Meet the 2023 Sim Phillies!


Ahhh, the off-season SBNation simulation.


The time when people of all ages and levels of baseball knowledge get together to try and run their team out of the season as best they see fit. There’s nothing better than being a GM in an armchair and talking about what moves should and shouldn’t be done, which means these simulations give people a chance to flex those muscles. What moves would you take if you were in charge of Veles?

If you are not sure how this simulation works, You can click here and read the rules that have been put in place By the great Max Ripper, General Manager of SBNation, Royals review. Basically, you have two days to do the following:

  • Accept/Reject options on players
  • Extended Qualified Offers
  • make deals
  • Signing agents are free

No Rule 5 draft, no stretches, just the nuts and bolts of how to make your team better, sometimes exponentially. You’re given a suggested budget to work with, something that makes sense to some owners while a mere footnote in the pursuit of greatness to others. I’ve done it a few times in the past few years and tried my hand again this season. It was very interesting. How did it go? Well, let’s find out!

I entered this simulation with three goals:

  • Sign one of the four biggest free agent shortstops, with Trea Turner being the ultimate target
  • Sign a starting rotation that would field well at #4 and be a close lock to start the postseason game
  • Add another piece to the list, be it via trade or free agency

You’ve got a budget of $239 million, which I thought was reasonable since it went over the initial luxury tax threshold, yet still didn’t veer into obscene amounts of spending, something I’m not sure John Middleton himself would want to do. There were some easy decisions to make (exercising Aaron Nola’s option while rejecting Zach Eflin’s and Jean Segura’s option) as well as no-holds-barred choices to be made (all players except Yairo Munoz and his million-dollar prediction). So, with the opt-out and payments factored in, that left me roughly $149 million to work with, which is a lot of money. Then I walked in unexpectedly unexpectedly with my first step.

Phyllis Ethan Wilson, Rafael Marchand and Scott Kingery traded Athletics for Sam Selman and Carlos Jurati

Yes, you read that correctly. Someone wanted a Scott Kingery.

Hey Auckland is probably the perfect place for Scott to thrive. Marchand’s trade doesn’t interest me much because I don’t think he makes headlines as often as any trade. At best, it is a deep piece in any trade. Does it hurt including Ethan Wilson? I mean, I think a little bit. But did he really do anything to Philly at the mansion that would require a jaw of life to get him away? No, so listing him for giving up Kingery’s salary is an easy decision.

Do I know of the two shooters I “acquired”? No, but I saved $8 million. That’s all that matters.

Now, to attend to some business that I have planned. In this simulation, the big names in the game are always late, but I let my interest in the four be known and waited. So I moved to the mall. This means some commercial offers. I was looking for guys who a) throw hard, b) have the team’s control on the left. The two names that stuck out were Alexis Diaz from Cincinnati and AJ Puk from Oakland (yes, that goes way back). Getting either meant parting ways with one of the Phillies’ three big arms or arguably their best prospect in Hao-Yu Lee. I wasn’t ready to do any of those deals, even after hanging out with Johan Rojas. So I went to the free agent market. I went out with…

The Phillies signed RP Seth Lugo to a two-year, $15 million contract

I’ll admit.

I’m a sucker for Lugo. Maybe it’s because he’s handled the Phillies so easily lately, maybe it’s his high curveball, but he’s one of the guys I feel the Phillies should target. He can give them longer outings if needed, and he can be used in high leverage situations – he’s so versatile. Do I trust him as a closer? Maybe not all that much, but I was also wary of giving several years to someone like Kenley Jansen (who signed for 2/26 million dollars after I made an offer of 1/16 million dollars). But for me, Lugo’s ability to adapt to whatever situation he’s in has me targeting him early on at a price that I find fairly reasonable for his ability reliever.

So, there is one thing that is checked off the list. The short player was still waiting, so we went to the rookie free agent market (in this simulation, teams want a newborn baby made of solid gold for starting pitchers to trade).

Jacob DeGrom signed to a two-year, $110 million contract.

Justin Verlander signed for 4 years, $117.5 million.

Kodai Senga signed a contract for 5 years, $100 million.

Carlos Rodon signed for 8 years, $240 million.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

The pricing started spiraling out of control quickly. Inquiries were made about all of these people, but the price points were simply a little out of the realm of reality. Even for a simulation, where the money is fake and the vibes are #good, this is an insane way to spend. So I went looking for the next guy, one who should be able to get into the #4 spot on the spin, and maybe even the #3 spot on things break right. That led us to…

Philez signed SP Nate Eovaldi to a 3-year, $55 million contract

I find this deal to be more palatable and something real Phillies should pursue. Forget about money. It’s probably too much for someone like Ivaldi. Instead, focus on the actual player.

Quietly, Eovaldi developed into a nice starting pitcher for Boston. 2021 saw him put up 5.7fWAR over 32 starts, most of his career and that showed his ability to stay healthy for a full season. His strike rates are strong, his walk rates are low in Arun Nola and his stat data is surprisingly strong as well. He throws really hard and generally has a good arsenal…if only he could stay healthy. This is the big question mark with Ivaldi. Fangraphs ranked it #15 in their list of free agents, noting:

The second tier of pitcher-free clients starts with Ivaldi and Bassett (who, fittingly, is just above it on our list). It’s easy to see why. For all his purposes, the tough right-hander struggled with injuries and home runs during his four-year stay with Boston. Those two issues derailed his 2022, and in his miserable final month, he was hit hard while pitching at below-average velocities, with his fastball in the 92-94 mph range instead of the usual 95 and above. Eovaldi’s success depends on forcing batters to prepare for the high heat to outfit the rest of his arsenal, and without being able to hit the back of 96mph on a regular basis, he’s prone to batters simply spitting on his break balls and quick performances while waiting to hit a four-seamer. And they hit plenty of four-hitters last season, posting a . 385 WOBA against them.

The good news is that Ivaldi’s secondary staff—its splitter and curver—remain above average. Less than the slider and cutter, which spilled into the strike zone a lot. It also still gets plenty of fluff. It’s keeping his pitches off the barrels that was a problem last year, and with better health and pace, that should be more doable. No team signing Eovaldi is not expected. It probably won’t get him a first-rate production, but he does have a proven track record for things and making him a viable mid-rotation player for a opposing team, assuming he can stay off the injured list.

On his contract, it might be a bit high for someone like Eovaldi, but the team will have no problem scooping him up in the postseason rotation, something the Phillies should be aiming for at this stage of roster building.

So, with a couple of things off the wish list (I added a bunch of minor league signings — Derek Law, Jake McGee, David Phelps, Joe Smith), it’s time to hit the shortstop.

Now, in this simulator, when it comes to the cream of the crop, money can get a little….unreal. Aaron Judge in this exercise has been signed to a 10-year, $500 million contract, come on. At first, I was bidding on the purchase of Tria Turner. It was too expensive, and once I made an offer of $440 million in 11 last year, I was told that was out of the way so I walked away. This is just crazy.

Turns out that was just the beginning.

Carlos Correa is gone for 10 years, $400 million. Dansby Swanson was gone for 8 years, $256 million until he left one man behind: Xander Bogaerts.

Phillies sign SS Xander Bogaerts to a 10-year, $416 million deal

I feel like writing sloppily as doing this tender.

Yes, it’s quite a lot of money for a guy who won’t be short soon.

Yes, I should have done a show on Correa and Turner. There was a mix up on Turner’s show where she actually won from me, but didn’t make it in time.

I wasn’t going to touch Swanson’s contract with a ten-foot pole, so that put me in a corner, so I went for it. Bidding went from $10/330 million to what it ended up being very, very quickly. I wasn’t happy with it at all, but I did anyway. We hope this isn’t how Dave Dombrowski negotiates.

In all honesty, Bogaerts may be the safest out of all four shortstop candidates. Turner’s pace-based game may slow as he ages, Correa has shown that even when healthy he can put up a somewhat disappointing season and Swanson’s record so far makes 2022 look like something out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t bet any of these guys play at an elite level with the bat, but for me, Bogart has done it longer and more consistently. He might just be a shortstop for a season or two, but with Bryson Stott in the fold, you could immediately make the argument for putting Bogaerts at second base in 2023 the wiser game for the Phils.

When all the dust has settled, here’s what Sim Phillies 2023 looks like:

2023 Sim Phyllis

Lined up pitching crew
Lined up pitching crew
JT Realmoto Zack Wheeler
Rhys Hoskins Aaron Nola
Bryson Stott Suarez goalkeeper
Xander Bogaerts Nate Uvaldi
Alec Boom Walter / Painter / McGarry / Abel?
Kyle Schwarber Cerancho Dominguez
Brandon Marsh Jose Alvarado
Bryce Harper Seth Lugo
Nick Castellanos Conor Brogdon
seat Andrew Pilati
Garrett Stubbs Sam Conrod
Edmund Sousa Nick Nelson
Nick Mattoon Open competition in spring training
Matt Ferling

am I Love her Love her? number.

do i like it I really. I think this kind of team could compete strongly for another pennant. If we base this list on what we saw in World ChampionshipI think they’re in a much better position to win the series than they were this year. Are there holes? yes. The bench still doesn’t fit, and the bull betting has a lot of repeat performances, but it’s a solid group.

Let me know what you think. The link above shows you all the moves made in the simulation. What would you have done differently?

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