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I should address this before I get into the rest of the plan: TIM ANDERSON SHOULD BE THE BIG RIGHT FIELD ACQUISITION.
It really isn’t far-fetched. Yes, he has developed into a fine SS, just like Mookie Betts was a fine 2B, but his skills are better served in RF. For so long the question was IF Anderson could stick at SS. But something strange happened along the way. His offense exploded. And now he has an offensive profile that can carry a right-field position, where his speed, arm, and leaping can be put to even better use. Not only that, but between La Pantera and TA, you should have an exceptional two-thirds of outfield defense for the next half-decade.
TA is solid but not great at short, but he could be great in right.
Okay, moving on to the rest.
- Nomar Mazara: $5.6M | $5.9M | $5.7M–Non-tender
- Carlos Rodón: $4.5M | $4.5M | $4.5M–Tender (2021 is going to need pitching depth, so one more go ’round for Hard Carl.)
- Lucas Giolito: $2.5M | $5.3M | $2.5M–Tender
- Reynaldo López: $1.7M | $2.2M | $1.7M–Tender
- Evan Marshall: $1.3M | $1.9M | $1.4M–Tender
- Adam Engel: $1M | $1.4M | $1M–Tender
- Jace Fry: $800K | $1M | $800K–Tender
- Yolmer Sánchez: Uncertain–Non-tender
- Edwin Encarnación: $12M–Decline
- Gio González: $7M ($500K buyout)–Decline
- Leury García: $3.5M ($250K buyout)–Pick up (Depth, depth, depth–the good teams have it.)
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
- Alex Colomé (Made $10,532,500 in 2020)–Let go, but begrudgingly. Keep an eye on his market, cause if he’s gonna end up signing a 1-year, $10 million deal with someone, it should be the Sox.
- James McCann (Made $5.4M in 2020)–Let go
- Jarrod Dyson (Made $2M in 2020)–Let go
- Manager: I think Hahn was as clear as he could be that the next manager is going to be A.J. Hinch. I’m cool with that. He’s a really strong manager and the… least guilty(?) of the Houston contingent. (Always felt like he should’ve gotten a 1-year suspension, while Cora and Beltran and some others shoulda got 2- to 4-year ones.)
- Pitching coach: Teaford and Zaleski seem special, so if they want to promote either I’m fine, but I’d be curious to get Hinch’s evaluation and recommendations.
No. 1: Didi Gregorius (two years, $36 million). And here we get 1) solid-to-above-average SS defense, 2) a lefty bat, 3) who doesn’t strike out much, and 4) who has a history of hitting in the playoffs. There may not be a RF out there who fits our needs, but by solving the RF problem with TA, we open ourselves up to a perfect fit in Didi.
No. 2 : Marcus Stroman (4 years, $76 million). The Sox need to go into next year with three guys they know they can count on. Plus, I think that differences between Stroman/Keuchel and the rest of the staff/bullpen will be a positive moving forward. Imagine Giolito one day, then Stroman, then Kopech. Or Stroman coming out of a game to be followed by Crochet (in ’21, cause c’mon, let’s move him to the rotation in ’22) and Heuer.
No trades. I don’t wanna chase anything right now. Let’s be the Dodgers and Rays–not the Cubs.
We’ve fixed RF and gotten a little more left-handed. After the service time manipulations, Vaughn will come up and that should take care of DH. (I imagine he and Abreu split it pretty evenly, and by ’22 Abreu is DHing 65 percent of the time.) I know some aren’t as excited about Vaughn cause he’s not as sexy as Eloy and Robert, but his kind of patient, murderous at-bats (along with Didi’s low K rates) are exactly what this lineup needs.
Starting pitching should be stable. Can’t know what Dunning, Cease, and Kopech will be next year, but those are opportunity costs that have to be paid in ’21. No way around it.
I’m optimistic but worried about the bullpen, but I think it’s best to give the young guys some rope and see what you need at the trade deadline. I think in Crochet, Heuer, and Bummer (closer) you have a chance to have a special back end of the bullpen next year. The kind that’s so good even Ned Yost could manage it. Beyond that, I expect a big bounce back from Burdi, and Marshall and Foster are guys you can feel confident about.
- Anderson R – RF
- Moncada S – 3B
- Abreu R – DH
- Jimenez R – LF
- Grandal S – C
- Robert R – CF
- Vaughn R – 1B
- Gregorius L – SS
- Madrigal R – 2B