Might as well start talking about 2021

Philip Jeff Frye

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Some things are so comfortable in life. Reliable reminders of your childhood, like hot cocoa under a warm blanket in the winter, sitting on a porch on a warm summer night staring at the stars, and reading Gammons relentlessly promoting every Sox prospect as a surefire star.
This was pretty much my reaction. I was like, is it Sunday morning in 1989? So many great memories of Kevin Morton, Mike Brown, Rey Quinones, Wilton Veras, Juan Pena...
 

BaseballJones

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Obviously not all these prospects will end up being good, never mind great, major leaguers. But the more guys in the pipeline they have with good potential, the more likely it is that SOMEONE will emerge. I'm optimistic.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Gammons with a notes column this morning on the Red Sox future. Some major parts of it are below.
--He thinks they will try to re-sign JBJ
--Red Sox executives think both Casas and Durran are going to be stars.
--Development staff is high on Jeter Downs, Connor Wong, and Christian Arroyo
--They expect Durran to be in the lineup next year
--If JBJ leaves, they might take a run at Springer.
--They like Pivetta, but the pitcher they most wanted in the deal was Connor Seabold.
--He thinks Noah Song coming back from the Navy would be the equivalent to getting Rocker or Leiter.
--Bryan Mata may be in the rotation by June 2021.
--Jay Groome impressed and is in the mix for 2022.
--"If, when the new normal is established by 2023, they have Mata, Groome, Song, Seabold and Hernández in their rotation, all in their mid-20s, they will again be back to spending on the free agent they believe has star power."

And Chris Sale, with a contract thru 2024, will be . . . Closing, like he did in the World Series?
 

shaggydog2000

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Obviously not all these prospects will end up being good, never mind great, major leaguers. But the more guys in the pipeline they have with good potential, the more likely it is that SOMEONE will emerge. I'm optimistic.
I definitely agree with you. More guys, and more highly rated guys in the system is a good thing to be happy about. Filling out a 2023 roster with all the top 20 prospects in it is kind of silly. Even just a rotation full of them is pretty fanciful. But it's spot on for the Gammons of my youth.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Gammons may think Duran is going to be a star, but I don't see him cracking the Opening Day roster next year, let alone the starting lineup. They can re-sign JBJ to a 1-2 year deal and not really block Duran.
 

Danny_Darwin

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I was surprised - still am, I guess - that they haven’t brought up Duran by now. Maybe it’s not a super-meaningful number of games, but why not see if he holds his own or looks overmatched? You can say you don’t want to lose the service time, but if he’s good enough that you’re upset about that, then that means something has gone spectacularly right. We’re not talking about a Wander Franco, can’t-miss type here. He’s also already 24, for the record.

Also, I know in my heart that if Dombrowski were still here, he’d absolutely try to sign Springer. I also know that if that were to happen (maybe it will!), I will accidentally refer to him as “George Saunders” at least once.
 

nvalvo

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I was surprised - still am, I guess - that they haven’t brought up Duran by now. Maybe it’s not a super-meaningful number of games, but why not see if he holds his own or looks overmatched? You can say you don’t want to lose the service time, but if he’s good enough that you’re upset about that, then that means something has gone spectacularly right. We’re not talking about a Wander Franco, can’t-miss type here. He’s also already 24, for the record.
I think it probably has a lot to do with the 40-man roster over the winter.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Can the Sox sign Bauer to a huge one year deal (he's stated he will sign only one year deals), add a closer (Liam Hendricks?) and keep JBJ plus an effective 4th OF? Those moves would put a really competitive team on the field without undercutting the long term reloading plan.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Reminiscent of when Gammo persuaded a young Mugsy’s Jock that Rey Quinones “fields like Luis Aparicio and hits like Frank Robinson.”

And don’t get me started on Robinson Checo.
 

BaseballJones

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The Red Sox screwed up the start of 2020 by losing a billion game. Now they're screwing up the end of 2020 by winning. Enough already guys!! This is going to impact 2021 and beyond!
 

BaseballJones

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A little optimism for 2021: Eovaldi is really pitching well.

On the season: 3.72 era, 1.20 whip, 9.7 k/9

Last 4 games: 1.20 era, 0.73 whip, 10.2 k/9

Would love for him to carry this through in 2021.
 

pdub

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Can the Sox sign Bauer to a huge one year deal (he's stated he will sign only one year deals), add a closer (Liam Hendricks?) and keep JBJ plus an effective 4th OF? Those moves would put a really competitive team on the field without undercutting the long term reloading plan.
You know, this is a legitimate idea I didn't consider. Assuming Bauer sticks to his 1-year deal philosophy, I say why not? A rotation consisting of Sale, Bauer, E-Rod, and Eovaldi could be excellent if all the pieces fall into place.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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You know, this is a legitimate idea I didn't consider. Assuming Bauer sticks to his 1-year deal philosophy, I say why not? A rotation consisting of Sale, Bauer, E-Rod, and Eovaldi could be excellent if all the pieces fall into place.
I don't disagree with the idea of one year of Bauer. However, I'm not sure we can yet count on the 2021 rotation including Sale or ERod, at least not right from the start of the season. Sale certainly won't be available on Opening Day. Optimistically, he might be back by the All Star break. ERod's heart health is still a big question mark as he's still not cleared to work out in any way. If he can't work out, let alone throw, this winter it's hard to see him being ready for spring training. Maybe Houck and/or Pivetta can be adequate fill-ins in the meantime.
 

santadevil

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Can the Sox sign Bauer to a huge one year deal (he's stated he will sign only one year deals), add a closer (Liam Hendricks?) and keep JBJ plus an effective 4th OF? Those moves would put a really competitive team on the field without undercutting the long term reloading plan.
I'm not excited to sign either a $42,069,420.69 or the worse $69,420,696.96 contract for one year with him though, are you?
 

amRadio

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Looking at Bauer's history, why would any team want to pile a large amount of money into a one year deal for him? He's been wildly inconsistent. I wouldn't want the Sox to sign any deal with him that didn't reflect the volatility in his performance.

I'm not excited to sign either a $42,069,420.69 or the worse $69,420,696.96 contract for one year with him though, are you?
Why not $420,069,420.69?
This encapsulates the Bauer Power Hour fanclub mentality so perfectly, I wanted to laugh but got anxious about the state of society instead.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Looking at Bauer's history, why would any team want to pile a large amount of money into a one year deal for him? He's been wildly inconsistent. I wouldn't want the Sox to sign any deal with him that didn't reflect the volatility in his performance.
A one-year deal is exactly what you want to give him (or anyone) to reflect the volatility in his performance. Better to give him $30M for one year than commit to, say, $160M over 5 years and having him take a permanent turn for the worst. If he flops next year, you can wash your hands of him rather than be saddled with an albatross (or a Sandoval) on the payroll for a few years.
 

Yo La Tengo

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A one-year deal is exactly what you want to give him (or anyone) to reflect the volatility in his performance. Better to give him $30M for one year than commit to, say, $160M over 5 years and having him take a permanent turn for the worst. If he flops next year, you can wash your hands of him rather than be saddled with an albatross (or a Sandoval) on the payroll for a few years.
And if Sale, ERod aren't ready and the Sox fall out of contention, trade him mid-summer and continue to restock the system.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Looking at Bauer's history, why would any team want to pile a large amount of money into a one year deal for him? He's been wildly inconsistent. I wouldn't want the Sox to sign any deal with him that didn't reflect the volatility in his performance.

Bauer was fantastic in 2018. He was good but not quite very good in Cleveland last year before the trade and terrible in the 50+ innings he threw in Cincinnati (his hit rate and homer rate both went up after the trade).

He's arguably been the best <starter> in baseball this year.

[Edit: Devin Williams has been the best pitcher in baseball this year.]
 

nvalvo

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You know, this is a legitimate idea I didn't consider. Assuming Bauer sticks to his 1-year deal philosophy, I say why not? A rotation consisting of Sale, Bauer, E-Rod, and Eovaldi could be excellent if all the pieces fall into place.
From where I sit, he seems like a corrosive clubhouse presence, but I bet people closer to the game have a better read on that than we would.

Me, I want to try again with McHugh.
 

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He's arguably been the best <starter> in baseball this year.
When looking at stats this year, it’s important to remember teams have essentially been in one of three ‘leagues’ (East, Central, West) and not interacting with the other two at all. A Fangraphs article today pointed out that all of Bauer’s starts this year (except one against CHW) have been against offenses in the bottom 1/3 of MLB.
 

chawson

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Gausman was my FA pick but I think he was a little too good this year.

This winter seems to have no real precedent, and I think there will be a lot of teams with extra incentive to clear payroll for non-baseball reasons. I could see Boyd, Carrasco, Musgrove and Marquez on the move if their smaller orgs don’t want to pay them. Maybe the Nats decide Joe Ross isn’t in their plans after he sat out 2020? Even a heavily subsidized Cueto might be fun for a year if the Giants wanna throw a B prospect in.

I think Bloom will find it easier to obtain pitching this way rather than free agency, at least for this winter. FA pitchers might not see Boston as a surefire contender like they usually are, on top of the typical tougher sell of pitching in an offensive park in the AL East.
 

staz

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With Houck dealing, next summer we might be looking at Sale/Erod/Eovaldi/Houck. Which is a nice foundation for a FA like either Bauer at SP2 or at least a serviceable SP3-type like Smyly, Richards or Minor. Obviously, a lot hinges on the health of Sale and Erod, which is so far so good...

View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1309598905273856001

Roenicke says Eduardo Rodriguez consulted w/doctors and trainers involved in his myocarditis treatment. ‘Really good news...He’s been cleared to start just walking in a couple weeks. ... They’re hoping his offseason will be normal and he’ll be able to build himself up for (‘21).’
View: https://twitter.com/ChrisCotillo/status/1304518930418073601

Chris Sale started throwing last week, Roenicke said.
 

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With Houck dealing, next summer we might be looking at Sale/Erod/Eovaldi/Houck. Which is a nice foundation for a FA like either Bauer at SP2 or at least a serviceable SP3-type like Smyly, Richards or Minor. Obviously, a lot hinges on the health of Sale and Erod, which is so far so good...

View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1309598905273856001


View: https://twitter.com/ChrisCotillo/status/1304518930418073601
That Sale news has been under the radar, but sounds like a reason for cautious optimism.

Also, Perez should be back and part of the mix.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Lots of "ifs" here (Sale and Edro) but the 2021 team is looking like it could be:

Dalbec 1b
Arroyo 2b
X SS
Devers 3b
Verdugo RF
Benintendi CF
Muñoz/Chavis LF
Martinez DH
Vazquez C

Sale
Edro
Eovaldi
Houck
Perez/Pivetta

BP and Bench just confuses me though...

Its a solid lineup and doesn't figure in any FA acquisitions and projects some optimistic outcomes for questionable talent ( Benintendi? Muñoz, Chavis, Arroyo) and health (Edro, Sale, Eo) and returns to form (Martinez, etc..). Assumes JBJ gets signed elsewhere (I suspect he will).

If it all works out, it's a rotation and lineup that I'd feel confident in predicting a 95 win season (assuming a regular season....)
 

BaseballJones

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The bullpen would be the issue with that team, Sandy. Still a ton of holes there but fortunately those can probably be filled relatively easily I think.
 

Coachster

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Lots of "ifs" here (Sale and Edro) but the 2021 team is looking like it could be:

Dalbec 1b
Arroyo 2b
X SS
Devers 3b
Verdugo RF
Benintendi CF
Muñoz/Chavis LF
Martinez DH
Vazquez C

Sale
Edro
Eovaldi
Houck
Perez/Pivetta

BP and Bench just confuses me though...

Its a solid lineup and doesn't figure in any FA acquisitions and projects some optimistic outcomes for questionable talent ( Benintendi? Muñoz, Chavis, Arroyo) and health (Edro, Sale, Eo) and returns to form (Martinez, etc..). Assumes JBJ gets signed elsewhere (I suspect he will).

If it all works out, it's a rotation and lineup that I'd feel confident in predicting a 95 win season (assuming a regular season....)
I don't think it's close to 95 wins. Still lots of work to do.

Bloom can certainly do better than Munoz/ Chavis in left. (In fact, I hope to never see Chavis is a Sox uniform again after today). Why not just re-sign JBJ? After Jackie and Springer, who is expensive, the pickings are kind-of slim. Maybe Bloom can pick up somebody on the cheap who will develop. I like Munoz, but he'd be better suited as a super-sub BROCKHOLT-ish kind of guy.

The issue will be the pen. We don't have a closer. We don't have an 8th inning guy. In a perfect world, Barnes can assume the job of the AAAA assholes who pitched the 5th and the 6th this season, give Darwinzon 7th, and we need at least two real established major league pitchers to do the heavy lifting.

Of course, the problem with relievers is if you need 2, you have to get 4, because a couple of them are going to shit the bed.

Anyway, it'll be fun.
 

The Gray Eagle

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We're really not far away from contending, if Sale and Rodriguez are back and pitching well by June.
We'd also need Benintendi and JD to bounce back, a couple arms for the bullpen, and another solid starting pitcher.

If we bring back Perez and add another solid SP, we should be able to stay afloat until Sale and E-Rod are ready. Free agents include Tanaka, Quintana, Odirizzi, Stroman, Archer (and maybe Jon Lester, if the Cubs decline his option) among others.

We will need to be better at finding relievers than we were this time, as we got virtually nothing from the parade of arms we threw out there.
Right now, the pen is a weakness: Barnes, Darwinzon, Brasier, Weber, Valdez, Josh Taylor, and a cast of thousands of extras.
(Brewer was actually doing decently till his last 2 appearances, when he gave up 9 runs in 7.2 IP, got hurt, and never pitched again.)

Adding a new reliever who can handle high leverage innings and not walk people would be a big boost, as it would shove every other current reliever down a notch on the totem pole. Adding a second one would be perfect.

If Barnes and Darwinzon are your 3rd and 4th best relievers, you are way better than if they are your top 2.

I don't think we'll make many big moves this offseason. Sign a mid-level starter to a relatively short term deal, and add at least one reliever to pitch the 8th and 9th-- ideally 2 of them.
I'm sure we'll add a couple position players, but I doubt we spend big on that, or bring in anyone who will be guaranteed to be an everyday starter.
 

daltonsoxfan

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That starting pitching mentioned above will never amount to 95 wins - not next year anyway. None of those guys will get past 170 innings. Sale coming back from surgery, who knows what happens with EDRO, Houck and Pivetta are unknowns over the 162 game season and I don't think Eovaldi has ever gone a complete season with a stretch on the DL. That leaves Perez but somehow I don't see him as a 220 innings guy. So, without a horse on that staff everything else gets broken down starting with the bullpen which we know is not a position of strength. I think that there will be enough offense but lots of work to do yet for the pitching staff -starting and relieving.
 

nvalvo

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We're really not far away from contending, if Sale and Rodriguez are back and pitching well by June.
We'd also need Benintendi and JD to bounce back, a couple arms for the bullpen, and another solid starting pitcher.

If we bring back Perez and add another solid SP, we should be able to stay afloat until Sale and E-Rod are ready. Free agents include Tanaka, Quintana, Odirizzi, Stroman, Archer (and maybe Jon Lester, if the Cubs decline his option) among others.

We will need to be better at finding relievers than we were this time, as we got virtually nothing from the parade of arms we threw out there.
Right now, the pen is a weakness: Barnes, Darwinzon, Brasier, Weber, Valdez, Josh Taylor, and a cast of thousands of extras.
(Brewer was actually doing decently till his last 2 appearances, when he gave up 9 runs in 7.2 IP, got hurt, and never pitched again.)

Adding a new reliever who can handle high leverage innings and not walk people would be a big boost, as it would shove every other current reliever down a notch on the totem pole. Adding a second one would be perfect.

If Barnes and Darwinzon are your 3rd and 4th best relievers, you are way better than if they are your top 2.

I don't think we'll make many big moves this offseason. Sign a mid-level starter to a relatively short term deal, and add at least one reliever to pitch the 8th and 9th-- ideally 2 of them.
I'm sure we'll add a couple position players, but I doubt we spend big on that, or bring in anyone who will be guaranteed to be an everyday starter.
Good post, TGE.

Building on what you're saying, signing a FA with QO attached will cost us the #33 pick in the draft, which would not be at all ideal. We will have high picks and a big draft budget, so we really need to nail the draft top-to-bottom to rebuild this farm more than we need any particular FA. That has to be the priority for 2021.

A few things follow from this, I think:

Retaining Bradley makes some sense if the price is right. Sure, it would be fun to add Springer, but that would blow our new-found fiscal stability out of the water immediately and handicap our draft. A Wil Myers deal might be revisited, though, if SD ownership is still cash-strapped.

I would also hand Arroyo and Dalbec starting jobs to sink or swim, but we should probably add another bench infielder better than Lin or Chavis to supplement them.

FA signings of relievers might make sense, as they don't generally get QO'd. I was actually wondering if a Workman reunion could be in order, after his terrible stint in Philadelphia. There are a bunch of good arms available, though: Tony Watson, Trevor May, Trevor Rosenthal, Shane Greene. And some fascinating potential projects: Blake Treinen was good but not great for LAD this season, but has such a high ceiling. The idea would be to have something like FA, FA, Barnes, Valdez, Brazier, Tapia, and then whoever survives the coming 40-man roster purge.

I'm not expecting Bloom to add a better SP than Eovaldi. We have Sale and Rodriguez coming back (*crosses fingers* *touches wood*). What we need is another 150 acceptable innings. So I might aim to both retain Perez and bring in another SP with an eye more to quantity than quality. I would also like to see Hernandez try again in the rotation at the beginning of the year.

I'm assuming neither Rodriguez nor Sale will be ready for Opening Day, but that they will likely become available sometime in the first half. I'd want to start with a rotation of Eovaldi/Perez/Pivetta/FA (Collin McHugh?)/Hernandez, with Houck working on that third pitch in Worcester, along with Mata and Seabold, and Groome and Ward in Portland. That's actually a pretty deep assortment of actual high minors prospects. Then, the hope would be that Rodriguez and Sale return in May and June, and we end up with something like Sale, Rodriguez, Eovaldi, Pivetta, Houck, with Hernandez reinforcing the bullpen. If everyone's healthy — they won't be — Pivetta still has an option, and either Perez or McHugh will be on expiring deals and can be dealt or pitched in relief as makes sense.

Hopefully, that's a team that can contend for a Wild Card, and is both well-positioned to incorporate younger players and actually has some to incorporate.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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That starting pitching mentioned above will never amount to 95 wins - not next year anyway. None of those guys will get past 170 innings. Sale coming back from surgery, who knows what happens with EDRO, Houck and Pivetta are unknowns over the 162 game season and I don't think Eovaldi has ever gone a complete season with a stretch on the DL. That leaves Perez but somehow I don't see him as a 220 innings guy. So, without a horse on that staff everything else gets broken down starting with the bullpen which we know is not a position of strength. I think that there will be enough offense but lots of work to do yet for the pitching staff -starting and relieving.
I agree that calling for the team to win 95 games with that proposed rotation is a big stretch, and the issue is definitely covering innings , but I think the days of a 220 inning "horse" are long over. In 2019 (because obviously 2020 stats are meaningless), there was exactly one starter in all of MLB that topped 220 innings: Justin Verlander. And we know where he ended up this season. Only three other pitchers topped 210 innings...Bieber, Bauer, and Cole. One of those guys will be available this winter. He could be exactly the addition the team needs to bridge the gap to Erod and Sale's return, and on a short-term deal that could be disposable mid-season should things not work out.

Short of signing Bauer, the strategy for the rotation (as well as the bullpen) would have to be going for depth rather than a "horse". Add one or two mid-level starters who can spread the innings burden out a bit. Basically, a couple more Perez type guys.
 

A Bad Man

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FWIW, Valdez posted a 1.62 WHIP in 2020, after a 1.63 WHIP last year. Not sure if we want to count on him for much.
 

BaseballJones

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FWIW, Valdez posted a 1.62 WHIP in 2020, after a 1.63 WHIP last year. Not sure if we want to count on him for much.
Yeah, the Valdez shine wore off pretty quickly. He was useful this year but not sure he's really going to be much help in 2021.
 

scottyno

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That starting pitching mentioned above will never amount to 95 wins - not next year anyway. None of those guys will get past 170 innings. Sale coming back from surgery, who knows what happens with EDRO, Houck and Pivetta are unknowns over the 162 game season and I don't think Eovaldi has ever gone a complete season with a stretch on the DL. That leaves Perez but somehow I don't see him as a 220 innings guy. So, without a horse on that staff everything else gets broken down starting with the bullpen which we know is not a position of strength. I think that there will be enough offense but lots of work to do yet for the pitching staff -starting and relieving.
Most starters don't get past 170 or so innings anymore, certainly not 200. With the tax reset they have basically an unlimited amount they can spent next year on building a bullpen.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Just to be clear..... I said "95 wins" as an "everything breaks right" proposition. The most positive of all outcomes with that group- assuming full seasons, full health, bounce-back seasons, etc...
I still like Chavis and Muñoz as Brock Holt types and it's clear that Chavis is being groomed to be that. I still don't know much about Muñoz so I can't comment at all there. But next season, Chavis has to step up- I'm willing to give him more time. He had a rookie season and then this past year and has shown some talent... and some shit. But it's still very early to be casting him as a failure.
 

scottyno

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Erod, Eovaldi, Houck, Perez, Pivetta with hopefully Sale coming back midseason and maybe they sign another back end vet type as insurance is potentially a good rotation. Of course, it's also potentially a very bad rotation since 4/6 are pretty big unknowns right now, but they have potential, unlike the guys they were throwing out this year.
 

Green Monster

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www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/09/twins-designate-sean-poppen-for-assignment.html

Given his MA connection, does anyone know much about Sean Poppen? Seems like he has some upside and might be worth a claim. 94-96 mph fastball, solid K/9 and reasonable BB/9. Still has a number of options.

A nice overview written prior to 2020 season...
 

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www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/09/twins-designate-sean-poppen-for-assignment.html

Given his MA connection, does anyone know much about Sean Poppen? Seems like he has some upside and might be worth a claim. 94-96 mph fastball, solid K/9 and reasonable BB/9. Still has a number of options.

A nice overview written prior to 2020 season...
Pirates claimed him.
 

SoxVindaloo

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Erod, Eovaldi, Houck, Perez, Pivetta with hopefully Sale coming back midseason and maybe they sign another back end vet type as insurance is potentially a good rotation. Of course, it's also potentially a very bad rotation since 4/6 are pretty big unknowns right now, but they have potential, unlike the guys they were throwing out this year.
What’s the status of McHugh? I assume the contract he signed with us before he opted out tolled and is still in place for 2021. That may be your back end depth right there.