Immediately upon getting the simulation going, I was approached by the Atlanta Braves to gauge my interest in Matt Kemp. Once the sanctions for the Braves came down, we picked up our negotiations. Kemp’s defense has annoyed Atlanta to no end the last couple of seasons, but at the plate, he’s been nothing short of excellent, and as a RH hitter, he could provide solid power in the lineup from the DH spot as long as the money was right. I also knew that Atlanta had excess international money that they weren’t going to be able to use, so I targeted that.
In offering the deal, I also included a prospect in the Atlanta system by the name of Brett Cumberland, who could be a new name to Twins fans, but he would be a quality fit as a switch-hitter with a power bat but defense that may require a DH spot long-term to have a home. He is still working as a catcher, so if he could make it at the position, that’d be even a bigger benefit.
Final deal: Twins trade Lewis Thorpe and Thomas Hackimer to the Braves for Matt Kemp, Brett Cumberland, $23 million in salary for Kemp, and $1 million in international funds.
Knowing I would be pursuing multiple free agents, I wanted to keep finances in check, and I had the option when reaching out to the Rangers regarding Kennys Vargas to expand a deal to add in a significant power bat that could give me some “Sano protection”.
Final deal: Twins trade Trevor May, Kennys Vargas, and Nick Anderson to the Rangers for 1B/3B/OF Joey Gallo.
Finding a nearly 1-for-1 deal to replace Ryan Pressly’s arbitration salary with a pre-arb arm, I reached out to the Indians and found a fairly good match.
Final deal: Twins trade Ryan Pressly to the Indians for Shawn Armstrong
I reached out to the Orioles, knowing they were looking for multiple arms this offseason. I also knew that the Orioles have a penchant for trading away international funds quite frequently. I did have one minor league target that was a personal favorite in submariner Joe Johnson, but the real goal was the final bit of international money that put me over the top in a major way in total international funds.
Final deal: Twins trade Kyle Gibson to the Orioles for Austin Wynns, Joe Johnson, and $500K of international money
I had looked at a few other deals to trade away Robbie Grossman and Ehire Adrianza, but both will likely end up non-tendered in this scenario. Eduardo Escobar had some interest but did not find the right deal. If I were to play out the entire simulation, I’d likely find a new home for Escobar as well.
So after all of this trading, the Twins now had $4.725 million of international money, $700K more than any other team in baseball could offer. That should be a big influence in the Ohtani decision, right? Well…