Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Tyler Flowers, $3.5M (tender)
Avisail Garcia, $2.3M (trade, if not, tender)
Nate Jones, $900K (assuming he’s healthy, tender)
Zach Putnam, $800K (tender, but there might not be room, so hold that)
Dan Jennings, $800K (tender)
Toughest call is Jennings. If his ground ball rate is for real, that’s a good arm in the pen. If it falls 10 points, he’s expendable. Jones and Putnam just because of their K/9 numbers are worth keeping them around if healthy. I’d take almost anything for Garcia, a prospect would be great, a bullpen arm is fine too.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
Alexei Ramirez: $10M for 2016 or a $1 million buyout (pick up)
Sox have holes a DH, RF, catcher, short, and third (and let’s face it, second) along with probably needing to shuffle the outfield. It’s probably time to let Alexei go, but with the turnover coming, hold on to him and if Anderson is ready in July… then call him up.
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go, or qualifying offer?):
Jeff Samardzija: $15.8M qualifying offer (QO, let go)
Matt Albers: Made $1.5M in 2015 (let go)
Gordon Beckham: Made $2M in 2015 (let go but we all know they’ll probably give him the QO)
Geovany Soto: Made $1.5M in 2015 (let go)
The Sox have a lot to fix. So before we start signing and trading guys, let’s do some internal work first.
- Avi is not your starting right fielder on opening day.
- The Sox need a third baseman. They're going to have to trade for him.
- Adam Eaton, center fielder, isn’t happening. He moves to left.
- Melky can’t field. He moves to DH.
- I’m going to stick with Flowers and but bring in someone who can split time with him back there.
- I go back and forth… but right now I think you can live with Sanchez at second, but only if you’re getting second half Sanchez. Thus if you can bring someone aboard, do it.
The Sox should, at the very least, make a run at Jason Heyward. He is the perfect fit—right field, great glove, good bat, can play center in a pinch. I’m offering 7 years, $160 million. He’ll probably turn it down as someone is going to give him 8 or more years. But this would be my #1 choice for the offseason.
Assuming the Sox strike out on Heyward, Denard Span (1 year, $10 million)
Maybe someone is going to give him more years, but considering his age and injuries, I think he can be had for a year. I’d be willing to give him two years. He goes to right field. I know, this isn’t very exciting.
Howie Kendrick (3 years, $24 million)
It’s a year too many, but I’m still a believer in Kendrick. The glove is still there, though regressing, and I’m pretty sure you could move him to third either now or next year. And I like the bat. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he also don’t strike out.
Jordan Zimmermann (5 years, $105 million)
Yeah he’s not taking that is he? So assuming Zimmernn gets a 6 year plus deal and more money from someone…
Doug Fister (1 year, $12 million)
I feel high on the money here so maybe you can get a second year option out of it. Fister is young enough that taking a one year deal to rebuild his value makes sense from his vantage point. He saw an uptick in BB/9 and was unlucky with fly balls last year, so I think he can be had for a lot less than everyone expected. I can easily see a team offering him 4 years and he takes it however. The good news is that there is a ton of starting pitching this winter so Yovani Gallardo, Mat Latos, and Ian Kennedy could be swapped in depending on what years and money you want to give. Mike Leake is another interesting name for the Sox, but considering his age, I doubt the Sox give him the years he’ll be looking for in a deal.
I thought about Matt Weiters; he is interesting possible buy low guy, but he’s going to get a longer term deal and hasn’t really be healthy (or good) the last two years. I wouldn’t want to take the risk. So Alex Avila (1 year, $4 million) would be a very interesting #2 and a lefty.
Avisail Garcia and Montas for Jackie Bradley Jr.
Okay I’m being a little cute here. But Montas for Bradley Jr. makes sense for both teams. I don’t expect the Sox to get the ‘15 bat of Bradley Jr. I just want his glove. If the Red Sox think that Montas is a starter, this probably works pretty much straight up. I wonder if the Red Sox would move Garin Cecchini…
John Danks and Tyler Saladino for Jake Lamb
The Diamondbacks are dumb enough to do this right? Do I need to include Micah Johnson? The D’Backs do need pitching…
I don’t see the fit, but if the Sox could pry Alen Hanson from Pittsburgh, that’d be a very interesting and good depth move.
Bradley Jr (8)
Hey that team can field and hit a bit better! There’s not a ton of power (okay none), so I get the appeal of going after a big bat in right or at third. Trayce plays right when facing a lefty (btw, I'm starting to think Trayce might be for real, just a late bloomer). Sanchez turns into a super sub/defensive replacement. Avila could easily be your starting catcher by the end of the year. If he’s still around, Micah Johnson should be on the roster, though I have to wonder if they try him out in center somewhere in the minors.
Fister (or Gallardo/Latos etc)
That’s a pretty good rotation. Rodon might slide to #4 for inning and right/lefty reasons, but you get the point.
I haven’t really touched the bullpen. I’m sure there is an arm or two that needs to be added, but it’s all back end stuff, so I’m not going to sweat it right now… I’ve spent too much time on this as it is.
I’m not sure I turned the Sox into a playoff team, but they’re closer. Runs will still be a struggle, but they should be better at the plate with this roster, I’d have them closer to 675 runs, an improvement of 50. The defense has improved and the pitching roughly the same, so I think we’re saving around 40 runs. Maybe I’m high here, but I’m excited about that outfield running down everything. That puts the Sox at about 84 wins, with some luck and that’s a 88-90 win season.
But beyond, I’ve kept a ton of roster flexibility going forward. I really only see one position player worth giving more than three years in free agency, and that’s Heyward. I’m not crazy about giving Kendrick 3 years, but the Sox need major league infielders badly. There is a ton of pitching out there in free agency, and obviously you kick the tires to a lot of those top end guys, but you don’t want to invest too much on the starting pitching since it’s a strength as it is with help on the way and the line up needs so much work.
I think the Sox will trade Danks and I think they’ll get more for him than people expect. There are some teams that are going to need an arm, let alone a lefty, and will look at his 2015 and talk themselves into it.