You decided to scour the free agent market for bargains and hit upon Carlos Gomez on a one-year, $2.5 million deal (plus incentives) and Jose Bautista and Derek Dietrich on minor league deals with an invite to Spring Training. Bautista shows no signs of life in Arizona and retires before the season, but, despite mediocre numbers, Dietrich edges Yu Chang to break camp on the 25-man roster.
The outfield performs well, with Gomez providing a good presence in the clubhouse and content to take his at-bats where he can between Jordan Luplow, Tyler Naquin, and Jake Bauers. Jason Kipnis’s balky shoulder forced more playing time on Dietrich than the front office hoped or anticipated, but Chang stepped in and proved he deserved a role from day one by manning third adroitly and hitting .260/.342/.397. Solid contributions on offense, however, do not make up for the deficiencies in the bullpen. Oliver Perez cannot replicate his 2018 after being asked to fill a larger role, and the revolving door between Cleveland and Columbus spins wildly, with Adam Cimber, Jon Edwards, and Tyler Olson rotating with Nick Sandlin, A. J. Cole, and James Hoyt moving back and forth with varying results.
With a six-game cushion in the division, trading for relief help seems like an obvious move. With few high-profile names hitting the market next year, the choice then is whether to deal for a rental (like Joe Smith in 2017) or for a long-term asset (like Brad Hand last season).