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 Jon Williams
Major League Payroll Budget – 100 Million
2017 Projected Payroll – 83.5 Million
This is at least my second season as the GM of the Diamondbacks. I’ve promoted myself to President of Baseball Operations and hired Mike Hazen as my GM. Together we will build the Diamondbacks into the juggernaut of baseball that this organization has the potential to become. We have a huge new TV deal and money to spend. So the first thing we did was reduce the payroll.
Don’t get it wrong, we loved Zach Grienke and I do believe he will bounce back to the frontline pitcher he was for the Dodgers the last few years. But one player making more than a third of major league payroll just doesn’t work for us. We will eventually become a top tier team but we will do it in a responsible and more organic fashion than the LaRussa/Stewart brain trust.
Grienke was dealt to the New York Yankees who were able to absorb his entire salary. In return we acquired catcher Brian McCann and starting pitchers Luis Pineda and Luis Servino. We then sent Pineda to the Marlins for a pair of pitching prospects – Tyler Kolek and Sam Perez. We believe Tyler Kolek can become a frontline starting pitcher and Sam Perez is an underrated prospect that can reasonably become at least a back of the rotation starter but who we see as a very effective reliever in the very near future.
Mike and I agree that the Yasmany Tomas signing was not a great decision even if he builds on his solid 2016 finish and anyway, he makes too much money. We also see the outfield as a position of strength and minor league depth and we have a bullpen to build. So we dealt Tomas and utility player Chris Owings (a player whose skills are duplicated by at least three players remaining on the major league roster) to the Colorado Rockies for former closer Chad Qualls and young fire balling reliever Miguel Castro.
We wanted a reliable veteran arm at the top of the rotation. Someone who could take some pressure off the young rotation. To that end we made the difficult decision to trade starter Patrick Corbin to the Kansas City Royals for the reliable Ian Kennedy and prospect Alec Mills. This deal added some salary but we believe that Kennedy still has untapped ace potential that we can reach. Alec Mills is another underrated prospect in the Sam Perez mode, someone we believe can become at least a solid starter but almost assuredly a very effective bullpenner.
In the vastness which is my imagination, the Diamondbacks also managed to pry Ray Searage away from the Pirates (a bazillion dollars? Whatever it takes) to become new manager Bud Black’s new pitching coach and dragged Leo Mazzone out of retirement to become the organization’s new pitching coordinator. The Diamondbacks have a huge number of quality arms that have under achieved thus far and I believe the key to unleashing it is in better coaching and instruction.
The acquisition of Brian McCann is also all about the pitching staff. McCann not only adds power to the lineup but a superb pitching IQ and a veteran presence behind the plate. I am a fan of Beef, and I do believe he is capable of becoming a frontline catcher. However, I believe Wellington Castillo can learn quite a bit from McCann about drawing the best out of the pitching staff.
We still had quite a bit of cash on hand in the last days of free agency and decided to splurge on a collection of veteran relievers. We brought back old friend Daniel Hudson at a slight discount. Another old friend Brad Zeigler and old rival Sergio Romo should get most of the saves. Brett Cecil a lefty we think has another level in him will join Boone Logan as the bullpen lefties. This pushes most of our young relievers to the minors but we feel confident that they will come back all the stronger for it.
We plan to let Brandon Drury win the job of the everyday second baseman despite some defensive questions. We are confident he can be at least an average second baseman with experience. His bat should prove more than worth it. We see Drury as a potential 25-30 homerun hitter in 2017 with fulltime at-bats. We also plan to keep both Mitch Haniger and Socrates Brito on the major league roster. They will share left field and back up the injury prone A.J. Pollock and David Peralta.
In the end we think we have a more responsible payroll that will grow organically as we work to sign our current young stars to long term contracts. We have a solid veteran bullpen that should be able to protect the leads built by our fantastic lineup. The rotation is young but includes at least three young arms with frontline potential.