This is a project where 30 people got together to act as the GMs of the 30 MLB teams with the idea of conducting the offseason in one week. This is what happened in this simulation, not a prediction of what will happen in real life.
By Matt Bruce
This is my second year on the GM Project. Last year I correctly saw that Cleveland could go for a title without breaking up its amazing rotation; too bad my title plan was built around Justin Upton. But let’s turn the page.
Milwaukee has been bad for awhile but the farm system is stacked and there’s enough young talent that the Brewers should contend from 2018 onward. It’s worth being ready for the “everything goes right a year early” scenario, and even worth raising the ceiling of what “everything goes right” actually means.
For any team/owner in this simulation, the most important things to figure out are (1) how good/young your team is, (2) how much money you have to play with, (3) where your positional weaknesses are, (4) who your albatross contracts are, and maybe (5) where you have more depth than you need.
1. The Brewers are young and not good, but probably good soon.
2. I had a $79M budget and my first-pass payroll showed that I had at least $12M to play with.
3. Lots of rotation question marks. Also, Scooter Gennett shouldn’t be an every-day player. (He is a fine human being.) In real life Milwaukee brass had already indicated that Villar would not play 3B. So where would he play (2B, right?), and who would play 3B?
4. Ryan Braun and Matt Garza – but dropping payroll wouldn’t be critical unless I landed a high impact player.
5. Villar, if you see him as a shortstop. Nobody inquired about him though.
I was reactive, not proactive, on trade talks. Oakland reached out to me in case the opportunity to shed Garza’s contact was worth losing Keon Broxton. (No thank you.) I reached out to the Dodgers because the real-life-rumored Braun/Puig deal made so much sense for both teams.
Justin Turner was the best player at my biggest area of position player need. The most it made sense for Milwaukee to pay him happened to be just enough to land him. This is second-guessable if you think Villar should play 3B with a Gennett/Perez platoon at 2B. Be that as it may, I went to bed Tuesday night with a FA signing and big trade in hand and exactly at budget.
Oakland reached out to me again, floating Stephen Vogt. Catching wasn’t a critical need for the Brewers (with Susac now and prospect(s) later) but even with Vogt the Brewer batting order leans far to the right.
(vs. most RHP)
1. 2B Jonathan Villar (S)
2. 3B Justin Turner (R)
3. C Stephen Vogt (L)
4. 1B Chris Carter (R)
5. OF Domingo Santana (R)
6. OF Yasiel Puig (R)
7. OF Keon Broxton (R)
8. SS Orlando Arcia (R)
Puig and Broxton are both high-ceiling, low-floor. With Lewis Brinson coming up mid-season, either might be deadline trade-bait.
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L)
OF Rymer Liriano (R)
IF Scooter Gennett (L)
IF James Loney (L)
C Andrew Susac (R)
Gennett, Nieuwenhuis, and Loney (a NRI) will all get some starts against tough righties. Conversely Susac will spell Vogt against southpaws. Villar covers short or third on days that Gennett spells Turner or Arcia.
1. Zach Davies (R)
2. Brandon McCarthy (R)
3. Junior Guerra (R)
4. Matt Garza (R)
5. [Chase Anderson, Jimmy Nelson, or Wily Peralta]
Remember when Wily Peralta won 17 games and nearly pitched 200 innings at a 3.5 ERA? At $4M he is a tempting non-tender candidate. (Truth be told I missed the non-tender deadline.) The spin here is that he owns the skills he’s shown before, ditto for Anderson and Nelson.
Josh Hader may make the 5th starter battle moot by midseason, with Phil Bickford ready in 2018. If the Puig/Braun deal ever does happen in real life, a pitching prospect or two (blocked by Kershaw and company) probably comes along.
CL. Tyler Thornburg (R)
2. Carlos Torres (R)
3. Rob Scahill (R)
4. Brent Suter (L)
5. Corey Knebel (R)
[plus two of the fifth starter candidates]
Suter, Sean Nolin (Tommy John surgery), and Chris Capuano (free agent) were the only LHP on the Brewers’ 40-man after 2016. Two southpaw NRIs, Rzepczynski and O’Flaherty, have a good shot at bullpen spots, possibly squeezing out someone who loses the 5th starter battle.
This is a 75-win team with better times ahead. If Puig rediscovers his MVP form, if Broxton continues to hit like Giancarlo Stanton (and run like Dee Gordon), if Santana and Arcia take steps forward, if McCarthy is healthy again… too many if’s to count on anything, but hope sells tickets and this franchise has a path to success.
|Name||H/P||Pos’n||ML Srv||Agent||Length / Total Value||2016||2017|
|Carter, Chris||H||dh-1b||3.159||Spts Mgt Partners||1 yr/$2.5M (16)||$2,500,000||$8.10|
|Gennett, Scooter||H||2b-ss||2.071||ISE Baseball||1 yr/$0.5181M (16)||$518,100||$3.00|
|Nieuwenhuis, Kirk||H||cf-lf||2.112||Paragon Sports||1 yr/$0.514M (16)||$514,000||$1.60|
|Santana, Domingo||H||rf||0.079||Wasserman Media||1 yr/$0.5138M (16)||$513,800||$0.55|
|Villar, Jonathan||H||ss||1.113||MDR Sports||1 yr/$0.5129M (16)||$512,900||$0.55|
|Broxton, Keon||H||of||0.014||1 yr/$0.5085M (16)||$508,500||$0.55|
|Liriano, Rymer||H||of||0.049||ISE||1 yr/$0.5085M (16)||$508,500||$0.51|
|Arcia, Orlando||H||ss||0||1 yr (16)||$0.55|
|Susac, Andrew||H||c||1.065||Legacy Agency||1 yr (16)||$0.55|
|Rivera, Yadiel||H||ss||0.013||1 yr/$0.5086M (16)||$508,600||$0.51|
|Garza, Matt||P||rhp-s||8.149||CAA Sports||4 yr/$50M (14-17)+18 v opt||$12,500,000||$12.50|
|Peralta, Wily||P||rhp-s||3.033||Legacy Agency||1 yr/$2.8M (16)||$2,800,000||$4.40|
|Anderson, Chase||P||rhp||1.146||Lagardere Sports||1 yr/$0.5202M (16)||$520,200||$3.10|
|Thornburg, Tyler||P||rhp-s||2.057||ACES||1 yr/$0.5139M (16)||$513,900||$2.20|
|Torres, Carlos||P||rhp||3.114||Full Circle Sports||1 yr/$0.95M (16)||$950,000||$2.00|
|Scahill, Rob||P||rhp||1.147||Marc Kligman||1 yr/$0.5325M (16)||$0.55|
|Nelson, Jimmy||P||rhp-s||1.107||CAA Sports||1 yr/$0.5223M (16)||$522,300||$0.55|
|Knebel, Corey||P||rhp||0.166||Excel Sports||1 yr/$0.513M (16)||$513,000||$0.55|
|Davies, Zach||P||rhp||0.034||1 yr (16)||$0.55|
|Guerra, Junior||P||rhp||0.024||1 yr (16)||$0.55|
|Suter, Brent||P||lhp||0||1 yr (16)||$0.51|
|TOTAL – MIL||Z||2016 total as of 4/4/16||$50,383,300||$79.34|