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SB Nation Winter Meetings Simulation: Tigers making moves to re-tool for another 2014 run

The Fake Detroit Tigers of the SB Nation Winter Meetings simulation have a better bullpen than the real Tigers. That's about all I've got so far.

Al Messerschmidt

For the second consecutive year, Royals Review is hosting a network-wide simulation of the MLB GM winter meetings. Unfortunately, this version of the winter meetings is happening online and not in a random sunny location in the southern United States. The trade-off is that we here at Bless You Boys -- actually, just me and assistant GM j_the_man -- have full control over the Tigers' organization. Here's a rundown of what has happened so far.

Note: None of these transactions for the Tigers are real, unless reported elsewhere on this site.

At the end of last season

Our GM tenure began the moment Koji Uehara vanquished our World Series aspirations. While Dave Dombrowski did a great job leading the team this far, myself and Mr. J were brought aboard by the Ilitch family to get the team over the top. Our youthful exuberance and fondness for GIFs as teaching tools in the clubhouse were seen as big positives during the interview process, which consisted of an email or two.

The simulated winter meetings began on Monday, November 3rd at 9:00 a.m. While there were preliminary talks with other teams over drinks during the weekend leading up to the meetings, no action occurred until the meetings began. It was not soon after, however, that we made our first move.

11/3/13, 9:04 AM - Detroit exercises option on P Jose Veras

We're still not sure why Dave Dombrowski turned down Mr. Veras' services in real life, but the Fake Tigers sure are glad to welcome him back in the fold for 2014. Our organization will be changing its game management philosophies in part to maximize the bullpen's efficiency, and we saw Jose as part of that plan. Speaking of changing our organization's philosophies, that leads me to our next move...

11/3/13, 10:09 AM - Detroit announces the hiring of manager Brad Ausmus

During our interviews with the Fake Brad Ausmus that I made up in my head, Brad was eager to implement our sabermetric philosophies into his game planning. Terms of his contract were not released, in part because I didn't have time at work to negotiate with myself over what our fake manager would make.

Arbitration-eligible players

One of the most important aspects of a general manager's job during the offseason is deciding which players to retain and which to let go. Luckily for us, things were not so difficult. Of the Tigers' nine arbitration-eligible players, Phil Coke and Don Kelly were the only two to not receive contract tenders for the 2014 season.

At this point, our main goal was similar to what the real-life goal should be for this Tigers team: re-sign Omar Infante and shore up the bullpen. Both of these goals have been met.

Tigers sign Omar Infante, Joaquin Benoit, and Eric O'Flaherty

According to sources, the Tigers' deal with Fake Infante is worth $30 million over three years. In a vacuum, the price seems steep. However, compared to what other free agents are getting, this seems to be a bargain. Consider the following:

  • Brian McCann: $110 million over 6 years
  • Corey Hart: $30 million over 2 years
  • Mark Ellis: $12 million over 2 years with a $6 million club option for a third season

That makes $10 million per year for a player who has amassed at least 2.0 WAR per year in five of the last six seasons seem like a steal.

Eric O'Flaherty, a left-handed reliever who came up through the Seattle Mariners' system, saw his contract demands plummet when he had Tommy John surgery in May of 2013. However, he put up some great numbers for the Atlanta Braves prior to his injury and will be 29 years old next season. He received a $5 million contract over two seasons.

To stabilize the back end of the bullpen, the Fake Tigers re-signed Joaquin Benoit to a two year, $16 million deal. Joaquin is overjoyed to be back with the club.


Rumor central

According to baseball insider Buster Heyman, the Fake Tigers have also expressed interest in former Twins left-hander Brian Duensing. Duensing, who was non-tendered by Minnesota, isn't an impressive name at first glance but has "great peripherals" and "interesting platoon splits against left-handers," according to sources.

The Fake Tigers were in on early negotiations for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but Choo's contract demands are "approaching $20 million per season" according to an inside source.

The Fake Tigers have also expressed interest in acquiring "a young, cost-controlled bat," possibly at the expense of one of their starting pitchers. Sources have confirmed that the player is not named Trout, Harper, or Puig, so please stop asking.

If you are interested in seeing any of the transactions between other teams -- just an FYI: the White Sox traded Chris Sale for Yasiel Puig -- check out the open thread at Royals Review.

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