Save the Dads: An OOTP Diary

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Updated: June 14, 2017

I’ve had a copy of Out of the Park Baseball ’18, the outstanding baseball sim that rules my life, for awhile now and I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen. The gameplay is solid as always and the addition of Challenge Mode has made for a more challenging experience.

While I don’t quite trust the game as a simulation of the MLB season, it does get pretty darn close. It missed on Aaron Judge, but it’s always right on with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. That’s a good thing. A lot of people missed on Aaron Judge. I’ve had many sims in which Clayton Kershaw dominates for the next decade. That feels right. The Dodgers, Red Sox and Cubs have a lot of money and usually do well in the standings. That feels right too.

For whatever reason, the game doesn’t like veterans and they can often have really terrible season. I’ve seen sharp dropoffs for Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz in sims of the Mariners and while that might happen over the next year or two, I just don’t see the drop being quite so sudden. Not that that hasn’t happened in baseball history either, but it’s just a part of the game I don’t love.

That being said, it is insanely fun and to show you how fun it is I am going to play a season for you and lay it all out for you in a diary. Here’s how it’s going to work.

Save the Dads! An OOTP Diary

THE TEAM: San Diego Padres
THE GOAL: Make the playoffs
THE RULES: Make at least one transaction per week

Why? So I have something to diary about, silly.

Pre-Season

We start the game and the first thing we see is an email from owner Ron Fowler with our goals for the season.

Four seasons? Pish posh. We’ll do it in one.

The next thing I’m going to do is free up some cash. How? I’m going to gut the budget. After all, I’m only playing for one season. What do I care about scouting or draft budgets? Things like player development are a waste of my resources!

This gives me a whopping $41,966,475 for free agents. Unfortunately, the best free agent is probably Melvin Upton, Jr. and the Padres have been down that road before.

I offer former Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez a one-year contract, offer minor league contracts to a couple *** guys and start simming towards Opening Day.

My sim stops because there is something going on in Triple-A and as I’ve already said, I don’t care. I am Dave Dombrowski on steroids. Minor leaguers mean nothing to me. So I quickly go into the Team Control settings and tell my assistants to take care of these things for me.

Upon doing this I realize that I still have AJ Preller as the Assistant GM and I’m like “oh hell no”. I quickly send out an offer to Kim Ng to be my assistant GM and likely take over when I am fired. Also, the US beat South Korea to win the WCB (a non-trademarked WBC) and Felix Hernandez won the MVP.

Opening Week

They say that every team has a chance on Opening Day. Every team is in first place and every team in the league has hope. This will be put to the test today as my Padres take on the richest team in baseball in the LA Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw taking on Jhoulys Chacin. This should be a great game between two first place teams.

And it kind of was! A 1-0 Dodgers victory! That is a victory for San Diego in my books as Chacin put on a great performance and the offense did their best against the best pitcher in the world. Hopefully the team can keep that momentum going in the second game… 8-2 loss. The third game is… a win!

At 1-2 the Padres have a chance to take a tie with the Dodgers. This team might be good! This team might not even need my help!

Never mind. It’s time to make a trade.

Adding the top starter and reliever on the market plus Melky Cabrera? YES PLEASE! My Assistant GM Kim Ng told me this deal wasn’t fair, but what does she know? Melky Cabrera is a big time hitter! David Robertson is a shutdown closer! We are going to the playoffs, baby!

Sure, it added $34 million of payroll, but what’s the worst that could happen?

So, now we are without our center fielder and we just traded his back-up. It’s still pretty early in the season for teams to go into sell-mode and we don’t really have a good back-up center fielder in the minors. It looks like there is only one thing left to do.

That’s right, we’re bringing him back! Get out your Upton jerseys from the closet Padres fans!

While we wait for Upton to sign we have a really terrible week and things are looking bleak. The Padres are 4-13. It’s time for a drastic change and it’s time for a new shortstop. Who better to call than the World Champion Chicago Cubs who probably have too many infielders for their own good?

It sucks to lose Ryan Schimpf, but getting a major league hitter like Ben Zobrist is huge. He’s never really been a full-time shortstop, but how bad could he be? This is going to turn around our season, I just know it. Plus, getting rid of Weaver and Aybar is fantastic. I hated those guys. That also allows me to recall Paco Rodriguez and Carter Capps. I smell a winning streak in our future!

The team goes 3-6 over their next nine games, but then it finally happens. The prodigal son returns.

It’s Gonna Be May

As we enter May it occurs to me that the players aren’t the problem, it’s the manager and his coaches! So I fire them. Manager Andy Green, bench coach Mark McGwire and the hitting and pitching coaches as well. I call up Rod Barajas from Triple-A to be the bench coach and then bring in some real, solid veteran coaches to lead the staff.

The new staff includes former Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, pitching guru Charlie Hough and hitting God Rob Deer. Things are going to get much better in May, I can feel it.

Not Hunter Renfroe! His 11 RBIs were second on the team and he was a key part of the 95 runs we’ve scored this season!

Luckily, the trade master has a plan. We’ll just acquire one of the greatest right fielders in the game today.

BOOM!

Seriously, look a this lineup.

Isn’t that great? With our new team, our new coaching staff and a new outlook on life, this team is ready to bounce back from their shallow 9-22 record. It’s still early. We got this.

A week later the team gets Alex Dickerson back from injury. He’s not really needed now that we have Upton, Ichiro and Cabrera so I do what any smart GM would do: trade him for pitching. The Athletics offer reliever Ryan Dull and we have a deal.

Another week goes by and the team is now 14-31. I don’t get it. This team is packed with MLB hitters (despite the .665 team OPS) and my team has a 4.24 ERA. They should be respectable. I realize the problem must be chemistry. I go to the “Team Chemistry” page and I see what I believe to be the problem.

Two selfish jerks!

I call the Yankees who are having a rough season as well thus far and offer them a trade. Will Myers and Melky Cabrera straight-up for Chris Carter and Matt Holliday. They say no. I throw in top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. They say no. I add pitching prospect Cal Quantrill, they say yes! Kim Ng thinks it’s another bad trade, but I do it anyway. Give me some of that Cardinals leadership!

Damn.

I’m going to roll with it though and just assume Ron Roenicke is drunk or something.

We go 1-3 before Zobrist suffers a SECOND injury. He had “mild back inflammation” that I was having him play through, but now he has another injury that will send him to the 10-day DL. His 25/80 rating at shortstop is pretty terrible and I think it’s time to make another trade. We need an outstanding defensive shortstop.

I give up my top prospect in Luis Urias and two other players and score the top defensive shortstop in the game. Things are looking up.

Warming Up

The Padres are 16-40 on June 1st. 172 runs scored, 250 runs allowed. The good news? We’re -3 in Pythagorean record. The bad news? We’re 15 games out of the second Wild Card. The playoffs may be out of the question so we’re adjusting our expectations and going for .500. +24 over the last 106 games would be a 65-41 record. Which now that I write it down seems impossible, but we’ll see what we can do.

The first thing we’re going to do? Trade Jose Quintana. He’s 3-6 with a 5.48 since joining the Padres which is simply unacceptable from a #1 starter. Someone wants this guy so I’m putting him on the block.

Houston offers Evan Gattis and I like it. While Austin Hedges is a LEADER, he’s also hitting .241/.254/.391 on the season. That feels more like a back-up leader to me. I ask them to throw in Charlie Morton so I can put him in the rotation plus a little money and they accept.

Really? Well, okay.

Zobrist recovers from his injury and suddenly our lineup is looking pretty strong as we ditch Carlos Asujae.

I mean, from a name perspective at least. The highest OPS belongs to Solarte at .792, but that’s probably just the park effects of Petco Park.

The draft comes and I just skip it. I let the CPU draft and we take Shane Baz first overall. The Pirates took him in real life earlier this week. Good for them, good for us.

We start the month 0-4 and things are not looking good. Players are unhappy. I get this email from a guy who played on the Rays.

Something has to change and I know just who to blame: Ron Roenicke. He’s a terrible manager. Andy Green was 8-20 for us, but Roenicke is 8-25. That is simply unacceptable. I reach out and get a guy with a 664-611 lifetime record. A guy who has been to the World Series. I sign this guy.

And his first game goes like this:

Let’s do it!!!!!

To Be Concluded in Part 2!

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