Here we are, AAOP season. I've been here for a few years but this is my first one. Let's get to it!
First Thing First
Sign Dan Murphy to an extension. 4/$36M. $6/$8/$10/$12M.
Justin Turner for lower level prospect. Figure we can probably do a bit better than we did for Cowgill.
Jordany Valdespin for lower level player or whatever we can get. Probably roughly what we got for Cowgill. Spin just isn't worth the aggravation.
The Free Agents
Stephen Drew 4/$44M.
Marlon Byrd 2/$14M.
Kelly Shoppach 1/$2M
Stauffer/Feldman/Baker/Young (whichever will sign a minor league deal)
1. Young Jr. LF ($1.9M)
2. Drew SS ($11M)
3. Wright 3B ($20M)
4. Davis 1B ($3.5M)
5. Byrd RF ($7M)
6. Murphy 2B ($6M)
7. d'Arnaud C ($0.5M)
8. Lagares CF ($0.5M)
Satin, Tejada, Shoppach, den Dekker, Brown ($4.5M)
1. Wheeler ($0.5M)
2. Niese ($5M)
3. Syndergaard ($0.5M)
4. Gee ($3.4M)
5. Mejia ($0.5M)
Minor League Depth: Montero, deGrom, FA signing
Torres, Edgin, Rice, Germen, Familia, Black, Parnell ($6.2M)
Other Money Owed
Santana, Bay ($8.5M)
Lucas Duda ($1.8M) to play in AAA
TOTAL: $81.3 M
The Game Plan
1) Stick with what worked last year. Lagares, EY Jr., Byrd, Wheeler, and Satin all proved to be valuable pieces and I believe it is no coincidence that the team played 2 months of 90 win-pace baseball with them. I'll look to continue that.
2) Improve where possible. Drew is a 3-4 win upgrade considering the negative value Tejada/Q provided last year. Syndergaard and Mejia are an improvement over Marcum and Hefner as well.
3) Give Ike his last chance. Since Abreu is off the market we should go with Ike. Give him a month and a half if he's hitting .160 again then bring in Duda for good.
4) Get Thor MLB experience. This year, we saw elite pitchers like Fernandez, Cole, and Wacha move quickly to the majors and have success. Time to do the same for Thor. There will likely be a MLB learning curve for him, so lets get it out of his system so we're ready to roll in 2015. I'd love to delay his arb but there is value to not paying a FA to take his place and exciting the fan base. I don't think he has anything left to prove and even if he does come up and pisses his pants we could always swap him back for our minor league FA pitcher.
5) Keep Flores, Puello and Montero locked in at their spots in AAA. Delay some arb time and get them some more seasoning. They can get themselves prepared in case of a TRAID or injury.
6) Keep depth in AAA with what is effectively your #6-#8 pitchers: Minor League FA, Montero, de Grom.
7) Don't neglect the bench. Shoppach and Tejada are experienced guys who could come in and play in case d'Arnaud doesn't perform and/or Drew gets hurt. MDD is an elite defensive OFer with some lefty pop off the bench. Brown is a respectable corner OFer with some righty pop and Satin is at worst a platoon guy for Ike/Duda if they tank and at best, a potentially average MLB 1B.
So there we go. Speed at the top of the lineup, Power in the middle, young potential at the bottom. A young, solid, rotation and a bullpen with live arms. Some depth on the bench, no albatross deals, and a system set up to give the 18-21 years olds their necessary development time.
What's everyone think?