2018-19 Offseason… aka NOW.
Move 1: Sign UT Marwin Gonzalez – Yes, even if it takes four years. We want a lineup that can help win games, and he’s a solid complimentary piece regardless of who is around him.
Move 2: Sign RF Bryce Harper – Easier said than done, right? The thing is, now is the perfect time for Zaidi to swoop in and land Harper. If he wanted to play for the Nats, who apparently offered him $300M, wouldn’t he have signed by now? Anyway, there would be at least a couple opt-outs in the deal, for sure, but make him an 8-10 year offer he can’t refuse, and sell him on the fact that he’ll and Joey Bart will be a force in the middle of the lineup starting in 2020.
Move 3: Trade Tony Watson to Tampa Bay for 2B/OF Nick Solak – I have no idea why a deal hasn’t been made for Watson already, but this one needs to happen before the season starts. The Rays have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and Solak is currently about 8th on the organizational 2B depth chart. He’d probably spend most of this year in AAA, but the plan would be to plug his right-handed bat into a starting spot in 2020. Here’s his profile.
Move 4: Select one of CF Kameron Misner, SS Bryson Stott, 3B Josh Jung, or SS Will Holland with the 9th pick in the MLB Draft. – If we’re rebuilding the lineup, we’re looking for the hitter we think can impact our lineup the quickest (roughly 18-24 months). If that’s a prep player, great, but this class currently looks pretty deep in the way of collegiate bats, and all four of the above mentioned project as everyday big leaguers.
Move 5: Trade Will Smith to Atlanta for one of 3B Austin Riley, RF Christian Pache, or CF Drew Waters (+ a lower level prospect) – The Braves have one of the most stacked, young rosters in the league, but for some reason have neglected their pitching staff this winter. For our sake, we have to hope they hold strong in that regard, and don’t go out & sign Craig Kimbrel and/or Dallas Keuchel. If they don’t that would leave them as the PERFECT trade deadline match for Smith and/or Bumgarner.
If Smith has the season he’s capable of having, then Zaidi should demand to get back Riley, who’s currently MLB’s #43 prospect overall. If he doesn’t, Pache (#68) or Waters (#91) are still reasonable targets who would immediately move to the upper tier of the farm system.
Move 6: Trade Madison Bumgarner if offered a top 30 prospect in return. If not, keep him and extend a qualifying offer after the season. – This gives the franchise more options in my opinion, including bringing him back on a high salary for one or two years, or getting a supplemental pick for him. Maybe that supplemental pick ends up being a player with far greater potential than any prospect Zaidi has been and will be offered for Bum?
2019-20 Offseason & Early Season
Move 7 & 8: Trade Evan Longoria (if possible) & Brandon Belt (when Bart is ready to be promoted)
Moves 9-10-11: Promote Bart, Riley, & Solak to the Majors
Potential 2020 Mid-Season Lineup
- Steven Duggar CF (L)
- Buster Posey 1B (R)
- Bryce Harper RF (L)
- Joey Bart C (R)
- Marwin Gonzalez LF (S)
- Austin Riley/Evan Longoria 3B (R)
- Brandon Crawford SS (L)
- Nick Solak 2B (R)
*Disclaimer: This plan is simultaneously crazier & not as crazy as you might think.