Author Archive

Jeff Samardzija Would Make the Rich Yankees Richer

Last season, the New York Yankees had a top-10 rotation bothby FIP-based WAR and RA9-WAR. They were really good. This offseason, CC Sabathia and Jaime Garcia have left as free agents, and Michael Pineda won’t be around after undergoing Tommy John surgery. But Sonny Gray will have a full season with the club, and top prospects Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield have reached the upper minors, making them ready for in-season call-ups.

All of this is to say, the Yankees will have a good rotation even if they do nothing else this offseason. Right now on the FanGraphs depth charts, the club is projected to have the 10th-best starting rotation in the majors. That’s pretty good, especially when you combine it with a top-notch bullpen, strong offense, and above-average defense.

Nevertheless, the Yankees have an opportunity to get richer.

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The Orioles May Have a Good Reason for Not Pursuing Ohtani

The Baltimore Orioles were unlikely to sign Shohei Ohtani. He seems to have had little interest in teams east of the Mississippi — the Chicago Cubs represented the lone exception in that respect — and there was probably little that Peter Angelos, Dan Duquette, and Co. could have done to change that. Still, they had to try, right? That was the opinion held by 27 of the league’s 30 teams, at least. The Orioles weren’t one of them, though.

What was the Orioles’ logic for not pursuing the two-way star? Perhaps not what you’d think.

Huh. That is certainly interesting. While an organization might have (justifiably) felt as though they had little chance with Ohtani, this doesn’t appear to be Baltimore’s main reason for having abstained from courting him. The team’s objections appear to be founded on a greater underlying issue.
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The Best of FanGraphs: December 4-8, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 12/5/17

Paul Swydan:

Which of Paul’s most listened to artists (according to Spotify) this year do you like best?

Kendrick Lamar (29.4% | 41 votes)
The Alchemist (2.1% | 3 votes)
Nas (9.3% | 13 votes)
Mobb Deep (3.5% | 5 votes)
Wu-Tang Clan (16.5% | 23 votes)
I like them all equally! (2.1% | 3 votes)
I don’t like any of these musical acts. (36.6% | 51 votes)

Total Votes: 139
Paul Swydan:

Which of Paul’s 9 most listened to songs of 2017 (according to Spotify) do you like best?

Your Wildest Dreams – The Moody Blues (9.8% | 12 votes)
Let’s Groove – Earth, Wind & Fire (13.1% | 16 votes)
Capt. Underpants Theme Song – Weird Al (7.3% | 9 votes)
Everything She Wants – Wham! (3.2% | 4 votes)
Saturday – Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids (0.8% | 1 vote)
I’m The One – DJ Khaled f/ Bieber, Chance, Lil’ Wayne (12.2% | 15 votes)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Regina Spektor (13.1% | 16 votes)
All Night – Big Boi (4.0% | 5 votes)
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty – KC & The Sunshine Band (11.4% | 14 votes)
I don’t like any of these songs! (24.5% | 30 votes)

Total Votes: 122
Paul Swydan:

Do you think the Mikolas signing makes the Cardinals rotation deep enough to trade away a starting pitcher?

Absolutely (3.8% | 6 votes)
I think so (17.8% | 28 votes)
Meh (36.3% | 57 votes)
I don’t think so (30.5% | 48 votes)
Definitely not (11.4% | 18 votes)

Total Votes: 157
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

Austin: Thoughts on Drew Pomeranz for 2018?

Jeff Zimmerman: Hi

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White Sox Beef Up at Catcher

Welington Castillo is no stranger to home runs.
(Photo: Keith Allison)

It’s been a veritable desert for baseball transactions this offseason, and there may not be an oasis on the horizon, as teams dance on the line between spending efficiency and collusion. But we’re starting to get metaphorical trickles of water here and there. One came over the weekend, as catcher Welington Castillo agreed to sign with the White Sox.

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The Best of FanGraphs: November 20-December 1, 2017

Each week, we publish in the neighborhood of 75 articles across our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times and blue for Community Research.
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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 11/28/17

Paul Swydan:

Which player acquisition do you care most about?

Giancarlo Stanton (6.9% | 11 votes)
Shohei Ohtani (59.4% | 94 votes)
Both equally! (11.3% | 18 votes)
Neither, I just want them to move so other stuff starts happening!!!!!!! (22.1% | 35 votes)

Total Votes: 158
Paul Swydan:

What is your favorite Star Wars movie?

Episode I: The Phanton Menace (3.8% | 6 votes)
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (1.9% | 3 votes)
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (4.4% | 7 votes)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (5.1% | 8 votes)
Episode IV: A New Hope (12.1% | 19 votes)
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (30.7% | 48 votes)
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (15.3% | 24 votes)
Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2.5% | 4 votes)
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (even tho I haven’t seen it yet!) (3.2% | 5 votes)
NONE, STAR WARS IS TRASH! (20.5% | 32 votes)

Total Votes: 156
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

Paul Swydan: Just me tonight. Jeff is out of pocket.

MattyB: Does Keynan Middleton have a reasonable shot at taking over the Angels’ closer role during the 2018 season?

Paul Swydan: His chances probably depend on 1) can he cure his home run problems? and 2) Who gets hurt in front of him. But certainly not impossible.

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The Hall of Fame Isn’t Worth Our Time

We love debating which baseball players deserve to be designated as the “best of all time.” In the last year alone, I personally have written about Larry Walker‘s case to be regarded as one of them, as well as Andruw Jones’s. Over at The Hardball Times, we publish a piece that explores this notion seemingly every month, sometimes more. Two years ago, we devoted a whole week to the matter. In almost every case, these debates revolve around a player’s credentials for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. But now, more than ever, the institution is unworthy of that authority.

I’m not suggesting everyone should cease attempting to identify baseball’s top players or most influential figures. History is important. I just don’t think that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum should be the focus of this attention or serve as the arbiter of these decisions. One thing that struck me repeatedly while reading Jay Jaffe’s book, The Cooperstown Casebook, earlier this year is just how relentlessly the Hall of Fame has failed at the task of electing the best players to its institution.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 11/21/17

Paul Swydan:

Do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

Yes (77.8% | 137 votes)
No (10.7% | 19 votes)
Sometimes (11.3% | 20 votes)

Total Votes: 176
Paul Swydan:

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Green bean casserole (6.3% | 11 votes)
Cranberry sauce (4.6% | 8 votes)
Stuffing (29.6% | 51 votes)
Mashed potatoes (27.9% | 48 votes)
Mac and cheese (5.8% | 10 votes)
Brussel sprouts (2.3% | 4 votes)
Carrots (1.1% | 2 votes)
Sweet potatoes (11.0% | 19 votes)
Rolls (6.9% | 12 votes)
Something else! (say in comments) (4.0% | 7 votes)

Total Votes: 172
Paul Swydan:

What’s your favorite kind of Thanksgiving pie?

Pumpkin pie (39.1% | 65 votes)
Pecan pie (21.0% | 35 votes)
Apple pie (24.6% | 41 votes)
Blueberry pie (3.6% | 6 votes)
Another kind of hot fruit pie (4.8% | 8 votes)
Other (say in comments) (6.6% | 11 votes)

Total Votes: 166
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody! FYI you’re all underrating pecan pie!

hscer: There’s more than one kind of “cranberry sauce” y’know!

Paul Swydan: Ah touche.

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What Should the Rays Do?

The Tampa Bay Rays are a fascinating case study this offseason. They’re not bad, but it’s been a while since they were contenders. They haven’t finished with a winning record in any of the past four seasons, and as things stand right now, they aren’t projected as a 2018 playoff team either. Our depth charts currently peg them for having the 16th-best WAR in the majors, and the ninth-best in the American League. There isn’t a lot of separation between the Rays at 16th and the Diamondbacks at 10th, but by that same token, they’re not that far from the Orioles at 18th overall, either.

With some upgrades, the Rays could conceivably push a little closer to the top of the list and put themselves more firmly into the Wild Card mix. But as Craig noted on Friday, the Rays have already committed to a more expensive roster in 2018 than they did in 2017. As such, they may not have any money to spend in free agency. In fact, they may have to jettison some salaries. Who would they jettison, exactly? Let’s take a look:

Tampa Bay Rays, $5+ Million Salaries, 2018
Player 2018 Salary ($M) 2017 WAR Proj. 2018 WAR
Evan Longoria $13.6 2.5 3.0
Wilson Ramos $8.5 0.4 2.0
Jake Odorizzi $6.5 0.1 0.9
Corey Dickerson $6.4 2.6 1.1
Chris Archer $6.4 4.6 4.4
Kevin Kiermaier $5.6 3.0 3.8
Alex Colome $5.5 1.2 0.7
Adeiny Hechavarria $5.0 1.3 0.7
Highlighted = Projected arbitration salary from MLB Trade Rumors
Projected WAR via FanGraphs depth charts

So the Rays have eight players who are expected to make $5 million or more next season, either as part of their current contract or through arbitration (estimates of which have been provided by Matt Swartz). Brad Miller is projected to make $4.4 million in arbitration, which is also noteworthy.

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