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2017-18 SB Nation Offseason Simulation

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If I were the GM of the Phillies, here is what I’d try to do

MLB: Game One-Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Each season, the different team sites for SB Nation gather together via email, and simulate what the entire offseason looks like over a 4 day weekend. It can be daunting, but it can also be enthralling. Just as I was last year, I will be performing the role of Matt Klentak yet again. If you remember from last year, it’s kind of a crazy event that starts off being pretty close to reality before we have several insane deals being done. I tried to stay as close to reality as possible, even though others did not.

And no - I didn’t try and trade for Mike Trout.

I entered the simulation with three clear goals in mind:

  1. Upgrade the rotation
  2. Figure out what to do with the Hernandez-Galvis duo
  3. Make the bullpen a weapon

In my eye, these goals don’t vary too much from what the Phillies will probably try and do this offseason themselves. You’ll probably notice something that stands out, or rather, doesn’t stand out. I went into this simulation with no intention of targeting a certain outfielder from the Miami Marlins. As much as I like Giancarlo Stanton, I don’t think a realistic goal of the team should be to go and do whatever it takes to get him. We will, of course, frequently see the Phillies mentioned as a trade partner because they are one of the very few teams with the cash to take on that contract, but realistically, I’ve moved away from the acquiring Stanton bandwagon and I think the Phillies should too.

There was a glut of things that had to be cleaned up before we got started with the real fun, but let’s begin at the beginning.

Here is what the Phillies looked like at the end of the season:

End of season roster

Catchers Infielders Outfielders Starters Relievers Injured (2018) Injured (buh bye)
Catchers Infielders Outfielders Starters Relievers Injured (2018) Injured (buh bye)
J. Alfaro R. Hoskins N. Williams A. Nola H. Neris V. Velasquez C. Buchholz
A. Knapp C. Hernandez O. Herrera M. Leiter A. Morgan J. Eickhoff P. Florimon
C. Rupp F. Galvis A. Altherr B. Lively L. Garcia Z. Eflin D. Nava
M. Franco H. Kim J. Thompson R. Pinto
J.P. Crawford N. Pivetta H. Milner
A. Blanco H. Alvarez E. Ramos
Y. Rios
V. Arano
Z. Curtis

Yeah, scanning that list, I can safely assume my goals are in the best interests of the team. So, here’s how it went.

Initial steps

The Phillies have several arbitration eligible players (projected salaries in parentheses):

Freddy Galvis ($7.4 million)
Cesar Hernandez ($4.7 million)
Luis Garcia ($1.4 million)
Cameron Rupp ($2.1 million)
Maikel Franco ($3.4 million)

I tendered offers to each player except Cameron Rupp. Personally, I don’t see any reason that Rupp is needed on the roster. Yes, he’s a great guy who does great community work, is by all accounts a good teammate, and isn’t all that expensive, but with Jorge Alfaro being the probable starter (at least on my team) and Andrew Knapp serving as a capable backup, we’re going to give Cam a pat on the back and bid him adieu. The others were pretty easy calls to bring back.

I then started making “phone calls” around about my players, gauging interest levels and looking at what each player was worth. I started making offers to free agents. When it was all over and the dust settled, I thought I did a pretty good job with this roster. Here are the results.

Goal #1: Upgrade the rotation

Here is where I fixed a lot of my time. The main target was to get at least one, maybe two starting pitchers that would be upgrades over what is currently projected to be rotation. For example, guys like Tyler Chatwood are available in free agency, but what does he provide that would be better from Ben Lively or Zach Eflin? In other words, I just wanted someone better.

Trade 1 - Cornelius Randolph, JoJo Romero and Dylan Cozens to Boston for David Price and $10 million any year he is in Philadelphia

Trade 2 - Scott Kingery, Ben Lively, Franklyn Kilome, Andrew Knapp, and Mickey Moniak for Michael Fulmer and James McCann

To me, these are no-brainer deals. Acquiring a top of the rotation arm in Price without have to surrender top prospects is something that I would flip over if it happened in real life. Topping that off with adding Fulmer would be icing on the cake. Sure, the Phillies would be getting two pitchers with some elbow issues, and trading Kingery might hurt in the end, but with 3 WAR player Cesar Hernandez still under team control for three years, it hurts just a little less.

Plus, I would still be retaining our best pitching prospect (Sixto Sanchez) and might have a better alternative than Moniak (Adam Haseley) in the system. This is why the Phillies have all of this depth in the minors.

Goal #2: Figure out what to do with the Hernandez-Galvis duo

Once I traded Kingery, this goal became a little easier: find someone who would take Galvis. I asked, I begged, I pleaded. Not surprisingly, it was as hard to find a match for Freddy in fantasy as it is in real world baseball. However....

Trade 3 - Freddy Galvis to Boston for Joe Kelly

In the end, it was mostly about getting something for him, even if it’s a contract swap. At least Kelly has some good stuff and had decent results in the bullpen. He might be able to our long man out of the bullpen, capable of getting outs over two innings. For Galvis, I think it’s an easy call.

Make the bullpen a weapon

This was really hard. The trade for Kelly helped, but some of the prices on free agents for relievers in this simulation got out of control. I was in on Mike Minor, but wasn’t comfortable going to four years for him (he went for 4/$30 million). I had some lines in the water, but I am a believer in this bullpen. Plus, I think there is a simply move to make the bullpen that “weapon”.

In my simulation, I am moving Vince Velasquez to closer and bumping all the others (Neris, Garcia, Ramos, Morgan, Arano, et al) into better fitting roles. He’ll be better in shorter bursts, not having to worry about the third time through the order or establishing lesser quality pitches. Velasquez can focus on harnessing the fastball to help compliment whatever second pitch he choose to refine. This simple move, along with trading for Kelly, makes the bullpen a weapon that can help win ball games next year.

Other stuff that happened

I had a few other minor deals that I made:

Free agency: Jayson Werth (1 year/$5 million), Chase Utley (1 day contract, then retires)

These two are relatively small potatoes. Werth helps because he’s not a regular, but can fill in in a pinch if someone goes down to injury. Plus he doesn’t block a player like Roman Quinn, who we can allow to get plate appearances in Lehigh Valley to get healthy. Chase retires a hero, in red pinstripes.

Trade 4 - Jake Thompson to the Rangers for Josh Morgan

Trade 5 - Mark Appel to the Padres for Nate Easley

A couple of guys that I simply don’t like and help clear 40 man roster spots for. The guys we got in return have a few skills (Morgan can hit a little, Easley can get on base and run a little), but it helps unclog the roster.

Minor league free agent signings: Danny Espinosa, JP Howell, Bobby Parnell, Brett Anderson

Espinosa can compete with Jesumel Valentin for the 25th spot on the roster. Howell and Parnell can maybe get healthy, maybe provide some relief depth in the minors. Anderson, if he ever figures out how to get healthy, would be the first call up for injury.

That’s it.

No Yu Darvish. No Jake Arrieta. No Wade Davis or Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb. However, I think this is still a dangerous team that, if constructed this way, would be a favorite to take a wild card position. Here is what the team looks like after the simulation:

2018 Phillies lineup

Catchers Infielders Outfielders Starters Relievers
Catchers Infielders Outfielders Starters Relievers
J. Alfaro R. Hoskins N. Williams D. Price V. Velasquez
J. McCann C. Hernandez O. Herrera A. Nola H. Neris
M. Franco A. Altherr M. Fulmer A. Morgan
J.P. Crawford J. Werth J. Eickhoff L. Garcia
D. Espinosa (MiLB) N. Pivetta R. Pinto
Z. Eflin H. Milner
E. Ramos
Y. Rios
V. Arano
B. Parnell (MiLB)
JP Howell (MiLB)
J. Kelly

How did I do? If you wanted to see what every team did, here is the thread for the simulation, where every move made is listed in the comments. Scan them and then leave a comment on what you’d have done differently.

Poll

Based on these moves and the ones made in the simulation, what grade would you give faux Matt Klentak?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (29 votes)
  • 33%
    B
    (126 votes)
  • 34%
    C
    (130 votes)
  • 17%
    D
    (65 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (24 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now