President Hatfield and newly promoted SVP D-Russ are back running the SB Nation 2016 MLB Off-season Simulation.
For those unacquainted, every off-season the sites at SB Nation participate in a firestorm three days of simulated off-season activity. Ridiculous trades are thrown together in a matter of hours, and massive shakeups happen across baseball.
This year we decided to take it slow.
From the moment the simulation kicked off on Sunday night, every single team wanted Kevin Kiermaier and were willing to take Chris Archer off our hands... hell no.
The Fake Rays stonewalled everyone who came calling, and to be honest, got a little grumpy. We had to hit the pause button and reconsider how everyone wants a good deal, and we need not be insulted by the Cubs...
What we tried to do
The Fake Rays had a few goals going into day one: upgrade the bullpen, upgrade an outfield position, upgrade a catcher, and add better relief pitching.
We did none of these things.
The Fake Rays made a hard run at dealing a package around Steven Souza to the Athletics for Logan Shore, but they dealt the young arm to the Braves and weren’t interested in offering Puk. Things stalled.
We then turned around and offered Souza to the White Sox in a deal around Daniel Robertson, but they got wise when we asked for a good chunk of cash to offset his salary. No luck in our bullpen search either.
Souza remains with the Fake Rays, which is fine, but scuttles other deals that could have been made for Adam Duvall (traded to the Brewers) or Jorge Soler (who could be an upgrade, but maybe not!).
The only free agent catcher that tickled our fancy was Jason Castro, but he accepted a Qualifying Offer from the Astros. Meanwhile, lower level free agents went flying off the shelf, and the Rays never got an offer in on C Martin Maldonado, who had been DFA’d by the Brewers. The Athletics grabbed him instead.
But we weren’t completely unsuccessful...
Rays sign CF Craig Gentry to a minor league deal
Realizing the Fake Rays would need some solid back ups in Durham, we were able to offer and sign a capable center fielder, should Kevin Kiermaier ever be out with a significant injury again.
Yes the Rays have Mikie Mahtook on hand, but this felt like a plus defender who could do something special mid-season, so we bagged him and then turned our sites to more significant free agents.
And boy did we land a big one.
Rays sign OF Eric Thames to one year, $4.20 million deal
After three seasons in the KBO, former Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames has averaged more than 40 HR per season in approx. 130 game seasons, with a .348/.450/.720 slash line, and even flashed some speed, including 40 SB in 2015.
We started with a minor league offer to Thames, but the Royals turned it into a small-market bidding war, with the Rays coming out on top.
Eric Thames come on down!!!
We’ll see if his newfound power stroke can translate to the majors. If not, it wasn’t a huge expense!
Concluding Thoughts from Day 1
Not the most eventful day, Thames is more than likely a Designated Hitter, despite his speed on the base paths, so the Fake Rays will have some work to do.
To set the table, we reminded ALL teams at the end of the day that we had several pitchers available that (after the initial stonewall) no one was asking about:
Re: Rays have too many SP's
Only four spots for many dudes:
The result in our inbox?
We’ll see what happens.
If you want to see some real fireworks, check out the transactions page on the Royals site for all the bonkers trades the Rays have not participated in.