WKRP Radio (or How to Rebuild a Disaster) Topic

Point to owners picking up bad teams - you can check on "options" status before doing your budget and take that into account. You do have to have enough in the player budget to cover all existing salaries, including the option salaries you intend to decline. But you can decline the options before resigning any of your free agents or doing arbitration. This potentially allows you to cut the player budget right to the necessary minimum knowing you can generate some ca$h by declining the options after the budget is finalized.
It would be preferable if the HBD schedule was 1) decline/accept options 2) hold arbitration, 3) set budget, 4) negotiate own free agents, 5) open free agents, but it isn't. We can dream.
4/20/2007 12:03 PM
Quote: Originally Posted By grivfmd1 on 4/20/2007

Point to owners picking up bad teams - you can check on "options" status before doing your budget and take that into account. You do have to have enough in the player budget to cover all existing salaries, including the option salaries you intend to decline. But you can decline the options before resigning any of your free agents or doing arbitration. This potentially allows you to cut the player budget right to the necessary minimum knowing you can generate some ca$h by declining the options after the budget is finalized.
It would be preferable if the HBD schedule was 1) decline/accept options 2) hold arbitration, 3) set budget, 4) negotiate own free agents, 5) open free agents, but it isn't. We can dream.
yeah. I normally check on options but must have had a brain cramp that day. Good advice though.
4/20/2007 12:14 PM
this thread is very interesting. thanks for the updates, and good luck.
4/20/2007 12:19 PM

I spend a ton of time working on my team during the offseason (from budget day until the end of free agency). The majority of that time is spent working on my minor leagues - evaluating the talent, ranking it, getting my players set to the appropriate level, and finally filling out the minor league rosters with the right mix of players. This is time I consider well spent because if I put my minor league teams together properly, they will need very little time commitment during the regular season from me.

With projected ratings out, I will of course first take a look at any major leaguers that are younger than 27 and get a good idea of where they are. In Cincinnati, we only have one position player under 27, outfielder B. Balboa. He proves to be a borderline prospect at best and I follow my initial instincts before projected ratings came out and mark him for a demotion to AAA. Perhaps if he fully develops he can one day be back in the big league.

My next step is to go through each player on every minor league level one at a time. I use the GM Office screen to do this so I can edit their positions. I use the recommended based on projected ratings button here, but will occasionally edit it myself if I do not agree with the projections.

At the same time, in a spreadsheet program that I have created to track my team, I rank each prospect with one of 6 different rankings. The top 4 rankings are all potential major leaguers from my top ranking which will be future stud players down to longshots - guys that might make a major league bench/bottom of the bullpen if they develop fully. My last two rankings are for career minor leaguers. One is guys worth keeping, the other is guys that are not even worthy of keeping around - the total trash. I don't release the trash because I find that it actually takes me several season with a team to get enough career minor leaguers into my system to not need to have a few trash players just to fill out my rosters (and how I distribute players on my roster will be the subject of a future post).

As expected, the majority of the players on Cincinnati are career minor leaguers. However, I do discover a few very nice gems in the minors. I also find a few serious problems. The bad news first: 95% of my minor leaguers seem to be filled with guys who, after their position is fixed, are outfielders. I am going to have to sign a lot more minor league free agents then I anticipated to fill rosters this season, and at 54K apiece it may end up being taxing on my already tight budget. Also, the prior owner apparently did not understand what a fielding coach was. Every player has regressed defensively, so even those that project to be infielders have current ratings that are so low they will take an extra season or two before they can make the bigs (unless I stick them in the outfield).

I evaluate position players first -- pitchers will come tomorrow.

On my AAA team I do find a decent catcher, 23 years old, who I pencil in for my big league squad. I also find a pair of serviceable outfielders that are 28 years old. Odds are they will play for my big league squad too during my rebuilding season. The best find at AAA is a shortstop with great defensive projections (but low current due to fielding coach issues). He projects for decent speed and to 91/44 L/R splits. I like this kid, but it will take a couple years for him to get his defensive problems fixed. He is already 24, so I hope he can get straightened out quickly or he may be a second baseman at best.

On my AA team, I find a very solid field prospect with solid hitting numbers across the board. His glove is down to 21 unfortunately so I need him to continue to develop even though all his other ratings may be ready for the bigs. But even more important than the fielder is Roosevelt Abbott. A second base prospect if and when I get his defense fixed, he projects offensively to 93-65-79-78-67. this guy can hit big time and gets my top rating.

At High A, I only find one legitimate prospect, but he is a top rated one again. parker Bennett is a center fielder (though barely projecting into the 70s for range and glove, he is only borderline for that position) with offensive projections in the 80s and high 70s across the board.

At Low A, I find noone. One catcher gets a rating as a longshot, the rest of the team will never make it out of the minors.

Finally, at rookie league I am elated to find that my predecessor did sign his draft picks. And he drafted well. First a center field prospect with decent offensive ratings except for contact -- which projects to a perfect 100. Throw in a 98 speed projection and I think we have a combo that can be very successful and he gets a top rating. Second, a right fielder with a 92 power and 41/96 splits. He should absolutely crush right handed pitchers and gets a high rating as well. Finally, I find a third baseman with decent ratings (81 power, splits in the 60s). He should be a solid player, though probably not an all star. He gets rated as a fairly high prospect as well.

In all, I am pleased with what I find in the minors. I found half a dozen or so legitimate prospects when I had expected none. However, there was a complete lack of mediocre prospects. My third rating for prospect (one better than longshot) had NONE in my entire organization -- and on most teams I have a ton of these guys. This means my minors have no depth.

With my position players fully evaluated, next I need to go through my minor league pitching staffs. I have also had some contact with other owners about trades, but would prefer to have my team's full picture in hand before I start dealing. For now, I will simply evaluate any offers that come in. After I get through my pitching staff tomorrow, I can start sending out offers and tying to build a team to gt me through this season.
4/20/2007 11:02 PM
One more thing I forgot to mention -- Any minor league players that get any of my top three ratings also get a note added on their player profile stating what level prospect they are. This will allow me to quickly look at the GM Office Roster Management page and know who my prospects are and therefore who needs to get maximum playing time. I can then make certain that these players spend little to no time on inactive lists and stay in the lineup as much as possible without having to go back to my notes constantly. Minor leaguers that are 27 or older do not get notes though, as I consider them to be no longer developing and normally will try to leave them inactive as injury replacements. If you cannot make the bigs as a regular by age 27, you probably never will.
4/20/2007 11:05 PM
Very interesting thread so far. Good luck with this project.
4/21/2007 12:57 AM
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4/21/2007 10:15 AM

I just agreed to a deal that got rid of 3 year, 8 million per year, 33 year old closer Parrish. I received a low A starting pitching prospect of decent but not great quality in return, and have to pay 4 of Parrish's 8 million in salary this season. However, i consider this trade a good one. I cleared a very large salary off the books and got someone that eventually has a shot at my major league starting rotation, or in the least, a long relief role. Not a superstar by any means, but it is a step in the right direction.
4/21/2007 10:34 AM

You may have noticed that up until now I have not made a big deal about what ballpark I am in and the "park effects". I personally do not believe that they play into the game nearly as much as some people claim. Yes, if you look across the worlds, you will see a lot of great pitching numbers for the all - parks and a lot of great offense for the all + parks. However, I believe that people build their teams towards what they think their park will do. So the people with all + parks load their teams with offense and skimp on pitching, and vice versa.

That being said, I don't ignore park effects entirely. I am in Cincinnati. My park is -1 for singles, 0 for doubles, -4 for triples, and +1 in both home run directions. The +1 and -1 are not that big of a deal, although I do note that I would prefer groundball pitchers (which I would have preferred anyhow). The -4 for triples I do believe will have an impact. But as I have never built a team around trying to get or not get triples, I don't think there is much I will do in terms of building my team because of that number.

Knowing that I prefer groundball pitchers because of the slightly short outfield walls, and knowing that control is important as well (I consider control perhaps the most important pitching stat), it is time to analyze my under-27 pitchers throughout the organization.

On the big league team, there was only 1 pitcher under 27, L. Locko who I was hoping would have big time projections based on what I saw from his current ratings. I could not be happier with what I see now - this guy projects to be an absolute stud. I would have preferred if he developed in the minors for another year or two, but despite a solid makeup, I will leave him in the bigs. And he is probably one of the very few players that I will consider untouchable for trades, even though his groundball rating will only be 44.

At AAA, I find several nice pitchers. D. Thompson projects to a 28 DUR and 99 STA. A lot of times guys with those ratings have falsely inflated overalls, but not Thompson. His control is only mediocre and he has a low groundball number, but the rest of his numbers will be solid. I also find 2-3 more starters with clear major league potential, though I do not find much worth keeping in relief pitchers. All in all, I am pleased with AAA, especially because at least 3 guys are probably major league ready and may end up being regulars on my big league team this season.

At AA, the first thing I notice is that there are a TON of pitchers - it seems the prior owner simply put every pitcher in his minors at AA for some reason. Luckily, I also find several very nice gems. Two starter prospects get my top prospect rating (though one projects to a 0 groundball rating, he also projects to a 100 control!). A couple others get ratings as potential big leaguers. In the bullpen, I don't find any studs, but I do find half a dozen guys with major league potential, several of which are probably ready for the bigs this season. I am going to need a very deep bullpen this season because I anticipate a lot of ugly games, and it is good to see I will be able to fill some of those spots from my minors as opposed to having to get some cheap one year veteran free agents.

At High A, there is one starter that I consider a longshot for the bigs and nothing else worth noting amongst the starters. In the bullpen, I find a couple more guys with a shot at the majors -- more good news in terms of my bullpen's future at least.

At Low A, there are only a total of 9 pitchers, but one half-decent starter prospect and, the best part, a very nice looking closer prospect. He only has a projected durability of 57, but his splits and pitches are all very nice and his control is decent. The bad news I find at Low A is 2 of teh 9 pitchers start the season with injuries that will last more than 100 days. Neither is a major league prospect, but it means even more tryout camp or minor league free agent pitchers I will need to sign to fill out my minor league rosters before the season starts.

At Rookie, only 3 pitchers on the entire roster. I can only assume that there were a ton of retirements from the Rookie staff. The majority of the pitchers I have been seeing have 3-5 years of pro experience, which tells me that the prior owner did not sign very many draft picks and probably filled his rosters with guys with more years (and thus guys that are more likely to retire). None of the 3 rookie pitchers I find have any shot to make the bigs.

In all, I am pleased with what I find on my pitching staffs. I expected little to no talent at all and instead found several guys that I believe will make solid major leaguers. most of them need some more time to develop, but if I am successful in moving most of my bad contracts, some of them will have to do their developing on the big league roster.

Up next -- More trade updates (I have a few potential deals in the works), and free agency/coach hiring begins.
4/21/2007 9:27 PM

Just agreed to two more trades. Unfortunately, both carry no trade clauses.

First, I move bad contract but great hitting PT Baez and young starting pitcher L Torcato (he had been one of the few guys I wanted to keep). In exchange I net a decent AAA prospect pitcher, a decent power hitting outfield prospect, and a shortstop prospect that will be a complete stud. The SS is still a couple years away. While I hate to lose Torcato, moving Baez's contract (if he doesnt reject the deal) and bringing in 3 prospects, one a stud, is worth it.

Second, I move reliever Standridge and his 2 year, 4.2M per season contract plus young Bo Balboa who I had not ranked very highly anyhow. In exchange, I get a pretty nice looking starting pitching prospect, an outfield prospect with big power but not much else, and I have to take back a one year 5.6M contract. The net effect for this season is actually more than a million added to my payroll, but the good news is that I clear Standridge's 4.2 from next season. The contract I am taking back has a no trade, so this deal could be rejected as well. I cross my fingers on both deals and wait.
4/22/2007 10:14 AM

The next 4 days of the schedule are free agency and coach hiring days. My first step is to always go through all four free agent lists (All Positions-Majors, All Positions-Minors, All Pitchers-Majors, and All Pitchers-Minors). I will take notes on any players that I want to place a bid on. Once I have my list of targets, I decide who to go after first. If the bidding gets too high for me on my first target, I will drop him and go after my next target. Sometimes the second or third best guy at a position on the free agency list is only a few minor notches below the top guys and you can get him a lot cheaper.

With Cincinnati, free agency will be easy. Although I review the lists, I do not want to spend any money at all on free agents and only make one offer to a career minor leaguer with minor league contract demands (he looks solid defensively and I am going to need a lot of good defensive players to fill out my minors).

Also, it is now coach hiring time, the most annoying 36-48 hour period of the season. I used to go with the "make 5-6 offers at every position" strategy, but that just made it even more annoying. I now simply make one offer at each position. Any positions where I am not top offer, I then go and decide to either increase the offer (if I have the money) or I will make a second offer to another guy. I rarely go after the top 4-5 names on any of the lists (they will command way too much of a premium). Instead, I try to find a guy with solid ratings for his position, decent discipline and patience, and try to get him for a bargain. I rarely go after a guy from a lower level unless I see a complete stud down there or unless I have exhausted all the guys I like at the higher level and still have not gotten to top offer.

I only budgeted 10 million for coaching. With my "Big Three" coaches all needing to be hired (ML Bench, Pitching and Hitting), that is not nearly enough. Luckily, I saved 10 million by declining options and several more now that the first of my trades has gone through. I therefore transfer 8 million from player payroll to coaching, giving me a solid 14 million budget. If necessary, I may go back and add 1-2 more million, but I hope that 14 will be enough. It is enough for me to get initial offers out there to coaches to fill every vacancy at every level. However, I normally like to have at least half a million unspent after my initial offers so I can increase some offers instead of just moving on to the next guy. I only have 10,000 unspent, so odds are I will have to go grab at least 1 million more.

At this point, I intend to sit back and see how the next 48 hours play out. By then, my two current pending trades will be done (and hopefully not rejected), my coaches should hopefully be all signed, and maybe I will have made a few more deals. I have taken a quick look already at what my major league roster for the season will look like and I am short at least 2 position players and at least 3 pitchers, even with the minor leaguers that I project to bring up this season. However, before I start finalizing my projected rosters, I want to let a couple more days play out for potential trades -- maybe I can still move a few more of these awful contracts before spring training starts.
4/22/2007 1:19 PM
The deal to unload Baez and his huge 3 year deal went through. Clearly, he knew there was no hope of winning anytime soon in Cincinnati. My other deal, moving reliever Standridge and his ugly contract, did not go through. That one involved a bad contract that was in its final year coming to me. The bad one year deal I was getting had a no trade and the player exercised it. I will attempt to rework that deal if I can. I do believe that Standridge has value and I hope to be able to move him.
4/23/2007 1:52 PM

With my deal that would have unloaded Standridge's contract having been rejected, I continued negotiations withe the owner that had wanted him. He had by now changed his mind on Standridge, but we ended up working out a 4 for 4 deal (done by making two separate 2 for 2 trades).

I sent him Bo Balboa (who he continued to like though I was not that high on), 34 year old Guerrero and his 5 year 6.3 per year contract, plus two prospects, a rookie league center fielder (I have at least one other higher rated CF in my minors so that did not hurt much) and a AA starting pitcher that I believe will be a complete stud.

In exchange, I got back the two guys minor leaguers I was going to get previously (one a decent starting pitcher prospect, the other a power hitter that will be lucky to hit .200). I also had to take two bad contracts from him, a 31 year old barely serviceable outfielder making over 4 million and in his final season, plus a 30 year old DH (catcher with a 32 pitch call) making 3.3 M this year and next. I also sent him one million in cash, meaning that this deal may actually decrease my available payroll for this season. As I am getting rid of Guerrero, this deal is worth it to me, though giving up that AA pitcher was painful. It is worthwhile for him as well, as he picks up 2 very nice prospects, Balboa whom he liked, and Guerrero probably still has 2-3 solid seasons in him (a career .300+ hitter whose ratings have not declined much yet). He also got rid of 2 bad contracts and actually saved money this season. The only problem -- Guerrero has a no trade clause. Time to cross my fingers again and hope he doesnt exercise it.

I also made a second deal today. I moved Willie Eusebio (3 years 7.5M per year) and a projected 85 overall AA pitcher (this is the guy who projects to a 100 control that I really liked!). In exchange, I am getting a fairly solid AA pitching prospect and taking back another one year contract for a fairly poor fielder. The guy is making 5 million this season, but it still puts me ahead 2.5 million this year and clears the next two seasons of Eusbeio's deal. I am also getting a second minor league pitcher that I consider pretty worthless, but the guy threw him in the offer so I am taking him to eat innings in the minors. The good news -- no No-Trade clauses in this deal.

If both deals go through, I will have moved probably my worst two contracts today, making the day a success despite losing 3 of my best prospects. But right now my biggest concern is getting rid of the veterans - rebuilding the farm system will come with time. I still have a few more contracts that I need to move and am hopeful I can pull off another deal or two -- even if it costs me a couple more of my thinning crowd of prospects.
4/23/2007 7:20 PM

While hiring coaches can be rather annoying, I had pretty good success this season. Coaches began signing at the 11PM cycle last night. After 3 coach hiring cycles (11PM, 3AM, 7AM), all but one of my coaches has signed and I am top offer for the remaining guy. Hopefully, I will get him locked up within the next few cycles. If I had any extra coaching money at the moment, I would normally offer it all to the last guy (unless it is more than 2 million extra, in which case I would save exactly 2 million and transfer the money out of coaching). I don't have any extra so that does not matter. In fact, the good news is I did not have to transfer any more money into coaching -- 14 million was enough and I believe I have put together a solid staff, a vast improvement over my team's prior owner.

We still have all of today plus tomorrow to sign that last coach and to negotiate with free agents. the one minor league free agent I had made an offer went to another team for a major league deal I did not feel he was worthy of. Therefore, all I intend to do from now until tomorrow night is attempt to negotiate a few more trades. I may also begin mapping out what my 5 (ML, AAA, AA, Hi-A, and Lo-A) rosters are going to look like so I can spend tomorrow evening actually setting those rosters up.
4/24/2007 8:04 AM
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