Going for it in 2021: an offseason plan

Inspired by today’s post and the need to distract myself from politics, I’ve made a brief offseason plan. This plan is based on the premise that the M’s are (1) in a better position to spend money than most teams in an offseason in which there will be many options, and (2) within striking distance of the Astros and A’s who both have to retain or replace their own free agents just to tread water. They can compete for the AL West title in 2021 because of this.

Some Bullet points, followed later by explanations:

  • Sign Kim to play 2B (5 years-$40).
  • Sign Stroman (4 years-$68) and Kluber (1 year-$12[possible with incentives]) as SP.
  • Sign Colome (1-$6), May(2-$14), and Loup(2-$3) for the bullpen.
  • Trade Crawford, Fraley, and stuff* to Cleveland for Lindor.

This will put their payroll into the $130 million range. This more than doubles where they are at now, but prior to 2020 it had been 5 years since they had a payroll that low. Also their draft pick loss for signing Stroman will be favorable based on the low salary they have this year.

*thinking along the lines of Campbell or Then, but could be way off here.

Depth Chart (names in parentheses probably spending most of their time in the minors)

C: Murphy, Torrens, (?)

1B: White, France, Moore, Murphy, (?)

2B: Kim, Moore, Long, France, (Walton, Lopes, Haggerty)

SS: Lindor, Moore, Kim, (Walton, Haggerty)

3B: Seager, France, Kim, Long, Moore, (Walton)

RF: Haniger, Lewis, Moore, (Bishop)

CF: Lewis, Kelenic, (Bishop)

LF: Kelenic, Moore, Long, (Trammel, Lopes, Bishop, Haggerty)

DH: France, Haniger, Seager, Long, Lewis

SP: Gonzalez, Stroman, Sheffield, Kluber, Kikuchi, (Gilbert, Newsome, Margevicius, Dunn)

RP: Colome, May, Graveman, Loup, Brennan, Margevicius, (the pile)


There are enough backup plans that if White, Long, Kim or Kelenic do not take a step forward and/or France or Moore regress that someone will be there to pick up the slack. If more than two of those are not worth regular level playing time (or there is a major injury somewhere else) and they are somehow still in the running, it should be easy to trade for a COF/DH type rental mid-summer. If they are all doing great, then finding a platoon situation should be easy with all of the positional flexibility. And if they are out of it they can probably get a decent return for Lindor, Kluber, Haniger, Moore, Murphy, the relief pile, or whoever else makes sense to trade. Which of course makes room for more playing time for the young players in preparation for 2022.

Stroman helps solidify the front of the rotation. Kluber offers a lot of upside and there is depth if he continues to be injured. This does not force Gilbert into the rotation if he is not ready, and if he is ready the six man rotation can be used. Or they could bring Gilbert/Newsome up to make spot starts when they have a run of 6+ games in a row and otherwise use a five man rotation. This many options means that Dunn probably goes into the reliever pile.

Though this plan pushes things forward a lot, it doesn't hamstring the future. If they aren’t able to resign Lindor before next fall, they could pick from the other elite SS becoming available, or just slide Kim over there, pick up Kyle’s option and figure out a plan for 2nd (either internal or external) going into 2022. Crawford is merely league average at SS, so losing him is not a huge gamble for a team moving towards contention very soon.