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Old 05-06-2016, 04:36 PM   #1
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The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4

20 Nov 2034

So, I'm no longer the GM of the Oakland A's. It's official. After 20 years, it's over. Two decades. As I drove home from the Coliseum for the last time earlier today, I felt a sense of melancholy, and yet also a sense that it was time for me to go. We'd won nine World Series rings. David Forstar has inherited from me a fantastic, 119-win roster of stars, even if I do say so myself. But I've taken them as far as I can. I'm tired and jaded, and after all that time, I need a break away from the game for a while. Job number one: a big sleep with no alarm to wake me up in the morning.

21 Nov 2034

I clearly have some kind of problem. I've been retired as a GM for less than 24 hours and I'm already bored. I want to get back in the game. Not to Oakland, though, some place else. I miss the buzz, the stats, the fans. I even miss bitching about the salary arbitration panel and their bonkers decisions. I phoned my agent, Den Percent, who told me to stop being a fool and go on a holiday somewhere, anywhere. It's been twenty years since my last one so I'm not entirely sure what to do.

I happened to notice a small news item on the Baseball News Network website, which said that three teams back home in the English Baseball Association have fired their GMs today and are actively looking to recruit replacements.
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:55 PM   #2
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30 Nov 2034

I'm staying with my parents back home in Manchester, England. Shock, horror, it's raining. I've been here less than a day and already they've forgotten I'm a grown adult and have lapsed back into treating me like an unruly teenager. My mum suggested I tidy my room until I pointed out that these days my room is back at my apartment in Oakland and I'll have it as tidy or untidy as I want, thanks.

Coming here, i realise that I was so engrossed in my job at Oakland that I haven't clocked just how popular the English Baseball Association has become. It's massive, on a par with the football Premier League now. They play baseball not cricket here in the summers. The unexpected Cup Final Series victory of the unheralded Richmond R's several weeks ago is still back page news.

2 Dec 2034

Two days at my mum and dad's place was plenty, so to preserve my sanity I've headed off for a few days walking in the Cotswolds. It's lovely here - I've forgotten how beautiful and green the English countryside is, even in the winter. Baseball is so big here now that quite a few people have recognised me out and about and asked me for my autograph. Back in the day, MLB players and managers, even superstars, would go totally unnoticed and unbothered this side of the pond. The press seem to have got wind of my trip here, though, and the Oakland Telegraph, that bastion of accurate reporting, are claiming I've come for talks about filling the GM vacancy at the Southampton Forresters. I want to get back in the game, but not yet. I'd prefer to return to the MLB, too.

6 Dec 2034

Those ill-informed non-journos at the Telegraph are claiming I've been interviewed for the Westminster Lions GM post. The cheek of it! 9 World Series rings - I should be the one who interviewed them! In reality I've not been interviewed of course, I'm in a B&B in rural Gloucestershire with my wrist-phone turned off.
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:57 PM   #3
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10 Dec 2034

Got a phone call today from Alfredo Goodman, owner of the Forresters. He said he was just calling me up for a casual and informal chat since I was in the country, but he was clearly angling to know whether I'm considering returning to baseball. I said yes, clearly, but not yet. Getting away these last couple of weeks has helped focus my thoughts. I do want to be a GM again, but not anytime soon. I'd like to take some more holidays and get some more rest before I even start thinking about that.

11 Dec 2034

Den phoned me about 30 times today. It seems like the Southampton Forresters have basically offered me their GM role. I'll admit it's tempting - to an extent. The Forresters reportedly have a $240m payroll budget, that's how big baseball here in England has become. They're one of the most popular teams in the EBA, with a large and dedicated fanbase, but are coming off a 69-93 season where they were dead last in the South West Division. Alfredo Goodman thinks I'm the man to lead them back to the glory days of their Cup Final Series win in 2018. I assured him I'm not that man. Den asked if I was sure that I was not their man and this would be a great move for me and can he get his ten percent please. I said I was sure I was sure I was not their man, and hung up before the conversation got even more tiresome.

16 Dec 2034

Back home in Oakland. It's nearly Christmas but for some reason I keep finding myself thinking about pitchers' BABIPs, and how illogical it is for any team in a no-DH league not to bat the pitcher 8th when it's been sabermetrically proven a better tactic than batting them 9th. Only marginally better, maybe, but better. This doesn't feel like the behaviour of someone who wants a lengthy break from the game. Hmm.

19 Dec 2034

BNN is reporting that the Leeds Hedgehogs in the EBA are struggling to find a suitable candidate for their GM role, and owner Rodrigo Miller is temporarily managing offseason matters while he continues his search. For some reason I found myself thinking this was quite interesting news.
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Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:01 PM   #5
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21 Dec 2034

I now make it at least 6 months since I last smashed an iPad in frustration at the diabolical performance of a hapless pitcher.

24 Dec 2034

A very interesting phone conversation with Rodrigo Miller this morning. He invited me over to England for an informal chat about the Leeds GM vacancy. No strings attached, he assured me, just a chat. If I'm not interested, he said, fine, let's just chat about baseball generally.

It's odd how intriguing I find this. The Hedgehogs are a sleeping giant, Den reckoned, when I phoned him afterwards. Based in England's fourth largest city, they have a potentially large and passionate set of fans. Their fan and media interest means they can afford a decent payroll, $210m last year. But they've been poorly run under the guidance of their recently sacked, sorry, mutually contractually terminated former GM Ruben Amaro III. In the nineteen-year history of the EBA they've made the playoffs just three times: they won their North West Division in the Northern League once, in 2031, and have twice reached the wildcard game, in 2021 and 2024, which they lost both times. That performance over the years is much worse than chance. Like the Forresters, they too managed a rather dreadful 69-93 record last season. Den's view, not that he was trying to sway me one way or the other of course, he assured me, was that attempting to lift the Hedgehogs out of the doldrums and up to their rightful place at the top of the EBA pyramid sounds like an excellent project for an experienced GM who wants to get back in the game and quite fancies a return to living in England while he's at it.

I'm thinking about it. I'm not very good at being on holiday, anyway
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Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:02 PM   #6
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4 Jan 2035

I flew to England yesterday and had talks with Rodrigo Miller in Leeds today. He outlined what he wants from a GM: someone who cares about the game, will give everything for the club, and will build a winning team, not just for the short term, but delivering sustained success. I admitted I didn't know many of the EBA players, but told him about my philosophy for building long-term success that I had employed at Oakland and which I felt would work equally well over here. High quality, groundball pitching. Good defence in the infield to sweep up those grounders, and also up the middle. Avoid signing Type-A free agents to hold on to unprotected draft picks and keep quality new talent coming into the club. Trade away established stars on the wane, or on expiring or over-expensive contracts for promising younger future stars. Promote good players from the minors in preference to signing older, more costly free agents.

He seemed to like what I had to say and it was a really good conversation. I like the feel of the organisation, and their 44,000 capacity West Yorkshire Ballpark is fantastic. Rodrigo said he'd call me again in a couple of weeks.

9 Jan 2035

Westminster Lions owner Quentin Smith Jr has been speaking with Den, it turns out. The Lions also would like to speak to me about their GM role. Den urged me to at least go and talk to them, but I refused. I hate London. I'm not going to live and work there.

18 Jan 2035

An exciting day, back home in Oakland. Good as his word, Rodrigo Miller phoned me a fortnight after our meeting. He asked me what I thought. I said I was highly impressed with his organisation, and think it would be a wonderful opportunity for any GM. He said, good, because I want that GM to be you. Will I take the job? He told me not to answer him straight away, think it over some, and let him know. He asked me not to take too long, however, because their pre-season starts on the 31st and he really wants to get a new GM installed by then.
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Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:07 PM   #7
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19 Jan 2035

I did some research into the EBA today.

The EBA was formed in 2016, and aimed to take advantage of the popularity of baseball in many parts of the world by establishing a high-quality, lucrative and entertaining league in England. Thirty teams were formed, 16 in three divisions in the Northern League and 14 in three divisions in the Southern League. Initially bankrolled by corporate sponsorship deals, the EBA was an instant success. The early triumphs of the popular Manchester Falcons, who were Northern League champions in each of the first four seasons, and EBA Champions in three of those years, helped cement fans' interest. Most of the players come from the traditional baseball powerhouses, the US, the Caribbean and Central America, and as the league has developed the quality of player joining the league has got on to a par with the MLB. The emergence of genuine superstars, like SS Jed Blackwell, who won five EBA batter of the year awards, and slugger Joaquín Chávez, the EBA's all-time leader in home runs with 613, raised the league's profile and brought it into the country's mainstream sporting consciousness. The all-conquering Bristol Rockets team, who won 410 games and two EBA championships in the four years from 2019-2022, regularly made back page news, and sometime front page news, too.

Nineteen years after its inception, the league is strong, with stadiums, crowds and wages also the equal of MLB. US high school and college students opt in roughly equal numbers each year to enter the drafts of the MLB and the EBA. It seems an exciting league to be a part of. I'm tempted, very tempted.

Here are the EBA teams, their 2034 record, and their pennant achievements to date.

Northern League

North West Division
1. Manchester Falcons (MAN), 111-51. Division titles: 6. EBA championships: 3 (2016, 2017, 2019).
2. Cumbria Pythons (CMB), 80-82. Division titles: 0. EBA championships: 0.
3. Liverpool Emeralds (LIV), 76-86. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 0.
4. Stoke Sky Chiefs (STO), 71-91. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 2 (2024, 2025).
5. Blackpool Dragons (BLA), 64-98. Division titles: 3. EBA championships: 0.

Midlands Division
1. Wolverhampton Brigadiers (WOL), 110-52. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 1 (2031).
2. Leicester Trailblazers (LEI), 87-75. Division titles: 0. EBA championships: 0.
3. Derby Locos (DER), 84-78. Division titles: 2. EBA championships: 0.
4. Coventry Bumblebees (COV), 80-82. Division titles: 3. EBA championships: 0.
5. Nottingham Arrows (NOT), 79-83. Division titles: 4. EBA championships: 1 (2030).
6. Birmingham Lazers (BIR), 71-91. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 1 (2027).

North East Division
1. Sunderland Wizards (SUN), 86-76. Division titles: 8. EBA championships: 1 (2022).
2. Sheffield Flames (SHE), 86-76. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 1 (2023).
3. Newcastle Swordfish (NEW), 72-90. Division titles: 0. EBA championships: 0.
4. Hull Avocets (HUL), 70-92. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 0.
5. Leeds Hedgehogs (LEE), 69-93. Division titles: 1. EBA championships: 0.

Southern League

South West Division
1. Portsmouth Blue Sox (POR), 91-71. Division titles: 2. EBA championships: 0.
2. Plymouth Volts (PLY), 82-80. Division titles: 3. EBA championships: 0.
3. Bristol Rockets (BRI), 71-91. Division titles: 9. EBA championships: 3 (2020, 2021, 2026).
4. Southampton Forresters (SOU), 69-93. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 1 (2018).

London Division
1. Richmond R's (RIC), 96-66. Division titles: 2. EBA championships: 1 (2034).
2. Camden Robins (CAM), 94-68. Division titles: 4. EBA championships: 0.
3. Croydon Thunderclaps (CRO), 77-85. Division titles: 6. EBA championships: 2 (2028, 2029).
4. Westminster Lions (WES), 71-91. Division titles: 2. EBA championships: 0.
5. Islington Foxes (ISL), 67-95. Division titles: 5. EBA championships: 0.

South East Division
1. Essex Supernovae (ESS), 109-53. Division titles: 7. EBA championships: 2 (2032, 2033).
2. Milton Keynes Earthquakes (MIL), 88-74. Division titles: 0. EBA championships: 0.
3. Luton Rhinos (LUT), 81-81. Division titles: 6. EBA championships: 0.
4. Norwich Diamond Kats (NOR), 73-89. Division titles: 3. EBA championships: 0.
5. Reading Vandals (REA), 65-97. Division titles: 3. EBA championships: 0.
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-10-2016, 04:56 PM   #8
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20 Jan 2035

A hack from the WSJ Online called to ask if it was true I was in negotiations with the New York Yankees. The Yankees! As if. I'd rather go to a One Direction 25th anniversary reunion concert. I'd even rather be GM of the San Francisco Giants. "That's a 'no' then, is it?", asked the journo. "That's a no", I replied.

22 Jan 2035

I told Den Percent that I hadn't finally decided, but I was probably going to accept the Hedgehogs job. That sounds a great idea, he said. You just want your ten percent, you old charlatan, I said. If you would be so kind, he said.

25 Jan 2035

I phoned Rodrigo Miller and said I'd be delighted to accept the Leeds Hedgehogs GM post. I'm really excited, back in baseball already, and with the chance to contribute to a flourishing league. I fly out to England on the 27th and will be unveiled at a press conference on 28th.

28 Jan 2035

"Shock as Beane set to be named new Hedgehogs GM", went one headline in this morning's e-papers. "Beane risks legendary reputation with foolhardy move to EBA", "EBA challenge to MLB dominance grows with arrival of Beane", "Spiky Beane joins the Hedgehogs", and "Beane Hedgehogs move sparks house price warning" were among the others. The last one was the Daily Mail, obviously.

The press conference went fine. I've only done about 3,000 of them before. I was at pains to say to the reporters that the Hedgehogs fans shouldn't expect instant miracles. I'm not a magician, far from it. It's a funny old game, and we (we!) were only 69-93 last year, after all. But in the likes of 4-time all-star catcher Kenshin Hayashi, young infielder Ken Moore, and starting pitcher Scott McGivern, we have some of the building blocks of a good roster. Judging by the gaggle of chanting fans gathered outside the stadium after the press conference ended, the message of patience may not have got through.

So, it's official, I'm back in the game as GM of the Hedgehogs. The holidays can wait until I'm much older and more decrepit. The alarm clock will ring once again in the morning. It's time to get to work.
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-10-2016, 04:58 PM   #9
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Please indulge me out of character post to explain the setup for this game. This is an MLBM 2016 fictional league with 30 teams in two leagues. The game's default setting means this is comprised of 16 teams in one league and 14 in the other. Neither league uses the DH. Having set up the league beginning in 2016, I put the CPU in charge of roster and lineups, and simulated through nineteen seasons, to get to the point at which Paulie Beane left the Oakland A's.

I didn't decide before starting the simulation that Beane would take charge of the Hedgehogs. At the end of the nineteenth season, I looked round the league standings. I felt the sort of team that in principle would be attractive to Beane at this point in his career would be a team with a decent-sized budget, but not too big, who had had a poor season so would potentially have just fired their previous GM. So, a potential giant with a history of underperformance and coming off a bad year. A Cubs of the EBA, if you like. The Hedgehogs seemed to fit the bill for the next step in the Paulie Beane story.

As Hedgehogs GM, I will be in charge of all roster moves, transactions, setting depth charts and setting lineups. I won't play out any games, but simulate them through on inning-by-inning quick play with the AI making pitching, pinch-hitting and pinch-running substitutions. I like this way of playing because it gives me the chance to see the flow of the game - and occasionally step in if the AI makes a rather bonkers decision about players' fielding positions - without the game taking anything like as long as pitch-by-pitch. One of the many wonderful things about this game is the multitude of different ways you can play, and this is just my personal preference.

Injuries and trading are both enabled. Player ratings are on the 1-10 scale, with overall and potential ability ratings as stars. Trading AI preference is neutral, and trading difficulty is set to average. An in-house rule of mine is that if a player has 10/5 rights and refuses a trade, I must keep him on the active roster. Without options, the game allows you to freely demote such players to the minors, which will annoy them and then sooner or later they'll agree to be traded.

The default league regular season schedule that accompanies this league structure in MLBM is entirely a sequence of three-game series. It's split into a recurring pattern of 12 consecutive days of games (i.e. four straight series), followed by a league-wide rest day. That's a bit unrealistic, and means that the schedule takes no account of weekends. But I quite like it because it keeps a nice rhythm going throughout the regular season. There is no interleague play all year, except in the Cup Final Series at the end of the postseason.

I never, ever, ever use the player editor. All player names, rating and stats are exactly as generated by the game. Even though this is an England-based fictional league, salaries and payroll are quoted in dollars, just because that's what the game does.

Just an advance apology that my dynasty posts here may be a bit sporadic. As well as having two young kiddies I've just started a new job which requires fairly long hours. I'll try my best to keep things moving, though.

Please do feel free to post any comments as we go along. They're really nice to have and will encourage me to keep it going!
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:28 PM   #10
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Loving it so far. Really enjoy your writing style, too!
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:25 PM   #11
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Loving it so far. Really enjoy your writing style, too!
Thanks Izz!
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:38 PM   #12
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29 Jan 2035

Early start to meet and greet the front office staff. The club lawyer, C. U. Incourt, or Clare to her friends, seems really nice. She looked at me, and I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I'm not sure I have time for all that.

All morning was devoted to a meeting with pitching coach Sly Derr and the rest of his team. We discussed the rotation and bullpen, and I could see immediately how we ended up with only 69 wins last season. The pitching corps is a low-quality mess. Worse, the club appears to have done nothing about pursuing the best free agents over the offseason, despite having plenty of cash and a protected pick. They're now off the board and it's too late.

Rotation

SP Scott McGivern (30, throws R, 4*): Two-time EBA all-star with terrific stuff, good control, and a devastating curveball. Entering the last year of a bumper $26.4m contract which his performances don't merit. Flyball pitcher, which is certainly not my preference, but he's by far the best starter I've got at the moment.

SP Carl Sears (31, throws R, 2*): Has the quality of a #4 or #5 starter but takes the #2 position on this weak staff. Throws four unspectacular pitches but has great movement and is hard to hit out of the park. Went 8-22 last year but his 3.81 FIP shows he was better than that record suggests. Another player due to hit free agency after this year.

SP Alexander Jackson (27, throws R, 2*): Throws six good pitches, but his control tends to let him down. Was ranked the EBA's #36 prospect four years ago, but struggled to fulfill that potential so far.

SP Antony Sampson (23, throws L, 1*): Extremely popular groundballer who is due to reach arbitration after this season. Has mainly played out of the bullpen in his Hedgehogs career so far but stepped up into the rotation for two starts at the end of last year. Gets nice movement on his pitches but control could be better.

SP Britt Mitchell (23, throws R, 1*): Similar calibre to Sampson, but throws wider variety of pitches. Both are really AAAA quality players but that's enough to get a spot on this roster at the moment. Scouts don't back him to get any better than his current level.

Bullpen

CL Jeff Carlson (28, throws L, 4*): 31 saves for the Hedgehogs in 2034 and has 205 to his name during his EBA career so far. Fantastic stuff has seen him rack up a 11.5 K/9 strikeout rate but another whose average control can be an Achilles heel.

MR Bennie Smith (26, throws R, 0.5*): Righty setup. Only played 18 games in the majors so far. 9 of them came last year, where he posted a respectable 3.00 ERA despite an unlucky .357 BABIP. High stamina and keeps the ball down in the zone, but that he has the setup role - at the moment anyway - shows the lack of quality in this bullpen.

MR Gonzalo Morán (23, throws L, 0.5*): Lefty setup. Gets that role by default due to being the only lefty reliever on the roster other than Carlson. Has a nice changeup and cutter in his arsenal, and good control.

MR Cory Murray (24, throws R, 3*): Mediocre righty who is yet to make a major league appearance. Has no glaring weaknesses but no particular strengths either.

MR Jonathan Ramey (28, throws R, 2*): Former 5th round draft pick by Newcastle who developed rapidly is the minors and has spent the last six seasons in the Swordfish's pen. Career 4.99 BB/9 mark exemplifies his poor control but hard to hit out of the park when he does get it right.

MR Jim Smith (30, throws R, 1*): Deploys five good pitches including a tricky fastball, but allows too many walks. Not worth the $6.1m he'll earn this year before reaching free agency.

MR Porter Walker (32, throws R, 0.5*): Was EBA #59 prospect just over a decade ago, but abysmal control has hampered him his entire career. Excellent movement on his pitches means he rarely gets shelled but his lifetime 0.95 K/BB ratio encapsulates his limited ability. The previous GM signed him to a crazy $7.9m contract for 2035 at the end of last season, but thankfully for just the one year.

There is a decidedly limited amount of good news here. There is little to shout about in the minors either, so as well as having a poor active roster the club has little or no pitcher depth. I will need to move swiftly to bolster the ranks via free agency. Fortunately we should have a protected first round draft pick so I'll be able to sign Type A free agents without losing that vital means of getting in top drawer new young talent.

I've already made my first move, offering a minor league deal to undrafted 21-year-old SS Teinosuke Shirai, who my scouts say has the attributes to become a decent reliever.
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:40 PM   #13
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30 Jan 2035, morning

The morning's meetings focused on the offense.

Catchers

C Kenshin Hayashi (29, bats R, 5*): The perfect catcher. Superb behind the plate, with a lethal arm. In front of it, a fantastic power hitter with a great eye. The four-time all-star and former Gold Glove winner is on a costly 4-year, $94m contract, but talent-wise worth every penny.

C Jin-hyun Ch'a (25, bats R, 1*): Very definitely Hayashi's backup. Sound defense but mediocre with the bat and his poor eye is a worry.

In a terrible example of un-joined-up thinking when it comes to drafting, both our only half-decent prospects in the minors are both catchers. Eric Mitchell, last year's EBA #14 prospect, and Will Page, drafted last year, both project to 4.5* by the club's scouting team. Page looks the likelier so Mitchell may end up being trade bait to strengthen the organisation elsewhere.

Infielders

1B George Brown (33, bats R, 3*): All-star back in 2027, he's a slugger with a good eye, but coming off a down year where he posted a dreadful .284 OBP in 142 games for Reading and Leeds. Three more years at $7.8m per year on his contract means I hope that's a blip rather than the start of his decline phase.

2B/3B/SS Ken Moore (23, bats R, 4.5*): Lightning quick round the bases, stellar defense and last season's Northern League rookie of the year. His ability to make contact is a worry but the coaches are confident he'll improve.

2B/3B Steve Chappell (23, bats R, 2.5*): Sensational defense at 3B but very average skills at the plate. His OPS of .714 last year is encouraging, however, and he is likely to begin the season starting at third.

2B/3B/SS Kent Hill (28, bats R, 2*): Another defensive leviathan with solid but utterly unspectacular ability on offense. Probable starter at shortstop, and his ability to also play both corner outfield spots gives some potentially important roster flexibility.

3B Javier Ramírez (27, bats R, 1.5*): The principal infield backup has a fair amount of power, but his .292 OBP mark last year reflects that he struggles to deploy it. Reputedly has terrific base running and stealing ability despite possessing the flat-out speed of a snail.

SS Jack Sparkes (23, bats R, 2.5*): Yet another defensive specialist, but poor power and difficulty making contact limits his usefulness to the team.

Outfielders

RF/CF Iain van Buuren (32, bats R, 4*): Like Brown, a veteran looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2034 campaign. Powerful hitter against both lefties and righties, and a real roadrunner round the base paths. No longer at the level that saw him awarded his $17m per year contract a couple of years ago, but as a former all-star he does have pedigree.

LF/RF/CF Matt Baldwin (25, bats R, 4*): Excellent contact hitter who will bat lead-off. Twice an all-star, his preferred defensive position is left field but pretty good at centre and right too.

LF Dale Carlton (29, bats L, 2*): The only lefty in the lineup is a solid gap and power hitter, but finds it tough against lefties and his defense is atrocious. An all-star three years ago, but his stats have been in decline ever since. His $18m per annum contract is a farce, but he is entering his final year and won't get close to that next year.

LF/RF/CF Mario Valenzuela (23/R/1*): Stunning defensively at all three outfield spots but not major league standard with the bat in his hand.

CF Henry Harris (21/R/1*): Runs like the wind, but non-existent power and hopeless eye means he is almost exclusively dependent on singles to get on base. Ought really to be only a September call-up to give a pinch-running threat.

Thankfully things look more promising than on the mound, but again we have no depth at all. We also only have one left-handed batter on the roster. I can see how we only got 69 wins last year. The offseason isn't over yet so I'll need to move quickly to grab free agents to plug the gaping holes. At least with a protected first round draft pick, I can do this without stemming the main inflow of great youth players.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:24 PM   #14
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30 Jan 2035, afternoon

So the agenda for the afternoon was to urgently establish the club's financial position to see what payroll flexibility I have. Fortunately, it's ok. Rodrigo Miller's payroll budget for the coming season is $210m, but generally I like to run with at least a $10m or so surplus so that I have budget room to extend contracts during the season where I'd like to. So I've set my working budget at $200m.

I asked the finance department to draw me up the table below which shows me our contractual commitments for this year and the next five years. I use this table a lot. White cells are agreed contract years, yellow are current arbitration estimates, and green are roll-forward estimates if expiring contracts are extended.




Our current contractual commitment for this year is a very comfortable $165m. As things stand, there is projected to be increased budget pressure in 2037 as Moore and Chappell reach arbitration and Hill approaches free agency. But counteracting that are the inflated $30m salaries for Jim Smith, Walker and Carlton that expire after this year, and I'd hope to retain McGivern on rather cheaper terms than now. So I think I can confidently take on a good $35m in potentially long-term contracts for free agents without putting myself under financial pressure in any future years, if I can find players I want. Unfortunately the remaining free agent class doesn't look particularly thrilling.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:26 PM   #15
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31 Jan 2035

Overnight I formulated a plan for the free agents I'd ideally like to sign for this year. Given my payroll cushion I'll consider trades of existing players only once I've got additional playing assets into the club from free agency and I have a better view of who is potentially expendable and what roster holes free agency can't adequately fill. It seems that contract offers were made to some free agents prior to my arrival, but no-one in the front office can tell me exactly who and for how much, so I'll have to be flexible as we hear back from these guys.

Pitching is the priority for sure. Specifically, what I'd like to get to improve on members of the current active roster are:

- A starting pitcher or two
- Good lefty reliever for the setup role
- Two righty relievers
- Centre fielders, LHB
- Backup catcher
- Another backup outfielder, LHB

I expect I won't be able to afford all that. But there is no time to lose, so I spent most of the day on the phone to players' agents.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:28 PM   #16
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4 Feb 2035 - Douglas and Sierra sign

Some swift results: two additions to strengthen the roster.

Bob Douglas (30, throws R, 4.5*) is a righty reliever with a quality fastball and changeup. He put up 3.79 FIP and 4.33 K/BB marks in 92 innings for the Sheffield Flames last year. A low .227 BABIP suggests luck played a part but he is still a significant upgrade over most of my existing relief corps. A "fragile" label means he's a risk but I've got him for a manageable $9.6m over 3 years. Douglas takes the righty setup role and Porter Walker is sent down.

Catcher Juan Sierra (31, bats R, 2*) is only average with the bat but his .326 OBP performance last year shows he's not too bad. His strength though is behind the plate and he looks decent value for the 2-year, $2.5m contract he's signed. He'll now back up Hayashi and young Ch'a is sent down for more development.

6 Feb 2035 - Shirai signs

Teinosuke Shirai agreed to a minor league contract. My new scouting team rate him a 1* reliever now, but 4* potential. Their assessment is that he has great stuff with a dynamite cutter, but needs to improve his control before he'll be pushing for the big team.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:30 PM   #17
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9 Feb 2035

Some protracted negotiations with representatives of starting pitcher Steven Flowers. The 29-year-old 3.5* hurler isn't a superstar by any means but was the best free agent left on the board when I joined the Hedgehogs. I'll end up over-paying but his addition will strengthen my rotation.

10 Feb 2035 - Tenno signs

One way to get the fans onside when you take over as a GM is to sign a legendary player. Okay, in this case the guy is 43, but the Hedgehogs fans have been beside themselves since we announced the news, and fan interest jumped fully 10 points to 90. Sakutaro Tenno (43, throws L, 4*) joined the EBA from Japan at its beginning in 2016 and won the Northern League's Outstanding Pitcher award in 2025 and 2027 during a distinguished career with Coventry and Stoke. Career he is 264-181 with a 2.61 ERA, and looks a cert for the Hall of Fame. He has thrown two perfect games, in 2021 versus Newcastle and 2024 against Hull.

Tenno has been used mostly as a reliever by the Sky Chiefs the last couple of years. While his velocity and stuff have fallen off a cliff compared to his peak years, the veteran still has phenomenal control and is tough to get away. For us he'll begin the season in the lefty setup role. Jonathan Ramey makes way on the active roster. I like to have one lefty setup and one lefty middle reliever in the bullpen, and Tenno and Gonzalo Morán are now my men for those spots. He's on $2m for the year.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:32 PM   #18
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11 Feb 2035 - Guerrero signs

It's all go. The rotation is further improved by the signing of lefty Raúl Guerrero (28, throws L, 2*). He's a former first round pick and all-star. He's got three nice pitches and looks solid, and was one of the best free agent starters available. He had a disappointing season for the Diamond Kats last year but at his age I'm backing that to be a blip. Three years for $7.5m in total could be a bargain if he pitches to his potential. He slots into the #3 rotation spot behind McGivern and Sears. Jim Smith drops to the minors and Britt Mitchell shuffles down into the pen. My payroll for this year now stands at $176m.

22 Feb 2035

Steven Flowers has signed for Coventry. He didn't even give me the chance to trump their offer, the swine. My rotation still needs bolstering so I'm pursuing other targets.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:48 PM   #19
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27 Feb 2035

The offseason had been going well but is nosediving badly. A couple of weeks ago I made an offer for reliever Beau Simpson, a quality right arm who led the league in saves last year with 51 for Wolverhampton. I offered him $4m for each of 4 years, and just 4 days ago he told me mine was the best offered he'd received. Westminster offered him merely $90,000 more and he accepted it without returning to ask me if I'd go higher, the swine.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:49 PM   #20
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5 Mar 2035 - Mitchell traded for Cabrera, Salazar and Carson

Now it's outfielder Russell Knight who is the swine who has chosen to go elsewhere - to Sheffield this time. I decided it was time to use young catcher Eric Mitchell to upgrade other parts of the roster. I like a good multiplayer trade and the Birmingham Lazers were happy to oblige.

We got the deal done very quickly. I primarily got starting pitcher Armando Cabrera (21, throws R, 1.5*). His control is underdeveloped but he has a superb changeup and projects to be a #2 or #3 starter someday. He's already good enough for a spot on my low-strength rotation. He threw 26 innings in relief last season and is still three years away from reaching arbitration. He'll give me some shaky outings, no doubt, but I'm hopeful he'll do okay now and become a very good player in the long-term. Antony Samson drops into the pen as my lefty middle reliever, and replaces Gonzalo Morán who goes down to the minors. Birmingham also gave me young centre fielder Ricardo Salazar (23, bats L, 1*), who will hopefully soon challenge for an outfield backup spot on the active roster, and journeyman reliever Mike Carson (26, throws R, 1.5*). Carson has a nice fastball and excellent control, and if he can develop his cutter he'll be a major leaguer. My main backups for the rotation, Bennie Smith, Britt Mitchell and Antony Samson, are all in the bullpen, so in the event of injury or poor form, one of them will step up and Carson will be challenging to fill in for them in the pen.

In exchange, the Lazers took Mitchell, and journeyman relievers Jésus Torres, Jim Smith and Joong Li. So my second best catcher prospect, Smith and his crazy $6m salary, and two other pitchers who are unlikely to ever play. Yep, I'll take that.
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