When we were initially approached about the idea of running Mock Winter Meetings, I thought it would be kind of fun. Turns out it was actually incredibly addicting. Community managers from across SB Nation worked out trades with each other and submitted free agent bids to an independent agent. The back-and-forths were actually an incredible amount of fun, a whole lot of work, and I have no doubt this will happen again next year.
My goals were two-fold. First, I wanted to be able to make a couple of trades to bring in some talented and young pitching. Second, I wanted to make strong bids on free agents that I liked in the hope of making the Twins a more competitive team in 2013. In some respects I was successful, and in others I wasn't so successful.
Trades, In General: I had offers on Justin Morneau, Glen Perkins, Ben Revere, Denard Span, Ryan Doumit, and Josh Willingham. I had one massive deal where Perk and Willingham would have gone to Toronto for Colby Rasmus, Brett Cecil, and a couple of pitching prospects, but ultimately I think I was probably asking too much and the Toronto GM backed out. I didn't field a single offer for Joe Mauer. The White Sox were looking to dump salary, so I also briefly considered a Doumit-for-Adam Dunn trade, straight up. But I didn't want to spend $15 million of my budget on Dunn.
Free Agents, In General: I really wanted Cody Ross, but it didn't happen. He signed with the Red Sox for 3 years and $21 million; I had offered 2 and $16 million. The only other position player I wanted but didn't get was Jonny Gomes, who, like Willingham, Ross, or Trevor Plouffe, would benefit in power from his ability to pull the ball over the left field fence. With pitchers I tried to get in early on Marcum with an offer of 3 years and $30 million. He wanted to wait it out and wanted a longer deal so I tried 4 and $36, but ultimately he signed for (I think) 5 years and $52 million. Similar potential targets like Brandon McCarthy also garnered ridiculous offers.
In no particular order, here are my moves from the week.
Comments: Of those six players I picked up in return, all of them are pitchers. Familia, Perez, and Grimm are all ready for at least part-time MLB duty this season. Pettibone is almost ready. Montero and Rodriguez might need another couple of seasons. All of them are among their organization's top prospects. A number of them are among the game's top 100 prospects going into the 2012 season.
Comments: There wasn't a good market for Youkilis, with his only other serious offer being for one year and $13 million from another team. Because I didn't trade any core hitters from my lineup, I felt the addition of Youkilis (who I thought was my final addition until a last-second agreement with Sanchez) would give my Shadow Twins some additional offensive balance.
25-Man Roster (Payroll Number)
SP1: Ervin Santana ($8M)
SP2: Scott Baker ($8M)
SP3: Carlos Villanueva ($4M)
SP4: Scott Diamond ($0.5)
SP5: Manny Parra ($0.8)
CL: Glenn Perkins ($2.5M)
SU: Jared Burton ($1.2M)
RHRP: Casey Fien ($0.5)
RHRP: Juan Cruz ($2M)
LHRP: Brian Duensing ($1 M)
LHRP: Will Ohman ($1 M)
Long: Anthony Swarzak ($0.5)
C: Joe Mauer ($23M)
1B: Justin Morneau ($14M)
2B: Freddy Sanchez ($0.5)
3B: Trevor Plouffe ($0.5)
SS: Brian Dozier ($0.5)
LF: Josh Willingham ($7M)
CF: Darin Mastroianni ($0.5)
RF: Chris Parmelee ($0.5)
DH: Kevin Youkilis ($8M)
2013 Opening Day Payroll: $92.45 million
It's interesting how quickly things change, and as a result how your priorities will change, too. Being unable to land a couple of my starting pitcher targets forced me to re-evaluate and I ended up getting a couple of decent deals anyway. I'm happiest with the Villanueva signing overall. I tried to keep all of my free agent offers fairly short because 1) - I realized that my team was still in a transitional state, regardless of what I did, and 2) - if my team ends up not contending again this year, I wanted to have contracts that could still be reasonable and tempting to other teams. I imagine that, with this roster, if things went south I'd be able to garner interest in Santana, Baker, Villanueva, Morneau, and Youkilis.
Ultimately this was a fun exercise. It was definitely a learning experience. I don't want anyone to think that this is, in any way, a blueprint for what I would prefer to do or what I think the Twins should do - it's more or less what happened in spite of the guidelines I'd set out for myself. I think I did fairly well with the trades, and I think I did okay in free agency although there's the potential for mistakes (particularly with Baker and Youkilis).
If you have any questions about why I did or didn't do something, or about deals that did or didn't happen, feel free to drop them in the comments!