Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 1/25/21

2:01
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, happy Monday

2:01
Ben Clemens: Seems like we’re back into the ‘no big signings’ portion of the offseason for a bit now that Springer has signed, but there are plenty of minor things going on

2:02
Ben Clemens: And let’s be honest, you’re reading a chat about baseball in the middle of January, minor things are probably something you’re interested in

2:02
Ben Clemens: So let’s chat!

2:02
Milton Bwadley: Why don’t the Rockies rebuild?

2:02
Ben Clemens: Really good question that I don’ know the answer to

2:02
Ben Clemens: Last year they thought (or at least Dick Monfort thought) they’d win 94 games!

2:03
Ben Clemens: It could be that they just disagree with the premise that they need to rebuild

2:03
YardGoat: Over/Under 83 wins for NL Central Division winner in 2021

2:03
Ben Clemens: Over

2:03
Ben Clemens: Even though I might not project any of the teams higher than that, someone will spike it

2:03
Ben Clemens: At 88 I’m not sure which way I’d go

2:03
Appa Yip Yip: So Brad Hand got himself a 15% raise (1 m buyout, 10.5 contract) because teams were trying to be cheap and galaxy brain their way through the off-season. Do any front offices take a lesson from this? Maybe just … get the good player when he’s available?

2:04
Ben Clemens: Not really clear. He got himself a 15% raise, but teams got some information too

2:04
Ben Clemens: They got to see what players signed for over 1.5 months

2:04
Ben Clemens: As it turns out, signings are mostly beating expectations

2:04
Ben Clemens: I think a lot of front offices will convince themselves they had a good process/bad outcome situation here

2:05
Ben Clemens: But overall, I agree with you that teams are a little too cute about trying to grab little edges

2:05
Swifty Mcvay: Good Day Ben. I know the Padres Signed Kim Ha-Seong for just Four years but do they control him through arbitration for 2 aditional years after that contract is up just like any first year player?

2:05
Ben Clemens: I haven’t looked at Kim’s contract specifically, but contracts can include a clause that requires teams to relinquish a player’s rights and let them elect free agency after the contract is over

2:06
Ben Clemens: Look at Miles Mikolas for a good example

2:06
Ben Clemens: He technically only has 4 years of service time but he would have hit free agency after his first 2-year deal with the Cards

2:06
Kyle: Imagine Marlins get Benintendi and Phillies bring back Realmuto. Is there a single team in the NL East that doesn’t go over .500 in that scenario?

2:06
Ben Clemens: Yes, the Marlins probably

2:07
Ben Clemens: It’s really hard for every team to go above .500 even if they’re all good

2:07
Ben Clemens: But also, are the Marlins THAT good?

2:07
Tigers Fan: Do you think any of these 3 players will have bounce back year (ie. All Star caliber numbers)…Cody Bellinger, Gleyber Torres, Shohei Ohtani?

2:07
Ben Clemens: Bellinger

2:08
Ben Clemens: Also I’d believe either of the other two, I’m just most confident in Bellinger

2:08
Ben Clemens: As the best defender of the group, he has the lowest bar to putting up All Star level numbers

2:08
Ben Clemens: As a bonus, he’s the best hitter in the group

2:08
Ben Clemens Replacement: I have taken over Fangraphs and will chat every day.

2:09
Ben Clemens: My robot replacement is causing trouble again apparently. I will not be chatting every ady!

2:09
Rockies: Better question: Why don’t the Rockies fire the whole FO?

2:09
Ben Clemens: My guess is that they don’t think the front office is performing poorly

2:09
Ben Clemens: I’m pretty sure that if you asked the Rockies front office what they thought of their chances, privately

2:09
Ben Clemens: They’d be like ‘yeah look this team is not equipped to compete’

2:10
Bring Back Mookie: Like that Ottavino trade for the Sox? Doesn’t seem like much downside

2:10
Ben Clemens: Yeah I think it makes sense. Skeptical that the Red Sox are favorites to make the playoffs without another move, but they got a competent reliever for free in exchange for being friendly with the Yankees

2:10
Ben Clemens: What’s not to like about that?

2:11
Old Man 603: Is Ottavino the clear closer in Boston, or does Cora stick with Barnes?

2:11
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure, to be honest. I think you’ll just have to wait and see what Cora tells beat writers

2:11
Ben Clemens: I’d be worried about Ottavino’s splits vs lefties if I were him

2:12
Ben Clemens: Although I suppose I’d be worried about Barnes’ enduring Barnesiness

2:12
Larry B: Over/ under on HJ Ryu IPs this year?

2:12
Ben Clemens: ooooof

2:12
Ben Clemens: 150

2:12
Ben Clemens: Gotta hope for an over

2:12
Mike Rizzo: Hey Ben, I was wondering why the Nats aren’t being linked to Wong/La Stella to allow a shift of Castro to a more utility role. Is Castro a legit starter any more? Or is the hope for Garcia to step up and split ABs?

2:12
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that Castro is a legit everyday starter anymore, personally

2:13
Ben Clemens: I mean, he could be

2:13
Ben Clemens: I’d just prefer not to have to count on it

2:13
Ben Clemens: I’m surprised they haven’t been linked to a 2B upgrade given that they’re abundant this year

2:13
Ottavino #0: This trade is scary for what it says about my elbow.

2:13
Ben Clemens: I’d think that if the Yankees didn’t have a 40-man crunch

2:14
Ben Clemens: They literally couldn’t announce the LeMahieu signing if they didn’t clear a roster spot

2:14
Ben Clemens: The fact that they got rid of salary AND a 40-man spot w hen those are two things they’ve said they need to move

2:14
Ben Clemens: Makes me think that it’s most likely just a non-baseball-talent thing

2:14
Benintendi: Does Benintendi even raise the Marlins win total?

2:15
Ben Clemens: I think so, not exactly sure what hte projections say but after Starling Marte I would take him over every Marlins outfielder

2:15
Sanford: Thanks for chatting, Ben. If there’s no DH in the NL this year (looking likely per Heyman’s report), do you think the Mets should still go for a CF like JBJ, or stick with Dom, Nimmo, and Conforto as their every day OFs? Conforto is locked in regardless, and Dom’s bat has to stay in the lineup IMO. Maybe flip Nimmo for another starter?

2:15
Ben Clemens: Let’s do two things. First, what should the Mets do if there’s no DH?

2:16
Ben Clemens: I think they should just fake it with Nimmo

2:16
Ben Clemens: I’d be in for Mike Petriello’s eternal Bader/Nimmo swap too

2:16
Ben Clemens: If they could get fair return for Nimmo and sign JBJ, that’s fine, but Nimmo is really good

2:16
Ben Clemens: I know Mets fans are pretty divided on him for whatever reason

2:17
Ben Clemens: But at this point he’s played four straight years, and while injury prone, his worst OBP was .375

2:17
Hugh: Patxi’s or Little Star for deep dish pizza in SF

2:17
Ben Clemens: Quick interlude: haven’t had Little Star deep dish, love its regular crust though

2:17
Ben Clemens: I live about 3 blocks from the one on Divis, so I’ve been there too often

2:18
Ben Clemens: Now, back to the DH thing

2:18
Ben Clemens: The Heyman thing, I’d totally ignore it

2:18
Ben Clemens: That’s the owners leaking a wild perspective on a story

2:18
Ben Clemens: We already know from what the owners and PA have said that DH and expanded playoffs aren’t valued in the same ballpark

2:19
Ben Clemens: It’s like if Heyman reported “The PA has elected not to accept a two dollar bill in exchange for a ten dollar bill. Looks like they might not be getting a two dollar bill.”

2:19
Ben Clemens: The owners are dying to expand the playoffs, and they’ll offer more than just the DH for it

2:19
Ben Clemens: They’re just playing the negotiation through the media game

2:19
MM: If the Red Sox go on a long World Series drought after trading Mookie, then what should we call it?  The “Curse of the Mookie” just does not have a very good ring to it.

2:19
Ben Clemens: I vote they call it the Mookie Monster

2:20
Ben Clemens: As in, the Mookie Monster ate the team’s chances this year

2:20
George: Is the Nats bullpen going to actually be good for once? I’m so sick and tired of the Nats just trading away good bullpen pieces and then ALSO having bad pen.

2:20
Ben Clemens: I think it will be acceptable

2:20
Ben Clemens: Not great, maybe

2:20
Ben Clemens: I’m down on Hand relative to consensus

2:21
Ben Clemens: I would hardly be surprised if he’s the 4th-best reliever for the Nats this year behind Harris, Suero, and Rainey in some order

2:21
Ben Clemens: But that’s an okay bullpen

2:21
Ben Clemens: Gonna be higher than the recent Nats versions, I think?

2:21
45 blows billygoats: Are you expecting a bounce back year from Matt Olsen or was he truly exposed as not being able to hit the wicked bender?

2:22
Ben Clemens: Bounce back

2:22
Ben Clemens: His numbers weren’t even *that* awful last year under the hood, more of a ‘he didn’t bat enough times’ thing

2:23
Ben Clemens: His strikeout rate went up but so did his walk rate. Seems to me from a quick look like he maybe got too passive at the plate

2:23
Ben Clemens: That said, he was an above-average hitter despite a .227 BABIP

2:24
Ben Clemens: Not saying he’s going to replicate his short-season 2017 but I totally buy the projection systems (steamer and zips both think he’ll OBP around .340 and wRC+ above 120 next year)

2:24
Handy Hand: Brad Hand will be Handy. Before the signing, the Nats had a bad Hand in the bullpen. He will have a Hand in improving in it. On the other Hand, he is expensive.

2:24
Ben Clemens: I was intrigued by the idea of writing the Brad Hand signing up

2:24
Ben Clemens: Just to lean RIIIIIIIGHT up to puns

2:24
Ben Clemens: then ignore them

2:25
George: How do you personally separate rooting for a player and feeling repulsed by their personal beliefs? I want to root for players on my favorite team but also find it hard to ignore their less than desirable personal opinions.

2:25
Ben Clemens: This is a wonderful question that I don’t have a satisfactory answer for

2:26
Ben Clemens: I think that you need to make up your own mind on this, but it’s worth being mindful of the fact that yeah, there are probably a lot of players, and certainly owners, whose personal beliefs you m ight disagree with

2:27
Ben Clemens: Following baseball while being conscientious about the bad things that the sport and the people involved in it do isn’t easy

2:27
Ben Clemens: The one thing that I think you should under no circumstances do is defend a bad actor’s bad actions b/c you like how they play baseball

2:27
Ben Clemens: You can say “this is a bad thing, but sports are fraught and I choose to root for the players on my team who are good on the field”

2:27
Ben Clemens: that’s fine

2:27
Ben Clemens: Even though that’s not how I feel

2:28
Ben Clemens: But don’t start defending people for one thing b/c you like another thing they do

2:28
See! You! Later!: On the subject of Hand getting a $500,000 raise: I don’t think it is that teams were trying to get cute, just that they thought the market would be weaker than it was, like most fans and writers. We saw it with the Astros giving Brantley 2/32 after not giving him the QO.

2:28
Ben Clemens: Yeah exactly. Teams thought Hand was worth less than the option given the deal they expected him to get

2:28
Ben Clemens: The market turned out stronger than expected, now his value has gone up

2:28
Ben Clemens: Good deal for him

2:28
Guest: So the Red Sox have actually done some hot-stoving!  They don’t seem like a great team, but they’ve shown a willingness to spend money and be creative.  What else do they need to get back to wild card level, while not messing up their win-later moves?

2:29
Ben Clemens: They should sign a starter

2:29
Ben Clemens: Not necessarily a good one

2:29
Ben Clemens: but just someone who can eat some innings for them

2:29
Ben Clemens: Tyler Anderson? sure

2:30
Griff: Any good SPs that might be surprisingly available? Flaherty?

2:30
Ben Clemens: Surprisingly rules out Castillo, I guess

2:30
Ben Clemens: So, this is definitely not my area of expertise

2:30
Ben Clemens: I don’t really have any inside dirt or anything

2:32
Ben Clemens: That said, I think that Brandon Woodruff might be available in the right deal. The Brewers don’t strike me as the kind of team who wants to tie up resources on long-term deals for starters, and if you’re going to deal him, this year is a good time

2:32
Ben Clemens: I don’ tihnk it’s likely, just more than 0%

2:32
Ben Clemens: hot take, I know

2:32
45 blows billygoats: Last year’s exhibition season, Oracle Park closed the right field fence access which made for a different environment for hitters and pitchers. How does this factor in, if at all, to your projection for Giants players if they go back to keeping it open?

2:33
Ben Clemens: I’m not in charge of that, but I assume you just further weight down the 2020 results

2:33
Ben Clemens: Given that it’s hard to do that systematically, you probably just let it be. But given that it made the park play more hitter-ish, you can shade everyone’s productions down (in wOBA or ERA)

2:34
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: I know you’re not big on accumulating kitchen gadgets, but we got an immersion circulator for the holidays, and wow, sous vide steaks are delicious and idiot-proof. Also makes for an impossibly juicy chicken breast. Thinking salmon next since minimizing albumin (the icky white stuff) has been a thorn in my side forever.

2:34
Ben Clemens: I’ve learned from Top Chef that salmon is tricky to get right in sous vide. That said, that’s from a Top Chef from 2007 so maybe it’s gotten easier since then

2:35
Ben Clemens: My wife is on a big bread baking kick that has toned down the rest of our cooking

2:36
Guest: Okay so FG Depth Charts has Boston as the sixth best team. Am I missing something?

2:37
Ben Clemens: Hm, I see them at 10th-best, but I don’t know, we chop stuff up differently on different pages. I think what this reflects is how good we think the core of the team is, plus I think that Steamer is a smidge high on Alex Verdugo (just my opinion)

2:38
Ben Clemens: The thing is, though, they have enough great players that they can afford some holes and they’ll still be competitive

2:38
Ben Clemens: It’s a lot easier to have a good team when you start with Bogaerts and Devers

2:38
Ben Clemens: We also have Sale pitching 100 innings, so if you’re lower there, that will also hurt

2:39
Magical Mangina: Soooo….no DH?  For one, I am tired of the rules being used as political footballs in CBA talks.  Hard for a GM to properly construct a roster without knowing the rules of the game, I would think.

2:39
Ben Clemens: It’s indeed very frustrating. I hope they just do it

2:39
Morbo: I used sous vide for steaks for probably a year and a half but I have entirely converted to reverse searing my steaks. Season the place in a 200 to 225 oven until internal temp is roughly 10 degrees below your desired temp then sear in the hottest you can possibly get a cast iron for about 90 seconds (less if the cut is thin) a side. Feel free to butter baste while searing

2:39
Ben Clemens: Iiiiinteresting

2:39
Ben Clemens: I’m not much of a steak person, but that style makes sense

2:40
Ben Clemens: Also, instant read thermometers — if you’re cooking, buy one

2:40
Ben Clemens: They’re so great

2:40
Appa Yip Yip: Brad Hand watching Captain Holt yell “Vindication!” on repeat for days.

2:40
Marc: With their newfound cap space, which pieces do you think the Yankees will go after? I assume they’ll bring back gardner with something like 1/6, maybe with a team option, and they want/need bullpen help. Think they go after Rosenthal, or maybe a cheaper option like Kintzler, or perhaps an upgrade somewhere else for depth?

2:40
Ben Clemens: I’m thinking just Gardner. Spreading it out over many players feels like a weird thing given their 40 man situation

2:40
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll audition various minor leaguers as relievers for hte first half of the season and make a trade if nothin works out

2:41
Ottavino #0: If the Mets really play JD Davis at 3B and Dom Smith in LF, opposing managers should start 9 RH hitters and tell them all to pull everything or you’re benched.

2:41
Ben Clemens: I think that’s too harsh to Smith

2:41
Ben Clemens: Probably appropriately harsh to Davis

2:42
Ben Clemens: Like, he’s definitely not a good left fielder

2:42
Ben Clemens: But he’s learning it on the fly and I think you can say with some conviction that he’s a better outfielder than Davis

2:43
Ben Clemens: Statcast doesn’t hate Davis’s defense at third but uh, I do

2:43
5 is greater than 6: I’m not gonna even lie. I hate the 6-man rotation trend because this almost kills the 2 start week for fantasy baseball purposes. Tigers, Mariners, Angels – anyone else?

2:43
Ben Clemens: It sounds like the Padres are gonna goof around with it here and there

2:43
Ben Clemens: I think the Red Sox will when Sale comes back

2:43
Morbo: This just in: Its Monday

2:44
Ben Clemens: Disastrous news

2:44
furtive stan javier: Why is everyone projecting that Enrique Hernandez will play 2B in Boston? He’s a capable CF, a much more demanding position, and there are many more 2B on the market (Villar, Miller, Santana, Hernandez, Wong, Schoop, La Stella, Cabrera, Lowrie, Kipnis, et al.)

2:44
Ben Clemens: Eh, just depends on who they sign. On their current roster, he’s a 2B

2:45
Ben Clemens: Well, he’s a super utility guy even then, b/c he’s also kind of their fourth outfielder

2:45
Ben Clemens: But yeah, he can play a competent CF, I’d argue

2:46
major puig baseball: what do you think the end of the dodgers’ offseason ends up looking like — turner and/or semien and that’s it? that plus a reliever (rosenthal or ???)? something totally out of left field like getting another SP?

2:46
Ben Clemens: Turner/Semien plus another reclamation project pitcher

2:46
Ben Clemens: Rosenthal seems like maybe a fit

2:46
Ben Clemens: but someone like that

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’m leaning Turner over Semien though

2:46
George: Kolton Wong or Tommy La Stella? Both lefties, both on the wrong side of 30, both going to command basically the same contract. Which would you prefer?

2:47
Ben Clemens: I like Wong more. Maybe it’s my Cardinals homer-ism showing through but I think his floor is just way higher

2:47
Ben Clemens: And I’m not convinced his ceiling is any lower

2:47
brad penny for your thoughts: what the NL central is doing should be criminal

2:47
Ben Clemens: Inclined to agree

2:48
Ben Clemens: It’s truly amazing how no one wants to jump to the front of the line

2:48
Johnny5Alive: I think the general impression is that Sandy was always running the show, but after the Porter incident, it seemed like all the players the Mets were previously linked to (and supposedly ‘close’ – Hand, Springer, but also Hernandez) have signed elsewhere.  Like I know its not in solidarity with Porter, but if one person is laying the groundwork on these deals and then just is no longer there, does that affect these negotiations that much?

2:48
Ben Clemens: I have to imagine it really varies from player to player

2:48
Ben Clemens: And depends on specific personal relationships

2:49
Ben Clemens: If your recruiting pitch has been heavy on ‘you’ll get along with the front office’ and light on ‘here’s a bag full of money you dope’

2:49
Ben Clemens: Well, that’s bad

2:49
Appa Yip Yip: How deep do you think the Cubs tear down is going to go? Baseless Hendricks/Bryant rumours are flying everywhere.

2:49
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that Hendricks will actually move

2:50
Ben Clemens: I think that they’re going to tear it down pretty hard in a year though

2:50
Ben Clemens: I think that they’ll struggle to get both fair return and palatable fan reaction for much more teardown this year

2:51
Ben Clemens: But I think their trend is towards bottoming out below 80 wins for a bit soon

2:51
Kyle: If you had to rank all the divisions by how good they are off the top of your head, what would it be 1-6?

2:52
Ben Clemens: Sure, let’s just do this off the top of my head. NLW, ALE, NLE, ALC, ALW, NLC

2:52
Ben Clemens: Really unsure on the bottom 3 though

2:52
Bookie Metts: What do you make of the Ottovino trade? Seems like a great deal for the Red Sox considering their current team status.

2:52
Ben Clemens: Yeah, the Yankees wanted to hand someone Adam Ottavino and they were willing to pay for it

2:53
Ben Clemens: Sounds like something worth accepting

2:53
Alabama Hot Pocket: The correct answer is AL East, NL East………………………….who cares?

2:53
Alabama Hot Pocket: NLW is a good division?  Two good teams and a hot mess below them makes a good division since when?

2:54
Ben Clemens: I think the DBacks are fine, but yeah, having the two best teams in the NL (and arguably in baseball) counts for a lot

2:54
Ben Clemens: This isn’t a binary ‘how many good teams are there’

2:54
Kyle: Can the Nats sustain this stars and then whatever cheap FAs are on the market for much longer? Feels since Harper has left that has been the basic plan. Can they keep it up much longer if they keep spending this much every season?

2:54
Ben Clemens: It seems like it’s going to mostly work for a while

2:54
Ben Clemens: I think a bigger issue is that we dn’t really know Nats’ ownership’s willingness to hand out cash

2:54
Ben Clemens: We know they’re willing to guarantee cash

2:54
Ben Clemens: But a lot of their deferrals are still ongoing or coming up

2:56
Appa Yip Yip: The question would be better phrased as “best competition for the division title” which boils down to how many teams you like in the race.

2:56
Ben Clemens: Now that question

2:56
Ben Clemens: Might have NLC at the top lol

2:56
Ben Clemens: I think the NLC and NLE are the only divisions with 4 reasonably likely division winners

2:56
Nolan: If the M’s sign Rosenthal and Eddie Rosario you think they’d be a legit sleeper pick for the division? Seems crazy that they’re keeping the budget so tight with the west so open right now.

2:56
Ben Clemens: Legit sleeper pick is a hard one to define

2:57
Ben Clemens: I don’t really think so, though

2:57
Ben Clemens: Their rotation is just not there

2:58
Ben Clemens: To the point where you can get away with a middling offense like theirs

2:58
Ben Clemens: I think if Evan White takes a huge step forward, Haniger plays a full year, and one of Moore/Long is an above average second baseman

2:59
Ben Clemens: Then you get to the point where you’re like, oh, this is interesting

2:59
Ben Clemens: But they don’t really have the length or star power in the rotation to where I’d like that offense to make the playoffs

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think they’re a year or two and a few starters away

2:59
Guest: I can’t buy the Phillies as a division title contender, so were you including the Miamis when you cited 4 contenders in the NL East?

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think the Phillies are a contender. Clearly a cut below the other 3 but at least in the mix

2:59
Ben Clemens: I suppose given that you could add ALE as well

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think the Red Sox are in a similar spot

3:00
Ben Clemens: But i agree with you, they’re the worst of that group

3:00
Ben Clemens: By a fair margin

3:00
Bookie Metts: Would you rather have Jameson Taillon or Garrett Richards in your 2021 rotation?

3:00
Ryan: What’s your take on the Pirates’ return for Tailon? And are you taking the over or under on Depth Charts’ projected 4.44 FIP for Jamo?

3:00
Ben Clemens: Under

3:00
Ben Clemens: And I’d rather have Taillon

3:01
Ben Clemens: Not that I think he’s an All Star but I just have given up on Richards

3:01
Ben Clemens: I hope he proves me wrong!

3:01
Ben Clemens: But I’m just going to need to see him make 15 starts in a year before I’m projecting him to make it work

3:02
Ben Clemens: Not that Taillon is a paragon of health but he had three straight healthy-ish seasons at one point

3:02
Ben Clemens: Richards did from 2013-2015, but then he’s spent 5 years being broken

3:02
B.B. Rodriguez: The luxury tax is effectively a salary cap now right? Yankees dumping a useful player and prospect is shameful for the sport.

3:02
Ben Clemens: If that were the most shameful thing baseball had done in the last month, I’d be so happy

3:02
Ben Clemens: But yeah

3:02
Ben Clemens: What a joke

3:03
Phil: Are the twins still the favorite in the AL Central. Or do they need more starters to hold of the White Sox? What FA should they target?

3:03
Ben Clemens: I’ll give it narrowly to the Sox, but it’s a two-team tossup

3:03
Ben Clemens: I think they should sign someone they’re familiar with

3:04
Ben Clemens: Jake Odorizzi

3:04
Ben Clemens: But I think they could also sign a bat and tuck them into LF or DH easily

3:04
Guest: Olney tweeting informed speculation that Mets & Jays may be in on Kris Bryant- if so, he’s not really worth that much in the way of prospect capital, is he? Given inconsistency, price, and 1 year of control?

3:04
Ben Clemens: Nah

3:04
Ben Clemens: It’ll be a cosmetic prospect basically

3:05
Ben Clemens: Someone the Cubs can say they got, when what they really got was salary relief

3:05
Mike Rizzo: Say the Nats struggle and decide to blow it up at the deadline. Everyone besides Soto has to be on the table right? Would Strasburg/Corbin be moveable? Scherzer would get something. Turner too. Hand/Harris/Rainey/Suero Maybe? would there be enough of a return to justify a rebuild or just retool and hope for the best in 2022

3:05
Ben Clemens: I’d keep Robles, b/c I don’t expect his return to be commensurate with his skill

3:05
Ben Clemens: But if you can get a fair return, sure

3:05
Ben Clemens: I think Stras is probably not movable until we get more health info

3:05
Ben Clemens: I don’t honestly see the appeal of a teardown though

3:06
Ben Clemens: You have Juan Soto, just try to win a bunch of games right now

3:06
Bauer: With only 1 full well above-average season, am I really an Ace worth $25-$30M per year for 4+ years? Or am I topping the market due to the lack of high-quality FA SP in this year’s class

3:06
Ben Clemens: Not to get too inside baseball, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this exact question for a future article

3:07
Ben Clemens: I think that the reason Bauer is bein considred as more of an ace than his career averages would suggest is b/c he started using pine tar (or you know, some other sticky thing)

3:07
Ben Clemens: Which is something that most pitchers do

3:07
Ben Clemens: And was really good

3:07
Ben Clemens: So you have a prior…. Trevor Bauer doesn’t use sticky stuff and is an average pitcher

3:07
Ben Clemens: You have new info: Trevor Bauer sticked up and was great

3:07
Ben Clemens: And a hypothesis: sticky stuff improves pitching ability

3:08
Ben Clemens: You can think of those all together in your head and see Bauer as a top 20 pitcher

3:08
Ben Clemens: I think he’s being a little overrated but I also think you have meaningful new data to consider

3:08
Ryan: Who plays the most games at 1B for MIN in 2021?

3:08
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say Sano

3:09
Ben Clemens: But my runner up is Brad Miller

3:09
Dee Arby: is corner defense overrated? I get C, 2B/SS, CF are super important on that side. My non-evidence based argument that a LF may get only a few balls hit to him per game, is the one or two balls they can’t get to compared to a better defender worth the trade off of a better bat?

3:10
Ben Clemens: Having a bad defender in a corner hurts less than putting one in an up-the-middle spot, specifically b/c of opportunity

3:10
Ben Clemens: Given that most defensive metrics don’t scale to opportunity, they’re aware of it only passively

3:10
Ben Clemens: I would argue that corner defense *reputation* is wildly overrated

3:11
Ben Clemens: And that the spread between the best and worst corner defenders is necessarily smaller

3:11
Ben Clemens: Due to fewer opportunities

3:11
Ben Clemens: I dunno if that’s a great answer, but I think you’re generally on the right track

3:11
Bauer: Does that mean I have to admit I used sticky stuff in 2020 to teams during the interview process (to prove my 2020 is not a fluke)? I’ve been very careful about that claim in the past

3:11
Ben Clemens: I mean

3:11
Ben Clemens: I just don’t see how this is a thing

3:11
Ben Clemens: Teams aren’t like ‘well he added 300 rpm of spin but I don’t know how, probably just a fluke unless he admits it’

3:12
Ben Clemens: Also, it’s not like he’s answering a subpeona that will be published forever

3:12
Ben Clemens: He can privately tell a team that and tell them it’s obviously off the record

3:12
Appa Yip Yip: If speculation were to be believed the mets and jays would be the only teams signing players at all

3:12
Ben Clemens: That would be kind of fun, though

3:12
Ben Clemens: Two teams who should be flexing more financial muscle both doing it

3:13
Guest: Re: Defense being overrated- I know a run is a run but you seriously can not convince me that the difference between medium bad defense and good defense is worth the equal run difference in their batting skill. Maybe its because we can tangibly quantify batting, but I remain unconvinced that defense is really that important as long as you aren’t a dumpster fire.

3:13
Ben Clemens: Oh, it’s definitely not!

3:14
Ben Clemens: Here’s one way of thinking about it: the difference between the best and worst 3b last year per UZR was 13 runs

3:14
Ben Clemens: Arenado vs. Devers

3:14
Ben Clemens: (I wouldn’t necessarily buy Devers’s defense being that bad but that’s neither here nor there)

3:15
Ben Clemens: The difference between the best and worst offensive value for full-time 3B last year was 35 runs

3:15
Ben Clemens: roughly triple the difference

3:15
Ben Clemens: Also, offensive statistics are more reliable than defensive statistics for a similar sample size, so you hsould believe the gap on offense more

3:16
Orioles Tragic: Hey Ben! Orioles fan dying for good news. There’s been rumors of a Santander to Miami trade, what could they conceivably get back? Trevor Rogers at best?

3:16
Ben Clemens: That seems reasonable, and I don’t think that’s a terrible outcome

3:16
Ben Clemens: I share your frustration, btw. My mom is a huge O’s fan and she is eternally hopeful and eternally saddened

3:17
Appa Yip Yip: I would argue the Jays have been flexing financial muscle for years now, using money during the down years to snag prospects like teoscar and mcguire, cutting bait on Tulo when he still had 50 million owed to make room for Bichette while teams like baltimore hold out for a crumb of Chris davis, and now it’s kicking into higher gear with the Springer signing.

3:17
Appa Yip Yip: There was never any sense to Shapiro leaving Cleveland if he didn’t have certainty that ownership was willing to spend.

3:17
Ben Clemens: Yeah, this is a better way to put it I suppose

3:17
Ben Clemens: The jays have never been shy about money

3:17
Ben Clemens: They’re just becoming even less shy

3:17
Ben Clemens: The Tulo move is probably not cited enough. It wasn’t really a financial decision, but a willingness to accept sunk costs decision

3:17
Ben Clemens: But it was excellent

3:17
Gavin Lux: Now that Hernandez went to Boston, do I have a starting role in LA?

3:18
Ben Clemens: The Dodgers are going to try really hard to give you one

3:18
Doug: Did the Pirates get more for Taillon than Musgrove? Which would you rather have of the two?

3:18
Ben Clemens: I think they got about the same

3:18
Ben Clemens: I would rather have Musgrove

3:18
Ben Clemens: So, I like the Taillon trade more for them I suppose

3:18
Pitch_Out: Is Ottavino another “couldn’t handle the bright lights of NY” guy,  just another reliever subject to noisy year-to-year statlines, or is it just because it’s *really friggin’ hard* to control a pitch with that much break?

3:18
Ben Clemens: The second one

3:19
Ben Clemens: He gave up a .375 BABIP last year in 18 innings

3:19
Ben Clemens: gotta kinda ignore that, it’s 18 innings

3:19
Ben Clemens: There are red flags there, namely the diving swinging strike rate

3:19
Ben Clemens: And I do think he was miscast as a true elite reliever given the split issue

3:20
Ben Clemens: But I don’t see any reason to think anything other than ‘above average reliever’ here, and that’s not a bad outcome given what he has been over his career

3:20
Ben Clemens: That said, he’s 35 so

3:20
Ben Clemens: One arm twinge and gg

3:20
Guest: Have you heard anything about the new MASN controversy? (Cutting Pre/Post game shows for both Nats and O’s and other general budget cuts) Do you think this gives the Nats enough leeway to just leave this atrocious television deal and get a new TV deal that the O’s don’t screw them with?

3:20
Ben Clemens: I have been following it and what a mess

3:21
Ben Clemens: I don’t know the legal ramifications of the original MASN deal

3:21
Ben Clemens: So I can’t really opine on that

3:21
Ben Clemens: That said, this will surely put some pressure on the arrangement

3:21
drew: am i being anxious for thinking the padres still don’t have enough sp depth? i don’t really have high hopes for any of the prospects to make a big step this year with the exception of morejon

3:21
Ben Clemens: Not really. They have a lot of depth 1-5 but not a lot 6-10

3:21
Ben Clemens: It’s a different kind of depth

3:22
Ben Clemens: And I think they could probably acquire some cheaply if they needed it

3:22
Ben Clemens: But the reinforcements aren’t amazing even though the highlights are great

3:22
Ben Clemens: I think they could do a Profar-esque thing with starters still

3:22
Guest: Yankees and Red Sox trade, now the know the end is near.  what is the yankees plan for that $8M they saved?

3:22
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll laugh about how they don’t need to pay the CBT

3:22
Ben Clemens: And then also sign Brett Gardner

3:23
Tacoby Bellsbury: So, thanks for the Sagrada and Jaipur recommendations, everyone. Can you please stop recommending games for me? The pile of boxes is beginning to teeter, and we’re starting to lose our memory of rules for the games on the bottom of the pile.

3:23
Ben Clemens: This is a massive problem in the Clemens household

3:23
Ben Clemens: My mother-in-law got me Taverns of Tiefenthal for Christmas (a board game about drinking beer? amazing!)

3:23
Ben Clemens: And after we played it a few times and wanted to put it on the shelf…. we didn’t have the shelf space

3:24
Ben Clemens: The biggest problem with board game collecting is that you can’t stop

3:24
Dee Arby: What does Ben Clemens register on the speed pitch at the ballpark?

3:24
Ben Clemens: —

3:24
Ben Clemens: probably

3:24
Ben Clemens: I have never had much of an arm

3:25
Ben Clemens: if you wanted a player comp for my college intramural softball league I’d be James Loney

3:25
Ben Clemens: scaled way down

3:25
Ben Clemens: BABIP-y first baseman

3:25
Steve O: How much do you think Rosenthal will cost? Seems like he’d be a big upgrade in the Yankees pen. Maybe around what Yates got?

3:25
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll cost less than what Yates got

3:26
Ben Clemens: And yeah, I think he’ll be a bargain at that rate

3:26
Ben Clemens: But I don’ see the Yankees doing it

3:26
Lucas: Do expanded playoffs benefit free agents? Wouldn’t a lower win threshold to get in incentivize the projected 75 win team to spend on FA more than under the current 10 team system?

3:26
Ben Clemens: Yeha but it would disincentivize the 80-win team from spending

3:27
Ben Clemens: I find it almost inconceivable that it would help unless teams started giving huge financial payouts to teams who made the playoffs

3:27
Ben Clemens: Okay, a few quick hitters and then I’m out of here

3:27
Ben Clemens: Both about baseball writing, as it turns out, and both probably from the same person

3:27
Guest: Out of curiosity do you read all the stuff published by the other writers at Fangraphs?

3:28
Ben Clemens: Depends on the day but mostly yes

3:28
Ben Clemens: I got into writing baout baseball b/c of how much I loved reading about baseball

3:28
Ben Clemens: So unless I’m just completely swamped with work, for sure

3:28
Ben Clemens: It’s also a great way to get ideas

3:28
Guest: Of all the non-fangraphs MLB writers, whose work do you like to read the most?

3:29
Ben Clemens: I’ll just quickly say that I read a lottttt of other baseball stuff and think that there are a ton of great writers out there doing interesting work

3:29
Ben Clemens: But favorite? I think it’s Tom Tango, b/c I admire his ability to frame questions so well

3:30
Ben Clemens: A Tango Tiger blog almost always means you’re in for a treat if you’re into that kind of thing, and it’s very much something I enjoy

3:30
Ben Clemens: On that note, I’m out of here

3:30
Ben Clemens: Have a great week, everyone, and I don’t know, some generic platitude

3:30
Ben Clemens: May all your days be good ones, bam, there





Ben is a contributor to FanGraphs. A lifelong Cardinals fan, he got his start writing for Viva El Birdos. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

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rosen380
Member

RE: all teams in a division over .500

Checking history the most recent instance I found of all teams in the division being at .500 or better (already giving that bottom team a wins worth of leniency) was the 2005 NLE. Continued back to 2000 and found no others.