Our friends at South Side Sox have been running a “Choose Your Own Offseason” scenario for a couple years now, and like Bless You Boys, we’re going to join in on the fun this year. This guide borrows heavily from their example, because it’s not my idea to start with! But it sure as heck could be fun.
The template below will lay out the decisions the Rays have ahead of them after the World Series, and then you have free reign to make the moves you think will vault the team back into contention!
First, some tips and instructions.
Copy and paste the template into a FanPost. If you have not written a FanPost before, we have instructions here. In short, you will need two things: (1) an active SB Nation account registered at DRaysBay (the “join” button is at the bottom of this post if you are not already a member), and (2) the link to the FanPost section, which can also be found on the right side of our home page.
Cot’s Baseball Contracts has Tampa Bay’s payroll obligations. Note: Contracts are where you need to be reasonable, as the Rays are expected to keep their payroll in the $70 million range from now until eternity... You can find the 40-man roster here, the Payroll should not exceed $85 million without good reason.
MLB Trade Rumors has a list of the 2016-17 MLB free agents. Remember that some of these players have contract options that will be exercised (like our old friend Wade Davis), so use your best judgment to determine which players will actually be available on the free agent market.
I’m still working out the details, but rest assured there will be some sort of prize for your contributions.
Rest assured that the best submissions will make it to the front page, and then we will either take it to a vote, or let a random number generator do the picking. The more submissions we get, the better the prizes. That’s all I can promise for now...
Now, the fun part.
[Insert your name]’s Offseason Plan
Only three players are under contract for next season:
- Chris Archer – $4.92 million
- Evan Longoria – $13.0 million
- Logan Forsythe – $7.0 million
You can choose to offer the following players the contracts listed below or non-tender them (i.e. not offer them a contract and allow them to leave as a free agent). Feel free to explain any of your tougher decisions.
- Alex Cobb (5.061) – $4.0 million
- Bobby Wilson (5.057) – $1.1 million
- Drew Smyly (4.154) – $6.9 million
- Erasmo Ramirez (3.158) – $3.5 million
- Brad Boxberger (3.109) – $1.5 million
- Corey Dickerson (3.101) – $3.4 million
- Brad Miller (3.094) – $3.8 million
- Xavier Cedeno (3.060) – $1.2 million
- Jake Odorizzi (3.042) – $4.6 million
- Danny Farquhar (2.168) – $1.1 million
- Kevin Kiermaier (2.131) – $2.1 million
The Rays have no players with options for next season, so the decision to retain the players is quite simple. Pay arbitration, or waive the player to be a free agent.
Pending Free agents
These players were with the Rays last season, but will be declared free agents when the World Series ends.
- Alexei Ramirez – $3.0 million in 2016
- Kevin Jepsen – $5.31 million in 2016
- Logan Morrison – $4.20 million in 2016
If you choose to sign any free agents, name the player(s), the maximum contract offer you would extend to them, and a brief explanation. Here’s an example:
Jason Castro (one year, $6.9 million): The Rays would benefit from having a seasoned catcher on the roster, and this former Mike-Fast-employed backstop has never made more than $5 million in a single season. Entering his age-30 season, this former All-Star has a bat that worked its way up to an 88 wRC+ last season, which is Ruthian for a Rays catcher, with a double digit walk-rate and home run total. The strikeouts are a problem, but what else is new for the Rays? He’d probably be more thrilled with a two-year deal.
If you choose to trade any players, propose a deal that sounds reasonable for both sides. Offloading Steven Souza Jr. without a replacement in mind for right field because you’re annoyed by the player is unreasonable. Furthermore, you’re not picking up Kyle Schwarber for a bag of peanuts.
Trade suggestions need to look more like this:
Trade Drew Smyly to the Dodgers for Yasiel Puig: The Rays have been courting Puig for some time, but his contract is too ritzy with an expensive player like Smyly on the Roster. The Dodgers are perpetually in need of starting pitching, and the Rays have the prospects to make up the difference in the long run. Plus, this acquisition justifies moving Souza Jr. to the twilight zone of LF/DH that Corey Dickerson is poised to share next season.
It’s one thing to list all the moves you want to make, but like Mrs. Russell tells her students, show your work! More detail makes for a more interesting FanPost, and thus more commentary in the comment section.
We’ll be sure to promote the more thoughtful efforts to the front page over the next couple of weeks. If you think we should be promoting a submission, give it a Rec!