frankieb4u’s Offseason Plan: Blood in the Water

Have you ever seen those late night, over dramatized, pseudo-animated renditions of shark attacks on the Discovery Channel during Shark Week? Oh, just me… Well, there’s one constant in every episode: the shark smells blood in the water and spirals into a frenzy. Rick Hahn is the shark. The AL Central is the blood. It was abundantly clear in 2020 that the Sox can already lead the division for extended periods of time. But with just a few more solid pieces it will be complete destruction. You’re in the water, Jake Cave’s in the water, Hahn’s in the water… The question is: what constitutes a “What Sox Shark Attack”? Balancing my anticipation of Hahn’s aggressiveness with Uncle Jerry’s penny-pinching tendencies, I think this offseason attack is both frugal, yet successful. Something like this:

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

• Nomar Mazara: $5.9M – NON-TENDER
• Carlos Rodón: $4.5M – NON-TENDER
• Lucas Giolito: $5.3M – TENDER
• Reynaldo López: $2.2M – NON-TENDER
• Evan Marshall: $1.9M – TENDER
• Adam Engel: $1.4M – TENDER
• Jace Fry: $1M – NON-TENDER
• Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain – NON-TENDER

Hahn has a talent and proclivity for locking up young talent, but this is likely where his hot streak stalls out. Lucas Giolito has put up back-to-back ace like seasons. If the Sox approached him for an extension right now you can bet he’d be looking for a sizeable contract. With the pandemic at play and time on their side for now, I think they pass up an extension and just roll-out the tendered offer above. That said, the time for personnel experiments is up. Contention does not include floating money to guys like Rodon, Lopez, and Mazara.

CLUB OPTIONS

• Edwin Encarnación: $12M – DECLINE
• Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout) – DECLINE
• Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout) – PICK UP

Not much to think about when it comes to Gio and E5, but Leury? He’s the perfect utility guy on a contending team. The only real gripe I think a person could have would be his injuries. For my money, it’s pretty fluky. Let’s cut out the head first slides into first and see what happens.

OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS

• Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020) – RETAIN ($12M)
• James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020) – LET GO
• Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020) – LET GO

I too am a believer in math handed down from our AI overlords. And I’m well aware Colome’s peripherals aren’t good. But at some point, it doesn’t really matter. We just become the physical manifestation of the shrugging emoji as he continues to close out games. The dude has stones. And closers with stones don’t grow on trees.

Oh, and I think the Sox will offer McCann a deliberately unacceptable offer designed to let him walk.

COACHING STAFF

Manager: Bruce Bochy – I’m of the belief that you can find very legitimate managers other than a cheater or a member of Reinsdorf’s Thursday night Bunko league. He comes with the pedigree and was around recently enough.
Pitching coach: James Shields – That’s right baby! This staff is gonna need some guidance when it comes to big games. Also, you can’t really expect the Sox to go a whole winter without one “homer” move. If it’s the pitching coach, so be it.

FREE AGENTS

No. 1: Marcus Stroman – 5 years, $87.5M (1yr Club Option, $22M)
No. 2: Kurt Suzuki – 1 year, $3.5 M
No. 3: Jonathan Villar – 1 year, $2.5M

I had a pretty difficult time guessing on free agent money, especially pitchers. At the end of the day, I think Stroman is one of the more likely candidates to lose a few bucks this year. The pandemic hurts, but missing a year hurts more IMO. That said, he’ll still be taking in $17.5M AAV. He’s a perfect fit for the clubhouse and can sit nicely in the 3-spot in the rotation, no pressure.

Suzuki is a replacement level catcher that provides respectable defense and, by many accounts, a solid veteran presence and knowledge. If you aren’t keeping McCann, save a few bucks here and keep Grandal in as much as possible.

We’re losing Dyson, so bring in Villar as your younger pinch runner for around the same price I’m guessing.

TRADES

No. 1: Trade Jonathan Stiever, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi, Gavin Sheets to San Francisco for Mike Yastrzemski.

We want a left-handed bat with pop in right field, yeah? Well I’m think San Fran may be tearing it down. How do you look at the Dodgers and Padres and like your odds anytime in the next few years? Mike Yastrzemski can provide all-around good offensive production (high avg, obp, and power stats) as well as solid enough defense. With that in mind, Yas will never have a higher price tag being 30 years old already, but on a rookie deal. The names listed are sellable for the Sox and are at positions where depth isn’t a major concern. I toyed with the idea of three prospects, but with more name brand power if the Giants need that. Something like Dunning, Collins, and Adolfo.

SUMMARY

LINEUP – $56M
1) Anderson – SS
2) Grandal – C
3) Robert – CF
4) Abreu – 1B
5) Yastrzemski – RF
6) Jimenez – LF
7) Moncada – 3B
8) Vaughn – DH
9) Madrigal – 2B

BENCH – $10.9M
1) Kurt Suzuki – C
2) Leury Garcia – UTL
3) Adam Engel – OF
4) Jonathan Villar – INF

ROTATION – $41.8M
1) Giolito
2) Keuchel
3) Stroman
4) Crochet
5) Kopech/Cease

BULLPEN – $18.9
Marshall
Dunning
Foster
Heuer
Colome
Cordero
Cease/Kopech
Bummer

BUYOUTS: $500K
TOTAL: $128.1M

BOOM! Under budget, or at least that’s what my grade school level math ability told me. At the end of the day, I don’t think the Sox need to do too much to be world series contenders. They just need to pounce where it counts. I envision Hahn and the gang shelling out some coin for a pitcher, but finding affordable ways to address right field. Both are doable. Now let’s go attack the AL Central!

 

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