Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 11/7/22

2:01
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, welcome to the chat

2:01
Ben Clemens: It’s customary to publish top 50 free agent rankings as soon as the season ends, and you can read the 20,000-ish words that we wrote about it at the top of the site

2:02
Ben Clemens: But if you want some quick-hitting questions about things, or to have me briefly expound on some pick, this is the place to do it

2:02
Ben Clemens: If you’re considering asking cooking questions, well, you’re also in luck because I went way over the top cooking yesterday and now really want to talk about it

2:02
Ben Clemens: Free agents! Food! It’s a FanGraphs bonanza, let’s dive in

2:02
Guest: Ben, as a fellow Cardinals fan can we legitimately get excited at Mozeliak claiming payroll increase? (SS market and Rodon come to mind)

2:02
Ben Clemens: Yes you can. I’m more on the ‘they’ll sign Rodon’ side of things than shortstop though

2:02
Keeeick: Should and will the Reds offer Kyle Farmer arbitration or trade him? I don’t think k he’s worth the 5.9 projected salary.

2:03
Ben Clemens: I’d offer him arb

2:03
Ben Clemens: But I think it’s kinda close?

2:03
Ben Clemens: It’s not like he has much trade value, I assume the Reds will just cut him if they don’t pay him, a la Wade Miley

2:03
Trader Jerry’s: Do you think the Mariners offer Haniger a QO, and if so, do you think he accepts it?

2:03
Ben Clemens: I do not

2:03
Ben Clemens: But if they offer him one, he should smash that accept button

2:04
Connor: Based on what you think they’ll receive, what free agents do you think will be the best investments? And which ones do you think may get overpaid?

2:04
Ben Clemens: So, this is a fraught question since I made the projections

2:04
Ben Clemens: I think Taylor Rogers is getting unfairly dinged, which is why he’s higher on my list than his contract would imply

2:04
Ben Clemens: I think he’s just an excellent reliever

2:05
Ben Clemens: I also think that Jose Abreu and Anthony Rizzo are really good and perhaps overlooked

2:05
Ben Clemens: My vote for player who will get the largest contract relative to what I’d give them is Josh Bell. I just can’t wrap my head around preferring him to the two above first basemen, and yet everyone seems to think he’s the big ticket guy

2:06
Who’s Fabio?: Hi Ben – Toronto baseball writer Gregor Chisholm just published a piece explaining he is not voting on awards this year because of the cash implications.  His position is there is too much at stake now for the voters.    What if a player misses a huge bonus because a beat writer did not vote for them?  Is this a one-off opinion or do you get the sense other voters feel the same?

2:06
Ben Clemens: Other voters no doubt feel the same. Many publications ask their employees with BBWAA memberships to abstain from voting in awards for just that reason

2:07
Ben Clemens: I am not a BBWAA member, and so this has never come up for me. Were I a member, I’d probably never receive a vote, because the SF chapter is huge. But if I did get one, I’d definitely struggle with that. I’d do my best to vote for the most deserving candidates but I can’t pretend that I wouldn’t worry about the financial incentives

2:07
Cool: Great breakdown on the top 50 free agents. One interesting development is that Zach Eflin reportedly turned down his $15M option just now. I see your prediction for him was a 1 year/$9M, do you think this declination was a mistake by Eflin?

2:07
Ben Clemens: I think I’m just the low man by a lot on Eflin, and may have missed on that projection

2:08
Ben Clemens: Meg and I spent a good deal of time yesterday saying “uh should we move Eflin?” and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it

2:08
Ben Clemens: So I left him where he was. As you can see, the crowd is slightly higher than me but not by a ton

2:08
Ben Clemens: Who knows!

2:08
RTJ: A pair of high-variance pitchers in that top 5. Feels like deGrom could end up anywhere from 1(B) to 22nd.

2:09
Ben Clemens: I think he’s gonna get an absolute haul. The top end performance is just so high

2:09
Lavin: Obvious question: where would Edwin Diaz have ranked on the FA50?

2:09
Ben Clemens: He was #9 yesterday before I removed him from the list, with a projection of 4/88

2:10
Guest: Giants signing predictions?

2:10
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll be in the market for shortstops and Judge, and end up with Bogaerts or Correa

2:10
Ratatouille: What was your favorite thing that you cooked yesterday?

2:11
Ben Clemens: Okay, so my wife and I have come up with this game where we have a list of random vegetables, random proteins, random sauces, and random cooking techniques, and we roll a 12-sided die to pick which ones to make

2:11
Ben Clemens: Yesterday I made eggplant prepared to look like sushi — on top of sushi rice, and cut like a piece of fish, but pan-fried and coated in miso brown butter

2:11
Ben Clemens: It was absolutely delicious

2:11
Ben Clemens: My roll: eggplant, tofu, mustard, pan-fried

2:12
Ben Clemens: I made pan-fried Dijon mustard glazed tofu and that eggplant sushi

2:12
Cal: Much debate in Orioles fandom about how much the team will be leaning into FA this season after comments Elias made earlier this season. What do you see as the likeliest GA scenario for the Os this off-season – playing mostly in trades? Toe-dipping/playing at the FA margins, surprising and going all in? And then what’s one surprise move you could see them making?

2:12
Ben Clemens: I think they’re most likely to be involved in the market for pitching, and perhaps for veteran 1b/DH tpyes

2:12
Ben Clemens: types*

2:13
Ben Clemens: They could reasonably look to add a big ticket shortstop, but if I were them I’d still be hoping to have Gunnar Henderson end up there, and Jorge Mateo is a perfectly nice player anyway

2:13
Ben Clemens: I know they have some pitching prospects coming up but you can never have enough pitching, and getting some of the mid-tier guys this year would make a lot of sense to me

2:14
Lindsey: Great work on the top 50! Can you explain how Joc gets that much less than Benny with only a (.2 WAR difference) and Benny coming off a career high BABIP/ career low slugging %?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Defensive and baserunning value, plus I think people just see Joc as a platoon bat and Benintendi as more flexible. I am not high on Benintendi or Joc, to be honest, if I were running a team and looking for outfield depth I’d probably look elsewhere

2:14
Jax: The best breakout candidate in this free agent class is ____?

2:15
Ben Clemens: Kodai Senga I guess

2:16
Ben Clemens: If he doesn’t count, Tyler Anderson

2:16
Fried: What are the chances Braves can keep Max Fried beyond next year with their current projected payroll?

2:17
Ben Clemens: I think it depends heavily on what they do at shortstop this offseason

2:17
Ben Clemens: My guess is that they’ll let Swanson walk, which makes Fried make more sense

2:17
9761014: how do teams handle recency bias in cases like valuing Rodon. This was his career high in starts. So while he did have an amazing year, he only got a 2 year guarantee last year. And the shoulder concerns haven’t gone away completely right? I don’t really want my team signing him for 5 years – I worry he’ll be on the shelf a good amount of that

2:17
Ben Clemens: It’s extremely difficult, particularly for pitchers. Hitter performance is stickier, and health is easier to assume

2:18
Ben Clemens: A pitcher really can change by quite a bit from one year to the next, and Rodon seems to have done so. I trust his last two years much more as an objective measure of talent than the past. I saw him as the last guy off the bench in the 2020 playoffs and thought he was washed up, and he looks totally different now

2:19
Ben Clemens: I’d give Rodon a five year guarantee for mid-20s money and feel just fine about it. You’re getting a discount if he repeats his recent form, so the discount for recency is already baked in, at least in my opinion

2:19
Phil Houseman: Matt Carpenter

2:19
Ben Clemens: Concisely said, my friend

2:20
Ben Clemens: Carpenter, Quintana, and Cueto are the biggest wild cards of the group, imo

2:21
Jack: Is Bogaerts’ OAA surge this year a fluke given his historical track record at SS? Also, how will the market value his defense because of that?

2:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah, defensive metrics remain noisy in single-year samples

2:22
Ben Clemens: I don’t think anyone looking to sign Bogaerts thinks he’s suddenly great defensively. That said, you’re not signing him for a Gold Glove. Similarly, I think people looking at Correa believe he’s a good defender despite his down year by metrics

2:23
duvb: Will the twins try to convert duran back to a starter,  or is he locked into the bullpen at this point?

2:23
Ben Clemens: I think he’s gonna be in the bullpen at this point

2:23
Jax: Any teams that go into tear down mode this off-season a la A’s last year?

2:23
Ben Clemens: The A;s

2:24
Ben Clemens: Aside from them…. I don’t see any obvious candidates. I feel like a lot of the teams that are going to tear down just have already

2:24
i read fangraphs: I get why writers are uncomfortable with awards voting being used for bonuses in contracts, but surely it is reasonable to have some kind of bonus based on performance to reward players who do incredibly well and protect teams from albatrosses from people who flop? Buxton, for example, would rather have performance metrics be used instead of things like playing time that his employers ultimately have control over and can game. Would a better solution be baking arbitration into more contracts?

2:24
Ben Clemens: It’s a really good question

2:25
Ben Clemens: I think that contracts like Buxton’s are really good for players and teams, because they allocate risk fairly

2:25
Ben Clemens: It’s weird because a lot of things you might care about are prohibited by the CBA, but awards aren’t

2:26
Ben Clemens: I do think that having a larger award voting pool would make it less of a problem. With 90 voters instead of 30 I’d feel better about things

2:26
Angela: Doesn’t banning the shift help power guys *more* than contact hitters? Traditionally power guys get shifted on the most so if their BABIP now goes up wouldn’t that take away a some of the competitive advantage of the high contact guy if a .220 slug first hitter is now hitting .250/.260?

2:27
Ben Clemens: Great question! No idea, but it’s something I have been thinking about since the shift rules changed. My best answer is basically ‘it depends’. There are some high-contact guys who get shifted against, they’ll likely benefit a ton. There are some sluggers who just don’t hit many grounders; teams shift against them b/c why not, but they’re not hitting many grounders, it’s just that they’re hitting basically none oppo

2:28
Ben Clemens: It’s going to be really contextual, and I lean that it’ll help power hitters slightly more, but if you group hitters into high-contact and low-contact, it’s not like their BABIP has moved significantly differently during the past 5 y ears

2:28
Liz: Which teams are going to be most aggressive on catchers? You had three in the top-50, do you think any of them get an inflated contract due to competition or is that already factored into your projection?

2:29
Ben Clemens: I was very aggressive on this last year in relation to Yan Gomes

2:29
Ben Clemens: He was the only catcher of note on the market, so I thought he’d just get a wild offer relative to ‘fair’

2:29
Ben Clemens: he extremely did not, he got 2/13 with a club option for more

2:29
Ben Clemens: I thought he’d get 1/12, so, whoops!

2:30
Ben Clemens: So this year I have backed off projecting catcher contracts going higher than expected thanks to scarcity. Was that a one-year blip, and this year all the catchers will cash in? I’m not sure, but that’s the background on my thinking

2:30
Hello: Do you tend to meal prep for the week or cook every day?

2:31
Ben Clemens: A mixture of the two, but more towards cook for two-ish days at a time

2:31
Ben Clemens: I’m not a great cook, to be fair. My wife is better. I just get enthusiastic about it and try projects that are over my head

2:31
Hello: Do you think Walker gets a QO?

2:31
Ben Clemens: I don’t, but it wouldn’t be inconceivable or anything

2:31
Rick Poundstone: Your Cardinals have to get a catcher.  Do you see them going for Contreras, Narvaez or Vazquez? They seem to want to get a Buschemi that is reliable rather than take chances on unproven SPs

2:31
Ben Clemens: I see them blowing up Billy Beane’s phone trying to trade for Sean Murphy

2:32
Ben Clemens: That’s the solution that makes the most sense to me. Contreras to the Cardinals just feels unnatural somehow

2:32
RTJ: What bonkers-insane thing will the Rockies pull off this winter?

2:33
Ben Clemens: Zach Eflin: 6 years, $17M per, headed to the bullpen as a closer

2:33
Mark: Seems like a lot of corner OF LHH bats (Benny, Profar, Joc, Gallo, Conforto, Peralta, Grossman, most likely Bellinger) are on the open market along with Verdugo on the trade block. Does this negatively impact the players at the top of this group? Would you put Nimmo in here as well?

2:33
Ben Clemens: I think it doesn’t affect Nimmo much, because he’s a cut above the rest of them, who are all more on the average side of things

2:34
Ben Clemens: But it definitely affects those guys, and that is not great, because they’re already in a dangerous class of average-ish bat-first players at defensively mediocre positions

2:34
Ben Clemens: I popped Benintendi relative to the rest of them because he’s younger and conceivably has more defensive value, but it’s definitely a risk

2:34
Mike Rizzo: are there some likely short-year corner outfield types who you think will sign a pillow-contract, or a reliable innings eater types available without too many years commitment?  Asking for a friend.

2:34
Ben Clemens: Michael Conforto, National

2:34
Ben Clemens: You heard it here first

2:35
Jax: With increased base sizes, limited pick-offs, do you imagine a significant increase in Terrance Gore types taking up roster spots?

2:35
Ben Clemens: Nah. Maybe in September and the playoffs, but I think it’s going to be much more on the ‘existing runners steal more’ side of things than teams going to pinch runners

2:35
John: I recently read that a few years ago the maximum allowed bat diameter was reduced from 2.75 inches to 2.61 inches, or about 1/7 of an inch. Might this play some small part in the increase in strikeout rates? Might increasing the allowable bat diameter be a way to reduce strikeouts and increase balls in play at least a little?

2:35
Ben Clemens: It definitely could, but I won’t pretend to be an expert on that

2:35
Insert Witty Name Here: Have you made seitan yet? Super easy but does take time to make.  Highly recommend for a chicken wing replacement.

2:36
Ben Clemens: I’ve made seitan once, I’m just a lot more comfortable with tofu. I like how many different things I can do with it. Also I just use chickpeas for protein a lot (I don’t eat a ton of meat)

2:36
Romorr: If I never hear “innings eater” again, I’ll be happy. Lots of Orioles fans turn to that to bring Lyles back on his 1/11(1 million buyout). FA market is good for mid tier starters, should picking up his option really be a question?

2:36
Ben Clemens: In my opinion, the Orioles should not pick up his option

2:37
Ben Clemens: I think they can make a similar commitment and get a pitcher I’m more interested in

2:37
Ben Clemens: And they’re also at a point competitively where they can sign a guy for 2-3 years and think that helps them in each year, which broadens their market considerably

2:37
Dr. Bjron Masterson: I’ve looked into the diameter of balls a lot in Japan vs. MLB.  Do you feel teams will factor this in with Senga?

2:37
Ben Clemens: Yes

2:38
Ben Clemens: Eric Longenhagen has thought about this a lot, and pointed out to me that it’s probably a good thing (for Senga certainty) that his best secondary is a splitter. NPB transplants have at times struggled with the different seams, but that’s more of an issue for pitches that you need to spin

2:38
Dan: If a team that’s already expecting to be good next year goes to Degrom and Verlander and says we plan to sign both of you have a 6 man rotation and liberal use of the IL to keep your innings low and ramp up in September and so we roll into the playoffs with 3 fresh aces does this make them more or less likely to sign? Yes I’m assuming the team already has at least one ace.

2:38
Ben Clemens: Less likely to sign in my opinion. I think that both of them are just wildly competitive people who think they can pitch a ton and win Cy Youngs and also dominate in the playoffs

2:39
Ben Clemens: I wanted to do basically this with Rodon last year, and I’d be tempted to this year. But it would definitely make me less likely to sign if I were Rodon

2:39
O’s n’ Boh’s: Could you see the Orioles signing Rizzo? Existing relationship with Brandon Hyde, great clubhouse guy/mentor type of dude, relatively short right field porch?

2:39
Ben Clemens: For sure

2:39
Ben Clemens: I think a first baseman makes a lot of sense for them, personally

2:40
Dr. Bjorn Masterson: do you think Michael Brantley’s world series ring helps his value in the market?

2:40
Ben Clemens: 🙂

2:40
Ben Clemens: If he’s willing to pawn it, sure

2:40
MoKo: From a fan perspective, Would you consider this year playoffs format a success? I certainly thought so, as I felt more drawn to the first round than the one game wild card

2:40
Ben Clemens: Huge success from a fan perspective, to be honest

2:40
Ben Clemens: I was skeptical but I think the 3-game format was great

2:40
Ben Clemens: And the whining about undeserving teams wasn’t really any louder than in years past, as best as I can tell

2:41
Ben Clemens: There’s all kinds of hand wringing about how much the playoffs should reward the regular season’s best teams every year, mostly when the Dodgers/Astros/Yankees get eliminated

2:41
Ben Clemens: I say, meh, it’s a tournament that is super fun to watch, let’s come up witih a good structure for it. This year’s structure created some exciting series, thumbs up

2:41
Phil Houseman: I’m not a fan of Danby Swanson, guys been a cumulative 95OPS+ for seven years, he strikes out way too much and his fWAR for next year is significantly lower than this year

2:41
Ben Clemens: I’m not a big Swanson believer, at least on offense

2:42
Ben Clemens: I do think he’s a premium defender, and he’s young and plays a position that allows him to slide down the defensive spectrum if necessary

2:42
Ben Clemens: I think he’s a CLEAR cut below the rest of the top shortstops though

2:42
Insert Witty Name Here: All things considered, would you be okay rolling with a Sosa/Stott middle infield? Much better defensively and I think Stotts offense will be much improved after almost a full year of reps.

2:42
Ben Clemens: I would not be. Also, I’m not sure either of them is better than Segura defensively OR offensively

2:42
Ben Clemens: Just keep Segura

2:42
Dan: Do any of this years free agents wind up pitching a position change to sign with a team that doesn’t need them at their established position?

2:43
Ben Clemens: Bogaerts may

2:43
Ben Clemens: maybe some of the aforementioned corner outfielders can fake third base, or play a good first base

2:43
Dan: Stanton used to be a good defensive outfielder. Now he mostly DHs to keep him healthy and his bat in the lineup more. Is it possible for his bat to regress enough that this is no longer advisable without him regressing enough in total that he’s no longer worth strating when healthy either way?

2:44
Ben Clemens: It’s possible, but I think the correlations argue against it

2:45
Ben Clemens: Basically, the way I look at it is that the injuries they’re hoping to avoid also make him worse in the field. He did not look good in the field this year, and his sprint speed is WAY down

2:45
Ben Clemens: so having him get healthy enough for the outfield to make sense seems unlikely, but if it does happen the Yankees will surely want to keep him healthy

2:46
Pat: Wouldn’t the best “tournament” end up like March Madness? Typically in MM, 1-2 brackets go close to chalk, 1 gets totally upside down with upsets..which is kinda what happened this year? AL went close to chalk with seeds 1-2 in the ALCS. NL was crazy..& in the end, a 1 seed won.

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’d agree

2:46
Ben Clemens: Particularly with what you’re saying about the vibe of March Madness, for lack of a better word

2:47
Oddball Herrera: After a season in the books, what are your thoughts on the unorthodox Buxton contract?  It seemed win-win going into the season, but it *does* feel like he wasn’t around enough to hit the threshold of being worth keeping around vs. trading and letting someone else roll the dice

2:47
Ben Clemens: It seems to me that the contract roughly worked. He’s not going to hit any incentives this year, but he still provided a lot of value to the Twins

2:48
Ben Clemens: They disappointed, for sure, but I don’t think it was b/c of Buxton basically

2:48
Dan: If your slightly better than your opponent in a basketball game you will dribble past/shoot over them dozens of times per game. If your slightly better than your opponent you will average less than an extra hit per game. Basketball upsets are way different things than baseball upsets

2:49
Ben Clemens: Oh totally. Also the talent disparities are much smaller between MLB playoff teams than between NCAA tournament qualifiers. Also the series are longer. It’s not apples to apples, but the vibe of ‘some upsets, some chalk’ is definitely what feels best to me

2:49
James: when you create these dollar estimates, what is the dollar value u use to project how much they will be worth per win?

2:50
Ben Clemens: Sigh, if only it were so easy. I create a few $-per-WAR curves based on past players’ projections and awarded contracts

2:50
Ben Clemens: I do some broad fitting of league-wide $ committed vs. league-wide projected 2023 WAR

2:50
Ben Clemens: but then I have to assume some inflation, which is tricky, and some aging curves

2:51
Ben Clemens: It’s honestly a ton of guesswork, and I think last year’s went pretty well but I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve these

2:51
Ben Clemens: I’ll do some checking in February when this all cools down and try to improve the process for next year

2:51
Judge is a .211 career postseason hitter: Do you see Rafael Montero and Robert Suarez landing contracts to close?

2:51
Ben Clemens: To close? Eh, maybe, depending on the team. Suarez in particular is a player I may end up regretting, he probably should have been on here in the back end of the list

2:52
Ben Clemens: Like, no one was gonna say ‘hey where’s Mike Clevinger on your list?’

2:52
Ben Clemens: Did you see Mike Clevinger pitch in October? You only had a few innings to do so!

2:52
Ben Clemens: Montero is a guy I’ve always been personally high on

2:53
Ben Clemens: I wrote up the Graveman trade and said Montero would be better than Graveman within a year, nailed it. But I think teams will still be hesitant to make a big outlay for a guy who played his way off the Mariners only a year ago

2:53
Insert Witty Name Here: re: Stott, I’m a big fan of his watching him this year.  How much could the eye test improve his projection over the statistically modeling? He had a horrible start to the year which makes the stats look bad.  But from my semi-trained eye, I think he’s going to hit a lot better than what the projections will probably say.

2:54
Ben Clemens: Projections think he’ll be an average hitter, it appears

2:54
Ben Clemens: One good thing about Steamer and ZiPS, and presumably a lot of projections these days, is that they make a good attempt to look at process rather than outcomes

2:55
Ben Clemens: and if there’s signal in a player improving after a horrible start in general, that’ll be incorporated in there

2:55
Ben Clemens: I will say, just generally, that Stott is the kind of player who looks better offensively than he is. Like, all postseason I kept hearing about how he was an incredible hitter. Announcers were drooling over his mature, professional at-bats, and saying he’d matured into getting big clutch hits and being a huge plus offensively

2:56
Ben Clemens: Maybe! He also hit .136/.255/.227 this postseason

2:56
Josh: Most likely to get and accept a QO is…?

2:57
Ben Clemens: Huh. Taillon I guess? It’s someone in that range, a nice player but not one who’s likely going to get 8 figures

2:57
Ben Clemens: Taijuan Walker maybe?

2:57
Oddball Herrera: Agreed, it’s kind of a mixed bag in that both Buxton and the Twins got what they probably should have expected.  Here’s another way to put my question, and sorry if it’s stupid – let’s say you have Buxton who produces 4 wins in 350 randomly distributed ABs for $15 mil, and you have theoretical player A who will produce X wins, but over a full season’s ABs.  Would you accept a value of X < 4 over having Buxton? If so, how much less?

2:58
Ben Clemens: I personally would need X>4, because Buxton has the random spike healthy seasons (in theory)

2:58
Ben Clemens: Particularly given his contract shape. That said I’d just sign both players

2:58
Ben Clemens: 4 wins for $15 million is a bargain

2:59
Ben Clemens: The argument about whether it’s better to have a full season of solid production or meteoric performance for half a season plus injury replacement is very hard to answer

2:59
Judge prediction: Judge’s 7 year WAR prediction is now 34 WAR. So… this season basically turned him into a projected HOF player (that would be high 60s with a, uh, pretty good peak). That’s a pretty big season, to understate it greatly.

2:59
Ben Clemens: Yeah

2:59
Ben Clemens: It’s the best non-Bonds season of my lifetime

2:59
Ben Clemens: And I’m not that young

2:59
Insert Witty Name Here: Re: re: Stott, he was a rookie playing in November. He was definitely fatigued which is why you didn’t see those good professional ABs I was watching in July.

2:59
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it really crushed Jeremy Pena

2:59
Ben Clemens: I mean, look, I like Stott

3:01
Ben Clemens: One last thought here: projections will still care a lot about Stott crushing in the minors in 2021, and they should. He’s a good hitter. His 2022 major league season definitely decreases the odds that he’s a transcendent hitter though

3:00
Ben Clemens: I also think projections do a pretty good job, and that when they’re ex ante wrong, it’s not generally on guys like him with a minor league track record who then played a full season in the majors

3:00
Dan: A few weeks ago FG did an article that included a chart of teams that over/under performed expectations in playoffs. I noticed teams that faced Mariano Rivera where on the bottom of the list and teams that had Mariano Rivera where on the top of the list.

3:00
Ben Clemens: Turns out he’s good!

3:01
Myles: How well do you understand Westworld?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Not even a little bit

3:02
Mets fan: What do you think the Mets should do with Brett Baty? He is a work in progress defensively, but the bat probably isn’t quite ready for him to be the everyday DH. Mets are in win now mode, do they trade him this offseason, send him back to AAA or let him develop at the major league level?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think sending him back to AAA is the most likely outcome

3:02
Aaron R: Does Verlander stay? if so what does the contract look like  beyond $ (duration, options)…. If he goes, where to?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll stay. I projected him for 2/80, so I guess I’ll stick with that

3:02
Dr. Bjron Masterson: My ex-wife is a huge Dan Vogelbach fan.  Please tell me he will not be signing in Chicago

3:03
Ben Clemens: I hope he will sign with the Brewers again, because he’s just such a fun talisman for the town of Milwaukee. I think that will almost certainly not happen, though

3:03
Brian: Is CLE going to do anything this offseason, or is the lack of money on the books, plus the ability to bring literally the whole band back going to be the plan?

3:03
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll mostly just bring the band back

3:03
Ben Clemens: This is not a club that makes splashes in free agency

3:04
Dan: I don’t think having a great closer is all by itself enough to move playoff expectations but maybe if you filtered by closer who were great for multiple years you’d find a statistically significant effect on payoff overoerformance.

3:04
Ben Clemens: Good way to say this. There are some tricky issues of selection bias, and this thing I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time “closer half life”

3:04
Ben Clemens: Like, how long are good relievers good for on average

3:04
Ben Clemens: But signing Diaz is more valuable for teams higher on the win curve, basically

3:04
i read fangraphs: How much of Maldonado’s perceived value by the Astros is true intangibles he brings to the team versus the front office going “eh, they like him and our offense is good enough, not worth pushing back”?

3:05
Ben Clemens: I think there’s a decent amount of the second

3:05
Cal: Max Kepler on the move this offseason? What kind of return would he garner?

3:06
Ben Clemens: Legitimately no idea if he’s on the move. He’s on the books for two more years at reasonable dollar values, but I think he falls into that pool of mid-tier corner outfielders that will depress his trade value

3:06
Ben Clemens: Would you prefer 2/18.5 for Kepler or the same deal for, say, Joc Pederson?

3:06
Ben Clemens: Probably Kepler. But how much would you TRADE to get Kepler instead of Joc? Not a ton

3:07
Air Yordan: Do you believe there is still a ton of room for growth for organizations in their methods of distilling data into understandable nuggets for players and coaches to absorb? Or has there been significant improvement in that area lately

3:07
Ben Clemens: Yes to both

3:07
Ben Clemens: There’s been a TON of improvement in this, and I think that this is the biggest growth area in front office value

3:08
Ben Clemens: And yet, I also believe there’s a ton of room for growth

3:08
Pat: Bogaerts to Philly seems so logical given how they’ve punted most other defensive positions, right? They just seem to value offense more then defense.

3:09
Ben Clemens: I really don’t think so. My read, which borrows a lot from Dan Szymborski’s take, is that the Phillies realized they needed to get better last offseason, and the available options were Schwarber and Castellanos, so that’s what they did

3:09
Ben Clemens: They cut Didi and traded for Sosa, it’s not like they don’t understand defense. It’s just the guys they’ve added aren’t great at it, despite being good fits for the win curve

3:09
Myles: What’s a somewhat impressive but not too difficult meal to whip up for an early stages date? Later on, what’s a fun meal to make together?

3:10
Ben Clemens: Oh, I’ve got a great one for you that we like to make

3:10
Ben Clemens: It’s a creamy red pasta sauce, basically

3:10
Ben Clemens: Take a jar of Rao’s tomato sauce that you get at the store

3:10
Ben Clemens: Make some cashew cream — to do this, you let cashews soak in a bowl full of hot water for about an hour and then toss them in a blender of some type

3:11
Ben Clemens: mix those two together on the stove, cook your favorite pasta (our favorite has been cascatelle), and it’s this lovely creamy red sauce that tastes luxurious but is very easy to make

3:11
Lou Perltzman: Store bought sauce? Oof Madone

3:11
Ben Clemens: He asked for not difficult!

3:12
Ben Clemens: I think my favorite meal for us to make together is kung pao chickpeas, which I got from a Myers+Chang cookbook

3:12
Ben Clemens: there’s a ton of knife work, some fun sauteing on the stove, and the sauce is delicious

3:12
Ben Clemens: Kung Pao anything is great, and doing something where one person does a lot of chopping and one person does a lot of sauce-making is an optimal division of labor

3:13
Ben Clemens: alright, I hvae to get moving to eat some lunch before podcasting about the top 50 free agents, so I’m going to head out. Thanks a lot everyone for chatting today, and thanks also for indulging my desire to talk about food

3:13
Ben Clemens: Have a great week, and I’ll see you next week, same place same time





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

3 Comments
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jdankoskymember
2 months ago

Rao’s is better than what you’ll make at home

cowdisciplemember
2 months ago
Reply to  jdankosky

Victoria (White Linen organic, of course) is better than Rao’s!

Last edited 2 months ago by cowdisciple