Once again Max Rieper of Royals Review unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses of SB Nation 30 fans to re-imagine and re-shape their respective MLB teams. Working with invisibleinkwell (John Bitzer) and Joshua Iversen (Joshua Iversen) we started the process of turning Oakland’s 2020 roster into the preeminent power in the AL West. Even before the tears began to flow in Houston on that fateful, late October night my path became clear and the message to my compatriots set: we would tear the still-beating heart from the Astros’ chest and revel in the crown of the AL West.
I think we make it happen.
All rosters are re-set to the end of the regular season. Arbitration salaries are based on MLB Trade Rumors estimates and contract details come from Spotrac and Cot’s Contracts. Max would negotiate all free agent contracts while teams WERE NOT ALLOWED to sign their own players to contract extensions. The 40 man roster and Rule 5 eligibility are not factors in the SIM but they are things we consider amongst our group; our goal is to create a viable roster that could (in deep, deep theory) happen in Oakland. In a slight twist from previous SIMs, each team received a private email from ownership that “suggested” payroll limits. The Athletics had $110 million to turn a 97 win roster into a Championship team.
The organizational needs were obvious; the solutions not so clear. The following transactions occurred in chronological order. We used Baseball Trade Value’s Trade Simulator to measure the success of our dealings with other teams.
Oakland exercises their option for Yusmeiro Petit and declines their side of the option for Jake Diekman.
Fairly straightforward transactions, as we aim to restock with better arms than Diekman.
Trade Franklin Barreto to KC for LHRP Tim Hill.
(BTV Net Value: +1.4 Oakland)
Inquiries were sent to several teams as we sought the best available arm for Barreto or Jorge Mateo. Both players were in the mix to be part of Oakland’s solution at 2B but as out-of-option, RH batters they were redundant on the 26 man roster. Tim Hill has been an effective relief option for two seasons, throwing strikes and getting groundballs. With 5 years of team control and 2 minor league options we expect him to be a versatile cog on the depth chart in 2020 and beyond. There will be time to lament What Might Have Been with Barreto later; for now our focus has to be on bolstering the roster with more certain talent for 2020.
We approached that goal from two angles: we would try to acquire Francisco Lindor from Cleveland to fill the spot at 2B with a Super Star talent. Failing that, we’d acquire a steady presence that we could pencil in for close to 2 fWAR a year.
Trade Jurickson Profar to Cleveland for prospect Sam Hentges.
(BTV Net Value: +5.4 Oakland)
Our quest for a super star talent or a more consistent addition meant that Profar was a likely non-tender candidate; Sam Hentges is an interesting southpaw who pitched in the Tribe’s AA rotation… but don’t get too attached.
(BTV Net Value: +17.7 Oakland)
Arizona is priming itself for a 2021 run and they really, really wanted Sheldon Neuse to play 3B. This trade essentially rebuilt the bullpen.
By this time we knew Lindor would not be coming to Oakland so we upped our pursuit on steadier options. We still wanted to make an impact move and had seen a rumor that the Mets were listening on their rotation; we reached out and to our surprise Noah Syndergaard was available for a package centered on A.J. Puk. We quickly became involved in a bidding war to land Thor…
(BTV Net Value: +8 Oakland)
The Mets saw Jed Lowrie as a $12 million anchor.
We saw Jed Lowrie as a $12 million anchor but who freaking cares we’re adding Noah freaking Syndergaard to the top of our rotation! The sober reality was this would almost certainly push us significantly over budget but it was for an impact starting pitcher just days after watching impact starting pitching leverage two teams into the World Series. We can beg Mr. Fisher for forgiveness later; this was too good a trade to pass up.
Sign Alex Avila to a 1 year/$3.5 million guaranteed contract with a team option for 2021.
This was one of two one significant forays into free agency. We wanted a veteran; a glove first back-up for Murphy that preferably batted left-handed to help compliment the line-up when on the card. We also had to factor in Murphy’s recent track record of DL trips; Avila’s team option will turn into a vesting option if he reaches 350 PA in 2020.
Trade Josh Phegley and $500,000 to Minnesota for RHRP Cody Stashak.
(BTV Net Value: +1.6 Oakland)
Phegasus was a near certain, non-tender candidate when the SIM began and with Avila signed it was clear that Josh Phegley would no longer be a part of the organization. The Twins were looking for a low-cost option behind the plate and were willing to part with a young arm that had performed well in his 2019 big league debut. Minimum salary, three options and he throws strikes… a combination to covet.
Trade Sam Hentges, Parker Dunshee, and Eric Marinez to Pittsburgh for 2B Adam Frazier.
(BTV Net Value: +6.4 Oakland)
We found our Steady Eddie 2B in Pittsburgh. Frazier features a left-handed bat with a career strike out rate under 14% and solid defense. We think he can be a consistent 2 fWAR player for the next few seasons.
Non-tender Robbie Grossman and Ryan Buchter.
The additions of Peralta and Chaffin made them expendable. Could we have hustled and found them new homes? Probably, but a 48 hour SIM means priorities have to be set.
(BTV Net Value: +5.9 Oakland)
Thank you, Detroit.
Also… the second best argument you’ll see for holding on to assets like Grossman and Buchter for as long as you can.
(BTV Net Value: -0.1 Oakland)
By this point our bullpen was full and that rendered moot our internal debate on what to do with Treinen. Neither Weiman (LHRP) nor Mears (RHRP) need placement on the current 40 man roster and we want to build up our stock of internal options for future bullpen pieces.
Trade Hogan Harris to the Chicago Cubs for prospect Vimael Machin.
(BTV Net Value: -0.3 Oakland)
Dealing Barreto, Profar and Neuse had significantly impacted the organization’s middle infield depth and Machin offers a LH bat that BB’d more than he K’d while playing 2B/3B/SS in the upper minors last year.
Trade Jed Lowrie and $3,000,000 to Texas for Eli White.
(BTV Net Value: +4.2 Oakland)
Thank you, Texas.
This put us back on budget… no more having to beg forgiveness! Plus, Eli White helps with our middle infield depth once we put him on the 40 man roster to protect him from the upcoming Rule 5 draft.
Trade J.B. Wendelken to Boston for Marcus Wilson.
(BTV Net Value: -0.9 Oakland)
Our bullpen was still over-flowing and Wendelken is out of options. Marcus Wilson is a post-hype OF prospect that can draw a walk and has Plus power but swings and misses too much.
Having just said the Oakland bullpen was over-flowing… we sign two veteran arms to help stock the Las Vegas bullpen and provide organizational insurance.
Erlin has experience starting and relieving, he throws strikes and gets groundballs. It’s a combination that pretty much guarantees I’m going to offer him fake money to pitch in our SIM organization. Healy had hip surgery and has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis; he’ll be rehabbing through the winter and hopes to be ready by ST. We offered the full resources of the Oakland Athletics to facilitate his recovery.
Trade Paul Blackburn to Boston for RHP Michel Baez.
(BTV Net Value: +7.4 Oakland)
This is the best argument you’ll see for holding onto your marginal assets as long as possible. The prospect hounds among us are gasping at this deal. As I said earlier, our group takes the 40 man roster into consideration during the SIM even though it’s not required. We needed to move or release Blackburn to create a spot for Eli White and had spent the early hours of the last morning reaching out to various teams to try and find a deal. Somehow this happened. Baez made his big league debut with San Diego in July, doesn’t turn 24 until January, generally throws strikes with a 96 MPH fastball and has three options remaining.
Eli White will now be exposed to the Rule 5 draft in December and we’re OK with that.
(BTV Total Value: +56.7 Oakland)
The Roster: 26 Man/40 Man
Rotation: Noah Syndergaard, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, Mike Fiers, Chris Bassitt/Jharel Cotton, Daniel Gossett, Grant Holmes, Daulton Jefferies
Bullpen: Liam Hendricks, Archie Bradley, Yusmeiro Petit, Andrew Chafin, Tim Hill, Jesus Luzardo, Kevin Ginkel, Joe Jimenez/Cody Stashak, Lou Trivino, Michel Baez, Wandisson Charles, Jhenderson Hurtado
Catcher: Sean Murphy, Alex Avila/Jonah Heim
Infield: Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Chad Pinder, Adam Frazier, Jorge Mateo/Vimael Machin
Outfield: Khris Davis, Ramon Laureano, Mark Canha, David Peralta, Stephen Piscotty/Skye Bolt, Dustin Fowler, Seth Brown
Final Payroll: $108,290,000
We talked big. (OK, I talked big.)
Did we deliver?
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