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Seattle Mari-nerds: the 2015 GM Simulation

What if all 30 Major League Baseball clubs were run by bloggers?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth year in a row, our friends at Royals Review have run their offseason simulation project. Representatives from all 30 SB Nation MLB blogs came together for one week to hash out their version of the offseason. Players are traded, signed, and released, all in an attempt to build the best team possible. It’s the perfect "what if" scenario for a bunch of baseball nerds.

This year, I had the honor of participating as Lookout Landing’s representative, creating the Seattle Mari-nerds to play out my ideal scenario for this offseason. Without further ado, here are the 2016 Seattle Mari-nerds:

Position Players


2016 Salary

Pitching Staff


2016 Salary

C Alex Avila



SP1 Felix Hernandez



1B Adam Lind



SP2 Hisashi Iwakuma



2B Robinson Cano



SP3 Derek Holland



SS Ketel Marte



SP4 Taijuan Walker



3B Kyle Seager



SP5 Nate Karns



LF Seth Smith



CL Carson Smith



CF Cameron Maybin



RH Tom Wilhelmsen



RF Leonys Martin



LH Vidal Nuno



DH Chase Utley



RH Kevin Jepsen



OF Franklin Gutierrez



RH Alex Colome



UTIL Eduardo Nunez



LH Rob Rasmussen



1B/OF Peter O'Brien



RH Jesse Chavez



C Jesus Sucre



(You can take a look at my worksheet here)

Total Salary: $130.6m

Total Steamer WAR: 36.2

Steamer-projected Win Total: 84

Ouch. The projection systems don’t like the Mari-nerds. If a few things break my way, they could sneak into the playoffs as the second Wild Card, but there are so many things that could go wrong too. Let’s see how I got to this point:

  • Trade: Seattle acquires CF Cameron Maybin and 3B Jordan Edgerton from Atlanta for 3B DJ Peterson
  • Trade: Seattle acquires RHP Jesse Chavez and OF Skye Bolt from Oakland for SS Chris Taylor and RHP Mayckol Guaipe
  • FA Signing: Seattle signs Hisashi Iwakuma to a 2 year, $30 million deal with a $15 million vesting option, and OF Franklin Gutierrez to a 1 year, $1.5 million deal with incentives
  • Trade: Seattle acquires RHP Nathan Karns, RHP Alex Colome, and OF Mikie Mathook from Tampa Bay for SS Brad Miller, 1B Mark Trumbo, LHP James Paxton, and LHP Nick Wells
  • Trade: Seattle acquires 1B Peter O'Brien from Arizona for RHP Tony Zych and LHP David Rollins
  • Trade: Seattle acquires LHP Derek Holland, OF Ryan Cordell, and OF Leonys Martin from Texas for OF Nelson Cruz
  • Trade: Seattle acquires 1B Adam Lind from Milwaukee for 3B Patrick Kivlehan and LHP Paul Fry
  • FA Signing: Seattle signs SS Eduardo Nunez to a 1 year, $1 million deal
  • Trade: Seattle acquires SS Devin Marrero from Boston for RHP Danny Farquhar
  • FA Signing: Seattle signs C Alex Avila to a 2 year, $10 million deal
  • Trade: Seattle acquires 2B Tony Kemp from Houston for LHP Charlie Furbush
  • FA Signing: Seattle signs RHP Kevin Jepsen to a 2 year, $4 million deal, and 1B Travis Ishikawa to a minor league deal
  • Non-tender: Seattle non-tenders 1B Logan Morrison and RHP Logan Kensing
  • FA Signing: Seattle signs 2B Chase Utley to a 1 year $3 million deal with incentives, and RHP Dale Thayer and LHP Eric O'Flaherty to minor league deals.

My number one goal heading into the simulation was to rebuild my outfield. I inquired about a number of different outfielders around the league who I thought might be available. Cameron Maybin ended up being the best option from a Braves team that was in full rebuild mode. Trading away DJ Peterson felt like I was selling low on a prospect whose value had dropped significantly since being drafted. While acquiring Maybin was my first move chronologically, the Athletics were the very first team to contact me. They were hoping to score Brad Miller or Chris Taylor and I saw an opportunity to shore up the rotation. I ended up settling on Jesse Chavez even though he’s in his last year of arbitration because I liked his versatility. I also asked for OF Skye Bolt solely on the basis of his 80-grade name.

I had offered contracts to both Hisashi Iwakuma and Franklin Gutierrez and they both accepted after some negotiation. I was hoping to get Iwakuma at around $13m per year if I offered third-year, vesting option based on 300 total innings in 2016 and 2017. We settled on $15m per year. At this point, I figured my rotation had been addressed and I had a new center fielder—things were looking good.

Then, Tampa Bay came calling looking for Brad Miller or Ketel Marte. I saw an opportunity to offload Mark Trumbo or Logan Morrison to address Tampa’s hole at first base and started pursuing one of their young outfielders. This trade ended up spiraling out of control and ended up being my biggest mistake of the simulation. James Paxton had received a fair amount of interest early in the simulation, and at one point, I was set to trade him for Francisco Liriano. This trade ended up looking very similar to the actual trade Jerry Dipoto pulled off but I definitely got the short end of the stick. Getting back Alex Colome was nice as he could be a decent option at the back of my bullpen, but Mikie Mathook was not the major league ready outfielder I was seeking. His profile looks more like a fourth outfielder than a starting center fielder and I gave up two of my best trade pieces to get him.

That trade with the Rays backed me into a corner. It didn’t address any of the needs on my roster but instead opened up a number of new holes. I needed a new first baseman and my rotation was now filled with right-handed starters. I bid on Scott Kazmir, but since he was the only quality left-handed starter on the market without a qualifying offer attached to him, his price was driven way out of my budget. Texas had aggressively pursued Nelson Cruz from the get go and I had spurned their advances until now. I asked for Martin Perez but was given a hard "no" on that front. We ended up settling on Derek Holland and Leonys Martin as the two headlining pieces (I actually completed this trade minutes before Dipoto went out and actually traded for Martin—I think he did better than I did). Cruz’s salary was reallocated to Holland and Martin helped my outfield get younger.

I still had to fix my hole at first base, Logan Morrison was not going to get it done for me. I had been going in circles with Arizona, trying to get one of their six outfielders. They were trying to get me to take Yasmany Tomas but I really didn’t like the back end of his contract. I ended up getting Peter O’Brien from them, resulting in the comment "Is Jack Z running the Mariners over there?" I figured O’Brien was a better version of Jesus Montero and could be a decent option off the bench. When I acquired Adam Lind as my starting first baseman, O’Brien made even more sense as the short-side of a first base platoon.

My biggest needs had been filled so I started focusing on filling out my roster and building depth: Eduardo Nunez and Devin Marrero filled the gap that Chris Taylor had occupied; Alex Avila gave me a two year stopgap to try and fix Mike Zunino; and Kevin Jepsen gave me another right-handed bullpen arm after dealing Zych and Farquhar. My last move was to offer incentive filled contracts to Chase Utley and Justin Morneau. Utley wanted less guaranteed money so I settled on him as my designated hitter. After that, my roster has been filled out and I was more or less satisfied with the results.

Final Thoughts

I learned very quickly that the Mariners’ roster has a number of holes and very little flexibility. There were a few valuable pieces that could have returned some useful pieces but I ended up spending them all in one trade that opened up more holes than it filled. I did add some depth to the roster, particularly in the rotation with Vidal Nuno, Jesse Chavez, and Alex Colome all capable of acting as swing men. I restocked the lower levels of the organization with athletic prospects in the infield and outfield.

Despite my best efforts, the Mari-nerds’ roster is still flawed. The lineup is heavily skewed with left-handed hitters with at least three positions requiring a platoon partner. While I like Cameron Maybin enough, acquiring Leonys Martin as well forces one of them to play out of position in right field. Ideally, they would make up a center field platoon but that forces Gutierrez off the roster. The rotation looks particularly injury prone. Too many of the holes on the roster were filled by players who are under team control for just a couple of years. By 2018, there same holes on the roster will have opened up again and there aren’t many impact prospects who could fill them by then.

I don’t envy the task Jerry Dipoto faces in reality. So far, he’s done well to acquire pieces that add years of team control to the roster but there are still holes to fill and very few pieces to fill them with. As for me, I had a lot of fun trying to wrestle this roster into something resembling a contender. There are a few things I would do differently (particularly the trade with the Rays), but all-in-all, I’d say it was a moderately successful offseason for the Mari-nerds.