Fangraphs has published their annual list of the top free agents and their expected contracts. Which ones would you target?
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Every year, Fangraphs and MLBTR publish their lists of the top 50 or so free agents, with their estimates of the contracts that those players will sign. And every year, I invite readers to play the shopping game with us!
Here are the rules. You have $30m (of total annual contract value per year) to spend on free agents. Every FA on the Fangraphs list can be had for their median crowdsource AAV. For purposes of this game, ignore term and any other factors (opt-outs, no-trades, etc). So with your $30m you could sign one $30m player, or two $15m players, or a $15 + $10 + $5. Entirely up to you, except that you can not exceed $30m in total.
Here are the AAVs for some of the top players. You can see the complete list and the Fangraphs analysis in the (highly recommended) article here.
Trevor Bauer – $29m
J.T. Realmuto – $22m
George Springer – $22m
Masahiro Tanaka – $18m
Marcell Ozuna – $17.5m
Marcus Semien – $17m
Justin Turner – $16m
Marcus Stroman – $16m
Michael Brantley – $15m
James Paxton – $15m
Didi Gregorius – $15m
DJ LeMahieu – $14m
Kevin Gausman – $12m
Ha-Seong Kim – $11m
Other players of note: Liam Hendriks ($12m), Andrelton Simmons ($14m), Jackie Bradley Jr. ($10m), Tommy LaStella ($7m), Trevor May ($5m), Taijuan Walker ($9m), Brad Hand ($9.3m), Jake Odorizzi ($13m), Kolten Wong ($9.7m), Corey Kluber ($12m), Matt Shoemaker ($5m), Robbie Ray ($8.7m), Chris Archer ($8m).
So what do you do? Bauer would look good in powder blue (personally, I do not find him all *that* objectionable) but it would cost your full $30m budget. But Ross Atkins *did* say
“I think we are in a position where we could add to this team with talent that is condensed in one player and a super high impact,” Atkins said. “We got to the point last year where we felt like the team was competitive enough to move towards winning, and that was a big part of that decision. We’re going to continue to think about how we can build upon this group, and hopefully it’s both complementary as well as making as making a really high impact.
So perhaps the Blue Jays are at the stage now where a single ace beats a pair of jacks. Would you spend your budget on a Bauer – or a Realmuto or Springer – looking to absolutely own that position, and look to fill the other needs elsewhere? Or is it better, rather than adding a single 5 fWAR player, to add 2 fWAR in three separate places?
And how much do you gamble on the existing players? Atkins has strongly intimated that he will give Vladdy a second chance at 3B in 2021 – does that mean that upgrading at third is no longer a priority? What about “reclamation projects” like Chris Archer or Corey Kluber, or injury risks like James Paxton? Is 2021 the right time to play it safe, or should the Jays be swinging for the fences?
If it were up to me, I would take a flyer on Ha-Seong Kim at $11m and move him to 3B, where his speed and arm could make him a gold glover. I would then sign Corey Kluber for $12m hoping for #2-level production and Trevor May and his 2.38 SIERA in 2020 for $5m . Total spend = $28m
How about you? Let me know in the comment section below how you would spend a $30m budget.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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A Jays fan since pre-Series, Jim’s biggest baseball regret is that he did not play hooky with his buddies on 7 Apr 77. But hearing “Fanfare For The Common Man” played from a rooftop on 24 Oct 92 helped him atone.