SB Nation conducted a Winter Meeting simulation this week comprised of a writer from each of the SBN baseball blogs. I was the Halos Heaven representative.
Ground rules: Each team was reset back to the end of the 2012 season. This means Jordan Walden was still on the team and Ryan Madson was just a figment of the fake life GM's imagination. There were no salary limitations, nor payroll figures that had to be adhered to, but the goal of the sim was to be as real as possible. This meant the Rays weren't going to go out and sign Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton. My goal was to stay within the constraints of last season's payroll ($154,000,000).
Free agent contracts were negotiated with a "players rep" who choose who he felt was the best deal for the player. Trades were conducted between each teams' representative.
Goal: My goal was obviously to improve the team, and I felt that was achievable the same way as in real life...improve the rotation and bullpen. The top nine offensive players were fine and the only reason to tinker with those players were if a trade were to be made with any of them.
Outcome: Personally, I don't think spending as ton of money on one pitcher is the way to go, in other words, I had no interest in Zack Greinke unless he was willing to sign a team-friendly such as Jered Weaver's. That wasn't going to happen. I also wasn't too keen on the second-tier starters who were available, so I felt acquiring the pitching needed was going to have to be by trade.
I like Peter Bourjos, and although I received a couple emails early on about dealing him, I decided he was one of the two outfielders I was going to keep. And since that Trout kid wasn'y going anywhere, that meant Mark Trumbo. Don't get me wrong, I like Trumbo, but I feel he's the easiest to replace of the three, and had good value.
The first trade I pulled off was sending Trumbo to the Phillies for Vance Worley and Tyler Cloyd. I wanted two, young, starters for the Angels' right fielder, and who had MLB experience, but would be cost-controlled for at least 3 years. I also wanted a young pitcher who could be dealt if the opportunity came up from a team looking to cut payroll and were offering an expensive pitcher. The original offer was Trumbo and R.J. Alvarez for either Worley or Kyle Kendrick, Cloyd, and Aumont, but the Phillies GM didn't want to trade Aumont and I wasn't going to trade a prospect without getting one back. The counter-offer was Worley and Cloyd for Trumbo, and I accepted it.
Once Trumbo had been dealt I needed to find a RF to replace him. Since I wasn't going to spend big on one of the free agent pitcher, and the Angels' payroll was cleared of Haren, Santana, and Hunter's contracts, I figured why not make a run at Josh Hamilton? My first offer for Hamilton was 6-years, $141M ($23.5M/yr). I thought he was worth $5M more than Hunter was paid, and would look really good hitting behind Pujols.
In the meantime, I also made offers or inquiries for Eric Chavez, Joe Saunders, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Ludwick, Shaun Marcum, Matt Lindstrom, Koji Uehara, and John Lannan.
I thought Chavez would be a good player to pick up since he'd be cheap, replace Howie Kendrick against tough RH pitchers (Alberto Callaspo to 2B), and provide a powerful LH bat off the bench.
Scutaro would become the Angels super-utility player if Chavez wasn't signed. Ludwick could possibly hold down RF until Calhoun was ready, and the pitchers were cheap and somewhat effective.
I received an inquiry about Erick Aybar from the Padres, but since they weren't willing to deal Chase Headley, we didn't match up.
I had tried a few times to dump Vernon Wells on somebody, but that wasn't going to happen. I first tried to send him to San Francisco for Barry Zito, but that was declined. Next he was offered to the Mets along with Hank Conger for Johan Santana. No deal. I offered him everywhere, even willing to pay most of his salary, but there were no takers. He was going to spend the next season as the most expensive backup in baseball.
Early the next day I signed Jeff Karstens to a 2/$7M deal. Pitchers were getting huge contracts and I wanted to be sure I had at least another cheap #5/swing man. I have zero faith in Garrett Richards, so replacing him was one of the top priorities.
Anyway, before this becomes anymore of a TL:dr post, here are the transactions I made:
- Traded Mark Trumbo to the Philadelphia Phillies for SP Vance Worley and SP Tyler Cloyd
- Signed RP Matt Lindstrom to a 2/$5M contract
- Signed 3B Eric Chavez to a 2/$7M contract
- Signed SP Jeff Karstens to a 2/$7M contract
- Traded Garrett Richards and Hank Conger to the Seattle Mariners for SP Jason Vargas
- Signed RP Koji Uehara to a 2/$9M contract
- Traded Kevin Jepsen to the Oakland A's for George Kottaras
- Signed Ichiro Suzuki to a 2/$11M contract
- Signed Joe Saunders to a 2/$5M
- Signed Jonathan Broxton to a 2/$12M
Quick notes: Pitching was really expensive early and then got cheap towards the end. I signed Ichiro only because he was cheap, but after thinking about it, he'd look really good hitting behind Trout and ahead of Pujols. Broxton was a late sim signing, as was Saunders. Logan Forsythe was acquired in a trade completed 1 minute after the sim ended. Although it's not official, in this write-up it happened. Oh, and apparently I like those 2-year deals.
Toronto Blue Jays sign P Zack Greinke to a 6 year $175 million.
New York Yankees sign OF Josh Hamilton to a 6 year/$152 million
Milwaukee Brewers sign P Anibal Sanchez to a 6 year/$90 million deal
Colorado Rockies sign P Brandon McCarthy to a 4 year/$55 million
So, the roster looks like this:
|2013 Salary ($millions)|
|Total 2013 payroll =||$146.9|
|(Includes $4.5 buyouts)|
All of the transactions can be found here: SBN Winter Meeting Sim