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Phi Slamma's every-third-year post reaffirming I'm not dead whilst also enlightening the masses as to baseball related goings ons: Offseason GM edition.

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So I keep reading all these "fantasy GM" posts where people are giving Ben Zobrist 42 Years, 900 Billion dollars because "lol why not this doesn't affect me in anyway past today". Super unrealistic and stupid. So, I am going to shove my way into the conversation like no one asked me to and give my take, through a much more convincing medium. Video Games!

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

So first of all, Hi!

(It's been a while. I'm a boring adult now who does nothing, so you are all caught up on my life. Ok, good talk. Moving on)

So, to be perfectly honest, this whole article you are about to read started with me typing a short comment on this pretend GM thread. Then I added to it a bit, was about to submit, and looked over to my second monitor where a excel spreadsheet was awaiting my interaction and decided to just elaborate more on my reply. Then it just kind of got out of hand so this monster is a result.

So, to preface this, I spend a good amount of time playing pretend GM in the "Pretend You Are A GM: The Game" called Out of the Park Baseball. I buy this crap every year and every year it devours my free time (ok just kidding work hours). For those of you out of the loop, its basically the most realistic baseball front office sim out there, no graphics, nothing fancy, just straight up baseballarino. So Ill start with some OOTP based GM stuff then transition to real stuff, and I should know my fake GMing, I've spent a little bit of time doing it:

(Yeah so that's just for the 16 version too.... NO YOUR WORK ETHIC SUCKS)

I try to modify the game each year to make it as realistic as possible and give myself something to do while I screw with Quickbooks and pretend I'm working. This clearly gives me some sort of elitist experience over the plebs who simply use "logic" and "reason" to come up with baseball moves. I have colorful player ratings, ok?

A few things to note this season, its a list of approximately five things. I wish I had a name for this sort of thing:

1) The most important point here is how good Andrelton Simmons actually is. Check out how OOTP rates him:

(I bet you didn't know Adrelton was "Dutch Antillean". I, too, have no idea what that is)

The first thing that should jump out to you is that he is on the Red Sox. Its a redraft league, ignore all that, just focus on the pretty colors. His potential rating is an 80 (out of 80) and all ratings are 1-100 otherwise. Now notice his defensive ratings, neat. I'm not entirely sure why his avoid K rating is super high, I don't know enough about him to know if that's justified or not.

What is interesting to note here is that this is taking into account a .244/.286/.331 and a .269/.333/.393 season at the plate. His other tools are so good that he is basically impossible to trade for. I tried to grab him in my draft league (wipe all contracts and rosters, draft everyone) and this is what it comes back as:

(This trade brought me flash backs from trying to trade with my friends in fantasy baseball. No, Brian Wilson is not worth Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, Yoshi. I hate you.)

What you are looking at here is that they would only take Bryce Harper, and only Harper, for Simmons. It would be important to point out that my team also has Mike Trout on it (they are basically my only two players of note, and a ton of prospects, I had to basically trade everything of value post draft to get both Harper and Trout on the same team) who is singed for 10 years for a very reasonable  amount. I also have top pitching and position prospects. Nope, they only want Harper. Simmons is that highly valued in a game that I consider to be as close to real life as possible.

So, there is some more proof that the the trade was pretty good. If you load up a normal roster league and try to duplicate the real life trade with Newcomb, Ellis, and Aybar the Braves basically laugh at you.

Now to real life stuff...

2) Here is our depth chart going into 2016:

(Mike Trout scoffs at rest days, back up, or positional depth)

We will get to this more in depth shortly, but first, a few things to note:

  • Left field, third base, and second base are clearly horrendous lacking in awesome.
  • We have basically no depth positionally in the outfield (the minors is pretty bare as well, 40 man has Todd Cunningham and Rafael Ortega listed. Ew.)
  • This team looks a metric asston better with Simmons on it

3) Our starting pitching is actually pretty stacked:

With a returning Skaggs and a healthy CJ we actually have a ton of starting pitchers. This isn't including Nick Tropeano who is also probably close to major league ready. This is obviously a good thing. The one thing I think we need is a back of the bullpen power arm to anchor the rest of the guys. Street is a clear veteran presence but we need another elite arm to really solidify our pitching. Joakim Soria would easily fit this bill, and would run about 3/27 or so, which I think is pretty reasonable for a guy with elite K/9, BB/9, and H9 numbers. He also has recently been a setup man, so he wouldn't immediately be expect to supplant Street.


So, we gotta fill some holes. I stated above that I think the starting core is solid, if not overly deep at the moment. Although we have some aging veterans in CJ and Weaver I think we balance it out with young talent that can step up and fill in the gaps. Hopefully the addition of a new pitching coach will provide some tangible results.

Bullpen: Joakim Soria 3/27 (as stated above)

This immediately makes our bullpen a strength and gives us an elite power arm for a reasonable cost. I think this is fairly easy and logical move. Plus his nickname is the "Mexicutioner" (ok not anymore but that is hilarious)

Third Base: Nothing.

Third base is just barren everywhere. We simply don't have the pieces to acquire a high level third baseman, and there is really no one on the free agent market that I would really care to invest in. Meanwhile Kaleb Cowart put up an impressive .323/.395/.491 at SLC in 62 games, finally showing the promise that was hoped for when the Angels drafted him in the first round in 2010. Being 23, and having his clock started already, I think its time we give this kid the shot at making himself a useful regular in the show. Sure, he posted an unimpressive .174/.255/.283 in his call up last year, however, there just isn't many affordable, viable options otherwise. Kyle Kubitza can play depth/platoon/takeover role as needed. If the Angels are in the hunt at the ASB and neither player has stepped up look for this position to be the one that is filled before the trade deadline.

Second Base: Not Fucking Daniel Murphy

(Look at his stupid face, and that stupid scraggly neckbeard. Everything about this man shouts DON'T GIVE ME MONEY)

I swear to god, anyone who thinks spending big money on a guy who basically showed up for one series in the playoffs needs to be kept away from any kind of decision making roles forever, that includes what color socks to wear any given day. That contract is going to be so absurdly horrific I can only imagine Arte is already having wet dreams about forcing his GM to sign it immediately so he can later blame him for its failure.

So, Cliff Pennington is cool I guess and there is something immensely likable about a guy like Giavotella. Neither of these players are going to constitute much more than slightly above replacement level value, which I guess is fine. Our expensive international signing, Roberto Baldoquin, sucks total donkey balls. Should have went for Moncada if we were going to go over our international cap. Good job front office.

Anyway, shitty management aside, we have basically no prospects or depth at second. The free agent list looks like this:

Ugh. I mean, obviously Zobrist is pretty good, but hes 35 and he will be expensive. We probably aren't going to have a fun round two with Izturis, or Sean Rodriguez. Dan Uggla is literally not even worth the keystrokes I am using now to talk about him. Chase Utley is like 400 baseball years old. Nobuhiro Matsuda is 32 and hit .287 in the JPL last year, no thanks. Stephen Drew is an expensive Giavotella.

Steve Pearce had a MONSTER 2014, then went back to being Steve Pearce. Somewhat intriguing if this was the 2014 offseason. But its not. So nevermind.

So, there is this Robinson Cano thing floating around. The only way this would work is it Seattle ate a ton of that contract and didn't want too much in return. Cano was worth 3.4 WAR last year, down from 6.4 the year before, 7.8 in 2013 and 8.4 in 2012. That is some pretty steep regression. Still a serviceable bat, and considered a middle of the lineup threat, this trade could look decent depending on how shameful the Mariners want to get. If they eat a whole ton of shame pie, then the rest of the shitty overpriced Yankee sloppy seconds pie might be worth throwing inbetween Trout and Pujols for a few years.

Howie Kendrick seems like a decent option if he wants to come back for somewhat of a discount. I personally hate his offensive approach but he represents a tiny beacon of light in an otherwise baron wasteland of second base talent available.

In conclusion: Sign Daniel Murphy for 12 years, 420 million.

In conclusion: Kendrick for around 4/45 is totally fine, if not, make the Mariners grovel and take Cano and have them eat 80% of that contract, if not just go with the Gia monster.

And finally onto the cool one...

Left Field: So many fun options!

Ok so just look at this list:

Sweet baby Tom Cruise, that has to be the deepest left field free agency list since Carl Crawford tricked people into believing his could play baseball.

(Reminder: He cannot)

Let's get this out of the way right out of the gates:

Justin Upton is straight up fools gold. Sure he is only 28.099 (according to the overly accurate for no reason BBRef age thing) years old, but he is going to get paid like an elite hitter in his prime. MLBTR has him pegged around seven years, 147 which is gross and makes my physically ill looking at. Justin Downtin (see what I did there, I bet you guys missed me) has a career -3.6 bWar defensively. That's negative. That's not good. Pretty much every defensive metric has JDown (rofl its even funnier the second time, follow me on Twitter for more crazy shenangins) as a negative defensive player. Offensively he sports a career .271/.352/.473 line. Totally worth 20 mil a year, totes.

You know who else is a poopy flavored lolipop? Yeonis Cespedes. .271/.319/.486 sounds pretty sick, I mean I think this franchise should definitely pay 25 million a year to basically a darker skin version of Mike Morse.

Seriously. Look at this number:     ----->.319

(let it sit in your mouth for a second, swish it around like a fine bottle of week old Old English)

That's his on base percentage in real life. Why is anyone remotely considering giving this man a ton of money? Because he hits 30 home runs? Is that all it takes to becoming a financial burden for 7 years now? With a whopping -0.3 bWar defensive value we can expect basically nothing from him in left (he has a good arm, Ill give you that).

Not worth whatever horrendous contract he is going to get. I have buyers remorse already and I owe him no money.

Ok, now on to players that can actually play baseball. Lets talk about my boy. We need to all sit down and have a talk about Mr. Jason Heyward.

(Look at him. The merchandise basically sells itself. How can one man be so dreamy? Literally bizzaro Daniel Murphy.)

Currently sitting at the ripe young age of 26.115 (thanks again BBref) he is entering his prime years. Any contract will get his best 5-6 years before father time takes his ability to hit baseballs and not be hungover to the point of complete uselessness after a night out with the guys.

Offensively you can expect some pretty above average stuff, but nothing pants meltingly spectacular: he hit .293/.353/.431 last year. Pretty damn solid. The average was a good 20 points higher than what he normally posts, however the patience and power lines are exactly what you can expect.You can also figure he will steal you about 15-20 bases a year, not crazy but still valuable.

So, I'm sure some of you might be asking why I am so dead set on this guy if he is simply a 20/20 corner outfielder with patience. Well, let me spin you a tale of the best defensive outfield in baseball:

We all know of our hero, Mike Trout, and his ability to soar majestically into the air to retrieve baseballs. I don't need to gloss over how awesome he is, so I will. Look at how awesome he is:


So theres that guy. And our own Red Baron Kole Calhoun just netted himself a Gold Glove in 2015. So what better way to compliment these two fine defensive players than with.....


With Simmons at short and Heyward in right we would immediately have the two most premier defensive players in baseball. Heyward saved 24 defensive runs according to fangraphs, compared to Trout who saved 5. Calhoun saved 6. Thats how ridiculous this man is at defensive baseballing. He was freaking 9.8 dWar. Thats redonkulicious!

The problem is that he is going to be expensive. In my opinion if we can snag him at 7/150ish then I would do it instantly. However I am starting to suspect people understand the Dreaminess Value Over Replacement Level (DVOR) that Heyward possesses. 10 years scares me, as does anything around 30m AAV. I guess its its not insanely ridiculously expensive then get him, if not, I have one more fallback option.

I present poor man's Heyward, Alex Gordon:

(Alex Gordon's DVOR is listed at: Derrrrrrrp)

While a disappointment at third base, he found his stride in left field and after moving there (incoming full on plagarism from MLBTR "batted .281/.359/.450 despite his spacious home environs, leading park-adjusted metrics like OPS+ and wRC+ to peg his offense at about 20 percent better than a league-average hitter. Over that incredible stretch, Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward are the only players in baseball who have carried more defensive value, according to both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved."

(Im getting lazy, just shut up)

So Gordon is basically a slightly less awesome Heyward for probably a decent amount less money because he is older and isn't quite as ridiculous defensively.  But I would be totally ok with this addition if Heyward gets some absurd offer elsewhere.

In conclusion: No Upton, no Cespooldes (OH MY GOD COMEDIC GOLD AGAIN), yes please Captain Awesomeface Heyward, and sure to Consolation Prize Gordon.

So there is my GMing.

4) Obligatory Mike Scioscia Joke:

Mike Scioscia is overweight and I don't particularly care for his managerial style.
-Abraham Lincoln

5) Saving The Best for Last:

Ready to finish this bad boy up with a bang? You sitting down.... Let's jive about  MINOR SIGNINGS TO INCREASE OUTFIELD DEPTH!!!!!

So yeah, I know how to masterfully craft a post, creating a cascade of prose ending in what can only be described as a cacophony of blogging awesome reaching its very pinnacle at being mildly ok with signing Rajai F'ing Davis.


EPIC CONCLUSION: So.... yeah, sign Rajai Davis. Or if not sign like, I dont know... David DeJesus? Yeah, alright, David DeJesus. Whatever.

(He is as happy as you are this is over. Ironically his DVOR is pretty high. Good value here. Also awesome name. Rajai Davis. Rajai Davis? Rajai Davis.)