade Eloy Jimenez for Bryan Reynolds.” I’m fine riding this platoon out and monitoring the progress of Cespedes & Colas before searching externally for a long-term solution.

The 2022 offseason appears to have a lot of money coming off the books and I have put a number of succession plans in place to fill the positional voids of that money coming off the books. Additionally, getting a guy like Jazz Chisholm allows the more interesting Sox prospects to develop into trade chips, and this allows the Sox to make some really interesting moves at the deadline and next offseason.

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iamkarnold

My only qualm is in the Jazz Chisholm trade. Would the commissioners office really allow a trade to go down that would get 100% of the leagues middle infield swag on one team? I’m not so sure.