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SB Nation Winter Meetings Simulation Open Thread

Every year, Royals Review hosts a Winter Meetings simulation in which fans from all 30 teams get to play armchair GM. This year, just like last year, I'm representing the Mariners. In this thread, you all get to play along!

come with me / and you'll be / in a WOOOOOORLD OF PUUUUURE IMAGINAAAAYSHUN
come with me / and you'll be / in a WOOOOOORLD OF PUUUUURE IMAGINAAAAYSHUN
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Hello, Lookout Landing!

So I know you guys are a bit down about the whole "no offseason plan this year" thing. Believe me, I totally get it. Discussing hypothetical roster moves and player valuation is really fun! I wouldn't have written an entire post about how to make fake trades if I hadn't been excited to make some fake trades, y'know. Ultimately, though, I think Scott's rationale in yesterday's article is perfectly sound: we'll be able to provide better content for you if we work in linear time (like actual front offices do) than if we stack together a giant card tower of fake trades all at once... and then watch it get blown down in three days flat.

Still, I know there are some of you with a hankering for some instant-fake-trade-gratification. To those readers, I say: hanker no more! The SB Nation Simulated Winter Meetings are here!

In case you didn't read the summary text for this article, every year Royals Review hosts a Winter Meetings simulation wherein fans of all 30 teams from around SBN can square off as armchair GMs for a week. Last year, I represented the Seattle Mariners, and I did pretty OK for myself! My goatee-sporting Mirror Mariners combined for about 37 WAR on a $93MM budget, which is about 2 wins worse than the actual Mariners for about $13M less than they spent. In other words, I did just as well as the real front office.

Of course, I had the distinct advantage of being able to fleece other GMs for relievers and bench players, but on the other hand I'm not paid to make baseball operations decisions, so I figure it roughly balances. I handed out two disaster contracts - 2/$15M form Joe Nathan and $3/26M for Kendrys Morales - but I also got Jacoby Ellsbury at a reasonable cost, picked a great buy-low SP in Brandon McCarthy, and snagged breakout 1B Lucas Duda for Ty Kelly. In retrospect, I got a little too cute with the bullpen, dumping all of 2013's underperformers and thus missing out on some great 2014 performances, but my position players (when healthy) flattened the actual M's'.

This year, I'm looking to improve upon my work from last year - which generally didn't sufficiently consider depth and injury risk - and piece together an offseason plan that can launch the Mirror Mariners into the Mirror Postseason. But I can't do it alone. After all, what's an armchair general manager without his armchair front office? For the next week, I'd like to use this thread as a sounding board of sorts. When I get trade proposals or free agent salary request reports, I'll bounce them off you guys in the comments here. Feel free to make suggestions, offer feedback, anything you want! Moves will be tracked on the spreadsheet below (which is up to date as of 2:00 AM on 11/12/2014) as well as on Royals Review.

Pos Name Salary WAR Pos Name Salary WAR
C Mike Zunino $550,000 2.4 SP1 Felix Hernandez $24,857,000 4.6
1B Logan Morrison $2,600,000 1.4 SP2 Hisashi Iwakuma $7,000,000 3
2B Robinson Cano $24,000,000 5 SP3 Anibal Sanchez $14,800,000 2.7
3B Kyle Seager $5,000,000 3.9 SP4 James Paxton $550,000 1.7
SS Brad Miller $550,000 2.7 SP5 Taijuan Walker $550,000 1.2
RF Michael Saunders $2,900,000 2.4 SP6 Roenis Elias $550,000 0.6
CF Austin Jackson $8,000,000 2.4 CL Fernando Rodney $7,000,000 0.7
LF Dustin Ackley $2,800,000 1.8 LH Charlie Furbush $1,000,000 0.5
DH Matt Kemp $5,500,000 2.5 RH Danny Farquhar $550,000 0.6
RH Brandon Maurer $550,000 0.1
Bench Scott Van Slyke $550,000 1 RH Yoervis Medina $550,000 0.4
Bench A.J. Ellis $3,800,000 1.2 LH Antonio Bastardo $2,800,000 0.1
Bench Jed Lowrie $8,000,000 1.2 RH Marco Estrada $4,700,000 0.1
Cut Willie Bloomquist $3,000,000 0 RH Carson Smith $550,000 0.2
$67,250,000 27.9 $65,457,000 16.5
$132,707,000 44.4

A few ground rules:

  • The simulation starts at the beginning of the offseason. Adam Lind is still a Blue Jay, Hank Conger is still an Angel, and Justin Smoak is still a Mariner.
  • I can set whatever organizational philosophy I want without regard for the Mariners' current approach. If I decide that grit is the way of the future, I can Willie Bloomquist up the whole 40-man.
  • Speaking of the 40-man, it doesn't matter. No need to worry about roster slots. Also, PTBNL's don't exist: minor leaguers can only be traded by name.
  • I'm supposed to abide by a recommended budget of (1.1 times 2014's budget), or about $118M. I can petition to go beyond that, but I personally set a hard cap at $130M. It's no fun to win the sim by upping payroll to Yankees levels.
  • I can offer free agents frontloaded contracts, backloaded contracts, team options, mutual options, opt-outs, whatever... but I can't extend any players already on the team. Sorry, Kyle Seager.
  • I can't follow through on every suggestion you guys make in the thread... but I'll follow through on many. Keep the ideas coming!

As the Simulation kicks off, my initial plan is to go all-in for 2015, specifically targeting one-year rental outfielders (so as to leave budget room for a pursuit of Jason Heyward and/or Ben Zobrist next offseason), mid-range starting pitchers, and players who can hit well enough to DH but aren't full-time DHes. Hitters get extra credit for being right-handed; pitchers get extra credit for generating high volumes of fly balls. I plan to make most players - especially D.J. Peterson, Roenis Elias, and Chris Taylor - available via trade, but I'll be hanging on to Felix Hernandez. I don't expect to make any huge splashes in free agency, but I suppose anything's possible.

Questions? Comments? Leave 'em below! I'm excited to hear all of the wacky trade ideas that LL's collective brainpower can muster. Let's have some fun!