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2017 GM Simulation: Twins’ Day Two Recap

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SB Nation’s annual MLB GM Simulation is underway! TJ is this year’s GM for the Twins, and he’s making more blockbuster trades. Are the Twins officially in Win-Now Mode?

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres
Please, put away the pitchforks!
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year for the SB Nation GM Simulation! Each year a writer or fan from each SB Nation team site takes over as the faux GM of their team and negotiates trades and deals with other participants. Click here for the full rules if you aren’t sure exactly how this works. The comments on that post also serve as a transaction tracker.

The 2017 simulation got underway Sunday, with me (T.J.) acting as the Twins’ GM. The fake 2018 Twins are working with a budget of about $113 million, so my goal is to find a way to add several solid starting pitchers, a few relievers, and another bat without breaking the bank.

Day one pretty much accomplished those goals for me, so I entered day two looking for some depth moves, and to bolster the bullpen a bit more. The day unfolded in a much different way, and I am optimistic about what this roster is capable of doing.

The first moves of the day were to add a couple free agents for bullpen depth. Veteran Matt Belisle showed me enough to bring him back at a slightly reduced salary. He agreed to a one-year deal paying $1.35 million. I also tried to re-sign Brandon Kintzler, but his price ended up being a bit higher than I was willing to go.

The other free agent additions of the day were mostly on minor league deals. Reliever Josh Collmenter, despite having a very poor 2017, still owns a career 3.64 ERA and 4.11 FIP. Going into his age-32 season, I took a flyer on him, and we’ll see what happens. I only have a MiLB deal committed, and he could pay off. This is the classic Terry Ryan bullpen scrap heap type move.

Before I signed my other free agents, I made a couple trades with the Padres to help improve my bullpen and save some salary. We initially negotiated a deal that sent Kyle Gibson, Zack Granite, Landon Leach, and TJ White to San Diego for Kevin Quackenbush, Carter Capps, Kirby Yates, and Clayton Richard. Quackenbush was actually released in September, so we removed him and Gibson from the deal. This gave me a cheap veteran starter for depth in Richard, and two younger relievers with good numbers. Capps had an ERA much higher than his FIP for 2017, and is only 26 years old, so is a good candidate to emerge playing in front of the Twins defense. Yates owns a 3.72 ERA and a 3.50 FIP, and has struck out over 14 per nine innings. He likely becomes my second set-up man, with a chance to be my closer. Plus, his name is Kirby. Like I was going to pass that up!

The second trade with the Padres came because the Gibson part of the first deal fell through. They were still interested in Kyle, and offered me either Matt Szczur or Jabari Blash for him. I took the deal for Szczur. He is only 28, and can play all three outfield positions. He is also only making $800,000 as a first year arbitration player, so he is cheap and we have some control for the near future. This also saved $4.5 million compared to Gibson’s salary, and he was likely on the outside looking in for the rotation. By acquiring Sczcur, who has hit .237/.318/.368 over his career, and very near those numbers in 2017 we upgraded our fourth outfielder defensively over Robbie Grossman, with very little offensive downgrade. Since this made Grossman expendable, I non-tendered him and his 2.4 million dollar salary. Overall, this saved me 6.9 million dollars, and didn’t cost me much I would miss as far as players.

Although Dillon Gee is still formally listed as a starting pitcher, I plan to use him in the long-relief swing man role again. I was ecstatic he was willing to re-sign in Minnesota for a minor league contract. While he likely starts the season with Rochester, he is a known commodity should the bullpen need help, or a spot-starter for a double header.

The last minor league contract I handed out is to another reclamation candidate. Mat Latos was once a very good pitcher, but has struggled the last couple years. Despite putting up a 6.60 ERA with the Blue Jays this season, I was willing to see what he could do at Rochester, and add some depth to my rotation in case of injury.

These deals did give me the ammunition to comfortably part ways with Ryan Pressly, and he was non-tendered. While a decent pitcher at times, his production has been more than replaced.

The St. Louis Cardinals approached me about Brian Dozier’s availability, and I thought my price might be a bit steep for them, but we ended up working out a deal. I acquired SP Michael Wacha, SS Aledmys Diaz, and several prospects. I did have to give up first base prospect Lewin Diaz, but our farm system gained two pitchers and a catcher. Jordan Hicks is a 21-year-old, right-handed starter at High-A who ranked as the Cards #14 prospect. The other pitcher is Grant Holmes, who the Cardinals had picked up from Oakland. He pitched 148 innings in Double-A in 2017, mostly as a starter, and is significantly younger than league average. He has an outside chance to push for an MLB job this summer. We also gained Zach Jackson, who is a left-handed hitting catcher and just played his age-19 season at rookie ball. He was the #25 prospect in St. Louis’ system. I also sent the Cardinals $2 million in this deal.

While I was counting on Dozier to be a leader of this core, the ability to gain two years of very good, cheap pitching in Wacha was enticing, and starting to reload the farm system after yesterday’s trades was crucial. Aledmys Diaz is an interesting player as well. He had a down season in 2017, but is only a year removed from an All-Star selection and Rookie of the Year consideration. He’s only 26 and has years of team control left.

Why not follow a trade with another trade? Looking to replace some of Dozier’s production, I looked into a deal to reunite Dee Gordon with his little brother, but the price ended up a bit out of my comfort zone. Ultimately, I probably overpaid a bit for my second baseman, but I traded Taylor Rogers, Levi Michael, and Lamonte Wade to the Reds for Scooter Gennett. At this point, I felt we could compete sooner rather than later. Gennett’s .283/.323/.446 and 27 home runs go a long way towards replacing Dozier on offense. He’s under team control for a couple more seasons, which helps the ever present payroll situation. He also hit four dongs in a game, which is fun.

Of course, trading Taylor Rogers means I have a bit of a hole when it comes to left-handed pitching. The only lefty in relief at this time was Tony Sipp, and that just wouldn’t do. Clayton Richard and/or Matt Moore could fill a role here if they don’t start, but I still wanted a bit more help. I signed Kevin Siegrist to a three-year deal at $1.2m/1.5m/2.5m with a $4.5 million club option. That totals up to $5.2 million, or $9.7 million if the Twins go for the option year. He is 28 years old, and has a career ERA of 3.04 with a FIP of 3.64. He had a down year with the Phillies in 2017, but was very good for the Cardinals for several years prior to that. He also strikes out 10.5 per nine innings.

One small trade towards the end of the night helped to restock the pitching in the minors. Eduardo Escobar, despite being a player I like a lot, was traded to the San Francisco Giants. With five middle-infielders on the roster, one was expendable, and Escobar was among the most expensive, with the least remaining team control, so I flipped him for prospects. In return, I recieved Sam Coonrod and Matt Krook. Both are pitchers with upside and a couple of good pitches. Krook is left handed, and has the better stuff, but also has control issues and a history or injury. He finished the season at High-A. Coonrod has two plus pitches and is currently pitching in Double-A. Although both have been developed as starters, I plan to eventually transition both into the pen, and they should be able to move quickly through the upper levels of the system.

Here is the table version of the moves I have made to date. After starting out planning to build for 2019, I realized this team could be very good for 2018 and made some moves accordingly today. Despite being very active, I managed to come in very close to my payroll goal, and still have some assets in the farm system for the future.

Fake Twins Roster Moves

Added Sunday Lost Sunday Added Monday Lost Monday
Added Sunday Lost Sunday Added Monday Lost Monday
SP Collin McHugh C Mitch Garver RP Matt Belisle OF Zach Granite
RP Tony Sipp RP Nick Burdi RP Josh Collmenter SP Landon Leach
SP Matt Moore SP Blayne Enlow RP Carter Capps 3B T.J. White
DH Yasmany Tomas SP/RP Phil Hughes RP Kirby Yates SP Kyle Gibson
RP Pat Neshek RP Tyler Duffey SP Clayton Richard 2B Brian Dozier
$4.35 million SP Kohl Stewart OF Matt Szczur 1B Lewin Diaz
SP/RP Dillon Gee RP Taylor Rogers
SP Mat Latos OF/INF Levi Michael
SP Michael Wacha OF Lamonte Wade
SS Aledmys Diaz SS Eduardo Escobar
SP Jordan Hicks $2 million
SP Grant Holmes OF Robbie Grossman
C Zach Jackson RP Ryan Pressly
2B Scooter Gennett
RP Kevin Siegrist
SP/RP Sam Coonrod
SP/RP Matt Krook

At the end of day two, here is what the Twins roster looks like. I’ll need to option, outright, or cut some pitchers to get down to my final 25.

Fake Twins Roster

Infielders Outfielders Catchers Starting Pitching Relief Pitching
Infielders Outfielders Catchers Starting Pitching Relief Pitching
Joe Mauer Eddie Rosario Jason Castro Ervin Santana Pat Neshek
Scooter Gennett Byron Buxton Chris Gimenez Michael Wacha Matt Belisle
Aledmys Diaz Max Kepler Jose Berrios Kirby Yates
Miguel Sano Matt Sczcur Collin McHugh Kevin Siegrist
Jorge Polanco Yasmani Tomas Matt Moore Carter Capps
Ehire Adrianza Clayton Richard Tony Sipp
Adalberto Mejia Trevor Hildenberger
Trevor May Alan Busenitz
Mat Latos Josh Collmenter
Dillon Gee
Buddy Boshers
Ryan O'Rourke
John Curtiss
Gabriel Moya

At this point, I’m pretty happy with the general composition of the team. I still have a few small tweaks I’d like to make, and some depth I’d like to add to the organization. I’ve said that already a few times, but if a good offer comes my way, I’m likely to explore it. I also have more pitching than I need, but that was intentional.

Stay Tuned, we still have another another day to go!


Poll

What grade do you give day two of the Fake Twins off season?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    A
    (22 votes)
  • 24%
    B
    (44 votes)
  • 25%
    C
    (45 votes)
  • 21%
    D
    (39 votes)
  • 16%
    F
    (30 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now

Poll

What grade do you give the Fake Twins off season overall, to this point?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (10 votes)
  • 29%
    B
    (38 votes)
  • 29%
    C
    (39 votes)
  • 16%
    D
    (22 votes)
  • 16%
    F
    (22 votes)
131 votes total Vote Now