For the second year, SB Nation, with the excellent help from RoyalsReview, ran a sim featuring all 30 MLB teams. The sim started at the end of the playoffs, which meant the contracts signed like Abreu and Guerrero were null and void. At the beginning of this sim, we were given the budget of $99 million and while tempting it was to just blow that out of the water, it wasn't practical.
As we started, a couple problems started to arise in my mind. First, prospects and draft pick compensation basically meant nothing. This sim only runs on the basis of the 2014 season so every prospect, unless they are close to the MLB level, have a lesser value than their real-life counterparts. Second, the money thrown to free agents was ridiculous. Corey Hart got 2/30, Dan Haren 4/64, Shin Soo-Choo 7/137 etc etc etc... There just weren't any repercussions to the crazy deals going around. And third, only one person was considered the "moderator". He/She took all the contract negotiation, trade review, and budget calculations all by him/her self. Wow. I can only think of all the emails he got in the space of 4 days, yikes.
As many of you have seen from Jim's piece earlier this month, the D-backs are strapped for cash looking forward to 2014. After taking care of their own players in arbitration, except for Tony Sipp who was non-tendered, the D-backs already were at the limit at 95.6MM. A couple goals I had in mind was to
- Acquire a power-outfield bat
- Retool the Starting Rotation and Bullpen
- Not break the $100 million payroll mark
JJ Putz and Brandon McCarthy Gone
First things first, let's shed some salary. The first two deals were done with that in mind with JJ Putz and Brandon McCarthy being shipped off for Blake Treinen and Julio Morban. Those two trades gave us 12MM in space as well as a decent pitching prospect in Treinen and a very intriguing, yet oft-injured outfielder in Morban. While both pitchers should bounce back from 2013, if healthy, we felt we could easily replace the production they both gave last year.
Hello Jose Bautista and Brandon Morrow
The next deal was the coup de grace for us as we were looking for a RHB to pair with Goldy and pair him up we did with Jose Bautista and Brandon Morrow coming back for Tyler Skaggs, Adam Eaton, and Martin Prado. Out of everyone we could've acquired, I think Jose Bautista brings us the most all-around value we could've gotten. Yes, it hurts giving up Skaggs, Eaton AND Prado, but the upgrade with Bautista plus the addition of Morrow to anchor the middle of the rotation was too good to pass up.
Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle Shore Up the Bullpen
After being outbid on every mid-tier free agent, including Eric Chavez and Kelly Johnson, we decided to shore up the bullpen with Matt Lindstrom at 2/8 and Matt Belisle at 1/2 which are relative bargains, Belisle especially. Gavin Floyd was then given a minor-league deal to shore up the 5th spot in the rotation if Delgado/Bradley falter.
Goodbye Cliff Pennington
Chris Owings was still being inquired upon frequently, but after finding a taker in the Cubs for Cliff Pennington and getting back Brett Jackson, we decided that keeping him and using him as the super-utility guy was the best option for us.
Archie Bradley, the Trade Target of Everyone
Archie Bradley was another guy who's interest around the league increased as the sim progressed. At the start, we flat out rejected anyone inquiring about him except in a deal for a TOR pitcher or Giancarlo Stanton. But as we got into the 3rd day, Cliff Lee became more and more attainable, especially with them taking on a large sum of his contract and talks went right up to the last minute.
Kyle Lohse In; Trevor Cahill, David Holmberg Out
But unfortunately, that urge to strengthen our rotation was still there, so we talked with MIL to acquire Kyle Lohse for Trevor Cahill and David Holmberg. While we were lambasted for making the deal, I had my concerns with Cahill showing the consistency that we needed from him. Holmberg being added was a necessity, as in my eyes, I didn't think Cahill himself would be enough. Even though Holmberg is no higher than a #3 pitcher, those still have value. But what's done is done, and Kyle Lohse joins the D-backs. I am impressed with Lohse and think he can do wonders with this team while also being the solid veteran this pitching staff needs. Bonus points because Dave Duncan has joined the team.
With the sim complete, here is our projected line-up for the 2014 season.
C- Miguel Montero
1st - Some guy named Paul
2nd - Aaron Hill
SS - Didi Gregorius
3rd - Matt Davidson
LF - Cody Ross
CF - Gerardo Parra
RF - Jose Bautista
Bench - Chris Owings
Bench - Tuffy Gosewich
Bench - Brett Jackson
Bench - A.J Pollock
Bench - Matt Tuiasosopo
And here is our Starting Rotation
SP - Patrick Corbin
SP - Kyle Lohse
SP - Wade Miley
SP - Brandon Morrow
SP - Delgado/Bradley/Floyd
RP - David Hernandez
RP - Heath Bell
RP - Matt Belisle
RP - Matt Lindstrom
RP - Brad Ziegler
RP - Will Harris/Joe Thatcher
RP - Josh Collmenter
According to Steamer's 2014 Projections
Stand Pat Diamondbacks
Position WAR - 24.1
Pitcher WAR - 12.9
TOTAL WAR - 37
2014 Predicted Stand Pat Win Total
Estimated Salary - $95,600,000
Position WAR - 25.4
Pitcher WAR - 12.7
Total WAR - 38
2014 Predicted New Team Win Total
Estimated Salary - $96,250,000
Well that's anti-climactic. All of that for just 1 extra win. In seriousness, I think this team has a chance to do some damage in the West. I don't want to meet the pitcher that has to go through Paul Goldschmidt and then Jose Bautista. Parra starts in CF and ultimately becomes a utility OF when Bautista needs a day-off or Ross faces a tough righty. Chris Owings plays the role of Cliff Pennington this year and plays everywhere. Platoon with Didi? Back-up 2nd base? Play 3rd in a pinch? It's his job to lose. I projected Davidson to be about a 2 WAR player with 500 AB's and honestly have no doubts he could reach that with consistent at-bats. He'll work through the lumps and hit a bunch.
This was a ton of fun and also a ton of work. I had no idea what to expect going into this and was blown away by the amount of time and dedication I really needed to put in in order to do what I wanted with this team. I wanted to first thank BattleMoses for putting up with me and my stupid ideas as well as you guys for your suggestions on who to acquire. If you didn't like what I did or want more detail as to why I did what I did, let me know in the comments. Want to check out all the other teams? Check it out here.