FanPost Friday: Despite The Early Season Struggles, I'd Push For A Chance To Play In October

I'm posting this on June 14, 2019. So obviously, if something drastic happens soon like I don't know, we get swept by the Orioles or go on some 10-game losing streak now, then of course I'd likely change my attitude and say we should sell at the deadline.

Otherwise, my strategy is to be somewhat aggressive, though not super aggressive like going "all-out" and selling our entire farm + taking on a ton of money for big name targets like Bumgarner, Encarnacion, etc.

I predicted before the season that in the American League, there would be 3 AL East teams in the playoffs (two of them facing each other in the WC game). I had predicted NYY wins the division with 101+ wins, BOS comes 2nd, TB comes 3rd and we'd have the first wild card spot. Now obviously, things have changed since and right now, Boston is 3rd in the AL East and also trailing the 2nd Wild Card spot (though still super close to it). Tampa is also looking like a legitimate threat to win the AL East though NYY currently is 1st by 0.5 games and is expected to get healthier going forward.

We are 36-34, a game back of Texas for the 2nd wild card spot and it's a 3-4 team race for the spot it seems, although some teams may drop out of the race if they decide to sell also, like Cleveland. I think the front office wants to "go for it" regardless and we'll be buyers at the deadline. Here's the 2 main things I want us to do going forward, and then 1 "consideration" to look into as the season progresses.


- I like the Top-3 of our bullpen (Walden, Barnes, Workman) and think Hembree has been really solid (he's proven me wrong for sure this season). Still, I think we're going to need another high leverage arm if we want to try and contend in the 2nd half and beyond. Our depth behind those 4 is a problem and not a reliable group honestly. And if one of these guys gets in trouble and someone has to come in to fix it, it leaves us in a bit of a pickle. Look at last night's game. Hembree was unavailable and when we already burned through our Top-3, we had Josh Smith close. JOSH SMITH!?!? Now credit to him, he got the job done, but that's still not an ideal scenario.

Here's the 5 names I'd consider and briefly, their contract situations:

  • Will Smith (rental)
  • Tony Watson (technically a rental; has 2.5M player option in 2020 which he likely won't pick up)
  • Sean Doolittle (has another year after this at 6.5M - club option, 500K buyout)
  • Alex Colome (another year of control after this season)
  • Shane Greene (another year of control after this season)

My personal preference is to trade for Doolittle or Smith. Both are legit closers with career success and would each provide a legitimate lefty option for us in the bullpen, which we currently don't have. But that's not to say I'd hate if we added any of the other 3 guys instead. Watson is a lefty too. I wouldn't mind headlining a trade package with Dalbec or Hernandez and making a deal for either of these 5 guys - preferably Smith or Doolittle.


- So far, I've loved what I've seen out of him out of the bullpen, and I think he deserves a chance to start some games too. We have Wright, Johnson and Velazquez hopefully all returning soon to help with our depth, but I love Shawaryn's potential and think he could sort of be our "versatile swingman" (can pitch 2+ innings out of BP if needed and also make spot starts whenever). I hope he stays up for a while.

CONSIDERATION: Monitor Injuries & Eovaldi's Return Carefully

- Obviously if, god forbid, someone suffers a bad injury that sidelines them long term, that might create another need. Like, if JDM went down for a while, do we consider going after a rental big bat? Something like that.

Ryan Weber, Hector Velazquez, Josh Smith, and Darwinzon Hernandez have combined to make 11 starts in Eovaldi's absence with an ERA of 8.66, 1.73 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 4.33 BB/9 and a 2-6 record

- Jared Carrabis (Twitter)

Yeah, that's NOT good. Unfortunately, Eovaldi suffered another setback while rehabbing which pushes his return likely back to about early July. Maybe Shawaryn, Johnson and others can fill in better going forward, otherwise it might not be a bad idea to swing a trade for another back-end, right handed SP (like we did to acquire Eovaldi last July). Some names I could think of off the top of my head are Mike Fiers & Zack Wheeler, but I'm sure there are other names to look into, just not sure who they are off the top of my head.

So that's my strategy. Buyers at the deadline (primarily for relief help), give Shawaryn more chances and also hope we see more improvement from some of our current guys like Betts, Pearce, Chavis, etc. I don't think we need to add infield depth as Marco Hernandez is back and Lin could return soon though as I said, a major injury could change that still. For trades, I'd have 1 of Dalbec/Hernandez available if headlined in a deal for a great, reliable reliever, and then I assume we'd just have other solid-but-not-elite prospects we could trade for rentals and/or depth (I mean, we didn't trade an extravagant amount to acquire Pearce, Kinsler, and Eovaldi last season - though yes, I acknowledge Beeks + Buttrey each look great on their new teams too).

Luxury Tax NOTE: We're at 240M and have about 6M of wiggle room under the highest threshold (246M). I think even making the trade(s), we should be able to stay under it as none of those names I offered up make a huge amount and I'm sure if needed, the other team can eat up some remaining salary as well. Remember too, by the deadline the salaries we are left paying only account for the 2 months left, so Doolittle makes 6M this season, but by the deadline we'd only owe about 3M (or less if WAS hypothetically ate up some remaining salary too).