Since none of my teams won their divisions, we’re finally to the part of the offseason where things get interesting again. I guess the one postseason highlight was my team Vega$ Chickabooms won their 2nd place tournament, which will get them some extra cash. Now I get to find out how well I set myself up for the next season.
This is what happens in this first part of the offseason:
- We got all the cash we will get until opening day to re-sign players.
- Players new salaries come out, and will go higher or lower based on how they did last season.
- We can only carry over up to 28 players. You have to decide which ones to keep. You have to carry over ones you already signed to contract extensions.
- We can make trades until 12/25, which is the deadline to have selected which players you are carrying over.
So this is kind of where my teams stand. All of them are in pretty decent shape compared to previous offseasons. I might actually be figuring out this Benchwarmer Baseball thing. A couple of them are in excellent shape and have a chance to greatly improve.
East Village Howlers
This team is one that is in really good shape to improve. After keeping the players that I want to keep, the should have around $16000 in cash left over.
This team avoided $3000 in salary increases by signing Carlos Correa and Chris Carter to contract extensions. I also avoided another $800K increase on Shawn Kelley. Another nice things about this team is several other cheap players who could really outperform their salaries:
- Alex Bregman is still a bargain at $285.
- David Peralta was injured most of last season, and his salary decreased by $900K. So he’s a nice depth player that is a bargain now.
- Jordan Zimmermann’s salary decreased by over $2000, and so he is now a bargain, and a decent candidate to bounce back.
- This team has Alex Cobb, whose salary is $377. If he bounces back at all from Tommy John surgery he could also be a nice player to have.
The nice thing about these players coming back from injury is that they have nice upside with little risk. If they don’t bounce back, I can just cut them. This team also has a few prospects that could graduate and help quite a bit. These are Jeff Weaver, Guillermo Heredia, Austin Meadows, Carson Kelly and a couple others.
This team finished 63-87. So they need a lot of things to go right. They are in a great position though to make a big signing or two this offseason. The $16000 they have to spend could land a couple really nice players, and still leave them with cash leftover heading into the season to make adjutments, which is something I failed at last season. If not, they could always trade and take on salaries of players that other teams are not planning to re-sign.
This team went 76-74 and won the second place Al Gore tournament in their league. This team should also be in pretty good shape to improve this offseason. I was able to avoid over $2300 in salary increases by extending Wil Myers. When you add up the salaries of the players I plan to keep, they should end up with almost $13000 to use to improve. Also, they will be getting an extra $1000 for winning that tournament
Like East Village, this team has Alex Bregman and Alex Cobb who are really cheap and should outperform their salaries. Another player this team has is Greg Bird. I traded for him at the deadline last year thinking this team had no shot at making the playoffs. His salary is only $144 and he could easily outperform that.
This team could use a big bat in the outfield, and another solid starter. They could be a pretty dangerous team since they are already starting from a higher floor than my other teams.
New New York Mets
This team is in the worst shape and will be the toughest one to improve. They went 65-85 last season. It was largely due to two of the team’s best players struggling. Dallas Keuchel had a really tough season and Jose Abreu struggled the entire first half.
This team’s biggest strength is starting pitching. They have Max Scherzer, Dallas Keuchel and Jose Quintana. I need to figure out how to put a better lineup together around them. Their biggest hole is at third base. I may try to make a trade this offseason for a third baseman. This team should have around $9000 left to sign players. This is not as much as my other teams, and could be less after the final salary adjustments are made. That’s why it will be tougher to improve this team.
This team also does not have quite as many young, inexpensive players as the others. Aledmys Diaz is the best one, and he was signed to a contract extension. The others that could contribute are Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, and Guillermo Heredia.
I think this team’s best shot is to make a couple small moves this offseason to try to make some modest improvements. Then see early in the season if there are some free agents that get off to a good start, and sign them. That’s how this team won their division 2 years ago. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to blow this team up and rebuild.
Last year, I turned down a trade offer at the deadline for Max Scherzer. The problem was that the team making the offer did not have any good prospects that would be able to contribute this season. The prospects being offered were a couple years away. Trading Scherzer would be a way to rebuild, assuming I could get some good prospects that are nearly ready to contribute.
This team is in great, great shape and should improve greatly this offseason. This team finished 74-76, so they are starting from nearly a .500 record. They avoided about $7000 in salary increases by extending the contracts of Rougned Odor, Aledmys Diaz, Addison Russell, Mark Trumbo and a few others. It may make sense to trade Diaz or Russell. They are both good enough to start at SS, but only one of them can. This team’s main hole again is at third base, like my other teams. So it may make sense to trade one of them for a third baseman.
That might not even be needed, though. It may be better to just sit on that depth, in case one gets hurt. There is also an outside chance that Diaz could play some games at third base, and become my third baseman. The Cardinals announced that Matt Carpenter will be the every day first baseman next season. Jhonny Peralta and Diaz will split time at 3B and SS. The Cardinals may go out and try to get a better defensive SS this offseason, which would push Diaz to 3B or 2B.
In addition, this team has Kyle Schwarber, whose salary is only $200. They also have Michael Conforto, whose salary is only $577. This team has a great young base to build on.
When you add up the salaries of the players I want to keep, it only adds up to $19400 or so. This team has $38024 to spend. So they will have over $18000 to spend. Again, the best path may be to just sit on this depth and cash and see what players become available.
The risk with that is that I need to spend at least $13000. Later in the offseason, the cash balances get cut down to $5000. You just lose any cash you have above that. So if the players available via free agency aren’t appealing, I may be forced into trading some of this cash for players on other teams.
This team has several decent starting pitchers such as Jeff Samardzija, Vince Velasquez, Ian Kennedy and others. It could really use an ace and a really good #2 though. That would be the other main priority. Again, it might be best to do this through signings rather than trading. But this team has so much depth and cash that they have tons of different ways they could improve.
Davenport Blue Sox
This team is in decent shape to improve, too. This team finished 71-79, and was still very much in contention at the trade deadline. I made a trade for Chris Sale to try to make a run at the division, but it did not work out. However, this team is still in decent shape, and looks a lot more formidable with Sale at the top of the rotation.
Rougned Odor, Addison Russell, Christian Yelich, Joc Pederson and Alex Bregman are all inexpensive players that should be quite good, and are the core of this team. This team still has an aging Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Beltran and Ben Zobrist as well. Dallas Keuchel could also rebound. This team also has a really nice set of prospects. Jorge Alfaro, Carson Kelly, Lewis Brinson, and more.
Finally, this team is in decent shape in terms of finances, too. They should have around $12000 to work with to sign players and improve. It’s not quite as good as Pelee Island but it should still be enough to sign a couple decent players and have some left over.