Take Your Pick: Heyward, Gordon, Davis, Upton or Cespedes?

If you were the GM of your favorite team, who would you rather sign this offseason?

2016 Simulated Seasons

Jason Heyward

OOTP16 simulated a monster 2016 for Jason. He signed a 5-year $129M contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is just under $26M/year. That price does seem too high if he truly delivers a season like this simulated one, in which he won’t the NL MVP award:Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 2.12.23 PM.pngThat’s 34 HR and a 7.9 WAR in just 123 games played. Then add on 26 doubles, 15 stolen bases and 84 RBIs. Oh and don’t forget about the .309 batting average, .394 on-base percentage, and league leading .611 and 1.005 slugging percentage and OPS, respectively. All of this production despite missing 10 weeks; 5 each for sprained ankle and strained oblique.

By the way, Heyward is only 26 entering the 2016 season.

Alex Gordon

Though not quite to the level of Heyward’s MVP level season, Alex Gordon’s simulated 2016 campaign is pretty stellar. He signed with the Phillies for just over $20M/year for 2 years. 2016 was an All-Star year for Gordon where we also saw him win the Gold Glove in LF.

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However, 2016 saw 6 different injuries on the docket for Gordon. This injury history worries me much more than the 10 weeks Heyward missed.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 3.33.04 PM.png


Chris Davis

OOTP16 was quite unfriendly to Chris Davis in the simulation. Signed by Toronto on a 1-year, $830K contract, Davis played in only 74 games and was not resigned. Though he had only 54 hits, 29 of those were for extra bases (16 doubles and 13 HRs) in his 218 ABs. Had he gotten a full year’s worth of at bats, we might have seen a 25-30 HR season, but we would have also seen nearly 200Ks (he struck out in 81 of his 218 plate appearances). His .248 average and 0.9 WAR wasn’t enough to get him resigned. This was his age 30 season.

I don’t expect such a serious drop-off for Davis next year in reality, but it is definitely possible his decline begins. But is he still worth $80M over 4 or 5 years ? Maybe.

Justin Upton

Upton was another victim of OOTP16’s wrath. He played in only 111 games for the San Francisco Giants, though he signed a 4-year, $100M contract entering the 2016 season. He missed 8 weeks with a knee bone bruise and a sprained finger, and only hit 8 home runs with a .216 average. He also struck out nearly 30% of the time, with 146 strikeouts in 495 at bats. A -0.8 WAR is not where I see Upton landing next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised by a 1 or 2 WAR season. Upton will be 29 during the 2016 campaign.

Yoenis Cespedes

Finally, we get to Cespedes, arguably the most dynamic of the players on this list.  In OOTP16, Cespedes resigned with the Tigers, for a $15.6M per year deal through 2019. Yoenis fell victim to the injury bug as well, missing 8 weeks with a variety of injuries (bruised thumb, bruised ankle, a knee contusion, a strained ligament and a sore hamstring).

In his 105 games, he hit 22 home runs with 69 RBIs and posted a 1.9 WAR. In a full season we may have seen 30-35 homers and nearly 100 RBIs. His average though, was only .230. Cespedes’ defense was a plus, saving 6 runs in LF with 6 outfield assists.

So Who Would You Take?

Though Cespedes is a huge power addition to any lineup, and Gordon’s defense is a huge asset for any outfield, the chance of signing a young stud like Jason Heyward would be foolish to pass up. Upton and Davis seem like too big of wildcards to offer a big, long-term deal, but if they were all that was left on the market, and I could get them for a discounted price, I wouldn’t say no.

Who would you sign?

Categories: (GM) General Musings, MLB, Player Comparison, Player Projections, Player Spotlight, Transactions Analysis

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