Last year at this time, I felt all hunky dory about the rebuild. 2018 did not extend the feel goods. There is still the potential for a lot of talent to come from the players in the system, but while it was always pretty hard to objectively think homegrown talent was going to be enough to win long-term, now the eventual need for outside reinforcements is even greater. So… let’s go buy some good players!
Write “tender” or “non-tender” after each player. Feel free to offer explanation afterward if necessary.
- Jose Abreu, $16M TENDER
- Avisail Garcia, $8M TENDER
- Yolmer Sanchez, $4.7M TENDER
- Carlos Rodon, $3.7M TENDER
- Matt Davidson, $2.4M TENDER
- Leury Garcia, $1.9M TENDER
- Danny Farquhar, $1.4M NON-TENDER
Write “pick up” or “decline” after the option.
- Nate Jones, $4.65 million/$1.25M buyout PICK UP
- James Shields, $16 million/$2M buyout BUY OUT
OTHER IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
Try to retain, or let go?
- Miguel Gonzalez (made $4.75 million in 2018) LET GO
- Hector Santiago (made $2 million in 2018 — added) LET GO
No. 1: A.J. Pollock (four years, $70 million). This is my absolute No. 1 reasonable target. (I get that people want Manny, but I just don’t see it happening.) Pollock is a stud who can only be had for not-insane money because he’s had trouble staying on the field. He would benefit from a move to the AL to be the Sox CF for now and part of a rotation of in the future if and when all the Luises arrive.
No. 2: Josh Donaldson (two years, $38 million). It’s a pillow contract of sorts, but I’m willing to add the second year. I think he can still hit and, just as importantly, pick it at the hot corner. These are the kinds of risks the Sox are in position to take.
No. 3: Garret Richards (two years, $27 million). I’ve been a Richards fan for a while, and the Sox can afford to punt on his 2019 while he rehabs. His track record is good enough to warrant this, and I would honestly consider going three years on him. These are the kinds of risks the Sox are in position to take.
No. 4: Yusei Kikuchi (4 years, $56 million) No, I don’t know anything about him. These are the kinds of risks the Sox are in… well, you know.
Propose trades that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. A good example of a bad idea:
No. 1: Trade Leury Garcia to the Yankees for Sonny Gray. Sox will need some arms in the rotation, and there’s not really much use for Leury here despite pretty decent stats. Gray at least has some intrigue. Sox could add an interchangeable fringe prospect.
First, the inevitable Manny question: I’m sure they’ll pursue him, but I just don’t see it happening. The Sox are somehow going to outbid both the Yankees and the Phillies? Plus Manny is suddenly going to be happy moving to 3B again? Any objective onlooker would say both of those things are highly unlikely. A.J. Pollock has a lower profile. but is a terrific player and worth headliner for the offseason.
There are a thousand avenues to go — I would poke around some other veteran OF options like Dexter Fowler and Michael Brantley and 3B prospect-types like Colton Welker and Nick Senzel, as others here have suggested. But Pollock and Donaldson give instant credibility to this lineup. I’d also really try to sign Eloy to some kind of preseason deal to avoid the ridiculously awkward two-week tango.
On the pitching side, it’s still not very exciting. I would sniff around Keuchel. Corbin seems destined to go elsewhere. The rest of the innings eaters only look good if they’re discounted a lot.
There would have to be several significant steps forward for the team here to credibly compete. But they’d be in position to make another big play in FA after the season if necessary (Arenado, Rendon) and haven’t lost any core pieces.
Bullpen (bound to be in constant flux):