Tacoma Trail Blazers: A Diary

by 5:05 PM 0 comments
First things first: Hello Plumpertons! I know a good number of you from other worlds and am excited to get to know the rest of you :) As I mentioned a couple of days ago in the World Chat, "I've...run a blog segment in a couple of my other worlds where I annotate the notes made by csherwood in his WKRP thread as it applies to the team that I'm currently managing."

You can see a couple of those notes in the forum thread titled "WKRP Makes A New Hire", but I will be posting my notes on the Trail Blazers on the blog throughout the year. Ideally, I'd love to see a few of us produce similar commentary prompted by csherwood's initial thoughts in the spirit of covering each franchise as a beat writer for the Plumpy Times...but for now I'll take the wheel.

If you are unfamiliar with WKRP, the first installment each season was a Player Evaluation of his ML roster, and the second installment covered his plans for the upcoming season's budget. Since I will be, for lack of a better phrase, "live-tweeting" this season in Tacoma I am going to refrain from publishing my Player Evaluation post until next year when the insights are slightly less relevant. Therefore, what follows is my annotation of his second post on the budget. Enjoy, and let me (or someone else with blog access) know if you want to contribute to this effort going forward.

Sincerely, bruinsfan911

Here's the good stuff, with his original content in black and my commentary on how it applies to Tacoma in orange:

STEP 2 -- BUDGET

Setting your budget for the season is probably the most important offseason event. If you don't budget correctly, you can end up with excessive injuries (if training or medical are too low), no progression of your minor leaguers (if coaching is too low), or not enough money to land that player you need (if budget is too low). With the Cincinnati Venus Flytraps, money is incredibly tight. I start the season with 99.2M committed to player payroll already and that is before any free agents have been signed. I also noticed that my minor leagues are pretty barren of players and odds are I will need to sign 10 or more minor leaguers just to fill my rosters. I have the extra problem of about half a dozen minor leaguers starting the season on the disabled list, in all likelihood due to the prior owner not budgeting properly for training and medical.
Since the update, you have the choice of returning to the default budget settings or keeping the old owner’s budget preferences. I will choose whichever option gets me closest to my ideal budget for a rebuilding team...generally, that’s the previous owner’s budgets but there are cases where my philosophy is clearly different enough from the previous owner that defaults are easier.
Because I do not intend to go after any high priced free agents, and I intend to move as much salary as I can via trades, I decide to spend no more than 105 million on player payroll. This gives me only a small cushion for minor league free agents and promotions, but if I am lucky I can free some more cap space during the season. I would normally likely more cap room for waiver wire claims on a rebuild project, but the money just isn't there for it.
My approach to Player Payroll is to simply use what’s leftover from manipulating everything else to where I need it to be. After all, if everything else is exactly what I want then Player Payroll will be too. In subsequent seasons, I’ll manipulate the Player Payroll from where it ends up to where I want it to be in an ideal rebuild scenario. Here in Tacoma, I can get to almost every ideal spending level using the default budgets. If I were to use the previous season’s budget,  I could get to the ideal spending level in the same number of categories, but I'd be farther from the goal than if I went with the defaults, so I choose the default options.
Next, I look at scouting. 14 million for advanced scouting. I always spend this amount with all my teams. I also invest 14 in both high school and college scouting -- I have the #2 overall draft pick and need as much in these categories as I can get. Internationals will go as low as I can set it, to 6. See the prior post for my reasoning there.
Before the most recent update, Advanced Scouting had become a little outdated since there was a reliable formula to project player development. However, since the update and the implementation of the fuzzy ratings, the need for advanced scouting has made a comeback. Therefore, I follow his advice and put $14M in advanced scouting. This year in Tacoma, I have the #3 overall pick so I will also follow his advice and invest $14M in both HS and College Scouting.
Training and Medical are up next. Because I don't expect to contend this season, I am willing to drop Medical down to 8 million (I normally like 11 or 12). Training, on the other hand, helps keep veterans from declining. With all the age on my problem, I need more money here. I would normally go with 14 million here with a veteran team, but due to my budget problems, I set it at 11.
For a rebuild project like this one, my ideal budget includes $12M medical and $14M training (since that also helps with developing young guys.) Both of those are achievable from the defaults so I set those and move on.
67 million down and still coaches and prospect payroll to set. I would like at least 13 million for coaches but that would leave me with no money at all for prospects if I set my player payroll at 105. I need to trim a few more corners to get some prospect payroll money. I therefore cut coaches down to 10 and hope I can find some guys from lower levels to promote up to the major league jobs and get them at lower salaries. I also cut my player budget down to 102 (only 3 million cushion now!) and set prospect payroll at 6.
My ideal total for coaches during a rebuild is $13M while I shoot $14M in the prospect category. Like Training and Medical, I set these and move on. As of right now, the only two categories that are not at my ideal level: the player payroll and the IFA spending.
Luckily for me, the IFA is $10M too high and player payroll is $10M too low so over the next couple years I can just take from the IFA budget and add it to the payroll. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can get lucky and stumble across a steal on the IFA market.
Now the big question is how I can go so cheap on prospect payroll. I agree that it is a gamble. However, I will set my entire draft to Very Conservative to help keep the dollars down. Also, as I hopefully unload my veterans, I should free up some player payroll. What I don't need to sign free agents and make promotion to set my rosters, I figure I can transfer to prospect payroll if I need it. It is still a huge gamble, especially with the risk of not having enough money for my #2 overall draft pick, but it is my only chance to keep the categories that cannot be modified through transfers where I need them to be.
As I mentioned above, my prospect payroll is exactly where I want it, so this doesn’t apply to my situation. However, these are helpful insights in terms of how to solve that kind of issue in the future should I come across it at some point.

TEAM OPTIONS

You can check on "options" status before doing your budget and take that into account. You do have to have enough in the player budget to cover all existing salaries, including the option salaries you intend to decline. But you can decline the options before resigning any of your free agents or doing arbitration. This potentially allows you to cut the player budget right to the necessary minimum knowing you can generate some cash by declining the options after the budget is finalized.

The Trail Blazers do not have any players that have any options this season, so this is also a moot point.

                                                                    ****
The next entry will focus on the Re-Sign Free Agents and Arbitration day activities. Csherwood normally published this with his Player Evaluation post, but since I'm holding off on that putting those items second seems most logical. Stay Tuned and good luck to all this season!

bruinsfan911

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