Washington Nationals: Recapping the FanSided GM Simulation
By Blake Finney
The Trades and Signings that didn’t come off
Part of the beauty of being able to do a full simulation with representatives for each team is the competition for players. That means not everything can go to plan, and in general, it didn’t for our faux Washington Nationals. Let’s take a look at who we whiffed on during the simulation.
This was probably the biggest whiff for the fake Nats in the whole exercise. With the Bryce Harper bidding going on, we had to plan to make an upgrade without shelling out millions for a free agent pitcher.
James Paxton was the guy we keyed in on and had a deal agreed to send Adam Eaton, Carter Kieboom, Erick Fedde and Brigham Hill for Paxton, Mike Leake and $4 million cash consideration. it was a lot to give up, but it would’ve filled both rotation holes. We had to pull the plug on the deal when Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies though, but, we did at least hold onto Kieboom.
Another starting pitcher we were in on early in the simulation was Sonny Gray. Initially, I had thought that the Yankees wouldn’t be asking for much in return for Gray based on Brian Cashman, but I was wrong.
We opened with Luis Reyes before they eventually countered with Jake Irvin and Drew Ward. We asked for a little more in return in Joe Harvey, but in that time, the Cincinnati Reds nipped in offering Shed Long and Tanner Rainey. Those were two pretty highly rated prospects which we couldn’t compete with, so couldn’t seal the deal. Our greed to get more was our enemy there.
After the Paxton and Gray discussions, we acquired Dallas Keuchel and set our sights on a #4 starter. Robbie Ray fit the bill perfectly from the selling Arizona Diamondbacks, and we got talking pretty quickly.
The final package we offered involved sending Mason Denaburg, Jake Irvin and Jackson Tetreault to Arizona in exchange for Ray, Chris Owings, and Jackson Goddard. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Pirates offered Ke’Bryan Hayes for Ray, which we couldn’t compete with and lost out.
We wouldn’t have been very good fake Nationals if we didn’t at least try for J.T. Realmuto in this sim to see what the price was. We came to them initially saying that Juan Soto and Victor Robles were off the table and they seemed immediately hesitant.
We then talked up Carter Kieboom and there was a glimmer of hope at that point. However, the Marlins GM was notoriously difficult to get a hold of during the sim, maybe a failed hardball tactic. We left Kieboom, Michael Taylor, Wil Crowe, and Raudy Read on the table, ready to up our bid, but got no response.
With the whiff of Realmuto, we looked at other possible catching options elsewhere. The Royals were also equally hard to get a hold of at times but we were able to get a firm price from them for Salvador Perez.
That price, however, was Joe Ross, Daniel Johnson, Malvin Pena, and Spencer Kieboom. If they were willing to come down from Ross, then a deal could’ve happened here, but they held firm, and alas the deal never materialized.
The final trade in which we actually into talking firm players was for San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik. Early on, the Giants were interested in flipping him and Brandon Belt, both of whom we had varying levels of interest.
Sadly, Belt was vastly overpaid to be a backup, so we centered on Panik. They put a straight swap of Panik for Michael Taylor on the table, which we held onto for a while, but when we acquired Ian Happ, we had no need for Panik.
We move onto the free agent whiffs that we had during the simulation, and yes, Bryce Harper was one of those. Our top offer maxed out at $440 million over 12 years, which was an annual average of $36.67 million, a little above what we had hoped.
The Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies ended up duking it out, and Harper wound up going to the imaginary city of brotherly love. A bitter pill to swallow, but when we remember they paid north of $40 million a season for his services, we can live with it.
While we ended up with Zach Britton, our top priority in terms of a left-handed reliever was to nab Andrew Miller. The real Nats have previously had interest in Miller, and his stats against lefties are unreal.
With concerns over his age, we didn’t want to lock into more than two years of Miller, and our final offer was two years for $25 million. In the end, he took a lower annual average to go back to the Yankees on a three-year, $30 million deal. Perfectly understandable.
At the end of the simulation, we were on the hunt for a backup infielder and eventually wound up with Jonathan Schoop. However, before then, we had a one-year, $3 million offer for former Phillie Freddy Galvis.
The Minnesota Twins beat the buzzer to acquire him for one-year $5 million and that led us to go get Schoop from the Brewers for a little more salary, but arguably the better hitter. Won’t lose any sleep over missing out on Galvis.