I’m A Lousy GM, But I’m Good At Adding Payroll

by on September 30, 2010 · 6 comments

In this follow-up to “Play GM For A Day”, you get to see just how poorly I play the aforementioned game.  While I lack both business acumen and talent evaluation ability, it’s probably my inability to emotionally detach that ultimately will derail my career as a GM.  Honestly, the members of Cardinal Nation may have a meltdown once they see the ticket prices go up in order to support the payroll monster that I would create.  As a wise man once said, “Show me the money!”.  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 St. Louis Cardinals:

PITCHERS: 5 starters, 8 relievers => $54,365,000

NON-PITCHERS: 12 players => $54,710,000


In defense of my decisions: 

  1. I consider 2011 to be a transition year, so it’s a year for hedging.  The team needs to be prepared to move forward with or without Albert.  If Albert signs an extension, then payroll flexibility becomes a huge issue, and 2011-2012 are key years due to Carpenter’s contract ($15m/yr) still on the books.  That likely means that the 2012 payroll could balloon to a record high ($120m range), but the following years could fall back in line with revenues ($110-112m).
  2. The NL Central promises to become more competitive for the next 2-3 years.  The Reds are unlikely to step back significantly, and the Cubs and Astros could step up.  Look for 90-95 wins to take the division every year for a while.  Redbird Up!
  3. The roster lacks switch hitters as it stands.  Sorry, but the switch hitters really didn’t add a lot in 2010.  Maybe that’s because good switch hitters don’t usually appear in the form of bargain free agents.  However, this team has plenty of guys who can hit both LHP and RHP.  Check the splits for Jay, Rasmus, Freese, Holliday, and Pujols.  Maybe there is a spot there for TLR favorite Aaron Miles, but I’d rather give the roster spot to someone like Descalso or Craig. 
  4. Yes, there is a logjam in RF.  If Uggla is signed, then it’s likely that Skip and his $2.7m salary become expendable.  If a starting pitcher is lost to injury, then it might make sense to package Skip and someone else together to obtain a young, affordable starting pitcher.  
  5. There is an open slot for a LHP in a relief capacity.  After going through the entire list of arbitration eligible LH relievers AND potential Type-A and Type-B free agents, I determined that there isn’t anybody out there who both 1) stands out as a significant upgrade over Reyes and 2) can likely be suckered signed for $1m for a 1 year deal

Interesting Factoids: Things you can buy with $109,075,000 => 545 tickets for Virgin Galactic spaceflights, 90,000 pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes at Neiman Marcus, 1983 Dez Bryant-type dinners with friends, or lifetime season tickets for the contributors here at PH8 with plenty left over for all the other stuff you want to do *hint hint*. 

Now, let’s hear how other amateur GMs would put together the team for 2011.  Feel free to tweet at me or provide feedback here at PH8.

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Bob Netherton September 30, 2010

A couple of questions.

1) What sort of photos do you have on Jake Westbrook ? He made $11M this year, and pitched some of the best baseball in his career. He’s going to be looking for Kyle Lohse type money, which is ironic since he’s had a Kyle Lohse career – don’t get me started on these multi-million dollar free agents with ERAs that hover around 5. Barf!

1a) Maybe Hawksworth can be that 5th starter. So you will need another arm in the pen, and you can’t have Eduardo Sanchez quite yet. You don’t have PJ Walters or Adam Otttavino on your list. What are you going to do with them ?

2) Any idea who your lefty reliever will be ? Have you sifted free agents and bullpens with excess lefties ? I ask because I haven’t found many.

3) I think Jay is too valuable as the 4th outfielder, and Schumaker is too expensive. And they are both left handed bats. You can have one, but not both – so who do you move ? I think it’s Schumaker. Maybe that can be part of the package it’s going to take to get Dan Uggla (who would fit our needs perfectly).

4) Are you willing to risk your GM karma on David Freese’s ankles ? 2 years, 2 long injury spells. He’s more likely to be on the DL than in the All Star Game in 2011, so ????

Dennis September 30, 2010

1) No pics on Westbrook, but I’m hoping he won’t find Kyle Lohse type money anywhere. On top of his 3yr/$31m, he also got something less than $2m (negotiated down) for being traded. Given how little he did to actually earn that money, he might be interested in working a bit for his next gig.

1a) I’m fine with pulling someone from the current bullpen to be the 5th starter. That’s a money saver, and it’s a smart long-term move. After all, Lohse, Garcia, and Carp have all had surgeries, and 2 of the 3 are probably gone after 2012.

2) No. I really went through the lists. The only thing I didn’t do was scour the minor leaguers for possibilties, but teams are absolutely loathe to give up left handed relievers.

3) I agree about both Jay and Skip, and that’s why I mentioned the logjam at the end of my post. If the Marlins are really only offering about half of what Uggla wants, then maybe Skip isn’t a bad consolation prize. He’s quite a reasonably priced option for 1 yr, but then they have to figure out what to do after 2011. I still don’t see the Marlins offering arbitration, but I don’t see them giving up Uggla to an NL team too easily, either. This is more a dream scenario than anything.

4) Part of the reason I wanted Descalso and Craig on the roster is protection behind Freese and a hedge at 2B. If you remove Uggla from the equation and Freese gets hurt again, then you’ve still got some lineup depth and a bit of power. I don’t think Craig can contribute without regular at-bats, but there’s likely to be an opportunity to get him plenty.

Bob Netherton September 30, 2010

For your lefty out of the pen, take a long look at Rich Rundles. He’s certainly on the bubble, but had a pretty solid year in Memphis. They used him a lot like the Cardinals used Reyes. Not a LOOGY, but a guy to hold a close game late. He might be an interesting alternative to Reyes. That 7-1 record in relief says something.

Would you be willing to send Jay to Florida as part of a post-arbitration deal for Uggla ? He played college ball at Miami – that might be an interesting deal to consider.

Descalso at second is a no brainer. That’s Daniel’s to lose, and he’s not going to lose it. He’ll be somewhere between Javier and Herr, and I can live with that!

If Garcia gets off to a good start next year, I suspect they’ll do to him what they did to Wainwright – lock him up for a gaggle of years.

Dennis September 30, 2010

I’ll investigate Rundles, especially since he’d cost the minimum. Technically, the bullpen was statistically sound, it’s just that as fans we tend to expect them to hold every single lead they are given (or at least that’s my impression).

Forgot to respond to you about Walters and Ottavino. I’d invite them to spring training and give them legit chances. If Westbrook isn’t re-signed, then that leaves several in-house options for the 5th starter. I also wouldn’t be afraid to do to Lohse what the Cubs did to Zambrano. Stl. gave up the fewest number of runs in the division, so it’s not like the pitching was just awful. If you promote young guns to be the 4th and 5th starters, then you’re gambling that 20% of your starts are going to be handled by inexperienced guys. Is that really worse than handing it over to Lohse and some-random-guy-possibly-named-Ted-Lilly?

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