Every year, 30 of SB Nation's finest gather and dump hundreds of e-mails on each other within a few days conducting the off-season simulation. I have been famous (or infamous) for trading Chris Sale in the past. Good news to those who didn't like that direction! I kept him! I did, however, make many transactions and this team is going to be in the sim playoffs. No doubt about it.
Every year the sim gives you a soft budget. I chose to ignore my 127 million dollar budget and blow past it, because I feel the White Sox should do the same. My final total was at $150.1. I tried to complete the three moves I made in our off-season project. I wasn't able to do all of them, so I borrowed from a few others plans.
First, I tendered everyone. I also picked up Alexei Ramirez option, because that should have been done in real life. I gave Samardzija the qualifying offer and he opted to sign with the Cubs for 5/70.
The White Sox traded Carson Fulmer and Jason Coates to the Rockies for Carlos Gonzalez and $17 million dollars to be paid in 2016. The 17 million will cover his entire 2016 salary.
The White Sox traded Spencer Adams and Michael Ynoa to the Pittsburgh Pirates and received Neil Walker.
The White Sox traded Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for minor league infielder Rafael Rodriguez. This was a cost-cutting move as the Giants picked up all of Cabrera's salary.
The Rockies approached me with Jose Reyes, whom I didn't want. I told him I am interested in Gonzalez. He came back with the offer that we made.
I approached the Pirates about Neil Walker. He wanted a couple of prospects. I got him down to Adams and Ynoa.
I needed to move some salary. My original idea was to unload Adam LaRoche and use Melky Cabrera as my DH. Unfortunately, I only heard a "maybe" from the Astros on LaRoche. That quickly turned into a no, even though I was offering to pay much of his contract. Because I got stuck with LaRoche, I had to try to move Cabrera. Grant Brisbee, the Giants GM was interested, so that is where he went.
Free Agent Signings:
The White Sox signed A.J. Pierzynski for 1/$3 million.
The White Sox signed Yoenis Cespedes to a 7/$200 million dollar contract.
The White Sox signed Wei Yin Chen to a 5/$86 million dollar contract.
The White Sox signed Nobuhiro Matsuda to a 2/$12 million dollar contract.
A.J. is back for you 2005 lovers. Mark Buehrle retired during the sim. Some offered contracts to him. I did not. Juan Uribe signed with Atlanta for 2/$12 million. A.J. will play against most righties.
I started the Cespedes bidding at 6/$122, but I found out last year that the bigger name free agents go for a ton of money, so I knew that was going to have to rise up. I had to beat 6/$185, so I went with the seventh year. For reference, Jason Heyward signed for $311 million. Justin Upton signed for $230 million. I wasn't going to get beat on my man the way I did last year for Nick Markakis.
Chen's bidding was pretty straight forward. I offered 5/$75, got asked if I could beat 5/$85 and gave him a million more. He signed with us and our rotation is strong.
I was stuck at third base. I tried hard to acquire Todd Frazier, but he ended up going to the Indians in a package that included Danny Salazar and Brady Aiken. The Reds wanted Tim Anderson, but I refused to budge. I offered Matsuda, the Japanese import 2/$12 on the last day of the sim and he accepted the offer. Matsuda hit 35 dingers in the Japanese league last year. He is 32 years old. Here is a video of him taking a Cub deep, which is part of the reason I went after him.
Wei Yin Chen
Adam Eaton CF
Jose Abreu 1B
Carlos Gonzalez LF
Yoenis Cespedes RF
Neil Walker 2B
Alexei Ramirez SS
Adam LaRoche DH
Nobuhiro Matsuda 3B
A.J. Pierzynski C
There was plenty of interest in Jose Quintana. I turned down all offers without a second thought. The Cubs guy asked for Chris Sale. I ignored. David Robertson was almost sent to the Oakland A's for Dakota Chalmers, but the thought of Nate Jones pitching the ninth in the sim World Series scared me off.
It was a fun exercise as usual.