I think I get into this about as much as any other "fake GM" does from year to year, and this year's version didn't disappoint. The Reds didn't make too many moves, but I think we addressed most of our flaws and set ourselves up nicely for the future.
Moves since where we left off:
Signed OF Chris Denorfia to a 1 year, $1M contract
Signed SS Stephen Drew to a 1 year, $4M contract
Signed SS John McDonald to a minor league deal
Traded SP Mat Latos to Boston for SP Collin McHugh, SP Kyle Crick, SP Jhoulys Chacin, and RP Edward Mujica
This put us right above our given payroll, and I'll go into our above move shortly, but here's where our team ended up, position by position.
Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Collin McHugh, Alfredo Simon, Jhoulys Chacin
We've been over our decision to trade Homer Bailey. We had plenty of action on Mat Latos for the entire sim, and decided at the literal very last minute to pull the trigger on the above trade. It's someone you'd think we'd be selling low on, but we found the return really impressive to the point where we couldn't pass it up.
Collin McHugh is coming off of a campaign in Houston where he finished 4th in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and was the main return from the Yoenis Cespedes deal with the Astros. The main thing we like about McHugh is that he's cost controlled for a long time, something that this rotation sorely lacks. McHugh will slot right into our rotation and should be a big piece there for a long time to come.
We're also happy with Kyle Crick, who the Sox got from San Francisco in their deal for Jackie Bradley Jr. He's a starter right now, but could project into a reliever, another thing we're lacking. The Reds always need pitching, and adding to our cache there is something we like.
The other two returns were mostly to make salary work, and wouldn't have happened had we not taken them on. Jhoulys Chacin is a name you may know, as he's been pretty mediocre as a member of the Rockies, but there's stuff there and he's a guy we can use as a 5th starter for the time being.
With Alfredo Simon's salary jumping to $5.1M for 2015 (in fake arbitration), we tried our best to trade him but couldn't find any takers. Even more surprisingly, nobody wanted Mike Leake. The numbers don't really bear out a huge difference between Leake and Latos, but you'd never know it based on the activity here.
A handful of teams checked in on Johnny Cueto, but we never even considered trading him.
Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, Tony Cingrani, Edward Mujica, Jumbo Diaz, J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra, Sean Marshall
We tried to shed reliever dollars, but didn't see much interest. There wasn't really any trade market for relievers this time around, as there were plenty available in FA. We dangled Chapman in a deal I'll get to later, and thought the Nats may trade half their farm system for him, but it was never something that made sense for us. We added Mujica, who should be able to handle the part Broxton vacated, and Cingrani will be healthy making this a better bullpen than last year.
Devin Mesoraco, Brayan Pena, Tucker Barnhart
We had a nibble on Tucker, but the rest of these guys weren't going anywhere.
Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Stephen Drew, Kris Negron, John McDonald (ML), Skip Schumaker
We upgraded the bench with Drew, and built up some depth at SS and 2B in the process. Drew's a great fit here and will put a little pressure on Zack to hit. We had a lot of action on BP, but those damn 10/5 rights bit us in the ass.
Jay Bruce, Billy Hamilton, Matt Joyce, Chris Heisey, Chris Denorfia
We did some good work here getting Joyce, and picking up Denorfia as a platoon partner for LF who can hit lefties at the last minute was a nice shrewd move, I thought.
We spent basically the entire sim trying to get Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins went from not trading him, to listening, to not trading him again, to him being available, and we were in the whole time but couldn't get anything done. Talks there escalated quickly, and by the time we had a clear idea what we wanted to do with him, they wanted 7 prospects and we didn't really match up. If we did that, Jay Bruce was heading to Boston, and we were basically trying to facilitate a 3-way deal by the time talks escalated. Boston got Stanton instead of Bruce for their vacant OF spot. Welp.
We had a surprising amount of action on Bruce, but really weren't interested in trading him just to trade him.
According to Wick, this is what we're looking at in pitching for AAA/AA: Stephenson, Iglesias, Crick, Holmberg, Corcino, Lorenzen, Moscot, and Axelrod.
I think that'll work.
All in all, it was a successful sim for us. What do you think? I'd be happy to answer any questions or explain our rationale in the comments.