We did not do much to herald its coming, but the SB Nation off-season simulation is alive and well again this year. At the helm will once again be President/GM/Dictator Hatfield and his lackey the VP D-Russ.
To kick things off, and repeated to literally every team in the simulation, the following players were considered untouchable:
SP Chris Archer
CF Kevin Kiermaier
3B Evan Longoria
SP Blake Snell
Suddenly, not many folks were all that interested in dealing anymore. You have to imagine just how many terrible trades GMs must field on a regular basis, texting "LOL" along the way.
On to the actual moves we've made thus far, which may or may not make you LOL as well.
Rays trade RP Jake McGee to Cleveland for C Yan Gomes
Reuniting Yan Gomes with the pro scout who identified him as a catcher of the future, the fake-Rays flipped Jake McGee's near $5M salary with one more year of control for the incredible contract of a starting backstop.
McGee is coming off multiple injuries, while Gomes is coming off a 77 wRC+ season, but the Rays can suffer through poor offensive performance at catcher no problem, and this one in particular has a decent track record of success in the batters box anyway!
Look at these numbers at tell me that's not worth a shot for a rebound season:
It's worth noting his framing numbers fell from 13th overall in 2014 (according to B-Pro's "Framing Runs Added) to 78th. The year before that he was seventh, the same season J.P. Arencibia was 13th himself. That might be the Fake-Rays opening tandem. 2013 would have loved it.
Rays trade RP Kirby Yates to San Diego for 1B Yonder Alonso
This was a brilliant move for the fake Rays, as each team was faced with a non-tender candidate they'd rather turn into value. I do believe this trade would never happen in real life, but I'll take the 115 wRC+ vs RHP wherever I'll take it. President Hatfield and I acquired Alonso last year too, you might remember.
By comparison, real life new Rays DH Logan Morrison had a 112 wRC+ vs RHP last season, but needed packaged in the Nate Karns - Brad Miller trade.
Speaking of which...
Rays trade RHP Nathan Karns, RHP Alex Colome, OF Mikie Mahtook for SS Brad Miller, 1B Mark Trumbo, LHP James Paxton, LHP Nick Wells
Yes the Fake-Rays were able to perfect the big off-season deal that gave the Rays a starting short stop. This deal began with asking for Ketel Marte for SS and letting the Mariners fans keep their beloved Miller, but alas the fake-Dipoto was just as ruthless.
In the simulation, the Fake-Rays have probably $10M more to give than otherwise might be available in real life, but roll with it. James Loney is still under team control and will need off-loaded, something that was keeping VP D-Russ on edge, but GM Hatfield wanted to solidify the deal, so that's a problem for another day.
We gave up a LOT of controllable contract time for some great pieces, but the Rays walk away all the richer.
Brad Miller continues to look like a 2-win short stop with just a touch of consistency needed with the throwing accuracy. He'll be tossing in the direction of Mark Trumbo, who we anticipate to hit second and replicate that shiny 133 wRC+ vs RHP from last season.
James Paxton becomes the Rays swing man and spot starter, with the hopes of time spent in the bullpen fixing his Mr. Glass status. LHP Nick Wells rounds out the deal with some nice southpaw depth.
The simulation runs for four days. The agenda for day two will be dealing James Loney and Rene Rivera, adding to the bullpen, and re-considering left field.
Here's the current roster on offense for 2016, give us time with the bullpen.
|RF||Steven Souza Jr.||$500,000|
Our hopes are to land at a $70M roster, to maintain some realism, and to fix the bullpen while meeting that goal, Loney will certainly need off-loaded. Colored boxes indicate arbitration.
You can follow all the monster deals and acquisitions in the comment section here.
Some interesting trades elsewhere in the simulation: Boston flipped Yoan Moncada for Jose Fernandez, while San Diego flipped Kimbrel for Strasburg and then got a king's ransom for Austin Hedges which included Jurickson Profar and Prince Fielder.