2020 SB Nation GM Sim, Giants edition

Greetings all. Since there wasn’t a Giants rep available, I agreed to step in as faux Giants GM for the annual Royals Review GM simulation this past weekend (check out the rules and such here: I’m a Rays fan (obviously), so I don’t have as in-depth knowledge of the Giants’ system as you all, but I hope I made a good account of myself none the less. In any case, here goes.

Guiding Philosophy: So, given the present state of the NL West, and the fact that we assumed the expanded playoffs were not returning, my guess is that the Giants’ window is probably 2-3 seasons away, around when Luciano and Bart are the franchise cornerstones they should end up being. That in mind, I pretty much went with a "strip out anything not nailed down, and pull up the nails on anything that is" approach, since no one on the current team is likely to be contributing to the team in 2-4 years’ time. I also decided to focus on pitching in my acquisitions, since the Giants already have some very nice high-upside bats, but not so much on the pitching side. My philosophy with pitching was "quantity over quality", so in that regard I focused on adding as many reasonable arms whenever possible.

The Moves:

Kevin Gausman offered a QO, no non-tenders – QOing Gausman was a no-brainer, and there weren’t any arb guys who I really didn’t want to bring back, so that was pretty easy too.

2B Donovan Solano to the Marlins for RHP Jordan Holloway and RHP Josh Roberson – This trade is probably the one I most regret doing, just because it happened so early. My first attempts to move Solano had been largely rebuffed, with most teams not buying into his recent success; this is largely what I had feared would happen, so when the Marlins asked about him, I probably underasked compared to what I could have. I still like the return – Roberson and Holloway are both interesting arms – but in hindsight I probably should have held onto Solano longer, since there was interest in IFs later in the sim that I could have been involved with.

RHP Johnny Cueto and $19 million (14 in 2021, 5 in 2022) to the Astros for RHP Luis Garcia – Didn’t expect any interest in Cueto, so when the Astros asked on him, I jumped at it. I was impressed with Garcia’s performance in the ALCS, and there is still some additional upside left there, so to get him for Cueto was worth eating most of the contract left.

FA Signing #1 – RHP Kevin Gausman, 5 years, $70 million – Since the Giants need pitching long-term, I wanted to get at least 1 decent pitcher signed now, just in case the rebuild moves faster than expected. Gausman is familiar to the Giants, they have shown interest in resigning him IRL, and bidding tends to run things up on desirable guys (and I expected significant interest in Gausman), so I decided to jump the market and go with my best offer right out of the gate, and he accepted it. Probably an overpay by about $10-15 mil overall, but given the Giants’ general long-term financial flexibility, I felt like it was within reason.

1B Brandon Belt and $16 million to the Angels for RHP Jack Kochanowicz and C Max Stassi – Got very little interest in Belt, but the Angels did show interest, so we ended up with either Belt and $14 mil for Kochanowicz or what was ultimately agreed on. I don’t like eating the entire contract, but Kochanowicz I have liked since the 2019 draft as a high upside arm, and Stassi fit decently as a stop-gap measure at catcher.

FA Signing #2 – 1B Jake Lamb, 1 year, $3 million, with a $4 million club option – With Belt on his way out of town, I wanted to bolster the infield depth some, and Lamb was a guy I’ve always liked. He looked much better with the A’s than he has in a while (small sample size though, of course), so a $3 million commitment is a pretty good deal if he can get anywhere close to his better Diamondback days.

FA Signing #3 – SS Ha-Seong Kim, 7 years, $90 million – So yeah, the SS market was pretty stacked this time around. Given the multitude of options, I was determined to add a SS this offseason, and so at various points had out a 1 year offer, $22 million offer for Semien and a 4 year, $68 million offer for Gregorius, but Kim was the one I ended up focusing on. I originally wanted to keep it below $70 million and below $11 million AAV, but heavy bidding pushed the numbers up to just about my absolute maximum, which fortunately proved to be enough. I simply could not pass up an opportunity like this; I had little long term obligations, Kim is only 25, and he’s basically league average or better in terms of tools across the board, so I was willing to overlook the risk of signing a player fresh out of the KBO. I think Kim will be a very good player going forward and a valuable contributor for the next contending Giants teams.

RHP Tyler Rogers to the Twins for OF LaMonte Wade Jr. and RHP Cole Sands – Wade is blocked in Minnesota but could be a decent role player given proper playing time, and Sands has some sneaky upside if he can just stay healthy. Not much else to say here, really.

3B Wilmer Flores to the Cubs for RHP Michael Rucker – Flores was superfluous on a non-competing team, so moving him and his salary for Rucker made a lot of sense. Rucker should be able to slot into the bullpen immediately, and maybe even push his way into the back of the rotation if things break right.

OF Mike Yastrzemski and RHP Jordan Humphreys to the Nationals for RHP Eddie Yean, INF Yasel Antuna, RHP Tyler Dyson, and LHP Pablo Aldonis – And here it is, the main event. Not as much interest appeared as I expected, but there were still multiple asks about Yaz; the Nats were the only team that got to the fine details stage though. My reasoning here was that, considering he’s already over 30, he’s not likely to be a valuable producer in 2-3 years time, which is the only time frame that matters, and so I’m really only trading 2-3 years of production, which made taking a smaller than expected return more palatable. I couldn’t get Jackson Rutledge, but I’m still a big fan of Yean, I think he’s got great upside and the youth to get to it; serious top-100 potential there. Antuna was not my preferred 2nd piece – I wanted Jeremy De La Rosa, but he was off limits – but if he can stay healthy, the bat has a chance to play regardless of eventual defensive position, ala Miguel Andujar. Dyson is a similar case, he could be a very solid prospect if his health holds and he gets more consistent. Lastly, Aldonis is an extreme wildcard, but he has a lot of projectability and a lot of years to fill out, so there could be considerable upside there. This is a trade that could look great in 2 years time, or absolutely terrible; I’m betting it will be the former.

OF Alex Dickerson, OF Austin Slater, and RHP Camilo Doval to the Braves for LHP Kyle Muller and RHP Freddie Tarnok – Moving Dickerson took a lot of work; missed a few deals cause things developed too quickly, and a lot of teams just said no. The Braves wanted both him and Slater though, and made their pitching prospects available, so I was finally able to get a deal done. Muller I’m very high on, I think he can be a mid-rotation guy in the near future; Tarnok is further away but I think he’s got mid-rotation potential as well, given time and good health. I could have chosen Patrick Weigel instead of Tarnok, but he’s already on the 40-man and is more fringy as a starter, which doesn’t really fit what I was looking for. Losing Doval hurt, cause the upside there is awfully tempting, but his terrible inconsistency is very problematic, and going a year without in-game innings really soured me on him as a starter going forward.

C Max Stassi to the Nationals for RHP James Bourque – The Nats missed out in the Realmuto and McCann sweepstakes, so were still in the market late. Stassi was nice to have, but not necessary, so moving him for a solid, hard-throwing middle relief prospect in Bourque was a pretty easy decision to make.

FA signing #4 – RHP Rick Porcello, 1 year, $7 million with a club option for $10 million – This ended up taking nearly the entire sim to get completed, mainly cause Porcello’s market never materialized. Porcello underperformed his FIP in 2020, and since I didn’t have any real firm options in the rotation besides Gausman and Anderson, may as well see if getting him out of Citi Field will help him improve, could be a good trade asset down the line.

FA Signing #5 – OF Sung-Bum Na, 3 years, $14 million – Given I traded nearly all the OFs with significant playing time in 2020, I didn’t want to leave the OF completely empty, and Na was still on the market, so that’s where I went. Na is older at 31, and I’m not expecting too much, but there is a non-zero chance he can still be a solid performer once you get past the adjustment period, so it was worth a $4ish million AAV gamble.

OF PJ Hilson to the Indians for OF Jake Bauers - Bauers was available late, and I still needed stop-gap OFs, so the deal came together. I like Hilson's tools, but I have serious doubts about his ability to hit, so he was a cost I was willing to pay to see if Bauers couldn't finally tap into the upside he had as a prospect.

LHP Seth Corry and INF Dilan Rosario to the Orioles for OF Ryan McKenna, RHP Alex Cobb, OF Robert Neustrom, and OF Zach Watson – This deal came together at literally the last minute, and given more time it probably wouldn’t have come out this particular way. I like Corry, but, like with Doval, missing a year makes him a bit too fringy as a starter now, so I’m willing to bet he’s a reliever going forward at this point. Rosario was just too far away for me to get too hung up on him; I do regret including him a bit though. Cobb was mostly the cost of doing business, but he could potentially improve in a larger park like Oracle, so we’ll see. McKenna has a bit of a tweener feel to him with his limited power, but the defense and speed should play, and maybe he has a power spike at the MLB level; there’s the tools for an impact CF there. Neustrom is the classic power-hitting left-fielder; he’s got some sleeper vibes to him. Lastly, Watson is basically a rawer version of McKenna; in hindsight, I probably should have left him out and had Connor Cannon be the 2nd piece going back instead, but that’s the cost of last-minute deal making.

Minor League signings – RHP Austin Brice, RHP Heath Hembree – Hembree’s a known quantity, not much to say there. Brice I still have hope for as a reasonably good reliever, but I’m not gambling on that too much.

Other tidbits:

- The starting pitching market was a lot weaker than I expected it to be. Top end pitching obviously still went for a premium, but the mid-range guys went for lower than I expected, and the lower end guys had very little market, hence how I got Porcello and why I could not for the life of me find someone to take on Tyler Anderson, no matter how much I tried.

- There was surprising interest in Posey, Crawford, and Longoria, surprising in that I did not expect any interest at all given their age and contract status. None of that went anywhere, but the fact that teams were even suggesting it was still something.

- Other offers on Yaz included Jonathan Stiever from the White Sox, Michel Baez from the Padres, and Ethan Hankins from the Indians. The Padres and I never really got going on talks for Yaz, although we did briefly discuss a 3-team deal involving Chris Paddack, with the 3rd team getting Paddack and us getting prospects. Meanwhile, I liked the centerpieces offered by the Indians and Chi Sox, but I couldn’t really find good secondary pieces to fill the rest of the deal, so those didn’t go anywhere.

- Other offers I got but missed for Dickerson included Alex Faedo from the Tigers and Aaron Ashby from the Brewers. In both cases, the other team ended up finding a better option while we discussing and went that way instead.

- Multiple teams asked about Reyes Moronta, but I decided to keep him in the end, since I wasn’t quite sure how to value him and figured it was better to see how he performed healthy before deciding his future with the team.

- Didi Gregorius ended up going for only 2 years, $24 million; apparently when I pulled my bid, his market crashed. Without Crawford, I would absolutely have jumped on that, but with him and Kim, there just wasn’t a great fit anymore.

- I thought about George Springer, but the price went well past where I was comfortable, and he didn’t quite fit into my long-term plans anyways.

Parting thoughts – I think overall everything went fairly close to plan. I added a large number of intriguing arms to the Giants’ system, I held onto most of my prospects, and I made the most of the available FA market. There definitely were deals I would have changed in hindsight – the Solano and Cobb deals mainly, and I probably would have taken Faedo for Dickerson given another chance – but there weren’t any moves I particularly regret I think.

If you have any questions or anything, please feel free to comment and I'll do my best to respond.

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