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A summary of the 2018 SB Nation GM simulation

How many billions in fake dollars can these fans spend?

Los Angeles Dodgers Introduce Kenta Maeda Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

An annual tradition at Royals Review is when I take 30 fans, and let them run a MLB team under semi-real world conditions to simulate baseball’s off-season. We use the real list of free agents, real salaries, and try to recommend realistic budgets. You can read all the ground rules here.

You can see a list of where each free agent signed and what each team’s payroll looks like here. In all 106 players signed MLB free agent contracts, totalling $2.8 billion. Here were the ten biggest contracts (players in bold were made Qualifying Offers):

Biggest free agent contracts

Last name First name Team Contract
Last name First name Team Contract
Harper Bryce NYY 13 years, $515 million, opt-out after 2021
Machado Manny PHI 11 years, $433M with an opt out after 2022
Corbin Patrick NYY 6 years, $153M
Kershaw Clayton LAD 4 year, $130M
Grandal Yasmani ATL 4 years, $98 M with a $26 M vesting option (400 PA in 2022)
Eovaldi Nathan COL 6 years, $90M
Keuchel Dallas LAA 4 years, $88M
Kimbrel Craig STL 4 years, $82M
Kikuchi Yusei HOU 6 years, $65 M with an opt out after 2022
Donaldson Josh TBR 4 years, $64M with an opt out after year one

Holy smokes, that’s a lotta moula!

Here are the clubs that spent the most in free agency.

Teams that spent the most (in millions)

Team Spent
Team Spent
NYY $735.0
PHI $434.0
LAA $167.0
HOU $163.5
ATL $144.0

And here are the payrolls following the simulation.

Club payrolls following simulation

Team Payroll
Team Payroll
SFG $237,525,000
LAA $219,225,000
NYY $200,030,385
CHC $193,874,000
BOS $186,175,000
LAD $180,520,000
SEA $178,295,000
HOU $171,480,000
STL $163,822,857
MIN $149,231,667
WSN $147,670,000
COL $144,015,000
CLE $138,080,000
TEX $131,495,000
CIN $129,848,636
PHI $128,305,000
ATL $122,070,000
MIL $121,195,000
DET $117,105,000
NYM $116,860,000
TOR $104,950,000
CHW $98,405,000
BAL $98,085,000
ARI $92,120,000
KCR $88,310,000
PIT $86,995,000
SDP $83,290,000
OAK $81,250,000
MIA $74,310,000
TBR $66,110,000

Some big time players were dealt too. I had some players waive no-trade clauses they might not in real life just for expediency, but perhaps this is something we’ll be stricter on in the future.

Notable trades:

  • Yankees traded Giancarlo Stanton to the Angels for Justin Upton, Brandon Marsh, Jeremiah Jackson and $44 million
  • Red Sox traded David Price and Bobby Dalbec to the Giants for John Gavin
  • Giants traded Evan Longoria, Sam Dyson, and $35.75 million to the White Sox for Maikel Franco (acquired earlier from Philadelphia) and Camilo Quinteiro
  • Braves traded Kevin Gausman, Luiz Gohara, Kyle Wright and Greyson Jenista to the Indians for Corey Kluber and Tyler Krieger
  • Brewers traded Jimmy Nelson, Keon Broxton, Lucas Erceg and Jacob Nottingham to the Rockies for Nolan Arenado
  • Brewers traded Bryce Turang, Troy Stokes, Zach Brown and Larry Ernesto to the Royals for Salvador Perez and $22 million
  • Giants traded Brandon Belt, Will Smith, Tony Watson, Jacoby Ellsbury and $18 million to the Cardinals for Matt Carpenter, Miles Mikolas, Dexter Fowler, Luke Gregerson, and Brett Ceci
  • Giants trade Madison Bumgarner, Jordan Johnson, & Blake Rivera to the Yankees for Jacoby Ellsbury, Justus Sheffield, Estevan Florial, Luis Medina, Alexander Vargas, Kevin Alcantara, & Phillip Diehl

Here I have team-by-team transactions as well as what their rosters may look like now. Who did the best? What team looks poised for a championship in 2019?