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This is hard! Staying within the $170 million budget is challenging. I would like to find a spot for Marcus Semien because that’s the biggest need and seems like a perfect fit. I also feel the Sox need to upgrade defense more than anything. Less mistakes on defense, speed, and more 20-30 homer guys are what I’m focused on. We are seeing how important more home run hitters are in the playoffs, but also how good defense limits runs. I’d like to see Keuchel rebound in 2022, but his contract really limits moves. I did go with a mix of trades and free agents to add some defense, bullpen arms, and speed to the roster. My main focus was improving defensively. There were some sacrifices that needed to be made. Nothing great was ever accomplished without making sacrifices.
Lucas Giolito: $7.9M TENDER
Reynaldo López; $2.8M TENDER
Evan Marshall: $2.3M NON-TENDER
Adam Engel: $2.2M TENDER
Brian Goodwin: $1.7M NON-TENDER
Jimmy Cordero: $1.2M TENDER
Jace Fry: $1M TENDER
Craig Kimbrel: $16M ($1M buyout) DECLINE (cut your losses, spend money elsewhere)
César Hernández: $6M DECLINE
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Leury García LET GO (TLR likes to play him too much, only like him as a bench guy)
Carlos Rodón ($3M) LET GO (injury risk is too high for big contract)
Billy Hamilton ($1M) RETAIN $1 (can’t teach his speed, he’s meant to impact the playoffs)
Ryan Tepera ($950K) RETAIN $4 MIL 3/15MIL 4, 5, 6 (only trade that worked, need to retain)
Marcus Semien 4/$125. 25,30,32,38
Starling Marte 3/$55mil. 14,20,21
Andrew McCutchen 1/8mil
I’m focusing on speed, defense, and some homers. Semien is the number one target for 2022. This maybe an overpay, but the Sox need to overpay to get him, whatever the cost. I have him playing 2B in 2022. He has too much power, defense, and speed to not add him to the roster. Marte’s my number 2 target. His speed and defense is next level. A bit of an overpay, but that should entice him, and tell him he can play center, have Robert move over to RF, finally closing the black hole of RF. McCutchen is a solid defender and is good for 25+ homers. I want to replace Eloy with a good defender who can hit bombs.
- Eloy Jimenez $7.3mil + Zack Collins for Elias Diaz 2.4mil, Ryan McMahon $5mil, Robert Stephenson 1mil
If Eloy won’t/can’t play DH full time, he’s got to go. His defense really hurts this team. This is a Carlos Lee type of deal with the Rockies, get some things you actually need. I’m getting a backup Catcher who has some pop and is solid defensively, a solid third baseman, and a relief pitcher all in one. Elias Diaz had a career year behind the plate. In 2021, his caught stealing percentage was 42%, only allowed 22 stolen bases, compared to Grandal’s 50 stolen bases allowed & 19% caught stealing percentage. Grandal started 76 games at catcher, Diaz started 87 games. Dias also picked off 5 and had a DWAR of 1.7 which ranked 3rd in baseball. He has some power, as he also hit 18 homers in 2021. Grandal could split time at DH and catcher to get more out of Diaz. Ryan McMahon is a great defender, he’s a finalist for gold glove at third, but also has a history of playing second and first bases. He’s a versatile defender. He also hit 23 homers, 86 RBIs, and had a WAR of 3.9. Solid player at third base and is also inexpensive at $5 million. Robert Stephenson had a decent year in Colorado, looking to add arms for the bullpen on the cheap, 3.13 ERA in 49 games. If you notice McMahon is very similar to Moncada who is a 4.0 WAR third baseman. Hmmmm, but McMahon costless and that’s what I need to afford Semien. This trade essentially makes Moncada expendable.
- Dallas Keuchel 18mil + Yoan Moncada 13.8mil for Jose Alvarado 2mil + prospects
This is a pure salary dump with the Phillies taking on all of Keuchel’s & Moncada’s contracts. I also needed to clear space for Semien and with the McMahon addition, Moncada’s contract was expendable. Moncada was the best defensive infielder in 2021, but he didn’t hit for power, so I need guys who can hit 20+ homers and play good defense. I like Moncada, I just needed to clear money under this crazy $170 million budget. Sox get a bullpen arm in return. Alvarado didn’t have a great 2021, but has saving experience, and could fit in the 8th inning role. He’s cheap and this filled a need but mostly needed to dump Keuchel/Moncada contracts worth $31.8 million total in 2022, plus the Phillies love big contracts.
Grandal 18.25 (splits time at catcher and DH in 2022)
LF – McCutchen 8
CF – Marte CF 14
RF – Robert RF 6
Bench – Engel 2.2 (spell days off)
Bench – Hamilton 1mil defensive replacement/pinch runner
Sheets 0.6 (Sheets DH with some time in the outfield, with Grandal splitting time when Diaz starts)
Vaughn .6 (learns every infield position in the off-season, plays some LF)
Crochet .6 (no money left for fifth starter, but needed a lefty, your time to shine)
Kimbrel 1mil buyout
This plan would upgrade the defense in about every position needed. The outfield defensive and speed really is what would set this plan apart. Semien and Marte are big time additions that would pay a lot of dividends. Semien could carry the Sox in the postseason. I’d like to see Marte wreck havoc on the base pads. Grandal is the starting catcher but has defensive limitations. Diaz would be a nice defensive addition & move Grandal to DH half the week. Vaughn being the utility guy is a stretch, so it’s possibly to let Hamilton go for a cheap utility guy. Vaughn shouldn’t be traded because Abreu would be gone in 2023. McMahon is about the same as Moncada at third and he can play almost everywhere in the infield. Trading Eloy seemed like the best option because you can replace his power, but he is a liability in the outfield. Robert moving over to RF is a big adjustment, but for the long term strengthens the defense. You can also swap Marte and Robert from CF to RF or LF. LF can be solid with McCutchen, Vaughn, or even Sheets from time to time. Keuchel had to go with his contract and not knowing what to do with a guy making 18 million who gets hit so hard. I also added some decent bullpen arms to the mix, and hopeful guys like Crochet take a big step forward. I didn’t have any money left over for a 5th starting pitcher, so an internal left handed pitcher to move to the rotation had to be Crochet. The infield of Abreu, Semien, Anderson, McMahon, Grandal/Diaz could get us deeper in the playoffs. The outfield of Marte, Robert, and McCutchen would also be a big big upgrade. It’s disappoint to get rid of Moncada for next to nothing, but it’s a sacrifice that I needed to make to get the roster at $170 million budget.