Posted by Mack Ade at 2:00 PM
In light of Sandy Alderson’s recent statements saying he’d like to add a veteran or two this off season and that they should have some financial flexibility to do so but also that there isn’t a ton of payroll room available I’d like to offer an early off season plan before we delve into the hot stove next month.
First, I’d like to say that in general I don’t think there is a free agent that I’d give a monster deal to this season for several reasons. 1 – I don’t want to block left field with Brandon Nimmo on the cusp and Michael Conferto looking like a fast mover, plus the outfield FA market is pretty bare this off season with Melky being the best LF option. 2 – With so many good to great young players on the payroll we need to start thinking about paying them for their prime years and saving money for their contract extensions.
Before we get into acquisitions I would bring in right center field like Sandy has been talking about the last few days. This will help both David Wright and Curtis Granderson in particular and would further tighten up our outfield defense.
Next I would trade/non-tender EY Jr and Ruben Tejada and release/ trade Scott Rice and Stain from the 40 man for starters. Saves a few million and creates more space on the 40 man. To clear payroll and to cash in while he’s at his most valuable you also trade Murphy for the best package of prospects you can.
We have the following starters locked in…
RF - Granderson will be in his 2nd year in the NL with the fences moved in some in RF. I think he will hit about 240/350 with 25HR and 30 doubles which would be solid.
CF - Lagares is obviously a fixture in CF and I think he could be our leadoff hitter as well. I project him hitting 280/340 30SB 10 HR and 35 doubles
LF – This is obviously one of the big holes. I think you let MDD, Kirk, Campbell all get lots or reps in spring training. You also give Nimmo a serious audition here. If Nimmo absolutely rakes you can consider starting the season with him here. If he only plays well and doesn’t dominate you platoon either MDD or Kirk with Campbell and you still probably have better LF offense and you can bring up Nimmo as soon as he gets hot for an extended stretch. This position will certainly have the largest mix of players on the field so I’m not going to try and predict a cumulative batting line for it.
1B – Duda is our guy at first. I suspect Campbell will get a start here and there against elite lefties but I think Duda will hit 260/250 with 30+ HRs and 100 RBI.
2B – If Herrera has a good camp here’s your starter, if he doesn’t have a good camp you can put Flores here in the meantime. Assuming Herrera breaks camp opening day (With Flores being our super sub) I predict 260-275/330 with 10 HR/5 triples/35 doubles and, while I’m sure there will be some teething defensively, much better defense overall than Murph.
SS – BIG FA acquisition! This is where you spend the money saved by moving Murph. No crazy ideas of getting HanRam. They guy I want is JJ Hardy. Great defensive SS and average to above average bat. Sign him for 10-12 mil a year for 3 years. He and Wright will make a very solid left side of the infield and he will be one of the 3 veterans hitters on the team to mentor the young guys 260/330 15 HR 30 doubles
3B – We all know the captain is here and with an improved lineup and a healthy shoulder I’m projecting him at 300/370/480-520 with 25 HR and his usual 35-40 doubles. The slugging and HRs might seem a little high but I’m betting he’ll get more pitches to hit with a better overall lineup and that he’ll be one of the biggest benefactors of right field being moved in.
C – I think d’Arnaud will have a big year next year. I hope he works on passed balls and throwing to second this off season but I don’t want him to change anything with his swing. I’m projecting him at 275 20 HR 30 doubles
Bench would be Flores, Cambell, Recker and whichever of Kirk/MDD doesn’t get the starting gig in LF. There’s room for one more here but I’d leave it open for competitions sake, may the best performance at camp win.
Trade Gee for the best prospects you can get. One of Gee /Niese and Colon has to go and I chose Gee because Niese is left handed and Colon, while old has been an effective pitcher who is a workhorse, unlike Gee, and a great mentor and example for the you staff to look up to.
You have Harvey, Wheeler, DeGrom, Niese and Colon as an opening day rotation.
Thor is in the wings if someone goes down as is Matz. Midseason, I’d like to trade one of Niese or Colon and bring up whichever prospect Thor/Matz is pitching best. 2016’s rotation should be Harvey, Wheeler, DeGrom, Thor, Matz which would be insane.
In the pen, it’s an open completion for Closer between Parnell, Mejia and Familia this spring training though I expect them all to be locks for the pen. Also through on Torres, Black and Montero (Torres and Montero being swingmen)
Looking forward to hearing yours and everyone else’s thoughts