Doug R’s Offseason Plan

PREAMBLE

The Sox have a shot this year. I am as much of a Jerry/Hahn skeptic as the next guy, so there’s no way I can see them signing Cole, Rendon, or probably even Strasburg. But the window should begin to open this year. Who knows what Cleveland will be going forward and if they’ll continue to shed pieces, Minnesota is losing 3/5 of their rotation to free agency and 1 of the remaining starters is Martin Perez, meanwhile Detroit and KC are still relatively far away. With the right bold additions, this team could be some good luck and internal development away from playoff contention.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

  • Alex Colomé, $10.3M – tender
  • Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2M – non-tender
  • James McCann, $4.9M – tender
  • Carlos Rodon, $4.5M – tender
  • Leury García, $4M – tender
  • Evan Marshall, $1.3M – tender
  • Josh Osich, $1M – non-tender
  • Ryan Goins, $900K – non-tender

These all felt easy to me. I don’t love Colome at that price, but he’s a reliable veteran and the Sox pen isn’t exactly loaded currently. Yolmer at that price is just too much, although I’ll miss his attitude and glove. I don’t understand the idea behind non-tendering Rodon. He’s been league average when healthy, could provide some sort of boost or depth late this season, and his price tag isn’t absurd at all for someone with the upside he has (despite not living up to the expectations of a #3 overall pick). He also has another year left after this and I don’t see any reason to give up on his high upside (and league average floor, he’s no Fulmer) at a reasonable price with an additional year of control.

CLUB OPTIONS

  • Welington Castillo: $8 million/$500,000 buyout – easy buyout

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

  • Jose Abreu (made $16M in 2019) – resign to 2 yr/$25MM (w/ club option)
  • Iván Nova (made $9,166,167 in 2019) – let go
  • Jon Jay (made $4M in 2019) – let go
  • Hector Santiago (made $2M in 2019 on split contract) – let go

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Yasmani Grandal (4 yr/$68 million). Beyond the aforementioned Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, this is my top target. He brings so much to the table that the Sox desperately need. A switch hitter with on-base skills and a good framing glove behind the plate. He’s an elite catcher and allows McCann’s workload to lessen as a back-up and occasional DH, which is likely his ideal role after seeing his second half regression last year. Grandal and McCann would create one of the better tandems in the league.

No. 2: Zack Wheeler (4 yr/$80 million). Rick Hahn named SP as a position of need this upcoming offseason. I don’t see the Sox signing Cole or Strasburg (if he opts-out), and I like Wheeler the best out of the remaining free agents. He has posted back-to-back healthy 4+ fWAR seasons, which would give the Sox two young top tier starters in he and Giolito to front the rotation for the coming years. His underlying statistics back up his solid performance and he appeared to be unaffected by the juiced ball.

No. 3: Mike Moustakas (2 yr/$26 million). Moustakas is going to be my second baseman, but I’ll explain why later on. He is also going to serve as my other lefty bat addition. Moustakas has hit well and quietly provided solid value for the past several years, despite his inability to secure more than a one-year deal in free agency. I’m going to give him that second year this offseason. He has been a decent fielder at second since the Brewers began moving him around, and he can also spend some time at 1B, 3B, and DH. He also provides a left-handed power bat who takes enough walks.

No. 4: Alex Wood (1 yr/$8 million). I’ve seen this as a very popular pick so far, and I love it. A great buy-low swingman with the upside of mid-rotation starter. He’s a perfect bounce-back candidate and could be a total steal, although I’m sure many other teams will view him the same way.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Dane Dunning, Luis Gonzalez, and Gavin Sheets to Baltimore for Trey Mancini. Considering Mancini’s lack of defensive value, I think he can be acquired without sacrificing a top-tier prospect as the headliner. Dunning has some solid prospect pedigree and Baltimore isn’t going anywhere for awhile, so they can afford to rehab him and let him settle in and pick up a few relatively interesting mid-tier prospects as well in Gonzalez and Sheets. Mancini is going to be my primary DH. I wanted JD, but couldn’t see Jerry signing him as well as Wheeler and Grandal. Mancini is a legit bat that would look great in the middle of the order and is just now entering his arbitration years.

No. 2: Trade Nick Madrigal, Reynaldo Lopez, and Blake Rutherford to Pittsburgh for Starling Marte and Joe Musgrove. So this one was tricky, I originally ran this through the trade machine without Rutherford and it came back with the Pirates getting more value back. That seemed odd to me, considering Marte’s team-friendly options and his all-star potential, as well as Musgrove’s years of control. So I threw in Rutherford just to make myself feel a little better. Obviously Madrigal is a piece the Sox recently invested a top draft pick in, and Lopez still has upside. However, Marte would be a great addition to the outfield both offensively and defensively. Musgrove is a reliable starter who seems much safer to rely on than Lopez at this point, his walk and home run rates were solid last year and he was worth 3.3 fWAR. He also has a lot of team control remaining. He isn’t an impact addition to the rotation, but I believe he is a much safer starter than Lopez and I’ve already added Wheeler to the top. As the Sox will be relying on Cease and Kopech this year and beyond, adding a safe, mid-rotation guy to offset the volatility of the young, flame throwers interested me heavily. I am curious to hear feedback on this proposal specifically, just because it was hard for me to gauge the value swap accurately.

SUMMARY

Lineup:

C – Grandal

1B – Abreu

2B – Moustakas

3B – Moncada

SS – Anderson

LF – Jimenez

CF – Robert

RF – Marte

DH – Mancini

Bench: Garcia, McCann, Mendick, Collins

Rotation

Giolito

Wheeler

Musgrove

Cease

Kopech (or Wood in the beginning)

Bullpen:

Colome

Herrera

Bummer

Fry

Marshall

Cordero

Tyler Johnson

Wood

If my calculations are correct, my payroll should be sitting around $135 million. I left the bullpen alone, because I think with the addition of Wood, possible late season return of Rodon, and several intriguing arms still in the minors, they should be able to put together a competent pen with their in-house options. Chicago is a big market and the Sox have a good chance to open their window next year, and so the money needs to be spent. I highly doubt the Sox will actually add this much payroll in one offseason, but this is how I would approach things. I did not give out any contracts over 4 years, I acquired several players who still have several years of team control remaining, and I created a team with a solid lineup from top to bottom and a rotation with a much higher floor and still a great deal of upside. I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

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