FanPost

The Steamer goes Nuclear: Imagining worst case 2022 hypotheticals

The lockout is dull. I was bored during this transaction freeze, so I thought I would try and imagine a worst-case version of the ’22 Athletics. For this, I set team payroll at $ 52 M. That would be the lowest A’s payroll number in a long time, as low as any team last year and (arguably) the same as the 2022 projected Pittsburgh Pirates. I used fangraphs steamer projections for this hypothetical because I couldn’t think of anything better. I also used the MLB trade rumors salary and arb estimates when applicable- although I expect the major league minimum to increase by Opening Day.

One key variable in this is assuming the A’s get no impact major league talent back in trading six out of seven most expensive players. And maybe I picked all the wrong free agents the A's would target- but, maybe that is just sticking more toward my goal of a "worst case" situation. So, the minor league system is in a position to improve tremendously. But what would the team look like?

Catcher

Player Name salary est proj fWAR +/- 2021
Sean Murphy Min. 3.0 -0.3
Austin Allen Min. 1.1 +0.8
Christian Bethancourt Min. 0 0

First Base

Player Name salary est proj fWAR +/- 2021
Albert Pujols $ 3 M 0 -5
Seth Brown Min 0 0

Second Base

Player Name Salary Est proj fWAR +/- 2021
Tony Kemp $ 2.25 M 2.1 -0.6
Vimael Machin Min. 0.4 -0.5
Chad Pinder $ 2.725 M 1.4

Short Stop

Player Name Salary Est proj fWAR +/- 2021
Elvis Andrus $ 6.75 M 1.2 +0.1
Niko Goodrum $ 1.25 M 0.2 +0.2
Nick Allen Min 0.3 +0.7

Third Base

Player Name Est Salary Proj fWAR +/- 2021
Josh Harrison $ 5 M 1.2 -2.2
Vimael Machin Min 0.4 0

LF

Player Name Est Salary Proj fWAR +/- 2021
Chad Pinder $ 2.725 M 1.4 -1.2
Tony Kemp $ 2.25 M 2.1 -0.4
Cody Thomas Min 0
Niko Goodrum $ 1.25 M 0.2

CF

Player Name Est Salary Proj fWAR +/- 2021
Ramon Laureano $ 2.8 M 2.9 +0.8
Luis Barrera Min 0 -2.1
Skye Bolt Min 0.1 +0.5

RF

Player Name Est Salary Proj fWAR +/- 2021
Brian Goodwin $ 1.25 M 0.1 -1
Chad Pinder $ 2.725 M 1.4 +1
Seth Brown Min 0 0

DH

Player Name Est Salary Proj fWAR +/- 2021
Brian Goodwin $ 1.25 M 0.1 -0.8
Austin Allen Min 1.1 +1.1

SP

Player Name est. Salary Proj fWAR +/- 2021
James Kaprielian Min 1.1 -3
Cole Irvin Min 0.9 -2.2
Daulton Jefferies Min 0.2 -2.9
Wily Peralta $ 3 M 1.0 -0.5
Martin Perez $ 5 M 1.2 +0.1

This was a little tricky, considering the A's big 3 is projected to eat up so many innings, it's tough to get a good assumption about Puk, Jefferies, and Honeywell Jr. if they were all able to pitch a full season in the rotation. And of course, there would have to be spot starters (Blackburn, Howard, Puk, Romero, Honeywell Jr).

BULLPEN

Player Name Est Salary proj fWAR +/- 2021
Lou Trivino $ 2.9 M 0
Deolis Guerra $ 815 K 0.1
Sergio Romo $ 2.1 M 0
AJ Puk Min 0.6
Brett Honeywell Jr Min -0.1
Andrew Chafin $ 5 M 0.4
Paul Blackburn Min 0.2
Dany Jimenez Min 0.1
Sam Moll Min 0

I didn't even bother to fill out the +/- 2021 because How Can Hell Be Any Worse?

FINAL TALLY

So for my tank-tastic roster, the A's would pay about $ 52 M if the league minimum continued hovering around $ 575 K and $ 60 M if it went up to a million. Which I frantically hope happens. As I scroll through this team I think, wow yeah it's pretty bad. The A's were the oldest AL team in 2021 and this hypothetical, somehow they get much older! The natural reaction here is to barf. So I was left wondering, why would the A's destroy good will before opening a new stadium in Oakland? All while considering the risk in trading 15-17 wins in '21 for prospects who might not develop. Better than letting those wins walk.

This hypothetical surely involves a lot of platoons. Which I like a lot, and I know the A's front office thinks about when constructing rosters. So what do you think about this team? I mean, how much do you hate it? In a pessimistic framework, one might jump to the conclusion that this team loses 100 games. Implying everyone is healthy, which is rare, I don't believe this particular iteration does that.

Thank you for reading, go Aviators (I mean A's!)