SB Nation Mock Winter Meetings, Day 4 Review and Full Recap

USA TODAY Sports

Minor league deals abound! Hooray!

Previous Day Reviews

Day One (Highlight: Dozier for Griffin)

Day Two (Highlight: Dan Haren signing)

Day Three (Highlight: Ervin Santana signing)

Final Moves

  • Twins sign RHP Tommy Hanson to minor league deal
  • Twins sign LHP Johan Santana to minor league deal
  • Twins sign 1B/DH Justin Morneau to minor league deal

SB Nation Mock Winter Meetings in Review

My favorite move: Trading Brian Dozier for A.J. Griffin

While signing free agents is a fun part of the process because you're bidding against an unknown number of other real life people acting in the best interests of their own teams, the real insight in terms of actual roster moves comes when making trades. Free agency is obvious: you need starting pitching or you need a right-handed power bat. Trades are different. I didn't expect to trade Dozier and of all the cost-controlled pitchers I had planned on targeting, Griffin wasn't on that list. But you find unique fits. And I imagine that it's similar to how those situations work in real life.

My least favorite move: Signing A.J. Pierzynski

This decision was the result of a number of different things. It was partially a sentimental choice (because reunions are fun, right?), it was partially because I was considering making Mauer my first baseman, it was partially because I wanted someone who could legitimately play catcher in case Pinto wasn't ready and Mauer wasn't catching and Doumit wasn't catching, and it was partially because I wanted to make moves to make the offense better without blocking anybody. But being totally honest - this was the single move I made that wasn't premeditated. It was the one thing I did solely on a hunch. The $7 million a year doesn't bother me; the money was there to be spent and I was determined to spend it. What bothers me is that, in spite of my reasons, it's not really a great fit.

About the process

I was thinking about this: the SB Nation Mock Winter Meetings are basically an off-season junky's wet dream. It's tender decisions, arbitration decisions, option decisions, free agent decisions and trades - four months of what happens in real life - shoved into four-and-a-half days.

Which makes it all very unrealistic. The process allows you to make changes on the fly and plug holes that you just decided to thrust into your roster four minutes ago. In real life you can't do everything at once, which means it involves one hell of a lot more planning for the future. There's risk about who you tender or non-tender, there's risk about who you add to the 40-man roster and how many roster spots you make available for the rest of the winter, and there's a real need to protect yourself while leaving yourself the flexibility you need...and that's a lot harder to do over a four month period than it is to do in four days.

Having said that, as happy as I was with what I accomplished last year I'm much happier with what I accomplished this year. My Mock Twins now have a very legitimate rotation with contracts that will carry them into the future, when our own prospects will be ready to step forward and do the heavy lifting. None of the contracts are prohibitive, although it might be harder to trade Haren in three years time if we wanted to, but the team will still have plenty of financial flexibility as we get past the next year or two and we get to a point where the team belongs to Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Meyer, Gibson...and Mauer. I haven't boxed the Twins in at a time when they still need to be able to adapt quickly, and that's important.

Contracted Payroll Going Forward

2014 (Opening Day): $95.9M - including the $5M sent to Tampa
2015 (Contracts Only): $59.35M
2016 (Contracts Only): $49.5M

Mock GM 2014 Twins & Lineups

Rotation - Ervin Santana, Dan Haren, A.J. Griffin, Kyle Gibson, Kevin Correia

Catchers - Joe Mauer, A.J. Pierzynski, Josmil Pinto

Lineup vs RHP - Presley (CF), Cabrera (RF), Mauer (C), Arcia (LF), Pierzynski (DH), Parmelee (1B), Ellis (2B), Gillaspie (3B), Florimon (SS)

Lineup vs LHP - Presley (CF), Ellis (2B), Mauer (C), Baker (1B), Plouffe (3B), Arcia (LF), Cabrera (RF), Pierzynski (DH), Florimon (SS)

Final Thoughts

Exercises like this will never allow you to bat 1.000 in terms of your decision making and results, because in the process of doing "everything you can" making a move that you wish would have gone a bit differently is inevitable. The goal is to know where your team is at in terms of being competitive, realistically, and then to act accordingly. Being too patient or too conservative gets you nowhere, and doing too much uproots your stability and probably puts a hiccup into the plans that any good front office will have in place for the next three to five years.

I'm happy with how things went. We'll see if the moves work out as I revisit my decisions throughout the 2014 season.

What are your thoughts on the exercise?
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