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Old 08-22-2019, 11:22 PM   #61
The_Myth
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Nov. 29, 1984

The coaching staffs in our minor league system are almost nearly set. Spending the next few days arranging meetings with new hires and checking in with agents. Not expecting a ton of work right now, as the post-meetings slump sets in.

Nov. 30, 1984

The Cubs send C Don Werner to Texas for prospects Bob Gergen and Barry Jones. I looked briefly at Werner as a potential trade target in the Russell talks, but ultimately his short-term contract (a free agent after 1985) stopped me.

Dec. 1, 1984

Our farm system is now ranked 10th in baseball thanks to the Assenmacher acquisition, as he’s the No. 81 prospect, per Baseball America. Also, I check in with Juan Beniquez, who now wants around $890K per season over one and an option. I’m thinking about it.

Dec. 2, 1984

Draft-pick signing deadline day, and we’re all set there. Meanwhile, Ken Landreaux went for a year and $370K, while Bo Diaz is going to Pittsburgh for two years and $624K.

Dec. 3, 1984

Peninsula has a pitching coach, and our staffs are all set for 1985. Great.

Meanwhile, the Royals failed to sign first-round draft pick Chad Kreuter, and Philly’s John Marzano didn’t sign with Boston.

Dec. 4, 1984

Vacation time. Listening to that Cars album Heartbeat City. Good stuff.

Dec. 5, 1984

Vacation time.

Dec. 6, 1984

Still out. The Cardinals sign RP Bob Shirley to a two-year, $656K pact.

Dec. 7, 1984

More beach time.

Dec. 8, 1984

Last day of vacation. The Royals get LF Mike Easler for two years and $1.28M.

Dec. 9, 1984

I’m back in Philly to find out the Cardinals have signed Dennis Lamp to a three-year, $1M deal. No word yet on Paul Molitor, Scott Sanderson, or Donnie Moore.

So after a few phone calls at home with fellow general managers, I hear Bill Almon has just one suitor in Montreal. The Expos make sense, as they lost shortstop Chris Speier to free agency. But that tells me that I can wait a little longer, because otherwise I might be bidding against myself.

The Hall of Fame ballot has been unveiled, and Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Jayson Stark has published a column revealing his ballot for the Class of 1985. It includes:
  • Luis Aparicio - SS - 1956-73 - Chicago White Sox
  • Lou Brock - LF - 1961-79 - St. Louis Cardinals
  • Jim Bunning - SP - 1955-71 - Philadelphia Phillies
  • Don Drysdale - SP - 1956-69 - Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Harmon Killebrew - 1B - 1954-75 - Minnesota Twins
  • Hoyt Wilhelm - RP - 1952-72 - New York Giants

Most of these nominees are returning candidates. Aparicio is in six; he garnered 67.4 percent of the vote last time, so he’s close to getting in.

Drysdale is a favorite among the writers who were born in the 50s. He had a short but potent career, and he’s close to getting in, scoring 64.7 percent of the vote last year, in year nine.

Killebrew, who hit 573 career home runs, got 71.9 percent of the vote in his third year. It’s time. Wilhelm, a groundbreaking relief pitcher with a knuckleball, earned 65 percent of the vote last year, so he’s also close.

Then there’s Bunning, obviously a local favorite who Stark claimed should be a shoo-in. He only got 36.9 percent of the vote last year, and in eight, his candidacy might be waning.

The only first-time nominee Stark is choosing is Brock, who put up 3,023 career hits and stole 938 bases, the all-time record. I can dig it. We’ll find out Jan. 23 who made it (I’m guessing Killebrew, maybe one more player, and I’ll say it’s Aparicio).
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:02 AM   #62
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Really great stuff. Love the style of writing and immersion it yields. The team and time period contribute to my enjoyment as well. Kudos, sir. Definitely will continue to follow this thread.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:05 PM   #63
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Definitely a good read! Enjoying it.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:17 PM   #64
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Definitely a good read! Enjoying it.
Ditto.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:39 AM   #65
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Thanks everyone! Much more to come (I'm well ahead in the sim right now and writing as I go, so there's a lot in the can). Got a good update tonight!
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:23 PM   #66
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Dec. 10, 1984

It’s Monday, and I’m back at the office. I learn from another general manager that Baltimore is shopping Eddie Murray. The 28-year-old first baseman hit .270/.339/.439 last season, lows from his season averages, but had 69 walks to 75 strikeouts and knocked 56 extra-base hits. He’s also a good defensive first baseman. He is a free agent after 1985, so any deal couldn’t be an overpay, but I’m interested as I need to fill first base, and Paul Molitor isn’t a done deal or anything.

I call Orioles GM Dylan Henderson, and he wants more than I’d want to give him. I also hear a rumor that Montreal might be trying to trade Andre Dawson. Makes me think there’s more to that Achilles injury he suffered last season. That must be the only explanation that the Expos would want to part with him, and it doesn’t make me jump at making a deal.

Dec. 11, 1984

I get into work at 8:14 a.m., and my assistant tells me Paul Molitor’s agent Ron Simon called. I rush into my office, take a few breaths, sip some coffee, then call back.

“Ron!”

“What’s it, 39 degrees today in Philly?”

“Yeah. About that. Snow likely tomorrow.”

“Yeah. I tell ya it seems crazy to me that my client doesn’t mind jumping from one snowy place to another, but then again he’s from Minnesota. I think he likes it, ya know?.”

“Huh. Yeah. Wait. What’s the call about?”

“I’m saying I have to figure out whether we should wait til the storm passes before we fly into Philadelphia. I imagine you’ll want a press conference …”

My eyes bug out. I pause.

“Four years and the option?”

“Yes sir. $6.65 million. Fax us over the examination paperwork and he’ll get that done today.”

“Sure thing.”

I hang up. I breathe. I scream like a damn fool. The team races into my office. We pour coffee, we pour a little liquor in our coffee. We scream a lot more.

SIGNED

Paul Molitor - 3B - 4 years + 1989 team option, $6.65 million

We prepare paperwork, then I call Dick Howser. He’s ecstatic. I call Mike Schmidt. He’s happy and excited to learn a new position. I have lunch with my inner-circle at my favorite spot by Rittenhouse Square. After lunch, we’re told the physical was a piece of cake. Then I get a call from Jayson Stark, who was informed by Simon. I provide a quote.

“One of the premiere hitters in baseball will be putting on maroon pinstripes. Molitor is a terrific player and should help get that World Series trophy back to Philadelphia.”

What a day.

SP Shane Rawley signs a three-year, $2.23 million pact with the Yankees, while RP Bob McClure will get $1.272 million over three years with Boston.

Finally, Donnie Moore is back, telling us the Dodgers have a better offer on the table. We’re willing to boost that average value a little, but we don’t want to touch three years with a third-year option. That feels right. We go $485K in year one, $535K in year two, and $635K in the option year.

RP Donnie Moore - 3Y/$1.655M including team option (considering)

Dec. 12, 1984

Surprise! Phils Snag Top Free Agent Bat
By Jayson Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

For fans who thought the 1985 Phillies would be even worse than the 1984 crew, well, hold those thoughts.

Around 4:15 p.m. Monday, the Phils confirmed the free-agent signing of Paul Molitor. The former Milwaukee Brewer and 1980 all-star third baseman agreed to a five-year contract—four years guaranteed—with the Phils worth $6.65 million in total. A physical examination was completed Monday.

For the organization, Molitor represented a very secret white whale. He’ll instantly pair with Mike Schmidt in the middle of what seems to now be a rejuvenated Phillies offense.

“One of the premiere hitters in baseball will be putting on maroon pinstripes,” said a source close to negotiations on Monday. “Molitor is a terrific player and should help get that World Series trophy back to Philadelphia.”

Molitor is a smallish slash hitter with a superb eye, workable power, and a fine frame. The 6-foot, 180-pound Minnesota native has a career .291 batting average with a .348 on-base percentage. He has 67 lifetime home runs, but more impressive, 177 doubles. Besides 1981, when he suffered a slew of nicks and bruises that benched him for half the season, Molitor has been a steady force at the batters box and on the basepaths. He stole 27 bases last season, 41 in each of the two years before that.

Phillies fans can start imagining how Molitor’s presence boosts the lineup of a team that won just 75 games in 1984, its fewest total in a full 162-game season since 1973. He’ll make a great pairing with Juan Samuel, who swiped a rookie-high 74 bags last year, and is a right-handed mirror image of Von Hayes, the mighty stick with an excellent contact, eye and speed game.

Then there’s Schmidt, who should be happy that another skilled hitter is on his squad, but the eight-time Gold Glove winner might have to move to first base to accommodate Molitor. A press conference to introduce Molitor may take place as early as Thursday.

***

The story topped the Inquirer’s sports coverage, beating mid-week stories about the 6-8-1 Eagles, a recap of a tough loss against the New York Knicks for the 16-5 76ers, and a recap of another tough overtime loss, this time against the Winnipeg Jets, for the 17-5-5 Flyers.

Fans are asking about ticket packages for 1985. Interest is up. Paul Molitor means big bucks. And Mike Schmidt calls Stark and lets him know he’s great with moving to first base.

Later in the day I find out that the Pirates have signed Rick Reuschel to a one-year, $580K deal. With that, I’ll get a supplemental-round draft pick in 1985.

The Orioles try to trade me C Rick Dempsey for SP Charles Hudson. Stop trying, teams.

And finally, back to Bill Almon. My final offer: Year one, $900K; year two, $1M; year three, $1.1M. And that’s an option year. If he hates it, fine. I’m not going three guaranteed for him, and I’m certainly not paying him any more than $1M per season.

Dec. 13, 1984

Almon’s agent calls: Nope. Fine, see ya later, Bill.

Later in the day I’m told Almon has signed with the Yankees, who were, in fact, in it all along. The deal: three guaranteed years and $2.91M. Heh. I’m happy with this. If he didn’t have confidence in his ability to play well over two seasons (to activate a team option), he wasn’t worth it.

Time to pivot: UL Washington is my next choice. Not sexy at the plate (.259/.291/.339 last season), but he has speed and defense, and for one year (possibly with an option), he’d be completely fine.

We look at a second year and decide an option is a good idea. Steve Jeltz could become a starter by year’s end, but he also could struggle. There are no solid upgrades at shortstop in next year’s free-agent class, and our farm system just doesn’t have anyone between Jeltz and the 17-year-old Gregg Jefferies. We might need two years of Mr. Toothpick. I call his agent and offer $265K in year one, $325K in the option year.

SS UL Washington - 2Y/$590K including team option (considering)

Glenn Hubbard goes to Montreal on a four-year, $3.15M deal. He’s a bad clubhouse influence, so I’m cool with him coming into the division.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:45 PM   #67
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Dec. 14, 1984

RP Don Aase goes to the Astros for three years and $1.332M. Feeling good about our Donnie Moore offer. And SP Mike LaCoss signs up with the Yankees for three years and $2 million. Wow.

At 11 a.m. we have the Paul Molitor press conference. First question is if I’m sure that Mike Schmidt is cool with moving to first base, and I say you’d have to ask him, but as a team we just want to win. From there, Molitor says all the right things about having the opportunity to win a championship and having faith in the organization. High confidence levels around the office.

Dec. 15, 1984

Donnie Moore’s agent checks in, telling us things are looking good. That sounds good here.

Dec. 16, 1984

The Eagles season ends with a thud at 6-9-1. I check in with Juan Beniquez’s camp, and he still wants a deal of about $1.7M over two years (one guaranteed). Would like to bring that down, and we’re still uncertain about him.

Dec. 17, 1984

Danny Darwin signs with the Dodgers for two years and $944K. He was our back-up plan for Scott Sanderson. Now we have to nail it on Sanderson, and maybe look at another back-up plan.

Meanwhile, big staff meeting. We decide to make an offer to Juan Beniquez, believing he won’t hamstring our ability to develop players like Jeff Stone; plus, we’re a little worried about Dave Stegman. We need insurance.

Also, we talk about getting backup plans for starting pitcher and relief pitcher. At starter we dig Juan Berenguer (48/48), who walks a bit too many (4 BB/9 last season) but keeps the ball in the yard. And at reliever we like Tim Stoddard (51/51), who put up a 6.09 ERA last season in Baltimore, but had a 7.8 K/9.

We also address the Mike Schmidt-to-first-base talk, and decide we have to keep our focus on winning, and especially by 1987. If we sell this move as a long-term good move for all involved, leading to another title, we think we can navigate the obstacles. We anticipate at least one.

Then I chat with Beniquez’s agent, who is steadfast on two years, though the second can be an option year. While I try for one year, I agree two is fine. I offer year one at $833K and year two at $913K, after the option. We add on a bonus for plate appearances (550), which basically says “If we can’t find better options, you get more.”

1B/3B/LF/CF/RF Juan Beniquez - 2Y/$1.746M including team option (considering)

Berenguer’s agent says the Expos have offered a contract, so we’re in a little bit of a pickle. If we offer Berenguer a contract and he accepts before Sanderson, we’re going to have to pull back on Sanderson or try to make a quick trade, but we’ll get less value for sure. I decide to hold off on an offer.

And speaking of the Expos, they also have an offer in for Stoddard. Same idea, really. We decide to hold off here, too. But we’ve offered a lot to Moore; if he comes back with another request, maybe we’ll pivot.

Also in the meeting we talked about the Rule 5 Draft, which is just three days away. We have just 30 on our 40-man roster, so we need to come up with a list of 10 players we’d like to protect in advance. We may not protect all of them, but this is a start.

Dec. 18, 1984

Today we finalize our list of 10 prospects we may protect:
  • C Mike LaValliere - AA
  • LF/CF Bruce Fields - AAA
  • SP Steve Witt - AA
  • RP Rich Gaynor - AAA
  • 1B Francisco Melendez - AA
  • 1B/2B/3B/SS Steve Kiefer - AAA
  • LF Jim Olander - AA
  • LF/CF Randy Salava - AAA
  • 1B Al Leboeuf - AA
  • SP Steve Fireovid - AAA

The first six are about right. We’ll see what happens in the next few days, but I want to keep a few 40-man spots open, obviously. At least three.

Dec. 19, 1984

The first of the veteran pitchers signs, as 39-year-old Don Sutton locks in on three years and $2.45 million with Toronto, who I imagine will want to add one more starter. Nolan Ryan is still out there …

And Houston proposes a trade: SS Craig Reynolds for 1B Len Matuszek and RF Willie Darkis. Reynolds has been dangled to me a lot, and I’m honestly intrigued. He isn’t a great hitter (224 PA, .246/.275/.299, 6 XBH) and lacks speed (40), but he’s an outstanding defender (70 everything) and is a free agent after 1985. Compared to UL Washington, he might be a slightly better choice. Then again, Washington has speed, and his defense isn’t much worse. But we’re offering Washington more money than what Reynolds is making.

Also, we don’t need Matuszek. In fact, there’s really nowhere to put him. So this makes sense.

But what do we need, more defense at shortstop or more speed? Reynolds will play unreal defense there, making up for Juan Samuel’s issues, but he’ll also steal just a few bags, while Washington could steal 20-30. That said, Washington’s defense is suspect even when he’s rated highly (he committed a pretty high 36 errors at short in 1983).

After much discussion, we decide Washington will age a little better, and his error bar isn’t as wide as Reynolds’ for 1985. We decide not to do the trade. But we shop Matuszek around.

And the best bite I get is Bill Lyons of St. Louis. He’s a 33/35, but plays every infield position well enough to fill in, along with center field. He’s also a 70 speed, 75 stealing, and 70 baserunning. The kind of utility knife I’d love to have on the team. And at this point he would really fill out the (likely) bench:

Tommy Thompson - C
Bill Lyons - 1B/3B/CF/2B/SS
Steve Jeltz - 2B/SS
Mike Diaz - C/1B/LF/RF/3B
Jeff Stone - LF/CF
Joe Lefebvre - LF/RF/3B

If we add Beniquez, that probably spells doom for Lefebvre, but it’s also possible Jeltz starts 1985 in AAA.

Anyway, we ask for Lyons and RP Joe Boever (24/37), who’s 24 already and only maxing out in A-ball. But he seems better than that, carrying a 60 changeup and 45 fastball and slider. He should start 1985 in AA. It’s a done deal, and it's done very quickly.

TRADE

To St. Louis Cardinals

1B Len Matuszek

To Philadelphia Phillies

1B/3B/CF/2B/SS Bill Lyons
RP Joe Boever
$30,000 cash

Finally, we protect those six players we agreed on protecting ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
  • C Mike LaValliere added to 40-man roster
  • LF/CF Bruce Fields added to 40-man roster
  • SP Steve Witt added to 40-man roster
  • RP Rich Gaynor added to 40-man roster
  • 1B Francisco Melendez added to 40-man roster
  • 1B/2B/3B/SS Steve Kiefer added to 40-man roster
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:56 AM   #68
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Maybe you'll get a surprise gem in the Rule 5 draft.
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Old 08-30-2019, 01:33 PM   #69
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You may be disappointed (I didn't take anyone -- didn't like the talent eligible).
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Old 08-30-2019, 01:37 PM   #70
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Dec. 20, 1984

It’s Rule 5 Draft day, and perusing what looks like a paltry group, I don’t feel the need to pick anyone this year. I just don’t have a major league spot worth filling with a flier like that.

So we’ll pass up our spots (we pick 10th). And here’s what happens:

1. Texas Rangers - Ed Romero - 2B - 34/35
2. Baltimore Orioles - Bob Tumpane - 1B - 33/37
3. Oakland Athletics - Alex Trevino - C - 41/41
4. California Angels - Lee Mazzili - LF - 46/46
5. Houston Astros - Jim Slaton - RP - 48/48
6. Chicago Cubs - Clint Hurdle - C - 38/41
8. Milwaukee Brewers - Bobby Miscik - 2B - 33/36
11. Cleveland Indians - Manny Sarmiento - SP - 39/39
14. Boston Red Sox - Tom Dodd - 1B - 30/36
16. Montreal Expos - Ed Wojna - SP - 40/42
17. Minnesota Twins - Duane Walker - LF - 38/42
18. New York Mets - Bob Kearney - C - 37/38
21. Kansas City Royals - Tim Krauss - 2B - 32/33
29. Baltimore Orioles - Rick Lancelotti - CF - 34/35
30. Oakland Athletics - Pete Vuckovich - SP - 35/35
37. Cleveland Indians - Steve Fireovid - SP - 37/37
56. Oakland Athletics - Steve Comer - SP - 39/39

So I lose Bob Kearney and Steve Fireovid. The latter is a bummer, but I didn’t promote him last year, so it looks like a change of scenery might work.

Dec. 21, 1984

The Royals sign RP Gary Lavelle for 2 years and $1.12M. Come on, Donnie Moore …

Dec. 22, 1984

Nothing yet, and Christmas is approaching. Gah.

Dec. 23, 1984

Time for a holiday break. Hopefully things pick up after the chestnuts are roasted.

Dec. 24, 1984

Christmas Eve and I’m listening to this badass Daryl Hall & John Oates album. “Out of Touch?” That slaps.

Dec. 25, 1984

Christmas Day, and I get some unfortunate news. Seems pitcher Curt Young somehow suffered a concussion while changing a flat tire. On Christmas Eve. Poor guy, though I’m not sure how he got a concussion …

Meanwhile, Minnesota acquires LF Dusty Baker from San Francisco, while the Giants get top-100 prospect SP Mark Portugal and C Stan Holmes. Giants are rebuilding.

And the Brewers sign SP Dan Petry for three years and $2.67M. Alright then …

Dec. 26, 1984

On Christmas night I got a call from Donnie Moore’s agent. Seems the reliever was feeling spirited and decided to sign on the line that is dotted.

SIGNED

Donnie Moore - RP - 3 years + 1987 team option, $1.665 million


Feeling good, I poured an egg nog (spiked, naturally), but decided to wait to call my team. But then I got a second call … it was Scott Sanderson’s agent. Christmas had come!

SIGNED

Scott Sanderson - SP - 2 years, $870,000


Also late on Christmas, Don Robinson signed with Houston for three years and $1.026M. Boy do I feel good about my moves.

We have $2.846M left to spend on free agents, with two whales still out there in Juan Beniquez and UL Washington.
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:03 PM   #71
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Dec. 27, 1984

Wow. Juan Beniquez’s agent calls to say he won’t be signing with us. Instead, he goes with the Royals for two years and $1.6M (including a team option in year two). That’s a worse deal than we offered. But Kansas City is going to let him play first base - maybe he just wanted that? Man.

Other moves: SP Doyle Alexander gets two years and $1.64M with Baltimore; SP Juan Berenguer (our backup after Sanderson) gets $840K over one year with Montreal (that’s a lot of cash); the Cardinals sign RP Warren Brusstar to a one-year, $450K pact; Tim Stoddard (our backup plan for Moore) goes to the Expos for two years and $808K; and last but certainly not least, Nolan Ryan is going to … California. He’ll return to the Angels on a two-year, $1.76M contract. Honestly, not bad by the Angels.

But now we’re pondering whether we should go after anyone else. We look at Gary Ward (49/49), who can play left and right field and has 60 contact and 55 speed. Our kind of guy. But he also wants a five-year deal. Uh, nope.

Then we check out Billy Sample, a 43/43 who plays left and right, has 55 speed, and puts the ball in play. He only wants a minor league deal with a promote-within-30-day guarantee. I love it. I’m in.

LF/RF/CF Billy Sample - Minor league contract with $275K guarantee if promoted within 30 days (considering)

Dec. 28, 1984

I offer a minor league contract to Don Fowler, a 28-year-old pitcher with pretty mediocre stuff (35/35/35), but he’s a live arm. Plus, we apparently drafted him back in 1975. Why not take a chance on him again?

Dec. 29, 1984

We also offer a minor league deal to catcher Milt May, who’s 34 and can provide depth in the high minors.

Dec. 30, 1984

UL Washington’s agent tells us we’re in the lead. Can’t have a Juan Beniquez thing happen here.

Dec. 31, 1984

Welp, Don Fowler signs a minor league contract with San Diego. I’m hoping he thinks he has a better chance of making the major league club there. That’s my hope. That’s it.

I decide, then, to offer a contract to Pete Falcone, but this time with a possible guarantee of $150K. He’s the most garden-variety pitcher there is (40/45/40 with three pitches that are 40/45/40).
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Old 09-04-2019, 12:19 AM   #72
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Jan. 1, 1985

Welcome to 1985. First deal of the new year: Dan Quisenberry runs it back with the Royals for two years and $862K. Not as much as he wanted, I’d bet, but I just can’t see much more success with those pitches (50/30/25/30). But he knows KC, so it makes sense that Kansas City brings him back.

Jan. 2, 1985

Scouring the free agent ranks, and I’m not high on anyone else. Ruppert Jones? Nah. Gene Garber? I want to give some kids a chance in my bullpen.

Jan. 3, 1985

Oh geez. Chuck Rainey of the Cubs lost his dog Eddie. He just ran off into the country, chasing after another pooch. Big story considering there’s nothing else happening in the league. I hope Eddie comes back OK.

Also, the Astros are still trying to trade us Craig Reynolds. Stop it.

Jan. 4, 1985

Milt May update: looking good. Great. Somebody sign a contract.

Meanwhile, the Mets trade 3B Jon Jaha and 2B Brian Giles to San Francisco for C Bob Brenly, as the Giant rebuild continues. Brenly is one of the better backstops in the game, boosting the Mets offense.

Jan. 5, 1985

More moves: Detroit signs RP Tom Burgmeier to a one-year, $640K deal. Imagine, Burgmeier getting more per season than Dan Quisenberry.

And 1B Andre Thornton gets one year and $386K from Boston.

Jan. 6, 1985

OK: Milt May is on board. And Pete Falcone is in good spirits and may decide soon.

Finally, Atlanta gets Manny Trillo from the Giants, while 1B Wayne Harrison and RP Jeff Dedmon head to San Francisco.

Considering all the moves by the Giants, I ask about some of the their top players (Jack Clark, Chili Davis, Mike Krukow), but they want too much from me. No thanks.

Jan. 7, 1985

Nothing new. Sometimes these days happen.

Jan. 8, 1985

Now Billy Sample says he’s happy with our offer. Great. What about UL Washington?

Jan. 9, 1985

Quiet days at the office.

Jan. 10, 1985

Tons of first basemen out there right now. I don’t need one, but maybe I should inquire? Nah.

Jan. 11, 1985

One 1B is gone: 37-year-old Cliff Johnson signs a three-year, $3.24M deal with Cleveland. Yuck. What are the Indians doing?

Jan. 12, 1985

The Tigers continue to add, getting RP Gene Garber for two years and $926K.

And a Missouri trade: The Cardinals move 2B Terry Pendleton and RP Bruce Sutter to Kansas City for 1B Steve Balboni and 3B Luis de los Santos. Weird trade, but I suppose it’s a strength-for-strength deal. Plus the Royals probably needed to move Balboni after acquiring Juan Beniquez.

Jan. 13, 1985

And here we go: UL Washington’s agent calls and says we’re all set.

SIGNED

UL Washington - SS/3B/2B - 1 year + 1986 team option, $590,000


I’m locked in on the major league roster, I think. The 40-man roster is at 39, and I added 7.1 WAR in the offseason, third in baseball to Baltimore and Detroit. I feel good about being competitive in 1985.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:14 PM   #73
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Very creative, I'm enjoying reading this. Just wondering if you're using recalc.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:44 PM   #74
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Thanks!

I'm doing a three-year recalc with the development engine turned on. And aging speed is .750 for batters, .735 for pitchers. Development speed is 1.000 for both batters and pitchers, and randomness is 100.

I wanted something that paralleled real-life, but only to an extent, allowing for more than enough variation. And as I'm playing in 1985 (I'm further along than my posts right now), I can see that's very true. It offers enough of a challenge while maintaining a semblance of what was happening back then.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:49 PM   #75
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Jan. 14, 1985

We’re about to hit the dead zone of the offseason, and we still have a month before spring training. The team is going to spend the next few days going over minor league rosters and figuring out who goes where in 1985. That’ll determine any signings we make between now and when we report to Clearwater.

Jan. 15, 1985

The Indians continue to make moves, sending 1B Pat Tabler and 1B Joe Citari to Baltimore for C Rick Dempsey. Again, I have no idea what Cleveland is doing.

Going through the minor league rosters, we decide another center field option isn’t a bad idea. We offer a minor league contract (with an option) to CF Larry Harlow. He’s 33 years old ad has bounced between AAA and the majors. Sounds right.

Jan. 16, 1985

RP Pete Falcone says yes to us. He gets a minor league deal.

Jan. 17, 1985

Long weekend off ahead for me. Because why not?

Jan. 18, 1985

Great news: Chicago pitcher Chuck Rainer’s dog Eddie returned home alive. Yay Eddie!

Jan. 19, 1985

Long weekend continues.

Jan. 20, 1985

CF Larry Harlow is close to signing. Cool.

Jan. 21, 1985

Back at work; paperwork and meetings.

Jan. 22, 1985

Larry Harlow has signed. Yipee!

Jan. 23, 1985

The Baseball Writers of America has announced its Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1985:
  • Harmon Killebrew - 91.3 percent of vote / 4th year of eligibility
  • Don Drysdale - 76 percent of vote / 10th year of eligibility

Hoyt Wilhelm (70 percent), Luis Aparicio (65.1 percent), and Lou Brock (58.9 percent) look like they’ll eventually get in.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:18 PM   #76
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1985 could be a decent year for you. Good luck!!
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:40 PM   #77
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Jan. 24, 1985

More paperwork; more meetings.

Jan. 25, 1985

Friday meetings.

Jan. 26, 1985

Because we need more left fielders, Billy Sample signed his minor league offer sheet and joins our spring training family.

Jan. 27, 1985

Sunday rest.

Jan. 28, 1985

Texas signed LF Gary Ward to a two-year, $1.4 million pact. Not a bad player, probably the best one left on the board.

Jan. 29, 1985

Situating everything for our Clearwater residency this spring.

Jan. 30, 1985

Making some calls to players who’ll be joining us in Clearwater.

Jan. 31, 1985

Devising plans for the 60-man spring roster.

Feb. 1, 1985

The Astros finally trade SS Craig Reynolds, and it’s to the Padres for 36-year-old 1B Steve Garvey. I really hope not trading for Reynolds doesn’t bite us in the butt. (Basically, I hope UL Washington doesn’t commit more than 30 errors in 1985.)

Feb. 2, 1985

We’re out of the offseason and into the preseason. Bill Giles added to my budget, so now I have nearly $4 million to spend. Not going after any more big-name free agents (of course, there are none left).

Feb. 3, 1985

I do, however, offer a minor league contract with an MLB option to Dave Kingman. “Kong” hit 15 home runs with a .208 average last year with Oakland. He’ll just get a few chances to mash taters in spring training.

Feb. 4, 1985

Also offering a minor league contract with a major league option to Jamie Easterly. The lefty put up a 4.07 ERA in 48.2 innings last season with Cleveland and the White Sox. More walks than strikeouts, but hey, let’s give the guy a shot.

Feb. 5, 1985

The league is quiet.

Feb. 6, 1985

Still quiet.

Feb. 7, 1985

The Yankees nab SP Steve Trout for two years and $1.16 million. Can’t believe players are still going for this much at this point of the winter.

Feb. 8, 1985

Dave Kingman is in good spirits. Good update.

Feb. 9, 1985

And Dave Kingman is on board. Come to Clearwater, Kong!

Feb. 10, 1985

Happy weekend. A few minor league signings, but that’s it.

Feb. 11, 1985

Nothing new happening here, but the trucks are leaving for Florida!

Feb. 12, 1985

We’re packing up for Clearwater. Flying out tomorrow night.

Feb. 13, 1985

Seattle grabbed Garry Templeton on a minor league deal. I hope we don’t regret that we didn’t do that.

Anyway, hopping on board our USAir flight. Catch you in Clearwater.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:16 PM   #78
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Feb. 14, 1985

The pitchers and catchers are reporting today! And we’re in Clearwater with briefcases filled with notes, plus radar guns, and shiny new pens. Excited for the 1985 season to get going.

Feb. 15, 1985

Lunches, dinners, meeting folks. It’s nice being back in Clearwater.

Feb. 16, 1985

Beach time, just for a few hours. Whiskey and meetings for more hours.

Feb. 17, 1985

More meetings before the rest of the team reports Monday.

Feb. 18, 1985

RF Ruppert Jones signs a minor league deal with Houston, while Alan Knicely locks up with the Royals on a minor league contract. Tough offseasons for them.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team reports for spring training. Full team workouts start tomorrow, and I give my first press conference of the campaign. I tout Paul Molitor’s game-changing offensive ability and new manager Dick Howser’s steady hand, talk up Mike Schmidt’s leadership and Juan Samuel’s heightened role in the clubhouse, and promote the tweaks we made to the pitching staff.

“We’re balancing being both competitive right now and prepared for the future,” I say to the scrum. “It’s a critical year for us, and I think we’re going to surprise.”

Later in the evening, Dave Kingman asks to have a drink with me and Dick. He tells me he was having second thoughts about reporting to camp. “No ****, boys, it was hard signing that minor league deal. Knowing I didn’t have a guaranteed job anywhere kinda put it in perspective. I’m cooked.”

We toast to Kong, who has retired at age 37. He hit 357 career home runs with a .472 slugging mark.

Feb. 19, 1985

We turn around and decide to offer the same kind of deal to veteran SS Dave Concepcion. Just need a little more competition at that position. And the Mets visit to share the field with us for the day.

Feb. 20, 1985

Topps is here today, shooting photos of players they didn’t capture back in August 1984, when they snapped us at Dodger Stadium. Plenty of prospects and rookies getting the treatment, including Jeff Stone, Paul Assenmacher, Todd Worrell, Rick Schu, Mike LaValliere, and Steve Jeltz. Also, obviously, Paul Molitor, Donnie Moore, Scott Sanderson, and UL Washington among newbies getting profile shots and “action” poses. They also wanted Mike Schmidt taking grounders at first base - I detected a heavy sigh.

Feb. 21, 1985

The Yankees grab Dave Parker from Cincinnati in exchange for catcher Butch Wynegar. An even trade, I suppose.

Feb. 22, 1985

We get a visit today from Jim Bunning and Robin Roberts. Scott Sanderson seemed to take a shining to them, and Kevin Gross, who’s trying to improve his fastball, was learning all he could from Roberts.

Feb. 23, 1985

The boys had a day off, giving them some time to explore the beaches.

Feb. 24, 1985

Not everyone was at church today. But everyone showed up for brunch.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:04 PM   #79
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Feb. 25, 1985

Last week of workouts before the games begin. Dick Howser let the veterans take some additional time off, which I’m fine with. Apparently over this long weekend, Schmidty took a couple guys out for a few rounds of golf in the Gulf area.

Feb. 26, 1985

Dave Concepcion has signed and arrived at camp. He found few veterans around, but was told they’d return tomorrow. No mind - he joined the kids for infield drills.

Feb. 27, 1985

The vets return. Schmidty embraced Davey, then the two joined the rest of the guys for infield drills. Molitor and Schmidty apparently played better ball throughout the weekend … it’s going to be that kind of season.

Feb. 28, 1985

Mark Funderburk was hitting balls 480 feet away in batting practice. Would love to see another power breakout there.

March 1, 1985

The boys are playing a lot of that Don Henley song “The Boys of Summer,” and Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On.” Makes sense, I suppose. I’d rather jam out to this new Phil Collins album.

March 2, 1985

I drive out to a remote beach for a day and a night. Just one getaway before the fun really begins. “I Don’t Wanna Know” on repeat.

March 3, 1985

Morning on the beach, then a nice drive back to Clearwater with that smash groove “One More Night” in my head. If only. Time to go, boys.

Here’s the 60-man roster we’re going with for spring:

Catcher

C/1B - Darren Daulton - 23 - 48/65
C/1B/2B/3B - Tommy Thompson - 27 - 33/37
C/3B - Mike LaValliere - 24 - 31/48
C/1B - Mike Martin - 26 - 24/30
C - Milt May - 34 - 21/21

Daulton and Thompson are likely to be the tandem in Philadelphia, though Martin will get a chance to push for a job. May is here more as a veteran presence, while LaValliere should stick around for a couple weeks to get his feet wet.

Corner Infield

1B/3B - Mike Schmidt - 35 - 60/60
3B - Paul Molitor - 28 - 51/55
1B/C/LF/RF/3B - Mike Diaz - 24 - 45/47
3B/1B/2B/CF/SS - Bill Lyons - 26 - 32/33
3B/1B/2B/SS - Rich Schu - 23 - 29/38
1B/RF - Mark Funderburk - 27 - 27/27
1B - Francisco Melendez - 21 - 25/34

Schmidt and Molitor are in, while Diaz should secure a spot being our best utility option. Beyond that, Lyons has a decent shot. Schu should get to play third base at AAA Portland, while Melendez will start there at first.

Middle Infield

2B - Juan Samuel - 24 - 47/47
SS/3B/2B - UL Washington - 31 - 38/38
SS/3B - Dave Concepcion - 36 - 34/34
2B/3B/SS - Luis Aguayo - 25 - 32/37
2B/1B/3B/SS - Steve Kiefer - 24 - 27/40
SS/2B/3B - Steve Jeltz - 25 - 27/37

Samuel and Washington are penciled in. Concepcion will have to prove there’s no rust. The middle infield bench role should be an interesting battle between Aguayo, Kiefer, and Jeltz. The losers start in Portland, naturally.

Corner Outfield

LF/1B/CF/RF - Von Hayes - 26 - 52/58
RF/LF - Glenn Wilson - 26 - 42/42
LF/RF/CF - Billy Sample - 29 - 39/39
LF/RF/CF - Jeff Stone - 24 - 35/35
LF/CF - Bruce Fields - 24 - 30/35
LF/RF/1B/CF/2B/SS - Alan Bannister - 33 - 30/30
LF/CF - Larry Ray - 26 - 29/32
LF/3B - Chris James - 22 - 26/43
RF/LF/3B - Joe Lefebvre - 29 - 22/22
RF/CF - Jay Erdahl - 26 - 21/25
LF/CF/RF/1B/3B - Bobby Brown - 30 - 20/20

A lot of guys here. Sample, Bannister, and Brown are on minor league deals with options, so they might not make it to Portland anyway (though Sample is pretty good, still). Lefebvre is the interesting one here, a bit of an afterthought just a year removed from being, basically, our starting right fielder. Also, I could start Hayes at center field if I thought Stone (or maybe Sample) deserved to start 1985 in the everyday lineup.

Center Field

CF/RF/LF - Dave Stegman - 31 - 39/39
CF/RF - Luis Polonia - 21 - 29/47
CF/LF - Larry Harlow - 33 - 20/20

For now, Stegman is the man in the majors. Harlow’s on an option deal and might not make it, while Polonia will get a two-week taste of spring.

Starting Pitcher

SP - John Denny - 32 - 56/56
SP - Steve Carlton - 40 - 53/53
SP - Charles Hudson - 25 - 52/52
SP - Kevin Gross - 23 - 49/49
SP - Scott Sanderson - 28 - 48/48
SP - Kelly Downs - 23 - 34/42
SP - Tim Belcher - 23 - 29/40
SP - Joe Johnson - 28 - 28/28
SP - Curt Young - 24 - 27/27
SP - Steve Witt - 22 - 26/26
SP - Mike Maddux - 22 - 25/40

There’s a clear delineation between my MLB starters and my AAA starters. Downs, Johnson, Young, and Maddux are likely to head to Portland, while Belcher and Witt begin the season in Reading. There isn’t really competition here, unless things go haywire. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Relief Pitcher

RP - Bill Campbell - 36 - 56/56
RP - Larry Andersen - 31 - 55/55
RP - Donnie Moore - 32 - 52/52
RP - Don Carman - 25 - 50/50
RP - Tug McGraw - 40 - 43/43
RP - Paul Assenmacher - 24 - 38/51
RP - Todd Worrell - 25 - 38/45
RP - Pete Falcone - 31 - 35/35
RP - John McLarnan - 23 - 34/34
RP - Arturo Gonzalez - 29 - 33/33
RP - Kenneth Walker - 24 - 32/34
RP - Karl Best - 25 - 31/31
RP - Chuck Cary - 25 - 29/33
RP - Rich Gaynor - 22 - 28/28
RP - Ben Hayes - 27 - 23/23
RP - Bob Long - 30 - 22/22
RP - Rip Rollins - 25 - 20/20

I’m pretty sure Campbell, Andersen, Moore, Carman, and McGraw are in ink for the bullpen. That leaves space for one, maybe two pitchers, and it’s really up for grabs. Up to three of these pitchers could be let go completely after spring (those final three are the frontrunners).

So I have a few true competitions (middle infield, bench outfielder, utility bat, reliever) and possibilities for a few others. I think my depth has improved from 1984, when there were very few actual battles in the spring. That’s good news as we begin the 30-game exhibition schedule.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:23 PM   #80
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Assenmacher and Worrell could surprise you! The rest are a crap shoot. Be interesting to see how Spring Training plays out.
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