This year's team collapsed at the end of the season, but really wasn't better than an 84 win team. They got excellent production from their main FA. They had probably normal luck with injuries. They spent just about max on lux tax. I think this year's result, give or take a couple wins, is what one should expect in a normal season with just short-term planning for the next season. We've done short-term planning for the next season for a decade. Without a good farm you are dependent upon getting REALLY lucky in a given season in order to reach or at least progress in the post-season.
OK, what for next year?
We have to get our own young players righted. That is the biggest thing: Bohm, Kingery, Nola, Moniak, Hasely and Quinn.. Bryce can help over the winter. There will be a strike. The teams whose players work to keep in shape and sharpen skills will do a lot better than the teams that dont.
I'd sign the best FA SS or CF I can afford, but must be under 30.
I'd go small $ deals for all other holes, with a lot of dumpster dives, minor league FA, Rule 5s, and our own minor leaguers for the rest. I don't worry if the small $ FA signings are up to age 35, but I don't go multiple years on them.
Management needs to think long and hard over the winter about how they minimize the negative impact upon the players of this latest churn. How do you push buy-in from players to make changes to achieve X when a year or two later X becomes Y, then a year or two later it's Z or back to X, while at some level of the org they have never left W? It cannot work.
Get the team vaxxed. Bring in a doctor who's a long-Covid expert to work with Kingery and others.
Cheat! Most of the teams ahead of us have cheated internationally. (Don't get caught).
Hit the international over-25 market for a pitcher or hitter who can be a plus player in 2022. Go over lux cap if necessary.
Seriously, turn our analytics department loose on the question of how to win on the road. The Braved did it this year That's how they beat us.