Again, Dr. D is proceeding from the presumption that there isn't a lot of overview material around that captures Dipoto's intent. Dr. D plowed through every significant source around and found little to orient him. Dipoto did claim that the M's' minor league system had moved from Bottom 10 to Top 5.
A start on an overview might be the below. Kyle Lewis was easily the #1 before the trades; now he drops to #4 before Sheffield, Kelenik and Dunn.
1. James Paxton for
org #1 JUSTUS SHEFFIELD, LHP #31 IN BASEBALL and #1 in M's org, ready to compete in March, compared by Marc at USSM to Sean Manea. Throws #8 slowest spin rate among 650 batters in baseball, so that's a hellacious sinkerball to work with from a lefty.
org #11 ERIK SWANSON, RHP probably readier to compete in March although perhaps as a reliever ... has excellent control and slots in as a #4 starter, perhaps not unlike a Mike Leake type ... and
org #16 DOM THOMPSON WILLIAMS, a low-minors prospect (A / A+) with decent upside.
Picture Sheffield, Swanson and Dunn as arriving quickly in Beane style and it's not so difficult to "imagine" an A's-style spike.
2. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz for:
Jarred Kelenik, #62 in baseball's top 100 and #2 in M's org, low minors, bats LH, fields OF lefty. You might say the pride and joy of the entire return.
Justin Dunn, #89 in baseball and #3 in the M's org, AA righty, 93-96 MPH + with putaway slider.
RHP Gerson Bautista, and the contracts of
LF Jay Bruce (a genuine writeoff; slugged about .460-.490 until an off season of .370 last year at 31. The sooner Gamel swaps in there the better) and
Anthony Swarzak (oscillated between 2+ ERA's and 6+ ERA's the last four years; runs a 9-10 K rate with 2+ BB rate and gopheritis at $8M per year).
3. Mike Zunino (with Heredia) for
Mallex Smith 115 OPS+ (with Fraley),
4. Juan Segura and two ML relievers for
1B Carlos Santana - Santana has a 119 OPS+ and a 110:93 OPS+ *last year*. #2 in the National League in walks to Bryce Harper. and
J.P. Crawford, SS.
5. Alex Colome for
C Omar Navarez, the anti-Zunino in the sense that he does nothing but create left-handed traffic.
One cubicle right we put the depth chart. Assuming you assigned James Paxton an alien abduction or a rotator cuff tear or something, the M's will still run Mitch Haniger out there, Nelson Cruz will have hit his 40-ish age curve and the M's job may not be as different as some people have it.
What have the M's cashed in their 25-man roster for? Well, they kept their existing #1, #3, #5, #6 players in Gordon, Haniger, Seager and Healy.
They acquired three OF/1B's to play with them; Bruce is dubious but we'll just swap him out for Gamel after a failed audition. .... Santana? nobody who walks 110 times is dubious and Mallex Smith is simply good.
Their #8 hitter at C has 3.6 WAR in 189 games, based on tons of lefty walks so we've got a push there. We've got a brand-new SS, J.P. Crawford who carries a promising mitt and a promising BB totals.
They've got essentially 3 Oakland A's-type starters to step in cheaply for Paxton -- Sheffield and Dunn in the top 100 and Swanson a control artist -- so all that leaves is the horrific bullpen mess to figure out.
Your turn now,