GM Project: 2017-18 Cleveland Indians

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 Brian Kobil

This is my second year being assigned the Cleveland Indians as part of the GM project.  And this second year has given me a better perspective on a very good major league roster.

Like last year, my first step was to decide who I was and was not keeping on the roster.  I declined club options on Michael Brantley and Boone Logan, making both free agents.  While Brantley has had some good moments in the outfield and at the plate, his injury history and salary made him a poor risk going forward.

Once trading began, I sought to replace Brantley in the outfield by trading from an area of strength – starting pitching.  I sent starting pitcher Danny Salazar to San Diego for young center fielder Manuel Margot.  Salazar is a fine pitcher but has a history of injuries and, as we saw in the real-world playoffs, he barely saw the mound behind Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer (who I traded in last year’s GM project, but whatever – they can’t all be winners).

I also had to fill a hole at first base, after letting Carlos Santana leave via free agency.  I pursued several options, and rather than spending a ton of free agent money on a first baseman, I traded arbitration-eligible reliever Dan Otero to Toronto for first baseman Justin Smoak.

My starting lineup was basically set at this point.  I tried to tinker on the edges here and there – including my annual Yan Gomes/Roberto Perez sweepstakes – but didn’t feel the need to blow up a likely playoff team.

Next came free agency, which again required more filling in at the edges than making wholesale changes.  I signed Anibal Sanchez to take Salazar’s spot in the rotation for $3 million.  While Sanchez’s best days are likely behind him, I thought he was worth a low-cost gamble for the back end of the rotation.  To replace Otero in the bullpen, I signed Jerry Blevins for $4 million.  A bit of an overpay, but he fits nicely with Mike Clevinger, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen.

When it came time for NRIs, I nabbed Jon Jay for the bench.  He is also a more-than-capable backup plan in case either Margot or Bradley Zimmer run into problems in center field or left field, respectively.

In the end, I kept the essential parts of this contending team together, stayed under my $125 million budget, and filled the few holes on this team after the 2017 season.


Francisco Lindor         SS

Jason Kipnis                2B

Jose Ramirez               3B

Edwin Encarnacion     DH

Justin Smoak               1B

Lonnie Chisenhall       RF

Bradley Zimmer          LF

Yan Gomes                 C

Manuel Margot           CF



Corey Kluber

Carlos Carrasco

Trevor Bauer

Anibal Sanchez

Josh Tomlin



Roberto Perez             C

Brandon Guyer           OF/IF

Jon Jay                        OF

Abraham Almonte      OF

Tyler Naquin               OF



Cody Allen

Andrew Miller

Jerry Blevins

Cody Anderson

Mike Clevinger

Zach McAllister

Player Position Salary
Justin Smoak 1B $4,125,000.00
Jason Kipnis 2B $13,666,666.00
Francisco Lindor SS $675,000.00
Jose Ramirez 3B $2,828,000.00
Yan Gomes C $6,033,333.00
Bradley Zimmer LF $600,000.00
Manuel Margot CF $600,000.00
Lonnie Chisenhall RF $5,800,000.00
Edwin Encarnacion DH $18,666,666.00
Corey Kluber SP $10,700,000.00
Carlos Carrasco SP $8,000,000.00
Trevor Bauer SP $7,700,000.00
Anibal Sanchez SP $3,000,000.00
Josh Tomlin SP $3,000,000.00
Cody Allen RP $10,800,000.00
Andrew Miller RP $9,000,000.00
Jerry Blevins RP $4,000,000.00
Mike Clevinger RP $650,000.00
Zach McAllister RP $2,400,000.00
Cody Anderson RP $650,000.00
Jon Jay OF $555,000.00
Roberto Perez C $1,625,000.00
Brandon Guyer IF/OF $2,750,000.00
Abraham Almonte OF $1,100,000.00
Tyler Naquin OF $555,000.00
Total   $119,479,665.00

2 comments for “GM Project: 2017-18 Cleveland Indians

  1. MattyMets
    November 6, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Nice work. Jon Jay gives you nice depth and the Smoak trade was shrewd. Not sure about Anibal Sanchez though. Hopefully you have somebody in AAA ready for when he slips on a banana peel in spring training.

    • BK
      November 6, 2017 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks. I figured Sanchez was worth a low-cost gamble. I left enough salary space that I could conceivably trade for a starter at the deadline if necessary.

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