GM Project 2016-17 report card

Below is the report card for the GM Project of 2016. Some teams did very very well for themselves and some teams did not. There are strong opinions about players and who won what deal but as the dust settles on this year’s project owners regroup and make new plans for the 2017-18 season. Some rules of thumb, trading away prospects foolishly is one of my major no-no’s and doing nothing is generally frowned upon.

New York Yankees – Mark Healey: A+

I considered holding the Yankees more accountable for not leaving themselves with a starting catcher but the reality there is that a prospect like Aaron Judge would be moved to cover that position. The problem that recent Yankee teams have had has been pitching and that was the thing most fully addressed in the offseason. They traded Torres and some spare parts for David Price, two out of favor young pitchers and an aging catcher for Zack Greinke and a young reliever for Tyson Ross and Manuel Margot. They addressed the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Wade Davis and signed Carlos Gomez for a song. Hard to complain about much with their offseason. Key Acquisitions: David Price, Zack Greinke and Wade Davis

Tampa Bay Rays – Julian McCarthy: A+

Trading Archer is a tough thing to do but when you get Wilson Contreras back in the deal it’s clearly the right thing to do. The Rays are not a team that can hold onto big players after a certain point and their fans know it so I don’t even think the fans would string up Julian for making the savvy move. I’m more lukewarm on C.J. Cron but it wasn’t a bad deal for the Rays as they filled a need with a relatively young player and didn’t trade anything too big. The deal with the Nationals likely made their offseason a success though. Getting both Reynaldo Lopez and having the Nationals cover Ryan Zimmerman was very important. They capped everything off with the signing of Carlos Beltran to solidify the back of their lineup. Key Acquisitions: Wilson Contreras, Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Beltran

Cleveland Indians – Brian Kobil: A

I agree with Brian that Bauer could be effectively traded for Jonathan Lucroy without hurting the pitching staff irreparably. I also agree that the Mike Napoli signing was a mistake as there were better things to do with that money, like boosting the bullpen. The deal with the Mets is stupid but Cleveland won big by trading their best reliever and the dead weight of Gomes to the Mets for Ahmed Rosario, Thomas Szapucki, Justin Dunn and Desmond Lindsey. Any team that can pull something like that off has done something right. Key Acquisitions: Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Napoli and Met Top Prospects

Los Angeles Angels – Brian Joura: B+

It’s nice to see that someone was able to complete a deal with the flight owner of the Cubs for a prospect. Brian made a number of moves and improved the outlook of the Angels. The acquisition of Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud gave the Angels two players they could use right away for a very small return was a nice start. Getting Ian Happ was probably their best move as the Ben Zobrist-like player will likely become a fixture of the Angel lineup by the end of the season and Francisco Liriano helps build on a rotation that is still trying to recover from some questionable signings in recent history. Key Acquisitions: Travis d’Arnaud, Ian Happ and Francisco Liriano

Baltimore Orioles – Greg Jarvis: B+

While the Orioles are hardly a “Sure Thing” but their moves were all positive. Trading for Evan Gattis was the biggest and most successful move of their offseason with the signings of Michael Saunders and Brandon Moss likely to pay dividends for the Orioles in the coming season. It would have been good to see a better solution for shortstop than Stephen Drew (and the always injured J.J. Hardy) and another starting pitcher but that’s the difference between a B+ and an A. Key Acquisitions: Evan Gattis, Michael Saunders and Jesse Hahn

Miami Marlins – Stephen Guilbert: B

When a team loses a cornerstone player to tragedy there isn’t a ton anyone can do. I like the bullpen they put together and the acquisition of Aaron Nola was huge and Gordon was ultimately replaceable and the team didn’t sabotage their future to fill out a capable lineup. This team might be fighting for a Wild Card spot but I don’t believe they did enough to help their team to become elite. Key Acquisitions: Aaron Nola, Michael Pineda and Cesar Hernandez

Kansas City Royals – Ray Kuhn: B

We don’t know if the Royals will get the same kind of success out of Greg Bird that the Yankees glimpsed prior to his injury but there is reason to think that they acquired a player to help replace Morales. That, and trading for Tyler Chatwood and Patrick Corbin helped to spread around the wealth a little more and keep the payroll in check. They pulled in a former closer, Jason Grilli, off of free agency and helped offset the loss of their closer and still look like they are a team competing for the playoffs even if their rotation isn’t elite. Key Acquisitions: Greg Bird, Patrick Corbin and Jason Grilli

Los Angeles Dodgers – Bob Lowe: B

The Dodgers are a playoff team desperately waiting for things to break their way. With Ryan Braun added to an already potent lineup, the team looks at taking on the elite NL teams and vying for the World Series. Holding onto some key players, like Kenley Jansen was important and I think the Dodger probably did the right amount to bolster their already good team. I do think that they should have fought harder to keep Turner as the net savings of Luis Valbuena is not worth the drop in production. Key Acquisitions: Ryan Braun, Luis Valbuena and Kenley Jansen

Cincinnati Reds – Joe Vasile: B-

This is about the highest score I can give a team that will not make the playoffs. Yes, they traded a number of players they may miss, like Hamilton, but they also traded away contracts that they won’t miss and brought in two outfielders that will instantly help the team. They didn’t spend some money, which could have helped them round out a pretty pitiful pitching staff, but all-in-all it was an off season well spent. Key Acquisitions: Hunter Renfroe, Cameron Maybin and Kevin Quackenbush

Oakland Athletics – Scott Ferguson: B-

While I’m not a huge fan of any of the trades that Oakland made I don’t think any are worth ripping the GM. Brett Gardner filled a need and Madson was replaceable, Valencia had attitude problems and Wei-Yin Chen helps anchor a young rotation and the team acquired some nice prospects. The reason that the team didn’t rank higher is that I think they made a mistake in trading Vogt and that Chen is just too expensive for what he is. They did well in Free agency by netting Kendrys Morales, Nathan Eovaldi and Zach McCallister. Key Acquisitions: Brett Gardner, Wei-Yin Chen and Kendrys Morales

Philadelphia Phillies – Dan Spiro: B-

When a team can add players like Mark Trumbo and Josh Reddick into a team that plays in one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in America, you’re doing something right. In fact their only mistake was in acquiring an excellent player, in Dee Gordon. The problem with the Marlins trade is not that the Phillies didn’t get value but that gave up one of their best young pitchers and that will have long-term implications. Andrew Cashner does a little to make up for the loss but not nearly enough. Key Acquisitions: Dee Gordon, Mark Trumbo and Andrew Cashner

Colorado Rockies – Eric Stashin: C+

Acquiring young starters is hard and I can understand why the Rockies made the trade they did for Yordano Ventura but I don’t like it. It leaves them with a much weaker second baseman, in Chris Owings, and I’m not a giant Ventura fan. I do think that Yasmany Tomas was a good pickup for the team and that Matt Moore and Hunter Stickland will be positive acquisitions. It seemed like this owner was afraid of free agency and prefered to do all of his work through trades. Key Acquisitions: Yasmany Tomas, Yordano Ventura and Matt Moore

Milwaukee Brewers – Matt Bruce: C+

Milwaukee is a hard assignment as they are cash strapped and saddled with some large contracts. The move of Ryan Braun was probably a new win for both the Brewers and the Dodgers who needed different things in this offseason. The two key things Matt did were to make a solid trade for Stephen Vogt and to sign Justin Turner for a reasonable amount. The team isn’t a winner compared to the elite teams in the league. Key Acquisitions: Justin Turner, Stephen Vogt and Yasiel Puig

Texas Rangers – Josh Lerner: C

Not a big fan of signing Adam Lind, Clay Buchholz or Ryan Howard but the trade for Trevor Bauer was a solid move as was resigning Ian Desmond. I think that the team would probably be better off with Joey Gallo stepping into an everyday role than to have signed the two aging sluggers and I’m not sure that Buchholz needed to be signed at all. I will say that acquiring Francisco Mejia was a bigger move than it seems and was a very savvy pickup. Key Acquisitions: Trevor Bauer, Ian Desmond and Francisco Mejia

Arizona Diamondbacks – Jon Williams: C

The Brian McCann deal is probably my second least favorite deal of this offseason. I think the Yankees got away with that one giggling with glee at having gotten something they needed for someone they needed to trade. The Ian Kennedy deal was better but I think the net gain from who they already had was small. They did assemble one of the deepest bullpens I’ve ever seen and I think that was a major plus for them. Key Acquisitions: Brian McCann, Ian Kennedy and the Bullpen

Minnesota Twins – Peter Kreutzer: C

The Twins did not do much but they were also a fairly handicapped by their payroll. It was good for the Twins to bring back their catcher at a lower payroll and make a few signings to improve their bullpen but the team also doesn’t improve enough to really make a splash in the post season. I’m not sure what more could be done but it would have been nice to see the owner try to make some minor league moves or a few other low-risk free agent signings. Key Acquisitions: Kurt Suzuki, Trevor Rosenthal and Travis Wood

Atlanta Braves – David Groveman: C-

Brave fans are not going to be happy with any offseason plan that involves their best player being sent to a rival’s team but the Braves had major deficiencies and those were solved. Thanks to players like Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Zach Duke and Bartolo Colon coming off the books after this season the team can then invest much more heavily in winning in 2018 when more of their young players are ready to contribute. Clearly, there are those who revile my moves and think I should be ranked lower and, frankly, I think I should be ranked higher. Key Acquisitions: Zack Wheeler, Matt Wieters and Dominic Smith.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Jim Keller: C-

Good teams shouldn’t do that much and the Pirates are a good team, but… they also didn’t do enough to become a better team than the Cubs or Cardinals. The signings of Edinson Volquez and Jason Hammel help but they don’t help enough. If this team was going to really improve they had to take some risks and they really took none. Key Acquisitions: Edinson Volquez, Jason Hamel and Neftali Feliz

Detroit Tigers – John Coppinger: C-

To improve a team, one needs to occasionally make change but the Tigers chose to maintain the status quo as they made one solitary move to acquire Michael Lorenzen and then took a nap. The deal itself was fine and filled a hole for the Tigers but with no other moves made and an aging team I’m not sure I can reward the GM for his lack of activity just because he started with a pretty good team. Key Acquisitions: Michael Lorenzen.

Boston Red Sox – Joe Barbieri: D+

Another trade that could never happen in real life. The Red Sox move their star pitcher to the Yankees for an assortment of lesser players and a decent shortstop prospect. Their best moves were to sign Edwin Encarnacion to replace David Ortiz and Dexter Fowler to improve the outfield depth. The Red Sox could ill afford to weaken their pitching and that seems like what they were determined to do. Maybe the combination of lesser arms like Doug Fister, Chad Green, Steven Wright or Eduardo Rodriguez will prove me wrong, but that seems unlikely. Key Acquisitions: Edwin Encarnacion, Gleybar Torres and Dexter Fowler

Chicago Cubs – Tim Mester: D+

This owner was a difficult person to work with and I’m not sure he really understood his own goals when things began. The team traded away their catcher of the future for Chris Archer, which is completely fine as getting a top pitcher was his primary need. Then things got funny. He traded away top prospect Happ for up to two seasons of Huston Street and signed Jose Bautista onto an already crowded outfield. With Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, Jose Bautista, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and Ben Zobrist vying for playing time I’m not sure what he had in mind. Even though the cubs are still the best team in baseball when Tim was done I rank them here because his offseason shortened the number of years they could stay elite. Key Acquisitions: Chris Archer, Jose Bautista and Huston Street

St. Louis Cardinals – Joe Budd: D

Having worked with the Cardinals last season I know that you don’t need to do much but the Cardinals completed one questionable trade for Nick Markakis and then took a long nap. I’d say more if they did anything else. Key Acquisitions: Nick Markakis

New York Mets – Matt Netter: D

They were heading for an A- report card when they blew their offseason with one catastrophic trade that would forever live in infamy. They acquired Freddie Freeman from the Braves and didn’t give up anything they couldn’t part with, they re-signed Yoenis Cespedes (for too much money) and they spent the money to hold onto Addison Reed (All fine moves). Then they traded their farm for (Rosario, Szapucki, Dunn and Lindsey) for Andrew Miller and Yan Gomes. That was ridiculous and insane. Key Acquisitions: Freddie Freeman, Yoenis Cespedes and Andrew Miller

Washington Nationals – Lexi Brace: D-

The nationals traded two players for Logan Forsythe and didn’t do much of anything else. The team lost ground to the Phillies, Mets, Marlins and Braves in this offseason. Key Acquisitions: Logan Forsythe

San Diego Padres – Dan Kolton: D-

If you are going to trade three of your top four prospects you’d better be creating a playoff roster, but I don’t think the Padres did. We watched as players like Renfroe, Margot, Naylor and Morejon were traded away and cringed at the acquisition of Homer Bailey. The Padres are hoping the acquisition of Billy Hamilton and the creation of a top bullpen will get them over the hump but they are more likely headed for a Wild Card race (that they ultimately lose) and a future with a farm system stripped of top talent. Key Acquisitions: Aroldis Chapman, Billy Hamilton and Neil Walker

Seattle Mariners – Zach Sanders: F

What did this team do? Sign a few free agents for reasonable but slightly overpriced contracts. Who? Jason Castro, Steven Pearce, Logan Verrett and Jimmy Paredes. The Mariners could have gone into “Rebuild Mode” and looked towards the future or they could have gone into “Win Now Mode” and traded some prospects to improve their lineup for 2017. Instead they activated “Snooze” and woke up in time for some last minute free agents. Key Acquisitions: Jason Castro, Steven Pearce and Logan Verrett

Houston Astros – Brian Mullen: F

The team made only three moves this offseason and each was a negative. They traded one of their best relief pitchers for a mediocre outfielder (Dalton Pompey), a powerful hitter with some ability to catch for a bad and overpriced starter (Ubaldo Jimenez) and signed Wilson Ramos for an absurdly overpriced contract ($24 Million). Consider that Wieters was signed for $10 Million less than Ramos and that Nick Hundley was signed for a paltry $1 Million and you wonder what the Astros were thinking. At least they didn’t trade any of their young stars. Key Acquisitions: Dalton Pompey, Ubaldo Jimenez and Wilson Ramos

Missing Grades:

Toronto Blue Jays – Matthew Vandenbrand: NA
San Francisco Giants – Sean Flattery: NA
Chicago White Sox – Will Morin: NA

5 comments for “GM Project 2016-17 report card

  1. Eraff
    November 1, 2016 at 1:34 am

    Dave’s Trade of Freddie Freeman and Matt’s trade for Andrew Millar rank as my Favorites for “The GM was Quickly Fired Too Late Award”…an Award that Recognizes the contributions of Inspired Mad Men in The Sport of Baseball.

    • MattyMets
      November 2, 2016 at 11:31 am

      So I made the best and the worst trade of the “off-season”

      Just remember, nobody gets fired after winning the world series.

      • November 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

        No, but Yogi Berra got fired after losing one.

  2. Mike Walczak
    November 1, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Although I did not participate in this exercise, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. I love ideas on signing free agents and trades.

    Here are a couple to think about for 2017.

    Sign Dexter Fowler
    Trade for Dee Gordon

  3. Eraff
    November 2, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Thanks all for sharing …… LGI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: