Once again, RoyalsRetro has seen fit to oversee the surely unwieldy behemoth that is the SBNation-wide Simulation of the 2013 - 2014 Off-Season.
As was the case last year, I have taken the reins of the Royals. Dayton Moore sits at home weeping into his Ace Pear Cider. Ned Yost has been sent packing (again). Brian Bannister has moved his photography gear into the manager's office at One Royal Way. Chris "Disco" Hayes is the pitching coach. Joe Randa is a bench coach/bosstone/hype man.
The hypothetical world is a better place.
As the Shadow Royals headed into this off-season, there were a few orders of business that needed tending to before things I could start to reshape the Royals roster in my own vision.
The Royals roster at the conclusion of the season was as follows:
Per the horseshit claim by Dayton Moore stating that payroll will stay the roughly the same as last year, the Shadow Royals will be operating with a budget of approximately $85.0MM.
First order of business was to take care of the two players with options that needed to be exercised or bought out.
- The Royals will exercise their club option on James Shields.
- The Royals will choose the buyout route with Jamey Carroll, costing the team $250K.
Second order of business would be dealing with the arbitration-eligible players listed in the table above.
- The Royals traded Luke Hochevar to the Phillies for minor-league pitcher Austin Wright.
- The Royals traded Aaron Crow in a package deal for Howie Kendrick that I'll get into shortly.
- The Royals tendered an arbitration offer to and agreed to terms with George Kottaras ($1.2MM), Eric Hosmer ($4.1MM), Justin Maxwell ($1.2MM), Felipe Paulino ($1.75MM), Greg Holland ($4.9MM), and Tim Collins ($1.0MM).
- The Royals non-tendered Emilio Bonifacio ($3.3MM), Chris Getz ($1.3MM), Luis Mendoza ($1.0MM), and Brett Hayes ($0.9MM).
From here the Shadow Royals head off to the market, offering trades and attempting to sign free agents.
As mentioned in the arbitration section, the Shadow Royals traded Luke Hochevar for Austin Wright. Hochevar was going to cost $5.0MM to keep, which was more than the Shadow Royals could realistically have afforded for their set-up man, especially when they enjoy such an embarrassment of riches in the bullpen. The Phillies had been vocal about their need for bullpen help and had just gotten rid of the dead weight of Jonathan Papelbon's contract. After lengthy negotations, a deal was finally worked out to send Hochevar to Philadelphia for minor league pitcher Austin Wright. Wright, a 6'3", 220-lb. southpaw, had a strong 2012, getting him onto both Sickels's and Hulet's organizational prospect lists--#15 and #13, respectively--heading into 2013 before getting eaten alive at Double-A, having big-time problems with issuing walks (5.63, up nearly 2.0 BB/9) while simultaneously finding his K/9 dropping to 7.35 (the first time he'd registered less than 8.11). Wright was brought in in the hopes that he rights the ship.
The Royals traded Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow, Wade Davis, and minor-league pitcher Michael Mariot to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Howie Kendrick and minor-league reliever Daniel Tillman.
I don't have to explain who the principles in this deal are. Since his second season in the Majors, Kendrick has never had a season in which he put up less than 1.8 fWAR or 1.5rWAR. Over the past five seasons, Kendrick has averaged 3.1 fWAR and 3.3 rWAR. Steamer likes Kendrick to be worth 2.8 fWAR next season. For this production, Kendrick will make $9.35MM in 2014 and $9.5MM in 2015.
To offset Kendrick's salary while still trying to leave a bit of room to address the team's needs, the Royals needed to have the Angels taking on a fair chunk of salary that was easily replaceable from within the organization. While Wade Davis and Aaron Crow were solid bullpen arms, their combined salary in 2014 was going to be $6.7MM, and neither were vital parts of the 2014 roster. As for Duffy, between the health and the inability to make it out of the fifth inning due to lack of pitch efficiency, he was expendable. Yes, the stuff is there. So were the walks. He gets to go home to California where he can root for the Lakers without shame. The final Royals' piece in the trade was Michael Mariot. Mariot pitched in relief in Omaha this past season. For the first time since 2010, Mariot had a K/9 higher than 7.18 (a sterling 9.79 this season). He's probably ML-ready, but I've never really viewed him as much of a prospect.
Tillman is a 6'1", 225-lb. righty who struggled for the second straight year in Double-A. Much like Wright, he's essentially a lottery ticket. He's averaged 10.5 K/9 in the minors but has had a terrible walk-rate, especially in Double-A, where his BB/9 has been a spectacularly terrible 9.4. He was on Hulet's Top 15 Prospect list for the Angels heading into last season.
Free Agent Signing #1
The Royals have signed Chris Capuano to a one-year, $5.0MM deal with $500K performance bonuses at 100, 150, 200 IP and a $6.5MM vesting option for 2015 that kicks in at 150 IP in 2014. Royals brass believes it was the gift basket filled with Billy's Hit it a Ton Barbecue Sauce, $100 Wal-Mart Gift Cards, and a PS4 that ultimately brought Capuano to Kansas City. Ned Yost has officially been brought back in the capacity of Special Advisor to the General Manager, tasked specifically with Keeping Chris Happy. Capuano was worth 1.0 fWAR and -0.6 rWAR in 105.2 IP in 2013 and is a year removed from a 2.0+ WAR, 198.1 inning season.
Free Agent Signing #2
The Royals have signed Luis Mendoza to a minor-league deal that turns into $600K if he is added to the 25-man roster. If he does make his way to Kansas City, the Royals will have Mendoza's Majestic Mane wigs for sale on days in which the Mexican Dreamboat starts at home, with the profits of the wigs going to the charity of Mendoza's choice.
Free Agent Signing #3
The Royals have signed Bruce Chen to a one-year, $2.0MM deal to be in the mix for the fifth-starter job.
Free Agent Signing #4
The Royals have signed Luis Valbuena to two-year deal paying him $1.2MM in 2014 and $1.6MM in 2015.
In the dark of night, the Royals and Mariners agreed to a deal in which the Royals would send Tim Collins to Seattle in exchange for the services of Hector Noesi. We loved Tim Collins here in Kansas City, but the Royals had a glut of southpaw relievers and liked the starting pitching depth that Noesi, who isn't arbitration-eligible until next year, would give them.
Also in the dark of night, the Royals agreed to a deal with the Chicago White Sox. In the deal, Kansas City will send Jeremy Guthrie and minor-league starting pitcher Sam Selman to Chicago in exchange for Jeff Keppinger and minor-league reliever Kevin Vance.
Free Agent Signing #5
The Royals have agreed to terms on a deal with Excelsior Springs native Shaun Marcum. The deal is good for $4.0MM guaranteed in 2014 with performance bonuses of $500K at 100 and 140 IP and a performance bonus of $2.5MM at 180 IP with a club option for $8.0MM in 2015 with a $2.0MM buyout. The Marcum family will also get a private luxury box during the time that Shaun is a Royal.
Free Agent Signing #6
The Royals have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with a $4.25MM signing bonus with Cuban defector Dalier Hinojosa. Hinojosa is a 27-year-old, 6'0", 200-lb. right-hander with a fastball that reportedly sits 88-92 (with some reports saying it reaches the mid-90s), along with a change-up/splitter and a slurvy breaking ball. As a result of his age, the signing bonus doesn't count against the Royals international amateur spending pool limits. The Shadow Royals will evaluate his skill set this spring and see how he fits best, though there have been rumblings that they expect him to start the season in Omaha.
Free Agent Signing #7
The Royals have agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a minor-league deal that would become a $900K guaranteed deal if he makes the 25-man roster with $1.0MM performance bonuses at 100, 150, and 200 IP at the Major League level. Glass approved the disaster insurance bonuses. Since 2009, Slowey has only had one season in which any of the performance bonuses would have been triggered.
In what is possibly the biggest risk I've taken in the two years of the sim, the Shadow Royals have dealt Billy Butler to the Cleveland Indians. In return for Butler, the Indians will send Michael Bourn to Kansas City. In the deal, Cleveland is also sending $6.0MM to Kansas City in 2014 and $1.0MM in 2015. Kansas City will pay Bourn $1.0MM less than they would have paid Butler in 2014 and the same amount of money in 2015. Bourn is set to earn $13.5MM in 2016 and has an option for 2017 that vests at 550 plate appearances in 2016. If Bourn is healthy, Kansas City's outfield defense should be spectacular.
Free Agent Signing #8
The Royals have signed former Royals lefty reliever Jose Mijares to a minor-league deal that becomes a guaranteed $602K if he is added to the 25-man roster.
After endlessly harrassing the Astros about a myriad of trade possibilties, the Royals have agreed to a deal with the Houston Astros. The Astros receive Jeff Keppinger and Jason Adam. The Royals get Lucas Harrell. The Royals are hopeful that the switch-hitting Harrell (yes, you read that correctly) can recapture the magic of his 2012 campaign, when he was worth 2.6 fWAR in 193.2 IP. Furthermore, the Royals fully intend to play the epic slow-clap scene from the end of Lucas every time Harrell strikes out a batter.
Free Agent Signing #9
After having been spurned by the commish when attempting to sign Mitch Maier, Clint Robinson, and Kila Ka'aihue, the Royals have agreed to terms with Travis Snider on a minor-league deal that would become a guaranteed $700K if he is added to the 25-man roster with a player option for conditional release if he hasn't been added to the 25-man roster by June 1st.
Free Agent Signing #10
The Royals have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5MM deal with Paul Konerko.
Free Agent Signing #11
In an effort to keep the City of Omaha happy while chasing the PCL title, the Royals have signed Jeff Karstens to a minor-league deal.
Free Agent Signing #12
The Royals agreed to terms on a minor-league deal bringing Blake Wood back to the Royals organization.
Free Agent Signing #13
The Royals agreed to terms on a minor league deal with Jerome Williams.
Following the Konerko signing as of 6:25 PM CST on Friday, November 8, the Shadow Royals payroll commitments for the 2014 season sit at $84.08MM.
Coming soon, I'll have a write-up on the whole experience and the Shadow Royals going forward.
Thanks to RoyalsRetro for undertaking the whole experiment once again. It's his brainchild, and he deserves all of the credit.