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Pretending to manage the Giants' offseason


Over at Royals Review, they do an annual offseason simulation. I like pretending I'm a big boy with a real job sometimes, so I played the role of General Manager of the San Francisco Giants. I also held out for part ownership in my mind, but I didn't tell anyone over at Royals Review. The Giants gave in. There were a lot of teams interested in my bad ideas, so they had to act quickly.

The simulation was pretty simple. Every team had a budget. The guy running the simulation was also the agent for all of the free agents in a way, perusing offers and reaching out to teams that might be interested.

The simulation was also crazy. Chris Sale was traded straight up for Yasiel Puig. I … still can't wrap my head around that one, which probably means it's a much fairer trade than you might think at first. I'm sure White Sox fans and Dodgers fans would hate it. But it would also never happen. Ryan Braun was traded to the Pirates. Matt Kemp went to the Phillies. It was one part simulation, one part Marvel's "What If …" series.

But it was fun. And still kind of instructive. Even with all of the pitchers on the market, there was a sense of panic when I had $30 million left to spend and three spots in the rotation. Simulated Bronson Arroyo almost got that simulated private jet, everyone.

My strategy:

Get a right-handed outfielder
Get three starting pitchers
Go hard for Tanaka.

I made two-year offers to Tim Hudson, Phil Hughes, Tim Lincecum, and Bronson Arroyo, with the first two to accept becoming Giants. I also put in a soft-serve machine in the clubhouse as my first act as GM. This was duly noted. But here's what I ended up doing:

• Non-tendered P Jose Mijares

• Declined the option on P Barry Zito and P Ryan Vogelsong

• Traded P Clayton Blackburn and C Andrew Susac to the Pirates for P Joe Kelly

• Traded P Heath Hembree to the Phillies for Scott Van Slyke

• Re-signed P Tim Lincecum to a 2 year $32 million deal

• Signed P Hiroki Kuroda to a 2 year $32 milion deal

• Signed P Joe Smith to a 2 year $10 million deal with a $5 million vesting option

• Re-signed P Javier Lopez to a 2 year $8 million deal

Recommended Budget: $160 million

Projected Simulation Payroll: $147.6 million

The official phrase I used was "non-tendered Jose Mijares with malice", I think.

It wasn't what I had planned to do at all, to be honest. I actually missed the deadline for Tanaka's bidding because of reading comprehension problems, but there was absolutely no way I was going to beat the Yankees' offer of 6/$90 million with an opt-out. That was after the $72 posting fee.

I didn't plan on weakening the farm system, and I'm not completely enamored of Joe Kelly and his low strikeout rate, but the Pirates were looking to deal Kelly after getting him in a deal for Starling Marte. I liked that Kelly was cost-controlled for several years. I'm not okay with the Giants trading prospects away for pitching in this market unless the guy coming back is going to be under contract and cheap. I'd put good odds on Kelly having a better career than Blackburn. I love Blackburn, but I tried to be realistic. The guy doing well in the majors is the better bet.

I didn't want to give up the draft pick, but Kuroda is probably the best pitcher on the market right now. It wasn't an easy decision, but I went with the win-now philosophy and spent a lot of money on him.

Pretty sure I was bidding against myself for Lincecum. But when Phil Hughes got three years and $24 million, I started to panic. When Matt Garza got four years and $75 million, I really started to panic. So I upped the deal about $8 million. I'm not proud of it. But simuLincecum isn't in the simuDodgers. Small victory.

Smith and Lopez were deals made because I had money to burn.

Hembree/Van Slyke is a deal I wish the Giants could actually make, but there's no way the Dodgers would actually trade him to the Giants. It worked out in fake world because Van Slyke was already traded to the Phillies, and they had Darin Ruf. I had my choice, but I went with Van Slyke because he's a natural outfielder, and I didn't want to move Belt. Van Slyke is just about the perfect low-risk/medium-upside fit for the Giants right now, and he's cheap. I'd move a reliever for that almost every time.

There you go. I had a wacky two-year/$30 million deal out there to Hudson, and I definitely had something better for Arroyo than what he got, too. But once I traded for Kelly and re-signed Lincecum, Kuroda fell into my lap. I gave into temptation.

The fake roster:

Matt Cain
Madison Bumgarner
Hiroki Kuroda
Joe Kelly
Tim Lincecum

Sergio Romo
Santiago Casilla
Joe Smith
Javier Lopez
Jeremy Affeldt
Jean Machi/whomever
Yusmeiro Petit

Angel Pagan
Marco Scutaro
Brandon Belt
Buster Posey
Hunter Pence
Pablo Sandoval
Van Slyke/Blanco
Brandon Crawford

Juan Perez
Joaquin Arias
Van Slyke/Blanco
Brett Pill
Tony Abreu

Not wild about the bench. Not wild about giving up prospects and the draft pick. Okay with the team.

Take a look at the recap thread, and yell at me as appropriate. The only thing I know for sure is that I'm glad I'm not the actual GM. Because, brother, I would be awful at this. Fred Lewis would probably be starting at third. Still, it was fun. And it left me with a sneaking suspicion that the Giants are going to end up paying a lot of scratch for their starting pitchers.

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