Muppets should be on the front page. At least that's what Big Bird told me. -Nico
Preparing for the 2023 SB Nation Offseason SIM
SB Nation's annual Offseason Simulation is (tentatively) scheduled for November 5th - 7th and I have the opportunity to represent the Oakland A's and AthleticsNation once more. I will attempt to make what improvements I can to a roster coming off the most disasterous season possible. My goal is to make the 2024 team more competitive while building up the organization's depth and ceiling potential in the farm system. I wish I could say I was building a potential contender but even the Arizona Diamondbacks needed two years to go from losing 110 games to making the World Series and not even my ego is willing to make that bold of a bet!
All team rosters are reset to the last day of the regular season. Arbitration eligible players have their 2024 salaries set by the projections created by Matt Swartz and published by MLBTR. Free agents will be represented by the creator and ringleader of the SIM, Max Rieper from Royals Review. Budgets are recommended to most teams, although there is no mechanism of enforcement should a team spend beyond their recommendation. I take Oakland's number to heart because my goal is to do better than my Real World counterpart while facing the same restrictions.
(You know, I had a rant about Dave Forst and "stupid" forming in my mind as I sat down to write this. I'm going to forgo that portion of the article but feel free you use this moment to indulge in whatever vindictiveness you may have... because after this moment he doesn't matter when it comes to making the decisions that will hopefully make this roster better.)
I keep the 40 man roster in mind while doing my team building, even though it's not necessary for the purposes of the SIM. There will not be a Rule 5 Draft during the SIM but I believe it is necessary to account for the possibility of the next Ryan Noda. The exact timeline for Option decisions, Qualifying Offers, and non-tenders has not yet been set but generally those things will be managed within the first 24 hours of the SIM. Trades are negotiated between teams, with human reps on each side trying to "win" the deal for their respective fanbase. Let's talk about where things stand for the A's at the start of the offseason:
Projected Budget: $59,000,000
Current Payroll Commitments: $38,820,000
Drew Rucinski ($5 MM/No buy-out)
Paul Blackburn: $3.2 MM
Seth Brown: $2.4 MM
James Kaprielian: $1.5 MM
Carlos Perez: $1.2 MM
Austin Pruitt: $1.2 MM
Sean Newcomb: $1 MM
The right side of the infield is in good hands with Noda and Geloff. Rooker hit 30 HRs as the primary DH; there were 12 teams that didn't have a single player reach that number. Langeliers is fine behind the plate (for now) although I would prefer a more established back-up in order to send Soderstrom back to AAA for consistent playing time. An unheralded advantage comes from the rotation: Medina, Sears, Waldichuk, Boyle, Harris, Estes, Muller, Blackburn all pitched at least 120 innings during 2023 while also reaching the big league roster. The true talent level of these arms is still to be determined but they provide the building blocks to create the rock-solid foundation for any contender... a dependable and effective starting rotation.
I'd like to hear how AN would like to see the SIM proceed. I suspect near-unanimous agreement in not giving Kemp a QO and declining Rucinski's Option but after that there are things to discuss. So, please pitch in with your ideas and commentary.