Also, when you make a really stupid trade offer the opposing GM's say some pretty hilarious stuff. The other teams will also make you trade offers, many of which are stupid, but some that you actually consider.
So, last time, pitcher Casey Fossum told me he wanted to go be with his friend Nick Bierbrodt and join him in the bonds of... fraternal brotherhood? ANYWAY, he wanted to go to the Rangers to be with his BFF.
He'd get his wish!
Making Moves: Starting Rotation and Bullpen
Casey got his wish. I decided to start remaking the team by sending Casey Fossum, pitcher Steve Parris, reliever Jack Cressend, outfielder Darnell McDonald, and infielder Nick Green to the Rangers for young catcher Taylor Teagarden and infielder Joaquin Arias.
Teagarden's career never really panned out in real life, but Arias has been useful here and there. I'm gonna miss none of those guys. It frees up roster space and some payroll. Brown is already paid for. Yes, this is a salary dump, but we get a fair return on talent.
The next move I made looks strange on the surface, trading away two of my starting pitchers, along with a minor leaguer. Denny Neagle and Jimmy Haynes leave the MLB team, along with a spare part in Dicky Gonzalez for... a 19-year old... FELIX HERNANDEZ!
Obviously, I'm going to be careful with Felix, but he was in the Majors in 2005, so he can be part of this rotation.
My rotation going into the season looked to be Kevin Brown, a young Scott Kazmir, Felix, Mark Hendrickson, and Rob Bell. I also have Jason Hammel waiting in the wings.
Currently, the bullpen included Dan Miceli at closer, Shinjo Mori, Mark Guthrie, Travis Harper, Jesus Colome, and Carlos Reyes. It's an OK group. I feel like Guthrie, who was aging and becoming fairly ineffective by this point, was the weak link. So I was looking to replace him.
Making Moves: Lineup and Bench
The lineup needs some work. Carl Crawford, Julio Lugo, Jorge Cantu, Aubrey Huff, Ty Wigginton, Charles Johnson, Johnny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, and Travis Lee seem fine. But the bench has two catchers in Toby Hall and Mitch Melusky. Outfielders are Tom Goodwin (washed up at this point) and Damon Hollins. Luis Rivas is a decent infielder, though. I feel like Lee, Johnson, and Goodwin are the places I can upgrade.
No one wanted Lee or Johnson straight up or together for any useful pieces. But Goodwin... Those three together could get me a really old Tom Glavine! As much as I love Tommy, that's not a good move for me.
So I went and got Ryan Howard.
It really only cost me Wes Bankston, a good first base prospect, who was a ways away from the majors, Travis Lee, who was on his way out, and Sean Burroughs, who while rated well, was going to be on his way out too – the game said he wanted money. Infielder Greg Norton and catcher Shawn Riggans were throwins.
Howard is cheap until before the 2018 season, and hopefully by then I can afford him. I shed Lee's $2 million plus salary, too. Norton was making $400K plus or so too. I may miss Bankston, but Howard is power now. Burroughs may have been too high a price, but for Howard, I can risk it, especially with BJ Upton on the way up. I also have Joaquin Arias.
Charles Johnson was shipped off to Seattle for reliever JJ Putz. It took a young infielder named Fernando Cortez to get the job done, along with Al Martin, who was just rotting in AAA anyway. Putz will give me a good young arm for the pen and Johnson was making about $2 million when I have plenty of catchers. Putz can replace the aging Mark Guthrie. I'm happy with Mitch Melusky and Toby Hall as my catchers. I have Teagarden waiting in the wings and several other catchers who are decent in the minors.
Ready to GO!
Now that the Devil Rays are looking sort of like a field-able team that's now a lot cheaper. We shall see how we do in the first half of the season, and if we have to shed salary when we're losing, we'll do that. But let's see what talent we really have here now!
Catch the next episode when we play some GAMES!