Cheap to tweak, but still NOT Easy

PREAMBLE

First off, being a virgin on this site, I am VERY impressed with the responses, knowledge and research of those writing in.  I’d be interested on how close anyone’s plan was close to what Kenny or Hahn have actually done in the previous years.  Do you think Hahn even looks at such suggestions or ideas?

With that said, looking at this century’s Sox payroll totals, excluding the 2020 Covid year, Jerry the Grinch has only had a payroll over $100m, 9 out of 21 years and only once (2021) in the last five years.   Has only increase payroll year/year 12 of the last 21 years (COLA doesn’t exist in SoxLand).  So those plans that have him spending over $180m, although most being excellent ideas with solid plans, just doesn’t sit well with history.  The $170m seems to be a very strong possibility of a ceiling.  However, if someone can prove and guarantee to Jerry that spending an extra $20m will return at least $20,000,001, $170m may still be in question.

Looking at the ’21 Sox, neither hitting (except for BA with RISP and 2-outs (.218) nor pitching (but now with some flaws for 2022) was not the downfall.  The Sox were 27th in MLB in Fielding Percentage, 25th in Errors, 30th in Assists (I know, there were a lot of strikeouts), 23rd in Double Plays.  To go even deeper, the Sox were 30th in Stolen Bases Allowed, 29th in Passed Balls and 27th in Wild Pitches (which I still believe a good catcher can cut down on).  I will try and address the elephants in the room at 2b but RF may be an internal fill unless we have trade approval on core people, but a good defensive catcher (think what Maldonado did for the Astros) is a priority.  The pitching was top notch in 2021.  But 2022 is not 2021.

The Packers win the Division EVERY year because they have to play the Bears, Lions and the Vikings six times every year.  They only have to go 4-6 most years (or even 4-7 now in a 16-game season) outside the Division to win it.  How many Super Bowls have they won since 2000?  There could be a mental block when trying to stay sharp when a Division is locked up in June. Maybe just a superb, year-long motivational shrink would be helpful.  Plus, they don’t have to be counted for any payroll caps.  Lastly, we all probably over-value our home team at times, because……we should.  But when it comes to being realistic, sugar or even THC doesn’t help the medicine go down.  Some of my comments may hurt, but they’re just my comments…nothing personal.  I did not get into multiple year salaries/signing bonuses, etc. and only dealt with 2022 salaries.  This plan is to win in 2022 with  a $170m ceiling.  Years after are a sub-plot.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Lucas Giolito: $7.9M
    Tender.  LG is not a true #1 pitcher (think Scherzer, Kershaw in their prime) but it’s who we got as our #1. 11-9 doesn’t feel like a #1 pitcher (I know, pitcher’s wins don’t mean anything)!  I would NOT want to sign any pitcher for any extended amount of time.  As Yoda said; “The Odds aren’t with you”!
  • Reynaldo López; $2.8M
    Tender.  Really thought Lopez was the steal of the Eaton trade.  Although currently disappointed on his results, I still feel an upside for him.
  • Evan Marshall: $2.3M
    Non-Tender.  ​Pitchers and injuries.  They go hand-in-hand, whether lefty or righty.
  • Adam Engel: $2.2M
    Tender.  Just assign him his own personal trainer for God’s sake.
  • Brian Goodwin: $1.7M
    Non-Tender.  Thank you for the highlights this year.
  • Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M
    Non-Tender.  There really isn’t much room to wiggle for “Potential” when it comes to Jerry’s money.
  • Jace Fry: $1M
    Non-Tender.  It’s silly when you have to take into consideration this amount money to improve a team.

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout)
    Pick-up.  Unfortunately, it sounds like the Sox brass are going the pick-up way.  Not the choice I would have made, but it’s not my money, just my heart.  If you’re keeping a $16m closer and don’t have a guaranteed trade in your back pocket, than I must trade the $13.3m closer.
  • César Hernández: $6M
    Decline.  As much as I hate to say it, because of the Sox’s overall defense, he may be the best defensive 2b available.  However, there are other options below in trades.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Leury García (Made $3.5M in 2021)
    Retain.  A TLR favorite.  Give him a $500k bonus. Now $4m for 2022
  • Carlos Rodón ($3M)
    Let Go.  Again, pitchers and injuries DO mix.  Had a career year in 2021 and still broke down at the end.  Why do we have to be the M.A.S.H. unit for MLB pitchers?
  • Billy Hamilton ($1M)
    Let Go.  Again, silly to even need an additional $1m to improve the team.
  • Ryan Tepera ($950K)
    QO.  $4m feels like a good and fair amount who performed well in 2021.  Heck that’s over a 300% increase year/year while the rest of us are happy with the same numbers, only with the decimal point moved two slots to the left (3.00%).

FREE AGENTS

a. Manny Pina.  Slot is $3m.  A better than average defensive catcher, that can actually hit a little. Or….
b. Roberto Perez.          An even better defensive catcher that hits like Maldonado on Houston.

Eduardo Rodriguez.  $10.00m       Replaces Rodon. Plus, we don’t have to deal with Boras.

Either……
a. Rasiel Iglesias      $ 8.00m               Could be a good 8th inning guy.
b.  Andy Chafin         $ 6.00m                Need lefties in the bullpen.
c.  Brad Hand            $ 5.00m                 Lefty with high injury potential

TRADES

Liam Hendricks for Whitt Merrifield and MJ Melendez (c)
We have been force-fed to have a $16m closer.  If the Royals are truly rebuilding, Merrifield should be available. I originally had a straight up trade for Merrifield and Eloy, but the trade simulator said the Sox needed to give up more.  Plus, trading Eloy creates another open OF slot.  My plan was to sign Eddie Rosario for $15m (or Conforto for $16m), but I can’t make it work to get down near $170m.  Need to start building up the Farm teams as well again.

SUMMARY

Catchers
Grandal      $18.25m

First Base
Abreu           $19.60m

Second Base
Merrifield      $2.75m

Third Base
Moncada      $13.80m

Shortstop
Anderson     $  9.50m

Leftfield
Jimenez      $ 7.30m

Centerfield
Robert         $  6.00m

Rightfield
Sheets         $ 0.60m

Starters
Giolito        $  7.90m
Rodriguez   $10.00m
Lynn            $18.50m
Cease         $  0.60m
Keuchel       $18.00m

Bullpen
Kimbrel        $16.00m
Tepera         $  4.00m
Bummer      $   2.50m
Burr             $  0.60m
Lopez          $  2.80m.
Kopeck        $ 0.60m
Crochet       $ 0.60m

Either…..
a. Raisel Iglesias  $8.00m
b. Andy Chaffin     $6.00m
c. Brad Hand         $5.00m

Bench
L.Garcia      $ 4.00m
Pina/Perez $  3.00m
R.Gonzalez $ 0.60m
Engel           $ 2.20m
Vaughn        $ 0.60m
Total Payroll $174.7m
$187.4m…with Hendriks before a Kimbrel trade is finalized (minus Crochet in the Minors to be                                               at the 26-player limit) .
Keeping Kimbrel and Hendriks moves the payroll to $187.4m, but reduces to $171.4m after the Kimbrel trade.  By keeping Hendriks, we also keep Hernandez (lose Merrifield) but raise the payroll to $174.65m.

Because we have so many young players on the roster, the only way to reduce further to the $170m limit, is by finding someone for Moncada at $9.15m or lower.  We don’t want to trade Grandal as we already committed to Pina/Perez for Grandal’s shortcomings.  My parting shot would be to trade Lynn as he is at his highest worth and it could of been at the top of his Bell Curve in 2021.  This team cannot get better with three $16m+ pitchers because of the payroll constraints.  Lynn can be replaced by either Robbie Ray, Steve Matz or Jon Gray for around $9.0m each.  This brings the payroll down to $166.25m.

Lastly, the elephant in the room is Keuchel.  No team will take on a $18m contract for him.  We can offer to pay half ($9m), but would need to sign a second pitcher (already listed above for Lynn) at $9m, making the Keuchel slot the same amount, but with better contract constraints (of course it could be other pitchers not listed).  The possibilities are endless if we trade Kimbrel, Lynn and Keuchel for returns (possible further trades, i.e., Eloy, Vaughn).  Rebuild the farm teams as well as winning the Division (see Green Bay scenario).  Playoffs/World Series are a crap shoot anyway.  Being able to participate is the goal.  That is why the yearlong motivational therapist is needed……and I’m just talking for me!

Of course if the CBA cancels the season………….nevermind!

 

Potential Batting Order

  1.  Whitt Merrifield     2b
  2.   Tim Anderson        ss
  3.   Luis Robert             cf
  4.   Jose Abreu              1b
  5.   Yasmani Grandal   DH
  6.   Eloy Jimenez          lf
  7.   Yoan Moncada       3b
  8.   Gavin Sheets          rf  (Engel and Vaughn)
  9.   Pina/Perez              c
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burning-phoneix

Nice ideas but I honestly doubt they’ll trade Hendricks and keep Kimbrel.