So that just happened.
A grand experiment that originated as a bar bet between two drunken salesmen at a Buffalo hotel bar* resulted in 30 strangers wasting hundreds of work hours exchanging emails furiously to trade fake players and offer fake money to create their fake teams. I think Brick even killed a guy. Here are just a few of my initial reactions.
*-may not have actually happened
First of all, this exceeded even my expectations of how much freakin' fun it was. Some of you seemed to think you were bothering me by emailing me with offers but it was like crack cocaine for me. It was amazingly fun to try to bid up players and my work day was brightened every time I saw that email inbox pop up (you'd be surprised to learn I was actually highly productive this week at work as well). I hope each of you had as much fun as I did.
I thought salaries were inflated, but not ridiculously so. I could actually see salaries inflating like this with the new TV deals coming in 2014. The crazy contracts handed out in this simulation were not unlike teams in the winter of 2006 when GMs were handing out bad deals like candy (Alfonso Soriano, Bary Zito, Gary Matthews Jr., Alfonso Soriano, Gil Meche, Jeff Supan, etc.). I think it is clear the Blue Jays are drastically increasing payroll this year, and while we can quibble with the exact numbers, I didn't think their numbers were too far off. In the future I would perhaps consider giving pre-set payroll caps to each team (as well as perhaps some other instructions, like don't trade the face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen!), but I thought the threat of public derision was a sufficient guard against teams getting crazy with overall payrolls.
What really led to the escalating deals was that everyone wanted the same thing. There are certain internet darlings - Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, Melky Cabrera - that are well-liked by the stat crowd because they are underrated by the mainstream media. But in this simulation, they become way overrated because everyone thinks they are underrated. Meanwhile, many players the internet fans think are overrated - Jeremy Guthrie, Kyle Lohse, Michael Bourn - were underrated in this simulation and were had for bargains.
Also there was a feeding frenzy on Monday, but by Wednesday the simulation almost came to a standstill. At that point I was trying to get a deal - any deal. And most players after that could be had for bargains. A.J. Pieryznski, Shane Victorino, Joe Saunders, and most of the relievers were had cheaper than I thought they would go for because there was so little interest in them.
I was impressed with how engaged most everyone was. I knew this was a huge time commitment for everyone, and while things came up (the Cardinals GM had to bail early, the Rangers GM had jury duty), people found a way to at least participate.
Anyway, I want to thank you all for participating, and I hope to make this a yearly event. Congrats to you all.
Here is the final Free Agent tracker. If you'd like, please post your team name, and who you acquired (trades and free agency) and who you gave up (trades and free agency)
I'm curious to hear how your experience went. I wasn't privy to most of the trade talks. How much negotiation was there? What GMs were easiest to work with? Were you surprised how crazy the numbers got for free agents? Post your overall thoughts.