Long time reader, first time submitter. Let me know what you think in the comments.
The Sox are in an interesting position that most people posting have identified. They can honestly go for it again as they have good pieces in place, or they can sell it all from Sale down. I am going for it one more time as I think that is what Kenny and Rick will actually do and it is always more fun to plan out.
- Todd Frazier, $13.5M- Tender
- Brett Lawrie, $5.1M- Tender
- Avisail Garcia, $3.5M- Non-Tender
- Miguel Gonzalez, $2.6M Tender
- Dan Jennings, $1.2M Tender
- J.B. Shuck, $1M Non-Tender
- Jake Petricka, $900K Tender
- Zach Putnam, $900K Tender
- Daniel Webb, $600K Non-tender
In my mind these are all straight forward calls. Avi, I defended you longer than most, but you have got to go. 3.5M can actually be too much for someone. Lawrie can be serviceable as a trade piece so there is no reason to get rid of him at the Arbitration stage and most of the relief arms need to come back to create some real competition. Without injuries all of them have shown good stuff.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
- Matt Albers: $3M for 2017 or a $250,000 buyout Buy out.
The double was fun. Thank you for that.
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)
- Austin Jackson: Made $5 million in 2016. Let Go
- Alex Avila: Made $2.5 million in 2016. Let Go
- Justin Morneau: Made $1 million in 2016, although he signed during the season. Attempt to Re-sign, get rejected.
If Morneau will take a similar deal we might as well try. He was better than expected in a limited sample size and as a backup 1B/DH the price fits. However, I see him leaving for a more obvious competitor.
When it comes to free agents I put most of my money in two players and then gave a Baltimore/Kansas City type deals to a guy who deserves a flier.
No. 1: Ian Desmind (three years, $75mil). This is my prize signing of 2016. Desmond increased his value significantly when he showed he plays a passing center field. A plus bat who Renteria can move around from CF, SS, and possibly 2B (hey, if he can play SS the learning curve is not TOO high) has a ton of value. This would really be all in again for the Sox but we need an improvement in center and he offers 20/20 output for the entirety of a 3 year deal.
No. 2: Greg Holland (1 year, $3mil) A classic prove it deal with a little Coop coaching and this can be a steal for the Sox. If he shows his old stuff he slips into the closing gig that has become vacant (more on that later). If he is simply passable, Jones closes and Holland is a veteran presence in the 7th or 8th.
No. 3: Boone Logan (3 years, $15mil ). Completely a lefty specialist and this still might be underpaying him. Lefties hit .139/.222/.255 against him last year and this moves Jennings to a more versatile role as a middle innings/ set up man.
No. 1: Trade David Robertson and Matt Davidson to New York for Brian McCann
The Yankees will initially balk at this trade because they are reportedly seeking more prospects from similarly interested teams. No team is giving up the farm for Brian McCann though and once the Yankees realize that the Sox will swoop in. The Yankees expressed interest in Robertson at the waiver deadline in 2015 and without Miller or Chapman they could use another veteran in the bullpen. 2 more years of control on Robertson helps. Davidson is a high ceiling/low floor prospect who the Yankees could gamble on. Sanchez is clearly the future at catcher and McCann's contract is soon to be an albatross for a team that doesn't want to hold their top prospect back.
The Sox are in desperate need of a catching upgrade and say what you will about McCann's offensive decline his defense is still well above what we were getting from Avila and Navarro. He instantly improves that position and who knows if Zack Collins will stick at catcher as his bat is MLB ready. Collins might end up going the way of Schwarber and force his way up just because of his bat in which case having a veteran catcher is more important.
Both sides are giving up expensive contracts so this trade could easily happen with no cash being exchanged.
No. 2: Trade Carson Fulmer, Spencer Adams, Courtney Hawkins, and Adam Engel to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez.
Let me get two things out of the way. I know that between Fulmer, Adams, and Engel I am giving up 3 of our top 10 prospects, plus a possible monster in Hawkins. I also know that CarGo has a bad injury history and plays at Coors. With that being said, this is an immediate improvement to our outfield and it forces Melky to a DH role. CarGo's home and away splits are also better than you would expect for a guy who calls Coors home. Away from Coors he has a slash line of .276/.324/420. Couple that with batting lefty and his bat would go a long way into making the Sox offense something more reliable.
Colorado is always in need of young talent because they refuse to pay their players and every star ends up leaving. They are not going to break the bank and go all in this year so they might as well continue to rebuild.. In Fulmer and Adams they get two possible aces in the rotation or at the least two great arms coming out of the bullpen. I can see Colorado pulling the trigger on a possible rotation of Gray, Fulmer, and Adams. Engel and Hawkins fill their outfield depth and they are losing CarGo and possible Blackmon in trades. (If they decide to truly sell high.) Engel gives them speed and Hawkins power so they can have it both ways.
The lineup looks like this after my dream off-season.
Tim Anderson SS
Adam Eaton RF
Jose Abreu 1B
Carlos Gonzalez LF
Ian Desmond CF
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera DH
Brian McCann C
Brett Lawrie 2B
Bench: Tyler Saladino, Omar Narvaez, Charlie Tilson, Leury Garcia
The issues with this plan are that we lose value in the farm system and it relies on a bullpen with limited help. If Holland is a bust and Burdi is not ready, the bullpen issues may be reminiscent of 2015. That being said, look at the lineup! Frazier has to bat 6th and Melky is 7th. A 3-5 of Abreu/CarGo/Desmond gets me all kinds of excited.
The starting rotation is a strength next year so there was no reason to touch it. Shields is a capable 5th starter (even though he is being paid like an ace. Not much I can do there.) I see this team at 90-92 wins and competing for a wild card spot if not the division.