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The shaping of Old Man Duggan's Shadow Royals

The sim is on.

Welcome back, Alex.
Welcome back, Alex.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

As most of you are surely aware, Max's annual GM simulation is in full swing. Just as in years past, I am running the Royals--a theoretical squad I've dubbed the Shadow Royals.

These Royals do not have a lot of holes, so there is less to do this year than in previous simulations.

For those wanting to keep track of my moves, these are the decisions I had to make before heading into the offseason.

Options, tenders, and arbitration offers

  • club options exercised for Wade Davis ($8MM) and Alcides Escobar ($5.25MM)
  • club option ($3MM) declined for Jonny Gomes
  • club options declined and bought out for Jeremy Guthrie ($3.2MM) and Alex Rios ($1.5MM)
  • arbitration offered to Lorenzo Cain ($6.1MM), Mike Moustakas ($5.7MM), Danny Duffy ($4MM), and Jarrod Dyson ($1.7MM)
  • arbitration not offered to Greg Holland ($11.3MM), Tim Collins ($1.475MM), Drew Butera ($1.1MM), and Louis Coleman ($1.0MM), and each was non-tendered
Once those decisions were made, I got to work on trying to fill out my roster.

Trade #1

The Pirates offered Charlie Morton for Omar Infante, Brett Eibner, and Sam Selman. I got them to chip in $1MM this year to essentially cover the $1MM buyout of Morton's $9.5MM 2017 option. Morton is owed $8MM this year. Infante was owed $7.75MM in 2016, $8MM in 2017, and had a $2MM buyout on a $10MM club option in 2018.

Minor-league deals #1 and #2

The Royals agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with Erik Kratz worth $500K with a $100K bonus if he makes 30 starts in the majors.

The Royals also agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with Louis Coleman worth a guaranteed $600K with a $250K bonus if he makes 30 appearances for the big-league club.

Free Agent signing #1

The Royals agreed to terms on the biggest contract handed out in franchise history with the face of the franchise, Alex Gordon. Gordon will get $14MM in each of the five years on his contract. In addition to that guaranteed $70MM, Gordon will receive $3.5MM per year in deferred compensation starting in 2021 for the ten years to follow. In each of the final two years of the deal, Gordon will receive a $2.5MM performance bonus if the 600 PA benchmark is reached.  Any year in which he finishes in the top ten in MVP voting or is awarded a Gold Glove, Alex will receive a $1MM bonus. Additionally, any year in which he finishes in the top three in MVP voting, Alex will receive a $2MM bonus. In total, Alex is guaranteed $105MM and can earn up to $25MM in incentives.

Minor-league deal #3

The Royals agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with Shaun Marcum with an invitation to Spring Training. Marcum will earn $1MM if added to the 25-man roster. He has a player opt-out clause if he hasn't been added to the major-league roster by July 1. If he makes ten starts for the Royals, he gets a $2MM performance bonus.

Free Agent signing #2

The Royals and Jason Frasor agreed to terms on a one-year, $1MM deal. Welcome back, But I Don't Know What To Do With Those Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs.

Free Agent signing #3

The Royals signed left-handed reliever Oliver Perez to a one-year deal worth $1.75MM. The southpaw has quietly become a solid reliever worth roughly half a win (fWAR) in each of the past four years.

Minor-league free-agent pseudo-signing #1

The Royals offered Jesse Crain a minor-league deal worth $500K plus $250K bonuses at 20, 40, and 60 appearances in the majors. The offer was immediately accepted, but then nixed because he wasn't part of the sim. I say nonsense. The tandem of Frasor/Crain will certainly fuel another Royals' World Championship. They're Callin' Again is going to look good in Shadow Royals' powder blues.

Trade #2

The Royals acquire Oswaldo Arcia--who is out of options--sending minor-league relievers Andy Ferguson and Daniel Stumpf to Pittsburgh in exchange for former Twins prospect who will be entering his age-25 season.

Free Agent signing #4

The Royals added right-handed corner outfielder Justin Ruggiano to their roster for the low, low cost of $2MM on a one-year deal.

Free Agent signing #5

After finally getting priced out of the Ben Zobrist negotiations, the Royals agreed to terms on a three-year, $36MM deal with Howie Kendrick.

Free Agent signing #6

The Royals fleshed out their rotation, inking Chris Young to a one-year, $5MM deal and a $5MM club option for 2017 with a $1MM buyout.

Minor-league deals #4 and #5

The Shadow Royals added Chad Billingsley and Jeremy Guthrie on minor-league deals.

Chad Billingsley is guaranteed a $500K salary and is eligible for $400K performance bonuses at 10 and 20 major-league starts and $3MM at 25 starts.

Jeremy Guthrie is guaranteed $750K with $750K bonuses at 10 and 20 major-league starts, a $2MM bonus at 30 starts made, and a player opt-out clause if not added to the 25-man roster by July 1st.


The Shadow Royals are operating with a $125MM budget. As I'd imagine the real-life Royals will do, I do intend to apply the estimated $6MM insurance payout on the Jason Vargas contract to payroll this season. Taking Vargas's insurance figure into account and after realizing that Salvador Perez will be making $1.8MM more than previously thought, the Royals' payroll currently sits at an adjusted $127.9MM. This page will be updated as signings/trades happen.

With the sim completed, I'll write up a post-mortem for Thursday or Friday.