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SBNation Offseason Simulation: the Phillies edition

There were goals. Some achieved, some....not so much

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The SBNation offseason is always exciting. Lots of offers thrown around, lots of trades being made....and a large group of people waiting for someone to sign Shohei Ohtani for $750 million.

Honestly, that was my expectation for the simulation, that someone would make a mockery of the entire thing by making an offer for him that just makes absolutely no sense. Did it happen? We’ll get to that later. For now, here is what transpired in Phillies land.


  • get a starting pitcher that would be able to start in a playoff game
  • attempt to bring back Rhys Hoskins
  • add a catcher on a minor league deal
  • take some Kimbrel money and add another RH reliever

The first one was obvious. If the Phillies are going to go back to the playoffs and have yet another deep run, they cannot have just Zack Wheeler in the rotation. There has to be a one-two punch that helps them set up their bullpen the way they want it.

Actual moves

The first attempted move was the see what Hoskins was going to bring in a deal. My initial offer was for 1 year, $10.5 million to bring him home, an entirely sensible deal for both the player and the team to see if there is something they can work out. However, once he recieved a two-year guarantee from someone else, that team turning out to be the Brewers, well, it was time to wish him well and cut ties.

So now, we move into the pitcher market. Typically, in this exercise, the big names take a while to sign, and while the Phillies were aggressive in trying to re-sign Nola, there was still some waiting to do. The initial offer was a 5 year, $125 million deal, something that was met with happiness from Nola’s end.


Attempts were made to see how it was going, but nothing. Ultimately, there came a counter offer that Nola had received a 6 year, $180 million deal, something I just did not feel comfortable meeting, knowing it would likely climb higher. As much as it hurt, the team again wished one of their longest tenured players well and moved on to new targets. That meant the trade market.

Now, in this exercise, the trade market is bloated. Teams highly value even their most lightly regarded prospects a little too high, meaning coming to terms on a deal is tough. As an organization, in order to accomplish the first goal on our list, we set out sights on two players: Tyler Glasnow and Corbin Burnes.

Both of these gentlemen are on one-year deals for teams that aren’t exactly known for giving away big piles of money. Both being pitchers and they’d likely shy away from handing them some kind of long-term deal that would help create a market, so it’s natural to wonder if either will be traded. Seeing as how Nola was signed, I check in on both. The biggest piece either team wanted was Mick Abel, the Phillies’ #2 prospect right now and someone who the team could look to move in the right deal. So, I decided to make him the centerpiece and move from there. However, Milwaukee came back with what I thought was the strongest counteroffer, so this completed the first major move of the simulation.

Phillies trade Mick Abel, William Bergolla and Francisco Morales to Milwaukee for Corbin Burnes

Not gonna lie, if this was reality, this would qualify as a heist for me.

Would losing Abel sting? Sure. You never want to trade top-end pitching talent if at all possible, but with the team getting back maybe the best starting pitcher on the trade market, it felt like an easy move. I should mention here that no extensions are allowed in the simulation, so were this to be proposed in real life, my guess is the Phillies would want the deal contingent on being able to sign Burnes long term. Who knows? For these purposes, it felt like an easy move to make, something that made the team stronger.

And then......I waited.

There aren’t really that many holes to fill on this team with lavish free agent deals. As the reports were coming in, it felt smarter and smarter to sit out free agency, but there was that Kimbrel/Knebel money burning a hole in m’ pocket. I searched around and came up with...

Phillies sign RP Shintaro Fujinami to a one year, $1 million deal

Can he throw strikes? Maybe!

Can he throw hard? Definitely.

Fujinami might be one of the most frustrating pitchers on the market today thanks to his electric velocity and almost stunning lack of knowing where that velocity is going. I mean, 45 walks in 79 innings is near hilarious. What’s also hilarious is the fact that Fujinami is also in the 97th percentile with his ability to throw a fastball very, very fast. That’s something to work with. His secondaries are dreadful, but this is a dart throw signing. If somehow Caleb Cotham were able to get his hands on Fujinami and get him to cut the walks even by something like 25-30%, that’s a solid reliever to put in the bullpen for not a lot of money. If he’s bad, you release him and don’t think twice.

Were there minor league signings to follow? You bet!

Phillies sign Curt Casali, Enrique Hernandez and Colin McHugh to minor league deals

Listen, these are about depth. The depth, though, was at key spots.

Were J.T. Realmuto to go down for any length of time, Garrett Stubbs would ultimately get exposed rather quickly. It makes sense to get someone on a minor league deal to provide depth at the position and could come up and be a real backstop for a decent amount of time and Casali fit the bill. Hernandez could play anywhere in the outfield and a few infield spots, so if an injury were to happen, he might be someone the Phillies looked at. McHugh...well...I just like him.

That’s really about it. Like I said, the deals being struck were nutty, so I kind of avoided that market. Plus, with the payroll after these moves at about $224 million, there remains room for any deadline deals to help the team without leaping into some of the murkier luxury tax penalties.

You can check up on all of the moves by clicking here.

Oh, and Ohtani? 15 years, $845 million from the Mets.

Yeah. Time for grades!


What grade do you give the Phillies for the SBNation simulation?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (19 votes)
  • 36%
    (65 votes)
  • 37%
    (66 votes)
  • 11%
    (20 votes)
  • 4%
    (8 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now