Yeah, the writers can play, too! Let's get crazy.
Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Write "tender" or "non-tender" after each of the following names. You can also trade a player before or after tendering a contract.
- Jared Hughes - $2.2 mil - Non-tender
- Jeremy Jeffress - $2.6 mil - Non-tender
- Stephen Vogt - $3.9 mil - Non-tender
- Jonathan Villar - $3.0 mil - Non-tender
- Jimmy Nelson - $4.7 mil - Tender
- Hernan Perez - $2.2 mil - Tender
- Corey Knebel - $4.1 mil - Tender
Explain the toughest calls if necessary:
In this current plan, Hughes and Jeffress don’t offer the value some of the new signees will. There is no value in keeping their contract.
Vogt provided an offensive spark to the team last season, but bad defense loses the roster spot. Stearns will look to upgrade from Bandy via waivers, otherwise it will be fine with the current players.
Ideally, Villar is tendered and traded but I cant find a suiting trade partner that can give back the value Villar has. Due to this and a better upgrade at the position, he’s just erased off the books.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)
- Neil Walker: made $17.2 mil in 2017 (ineligible for QO) - Bye
- Anthony Swarzak: made $900K in 2017 (ineligible for QO) - Buh bye
- Matt Garza: made $12.5 mil in 2017 - Retire
Elaborate if needed:
Walker is replaced by a quality offensive player at a better annual value, Swarzak should not be trusted with minimal performance history, and there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said about Matt.
Propose a trade or two or several that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. Example:
#1. Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, Freddy Peralta and Isan Diaz for Madison Bumgarner
I said, "Let's get crazy" at the top, didn't I? MadBum immediately makes the team WAY better. He's signed for two more years and unfortunately comes at a pretty big cost. However, it's a cost the system can absorb. There's even some potential for resigning Bumgarner, although I very much doubt he wants to pass up a $30 MM contract on the market in 2020.
Peruse the list of potential free agents and name one, two, or more that you would pursue, the maximum offer that you would extend to them, and a brief explanation. An example:
#1. Alex Cobb - 4 years, $60 MM
Derek Johnson can work some miracles. I think he can help the recovering Cobb get back to form. A reliable Cobb, MadBum and Chace leading the rotation immediately make the rotation one of the best in the NL. You just need to get a reliable Davies and hope Woodruff can perform well enough. You might just end up with a rotation as good as 2011's.
#2. Addison Reed - 3 years, $25 MM, 4th year option for $10 MM and a $1 MM buyout
The 28-year-old Reed is a proven fill-in closer and high-performing back end bullpen pitcher. He can take the ball and get the job done while giving Knebel the occasional night off. It would be an elite 1-2 combination, at the cost of a pretty hefty bullpen pitcher contract.
#3. Bryan Shaw - 2 years, $15 MM
Shaw is reliable. He can get you a lot of games and get you outs. He's a good 7th inning guy, who can also get a couple innings when necessary.
#4. Eduardo Nunez - 2 years, $14 MM
Kyle told me to sign him, so....
Starting Day 25-man Roster:
C: Manny Piña (.6)/Bandy (.6)
1B: Thames (5)/Aguilar (.6)
2B: Nunez (7)/Sogard (2.4)
3B: Shaw (.6)
SS: Arcia (.6)/Perez (2.2)
LF: Braun (20)
CF: Broxton (.6)
RF: Santana (.6)
OF: Phillips (.6)
SP: Bumgarner (12)/Cobb (15)/ Chace (4.7)/Davies (.6)/Woodruff (.6)
RP: Knebel (4.1)/Reed (8.25)/Shaw (7.5)/Hader (.6)/Barnes (.6)/Williams (.6)/Suter (.6)
Final salary: $97.25 MM + Nelson's $4.7 MM on the DL = $101.95 MM
My biggest problem with this plan? It doesn't improve the offense. Nunez will fill a good hole for a few years though, until Hiura comes up and takes over the spot in 2019. Otherwise, expect Santana to see some measured improvements, a platoon to improve the output from the CF position, and improved pitching to greatly impact the win total.