Throughout various threads discussing possible ways to reduce payroll, I have heard a lot of people say JBJ should be traded/non-tendered. I have also read numerous articles recently where the author brings up getting rid of JBJ as a foregone conclusion. What I haven't heard much of is the plan for who would man CF absent JBJ. While I agree that JBJ is likely not worth his projected arbitration salary (especially for a team trying to pinch pennies), the free agent options for centerfielders are bad to non-existent. So I am curious who people think is the CF of the future or at least 2020. Some options I can think of:
- Betts - Move Mookie back to CF and sign a better bat/worse defender than JBJ to man RF. I actually think if they are able to extend/re-sign Mookie this should be the plan for the future.
- Benintendi - While Beni came up as a CF, my memory is that he was mediocre as a CF in previous years and this year was pretty meh in LF, possibly due to bulking up over the offseason. Perhaps with a different offseason training regime he can get back to being an option for CF but I tend to doubt he would be anything close to JBJ out there. Would open up LF for a hitter.
- Starling Marte - Certainly the top option on the trade market. Unlikely the Sox have the prospect capital to pull this off.
- Ender Inciarte - I believe it was Steve Adams from MLBTR that suggested an Inciarte-JBJ swap. I haven't delved too deep into the numbers but they look like pretty similar players. The Braves would save some money by trading $16.4M over two years (plus a $1M buyout in 2022) for the final year of JBJ at around $11M. Sox would cut the AAV down to $6M and hold a reasonably priced $9M option for 2022 if they haven't found anyone better by then.
- Brett Gardner - Just kidding
- Shogo Akiyama - Obviously big question marks as to how his numbers would translate offensively, but gets good grades for his defense. May not be a bad gamble if the offers stay low.
- Cameron Maybin - Career mediocrity that just put up great numbers over half a season with MFY. Seems like a good bet to fool someone into giving him too much money.
- Extend JBJ - While I don't think the Sox can afford JBJ at $11M, he is still a starting caliber player. Perhaps they could offer to "extend" JBJ with a multi-year contract that lowers the AAV (2/12?). JBJ would probably reject this but I doubt he would get much more if he were a FA.