Editor’s Note: Thank you to CtC user, pezzicle, who took time out of his schedule to participate in a fun GM simulation with 29 other SBNation users. Below, he shares the results of his experience. I know the Guardians just picked up Christian Bethancourt, ostensibly for the backup catcher role, since this simulation was completed, but I think you can substitute Bethancourt for Gary Sanchez in the below simulation and it still works well.
Hello and welcome to this year’s version of the SBNation-run GM simulation. For those not in the know, each year Max over at Royals Review runs a 30 team simulation where fans of the sport come together and pretend to be a GM for a few days, making a bunch of moves. All sort of personalities come out and some of them go crazy with things (like trade Bobby Witt to the Mariners for 4 dimes and a quarter) and some do hardly anything at all. It’s been done by a few people here over the years, but I also know that sometimes it’s not completed by a CtC regular, so I decided to give it a shot this year. I’m going to “story tell” how this all played out, so here we go, hope you enjoy.
We got our Slack invite at about 4pm on Saturday, with instructions to introduce ourselves, let everyone know what we were looking for, and to start talking trades. FA was not opening until noon on Sunday. I set out to work. My list of things to accomplish were (little surprise to many of you); (1) RHH Corner Power Bat, (2) RHH Backup Catcher/DH, (3) a good RP with some control, (4) depth. My budget was about 115M. I tried to do this a realistically as I could, and I think I was successful.
My first step after letting everyone know what I was working towards was to start in on my targets. My OF wants were Kyle Tucker (HOU), Tyler O’Neill or Lars Nootbaar (StL), Randy Arozarena (TB), or Taylor Ward (LAA). I didn’t think there was anything else worth pursuing in the OF trade front, and was comfortable pivoting to FA if I needed to. First stop? Tucker. I was quickly told he wasn’t being traded. Noted. Next. I reached out to StL and was told that Nootbaar wasn’t available but that O’Neill was. Awesome.
The ask? Bieber.
*confused face* Me: Straight up?
Response: Ya, that’s basically all I’d be interested in from you, don’t want to sell low at all.
Me: *confused face*
Already two strikes here. Not ideal. Thankfully, the other two players I was interested in were more amenable to deals that worked for me. For Arozarena, we talked pitching, and it was settled on McKenzie being the big piece going back, but the GM wanted another decent valued prospect to help offset the injury risk, and wanted to field other offers. For Ward, the first ask was Brito, Chase, Straw and Cantillo. Too rich for me and we settled on Martinez, Cantillo, Sandlin and Denholm. Better, but not perfect, and the GM also wanted to interact with others and wasn’t 100% convinced that that was enough for them to part with Ward.
Oakland reached out RE Rooker, and I mentioned to them that he was on my list, but far down, and that if he had offers he liked, he could go ahead with them as I was confident I could get something else done.
The interesting thing that happened was the Nationals reached out about Thomas, who I’m not super keen on, but I know others here are. We had lots of chat about it, and also talked a lot about Hunter Harvey, RP. More on that later.
I went to bed at 930am because I have a 7 month old.
This day was active, and I’ll get right to it. The Rays quickly pivoted to a massive deal by sending Arozarena and Glasnow to the Dodgers. Then, the Angles GM insisted that Brito be a part of the package. I balked at it and said I would see how other things played out and get back to him. Teoscar received and rejected a QO, so I pounced and offered 3/40M out the gate and shared I was open to negotiations. With fingers crossed I moved on to catcher.
My first offer was for Garver, 2/16M. It got topped to 2/22M and I decided to pivot to Sanchez and offered a 1/7M. It was topped by a 1/8M. Not really wanting to lose out on a RHH Catcher, I decided to offer 2/12M. He accepted and we made our first addition. Gary Sanchez on a 2/12M. Garver? Went for 5/80M. Yeah. The deal for Sanchez was okay by the standards set. Grandal went for 1/6. Hedges? 1/3. Tom Murphy went for 2/8. Gallagher was DFA’d by me immediately and then somehow got a 1/2 deal from the royals. I think I overpaid a bit for Sanchez, I could have maybe done a 2/10, but I didn’t want to lose out and it was a need. Sanchez last 3 years is a 210/.290/.420 hitter from the right side with a .215/.301/.468 in that same time frame against LHP. Exactly what we are looking for.
At this point I shifted back to the Nationals. The GM informed me that Thomas was likely on the move. I let him know that was fine, as I was confident I had the payroll to get Hernandez. We shifted to Harvey. Harvey has 2 years left of control, is ARB2 and is due for a pay day of about 2.2M. The last 2 years he has a 2.70 ERA and a 2.81 FIP, with a 10.08 K/9 and a 2.25 BB/9. Solid stuff. I like him as the set up man to Clase, to push Stephan into a different role. The offer settled on Freeman, Morgan, Bracho. Not agreed to yet, because the Nationals GM wanted to field more offers and we set a deadline of 4pm.
I shifted to the FA market for RP. I was looking at Lopez, Matt Moore, Robert Stephenson, Alex Vesia. I started to toss some offers out. They were all low. Lopez went for 3/22M. Vesia for 3/18M. Stephenson? 2/15M. 6-8M per for these guys. I decided to save some money and reached back out to the Nationals GM. He informed me he got another offer and it was better than mine, but he would take mine if I threw in Ethan Hankins. I accepted. I didn’t like it that much but I needed a set up guy, the prices were high on the FA market, and Hankins is the very definition of high risk-high reward. He was also a bubble add to the 40 anyway. Our second addition to the roster was complete, and 2 of the three needs had been met.
With Hankins gone, I decided to throw out some minor league invites to available starting pitchers, to see what kind of depth I could add. I tossed darts at multiple guys and came away with Carlos Carrasco (!) and Hyun Jin Ryu. Not bad. I tossed more darts at some low end RP, but all had ML offers and I didn’t think CLE would likely be signing 30+ year old RP to multi year deals.
The day ends.
At this point, just to recap. We have signed Gary Sanchez to be our backup C and sometimes DH against LHP. We have traded for Hunter Harvey to be the set up guy in the BP. We have added Ryu and Carrasco on minor league deals for some coverage there. Today my goal is to figure out the OF and maybe add another RP if the price is right or maybe on a minor league invite. The main, goal though, is to upgrade the outfield.
My 3/40 offer to Hernandez is topped at a 3/45M, so I go to 3/50M. I have some money to work with, and am willing to go higher.
The Cubs come knocking and are wondering about Laureano. I’m kind of in a weird space here. I’ve been talking marginally with people about taking Straw, and have been having some bites but nothing significant. Everyone wants Brito and I just don’t really want to move on from Straw that much. I’m honestly not liking trying to figure this out. Not entirely sure what is going on with Hernandez, not sure if I need to pivot to Ward, not wanting to have all of Straw, Laureano and Brennan on the roster.
So I make a move. I trade Laureano to the Cubs for Brian Kalmer. Who? No one. Well, someone. He got taken in the 18th round this past year and proceeded to hit to a .358/.423/.683 line in A ball with a 20% K rate. total random flier but whatever I needed to clear the jam. I also made this decision because I decided that I wasn’t super into Laureano in CF (-4 DRS the past 2 years, -5 OAA) and thought “hey what if I can trade Straw and then sign either Taylor or Bader? Genius!”
Well that didn’t happen. Taylor went for 1/8 which was more than I wanted to give him (I offered 1/6 and my Straw deals all had me giving 2M a year to the team (6M total) and I didn’t really want to pay like, 10M for Taylor and then 2M to someone else to take Straw totaling 12M for Taylor when I already had Straw for only 4.5M and Bader who could get had for a reasonable price to pivot to). Well, I pivoted to Bader on a 1/6 as well and then he signed to the Tigers for 4/80M. Yeah, that’s not a typo. Apparently his market was like 1/4. 1/6. Someone offered 1/7. Then Tigers GM went 4/80. I have no idea? This didn’t work out great, we ended up with a CF platoon of Brennan and Straw, but it is what it is.
Next I secured Anthony Bass on a minor league deal, who had a bad 2023 but was good in 2022.
The Jays came calling (maybe the Bass move sparked an idea) and offered us Garcia straight up for Karinchak. I took it because, even though it added more to the payroll, it wasn’t an insane amount.
And then FINALLY Hernandez signed with us for a 3/50M.
And at this point I am very tired of this and done. It’s a lot of work. And we end up with this
LF Kwan (L) [0.73]
2B Gimenez (L) 
3B Ramirez (S) 
1B Naylor (L) [7.2]
RF Hernandez (R) [16.5]
C Naylor (L) [0.73]
DH Manzardo (L) [0.73]
SS Arias (R) [0.73]
CF Brennan (L) [0.73]
BN Sanchez (R) 
BN Straw (R) [4.5]
BN Fry (R) [0.73]
BN Tena/Rocchio (L/S) [0.73]
I’m not in love with it, but I don’t hate it. I put Gimenez in the 2, but I think Bo actually fits there the best, and would welcome it if he got to DH a half decent amount but I don’t think that’s the smartest idea with the backup being Sanchez (even though he isn’t as awful defensively recently as he has been in the past). I like the RHH heavy bench. Certainly wish I could have gotten Taylor in that spot instead of Straw though, but alas.
SP Bieber [12.2]
SP McKenzie [1.8]
SP Bibee [0.73]
SP Quantrill [6.6]
SP Williams [0.73]
RP Clase [2.5]
RP Harvey [2.2]
RP Hentges [1.1]
RP Garcia [6.3]
RP Stephen [1.6]
RP DLS [1.2]
RP Sandlin [1.1]
RP Curry [0.73]
Total payroll comes out to 100.1M with 8.5M to be paid to Segura for a total of 108.6M
The 40 man is filled out with INF Rivas, Martinez, Brito, Tena and OF JRod, Valera, Noel. Pitching wise with SP Allen, Cantillo, Espino, Gaddis and RP Morris, Herrin, Smith.
Espino + Smith were added to the 40, and Michael Kelly and Oscar Gonzalez were DFA’d (DFA Rivas if you want instead, I flipped a coin). I guess if you want to not add Manzardo to the roster just yet you can keep one of those people instead.
NRI are SP Carrasco and Ryu and RP Bass
Final Editor’s Note: Let’s show our appreciation for pezzicle’s fine work here by discussing it in the comments below! Thanks, pezz! Job well done!