Bear with the premise. It's been given to all SB Nation blogs. If there are an infinite number of alternate universes then everything must be the case somewhere. Here's how the conversation undoubtedly is going right now in that blessed reality.
Stuart Sternberg: Hey Frieds! I just had this strange dream where I was visited by a trio of spirits. The Ghost of Baseball Present showed me this really cool blog filled with smart, funny, and good-looking people. They like you a lot, and assume that everything you do is right, whether or not they can figure out why.
Andrew Friedman: I know that place. I frequent it often, MR Sternberg.
SS: Yeah, well that's great. The problem is that some of the commenters spell my name with a dollar sign to show that they think I'm cheap. Being smart and frugal just makes the GM seem like a hero and the owner seem like a villain. And we've accomplished nothing with that strategy. I'm going to reverse this. I'm raising our yearly budget by $50 million, but I'm also going to make you seem like the bad guy by placing arbitrary limits on what you can do. You can only make five moves.
AF: Accomplished nothing? We've made the playoffs four times in six years.
SS: That's something a loser would say. I should terminate your contract right now.
AF: I don't have a contract.
SS: That must be hard for you, all the uncertainty about your future. Here, take $2 million as a bonus. Now you have $48 million for five moves. Get to work!
AF: So James, we have $48 million and five moves. What do we do? I literally have no idea what the first tier of free agent expects to make, since I've never even shaken hands with a first-tier free agent.
James Click: Well, I did some research, and found this place where a bunch of people with no qualifications other than spending too much time on the internet can vote on what they think free agents will be paid. Let's use that as a guide.
Here are the moves:
- Brian McCann: Four years, $15 million per year.
- Mike Napoli: Three years, $13 million per year.
- Grant Balfour: Two years, $8 million per year.
- Jesse Crain: Two years, $6 million per year.
- Oliver Perez: Two years, $3 million per year.
JC: But Andrew, I did some research and that's only $45 million. The boss told us to add $48 million to our payroll.
AF: Frontload the McCann contract to make him more tradeable in case $tu changes his mind in a year or two. Or give it to David Price. Not as an extension. Just to make sure Astro doesn't freeze over Christmas.