I have had the privilege of being the fake John Mozeliak for the Royals Review Offseason sim for the past few years. If you haven't had the chance, check out Max and the crew at Royals Review who always do an amazing job covering our cross-state rival. Now for our Redbirds I had a few objectives in mind:
Reduce Payroll: We all know the Cards are doing it in real life so why not keep it realistic?
Improve the Offense: Self-explanatory
Resign Yadi and Waino: Cardinals Legends who at least deserve the chance to go out as Cardinals.
I had a lot of irons in the fire and did the best I could. While I did not make the huge splash I had hoped for, I think I did a good job upgrading the roster while making the most of the budget. Let me know what you think!
First Negotiations/Targets: Francisco Lindor/Jose Ramirez and Matt Chapman/Mark Canha
I really wanted to add an impact bat to this roster and since Wong is out the door right now, it is lining up increased opportunities for Matt Carpenter to play Third Base. While you all may have a different opinion…I don't want to see Matt out there everyday. I had to do my due diligence on Jose Ramirez and Lindor. Cleveland was not willing to move Ramirez but had a high asking price on Lindor. I tried multiple negotiations but found myself in a bidding war with the Dodgers, Angels, and a couple of other teams. Because of this, it led me to make a deal to upgrade my stable of prospects.
Enter the Yankees:
I reached out to the Yankees early on to see what they were interested in and immediately wanted to discuss Alex Reyes. While I love Reyes, with some of the other moves I had in mind I felt like I had the ability to give him up. After a few back and forth negotiations, we settled on:
Alex Reyes and Tony Locey
Anthony Volpe, Austin Wells, and TJ Sikkema
I really like these three prospects from the Yankees, especially Wells, a young catcher with some great offensive upside is always valuable as a trade chip or as a replacement for Yadi if he ever retires. With the potential for an electronic strike zone in the coming years, I wanted to buy in on the elevated offensive profile and try to work on the defense in the minors. It also helps that he comes from High School powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Vegas and played college ball at Arizona. TJ Sikkema adds another lefty with upside to the organization, and Anthony Volpe a first round pick SS that we can either watch develop or flip for an impact player.
The Negotiations for Canha and Chapman were steady but never came to fruition. To get Chapman it would have taken multiple prospects and taking on the Khris Davis contract which I did not want to do. For Canha, the needs of the A’s changed after a couple of deals, and we ultimately weren't able to match up on a deal, but for those of you that don’t watch a lot of A’s games check out Mark Canha honestly I think he is one of the most underrated players in the game.
Since the Cards declined the option on Kolten I decided to follow suit. I wanted to find a second baseman with some flexibility, better offensive profile, and available on a shorter term deal. This led me to Tommy La Stella. While he is a little older, he has been a solid contributor for the past few years, and would take a two year deal so he was worth the gamble to add some left handed pop.
The Indians decided to take the Dodgers offer…typical *eye roll* and we finished second due to the upside of Gavin Lux in the Dodgers offer. I had a hunch the Indians wanted Lux and that I was competing with the Dodgers so I also jumped into negotiations for Lux but the cost was more than I wanted to give up, especially since there's questions about his defense, and my primary motivation would be trading him to get Lindor.
The Reds threw out there that they wanted to deal Suarez and while I was negotiating with Cleveland on Lindor I was also checking in on Suarez. I had a framework in place that would have gotten the deal done, centering on DeJong and a prospect, but at the end of the day I think the Reds wanted to keep him and contend and I did not want to sell out fully for Suarez in case this is the start of a 30’s decline for him.
Kim: Full disclosure, I love Ha-Seong Kim and I think he’s going to be a star. Shortstops who are 25 with great offensive potential don't hit the market very often. I went to a higher number than I was comfortable with, but the Giants ended up sealing the deal at 7/90, which I think is significantly more than what he will sign for in real life.
Trading Fowler/Carpenter: I tried to no avail to offload Fowler and Carpenter. There were numerous cases of bad contract swaps, minor prospect deals, strictly cash deals that could be had but did not come to fruition. A lot of teams wanted too good of a prospect, like Liberatore, Thompson, or Gorman to make the move happen and for one year, I’d rather keep those guys and deal with the added cost for this season. I did have the opportunity to offload both of them to Arizona in a package for Madison Bumgardner, but I did not want to add that much money to the books especially after the Sale deal came to fruition.
Trading Carlos Martinez: I had Carlos floated around as bounce back candidate for some teams and at one point he was in the package for Lindor. Unfortunately in a lot of the trades there would be more money than I wanted to take back for him or would be selling really low on him. Honestly the best move may be to let him rebound in 2021 and deal from a position of strength at the deadline.
Completed Transactions (In No Particular Order)
Mikolas for Sale, Decker, and 32 Million: I did not expect to trade for Sale. For one his contract is an albatross, he’s injured, and I didn't expect him to fit my plans. Once negotiations got underway, the Sox had an interest in Mikolas and his 17.25 million dollar salary coming off of surgery and were willing to pay 10 million a year to make Sale go away. To take on Miles, they wanted to drop it to 8 million a year but I wanted to add Decker who is a lefty outfield prospect with potential 60 grade power that intrigues me. With Miles making 17.25 million for the next four years and Sale making 20 million in 21 and 22, with an option for 23 and 24 at 17.5 million, I cleared Miles’ 17.25 million a year and am paying Sale 12 million the next two years, and if he does not opt out only 9.5 million in 23 and 24. If he returns to health and pitches like Chris sale that will be a bargain and if he doesn’t? He is still cheaper than Miles, has more upside, and would be a more movable contract if with the money Boston is chipping in.
Chris Archer: I signed Chris Archer for 1 year and 7 million. It was a little more than I wanted to pay, but I feel like he will rebound out of Pittsburgh and return to more of the Tampa Bay Chris Archer. Even with the Pirates he will still striking out hitters at a good clip and if he doesn't work out in the rotation I think his stuff would play up in the bullpen.
Tommy La Stella: 2 years and 20 million for a second/third baseman who hits from the left side and runs a 122 and 129 wRC+ the past two years with more walks than strikeouts last season. No one will confuse him for Kolten defensively, but I thought this would be a great way to upgrade the offense without spending a lot of money or prospects.
Dylan Moore: I know the sample size was small, but Dylan Moore played like a future building block for the Mariners this year. He played all over the diamond and had a great year at the plate. Since he is pre-arb I knew he was going to be cheap and would allow me to go in a few different directions to upgrade the roster since he plays everywhere without significant platoon splits. With Hudson being out for all of next year, the free agents that were available, and the prospects we have coming I felt comfortable making the one for one swap with Seattle. I will miss Hudson but he’s a non factor for next season and will accrue service time while he’s out so I pulled the trigger on this deal.
wRC+ of 139 last year, 1.4 WAR in 38 games with the Statcast data to largely back up the performance at the plate so I think he will make a big impact for the offense and roster flexibility.
Traded Andrew Miller for Tony Locey, Canaan Smith, and Osiel Rodriguez
I wanted to clear more space towards the end of day 2 of the sim so I reached out to our old friends the Yankees to see if they would like Andrew Miller back. They agreed but needed some money in return. I really liked a few more of the Yankees prospects, and if I could get multiple prospects for Miller I would consider that a win. I had a few different prospect frameworks worked out, so I settled on getting Locey back, picking up power hitting prospect Canaan Smith, and intriguing 18 year old RHP Osiel Rodriguez.
Andre Pallante for Riley Pint: I really like Riley Pint’s stuff, and after humorous negotiations with the Rockies, we settled on this minor deal of Pint for Pallante. He has had a disastrous tenure in the Rockies system, but I think a change of scenery and different coaching can unlock his potential. Plus I picked up more pitching prospects in the sim and I thought it would be worth the gamble.
Signed Waino and Yadi: 1 year and 6 million for Waino and 2 years and 18 million for Yadi. I really wanted to get Yadi for one year, but he wanted a larger salary for one year and I wanted to meet my budget so I opted for the 2 and 18 option, even at his advanced age Yadi is worth the 9 million a year.
James Paxton: I was monitoring the starting pitching market and saw that Paxton was hanging around. Max kept me updated on his price (Max acts as the agent for all of the free agents) and let me know he could be had in the ballpark of 3/30 million. With the other moves I was thinking of making, Paxton’s upside, and the addition of a lefty to the rotation, I thought that deal was too good to pass up. Considering the deals for Marcus Stroman (6/102) and Mike Minor (3/39) I thought my deal for Paxton was a bargain.
Minors deals: Dan Winkler, Matt Wieters, Delino DeShields Jr, Tyler Chatwood, and Oliver Perez to minor league deals. Steady depth for veterans just in case of poor performance or injuries arise.
I was able to stay below my 169 million dollar budget by 9 million and add to our farm system while keeping our impact prospects that are close to the majors. I think I have some upside in this team that also allows us to be flexible in a big free agent class next year. Whether that’s Story, Lindor, or another free agent, we have the ability to add via free agency or trade next season and rework this team, while competing this year and allowing for progression from internal candidates.
New Updated Prospects List (pulled from Fangraphs preseason list)
Rank Name Age Level Position ETA Future Value
Overall how did I do?
Drop your thoughts below!