Remember a few weeks ago when I laid out a plan for the Miami Marlins this offseason and it was promptly destroyed by the mammoth mega-trade between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays? It seems the good folks at the SB Nation Kansas City Royals blog Royals Review have allowed Marlins fans a do-over on the offseason in the form of the SB Nation Winter Meetings Simulation, which you can find here.
Here is the description of the simulation as sent to us by the man running it, RoyalsRetro.
Have you ever wanted to run your favorite team? Well here is your chance. I am putting together a baseball off-season simulation to run for one week. YOU will be in charge of making trades, YOU will be in charge of signing free agents and YOU will feel the wrath of your fans for overpaying for replacement level talent! Sound like fun? Here are the details.
Wednesday, December 5, 5pm ET - All arbitration-eligible players must be tendered or non-tendered. Non-tendered players go into the free agent pool.
This means only one thing for you Fish Stripes readers: for the next five days, I get to live out the dream of being the Marlins' general manager!
As mentioned in our offseason plan, the Miami Marlins are in something of a transition period, not quite in full-on rebuilding (as the real Marlins apparently believe) nor in full-on aggressive acquisition mode. So because of that, my plan for the team will consist of an attempt to sign one or two free agents who can assist the ball club in areas of need combined with a trading of high-end salaries and players whom the Marlins will only control for one more year.
To that end, the simulation has already begun with earnest, as I have pulled off three salary-cutting trades that have opened up significant space in the Marlins' 2013 payroll.
My first priority was to cut Ricky Nolasco's salary if possible from the roster, and I was able to find a willing trade partner in the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers were interested in Nolasco, but were concerned about the lack of team control, as Nolasco had only one year of team control remaining. Since the Brewers were looking for major league relief help as well, the negotiations eventually came down to including one of either A.J. Ramos or Tom Koehler along with some salary relief, and I reluctantly accepted sending a young up-and-coming bullpen prospect in Ramos to receive the return package.
The best part of the deal was receiving Wily Peralta, who was regarded as the Brewers' top prospect heading into 2012. The Marlins got Peralta following a struggle in Triple-A in 2012, but with Minor League Ball's John Sickels saying Peralta still had a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, I could not pass up six years of team control of a decent pitching prospect. Gennett is a second baseman who just finished a respectable season in Double-A at age 22, so he is progressing as expected with a decent glove and left-handed bat. He adds depth to a position in which the Marlins have little talent.
In a trade that is somewhat reminiscent of the actual Blue Jays deal, the Marlins acquired two of the players in the real trade and a better pitching prospect in Syndergaard in return for just Johnson and Bonifacio. This accomplishes some of what the Fish wanted in trading Johnson for value in a season in which the team was not likely to compete.
The Bonifacio / Escobar swap is essentially a play for upside, as Escobar is older but has one more season of team control at a reasonable rate. Bonifacio was not a part of the team's long-term plans, so trading him for someone with the potential for a three- or four-win season seemed like a good move, especially for similar salaries.
This trade was a mere salary dump, as the Marlins wanted to be rid of most of Buck's salary and get something minor in return. Morris is team-controlled for six seasons, is 25 years old, and slots right into the spot Ramos left in the Nolasco trade.
These three trades open up almost $28 million in 2013 salaries, and the Marlins can now use that money to pursue free agents. As you can tell, the team still has a hole at second base (Escobar will slide over to third base as part of his acquisition) and in the outfield, along with a spot open in the rotation. The Marlins will consider at least one outfielder and a starting pitcher on a low-commitment contract, but the process of negotiations has just begun.
Here at Fish Stripes, we will keep you posted on both the real baseball winter meetings and the simulation as it happens. Keep an eye out for all the moves made in the next few days over at MLB Daily Dish. For the sim, keep your eyes locked on the winter meetings simulation thread.