Let's say Jacque Pernod (not a real dude), the poutine king of Quebec, put up a billion dollars in order to get a new Montreal Expos franchise on the docket for the 2018 MLB season. Well, that's too much money to turn down, so baseball makes room for a 31st team. However, it's too late for an expansion draft, so commissioner Rob Manfred says, "Well, Jacque, you're going to have to make do with the guys currently not under contract."
That would leave Pernod to construct his first roster for the new Expos in a fashion very different from the way the old Expos teams were built: through expensive free-agent contracts. But we know one thing about about baseball's newest spendthrift owner: He has bottomless pockets. So he says, "Oui! Vive les Expos!" With budgetary concerns out the window, Pernod can outbid every team in the marketplace for baseball's remaining free agents. But how would that team look?
Over at FanGraphs, they [url=http://www.authentichoustonastrosshop.com/Jr-Richard-Jersey]http://www.authentichoustonastrosshop.com/Jr-Richard-Jersey[/url] keep a running tab on the WAR projections across baseball and adjust them every time a move is made. One thing that jumps out at you right now is that there is more projected WAR left in this winter's free-agent glacier than there is on the teams holding baseball's top 2018 projections:
Could Pernod really construct baseball's best team just by buying up the best remaining free agents on the marketplace? Frankly, it seems unlikely. On the face of it, you'd think that composite projected WAR total would in reality simply be a product of the quantity of remaining free agents, not the quality, with the list lacking the kind of real difference-makers you need on a championship squad.et's test that notion by constructing the best possible team from the pool of remaining free agents. We'll build a full 25-man roster because, as we know, the [url=http://www.authenticblackhawksite.com/-9-bobby-hull-jersey_c-498.html]Bobby Hull Youth jersey[/url] Expos' new patron spares no expense. By the way, we'll [url=http://www.minnesotawildofficialonline.com/Adidas-Jason-Pominville-Jersey]http://www.minnesotawildofficialonline.com/Adidas-Jason-Pominville-Jersey[/url] be putting the nouveau Expos in the National League, where they belong.
The projected WAR figures noted below are from the Steamer projections at FanGraphs, though some have been tweaked so as to not overshoot realistic team-level benchmarks for plate appearances or innings pitched. Also, Pernod firmly believes in a roster of 13 position players and 12 pitchers, so that's what we're going with here. A couple of bullpen spots are reserved for swing guys. Not bad! An instant playoff contender for the long-suffering fans of Montreal, all for the outrageous [url=http://www.mavericksteamonline.com/Josh_Mcroberts_Jersey]Authentic Josh McRoberts Jersey[/url] price of a team built entirely on one winter's free-agent market.
Of course ... it's never so simple. Teams need many more players than this to get through a season, and to get an aggregate replacement-level performance from those unseen roster-fillers is a big ask. Also, these are free agents: This is a roster laden with downside, injury risk, minimal athleticism and a questionable defensive profile.
Nevertheless, this much is true: As the calendar flips to 2018, there are a lot of potential wins out there, stuck in free-agent limbo. More than enough wins to -- at least marginally -- shake up the 2018 pecking order of teams. Pernod's hopes for instant-contender status for his Expos may have ended in dissatisfaction. But for some teams, there [url=http://www.officialtorontomapleleafs.com/Adidas-Wendel-Clark-Jersey]Womens Wendel Clark Jersey[/url] will be excitement ahead generated by some of these productive veterans who are patiently waiting out the tedious winter market.
Scott Boras has a history of waiting out the free-agent market, as Max Scherzer’s $210 million deal with the Nationals in 2015 and Prince Fielder’s $214 million deal with the Tigers in 2012 both came in January (among others). Is this a case of Boras waiting? Or are teams simply not interested in Arrieta after seeing his WAR dip from 8.7 in his Cy Young season in 2015 to 3.4 in 2016 to 1.9 in 2017? If the Rangers miss out on Darvish, [url=http://www.officialnuggetsshop.com/authentic-21-wilson-chandler-jersey.html]Wilson Chandler Youth jersey[/url] Arrieta makes a lot of sense, and he’d be returning home. (He went to high school in Plano, a Dallas suburb.) The Nationals, of course, have their own history of [url=http://www.authenticclippersstore.com/Danilo_Gallinari_Jersey]http://www.authenticclippersstore.com/Danilo_Gallinari_Jersey[/url] signing Boras clients and have been kicking the tires on adding another starting pitcher.
Buyer beware: Arrieta averaged 6.9 innings per start in 2015, but that went down to 5.6 in 2017. We all know about his conditioning and injury-free history, but his fastball velocity has dropped from 94.6 to 92.1 during that span.
A six-year, $150 million deal for Martinez isn’t unreasonable given his projected production over that time. Still, that’s a lot of money to give a guy who is already considered a below-average defender and would be in his age-35 season in Year 6. Maybe that’s why the rumors with Martinez have been minimal this offseason. The Red Sox are still his logical landing spot, even after they re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland (Hanley Ramirez would be the DH right now). Long shot: How about the Braves? They need a hitter, they’ve cleared Matt Kemp off the roster, and they have a young roster that has room to add a big salary.
Buyer beware: Martinez’s most similar comp at age 29 was Jason Bay, who had a great run from 2005 to 2009, averaging 31 home runs per season while hitting .279/.378/.515. His last big season came with the Red Sox at age 30. Then he signed with the Mets as a free agent and hit just 37 home runs over the last four seasons of his career. Granted, Bay had some injuries, but like Bay, Martinez could be described as a player with “old player’s skills.” Let’s see how he ages.