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 was initially to find a way to add several solid starting pitchers, a few relievers, and another bat without breaking the bank... I might have done a bit more than that
Day Three Recap
Day three was about adding some depth to the organization. After trading a lot of talent away in the last two days, I wanted infuse some potential back into the lower half of the system. I’ve built up my MLB roster to be competitive until about 2021 or so, therefore I am looking at prospects who project to be ready in 2020 or later, and am willing to horse-trade some guys who will be ready before then.
As a side note, since I’ve been asked, we are not worried about 40-man roster implications in this simulation—however, that was in the back of my head as I traded prospects.
I like Nick Gordon a lot, but I believe you have to give up something of value to gain something of value. Due to Gordon’s position in the organization being squeezed from above by Jorge Polanco and Aledmys Diaz, and below by Royce Lewis and Wander Javier, therefore I deemed him a tradeable asset. I traded him to the Chicago Cubs for two pitchers. Cory Abbott was the Cubs second pick in the 2017 draft, and has already progressed to A-ball. He has a decent four-pitch mix, highlighted by a plus cutter. While he doesn’t project as an ace, he is very likely to be a serviceable starter for a long time. The other pitcher, Michael Rucker offers a mid-90’s fastball and a good curve, and projects as an inning-eating starter at the MLB level. He finished 2017 at High-A. I had asked for a bit more, but ended up taking this deal.
The Baltimore Orioles then approached me about Trevor Hildenberger’s availability. Since I loaded up my bullpen the last couple days, I was willing to move him as well. I received two pitching prospects for him: Brenan Hanifee, a 19-year-old with a good fastball-slider combo, and Ofelky Peralta, a 20-year-old who is already at High-A. He also has a fastball that hits 98 mph. There are questions about Peralta’s build, but his floor is a power reliever, and his ceiling rivals that of Jose Berrios.
Adding depth to the organization, I signed veteran catcher A.J. Ellis to a minor league deal, and will ask him to work with the cadre of young pitching projected to come through Rochester. Center fielder Ben Revere has also agreed to return to the Twins on a minor league deal. He will serve as an insurance policy against Byron Buxton’s reckless playing style.
Pitching depth was also something I addressed a bit more. I picked up another veteran starter on a MiLB deal—Micah Owings, who has put up pretty reasonable numbers in very limited innings the last couple years and will likely be called up at some point for a spot-start. I’m not relying on him for much more than that. The Twins also re-united with old friend Fernando Abad, who agreed to a minor league contract. After a good season with the Red Sox, he gives me an insurance policy should one of the lefties in the bullpen be injured or ineffective. I made another relief pitching move, more out of sentiment and to reward a good guy than because I thought it helped the team. I gave Glen Perkins a minor league deal, with a June 1st opt out date if he is not on the MLB roster. This is a low risk move obviously, but if a full off season helps him find something, it could have a small pay-off for the Twins.
I did horse-trade a few prospects at the end of the off-season, which I think helped improve the overall picture of the farm system. The Fake Twins sent OF Alex Kirriloff, C Ben Rortverdt, and 2B Jose Miranda to the Pirates, in return for 3B/1B/OF Will Craig, and OF Calvin Mitchell. Craig profiles defensively at first, but also has a cannon of an arm that could see him in a corner outfield position. He is a doubles hitter, but if he adds a bit of power, could become the heir apparent to Joe Mauer at first. Mitchell is a pure hitter from the left side of the plate, and showed some on-base skills in the GCL. While Mitchell is a downgrade from Kirriloff, he is still a great prospect, and I believe this trade improved the overall quality of available prospects.
I really didn’t like the catching depth in the system, so set up a trade with the Angels that saw me get Juan Graterol and SS Julio Garcia in exchange for recently acquired pitching prospects Sam Coonrod and Michael Rucker. I think he got the better of the deal, but I was dealing from a strength to fill a weakness, and the trade market had mostly died down by that point. Garcia is interesting because he is a tools-y 20-year-old with some injury setbacks. He looks to have a high ceiling though. He more-or-less replaces Miranda in my system. I also sent SP Ryan Eades to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for OF Noel Cuevas. He should start the season in Rochester, and be ready to move up quickly. He serves as an additional insurance policy on the long-term health and effectiveness of our current outfielders.
I also wanted to add Chase Headley, since the Yankees just wanted out of that deal. I didn’t have the payroll space to do so, and couldn’t pull together the three-team deal I was looking for to help cover the money. He would have been a very nice bench bat, and can play third or first acceptably for an extended time if needed. He would have probably replaced Ehire Adrianza on my roster. Oh well.
Stay tuned for tomorrow! I’ll unveil my final roster and my motivations on some of the stupid moves you probably think I made.
What grade do you give day three of the Fake Twins off season?
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