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DeathToFlyingThings Offseason Plan

Jeremy Hellickson. - Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

DeathToFlyingThing’s Offseason Plan

Let's design a Brewers offseason to achieve three goals:

(1) Continue to develop advanced prospects at the MLB level.

(2) Continue to compete for an NL Central title or win the NL Central in the immediate term.

(3) Maintain a long-term competitive window.

The way to accomplish this right now, this offseason, is to (a) spend to the max for short-window contracts; and (b) keep advanced, elite prospects.

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 Tender
  • Jeremy Jeffress - $2.6 mil Tender
  • Stephen Vogt - $3.9 mil Non-Tender
  • Jonathan Villar - $3.0 mil Tender
  • Jimmy Nelson - $4.7 mil Non-Tender (backloaded two-year, $8 million contract).
  • Hernan Perez - $2.2 mil Tender
  • Corey Knebel - $4.1 mil Tender

Explain the toughest calls if necessary:

No tough calls here. However, I do believe there are other players that may be cut from the MLB roster (Non-Arbitration non-tenders), particularly to make room for additional waiver claims:

  • Jesus Aguilar (role might be squeezed out via depth. Unless he's the next Jack Cust, in which case trade Thames)
  • Jett Bandy (repetitive depth)
  • Keon Broxton (repetitive depth. I'm sorry Keon, I love you but this is tough!)
  • Oliver Drake (repetitive depth. I'm sorry Oliver, I love you but this is tough!)
  • Wei-Chung Wang (role might be squeezed out via depth)
  • Aaron Wilkerson / Jorge Lopez (potentially repetitive depth)

Contract options (pick up or buy out)

  • none

Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)

  • Neil Walker: made $17.2 mil in 2017 (ineligible for QO). Big offer. Maximum 2-years $40 million, probably 2 years $34 million for this exercise.
  • Anthony Swarzak: made $900K in 2017 (ineligible for QO). Let Go. I really like Swarzak, and actually believe he might be signed, but in my scenario, I'm going with Bryan Shaw's track record.
  • Matt Garza: made $12.5 mil in 2017. Let go!

Elaborate if needed:

Free agents

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: RHP Tyler Chatwood (3 years, $35 million). Chatwood is a fantastic middle rotation option. The righty produces groundballs with ease, drawing on two evenly paced mid-90s fastballs (a traditional rising fastball, and a riding/running version, according to Brooks Baseball). Nothing sexy here, and a little younger than the typical "Dreadful free agent pitcher signing." On the right day, you could convince me to push this to 5 years, $75 million (with a large bonus to eat at the annual value a bit).

#2: OF Jarrod Dyson (1 year, $5 million). Dyson is a playoff roster move. It's not even stupid to say it. He's a supremely underrated player, mostly thanks to his speed-and-glove profile. But the speed is fantastic, and Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA) consistently paces Dyson as a notably above average outfielder. I know that fans love Keon Broxton's power/speed profile, but his glove is inconsistent, and the contact profile is unsustainable (plus he's a bench profile anyway, with Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips in the picture). So I cut Broxton and sign Dyson for a fantastic depth outfielder.

#3: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2 years, $25 million). Jeremy Hellickson is the next Chase Anderson. This gamble is a bit more expensive, but the righty's size, upright delivery, and cutter-change-curve arsenal are tailor made for the Brewers current pitching system. Hellickson outperformed his surface stats in 2017, and his strike out rate dropped particularly due to one shift in his pitching arsenal. He is easily the bounceback free agent of the year, perhaps even a 3.0 WARP pitcher in Milwaukee.

#4: C Chris Iannetta (1 year, $8 million). I know the Brewers have a lot of depth at catcher but....well, behind Manny Pina let's be honest it's not great depth. So I cut where cuts are likely least impactful, and I sign a strong 80 game split with Pina.

#5: RHP Bryan Shaw (2 years, $16 million). Righty, true sinker pitcher, proven track record in late relief, groundball machine, Get In Muh Bullpen!

#6: 2B Neil Walker (2 years, $34 million). Eric Sogard cited the Brewers clubhouse when he signed his deal for 2018, and I gather Neil Walker is another late season contender who would do well to stick around in Brewers blue to bolster the developing core. Walker is not necessarily his old self, but with tons of flexible infield depth, and no real answer at 2B for years to come, the Brewers can readily afford this deal. It's about as low risk a $30 million+ deal one could find.

Trades

Propose a trade or two or several that you think sound reasonable for both sides, and the rationale behind them. Example:

Slingin' Stearns hangs up the trade shooter.

Summary:

Here's what this exercise accomplished: yes, I loaded up more than $115 million in multi-year commitments, but the bulk of the deals are one- or two-year commitments. However, impact depth remains in the system, especially at the advanced level, ready to allow the War of Attrition that is 162 Games take its toll on the roster that can react to nearly any scenario. This is a team that is also rounded out at the margins, and ready to contend from the get go and throughout the season.

Opening Day:

10-Day DL: One Pitcher

10-Day DL: One Position Player

10-Day DL: Wild Card! You choose!

RHP Chase Anderson

RHP Jacob Barnes (bullpen)

RHP Tyler Chatwood

RHP Zach Davies

RHP Junior Guerra (bullpen)

LHP Josh Hader (bullpen / elite swingman)

RHP Jeremy Hellickson

RHP Jared Hughes (bullpen)

RHP Jeremy Jeffress (bullpen)

RHP Corey Knebel (bullpen)

RHP Bryan Shaw (bullpen)

LHP Brent Suter (swingman / shuttle)

RHP Taylor Williams (bullpen)

RHP Brandon Woodruff

This bullpen will prevent 100 runs. This team can win 90 simply on the strengths of the pen.

C Manny Pina

1B Eric Thames

2B Neil Walker

3B Travis Shaw

SS Orlando Arcia

LF Ryan Braun

CF Lewis Brinson

RF Domingo Santana

OF shuttle Brett Phillips

Jarrod Dyson

Chris Iannetta

Hernan Perez

Eric Sogard

Jonathan Villar

The offense remains the weakness of the club, but the potential upside of Brinson, Phillips, and Arcia is too great to "punt," and a couple of adroit veterans should keep things from souring. The defense, overall, should be excellent!