Hey guys, remember last year when SBN did that whole Winter Meetings simulation where jerks from the SBN blogs pretended to take over their favorite teams for a week? Good news! We're doing it again! Thanks to Max over at Royals Review, the mastermind behind this disaster ... find? Kind? I dunno, something that rhymes, the Red Reporter BrainTrust will be guiding the Reds through a week of empire building. But before this kicks off on Monday, we figured it'd be a good idea to look back at how we did last year.
The prevailing theme of last year's simulation was free agency inflation. Turns out, when bloggers get pretend money to sign pretend players with no actual future consequences to worry about, things get, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman would say, coo-coo banana diddles. This year, the GM Sim has imposed reasonable salary restrictions on teams based on how their past and future payrolls look.
Last year, Red Reporter aggressively pursued free agent outfielders, especially Josh Hamilton. That didn't work out, but on the whole, I think we made some really shrewd moves. Probably a few dumb ones, too. Let's take a look back.
Red Reporter is hipster as shit. We traded Brandon Phillips before it was cool. The rationale behind this move was to free up some salary space to hopefully improve the team elsewhere. Little did we know, this move in itself would turn out to be a huge net-positive.
We flipped BP to the Brewers for a bevy of pitching prospects and a middle infield prospect. Taylor Jungmann, Ariel Pena, and Tyler Thornburg represented a fresh influx of pitching talent into the Reds' otherwise lean stable of hurlers. Jungmann and Pena spent the season in AA, (in the sim, Jungmann was flipped in a later deal) both struggling with command. Pena still shows some promise with his ability to miss bats, but otherwise these two are kinda bleh. Thornburg broke into the majors this season, splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. He shows good promise to be at least a solid bullpen arm, if not a rotation staple.
The real get in this deal though was the middle infielder, Jean Segura. He broke out in a big way, posting a slash of .294/.329/.423 with 44 steals while playing solid defense at shortstop. Compare that to Phillips, who hit .261/.310/.396 at more than 20 times the price of Segura, and we turn out looking really, really smart on this one.
The Eh, I Dunno
Red Reporter traded Homer Bailey and Chris Heisey for Shin-Soo Choo and Nick Hagadone. In retrospect, I like the actual deal the actual Reds made better than this one, but on the whole I think this would have been seen as a fair deal. We all know the great seasons had by Homer and Choo, though score one for the Indians here for getting Homer for an extra season. In the end though, well, eh, I dunno.
The What in the Everloving Eff
This one is kind of embarrassing, but not like oh my god Jim Bowden level embarrassing. We traded Tony Cingrani to the White Sox for Alejandro De Aza. The goal here was to find a good quality left-handed hitting centerfielder to take the bulk of the starts with Drew Stubbs playing in a supporting role. It's not that De Aza played poorly this season (he hit .264/.323/.405 while playing passable outfield defense (depending on who you ask, I guess)). But Cingrani pitched like a stud, and De Aza would probably have been booed lustily for every one of his 147 strikeouts and suprisingly accurate "good Drew Stubbs" impression.
So that's how we did last year. Our lineup would likely have turned out better than the actual Reds' lineup did, as Segura would have proved a modest improvement over BP and De Aza would have been better than the actual morass in left field. The pitching staff would probably have been a bit worse though, as although we envisioned Aroldis Chapman moving to the rotation, that likely wouldn't have compensated for the loss of Cingrani and the failure of Tommy Hanson (he's the one for whom we traded Jungmann). The actual Reds' bullpen was awesomejam, natch, but our bullpen would have been just as good, probably. We added Joel Peralta as a cheap free agent signing, and he was an anchor for the actual Rays this year.
This year's SBN GM Sim kicks off this Monday, so be on the lookout for that. Also, don't get all confused and think that we are reporting real actual news. This is fake. Not real at all.