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With the right moves the Sox can be competitive. I wasn’t trying to magically transform this team by grabbing Cole, Bumgarner, and Rendon. I didn’t want to hamstring the payroll and make the team surprisingly old. I think I struck a moderate tone in improving the club without sacrificing the future. If some of my contracts are too light, I’m OK with going deeper to get these guys. Jerry can afford it. As it is, I went over the budget by $6.43M. Perhaps some of you will decide to do what I want I’ll have to up the target by $16.43M. So be it. It’s still a light payroll. As Mike Mulvaney would say, “Get over it.”
- Alex Colomé, $10.3M – More than he’s worth, but we need some stability back there.
- Yolmer Sánchez, $6.2M – I love Yolmer. His glove has value, but it’s too dear a price for a backup option.
- James McCann, $4.9M – Tender.
- Carlos Rodon, $4.5M – Tender.
- Leury García, $4M – Tender. I need his positional versatility.
- Evan Marshall, $1.3M – Tender and trade.
- Josh Osich, $1M – Tender.
- Ryan Goins, $900K – He gone.
- Welington Castillo: $8 million/$500,000 buyout – He gone.
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Jose Abreu (made $16M in 2019) – 1 year at $12M, team option for $10M with a $1M buyout. I have no idea if this is in keeping with the market. I don’t want to commit to more than a year, but it’s obvious he’s coming back. The RBI champ has some value to the club.
- Iván Nova (made $9,166,167 in 2019) – See ya! The K rate ultimately decided it for me.
- Jon Jay (made $4M in 2019) – See ya!
- Hector Santiago (made $2M in 2019 on split contract) – See ya!
No. 1: Gerrit Cole (8 years, $264 million). Richest pitching contract ever. I don’t know if this gets it done. If not, we up the bid. He has value as a stud. Plus he can be a disciple for whatever it is Houston is preaching to pitchers. I think he has value as a mentor to all the young guys, including Giolito. This is a must-do, price be damned.
No. 2: Tanner Roark ($10M for 1 year, team option for $10M, $1M buyout.) This is probably shy, but he is 33. He doesn’t go particularly deep in games, but he makes his starts. If the bidding goes too high, we revert back to Nova.
No. 1 Trade: Yermin Mercedes, Evan Marshall, and Adam Engel to the Cubs for Ian Happ, Victor Caratini, and Jason Heyward. Cubs need an elite defender between Schwarber and Castellanos (whom they will resign). They can afford Engel’s bat because their lineup has Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Contreras, Schwarber, and Castellanos. Getting all of Heyward’s contract off the books is huge for them. Marshall adds useful depth to their bullpen. Mercedes gives them someone who might slot into the backup C role and might have other uses. For the Sox Happ solves the RF black hole. Caratini is a good pitch framer and a switch hitter. The Cubs can afford to deal Caratini because Contreras is going to get the bulk of the innings and their top prospect after Hoerner is Miguel Amaya, a catcher in high-A. Heyward is just a means to acquiring Happ and a good catcher.
No. 2 Trade: Heyward and $46M to the Reds for Kevin Gausman. Heyward is owed $86M for the next 4 years. A lot of teams would sign him today at 4 years/$40M. The numbers can be played with in either direction. This seemed about right to me. Gausman could be a beast out of the pen. The Reds are deep in pitching, but need help in the outfield.
That leaves us with a starting rotation that looks like this initially.
Cole – 33.00
Giolito – 0.65
Roark – 10.00
Lopez – 0.60
Cease – 0.56
Rodon – 4.50, Kopech – 0.58, maybe Dunning are candidates to come back during the year. I figure things will sort themselves out with someone else getting hurt or someone being moved to the pen. Depth that isn’t Covey is a good thing.
The bullpen could be
Colome – 10.30
Herrera – 8.50
Bummer – 0.60
Gausman – 10.60
Cordero – 0.58
Osich – 1.00
some guy – 0.56
some other guy – 0.56
I expect Herrera to be healthy and productive. We have minor league pieces who could emerge here. Or Lopez or Cease or even Roark could be pushed to the pen.
The position players are:
McCann – 4.90/Caratini – 0.57
Abreu – 12.00
Madrigal – 0.56
Anderson – 4.00
Moncada – 0.65
Jimenez – 2.33
Robert – 0.56
Happ – 0.58
Collins – 0.56
L. Garcia – 4.00
Mendick – 0.56
Cordell – 0.57
I see DH being a rotation. I didn’t want to spend the money to fix it and block prospects down the road.
Total payroll with the Castillo buyout and the money sent with Heyward is $126.43M. We’re still in the lower half of the league. We have a stud ace to pair with Giolito, plus we have a competent third starter who makes all his starts. The bullpen is improved over this past year. The pitching will generally be improved by improved framing from Caratini, by starters going deeper into games, thus not taxing the bullpen, and by improved defense in RF, LF, and SS.
The lineup has competent hitters top to bottom. I didn’t trade any of the top prospects and only traded Mercedes among the minor league depth. Except for Cole, the payroll commitments aren’t too long or onerous. We have options to address needs next winter as the team comes into sharper focus. This is a team that could compete if a few things fall right. It should be positioned well for 2021 and beyond.