Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 11/29/21

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, welcome to the chat.

2:01
Ben Clemens: Seems like we are having an issue getting it to show on the main FanGraphs page, so for now this is a super-exclusive chat for people with exquisite tastes

2:01
Ben Clemens: And I mean, also people who like my writing. Not necessarily mutually exclusive!

2:01
Ben Clemens: I got back from a nice vacation to Italy Saturday night, and imagine my surprise, every free agent is signing, like early Christmas

2:01
Ben Clemens: Let’s talk about it! And Italy too, of course

2:02
BettsBellingerCaruso: Scherzer gone, Seager strongly linked w/ the Rangers and no news for Kershaw.

Losing Scherzer is meh as he was here for 2 months but the latter two as a Dodger fan… it would hurt

The Bauer contract is to blame partly for this right?

2:02
Ben Clemens: Definitely seems that way, though I think the team is still highly likely to sign Kershaw

2:02
Ben Clemens: I wouldn’t panic too much yet; I doubt retaining Scherzer was the key to the Dodgers’ offseason plans or anything

2:02
Ben Clemens: I still think they’re in the market for a bat and two good starters

2:02
5 Run Homer: Everyone is all over the Blue Jays for next year, and rightly so, but it feels like they’re still pretty incomplete as of right now. The lineup is absolutely begging for a Kris Bryant, and I still don’t trust the bullpen. Can they win the division as currently constructed?

2:02
bk: The Blue Jays make the playoffs in 2022, yes or no (assuming continued 5 team playoff structure)?

2:03
Ben Clemens: Two twists on the same question

2:03
Ben Clemens: Can they win the division? Of course

2:03
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna predict them to make it, but it’s a near thing. I have them as the third-best team in the AL East, which doesn’t leave you much margin for error

2:05
Ben Clemens: I think they could use another pitcher and another bat. I’m less concerned about the bullpen just because teams can fix that more in-season

2:05
Darth NateR: Given all the issues that come up with the chats hitting the front page, I have to say being subscribed via RSS means that I never miss one of these! High recommend to the 4 other people reading this.

2:05
Ben Clemens: Hey, you mean the FIVE other people reading this 🙂

2:05
Darth NateR: Which of the contracts signed so far most surprised you?

2:05
Ben Clemens: Semien’s

2:06
Ben Clemens: Dan was tactful in his writeup, but wow that’s a lot of money for Semien. I don’t necessarily think it’s too much, but it’s one of those signings you make to signal that you’re open for business, and uh…. are the Rangers open for business?

2:06
Ben Clemens: I thought my 4/120 speculation made more sense, and truly think that it’s a weird timeline fit

2:06
Ben Clemens: The reason you’re signing Semien is for the first two years of his deal… but the Rangers aren’t good right now!

2:07
Ross: Do you like Story or Bryant better for the Mariners?

2:07
Ben Clemens: Bryant, because like Jerry, I really do believe that JP Crawford is a good fit at shortstop

2:07
Ben Clemens: Feels like you’re wasting a bit of Story’s value by signing him on a team with a good shortstop already. If he’s playing third, why not go for Bryant instead? I trust Bryant’s bat quite a bit more

2:08
Nate: Do you think the White Sox can actually get a middle infielder for Craig Kimbrel? If so, who?

2:08
Ben Clemens: Boy, Nick Madrigal would look good right about now, huh?

2:08
Ben Clemens: I don’t know!

2:08
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they”ll manage it in the end. Kimbrel has surplus value, but not THAT much

2:08
Steve: What would you do next if you were Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler? Also are the mets the WS favorite? NL favoroite? NL East Favorite?

2:09
Ben Clemens: I…. don’t think the Mets are any more than co-favorites to win the Eeast

2:09
Ben Clemens: I have them about even with the Braves

2:10
Anguished in Arvada: I double checked, and Jon Gray is the first player to ever not get traded at the deadline from a losing team, *not* get a QO, and still end up getting a $50m contract. Exactly how badly did the Rockies misplay their hand here?

2:10
Ben Clemens: Um….

2:10
Ben Clemens: Yeah, so badly!

2:10
Ben Clemens: The whole thing just continues to be a Rockies disaster

2:10
Ben Clemens: It’s exacerbated by their communication about it

2:11
Ben Clemens: They really just have no consistency in what they’re saying or doing from moment to moment

2:12
Ben Clemens: They weren’t trading Gray b/c they wanted to extend him, then they gave him a big enough extension offer that he turned down that it was clear htey should QO him, then they didn’t QO him, then they didn’t keep him…

2:12
Ben Clemens: Just like, absolute disaster

2:12
Darth NateR: Do you think with contracts like Semien’s it would be less weird if they front loaded the deal? Same years, same total money, but most of the money coming at the front?

2:12
Ben Clemens: Not really…. that matters slightly from an NPV standpoint, and it could definitely matter from an internal team accounting standpoint, I just don’t think it fits the competitive window of the team

2:13
5 Run Homer: What do you think Texas gets out of Gray? Four years and over $50 mil is a lot, seems like they have high hopes

2:13
Ben Clemens: I would not have gone that high, but I think that teams as a whole are pretty high on Gray’s chances of improving when freed from Colorado

2:15
Ben Clemens: If I were a team, I’d prefer to sign cheaper deals than 4/56 for guys I’m hoping to make better via some as-yet not enacted change

2:15
Ben Clemens: Like, he’s a perfectly nice pitcher, and I don’t think this deal is going to come back and haunt the Rangers or anything.

2:16
Ben Clemens: But I have him and Steven Matz in a similar tier, and I’d definitely take Matz and save $12 million if I had to pick

2:16
Ben Clemens: It’s a small criticism, I just think that there were better places to shop if you wanted to be in the ‘pitchers we think we can improve’ tier

2:16
BigBagBerk: Who do you think is the starting SS for the Astros next year?

2:16
Ben Clemens: Jeremy Pena

2:17
Hungry (Multi-colored) Eyes: Hi Ben! Do you think the Mets make a trade including some of Dom Smith, JD Davis, McNeil this offseason? Seems to be a bit of a bottleneck now with Canha and Escobar. Thanks.

2:17
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I think that one of Dom or J.D. is likely on the way out for a return that will make Mets fans sad

2:18
Ben Clemens: I just don’t think you’ll get much for a 1B with a career 104 wRC+ or a positionless bat who only had 211 PA last year

2:18
Thomas: what do you think about a Taylor Rogers for Dominic Smith trade

2:18
Ben Clemens: I think this would make realllly little sense for the Twins

2:19
Ben Clemens: Where would they put Smith? Surely not left field, and Sano seems like a far better choice at first

2:20
Ben Clemens: Smith is still young and controllable, but I just don’t thikn that ‘young and controllable’ is going to appeal to teams that much when it’s a first baseman coming off of a bad year

2:20
AndrewUK: What’s the Blue Jays’ next move? Surely they can’t fit Ray into their budget as well as Gausman long term, but they need another starter and a 3B ideally, don’t you think?

2:20
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll probably sign another starter, likely a back-of-the-rotation type

2:21
Ben Clemens: I think that’s totally reasonable given how good the top of their rotation is now

2:21
Ben Clemens: I’m a Gausman skeptic but still, it’s a very solid top three

2:21
Ben Clemens: Third base, corner outfield; I’d be happy with either of those spots

2:22
Ben Clemens: I don’t mind Santiago Espinal as much as most people seem to, and I am lower on Grichuk as an everyday starter

2:22
Ben Clemens: I think that most third base upgrades don’t move the needle relative to Espinal. If we’re talking Matt Chapman, sure, but otherwise I’d rather focus on pitching and RF

2:23
CY: Is Seager down to Rangers and Dodgers?

2:23
Ben Clemens: I honestly don’t know

2:23
Ben Clemens: If you’re not one of the scoops reporters, it’s all reading tea leaves that have gotten out, and it’s hard to figure out what teams wnat to get out, what agents want to get out, and what just got out naturally

2:24
Ben Clemens: I do think that the Rangers are likely pushing for Seager, and the Dodgers surely are too

2:24
Ben Clemens: I wouldn’t rule out other teams that need a shortstop,t hough

2:25
CY: The Rangers: A) Have a long term plan and are implementing it; B) Are Drunk?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Porque no los dos?

2:25
Hungry (Multi-colored) Eyes: How embarrassing is it that Scherzer’s ’22 AAV is higher than the entire ’22 payrolls for the Pirates and Orioles?

2:25
Ben Clemens: It’s not great!

2:25
Ben Clemens: That said, I expect those teams’ payrolls will both increase

2:25
Kurupt FM: Which free agent are you comparatively higher on then the industry/fan consensus?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Eduardo Rodriguez

2:25
Ben Clemens: Wow, just a huge fan

2:25
Ben Clemens: Secondary: Mark Canha

2:26
Ben Clemens: I think that guys like Canha have just long been undervalued in free agency

2:26
Ben Clemens: Teams are starting to catch on, but I still think the Mets did well there

2:26
Ben Clemens: And E Rod, I just think that I’d rather get a guy like that out of Fenway and see what happens than sign any of the other non-Scherzer pitching deals that have come through so far this winter

2:27
John G: What are the Giants going to do?? If they can get Ray and Rondon I’d feel great about pitching. But are we stuck in reclamation projects from now on?

2:27
Ben Clemens: I think that the Giants are probably done with marquee pitchers. No Ray, no Rodon, unless they decide they aren’t interested in adding a hitter

2:27
Ben Clemens: But if I were them, I’d probably put the money into the offense and run the existing staff back with one or two more reclamation project additions

2:28
Ben Clemens: You can go wrong betting on the guys who were good this year to be good for you next year, but I think they picked well among the ones they were bringing back

2:28
Ben Clemens: and I’m a HUGE Logan Webb fan

2:28
Bryan: Jays offer Reds Pearson Kirk and Groshans for Castillo. Who says no?

2:28
Ben Clemens: I think the Jays would say no

2:28
Ben Clemens: But I’m not completely sure on this one

2:29
Ben Clemens: Castillo is awesome

2:29
Ben Clemens: But only two years? That’s a big prospect haul for only two years

2:30
Ben Clemens: Shave off one name and I think it’s a close one

2:30
BettsBellingerCaruso: So uhh Muncy apparently tore his UCL?

Dodgers are “only” going to win 90 games next year huh

2:31
Ben Clemens: Rough break for a team that can afford rough breaks thanks to their high talent level

2:31
Ben Clemens: But yeah, they might be in for a down year depending on the rest of what they do this offseason

2:31
Ben Clemens: If they don’t bring back Seager, that definitely shrinks their margin for error, and Muncy will test that margin early

2:31
Michael: Can you think of a sane reason that the Yankees would go with Simmons at short when their offense felt anemic for most of ‘21?

2:32
Ben Clemens: I don’t run the Yankees, but for me, it would be a mistake

2:32
Ben Clemens: That’s just such a strange risk to take when you’ve spent so much money elsewhere

2:32
Ben Clemens: I just think that the Yankees set up REALLY well to sign a marquee shortstop

2:32
Ben Clemens: It would be a strange place to cheap out, in a great market for exactly the thing their team seems set up for

2:33
Thomas: As a Jays fan, my ideal rest of the offseaon (assuming they don’t sign another big FA, which would be the true ideal) is trade for Matt Chapman, sign an Alex Cobb-type starer (veteran, one or two year deal) and then like 2 or 3 upside-with-questions relief arms

2:33
Ben Clemens: I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking Chapman Jays, that makes a ton of sense to me

2:33
Ben Clemens: This sounds like basically my ideal rest of offseason for Toronto as well

2:34
Ben Clemens: If they can’t swing Chapman, maybe they see if Michael Conforto wants a one-year deal there? I’d really like one more bat one way or another

2:34
Cob: Do you see the Red Sox dishing out a major contract? They could use a great starter, and probably another bat as well

2:34
Ben Clemens: Kind of depends on your cutoff for ‘major’

2:34
Ben Clemens: They already kiiiiind of brought back J.D. Martinez, if you think they had written him off as likely to opt out after the year

2:35
Ben Clemens: I think they still need a pitcher and a second baseman

2:35
Ben Clemens: I’m starting to think they might end up with neither

2:36
Ben Clemens: I thought they were a great location for Marcus Semien if he was doing the short/high-AAV style contract, but I don’t think they were ever gonna give him 7/175

2:36
John G.: follow-up if the Giants are focused on hitting do you believe it would be castillanos and done? Maybe a Gary Sanchez waiver claim?

2:36
Ben Clemens: I could see that, though I don’t know about this 7-8 year deal he’s rumored to be in pursuit of

2:37
Ben Clemens: I’m pretty high on Kris Bryant as well, though I don’t really know what his market looks like. I’d also consider Chris Taylor, who really feels like a Gabe Kapler style of player

2:37
Nate: Come across any nice olive oils during your trip to Italy? I know you’ve plugged oro di oliva a few times in chat before

2:38
Ben Clemens: We had an absolutely amazing olive oil at a nice restaurant (Bistrot 64)

2:38
Ben Clemens: It was literally green

2:38
Ben Clemens: Very grassy, really lovely

2:38
Ben Clemens: But I didn’t get the name

2:38
5 Run Homer: Castellanos is asking for HOW many years??

2:38
Ben Clemens: Indeed, it’s many

2:39
Guest: Approx value of the opt out Scherzer got after year 2?

2:39
Ben Clemens: My option value calculator isn’t going to think it’s worth very much

2:39
Ben Clemens: Because single-year opt outs are kinda capped

2:39
Ben Clemens: It really likes the ones that are, say, three years into an eight-year deal or whatever

2:40
Ben Clemens: I wish I had a better answer for you than that, but I don’t know, mayyyyybe $5 million dollars or something? It’s hard to imagine a ton of value when he’s going to be getting $43 million in that last year

2:40
Guest: Are you more surprised by the size of the M. Semien deal or the A. Garcia deal?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Hmm… Semien by a hair

2:41
Ben Clemens: I had Avi really high up on our list and yet was way low, so that one definitely counts

2:42
Ben Clemens: Hm okay I changed my mind, I think Avi’s surprises me more

2:42
Ben Clemens: Not because I don’t think he could be good value at that price, but because I didn’t expect four years

2:43
Ben Clemens: I now feel silly for dropping him to one year in my predictions, though. I had him at 2/32 for almost the entire time and pulled back in the last few hours before publishing

2:43
Appa Yip Yip: Gausman and Ray are both two pitch pitchers with short track records who have and will sign long contracts. Who do you prefer?

2:44
Ben Clemens: I like Ray a bit more, because I just can’t wrap my head around how Gausman will keep getting away with it

2:44
Ben Clemens: (throwing so many splitters without a pitch that breaks gloveside)

2:44
Ben Clemens: But I was definitely the low man on Gausman and it seems like teams are higher on him than I was by a good deal

2:45
Ben Clemens: Just, something about that contract sets off my spider senses

2:45
Archuleta: Think Red Sox owner LeBron James makes Stroman a pitch to come to Boston? They’re buds and both repped by the same agency (Klutch). Mets may be out of the running now…

2:45
Ben Clemens: I do not… LeBron doesn’t seem like he’s an active owner of the Red Sox, haha

2:45
Ben Clemens: Like, I thikn he would tell Stroman to get the most money he can

2:45
Ben Clemens: And play somewhere he wants to play

2:46
Archuleta: Where do the Dodgers turn to with Scherzer gone?

2:46
Ben Clemens: I don’t think the Scherzer back to LA thing was ever a remotely done deal, just seemed like he’d get to go wherever he wanted before the Mets threw on an extra year

2:47
Ben Clemens: That said, I think they turn to Jansen, Seager, and Kershaw

2:47
Jaysosmash: Can the Cubs be competitive in 2022 like ownership stated?  If so, what starting pitcher FA will allow them to change momentum?

2:47
Ben Clemens: I mean…. look, they COULD

2:47
Ben Clemens: If they signed a ton of players

2:47
Ben Clemens: I do not think that it’s particularly likely

2:48
Ben Clemens: But hey, sign Carlos Correa and Nick Castellanos, bring back Anthony Rizzo, add two pitchers, pretty soon you’ve got a stew going

2:49
5 Run Homer: The Dodgers really have to make sure they keep Kershaw now, right? What are the chances he heads somewhere else?

2:49
Ben Clemens: To me, yes

2:49
Ben Clemens: Again, I don’t have anything unique here

2:50
Ben Clemens: I just think that what Andrew Friedman has said so far and what LA’s rotation looks like both foreshadow another year

2:50
Ben Clemens: At the very least

2:50
Carlos Rodon: Am I planning to wait out a few months of lockout to hope my arm can pass a physical or is the total lack of news regarding where I’m going a sign that no one wants me?

2:50
Ben Clemens: Probably more the first than the second

2:51
Ben Clemens: Rodon is represented by Boras, and it wouldn’t shock me if he were in the ‘second-tier-client-Boras-doesn’t-do-well-by’ category

2:51
Ben Clemens: Boras has clearly been pretty busy of late with other signing

2:51
Ben Clemens: signings*

2:51
Ben Clemens: and it’s not like he’s the only person at his agency, but his smaller clients have always seemed to wait to sign until the big names are out of the wya

2:52
Uncle Charlie: If Eugenio Suarez’s September is an indication that his extended hitting woes may be a thing of the past, would a Reds-Jays swap of 3B Suarez for INF/OF Cavan Biggio seem plausible?  Biggio looks to be in like an odd man out situation in Toronto.  And Suarez never lost his power, just his eye which he seems to have righted.

2:52
Ben Clemens: Uh…. it does not, to me

2:52
Ben Clemens: I don’t think Suarez is a good bet to rebound. I think that Steamer’s 98 wRC+ prediction looks pretty reasonable

2:53
Ben Clemens: Now, he’s on a very solid contract, 3/33 with a 15 million dollar option afterwards

2:54
Ben Clemens: But that’s not a steal for a guy who looks like he might be kind of done

2:54
Ben Clemens: Like, a lot of guys look better with a .432 BABIP, but his August was pretty putrid

2:55
Ben Clemens: His second half was encouraging…. and also, he still struck out 30% of the time and is 30

2:55
Ben Clemens: I think Biggio’s star has fallen, but not quite that much

2:55
Guest: Michael Lorenzen is gonna show Ohtani how *real* two-way players do it right? Pitch *and* play the field?

2:55
Ben Clemens: Haha I think so

2:55
Ben Clemens: It’s a strange fit for the Angels to me, but I guess they’re going six-man rotation anyway

2:56
Ben Clemens: It’s starting to feel like one of my OOTP teams

2:56
Ben Clemens: Three two-way players, jam them in all around the depth chart when they’re not starting

2:56
TomBruno23: Good to see a guy who is key in the labor battle, and going so far back as the draft days went indy ball to force the issue with AZ, single handedly advancing the average annual value record by over 20% from Cole’s 36M

2:56
Ben Clemens: You absolutely love to see it

2:56
D Lew: If Castellanos comes off his 7 year dream. You think the Phillies are a good fit?

2:56
Ben Clemens: Yeah, totally

2:57
Ben Clemens: Depends on what they’re looking to spend on… it wouldn’t shock me to see them as a mystery suitor in some of the shortstop markets

2:57
Ben Clemens: But if they’re not doing that, I don’t hate hiding him in left field or DH (pending universal DH etc) and their outfield is NOT good right now outside of Harper

2:57
The Opener: What are your thoughts on the Kluber signing and what could you see the Rays doing more (if anything) to their rotation before opening day?

2:58
Ben Clemens: I thought that Jake Mailhot’s writeup was excellent

2:58
Ben Clemens: I think they might sign one more very-low-dollar pitcher, but that they’re almost done

2:58
Guest: How much risk is there on Scherzer actually pitching well for three more years?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Oh, there’s risk for sure!

2:59
Ben Clemens: I don’t think there’s much in year one

3:00
Ben Clemens: But it definitely increases as time goes on

3:00
Ben Clemens: I don’t have a good quantitative answer for you, I haven’t looked into it that deeply, but I do think that Scherzer is a good bet to be either hurt or good even at age 40

3:00
Appa Yip Yip: Matt Chapman has been trending down offensively for two seasons now. The defense is superlative, but what makes you think the bat will bounce back? A no hit all defense third baseman isn’t really all that compelling.

3:01
Ben Clemens: I think that he’ll be JUUUUST a bit better offensively than he was this year, say to the tune of a .325 OBP or more slug or something like that

3:01
Ben Clemens: And if you’re a 110 wRC+ (ish, random number) third baseman with gold glove defense, that’s pretty good

3:01
Ben Clemens: All Star caliber player, which is about where I’d peg him. Borderline All Star

3:01
Pitcher’s duel: Would you rather have Logan Webb or Sandy Alcantara?

3:02
Ben Clemens: Boy, I’m going to continue being too low on Sandy forever aren’t I?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I’d take Webb

3:02
Kozmania: Is it possible to structure a contract that is almost entirely front loaded? Let’s say a team has a young nucleus, and a relatively low payroll. This would allow them to absorb the FA contract, and provide flexibility down the road?

3:02
Ben Clemens: So, you *could*

3:02
Ben Clemens: There are a few problems

3:02
Ben Clemens: One, owners don’t want to spend money now that they could spend in the future

3:02
Ben Clemens: Time value of money, teams have debt so spending the money later is usually better, that kind of thing

3:02
Ben Clemens: Two, for the purposes of the CBT, the league calculates each year of the contract with the same value

3:02
Ben Clemens: So even if you went, say, 30/30/10/10

3:03
Ben Clemens: Each year would count $20 against the CBT threshold

3:03
Ben Clemens: So you can’t actually get away with something by doing it. Now, maybe you could trade the guy in the future if things don’t work out and he’s now on a cheap deal?

3:03
Ben Clemens: But you could also get that effect by retaining money in the future

3:03
Gerald: What is the Mets payroll right now?

3:03
Ben Clemens: I think I saw 265, but maybe it was 256?

3:03
Ben Clemens: Something like that, the highest in the game by a big

3:04
Ben Clemens: big amount*

3:04
Johnny5Alive: Can the mets do anything about Cano’s money.  Like if he “retires” or does a Bonilla-type buyout with money deferred over long times, does the 20million count against the cap still?

3:04
Ben Clemens: Okay if he actually retires, they’re off the hook

3:04
Ben Clemens: So that’s unlikely to happen

3:04
Ben Clemens: If they do a buyout, I actually don’t know the cap implications

3:04
Ben Clemens: Let’s say they agree to an ‘extension’ that’s 5 million a year for 4 years, replacing this year’s deal

3:04
Ben Clemens: and then they cut him

3:04
Ben Clemens: I don’t know if the league would let them spread the money out that way

3:05
Alby: If you ran the Phillies, would you rather spend on a SS or 3B? Seems like they need both in addition to a CF.

3:05
Ben Clemens: Shortstop, just because there’s a higher likelihood that there’s someone they think is for them is on the market

3:05
Ben Clemens: If they’re super into Kris Bryant or Matt Chapman then nevermind?

3:06
Ben Clemens: But generally speaking I think short is a harder spot to fill for them (I kind of think Bryson Stott will end up at third)

3:06
Ben Clemens: Btw, saw Stott in Fall League and he looked powerful

3:06
Ben Clemens: His homer numbers haven’t jumped off the page in the minors, but I kind of think he’ll hit for more power than he has shown so far

3:06
Guest: Semien contract = Werth contract in DC?

3:06
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I like this comparison

3:07
Ben Clemens: If that’s what the Rangers are doing, then fine

3:07
Ben Clemens: The Werth deal was not a great deal for Washington in dollars and cents, but it was a great deal from a standpoint of energizing the fanbase, letting players know it was a good free agent destination, and still being a useful member of the team when the contention years came

3:07
Ben Clemens: If Eric Hosmer weren’t so bad, he’d fit this kind of contract too

3:08
Ben Clemens: It’s just… he’s replacement level, Werth had two 4+ WAR seasons in DC

3:08
Gerald: Should more teams/players look to structure a deal like the Buxton deal?

3:08
Ben Clemens: I think so

3:09
Ben Clemens: I don’t exactly know how it works, Buxton is a REALLY unique player in terms of his fit for this deal

3:09
Ben Clemens: Where he’s a hitter with pitcher-ish tendencies

3:10
Ben Clemens: In terms of very uncertain availability

3:10
Ben Clemens: But likely dominance when healthy

3:10
Ben Clemens: It’s hard to structure deals exactly like that for more normally-shaped hitters, but I love the ideal of larger incentives for players who are kind of stuck between two future outcome projections

3:10
Bob Melvin: What would you do with Hosmer if you were the Padres?

3:10
Ben Clemens: Oof

3:11
Ben Clemens: I think I’d try to make him a platoon first baseman, and be willing to cut him if that didn’t work out or if he wasn’t into it? It’s crazy because there’s still a lot of money coming his way, but just from the sheer amount of smoke coming from the clubhouse there, it seems like they haven’t really done a good job getting the team to buy in that the right thing to do involves less Hosmer playing time

3:12
Ben Clemens: That’s euphemistic. What I mean to say is that the team seems to think that either a)playing Hosmer provides some value that public models don’t capture

3:12
Ben Clemens: b)benching Hosmer creates some negative value that public models don’t capture

3:12
Ben Clemens: I’m skeptical of both!

3:12
Ben Clemens: That said, I’m a public models guy

3:13
Ben Clemens: I’d axe him, say ‘look no hard feelings you’ve got a pile of money either way’ and move on with life

3:13
Joey Caltrain: How do you feel about MLB’s proposal a little while back to base player salaries on Fangraphs’ own WAR model? Does it change how you feel about working at this website?

3:13
Ben Clemens: I thought it was a flawed model, and am generally against the idea of determining salaries in an algorithmic way like that when teams retain the option to non-tender players. It makes for an asymmetric risk profile

3:14
Ben Clemens: The devil would be in the details, and given the way past arbitration systems have worked, I think it’s unlikely to work out in players’ favor

3:14
Ben Clemens: That said, doesn’t change how I feel about working here at all. If there was a fair way to do it, I’d generally be in favor. I’m just skeptical of the concept

3:14
Appa Yip Yip: The sunk cost fallacy is so real you gotta keep digging that hole you’ve dug so far already

3:14
Appa Yip Yip: Imagine stopping digging wtf what a waste

3:15
Ben Clemens: Amazing

3:15
Ben Clemens: Imagine stopping digging

3:15
Nats Fan: Ben I’m sad

3:15
Ben Clemens: Just think of beating the Astros four times in their house in 2019

3:15
Ben Clemens: And Juan Soto shuffling aggressively

3:15
Thomas: I really liked your Buxton piece, and it does seem like maybe more deals should be structured like this. But then I thought about it some more, and isn’t this sort of heavy-awards-based incentive system just the arbitration system, but outsourcing the arbiter’s role to the BBWAA?

3:15
Ben Clemens: Yes and no, because teams can cut the guy if they get hurt in arb

3:16
Ben Clemens: I like the floor in Buxton’s deal, and I like the fact that it’s performance-based if he goes nuts but is at a reasonable level for both sides in other circumstances

3:16
Ben Clemens: The concept of getting money in exchange for playing well is good… I just think that the current arbitration system doesn’t enact it very equitably for players

3:16
Ben Clemens: But yeah…. a system that had more incentive bonuses would look more like arb for sure

3:16
Guest: Is it true that all the FA’s are signing before the lockout simply so they can afford tons of Christmas gifts for their families?

3:16
Ben Clemens: Totally true!

3:17
Ben Clemens: I saw Alex Wood at my local Costco going nuts in the gifts aisle

3:17
Ben Clemens: (I absolutely did not!)

3:18
5 Run Homer:

Source: The Mariners are closing in on a deal with Robbie Ray.
29 Nov 2021

the Mariners!

3:18
Ben Clemens: !!!

3:18
Ben Clemens: Now that is fun

3:18
Ben Clemens: They still need a third baseman, but yeah, I’m intoi this

3:19
Ben Clemens: Top end pitcher is perfect for them

3:19
Ben Clemens: I LOVE that I put ‘Robbie Ray, perhaps?’ in my shopping list for htem

3:19
Ben Clemens: Very results-oriented thinking, but yeah, that’s me!

3:19
Porkchop: Is there any chance of a minimum team salary structure upcoming?

3:19
Ben Clemens: Never say never, but honestly no?

3:19
Appa Yip Yip: I would imagine a lot of dudes want to have a couple months to like. Get a place to live and a couch to sit on rather than scramble in February and march

3:19
Ben Clemens: I think this has a TON to do with it

3:19
Ben Clemens: I’m planning on writing about this when things cool down

3:19
Ben Clemens: like, how did I get this so wrong

3:20
Ben Clemens: And I think the combination of a bright line deadline when free agency so rarely has one

3:20
Ben Clemens: And then the uncertainty of when they’d be able to sign afterwards

3:20
Ben Clemens: Is very motivating

3:20
Ben Clemens: I don’t think anyone wants to have the lockout end on Jan 30 and then figure out where they’re playing after that

3:20
Ben Clemens: And teams kind of seem to be in the same position, which surprises me

3:21
Ben Clemens: Look, if you’re Marcus Semien or Kevin Gausman, I don’t think these offers were going to magically go up if you waited until after the lockout

3:21
Ben Clemens: Certainty for both sides makes sense if you don’t think this CBA is going to be firmament-shattering

3:21
TomBruno23: 5/115 for Ray per Heyman

3:22
Ben Clemens: With an opt out after three years

3:22
Ben Clemens: THAT is the kind of opt out I like

3:22
Ben Clemens: If Ray is for real, he’s opting out after year three and getting another big deal

3:22
Thomas: Guys… should we have a lockout every year? This has been so much fun

3:22
Ben Clemens: After this article, I’m off to write 75 free agent signing reactions

3:22
Ben Clemens: But other than that yeah it’s been a blast

3:22
Guest: The Rangers are making a push for Seager.  If they land him (after already signing Gray, Semien, and Calhoun), where do they slot amongst the AL West teams in chances of winning the division?

3:22
Ben Clemens: Um…. fourth?

3:23
Ben Clemens: There are just a lot of holes there

3:23
Ben Clemens: Their pitching staff is like…. ‘Gray and Dunning and pray for rainouts for three days running’

3:25
Ben Clemens: I’m not against them adding here but even Seager is goin to leave them projected for about the same WAR as Oakland and a little behind Seattle, and that’s with Seattle not adding anyone after Ray

3:25
Ben Clemens: Oakland is tearing down, so I’ll give Texas the edge, but that still leaves Houston and LAA

3:25
Ben Clemens: And would it shock anyone if Oakland did a sideways teardown and kept being somewhat good?

3:26
5 Run Homer: Ray signing the exact same deal as Gausman but for $1 mil more in AAV is very funny to me

3:26
Ben Clemens: Oh, Ray’s deal is way better

3:26
Ben Clemens: Opt outs are valuable for 30-year-old pitchers

3:26
Ben Clemens: But the numbers being so similar is indeed really funny

3:26
Robbie: If Angels miss out on stroman do you think they pivot to a SS and dangle marsh/Adell for a starter?

3:26
Ben Clemens: Ugh, they might??

3:26
Ben Clemens: I don’t like that for them but there’s exactly one top line starter left

3:26
Ben Clemens: Two if you like ROdon

3:27
5 Run Homer: I thought I saw that Gausman had an opt-out?

3:27
Ben Clemens: I haven’t seen that reported, but the deal doesn’t appear to be official yet so maybe

3:28
will: Is Ray the Mariners big add this offseason or do you think they’ll still be in on Bryant?

3:28
Ben Clemens: I think they will be in on Bryant

3:28
Ben Clemens: I don’t know if they’ll win the bidding

3:28
Ben Clemens: But I think there’s room to add another hitter of some note

3:28
Ben Clemens: This is fun, we’re basically live tweeting new signings

3:29
TomBruno23: If Rodon is a top line starter then so is Kershaw.

3:29
Ben Clemens: Oh sure!

3:29
Ben Clemens: I just have mentally penciled him in for the Dodgers

3:29
Porkchop: Is my undying love of baseball healthy?

3:29
Ben Clemens: It depends on how you express it

3:30
Ben Clemens: I think mine is, for example, because it feeds my love of analyzing things and solving puzzles

3:30
Ben Clemens: I also just LOVE the relaxation of basebal

3:30
Ben Clemens: If your love involves you scremaing at the top of your lungs about your team’s mismanagement when they lose, I imagine it might be rough on your blood pressure

3:31
Spleebs: Seems like the Gausman/Ray contracts are in the same ballpark (not including the opt-out which is really valuable to Ray, of course). If you were the Jays and had a pick of either Gausman/Ray with the (preliminary) terms out in the open, which would you take given their needs/team configuration

3:31
Ben Clemens: I’d take Ray, but look, I’m just gonna have to continue pointing out that I’m low on Gausman

3:31
Ben Clemens: I don’ think that’s necessarily how a team should act if they disagree with me on that

3:32
Appa Yip Yip: Kind of like how the Ray/Gausman stuff worked out for the Jays. They get a comparable pitcher, no opt out, and a draft pick from the QO. Getting two extra picks next year frees them up to deal prospects to say … Oakland for a pitcher and a third baseman? Manaea or Bassitt with that rotation would be awesome.

3:32
Ben Clemens: The QO kicker is nice

3:32
Ben Clemens: That’s a reason to like the way they did it for sure

3:33
Sonny: A big part of me wants the Mets to run wild next year and force the discussion back to, “teams make truck loads of cash and the best way to get championship tier good is to write checks for the finishing touches.”

3:33
Ben Clemens: I think it would be interesting. I do wonder how they’re going to fill out their pitching depth, which remains a position of worry

3:33
gorga: What in the world is LAA even doing at this point? I’m convinced they’re actually satisfied with Thor and Lorenzen as their big pitching adds and we’re getting another year of no Trout/Ohtani in the playoffs. I’ve never gotten this mad about a team I’m not even a fan of!

3:34
Ben Clemens: I’m with you

3:34
Ben Clemens: Alright, I’m going to call it a chat and go back to writing about Gausman for tomorrow

3:35
Ben Clemens: Thanks a ton to everyone who hung out with me today, though I’m EXTREMELY disappointed that baseball was so busy we didn’t have time to talk about Italy and Christmas present suggestions

3:35
Ben Clemens: I’m counting on everyone here to make up for it in next week’s chat.

3:35
Ben Clemens: Have a wonderful week everyone, and may your life boom like Avisail Garcia’s free agency market





Ben is a writer at FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

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TJ
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TJ

“Smith is still young and controllable, but I just don’t thikn that ‘young and controllable’ is going to appeal to teams that much when it’s a first baseman coming off of a bad year”

Young and controllable, but not good, is the prototypical Cleveland acquisition, no?