These have been popular in the past, so here is a new twist. I asked two owners to contribute, one who made moves in the off-season to win now, and another who made moves to ensure long-term success. Now, mind you, these two strategies are not mutually exclusive, but it is interesting nevertheless. Without further ado -
The franchise was run by mtorabdaddy (current owner of Detroit) for 17 of its first 18 seasons and went 1398-1356. He guided the team to 11 stragight winning seasons, 4 playoff berths, and a World Series in Season 12. Bencap took over in Season 17 and the franchise is 269-217 in his 3 seasons.
Previous Two Seasons
A 92-70 record in Season 21 earned the Blue's a 2nd place finish in the AL South and out of the playoffs. In Season 20, Memphis finished 100-62, earning the first division title and playoff berth in franchise history.
With a payroll of $125 million, Memphis came into Season 22 with the largest payroll in 1530. A high player budget meant very low prospect, advance scout, HS scout, College Scout, and International Scouting. Medical was average and Training was high.
traded Cristobal Mantalban for Midre Cervantes
traded Chad Clarke for Omar Cerda and Pep Hodges
traded Clinton Clifton for Rico Soto and Cody Ott
traded Don Guerrero for Dicky Barnes and Albert Burnett
traded Erv Johnstone and Mateo Martinez for Cyrus Holdridge, Babe Flaherty, and Cesar Rodriguez
traded Oswaldo Pizzaro and Alberto Martinez for Ed Hellickson
traded Sandy Ramsey for Jay Owen
traded Dwight Duncan and Midre Robinson for Robin Jepsen
signed Shayne Lincoln, Greg Payne, Victor Olmeda, Livan Pascual, and Bernie Ozuna in Free Agency
selected Amos Lewis in Rule V Draft
promoted Marquis Moriarty
Going into this season I was fully expecting to compete with pretty much the same team I had last season then i was able to pretty much simaltanously owrk out a trade with Detroit involving Cristobal Mantalban, who I realized was a bad fit for my park,
for Midre Cervantes and another trade with Montreal involving Chad Clarke for Omar Cerda and Pep Hodges . At that point I had put some solid prospects in my system with one to build around in Cervantes. I still had a solid ML squad and then the offers kept pouring in for vetearns from other owners, so I figured I was in the Drivers seat at that point and would only make deals of fair value, THIS WAS NOT A SALARY DUMP,
I added legitmate prospects in a pretty barren system. Money benefit was secondary. In subsequent trades I aquired prospects Dicky Barnes Cody Ott Cesar Rodriguez Ed Hellickson and Jay Owen . I was able to stock my system while I believe keeping a still competitve ML team. I expect the ML squad to compete for a wildcard spot with great defense and solid pitching. If not the talent in the system will be ready to bloom in the next 2-3 seasons. I believe the weak free agent market and the skills of the owners in this league both contributed to this whirlwind of a season for the Memphis Blues!
This is a real lesson in how to rebuild a team that is aging and expensive. bencap went for it the last couple of seasons, fell short, and adjusted on the fly. In my opinion, based upon the budget, bencap decided to take the course of action after seeing that others were willing to take on his aging, quality vets and their remaining contracts AND offer quality prospects in return. He saw all of that money coming due in the future and had no choice, really, if he were to build for the future. He cleared $71 Million (YES $71 MILLION!) off of his Season 22 budget, $52 million off of his Season 23 budget, $42 Million off of his Season 24 budget, and $4 million off of his Season 25 budget. Amazing work. On the downside, he should have a bad season and spent so little on international scouting that we will have a hard time finding a place to put all of that saved cash. Additionally, he is limited in how he can budget next season as he can only raise his categories by $4 million. Unless, of course, he decides to move cities and re-set his budget. In all, bencap did a very good job in building for the future.
mtorabdaddy is the 6th owner of the franchise and is in his 4th season as owner. He has complied a 227-259 record and has made the playoffs once. The franchise has a total of 4 playoff appearances, but has never advanced past the DCS, and is 1571-1831 in 21 seasons.
Previous Two Seasons
A 68-93 record was a disappointment in Season 20 after a Season 19 playoff appearance. Season 21 was a dismal 58-104 campaign.
mtorab came into the season with a fairly conservative budget. He had 67 million in player salaries, 20 in prospect and medical, and averge numbers in all other categories. It certainly wasn't the budget of someone planning on going for broke. He did transfer $14 million from prospects to players once his strategy materialized.
got Cristobal Mantalban for Midre Cervantes
got Rob Park for Neifi Lee
got Benji Neill and Gustavo Melo for Freddy Shelby, Davey Wood, and Octavio Sierra
got Oswaldo Pizzaro and Alberto Martinez for Ed Hellickson
signedBenji Pulido, Yonder Cabrera, and Jim Stone in Free Agency
I initially wanted to rebuild my entire organization from the ground up but sometimes plans don't always move forward as you initially want them to. The first piece to the puzzle was acquiring Hardtke after the waiver deadline last season. My offense was awful and he was a much needed boost at the C position. I had been after Mantalban for several seasons and was finally able to land him and sign him to a long term deal so he will be a fixture at 1B for many seasons to come. The Neill/Melo deal got me the high OBP guy I was looking for while I felt a change of scenary would definitely help Melo. I look for Melo to knock on the door for a Cy Young award this season. Pulido fell into my lap at 3B because no one wanted to pay him up front. He should be a big help and was actually someone I had targeted for several seasons prior. The Pizzaro and Martinez deal was tough to move an up and coming arm but Martinez is signed to a long-term deal so I hope he can give my rotation a shot in the arm. Pizzaro was the glove I sought at SS. While I was extremely happy with my acquisitions, I did not budget properly and had to move from my prospect budget to pay for these acquisitions. I am hoping that my #1 will sign and eventually pan out to offset all of the prospects I dealt but I plan on continuing to build through the draft and FA in upcoming seasons.
Much like Memphis, Detroit did not budget for their eventual strategy, they adjusted on the fly. Once it was clear that they could acquire some major talent, they went for it, with impressive results. Neill in an MVP candidate, Melo is primed for a big season, and the other pieces all fit an area of need. Another thing to note, all of the guys that they acquired are young and have some good years left in them. Neill is unsigned for next season, but will bring a Type A if not retained. Melo is young and should be a #1 SP for Detroit for at least 5 more seasons. I see Detroit competing for a playoff berth this season and for many seasons to come. Very well done.
Both of these teams are in better shape today than tehy were at the begining of the season. Their definition of success, however, is different. Memphis succeeded in removing an avalanche of cash from their future payroll, while at the same time inject future talent into the system. Detroit took a 60 win team to a team projected to win 90 or so, all while staying within very conservative budget restraints. Both show that if you work hard on trades and adjust when an opportunity presents itself, good things can happen.