As was the case last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks and AZ Snakepit were represented by co-GMs, Curtis and James. Not entirely unlike some of the offseason plan threads that have been popping up here on the pit over the last week or so, this simulation challenged us to assemble a team through trades and signings. The difference is, all the teams were represented, meaning we could only wish-cast so much before we were forced to move on and try something else.
Things started out about as expected, we were also quickly reminded, in the opening hours, as to how timing can be everything. Unlike last season, where the timing of deals seem to continually break our way, this season was almost the polar opposite.
Before Curtis and I recap the actual sessions, here are a few points to note:
Zack Greinke’s entire contract was being counted against payroll. This was mostly offset by the simulation allowing the Diamondbacks a total payroll of $108 million, rather than the announced $100 million the team is getting in real life. Only three international free agents were available, none of them impact talents.
We also ran into a few surprises.
- First, a minor surprise was that there was virtually no interest in Brandon Drury, other than as a complementary piece to get middling talent in return. For the most part, Brandon Drury was a hard pass on the part of any team we were in negotiations with when it came time to try and balance a deal for a better return.
- Another surprise was just how frugal even the teams with deep pockets were being when it came to signing players linked to qualifying offers, making it even harder to compete for talent on the free agent market.
- A bit of a shock, paired with some of that bad timing, came when Dexter Fowler signed for only 4 years/$52 million. At that price, even we would have picked up Fowler, despite losing the team’s second-round pick.
- The market for Jean Segura was even smaller than expected, by a long shot. This fact initially put Segura into the category of player unlikely to be traded.
- The biggest interest garnered out of any player not named Pollock or Goldschmidt was for Braden Shipley. No player came with more requests to acquire.
Entering the simulation, Curtis and I agreed that the chances of us getting back enough value for Goldschmidt were just too small, and so we placed him as one of three players in the unavailable category. He was joined by A.J. Pollock (not wanting to sell low) and Robbie Ray (not wanting to part with his potential yet). Curtis and I also decided at the outset that we wanted to try and be competitive in 2017. As the sim progressed, we discovered the only way we could do that was by acquiring one-year talents, as we did not have the prospect depth to acquire impact players with multiple years of control. About two-thirds of the way into the sim, this made simething else very apparent, we could do the unforivable, and build for the future while also trying to compete in 2017. Usually these fence-straddling approaches simply do not work, but with the amount of higher-end single-year talent we were acquiring, it became possible to put some pieces (such as Tyson Ross) in both categories. This made Segura a possible trade candidate again.
In 2017 Jean Segura is slated to make $7.3 million as someone likely to be about 3-wins above replacement. If he has just the most average of seasons, he will be in line for $10 million in 2018. Coming off such a season, Segura would be a strong non-tender candidate (especially given the team’s middle infield depth by that point in the simulation). If Segura puts up another strong campaign in 2017, then his estimated cost for 2018 is even higher, making him an extend or trade candidate. Once again, given the depth, trade seemed more likely. That meant that any trade of Segura and his $7.3 million 2017 salary was reallly only a trade of that season, and not two years of production. Yes, the team needed to consider that lost year of control, but this was a case of control and salary versus production, and one year of production lost. We went back to considering moves in which we could improve long-term by moving short-term Segura.
For thsoe not wanting to read the next part in which the trades are detailed, here is the skinny. Departing the team from the MLB roster were Zack Greinke, Rubby De La Rosa, Patrick Corbin, Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley, Jean Segura, Andrew Chafin, David Peralta, and Yasmany Tomás. The Diamondbacks also traded Peter O’Brien, Anthony Banda, Tyler Wagner, and Jack Reinheimer.
In return the Diamondbacks received two top-30 prospects in Jorge Mateo and Jason Groome. They also received Carlos Perez, David Robertson, Steve Cishek, Kevin Quackenbush, Erasmus Ramirez, Juan Minaya, and Steven Wright. Joing this crew of MLB talent and top-rated prospects was Matt Andriese, Luis Torrens, Mauricio Dubon, Trey Michalczewski, Brian Clark, Courtney Hawkins, Chris Beck, and Christian Friedrich.
From the free agent market, the Diamondbacks acquired, R.A.Dickey, Ivan Nova, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, and Michael Saunders.
In the end, the Diamondbacks finished at roughly $108,500,000, less than $1 million over budget and with so much room for claering salary at the break as to make it trivial.
Part two will look at how everything came together.