Simulated off-season with 30 "GMs" Astros edition

Every year the team over at RoyalsReview hosts an off-season simulation where they get representatives from every team to be the "GM." This is a very fast paced 3 days where an entire off-season is simulated. The intent is to be realistic, but inevitably some "GMs" go crazy and sign guys for $500 million or trade their best 4 prospects for an aging superstar.

Every year the team over at RoyalsReview hosts an off-season simulation where they get representatives from every team to be the "GM." This is a very fast paced 3 days where an entire off-season is simulated. The intent is to be realistic, but inevitably some "GMs" go crazy and sign guys for $500 million or trade their best 4 prospects for an aging superstar.

If you want to review the rules and look at every single transaction that occurred during the simulation, here is the link the the thread:


Probable Starting Lineup
C Willison Contreras (FA1) SP Justin Verlander (FA2)
1B Christian Walker (Trade2) SP Framber Valdez
2B Jose Altuve SP Lance McCullers
SS Jeremy Pena SP Christian Javier
3B Alex Bregman SP Luis Garcia
LF Hunter Renfroe (Trade1)
CF Chas McCormick RP Ryan Pressly
RF Kyle Tucker RP Rafael Montero (FA3)
DH Yordan Alverez RP Aroldis Chapman (FA4)
Bench RP Hector Neris
C Aramis Garcia (ML Deal) RP Bryan Abreu
IF David Hensley RP Ryan Stanek
Utility Maurcio Dubon RP Kevin Ginkel (Trade2)
OF Jake Meyers RP Hunter Brown
Payroll Luxury Tax Payroll
$195,580,000 $235,103,810
Free Agency
Contreras 5 Years - 56m
Verlander 4 Years - 117.5m (5th Year option for 25m or 2.5 buyout)
Montero 3 years - 34.5m
Chapman 1 year 4.5 (Mutual Option for 12m or 1.5m buyout)
Trade 1 Hunter Renfroe and GM David Stearns from Brewers for Forest Whitley and Shawn Dubin
Trade 2 Christian Walker and Kevin Ginkel from D-Backs for Jose Urquidy and Yainer Diaz
Trade 3 Anthony Bender and Troy Johnston from Miami for Martin Maldonado and Phil Maton
Minor League Deals
Nomar Mazara (OF) Dylan Floro (RP)
Sandy Leon (C ) David Peralta (OF)
Aramis Garcia (C ) Odubel Herrera (OF)
Ryan O'Hearn (1B) Will Harris (RP)
Josh Harrison (IF)


Heading into the simulation, I wanted to address a positions. Specifically, LF, 1B, C and LHRP. I also knew I wanted to get a top end SP back in the rotation and trade some SP depth to fill other holes. I had backup plans to backup plans, but my targets were pretty well set heading into the simulation. With the new rules going into effect next year regarding shifts, stellar defense was my priority. I wanted to stay at or under the luxury tax limit which is $233m.

A couple of housekeeping items before we dig into the transactions. I declined Will Smith and Trey Mancini's options. Later I would non-tender Josh James and Blake Taylor. Verlander opted out as expected.

Astros sign Rafael Montero to 3 year $34.5m contract

The real life Astros went ahead and took care of this deal for me. In truth, I think I could have gotten him cheaper. The idea is that the sim starts right after the World Series, however it was delayed a week and things happened in real life. I simply just followed suit.

Astros trade Forrest Whitley and Shawn Dubin to Brewers for Hunter Renfrow and GM David Stearns

Initial conversations started with me asking about Renfore and Tellez. The Brewers GM was willing to engage for either of them. His ask was MLB ready players at either 3B or SP. I floated Joe Perez and Whitley. He asked for Hensley instead of Perez, which was too rich for me. I backed away a for a bit and came back with Josh James and Whitley. He asked if Will Wagner was available. I told him yes, but not with Whitley and countered with Dubin and Wagner. We jokes a little about David Sterns being a throw in, which has never been done in this simulation. We quickly agreed on Dubin and Whitley for Stearns and Renfroe.

A gold glove caliber RF who is a pull hitter and has 30+ HR power. That power is going to play up in Houston. His defense should be a huge advantage in short LF. I foresee him and Yordan being a bit of a Lefty/Righty platoon at LF and DH. He is in is final year of arbitration and is due an estimated $11.2m.

Signed Ryan O'Hearn and Normar Mazara to minor league deal

Depth options. Lefty swinging OF/1B types who were once top prospects. If one of them turns it around, it want it to be with us.

Sign Aroldis Chapman to 1 year $4.5m with a mutual option for $12m or $1.5m buyout

A formerly dominant left handed flamethrower on the cheap. Is he what he used to be? No. Is he still a MLB reliever? Yes. He wont be our closer, which could help him regain form and reduce pressure and our pitching coaches can fix his control issues. Plus we need a lefty bullpen piece. Seems like a win win to me.

Sign Willson Contreras to 5 year $56m deal

The connections to Contreras have been well reported over the past few months. Its a logical fit considering the offense black hole that C was for us last year. Yes, Maldy is a fantastic catcher, but he provides no offensive value. Contreras brings an offensive boost to that position that makes our lineup up pretty flawless. Sure his defense is suspect at best, but I think most of us are willing to overlook that.

Initially his market was at 3/36, then 4/45 and then someone went 5/55. I snaked that by 1m and reminded his agent (played by Max Rieper of RoyalsReview) that we are the champions are built to win a few more.

Astros trade Jose Urquidy and Yainar Diaz to DBacks for Christian Walker and Kevin Ginkel

This deal took a while to come to fruition. The initial version of this trade included Jake McCarthy. But once I completed the Renfroe deal, I backed away from him. Urquidy was the primary piece in this deal, but several other names were floated around as additional pieces on both sides. In the end it took giving up Diaz, which really hurt. Urquidy is solid but not a star.

In return, we got 2 years of gold glove caliber B who has the range necessary to play under the new anti-shifting rules. He is coming off a 5.1 WAR season with 36 HR's and will make $7.3m in his 2nd to last trip through arbitration. Life Renfroe, he is a pull hitter and his power will play up at Minute Maid. Kevin Ginkel is a solid bullpen piece that throws a fastball at 96+, hard slider and the occasional changeup. He actually gets left handed batter out at a higher rate than right handed batters, something that we have appreciated over the last several years.

Astros trade Martin Maldonado and Phil Maton to Marlins for Anthony Bender and Troy Johnson

This is trade was essentially a salary dump. My initial plan was to keep Maldy and Contreres but the budget was starting to get away from me a little bit. Maton was going to get non-tendered if I didnt find a taker and while $4m for a backup C like Maldonado is reasonable, I was already looking at being over the lux tax line. My plan was find a cheaper defense 1st catcher or let Lee be the backup.

In return, I got the Marlins #20 prospect in Johnson. He's a bit older but is another 1b prospect that makes great contact but lacks power. Anthony Bender throws a sinker that touches 99 MPH and has a funky delivery. He opened the season as the Marlins closer but lost that job and then had some injury issues. He should be a solid bullpen piece.

Sign Sandy Leon and Aramis Garcia to minor league deal

Defense first catchers that really are no more than backups. Garcia was once a top prospect of the Giants and bounced around a little. He has a great arm and raw power, but his defensive skills are his calling card these days.

Sign Justin Verlander to 4 years $117.5m with a 5th year mutual option for $25m or $2.5 buyout

One of the first signing of the sim was deGrom for 2 years $110m. I though to myself, I am going to get priced out of Verlander for sure but decided to put my best foot forward. I went straight to 3 years and $110m. It seemed as though there really wasn't much in the way of competition but looking at my budget at the time, I needed a lower AAV. In the end, I kicked it out to a potential 5 years to reduce the AAV and to ensure he ends his illustrious career as an Astro. Maybe an over spend, maybe too much longevity risk. But I don't want him to go out the same way as Nolan Ryan.

Signed Dylan Floro and Will Harris to minor league deals

Bullpen depth. Both could be excellent adds and both are MLB caliber players. Especially if Harris is healthy and back to his former glory, he could be a huge add on a minor league deal.

Signed David Peralta, Odubel Herrera and Josh Harrison to minor league deals

Outfield depth and a utility guy. Its unlikely that either Peralta or Herrera will compete for a starting job, but either could be a solid bench bat. Josh Harrison is here to compete with Dubon for the utility role.

The ones who go away

Carlos Rodon - I was in on him all the way up to the end. I ended up bowing out at 8 years $224m. He ended up signing for $240 over 8 years with the Mets. I saw him a viable back up plan to Verlander. I was willing to go as high as $28m AAV for Rodon after signing Verlander, with the intention of then flipping McCullers to free up cap room and add some prospects to our thin system.

Cody Bellinger - I tried to get him on a cheap 1 year make good deal. Initially offering $3M and mutual option for 18m. It quickly went to $8.5m. In the end he signed for 2 years and $20m


This is always a fun and stressful few days. In the end, I think I addressed the biggest offseason needs in a mostly realistic way. I ended up slightly over the luxury tax limit, but only by 2m, which could be easily fixed by cutting Dubon in Harrison wins out or by cutting Neris if one of the cheaper bullpen pieces takes over.