Your 2014 Simladelphia Sillies: SBN simulated Winter meetings review

Dang Catz, how do you do it? - Jared Wickerham

The Good Phight staff spent most of last week huddled in a war room putting together a simulated 2014 team along with every other SBN sister site. The results follow!

Last week, members of the Good Phight staff, consisting of myself as GM, Liz as team owner, Trev, Cormican, Jaypoozle (along with prospect guru and Phillies scribe and frequent guest contributor Mattwinks)  took part in a Simulated winter meetings role playing scenario along with every other site in the SBNation network.

The goal was simple. See if you can put together a  better roster for 2014 and beyond than your real team. The simulation was headed up by the good folks at www.royalsreview.com and one of their writers, RoyalsRetro acted as the Agent for every free agent.

We took this pretty seriously, as the 6 of us fielded close to 1300 emails in total, and really tried to do our best to have a plan for bettering the organization both in the long run and immediately.

Our goals were simple.

  • Keep the payroll under the luxury tax limits unless we had no choice
  • Fill the holes at the major league level (specifically one OF, two SP, and Catcher)
  • Try and reassemble a more cost effective bullpen
  • Do whatever it takes to trade Jonathan Papelbon.
  • Accomplish all of this without sacrificing the future, meaning unless absolutely necessary, try not to trade Brown, Biddle, Franco and a few other folks that we felt people would target as buy lows.
We were able to pretty much accomplish all of these goals, kept the payroll at $166,000,000 going into the season, and realistically constructed a team that should by all accounts if healthy, be able to put up a minimum of 90 wins.

What we're going to do here is outline each transaction, and give you the back-story into what we were thinking.

1. CODY ASCHE, CESAR HERNANDEZ, JOHN MAYBERRY AND AND JONATHAN PAPELBON for MATT KEMP AND SCOTT VAN SLYKE
This deal was actually agreed to in principle the evening prior to the sim starting. And to be honest, I would have given up more if I had to. We approached the Dodgers about this, and asked on Kemp and Puig, and focused on Kemp after a few emails. We tried to keep Cody Asche out of this, as we really did not want to trade either Asche or Franco, and Asche being gone meant having to find another 3B, but when we considered that Mayberry was a non tender anyway? To be able to rid ourselves of Papelbons salary, this was an easy decision.  Matt preffered a younger pitcher in the deal, and I vetoed it. Mainly because I felt Van Slyke allowed us to either trade him or Ruf later in the sim easier than a young reliever.

We effectively enabled ourselves to reshape the bullpen AND picked up Matt Kemp for what amounted to roughly $7,000,000 over the next three seasons.

What I found most interesting here, is that I was prepared to take Brandon League on in return but it never came to it, and in real life, I can see a similar deal make sense for both teams.

REALISTIC TRADE: Maikel Franco and Jonathan Papelbon for Matt Kemp.

2. AUSTIN WRIGHT FOR LUKE HOCHEVAR
This deal almost didn't happen, as we almost made another blockbuster involving Wright that went south. The Royals GM asked on four other players that we didn't want to give up, and while Hochevar's salary was $5,000,000 this season, he also was a 2 fWAR reliever last year, and we figured we got him for nothing. At the time, we assumed the relief pitching market was going to be hot and heavy (it turned out it wasn't) and to pick up a swing man/set up guy/closer type for just one season, we went for it. Basically a salary dump deal where we took advantage of our payroll flexibility.

REALISTIC TRADE: This could happen in real life quite easily.

3. SCOTT VAN SLYKE for HEATH HEMBREE
Here's the thing here. We might have jumped the gun a bit in dealing Van Slyke too soon, but Both Trev and I are huge Heath Hembree fanboys. The dude is a hard throwing reliever with good control, cost effective with options, and in both of our opinions could be another Craig Kimbrel type. We also made this deal because, well, we wanted to do a deal With Grant Brisbee. Grant went back and forth between Ruf and Van Slyke and in the end we let him choose.

Realistic trade: Darin Ruf for Heath Hembree

4. Phillies lose out on Tanaka, Hart  and Elsbury
This is really where everything kind of started to fall into place for us. We were heavily involved in the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Elsbury and would have signed both of them if we could have, even after the Kemp trade. But we decided as a group that we weren't comfortable with where the cost was heading, and set internal limits on all three. We ended up losing out on all three. If we had have signed one of the outfielders, a trade for Ben Revere or Dom Brown would have likely been in the cards, and we also would have really handcuffed ourselves financially.

4. Philies sign CARLOS RUIZ 2/12, JESSE CRAIN 2/5, RANDY MESSENGER 2/8.
This is the part of the sim where we noticed prices getting crazy. We prioritized resigning Ruiz and were prepared to go as high as 2/20 if we needed to. to get him at 2/12 was highway robbery.  The Jesse Crain deal, to be honest, was something that we forgot about. I had offered Crain the 2/5 deal on the first day, before the Hochevar trade and the Hembree trade, and he accepted after the fact. But it's fantastic value, IMO for a pitcher like Crain.

With Randy Messenger, I'll admit that I made this deal at midnight, by myself. And I did it for one reason. The starting pitching market had gone insane. My original target, Josh Johnson, was offered a QO in the sim and accepted. So the bounce back guys just weren't there.  Messenger reinvented himself in Japan, and actually tied Tanaka in strikeouts last year. So for me, this was a creative way of dipping into the international market without spending Tanaka like money.

Realistic signings: Ruiz: 2/16 with a third year option, Crain: 2/7 or a 1 year incentive laden deal, Messenger: 3/15 or he stays in Japan.

5. Phillies sign Alexander Guererro: 4/16. Phillies ink Ryan Madson, 1 year 2mm
Let's be clear here. Alexander Guererro signed with the Dodgers in real life so this won't happen, but I looked to find a creative option at 3B, in the event Maikel Franco isn't ready, and we needed another IF anyway. This was a deal where basically everyone had forgotten about Guererro, and we stole him.

With Madson, I had this offer out there since day one, and I think it's something that might happen in real life. If he's healthy, its a steal, if he's not, you waste very little money. The minor league deal was the key for me. Meaning there isn't a 40 man spot wasted on Madson until he's healthy enough to pitch, and at the same time, when he is, he makes the same $2,000,000 if he comes on in April or June.

Realistic signings: GUERRERO SIGNED WITH THE DODGERS. Madson: 1/3 with significant incentives.

6. Phillies trade RP Mike Adams for Ichiro Suzuki
This was a pure salary swap deal. With the bullpen additions Adams was extremely expendable and we dangled him out there, and this was the best deal. The Yankees were looking to dump Ichiro's salary and improve their bullpen, we were looking to dump Adams salary and improve our bench. It's the definition of win win here. That said I don't think this is a deal that happens in real life. No one is trading for Mike Adams until he's healthy. But you know what this made me think?

REALISTIC TRADE: Phillies trade Jonathan Papelbon and 6mm to the Yankees for Ichiro Suzuki

7. Phillies trade OF Casper Wells to the Mariners for Leury Bonilla
I have no idea who Leury Bonilla is. I don't care. I had literally emailed the Commissioner to tell him I was non tendering Casper Wells, when the Seattle GM emailed asking what we'd want for him. I told him to give me three options, and Matt picked Bonilla. He's AAAA filler, but Wells was a non tender. This wouldn't;t happen in real life, because they've already outrighted him I believe, but its indicative of something like this:

Realistic trade: Phillies trade John Mayberry or Kevin Frandsen for ANYTHING FROM ANYONE BEFORE THEY NON TENDER THEM.

8. Phillies trade Adam Morgan for Brett Anderson, Michael Choice and $6,000,000
Of ALL the trades both made, discussed, and talked about during the week, this is the one that I'm the most proud of.  The Oakland GM was looking to dump salary here, and I feel like two things happened.

1. he grossly overvalued Adam Morgan, grossly undervalued Michael Choice, or both.

He originally asked for Morgan for Anderson and I balked immediately. Before I could even counter he offered to add Choice and eat salary and I took the deal without hesitating.

I was higher on Morgan than Biddle going into 2013, but to fill a rotation spot with a guy like Anderson (not without his own risks) and pick up a top 100 OF prospect like Choice? See ya Adam, best of luck and I hope your shoulder issues are over.

For me, I might have done Morgan for Choice straight up (and that's a kind of deal you could see happen in real life) and I looked at Anderson as a bonus, here.

Realistic trade: Jesse Biddle for Michael Choice, Brett Anderson, and $4,000,000

9. Phillies sign Kevin Youkilis 1 year $4,000,000 with a $6,000,000 option for 2015

At this point in the SIM, we were looking for VALUE. we needed another bench bat, and a player that could, after trading Cody Asche, also be a fallback option at 3B (as well as at 1B) should Franco or Guerrero not be ready at the start of the season. We really liked Eric Chavez for this role a lot, but he, along with Juan Uribe and others wanted a two year deal. Enter Kevin Youkilis. I had to overpay a little to get him, but for what we wanted here, I really really liked this signing. We envisioned the Jim Thome situation from a few years back, and I insisted on the option for 2015 strictly because I also felt that, should everything fall in place AND Youkilis rebound, the option made him a very interesting trade candidate mid season.

Realistic deal in real life: I think this is what a guy like Youk gets or he retires.

10. The Minor League Deals.
Chris Nelson, Kelly Shoppach and Philip Humber. I like Shoppach a lot, and actually feel he'd end up as Chooch's backup in real life.  Nelson is another insurance policy at 3B, with a real shot at making the team, and Humber provides AAAA insurance in the rotation.

We also ended up signing Kendrick to a minor league deal, which would not happen in real life. Kendrick gets a major league deal all day long. that was simply a result of the sim being over.

So how'd we do?

No Marlon Byrd, we kept the payroll under 170mm (166mm to be exact) and barring injury the 2014 Sillies Opening day lineup should look something like this:

Starting Lineup
Ben Revere CF
Matt Kemp RF
Domonic Brown LF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Maikel Franco/Alexander Guerrero 3B

Your SP
Brett Anderson
Randy Messenger
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

Your Bullpen
Ryan Madson
Jesse Crain
three of Hembree, Diekman, Martin, Kendrick, Pettibone, Rosenberg, etc...

BENCH
Kevin Youklis
Darin Ruf
Ichiro Suzuki
Kelly Shoppach/Erik Kratz/Cameron Rupp

With Chris Nelson, either Franco or Guerrero and Michael Choice at AAA for depth, along with Humber, and likely Pettibone getting everyday starts as well.

I'd be interested to see what the projections actually come out to here, but I think that's a 90 win team all day long, with depth unlike what we've had in a very long time.

So how'd we do?

Comment away kids. this may be the only team you really can look forward to this year.

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