I miss baseball. When the 2023 season starts, it will be a season of transitions. Miggy retiring, E-Rod opt out will be figured out, Injured pitchers getting healthy, young guys getting a chance to do something, Schoop's last year here. Nobody expects much this season other than clarity into team needs.
To start we will have to make some assumptions.
1. E-Rod opts out. This one I am confident about, he can easily surpass the 3/49 going into his age 31 season if he pitches close to what he normally pitches. Probably will be traded at the deadline even.
2. Baez DOESN'T opt out. I am not sure Baez will out perform his 4/98 he would opt out of...I am not confident in this assumption, but if he soes opt out we have a couple ways we could go, re-sign him, Amed Rosario, or other possibilities.
3. Some of the young position players prove themselves to be capable starters. This has to happen, or this team is in trouble and this entire exercise is pointless.
So, with these things in mind, let's make a contender without breaking the bank!!
Step 1: Sign Manny Machado for 9/315. This is a ballpark figure, but I believe it will be close to what he could get going into his age 31 season. I push for this because he is a superstar that hasn't played less than 150 games since 2014 (played all 60 in 2020). He is 30 HR, 100 RBI, below average K rate and plays solid 3rd base. Signing him will solidify a position. I am not concerned about blocking Keith, if he is that good, he takes over 2b because Schoop is gone.
Step 2: Sign Arron Nola for 6/180. We need an ace; Nola is an ace. We have pitching depth, just not THE MAN. Here it is.
Step 3: Fill the hole with 1 more high-end bat. The issue is we don't know the hole. Baez opts out, this is filling SS. Tork fails, this is Josh Bell or Rhys Hoskins, OF doesn't produce 3 starters, this is Happ/Hernandez/Renfroe. All of the guys motioned should be similar in price I would think. 5/100-125.
2B-Whoever wins it out of the young guys.
C-Roger/Hasse/ The free agents are slim pickings here/trade.
Fight for the 5th spot.
This would be a contender I feel. Solid offense, defense, and a rotation that if everything went right would rival the best in the league. Adds 85-90 million in payroll, but we have around 72 million coming off the books. It would put the team in the 150 million ish range with arbitration raises.