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Offseason simulation

In the blogosphere, we are a leaky organization.

J. Meric

Every year, SB Nation conducts an offseason simulation with each team being represented by their corresponding team blog. This year's sim will take place next week, beginning Monday at 9:00 AM. I will attempt to run the team much like I believe Andrew Friedman would (play for the present and the future simultaneously), except for one important difference—lot's of media leaks.

I have been given a budget of right around $60 million (taken from comments Stuart Sternberg's made). I'm comfortable stretching that to $70 million, but only for a good reason, and only if the team is a clear contender. That means that the trade or non-trade of Price is pivotal. If Price is shipped off for prospects only, we're going to be under budget. If Price remains a Ray, or if his return includes Miguel Cabrera to play first base, the budget can stretch. Right now, the total salary sits at $71 million, but that's not for a playoff-caliber team, so there's work to be done.

Trading officially opens at 9:00 AM on Monday, and I've heard your suggestions and will attempt to act on them, but there are three decisions that need to be made early in the week.

  1. Monday at noon: Extend qualifying offers. I do not plan to extend any [$14.2 million] qualifying offers (candidates would be James Loney or Fernando Rodney). This is a no-brainer, correct?
  2. Tuesday at noon: Pick up or buy out team options. I will definitely pick up the $7 million option on Ben Zobrist, and the $5 million option on Yunel Escobar. Without inside information as to his health, I have no idea whether Andrew Friedman should pick up the $2 million option on Juan Carlos Oviedo, but I'm going to. The most difficult question is David DeJesus and his $6.5 million option ($1.5 million buyout). He's not without value, but it's tough value for the Rays to stomach. I'm currently in trade talks with several teams.
  3. Wednesday at noon: Tender or non-tender arbitration-eligible players. The only interesting question here is Jeff Niemann and his likely $3 million salary. Thoughts?

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