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Offseason Choose Your Own Adventure - Is This Real Life?

OTM has voted to say sayonara to Santana, and no thanks on Manny Machado.

Batlimore Orioles Vs. Boston Red Sox At Fenway Park
This offseason sucks.
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

There’s a story stream here.

I feel the need to say this again, since I saw a comment on social media, but regardless of how bad this offseason has been, you cannot superimpose this as a replacement for reality. Everything that happens in this simulation is fake. All of it. It’s a simulation. That’s why Carlos Santana was an option even though he signed over a month ago. That’s why Stanton came to Boston, even though there was no indication he would have expanded his list of teams to include us. Please, remember, this is a game.

Alexander Henry’s Office - December 23rd, 5:30 PM EST

A little more than a week later, with Christmas around the corner, Alexander Henry was closing shop for the holidays. He’d said no to Carlos Santana and the same to Dan Duquette.

Carlos Santana would go on to sign with the Phillies for 3 years, and 60 million dollars, with a club option for 2021 at 17.5 million dollars. Maybe that was fair, maybe not, either way, Boston had spoken on the matter, and were going to let him go elsewhere. They had Mitch Moreland in the fold after all, and there was no indication that he had been signed to just be a bench bat, in either case.

Divisional Round - Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees - Game Four
Carlos Santana, much like in real life, has chosen to sign with the Phillies for a lot of money.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Manny Machado, for what it was worth, was still handcuffed to Baltimore. The Orioles had been somewhat aggressive in trying to move him, but nobody had made an offer that appealed to them enough to get anything close to done. Duquette called the Red Sox a few more times to try and get them involved, but Henry just felt like it wasn’t the right time to make a move.

With how slow the market was to develop, Henry saw no harm in closing shop a day or two early, and trying to enjoy the first period of true relaxation since he bought the Red Sox.

Henry - “Susan, are you still here?”

Susan - “Yes, I am, sir. Need something?”

Henry - “Not particularly, I’m just bored. You can head home whenever you like. From what I can see, no business is going to get done for quite a while.”

Susan - “Twitter feels much the same way. I don’t know what’s going on, but nobody is doing anything, it’s almost like the game is on pause, and everyone’s just waiting and seeing who will blink first.”

Henry - “No kidding, I’ve gotten tons of possible things I could do, but in all of those cases I’ve felt as if something better is around the corner. I know I’m the new guy on the block and all of these other GMs are hungry to get a steal.”

Susan - “Well, for what it’s worth, sir, you’ve only possibly made one major mistake, and it’s one fans don’t seem to hate yet.”

Henry - “Happy holidays to you too, Susan.”

Alexander Henry’s Office - January 3rd, 1:30 PM EST

The new year came with about as much excitement as the old year had brought. That was to say that nothing was still happening.

To say this was the worst offseason in history would be an understatement. Spring Training was getting closer. The date for pitchers and catchers to report was rapidly approaching.

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven
Yu Darvish could be a surprising name to join the Red Sox. Either in a simulation or in real life.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Despite that, so many big names had yet to budge. Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, and Mike Moustakas to name a few had yet to sign. Gerrit Cole, Jose Abreu, Manny Machado, and so many other big trade chips were also still on the market as well.

Alexander Henry knew, however, that this was merely the longest calm before the storm ever. The closer it got to Spring Training, before the first signing, the more likely it was going to be that pandemonium broke out. The first domino to fall would send dominoes flying every which way.

Agents were still on the phones, trying to get the maximum dollar value, and it was looking increasingly more like each one would have to settle. Scott Boras, while not panicked, had lowered his asking price on J.D. Martinez. Instead of asking for 6/160, he’d dropped his ask to around 6/150. Ten million dollars over that time frame wasn’t a huge difference maker, but it had signaled that the market was nowhere near as strong as anyone had anticipated.

Alexander Henry, for his part, had held fast. He gave a look at his team roster, just to get an idea of where everything stood.

SP - Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright

RP - Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Tyler Thornburg, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Brian Johnson, Robby Scott, Heath Hembree

C - Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart

CI - Mitch Moreland, Rafael Devers, Hanley Ramirez

MI - Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero

OF - Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr, Mookie Betts, Giancarlo Stanton

That list came out to 27 players. He could only have 25 on his active roster once the season began. It was obvious Pedroia would start the season on the DL, but he wasn’t sure where his final cut would be at the time being. All of his catchers were out of options, as were several of his fringe relievers.

Divisional Round - Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox - Game Four
Dustin Pedroia will be riding the DL to start 2017, giving Alexander Henry a bit more roster flexibility for the time being.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There was also the matter of where to add depth. His starting pitching was very top heavy, but he lacked any insurance once he traded away Eduardo Rodriguez. He also lost two solid pitching prospects in Bryan Mata and Alex Scherff. In the case of an injury, his best options would be Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez. None of his other depth arms of much value had any MLB experience.

Henry mused over chasing Yu Darvish. With how slow the market was, could he have gotten Darvish cheaply enough to justify making a move? Adding such a player would push Steven Wright out of the rotation, and probably force a DFA of a reliever as well, but there was something to be said for going big with pitching.

The offense, with Stanton included, may well be enough to win. The pitching was solid. This was a team that could already feasibly contend. The Yankees were getting close, supposedly, to landing J.D. Martinez. Henry had no idea where that rumor had begun, but making a splash now might scare the Yankees into either making a stupid move, or into doing nothing at all. Maybe it was time.

The first domino had to fall some time.


Choose one of these options

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Focus on starting pitching. (IE - Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Gerrit Cole, depth signings. Nominate depth signings in comments)
    (73 votes)
  • 12%
    Focus on relief pitching. (IE - Koji Uehara, Huston Street, Addison Reed, depth signings. Nominate depth signings in comments)
    (23 votes)
  • 16%
    Focus on infielder market. (Eric Hosmer, Chris Carter, Chase Utley, Mike Moustakas, Manny Machado, etc. Nominate names not listed in comments)
    (31 votes)
  • 17%
    Focus on outfielder market (Jay Bruce, J.D. Martinez, etc. Nominate others in comments)
    (32 votes)
  • 14%
    Call other teams, attempting to get rid of players on MLB roster (nominate names in comments)
    (26 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

Poll closes on January 15th, at 10:00 PM EST.

For this one, you’ll note that all choices ask you to chime in with comments with specific names. I’m guessing just like you are, at this point, and you may have a name I’ve not thought much of, beforehand.

If a comment is posted, they will be considered, regardless of who they are. If the comment is rec’d enough times, Alexander Henry will even make it a priority to call that player’s agent.