Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 2/10/2020

1:59
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, let’s go.

1:59
Chris: Who are the rays going to trade from their outfield group? And who are the Padres going to target for their outfield?

2:00
Ben Clemens: I wrote the transaction analysis for this deal, and it’s going up later today.

2:00
Ben Clemens: As a rough preview: I don’t think the Padres need to acquire anyone, they can just run a sideways platoon of Myers (RF) Cordero (CF) around Trent Grisham

2:01
Ben Clemens: And the Rays will probably just keep Arozarena in Triple-A longer. They’re setting up for future trades of Renfroe and Kiermaier though.

2:01
Beetlejuice: Hi Ben – You (refreshingly) seem to be higher on what the Reds have done than others. Do you see a lot of hidden upside on this team? Do you think the Castillo/Gray steps forward are repeatable? Maybe your undying love for Joey Votto propels you to such optimism? What gives?

2:01
Ben Clemens: A few things. One, I like that they’re building a very modular outfield.

2:01
Ben Clemens: They have a lot of good players, and they can have some very good lineups against lefties and righties.

2:02
Ben Clemens: I also think that they did a good job picking up what I perceive to be undervalued pieces, like Galvis and Akiyama, and I even like their bullpen.

2:03
Ben Clemens: Not in love with the Bauer trade, just because it was a high price to pay for a third-ish starter, but I see what they were doing. And the Moustakas experiment is fun.

2:03
Ben Clemens: Mainly, though, I just put a lot more value on these deep mix-and-match outfields than most people do, I think.

2:03
Chris: Who says no. Padres trade Wil Meyers, 20 million, quantrill, their comp A pick and a super risky prospect to the mariners for Dee Gordon and his 10 million salary. Both teams pay 30 mil and the Padres give up a former star prospect who can start for the mariners and a really good draft pick

2:04
Ben Clemens: I think the Padres say no now that they have traded Margot. Their outfield picture is confusing if he leaves now, because they’d be short righty bats. Pham/Grisham/Myers seems good against lefties, while Pham/Grisham/Naylor decidedly less so.

2:05
Samuel Chadwick: Would you break down the Rays Manuel Margot trade specifically within the context of the Rays roster? Thank you

2:05
Ben Clemens: And here’s that analysis:

2:05
Less Fun Now: The Red Sox went from playoff contender to 500 team.  Do they really want me to be happy they got under the 1st threshold and increased their profit?   They are raising their middle finger at me and I can’t figure out a way to justify it.

2:05
Former Red Sox Fan: Any advice for picking a new favorite team?

2:06
Ben Clemens: It kind of depends on what you’re looking for. I’d be very tempted to just root for the Dodgers this year, because Mookie is realllllllly fun and you’ve spent the last five years rooting for him.

2:06
Ben Clemens: Realistically you’re still going to like the Red Sox, so it’s just a matter of what you want your other follow to be.

2:06
Ben Clemens: I’ve enjoyed watching the Brewers, and I’m looking forward to this year’s White Sox and Diamondbacks teams.

2:07
Ben Clemens: Basically I have a soft spot for young teams with a lot of good players rather than a few stars.

2:07
Ben Clemens: Your mileage may vary but there’s nothing wrong with adding to who you like. More baseball is always good

2:08
vin scully is a religious figure: who are some prospective acquirers for Ross Stripling and Joc Pederson? Seems dodgers lost some leverage revealing they’re on the market, even more so now that Betts/price deal is through… and they

2:08
vin scully is a religious figure: are productive guys

2:08
Brandon J.: What do you think is going to happen with Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling? Trading them now won’t get the Dodgers under the CBT, so should they just hold onto them?

2:08
Adam: If the Dodgers are making moves to increase their chances at winning the 2020 World Series, they shouldn’t keep trying to trade Joc/Stripling, right?  Just DFA White, trade Beaty or Rios, and go, right?

2:08
Ben Clemens: Putting all of these together because they’re related.

2:09
Ben Clemens: I’m not quite sure why the Dodgers wanted to get rid of Joc? He fits their prospective outfield really well as a platoon partner for Pollock, and given the way they structured Taylor’s and Muncy’s extensions, his timeline fits them perfectly.

2:09
Ben Clemens: As in, they care less this year because they’re over CBT anyway. And then they appear to be aiming to reset next year with those extensions.

2:10
Ben Clemens: Stripling is also quite valuable.

2:10
Ben Clemens: My guess would be that they do a quick shop, but end up holding onto them, and kinda DFA from the back of the roster.

2:10
Ben Clemens: But I don’t feel strongly about it at all – it’s a tricky and fluid situation.

2:10
Jason: Would the Dodgers really make Pollock the small half of a platoon after giving him a big contract last offseason?

2:12
Ben Clemens: I think so. They don’t appear to be afraid to kill their darlings, witness the way they kinda whipped Grandal around at times.

2:12
Ben Clemens: And Pollock is just not better against right-handed pitching than Joc is.

2:13
Guest: Wouldn’t a Pederson and Stripling to Pittsburgh trade be a perfect fit for the Pirates?

2:13
Ben Clemens: Uh…. I mean, it would make them better! But Joc is leaving after this year and Cherington is trying to acquire 19-year-olds and such.

2:13
Jason: (I just looked it up and realized the contract was a lot smaller than I remembered; I thought he got 5/$80 million, not $55 million)

2:14
Ben Clemens: Ah yeah. Basically I just don’t mind it, and hope they wouldn’t either. Can’t get too invested in sunk costs when you have their payrolls.

2:14
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Do you have more faith in Grisham or Cordero to take hold of the Padres CF job?

2:14
Johnny5Alive: What does the Margot trade do for Franchy? I have been hoping to see him get some time

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’m carrying on Jeff’s love of Franchy.

2:14
Ben Clemens: I think they should be trying to squeeze in Grisham and Franchy as much as possible.

2:15
Ben Clemens: Hence the side-platoon with Myers for Franchy.

2:15
Ben Clemens: Grisham seems better, but Franchy’s upside is the moon.

2:15
Leland: Any optimism for this Mariners fan? The prospects look shiny, but they looked shiny in 2013 with Zunino, Hultzen and Walker too. I’d like to see them make the playoffs sometime in my life.

2:16
Ben Clemens: Sure: I think that a team trying to build for the future with seemingly helpful or at least neutral ownership and a reasonable front office is a good place to be

2:16
Ben Clemens: The Jack Z years were, well, not that.

2:16
Adam: Hope you’re right about Joc.  A full-time platoon with him and Pollock would be devastating.  Can you think of better combined production from a pure platoon in recent (any) memory?

2:16
Ben Clemens: The Red Sox did that Moreland/Hanley platoon one year that was really good.

2:17
Ben Clemens: But yeah, most platoons have an upper bound b/c if someone gets good enough they’re just a starter?

2:17
Kw: Trade idea: Cubs send Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras to the Padres for Wil Myers, Mackenzie Gore, Francisco Mejia, Cal Quantrill and Jake Cronenworth. Who says no?

2:18
Ben Clemens: Oh man, this is a spicy one. Seems like the Padres would? I get the sense that Contreras is more highly valued outside the game than in (though still highly valued! teams just put a ton of emphasis on framing)

2:18
Ben Clemens: And I’m quite high on Gore and Cronenworth

2:19
Ben Clemens: I think the Padres would need to have a more obvious place to play Bryant, basically. Unless he can play center field that would result in a very weird roster construction.

2:19
Ben Clemens: Now if they were trading Hosmer, that would totally change

2:19
Ben Clemens: But haha Cubs taking on money haha

2:19
Steve: It looks like Maeda may have still have some untapped potential.  Am I wrong to really like the top 3 starters for Twins in Berrios, Odorizzi and Maeda?  PLus Pinaeda and Hill for the 2nd half.

2:20
Ben Clemens: Oh yeah! I think you are being eminently reasonable. I like Berrios the most of all of them, Maeda second, and Hill third.

2:20
Ben Clemens: But it’s really valuable to have a bunch of dudes, b/c now whoever takes a step forward is your #2

2:20
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Don’t believe in Odo?

2:21
Ben Clemens: I mean I don’t think I’d love him as a number two starter. He was great last year of course but I want more k’s out of that spot basically.

2:21
Ben Clemens: He was at 27% this year but I need to see it again to believe it.

2:21
Ben Clemens: But as a #3 he’s overqualified.

2:22
Ben Clemens: As is Pineda I think. As is healthy Hill.

2:22
Ben Clemens: Maeda is more of a wild card but I dunno, I’ve just always been a fan.

2:22
Cespedes for the rest of us: Fangraphs has the Mets with the second-highest projected WAR in the NL. Do you think they are the favorites to win the NL east? Seems like there are too many “ifs” with this team

2:23
Ben Clemens: I think they’re co-favorites with the Nats and Braves. That’s a bit of a copout, but I like all three.

2:25
Ben Clemens: A moment, please, for a quick update to an article.

2:25
Ben Clemens: Whoops, th at’s done.

2:26
Steve: If rosters stay same between now and opening day how would you rank the top 5 in AL?  Yankess, Astros Twins, Rays, A’s?  Do Astros have chance to tumble this season with loss of Cole and issues from scandal?

2:27
Ben Clemens: You know, I might rank the Red Sox around the A’s?

2:27
Ben Clemens: They still have a lot of talent

2:27
Ben Clemens: But yeah, the top 4 looks similar to me.

2:27
Pederson to Cards: Can’t believe the Cards aren’t interested in Pederson at the price set by the Angels reported trade…

2:27
Ben Clemens: Agree. They’re a team that could really use a lefty outfielder

2:27
Evan: What aren’t the Phillies doing? What do they need to do? All these acquisitions and not even projected in top 3 of their own division…

2:28
Ben Clemens: I mean their division is just crazy competitive. I think that what they need is for their prospect types to just pan out a little better, which is frustrating as a solution I know

2:29
Ben Clemens: But if you look at the roster, it’s not as though they have obvious places they should go out and improve aside from center

2:29
Ben Clemens: it’s just like, Kingery isn’t working out as well as planned. Crawford is gone. Bohm is a maybe, and if he got great that would really help things out.

2:30
Ben Clemens: Haseley isn’t what you’d hope for from an 8th overall pick.

2:30
Ben Clemens: And a lot of the guys we all liked as pitching prospects never quite hit; Eflin, Pivetta, and Velasquez all

2:30
Ben Clemens: I dunno, just seems like they’ve been a little unlucky in development?

2:30
Dean Machine: I understand the concerns as a whole about the Brewers’ mostly unproven rotation. Am I crazy to think that Brandon Woodruff is a safe bet to be an ace for a contending team?

2:31
Ben Clemens: Safe bet? Yeah that’s aggressive

2:31
Ben Clemens: In that no pitcher is a safe bet

2:31
Ben Clemens: I like Woodruff a lot though! I think that he’s probably a top 20 starter in baseball, right at the tail end of that, when he’s healthy

2:31
Ben Clemens: Top 30, at least.

2:31
Ben Clemens: The problem is the other guys

2:32
Steve: NL East looks like a beast and should be fun to watch.  Evan shouldn’t be too distraught.  Any one of thise 4 could win the east of things break right for them.  Still a closet Braves fan from watchng Murphy, Horner and Niekro teams.

2:32
Ben Clemens: I agree with this. The Phillies are very much competitive for the division, just not favorites.

2:32
Jake, not from State Farm: who’s the player from your childhood/early adulthood/whenever that you irrationally loved? My favorite player growing up was Doug Mientkiewicz and I stumped for Carlos Gomez past the point of being socially acceptable (meaning I still stump for Go-Go)

2:33
Ben Clemens: Weirdly, Craig Counsell. His Strat-o-Matic card was awesome (the DBacks world series year) and I used him a ton in my fake lineups

2:33
Ben Clemens: And loved that he just won all these random World Series. He was the Robert Horry of baseball

2:33
Ben Clemens: As a Cards fan, it was a weird crush. But it is what it is.

2:33
TC: Help… Adley or Julio

2:34
Ben Clemens: Need a little more context; but without knowing anything Adley!

2:34
Guest: Phillies unlucky or bad (in development)?

2:34
Ben Clemens: Paging Ben Lindbergh.

2:34
Ben Clemens: But honestly it’s hard to tell from outside

2:34
Eric: If you’re a GM of a team, who would you rather have for the next 5 yrs, Gavin Lux or Eloy Jimenez?

2:35
Ben Clemens: Lux for me. I think it’s close, but I like Lux’s range of outcomes more. I’m a little concerned that in Eloy’s bad outcomes he’s like a 100 wRC+ hitter or something.

2:35
Ben Clemens: And that’s tough when you don’t have positional flexibility.

2:36
Steve: Have the White Sox really improved by 12 wins.  Isn’t there a decent chance that Tim Anderson and Giolito may have just had the best seasons of their careers?  Especially Anderson with the crazy BABIP.  Keuchel could also see some real regression.

2:37
Ben Clemens: I mean, those are baked in. Anderson is projected for 1.5 less WAR this year than 2019.

2:38
Ben Clemens: Giolito is projected to lose about the same.

2:38
Ben Clemens: That seems fine to me? Like Giolito might not be a 5 WAR pitcher but you had to know the chance of him going nova was always there.

2:38
Ben Clemens: And I really like the Keuchel/Grandal combo, think that’s quite underrated.

2:38
Ben Clemens: The shadow zone pitcher with the best framing catcher

2:38
Ben Clemens: Sounds nice.

2:38
X-man: Hard to see how the Red Sox can compete for the playoffs with 4 starting pitchers

2:39
Ben Clemens: Yeah, they should sign some bargain basement types.

2:40
Ben Clemens: We actually have them *ahead* of the Rays right now in our projections, which seems wild to me.

2:41
Ben Clemens: But if Tanner Houck works out, or mayyyyyybe Matt Hall

2:41
Ben Clemens: Yeah look okay

2:41
Ben Clemens: It’s not a great situation

2:41
Ben Clemens: I’m hoping a dude who the Tigers couldn’t find playing time for saves Boston.

2:41
Ben Clemens: It’s tough!

2:41
Ben Clemens: I believe you sent a further comment to this effect, but why not sign Taijuan Walker?

2:42
Mountie Votto: Which Reds OF ends the year with the most WAR?

2:42
Ben Clemens: Castellanos

2:42
Ben Clemens: Runner up Aquino

2:42
Ben Clemens: (not second-most WAR, second-most-likely ot have the most. he’s volatile)

2:42
Eric: Since you brought up StratoMatic, I was thinking about how Eloy and Lux’s cards would be valued over time too.

2:43
Ben Clemens: Ah sadly I’ve stopped playing over the years. Before the days of tons of analysis and copious internet baseball, I would just play all summer.

2:43
Nathan: Do you see the reds making a trade with any of their plentiful outfield depth, Senzel, Winkler, Aquino etc?

2:43
Ben Clemens: I don’t mind trading Senzel if they can extract good value for him, but I don’t think they need to be in a rush to do it.

2:44
Ben Clemens: Things work themselves out. If Aquino is bad Aquino, then Senzel might be necessary to get enough righty hitting out there at times.

2:44
Steve: I get what you see about the Red Sox but I also potential for this going really badly.  Sale misses part of the season, JBJ continues the downward sprial, JDM starts to show a little age, starting rotation ends up being a dumpster fire and just general bad vibe around team with Cora firing and Betts trade.

2:44
Ben Clemens: Oh yeah tehre are extreme chicken and beer risks here.

2:44
Ben Clemens: Is that what it was? the unpopular clubhouse Red Sox team.

2:45
Ben Clemens: If Sale isn’t healthy, look out!

2:45
Ben Clemens: But if he is, then they’re underrated

2:45
Ben Clemens: They’re just quite volatile, basically

2:45
Pong: Thoughts on Tauchman? Was thinking the Yanks might trust him a little bit more. Was last year by far as good as it gets or could he be relevant again.

2:45
Ben Clemens: I will say both?

2:45
Ben Clemens: Last year will probably be as good as it gets.

2:45
Ben Clemens: And yet, he could be a lot worse and still be relevant.

2:46
Ben Clemens: What a pickup by the Yankees.

2:47
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll also get a ton of PT with Hicks out, because Gardner as everyday-ish centerfielder is probably not a stable situation. And if he establishes himself in that time, then it becomes Hicks/Tauch/Judge when Hicks returns.

2:47
vin scully is a religious figure: Biaded but undervisited opinion: isn’t the Pollock/Pederson LF combo among the most wildly productive among all LF in baseball? There’s who, Acuna? and then who else beats that (in projected production, injuries notwithstanding)

2:47
Ben Clemens: Yeah it’s good! That’s why I’d do it, basically. It’s expensive, but that’s mostly sunk cost. I’d put that duo behind Juan Soto, of course.

2:47
Ben Clemens: and Acuna if he plays left.

2:48
Ben Clemens: After that: uh, maybe you could see a Pham/Naylor platoon in San Diego? Or at least, I could see the Padres’ LF outperforming if Naylor is the one getting the bench reps.

2:48
Ben Clemens: But yeah it’s really good.

2:48
Steve: As a Twins fan I love it but it is a joke for a team like the Indians to not really be trying to contend when you have Lindor plus the great players on cheap contracts like Clevinger, Ramirez and Beiber.

2:49
Ben Clemens: It’s truly sad. Lindor is in that Mookie Betts category where even if you don’t like the team he’s on, you love him.

2:49
Ben Clemens: Bieber’s ‘Not Justin’ player’s weekend jersey is a national treasure.

2:49
Ben Clemens: Clevinger is fun too.

2:49
Ben Clemens: JRam is fun, I enjoy Luplow, etc. etc.

2:49
Ben Clemens: And yeah the Indians front office just makes it sad to watch the whole team

2:50
Ben Clemens: b/c you just think man, wish they would try to supplement this core

2:50
Mountie Votto: With Galvis being a potential plus-plus defender with some pop, shouldn’t catcher be the main priority in Cincy? Not that there’s really much out there, but it seems like a SS upgrade is more of a “nice to have” rather than a “need to have”

2:50
Ben Clemens: Preaching to the choir here, my friend.

2:50
Ben Clemens: When I did the biggest holes on contenders series, I had catcher as the Reds’ weakness.

2:51
Ben Clemens: Their real weakness is that they don’t have an outright star player, so they can’t afford to hvae any holes

2:51
Ben Clemens: (position player, that is, Castillo might be headed towards being a star)

2:51
Ben Clemens: But I think catcher is their weakest spot.

2:52
Ben Clemens: If Tyler Stephenson is ahead of schedule, then the Reds start looking like the best team in the NL central, I think

2:52
Buscon Bob: Hard for FGs to correctly forecast the Rays W-L when it’s unclear how they implement the roster. Remember 200+ people work in the Rays FO trying to maximize and get every drop of juice in that orange.

2:52
Ben Clemens: I’m loving the orange juice metaphor here.

2:53
Ben Clemens: And reminiscing about the investigative journalism that took down Juicero.

2:53
nope: It seems like the Nationals’ lineup could be a real problem for them this year and they seem content to roll out a bunch of averagish offense guys. Wouldn’t they be among the most motivated to trade for Bryant? Is it just a matter of them not having the assets?

2:54
Ben Clemens: Eh, I am not sure if they have the assets, but I understand their reticence. They’d be trading Kieboom, and I think they’re setting themselves up to have  Turner/Kieboom/Robles/Soto core going forward.

2:54
Tabletop Talk: Have you played Terraforming Mars?  It’s become an absolute staple in my group.  Losing by one point after two hours of playing a game sucks, but it’s also great.

2:55
Ben Clemens: Going back to an earlier question to throw in a bit of game talk.

2:55
Ben Clemens: I hvaen’t played it but it looks daunting. Lots of bits and bobs. But every review I’ve heard has been awesome. Will probably get to it at some point.

2:55
Ben Clemens: We had some people over yesterday to play Seven Wonders and I was reminded of how great that game is.

2:55
Mr. Met: Building on your Yankees question, where does Clint Frazier fit it (or not)?

2:56
Ben Clemens: He’s kinda the odd man out. I don’t think the Yankees expected all of their pieces to work out as well as they did last year. I guess he’s, uh, extreme depth? They’re going to end up trading him for less than it feels like he should be worth at this point, I guess.

2:57
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Think Castillo has a Cy in his future?

2:57
Ben Clemens: I think if I were picking pitchers based on likelihood of an NL Cy Young

2:57
Ben Clemens: DeGrom is an easy 1

2:58
Ben Clemens: I think I’d grudgingly take Stras 2

2:58
Ben Clemens: Then like, Buehler 3, Scherzer 4, maybe Flaherty 5?

2:58
False Alarm: Kingkiller Chronicle book 3 is NOT coming out in August.  It has been previously reported that the release date shown on Amazon was nothing more than a “placeholder date”.  We will be lucky to see book 3 by 2022.

2:58
Ben Clemens: I’ll get back to the starters, but first: nooooooooooooooooooo

2:59
Ben Clemens: We’ve been punked!

2:59
Ben Clemens: So to be clear, this is on likelihood of a Cy Young ever

2:59
Ben Clemens: Basically I think I have Castillo just behind Flaherty, is the point.

3:01
Gavelin the Javelin: Does the Margot trade open up a path for regular at-bats for Taylor Trammell later this season?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Um…. I suppose it could! But only if he really pops this year. For now he’s a league-average hitter in Double-A. He has the tools, but I don’t know that he’s about to take a great leap forward. If he does, that would be extremely good news for them though.

3:01
X-man: Juicero a fraud? Are you denying the power of gravity, Ludiite?

3:02
Ben Clemens: Do luddites deny gravity? It’s not actually technology.

3:02
devin has cheeto lips: With a stable of overhyped, under MLB producing young arms in the ATL, what do you see the prospects of 2020 holding for Ian Anderson?

3:04
Ben Clemens: Might be tough in 2020. At only 21, I don’t think they’d hate keeping him in the minors another year.

3:05
Ben Clemens: And it’s not as though he’s demanding a callup. The stuff is great, and he looked good in Double-A. I might be tempted to just leave him there, not mess with the moonball too much, and call him up if Newcomb struggles.

3:05
Buscon Bob: Boston wanted Margot in the Betts trade, correct me if I am wrong, but SD didn’t want to deal him and prospects, right?

3:05
Ben Clemens: Wouldn’t surprise me. Margot is the kind of guy Chaim Bloom presumably likes, because he’s the kind of guy the Rays like.

3:06
Ben Clemens: But I didn’t see that reported, though I’m by no means an exhaustive source of Betts rumors.

3:06
2-D: Have Luis Castillo and Patrick Mahomes ever been seen in the same room together? They have remarkably similar talents and likenesses.

3:06
Ben Clemens: Love cross-sport comps like this. I also enjoy that Pat Mahomes’s dad is in The Book

3:07
Ben Clemens: For years (TTU years and also when the Chiefs had stashed him behind Alex Smith) I didn’t realize he was a junior and just thought wow what a coincidence!

3:07
Charlie’s Mom: Hi Ben, thanks for the chat. Who has more trade value in a vacuum: Ken Giles or Joc Pederson? Is that a potential framework or does the one year of Joc not offer enough years of control?

3:07
Ben Clemens: Yeah I don’t see why the Jays make this trade.

3:07
Ben Clemens: Even the most optimistic Jays fan doesn’t think they need a 2020 lefty bat.

3:08
Ben Clemens: Giles has more value to me, and there’d also need to be a third team in the deal somewhere.

3:09
Ben Clemens: Like Joc to the Cards, Dodgers prospect + maybe Andrew Knizner or Genesis Cabrera or someone to the Jays, Osuna to the Dodgers?

3:09
Ben Clemens: I’m spitballing here

3:09
Tabletop Talk: Seven Wonders is, as the kids say, the bomb diggity.

3:09
Ben Clemens: Agreed. Amazingly solid game.

3:09
I am the Walrus: Would the Bosox have gotten more if the just traded Betts and not Price +$45M?

3:09
Ben Clemens: I think no?

3:09
Ben Clemens: Price at 16 million a year seems reasonable

3:10
Ben Clemens: like Cole Hamels signed for more than that (AAV), I’d rather have Price.

3:10
Ben Clemens: Three years isn’t an exorbitant amount of time

3:10
Ben Clemens: If your team could add 3/48 of price for free, I think almost any team would do that

3:10
devin has cheeto lips: With Nate Lowe being….wait for it…wait for it….ahem…Lowe man on the totem pole in TB,  how soon before he gets a regular gig?

3:10
Buscon Bob: Is Nate Lowe destined to be traded?

3:11
Ben Clemens: So hard to predict Rays roster moves. He feels incredibly blocked now, but they might be okay with that? I can’t really see Martinez there after this season, Choi is kind of a similar deal.

3:11
Ben Clemens: If they can make the 40 man work, I’d be inclined to keep him.

3:12
Ben Clemens: Gotta keep that churn going.

3:12
Buscon Bob: With P&C reporting this week and ST next week, is it misplaced worry that Cole looks a tad out of shape in photos and Vladdy Jr’s already looking like mid-career Daddy Vladdy?

3:12
Ben Clemens: Haha yes, too early to worry. Best shape of his life is a trope for a reason; it’s not strongly predictive (or even really predictive at all) and pictures can be misleading.

3:12
FlyingPuig: Hi Ben, Sox fan here. I just read the post evaluating the monetary impacts of the Betts deal on the Red Sox, and the article strongly suggests they probably should have just kept him if the only goal was budgetary. Do you agree? I think most people feel the Red Sox were going to struggle to contend even with Betts.

3:12
Ben Clemens: I thikn they would be wild card favorites with Betts

3:13
Ben Clemens: I just don’t get why people are willing to look at their down 2019 and not consider their boom 2018.

3:13
Ben Clemens: The team was largely similar, with some aging involved

3:13
Ben Clemens: But E Rod and Devers are much better now

3:13
Ben Clemens: Or at least, project better

3:13
Ben Clemens: Bogaerts too

3:13
Ben Clemens: Which should offset some Sale decline, some JDM decline, lack of Kimbrel, etc.

3:13
Adam: Which player did you think was a superstar when you were a kid, only to realize later that you’d massively overrated them?  Mine was Joe Carter.

3:14
Ben Clemens: Weirdly Royce Clayton?

3:14
Ben Clemens: I was a huuuuuuuge Ozzie Smith fan as a kid.

3:14
Ben Clemens: My dad bought me a videotape called ‘Ozzie that’s a winner’ that was just a compliation of highlights

3:15
Ben Clemens: And so when Clayton replaced him I assumed it was because he was a stud.

3:15
Logan: With the benefit of a year or two to review some of their deals, how would you evaluate the Marlins’ trade of Ozuna, Yelich, Stanton, Realmuto, and others?  Obviously prospects like Lewis Brinson have yet to work out, but there’s significant upside still for other pieces of their return, such as Sixto Sanchez.  Is there enough young talent there that the Marlins might claw their way up to “decent” in a couple years?

3:15
Ben Clemens: So I would say: the best trade for them was probably the Stanton trade, weirdly?

3:15
Ben Clemens: In the reality we live in, imagine the Marlins with Stanton.

3:15
Ben Clemens: They wouldn’t spend money on anything ever

3:16
Ben Clemens: In terms of baseballr eturns, the Ozuna trade worked out great

3:16
Ben Clemens: Then the Realmuto trade netted them Sixto

3:16
Ben Clemens: I’m skeptical of Sixto just b/c the strikeouts have never showed up

3:17
Ben Clemens: And at some point you’d like to see that, because there are risks from the slight frame

3:17
Ben Clemens: So some upside would be nice.

3:17
Ben Clemens: But he’s been good!

3:17
Ben Clemens: The Yelich trade was obviously a disaster

3:17
FlyingPuig: IMO the Marlins never needed to make any of those trades. They would have been extremely good today if they hadn’t.

3:18
Ben Clemens: This is interesting. I think it really depends how much money they were willing to spend. If they wanted to run a Rays-like payroll, then like, no they wouldn’t be.

3:19
Ben Clemens: They’d have $26 million in Stanton, $12.5 Ozuna, $10 million Yelich, $ 6 million in Realmuto

3:19
Ben Clemens: So that’s around $55 million, $20 million for the rest of the team?

3:19
Ben Clemens: But honestly if they were wliling to just spend more money, then yeah! They’d have a lot of talent in 2019

3:20
Ben Clemens: Ozuna would be gone now, but still

3:20
A Guy: Fangraphs projections have the NL East being Nats (.540 WP), Mets (.538), Braves (.531), and then a big drop to the Phillies (.490). Is that the order you would rank them?

3:20
Ben Clemens: The margin of error is wide enough that to me .540 and .531 are basically indistinguishable

3:20
Ben Clemens: So, yeah

3:20
Ben Clemens: Three teams , then a gap, then the Phils

3:20
Buscon Bob: Is oft-injured Kevin Kiermaier worth keeping over Margot? Same profile basically

3:21
Ben Clemens: Lefty/righty is huge.

3:21
Nick: ZiPS, Steamer, Prospectus, or Other?  Which is your favorite projection system?

3:21
Ben Clemens: Why choose?

3:21
Ben Clemens: All of the projection systems are quite good in aggregate, and all do a similar job in projections.

3:22
Ben Clemens: I like to look at multiple things and sprinkle in some of my own analysis.

3:23
Ben Clemens: If I had to take one, though, it’d be either Steamer (because it’s out so early) or ZiPS (because I like Dan and feel like I more understand it than the other two, which is not to say I understand it very well)

3:23
FlyingPuig: Ben, you get the first pick in my fantasy league. Who do you pick? Acuna? Trout? Mystery player?

3:23
Ben Clemens: I haven’t played fantasy in a year or two

3:23
Ben Clemens: Will probably be starting again this year

3:23
Ben Clemens: And I think I’d pick Acuna? Trout is better, but I’m just wary of the injury risk, and I’d take 650 PA of Acuna over 500 of Trout. That might be silly.

3:24
Ben Clemens: I should do more research. But I dunno, health is a skill.

3:24
ManBearPuig: I’m super cereal about the Royals needing to fire Dayton Moore.  Other than the WS title (which most Royals fans agree was kinda flukey) he hasn’t done anything great.  His people have drafted poorly, are terrible at developing players, and frankly, us fans are tired of being treated like we are idiots with this “it’s going to be a quick rebuild” nonsense.

3:24
Ben Clemens: Excellent name/comment synergy here.

3:25
Ben Clemens: But also yeah, sheesh, he’s been there a while. His method is anachronistic, and while it does seem like he’s done well enough at strategy (the Royals prospect wave was well-orchestrated)

3:25
Ben Clemens: The tactics of development and player picking haven’t really been there.

3:26
Ben Clemens: Particularly since 2015

3:26
Ben Clemens: He does seem like a pretty good aggressive GM? Like the Zobrist and then Cueto trades were really good moves

3:26
Ben Clemens: But the team isn’t in that spot, and doesn’t look like they will be anytime soon.

3:26
Depressed Mariners Fan: Hey Ben do you think there is hope for the Mariners to actually be a decent team in the next couple years?

3:27
Ben Clemens: Yeah! Shed Long, Justus Sheffield, Julio!

3:27
Ben Clemens: Lots of hope.

3:28
Ben Clemens: Gonna be interesting to see how their roster ends up, but it feels like Jerry is doin well at this rebuild, to my uneducated eyes.

3:28
Scott: Has there been an analysis of whether the most sabermetrically inclined teams actually win the world series more often?

3:28
Ben Clemens: Haven’t seen one with any kind of rigorous controls of prior conditions and external factors like payroll and market size.

3:29
devin has cheeto lips: Between Puk, Manaea and The Jesus Lizard, which lefty has the best season for the A’s this year?

3:29
Ben Clemens: Gimme Puk. I’m down on Manaea until his velo pops back up, and Luzardo looked incredible but I’m just such a fan of 80-foot-tall lefties

3:29
Ben Clemens: With 102938203921821 mph fastballs

3:29
A cat: Was the BOS mistake trying for a repeat in ‘19 when the CBT reckoning was on tap for ‘20? Since only half of WS champs have even made the playoffs since 2000, wouldn’t a more prudent parh have been to gorego Eovaldi and Pearce and aim to extend stars beginning in 20 after resetting the tax in 19?

3:30
Ben Clemens: If you accept that they need to duck the CBT one year, then maybe 2019 made more sense. But that’s not because of any winner’s curse or anything.

3:30
Ben Clemens: It’s just because the natural shape of a roster where the best players are going through arbitration is to be more expensive every year.

3:31
Ben Clemens: So they knew Mookie would have a bigger contract in ’20 than ’19, etc.

3:31
Ben Clemens: So it’s less of a hassle to reset CBT earlier in Mookie’s arb process

3:31
Buscon Bob: Are the Yankees and Red Sox prepared to face the devourer of worlds that is named Wander Samuel Franco?

3:31
Ben Clemens: Wander Franco and I have the same middle name!!!

3:31
Ben Clemens: Gonna go ask Appelman for a raise. Sounds like I’m a hot prospect now

3:32
Jeter Downs, Pedroia’s locker: What does super cereal mean?

3:32
Ben Clemens: It’s a South Park quote, from Al Gore, when he’s hunting Man bear pig

3:32
Jeter Downs, Pedroia’s locker: Youre a team with money, and youre all excited to spend on a free agent in the winter of 2020-2021.  What will a person want to buy?

3:32
Ben Clemens: Mookie!

3:32
Ben Clemens: He’s so so so fun

3:33
Ben Clemens: There’s also an honorable mention here for a Goldschmidt-style sign-and-extend for Lindor

3:33
Johnny5Alive: given the competition within the divison and the improvement of the marlins (which people overlook) is it possible that both the NL east will only have 1 playoff team and the win total will be lower than expected?

3:33
Ben Clemens: For sure. NL Central has this issue as well.

3:33
Ben Clemens: Low-key reason to like the DBacks and Padres this year.

3:33
Ben Clemens: They have to play the Dodgers, but they also get the Giants *and* Rockies

3:34
Cleveland Fan: You like Civale in your SP rankings.  What is it about him you like better than Plesac?

3:34
Ben Clemens: I haven’t done any ranking of Cleveland starters this year. As for our site, hm

3:35
Ben Clemens: We have them both pretty similar. We’re projecting Civale slightly higher, and it looks like more or less it comes down to command

3:36
Ben Clemens: Or at least, walks.

3:37
Ben Clemens: ZiPS likes Plesac better, though. And that’s due to home run suppression.

3:37
Ben Clemens: So I’d say we are pretty close on the two of them.

3:37
Greene: Best one-two punch in baseball:  Trout, Rendon; Bellinger, Betts; or Springer, Bregman?  And who might challenge for a spot on this list year (e.g., Devers, Boegarts or Arenado, Story)?

3:37
Ben Clemens: I like Trout/Rendon.

3:37
Ben Clemens: But it’s realllllly close to Bellinger/Bets.

3:38
Ben Clemens: As to who else could make the list; Soto/Turner is an extreme dark horse, Bogaerts/Devers slightly ahead of them probably.

3:38
Ben Clemens: Judge/Gleyber?

3:39
Jeter Downs, Pedroia’s locker: Thats the 94 win Rox to you.

3:39
Ben Clemens: Warning, dangerous self promotion incoming.

3:40
Soundwave: I was surprised when Avila said the Tigers teardown was complete, and there may be some more retooling deals, but, with Mize, Manning, and Skubal do you like where they are headed?

3:41
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I like the general rebuild. I do think they’re kind of weirdly straddling 2020 with the veterans they’ve signed, but so long as they are smart about not letting deserving minor league talents get blocked, they have the money

3:41
Ben Clemens: To at least have someone reasonable for their fans.

3:42
Ben Clemens: And as I’ve repeatedly mentioned, I love the Niko Goodrum shortstop gambit

3:42
Stu: Nobody knows who will sign Puig…but who should?

3:42
Ben Clemens: Cards. Failing that, Indians. Failing that, Marlins.

3:43
Ben Clemens: The Indians obviously won’t but their outfield projects for 3.6 WAR in total this year!

3:43
Ben Clemens: That’s, well, it’s not much.

3:44
Ben Clemens: Puig would probably be their best outfielder immediately if they don’t think Franmil is an outfielder. Maybe they do, though

3:44
Kevin: Any reason to doubt in the out of nowhere turnarounds by lynn and minor last year? Advanced numbers say we should believe

3:44
Ben Clemens: Well, the reason to doubt them is just regression and age.

3:44
Ben Clemens: But projection systems seem bought in enough. And Lynn was one of those guys who realllllly just needed another pitch

3:45
Ben Clemens: He was always good enough on the Cards, and then even in his peregrinations he kept being decent

3:45
Ben Clemens: So ditching the sinker and upping the cutter was a great move.

3:45
Ben Clemens: I’m frankly surprised no one got him to do it before now.

3:45
Trane: which team has the best starter depth?

3:45
Ben Clemens: I’ll take the Dodgers I think. Twins are up there!

3:47
Buscon Bob: Are there any decent RPs in FA left that the Rays could sign to a pillow contract?

3:47
Ben Clemens: Just no reason to.

3:47
Ben Clemens: They don’t have enough innings for the guys they have. They’re just so silly-stacked at reliever.

3:47
Ben Clemens: Like Pagan is awesome! And he’s also probably the fourth-best reliever in that pen

3:47
Ben Clemens: Or, was.

3:48
Ben Clemens: The only reason I like that trade for the Rays so much is because they don’t need relievers. I think the Padres just basically added a win for no cost this year, which is normally enough to win a trade.

3:48
Ben Clemens: Just, it fits the Rays so perfectly to turn a bullpen piece into a platoon partner for Kiermaier.

3:48
Stu: Is it worth holding on to Willson Contreras for the day when framing no longer matters?

3:49
Ben Clemens: I mean, he’s good enough as just a hitter I think. He’s a real major league starter. And given that he’s in arbitration already, I don’t know that there’s much space for him to still be on the team post-robot

3:50
Ben Clemens: He’s just going to perpetually be a weird corner case, where the statline will make fans overrate him.

3:50
Ben Clemens: Doesn’t mean he’s bad, just overrated.

3:50
Trane: Nats look paper thin if one of their studs gets hurt, what are the odds Marlins can finish 4th?

3:50
Ben Clemens: Hoo boy, gonna call this one the last question. Uh, I would say quite low. I think a Nats star being hurt lowers them to Philly’s level.

3:50
Ben Clemens: But Philly is a ways ahead of the Marlins.

3:51
Ben Clemens: I think the Marlins finishing 4th isn’t about another team being bad.

3:51
Ben Clemens: It’s about a bunch of Marlins taking an unexpected step forward.

3:52
Ben Clemens: If Isan Diaz is legit., that would help a lot. And if Alfaro turns from fun oddity to all star

3:52
Ben Clemens: etc. etc.

3:52
Ben Clemens: With that, I’m heading out. Thanks to everyone for your questions today, and if I didn’t manage to get to yours, I’ll try to next time. Have a great day everyone!

We hoped you liked reading Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 2/10/2020 by Ben Clemens!

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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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