I think most of us would agree the bright spot for this team is we have a lot of inexpensive talent with potential. The question is how certain is this potential?
How many guys on the 25 man do we think we can count on and how do we compare across all areas of the team against established contenders? Let’s look at each area.
Starting Pitching – We have two good SP and no great SPs. Houston, Cleveland, Boston are grossly superior.
Bullpen – We had one guy (Rogers) emerge this year. He is the only guy that has dominated and that is a relatively SSS. We can also reasonably expect May to be pretty good. All of the contenders have better to grossly superior BPs.
Position Players – We have one guy (Rosario) with a WAR over 3 last year and he was terrible the 2nd half of the season. Has the league adjusted? I think he will probably equal his 3.5 WAR but I find it hard to count on him doing something he has never demonstrated the ability to do. I am not going to go through the exercise of comparing our 25 man to Houston, Boson or NY or even Cleveland. Any of those teams are filled with established players that are far better than our best.
Every day is the time to act. The question is what type of investment should we make as part of this “time to act”? I think every single person here would trade decent prospects for an above average guy (Yelich) that breaks out to superstar status. Outside of this type of obvious scenario, do you commit every dollar of payroll budget you have for the next 3 or more years to free agent players or do you hold a little back to allow for a mid-season upgrade or addition next year? Do you trade Kirilloff or Lewis? How about any of our top pitching prospects.
Right now... I'd settle for simple diversification to protect the overall investment. We just saw what happened when they invested in a single stock and saw the stock bottom out.
Personally... I'm not even counting on Rosario. What he did this year doesn't mean he will do it again next year. He could get hurt or start swinging at back foot sliders and not get himself out of it.
Go get an outfielder... Don't care who at the moment... that's the job of the front office... Just get someone who has a reasonable chance to surpass the projected production of Kepler, Rosario and Buxton that the three of them can compete against for playing time. If all 4 of them work... Wonderful. And then a new manager who knows how to handle too many players and that's where my daily flexibility diatribes come in. Prepare for success and Prepare for Failure.
Sano, Buxton, Kepler will have to sink or swim but they won't be allowed to sink us if they don't swim.
I am also of the opinion that we don't need to compare ourselves to Houston, Boston or anyone. We just need a team that can compete against all 29 baseball teams. I've seen David Freese win a world series. I've seen Brock Holt hit for the cycle in a small sample size. Build a base of 25 players who can play... find yourself in playoff contention and acquire at the deadline additional pieces that can improve us even more (on paper of course).
I have no opinion on Lewis or Kiriloff... I am excited about them just like I was excited about Sano and Buxton. What I want is for Lewis or Kiriloff is win a job when the time comes and not be handed a locked down job and allowed to struggle while they learn on the job. I want them to be Juan Soto-esque when they knock down the door to further deeper our roster.
I leave it to the front office to decide what prospects they can part with and which ones they can't if it takes a trade to acquire the right guy. It doesn't matter to me what avenue they choose to staff the roster next year be it trade, FA, waivers or promotion but I do expect every single guy on the 25 man roster to be competitive for a starting role. Anything short of that... I'll assume that they didn't learn their lesson from this year.
I'm not willing to watch a guy hit .130 and play every day any more. I'm tired of LaMarre and Kinley getting roster spots and not being utilized because they were not good enough to out perform a guy hitting .130