Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 6/1/20

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, and welcome to a Monday baseball chat.

2:00
Ben Clemens: There’s no baseball right now, but maybe there will be before too long? I’m honestly not super certain.

2:00
Ben Clemens: In the meantime, let’s take some questions.

2:00
Big Tony: So for truncated 2020 and full 2020:  Blake Snell or Luis Castillo?

2:00
Ben Clemens: I’m more of a Giolito guy, though I really do think that reasonable people could disagree here.

2:01
Ben Clemens: Like, Blake Snell is really good, and he still has room to improve on a few fronts.

2:01
Ben Clemens: That’s amazing!

2:02
Ben Clemens: But I just really buy into Giolito’s game being changed, and I think his upside is higher.

2:02
Ben Clemens: I’m totally fine with this take looking really silly in six months — I think it’s quite close

2:02
Ben Clemens: But I dunno, I just feel more comfortable that Giolito’s gameplan will work

2:03
Guest: I’m so confused. Why did the Nationals reduce the minor league pay by $100 for one month? It feels like they are making savings by cutting out bagel Friday. Would love to have been a fly on the wall when they discussed that. The savings they made probably wouldn’t have covered the one hour of salaries of the executive’s in the time it took making that decision.

2:03
Ben Clemens: It’s not immediately clear to me why they’d do this. It’s just such a small move.

2:04
Ben Clemens: It just feels pointless and borderline malicious to achieve almost nothing.

2:04
Ben Clemens: Presumably there’s something behind the scenes going on, but I’m struggling to understand what it is.

2:04
Ben Clemens: Could they be trying to force players to soak up these burdens in an attempt to divide the MLBPA?

2:05
Ben Clemens: Like, hoping that players will end up resenting having to pay for minor leaguers?

2:05
Ben Clemens: So far that hasn’t happened at all.

2:05
Ben Clemens: Maybe they just don’t care about the PR at all and wanted to save 10 grand or whatever.

2:05
Ben Clemens: It’s reallllllllly odd though

2:05
Joe: I don’t think you need the “borderline” qualifier. It was malicious.

2:05
AD: Hey Ben, you may want to re-read Big Tony’s question

2:05
Ben Clemens: Oh jeez

2:05
Ben Clemens: I dunno why I saw giolito there

2:06
Ben Clemens: There was another question further down about the White Sox rotation but I just goofed

2:06
Ben Clemens: Okay, uh, I guess I’ll take snell then

2:07
Ben Clemens: I’m very skeptical that Castillo can keep his strikeout rate this elevated while throwing so few breaking pitches

2:07
Ben Clemens: And his game relies heavily on high strikeout rates because he’s just going to walk his fair share, there’s no way around that

2:07
Ben Clemens: I think the changeup is good enough that he has an okay floor but I am skeptical that his ceiling is anywhere near Snell’s until he can add a better breaking pitch, either slider or curve.

2:08
Ben Clemens: I do love the changeup though

2:08
Ben Clemens: And I don’t think the full/truncated matters much at all honestly

2:08
Ben Clemens: Unless you have very specific injury issues

2:08
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Nats have reversed their decision.
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/06/nationals-reduce-minor-league-s…

2:08
Ben Clemens: Lol

2:08
Ben Clemens: That’s good to see

2:09
Ben Clemens: And also, makes it seem more like they just didn’t think about the bigger picture at all?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Maybe some intern was looking at costs and just hit the 75% button on a ton of salaries to see what would happen

2:09
Ben Clemens: And then forgot to undo it on the spreadsheet before passing it on

2:09
Pumpsie Green: Will Torkelson be the very best hitter in the entire Tigers organization the instant he is drafted?

2:10
Ben Clemens: I mean, probably not?

2:10
Ben Clemens: But, it’s going to be close

2:10
Ben Clemens: Isaac Paredes has smashed in Double-A the last two years, though. I’m not convinced Tork is better than that right this instant, but it could be close

2:11
Ben Clemens: And I think if you include major leaguers then definitely not? Like CJ Cron is probably a better hitter right now

2:11
Ben Clemens: Without digging through their depth chart too much or anything

2:12
Ben Clemens: They are really light on good hitters though.

2:12
Ben Clemens: For such a good farm system. It’s just all in the arms.

2:12
Guest: Is it possible teams are cutting what appear to be minor amounts of money as a message to players that things are so tight that we need you to agree to further cuts?  Not saying I agree with it, but is it part of a negotiating tactic?

2:12
Ben Clemens: I don’ think so? The player’s association gets to see the league’s books and records

2:13
Ben Clemens: And it also just doesn’t seem like a reasonable tactic even as a signaling thing. You have to signal a meaningful amount of fiscal tightening to get that message across

2:14
Ben Clemens: Like if they announced that they wouldn’t be able to afford any sunflower seeds in the dugout this year, the players wouldn’t care

2:14
Ben Clemens: And that’s in the same order of magnitude as the minor league cuts, relative to the actual fiscal tightening they’d need to do if money really were tight

2:14
Guest: Is that true?  I didn’t think the league’s books were open to the players since they don’t have a revenue sharing plan.

2:15
Ben Clemens: Yeah it’s true. The players are not allowed to release it but they share their books. Hence why Scherzer and PA reps have said a few times ‘if the league would release their books to the public’ rather than release their books

2:15
Ben Clemens: There was a good Effectively Wild about the axis that the negotiation will take place on

2:15
Ben Clemens: Let me dig it up:

2:15
Ben Clemens: With Greg Bouris, former director of communication

2:16
Ben Clemens: Where he talks about the league’s financial situation and the way the players get to see it a decent amount

2:16
Ben Clemens: For what it’s worth, Bouris thinks that the court of public opinion is more or less meaningless and that players shouldn’t even attempt to gain the high ground there.

2:16
Ben Clemens: I disagree with him on that point but I see where he’s coming from.

2:16
Pumpsie Green: How many owners – if any – own teams because they love baseball? It seems they love the cachet and the free publicity, but that they are better suited to owning assets like real estate or railroads or tv networks. Maybe this whole covid thing will weed out the non-true believers in the ownership ranks.

2:16
Ben Clemens: Not many!

2:16
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that was the case 20 years ago

2:17
Ben Clemens: But there’s been a lot of turnover of late

2:17
Ben Clemens: And with the asset valuations being what they are, it’s less and less likely that a new owner buying in will just be some guy looking for baseball fun

2:17
Ben Clemens: Because the price tags are in the billions now

2:18
Jason N: Thinking about the draft… won’t teams have a lot of leverage over top HS kids this year?  With a short draft, more (and experienced) talent stays in school – rosters will be loaded.  Scholarship $$ has to stretch further with all the players.  Some schools are cutting baseball completely.  If I was a baseball team, why wouldn’t i stock up on HS talent, bank on them having to take less, and take the comp pick if they dont?

2:19
Ben Clemens: Seems like a bit of a craven plan, though I could see some teams doing it. But this feels like more of a question for Eric. I don’t know the exact mechanics of how many high schoolers there would be in the right situation (where they’re worth over slot but you can offer them slot, essentially)

2:19
Ben Clemens: But who have the right combination of not needing the money right away and finding an open slot in college

2:19
Ben Clemens: It’d be very contextual. There’s only a reason to try to sign under-slot bonuses if you’re spending over-slot somehwere else

2:19
Joe: I’m fairly certain players do not have access to the owners full books.

2:20
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’m not sure of the exact details of it, but I’m pretty sure they have enough access that cutting your minor leaguers’ salary by $100 isn’ something that hte players think means teams are now bankrupt.

2:20
Ben Clemens: And again, I think they have at least a pretty good picture, because otherwise I think collective bargaining would be far more contentious.

2:21
Ben Clemens: I think that if the players didn’t have access to the league’s books the league would be laying on financial pressure in a much more serious way right now

2:21
Ben Clemens: Rather than basically negotiating in the press

2:21
MoKo: Hello Ben! If Bartolo signs with KBO, would that be the highest grossing merchandise sold outside Korea? Thanks

2:21
Ben Clemens: Oh for sure.

2:22
Ben Clemens: That’s assuming that you can buy KBO merchandise outside of Korea now. I briefly looked for a Giants hat on Opening Day and couldn’t find a US distributor.

2:22
Ben Clemens: Though I could see that having changed

2:22
Guest: Do you think it would make sense for the MLBPA to step back and consider having all minor league players join their union from day one?  Seems like it would greatly strengthen their negotiating stance if they represented all professional players.

2:23
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’d be interested in doing this if I were the union

2:23
Ben Clemens: I don’t exactly get the idea on why they haven’t, but I think it would really help with negotiations for sure.

2:23
Red: How about MLB refunds 1/162nd of subscription fees per game missed?The players refunder 1/162nd of their compensation per game missed…

2:24
Ben Clemens: Haha yeah it doesn’t really work this way. It’s not fairness. It’s just about what you can demand and who has leverage.

2:24
Ben Clemens: And I, the mlb.tv subscriber, don’t have much leverage

2:24
Ben Clemens: And even if I did

2:24
Ben Clemens: The RSN that pays fees has NO leverage

2:24
Ben Clemens: because at this point they’re justifying their existence ot the cable channel based on that contract

2:25
Ben Clemens: Now, maybe teams that wholly own their RSN’s will pro-rate back fees

2:25
Ben Clemens: to hide profits away from the big league team

2:25
Ben Clemens: But imagine if YES and the Yankees were actually independent, and YES asked the Yankees for a refund or they’d cancel the deal

2:25
Ben Clemens: They’d have no leverage whatsoever

2:25
Chris: I’m really struggling to figure out how we can appropriately discuss the positives of minor league reductions without feeling like a terrible person

2:26
Ben Clemens: This is definitely a difficult question. It’s part of a difficult overall genre of questions, which is when something with bad intentions has some good consequences

2:27
Ben Clemens: I think one way you can consider it is by asking if there are other ways to achieve these positives

2:27
Ben Clemens: And why the current plan won out instead of one of those alternatives.

2:27
Stephen Strasburg: HAve you written a book?

2:28
Ben Clemens: I have not! However, I did write the player blurbs in the Cardinals section of this year’s BP Annual

2:28
Ben Clemens: Which doesn’t really count but was still a blast.

2:28
Syndergaadengnomes: So, is this season going to happen?  What is your prediction for # of games, terms, etc?

2:28
Ben Clemens: I give it about a 1 in 3 chance.

2:28
Ben Clemens: I think that the way forward is through deferrals, so the players including that in their plan makes me more confident.

2:29
Ben Clemens: But it seems as though some owners are very insistent behind closed doors that they’re willing to tank the season, per reporting from Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan

2:29
Ben Clemens: (separately, though they’d make quite the dream team together)

2:29
Ben Clemens: And if the owners don’t want a season there won’t be one

2:29
Ben Clemens: I don’t actually think the same is true for the players, because the owners can exert far more leverage in the court of public opinion

2:29
Ben Clemens: If the owners want there to be a season they can just, gasp, abide by the existing agreement

2:31
Ben Clemens: So I think it comes down to whether these ownership groups that either actively don’t want a season or would trade a season for torpedoing the union end up bein the main voice among owners

2:31
Ben Clemens: One thing I’m not sure about is how the league would handle splintered ownership interests

2:31
Ben Clemens: If Arte Moreno says ‘I won’ take this deal, the Angels won’t play.’

2:31
Ben Clemens: What happens?

2:31
Tim: Eric Sogard has a good contact ability(93.2% Z-contact, 89.3% contact) and plate discipline(8.6% BB, 14.3% K, 4.2% SwStr). He is a leadoff of MIL in this year, but his ADP seems too low. If you have to choose one 2B in deep league among Sogard, Dubon, L Urias, S Long and B Rodgers, Who is your choice?

2:31
Ben Clemens: I am a little worried that Sogard won’t get enough AB’s

2:32
Ben Clemens: Hiura needs to play every day, Urias is likely to play almost every day, then they have Brock Holt and Gyorko and even Orlando Arcia

2:32
Ben Clemens: Sogard’s flexibility matters a lot less when you also have Holt

2:32
Ben Clemens: Who does a similar thing. I think it hurts both of their values.

2:33
Ben Clemens: I think I’d most prefer Brendan Rodgers but I’ll admit to being eternally hopeful on him

2:33
Ben Clemens: So, take that with a grain of salt.

2:33
Ben Clemens: Dubon I’m not seeing, particularly in SF

2:33
Dave: What do you think of the MLBPA’s recent proposal for 2020 baseball (114 game season, etc.)?

2:34
Ben Clemens: I mean, I don’t think it has a chance at being the final working proposal.

2:34
Ben Clemens: But I think that it did two things that are really important for advancing negotiations

2:34
Ben Clemens: Namely introducing a deferral option and committing to expanded playoffs

2:34
Ben Clemens: Those are two really big carrots

2:35
Ben Clemens: The way they put deferrals into the deal is not really enough to move the needle, but if they’re willing to do that, they’re probably willing to discuss other ways to handle it

2:35
Pumpsie Green: I disagree about your point on the owners. If the NBA and NHL are playing, the owners will take a public hit for not allowing baseball. To say nothing of their prized franchise value when people get used to life without baseball.

2:35
Ben Clemens: Eh, I don’t disagree with that. I’m just saying that the owners *can* behave in a way that makes it impossible for there to be a season

2:36
Ben Clemens: They can just demand the pay cuts they’ve asked for and not give an inch, and then there won’t be a season no matter what

2:36
Ben Clemens: There’s no way the union could agree to that even if a lot of players wanted to

2:36
Ben Clemens: A year before CBA negotiations, cut everyone’s pay 75% lol

2:36
Ben Clemens: Good luck guys

2:36
Ben Clemens: But the players can’t behave in a way that makes it impossible for owners to have a season

2:37
Ben Clemens: The owners *could* snap off the players’ proposal today and their franchise values would be largely unaffected.

2:37
Ben Clemens: So the owners have the power to prevent baseball from happening this year. I agree with you that it would be an awful long-term decision for them

2:37
Gashouse Gorilla: If we actually get back to the baseball side of baseball, which younger players do you think might be elevated into starting (or heavy-side of platoons) and could excel in a shorter season?

2:37
Ben Clemens: I’m excited for a full season of Trent Grisham

2:38
Ben Clemens: I’d like to see Dylan Carlson unleashed, though I kind of don’t think it’s happening now

2:38
Ben Clemens: The Cardinals are just not gonna give up that sweet sweet service time (pro-rated)

2:39
Guest: Is it likely that the pandemic, and resulting loss of revenue (be it a total season loss or partial season) means teams will be more likely to play prospects in 2021, further pushing the middle-ground of players out of opportunities?

2:39
Ben Clemens: Probably, and there’s a second effect too

2:39
Ben Clemens: The way the service time deal was negotiated, your time gets pro-rated up to a full season

2:39
Ben Clemens: So if the season is 50% as long, and a player plays for 50 days

2:39
Ben Clemens: he gets credit for 100 days of service time

2:40
Ben Clemens: Teams are no WAY going to burn service time at a double rate unless they really need to

2:40
Guest: In order for there to be negotiations the other side had to make a proposal.  Hopefully now they can work off of that and meet somewhere in the middle.

2:40
Ben Clemens: Yes, I’m a qualified yes to this.

2:40
Ben Clemens: The owners probably need to show that they’re willing to be flexible, because their first proposal can hardly be called a negotiation

2:40
Ben Clemens: they just said ‘what if we didn’t pay you’

2:41
Ben Clemens: If they come back with a changed position

2:41
Ben Clemens: Then I’ll become far more upbeat about there being a season

2:41
Ben Clemens: I think that there’s a resolution say, 80% of the way to the players’ side between the players and owners proposals

2:41
Joe: Nats backtracked faster than a Scherzer fastball and will pay their minor leaguers the amazing sum of $400 a week.

2:42
Ben Clemens: Indeed

2:42
Ben Clemens: Hey, good timing, Craig Edwards’ piece on the union’s proposal just went live

2:43
Ben Clemens: Not that I’m sending you away from my chat, but Craig has been all over the negotiations and I bet this one is good!

2:43
Mike Tyson: designated hitter: in a moderately deep roto, rebuilding.    Would you prefer Luis urias or Jesse winker?     Would u

2:43
Mike Tyson: designated hitter: you deal plesac for either?

2:44
Ben Clemens: I feel like I’d marginally prefer Winker, just because a lot of Urias’s real-world value is in non-fantasy production and players like that tend to trade a little rich in fantasy

2:44
Ben Clemens: Winker isn’t obvious either, though; he could get buried under a platoon, though a 2020 DH really helps

2:44
Ben Clemens: And the faster an NL DH comes for the long term, the better for him

2:44
Guest: Will we ever see a pitcher bat again in the major leagues?

2:44
Ben Clemens: Oh absoutely.

2:45
Ben Clemens: Even if they decided to change that for good they wouldn’t do it before the CBA expires I don’ think

2:45
Ben Clemens: Because owners will want to use that as a CBA carrot

2:45
Ben Clemens: More jobs for hitters

2:45
Ben Clemens: So 2021 will have NL pitchers hitting

2:45
Owners: I think they’re showing that being that rich doesn’t actually make you smart.

2:45
Ben Clemens: Eh, I dunno, they may have an agenda that this works for

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’m not exactly sure how a baseball owner thinks about his team

2:46
Ben Clemens: Whether it’s a sum of discounted cashflows or whatever

2:46
Guest: You’re likely correct on the DH, but I I was thinking as part of negotiations that maybe it would give from the owners now on the DH.

2:47
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I suppose it’s a possibility, just not one I find overwhelmingly likely. But maybe that’d be part of some grand bargain

2:47
MoKo: Owners had proposed 82 and MLBPA 114; would the final number fall above or below 92?

2:47
Ben Clemens: Below I think. I actually think the ‘more games’ part of the players’ proposal won’t be very interesting to ownership

2:47
Ben Clemens: Their revenues become a lot more fixed without live in-person baseball

2:48
Ben Clemens: Because again, they have the hammer when it comes to RSN negotiations

2:48
Ben Clemens: And the big national TV contracts are all about the playoffs

2:48
Ben Clemens: While their costs remain variable, i.e. player salaries

2:48
Ben Clemens: So while I don’t think it’s very likely, based on the numbers that I’ve seen, that the league would be losing money by putting on a season, I think they’d prefer a shorter regular season

2:49
Sam: How sad is it that David Price, whose net worth is maybe 10% of the lower wealth owners’ net worth, is somehow able to come up with enough money to give every minor leaguer in the Dodgers’ system $1000 this month, but some teams (looking at you Oakland) can’t find $1600 per player?

2:49
Ben Clemens: I mean, they can come up with the money.

2:49
Ben Clemens: They’re not broke, they’re not sending stop payments on any checks.

2:49
Ben Clemens: They’re just *choosing* not to

2:49
Ben Clemens: They’ve decided that they’d rather keep that 1600 bucks

2:49
Ben Clemens: than give it to a minor leaguer

2:49
Ben Clemens: That’s all it is. No one thinks the A’s would go bankrupt if they paid that money, and even the A’s wouldn’t tell you that

2:50
Ben Clemens: They’d just have less money

2:50
Ben Clemens: If they paid it

2:50
Ben Clemens: And they’d prefer to not have less money

2:50
Audience member: So Tony Clark is the “manager” of the MLBPA.  Who would be considered the manager of the owners?  Manfred? What role does a guy like Joe Torre have in all of this, being the special assistant to Manfred?  I would think his experience as a former player, manager, and executive VP of Baseball Operations would hold a lot value.

2:51
Ben Clemens: Could be. I dunno what Torre does in this exactly but he’s on the owners’ side. And Manfred is a labor lawyer. He’s a very valuable point man for the owners in this fight. I’m not sure what managerial experience would add that isn’t covered by expertise in the league office.

2:51
Pumpsie Green: Owners did not propose to pay for 82, though. They said they’ll pay for about 58. I’m guessing a 78-game season?

2:51
Ben Clemens: I would agree that it’s more likely to be shorter than longer, yeah. I think you hit on it exactly — it matters what the owners are willing to pay for

2:52
Ben Clemens: The owners would happily play 114 games if they got to only pay for 58

2:52
Ben Clemens: Because the marginal gross income of a game is higher than 0

2:52
Guest: The issue with the DH is I believe both sides want to adopt it, meaning the players (for obvious reasons) and now even MLB front offices, so both sides wanting it means neither side wants to actually give in on it, if that makes sense.

2:52
Ben Clemens: This makes perfect sense to me. That’s a good way of putting it.

2:53
Edwin: Here are sophomore and power-speed combo of 20/20 candidates of next season. Kyle Tucker, Cavan Biggio, Tommy Edman, Nick Senzel, Trent Grisham. Is there anyone who you like?

2:53
Ben Clemens: Grisham. And I liked Tucker going into the season but I wonder if the Astros will just stick with Reddick given the shorter season.

2:53
Ben Clemens: In a big long season you can just play Tucker all you want and there’s still no shot of losing the AL West

2:53
Ben Clemens: so you might as well find what you have

2:53
Ben Clemens: In a shorter season with mashed-together playoff odds, maybe you want the sure thing

2:54
Pumpsie Green: What percent chance is there that Austin Martin will fall to the Jays at 5? Say, 3%? Less?

2:54
Ben Clemens: I’m going to defer to Eric on that one, because for that kind of question, you really just do need to know people on the teams, or know the right guys with the right dirt, or see x scouting director at y game (not this year, but in general)

2:54
Sam: Do you think it helps or hurts the MLBPA to have a former player in the executive director role vs. having a labor lawyer like they did in the past?

2:54
Ben Clemens: Oh, hurts.

2:55
Ben Clemens: There are upsides, like keepin the union more cohesive and things like that.

2:55
Ben Clemens: But I think that the downsides are greatest at an exact time like this, when both sides are facing new and heretofore unseen decisions and tradeoffs

2:56
Ben Clemens: The MLBPA has lots of labor lawyers, of course, but I think they’d do better in this negotiation if their response were run by one

2:56
2-D: Did you watch the Roy Halladay documentary?

2:56
Ben Clemens: I didn’t even know it existed, which is bad form

2:56
Ben Clemens: But now I’d like to

2:57
Ben Clemens: Roy Halladay’s general invincibility as a pitcher, and just how helpless it felt when he took the mound against your team, is something that I just know viscerally

2:57
Ben Clemens: From being a Cards fan when he was in his Phillies years

2:57
Ben Clemens: That feeling of ‘oh well we’ll just lose’ is brutal

2:58
Ben Clemens: And I don’t think I’ve had that feeling more about anyone else in the 21st century

2:58
JoJo: How do you see the White Sox rotation this year? Thoughts on Cease, Kopech, ReyLo and Rodon? How do you rank them?

2:58
Ben Clemens: The elusive White Sox question from earlier.

2:58
Ben Clemens: I thikn they are quite unlikely to give Kopech a shot in the majors this year

2:59
Ben Clemens: For service time reasons

3:00
Ben Clemens: Past that, I think my ranking would go Cease/ReyLo/Rodon

3:00
Ben Clemens: I never really got the whole Rodon hype

3:00
Ben Clemens: I mean, he’s obviously a good major leaguer, I just didn’t understand why people thought he had a high ceiling

3:00
Ben Clemens: Maybe they didn’t and I’m projecting

3:01
Ben Clemens: Having a strong opinion either way on ReyLo/Cease seems difficult, they’re very similar players with very similar results so far, but I like that archetype more when it comes to the chances of something exciting happening

3:01
Owners: Well then why don’t they just have a 60 game season and a many-teams postseason?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think that this could be a compromise that kinda works. I think the owners will probably need to give a little bit on the money front as well — maybe a 70 game season or something — but less games is the way I’d lean.

3:02
Guest: Isn’t the big problem that MLB is still supposedly getting money from the TV deals? That means that teams get most of their revenue without paying their biggest expense (player salaries). Could many teams be more profitable if they get RSN money without any games played?

3:02
Ben Clemens: So zero games played is a lot different than fewer games played, I think

3:03
Ben Clemens: If nothing else, from a playoff broadcasting money perspective

3:03
Ben Clemens: But I’m not convinced that teams could get away with not giving an RSN anything at all

3:03
Ben Clemens: If you have half the season and say ‘hey it was a freaking global pandemic’

3:03
Ben Clemens: Then sure

3:03
Ben Clemens: But if you come back with zero

3:03
Ben Clemens: And you don’t also own the RSN

3:03
Ben Clemens: Might be murkier

3:04
Ben Clemens: I also wonder w hat happens to RSN’s carriage fees if they go a season with no baseball

3:04
Jj: I lost my job minutes ago Ben. Need an assistant?

3:04
Ben Clemens: Ah man, I’m really sorry to hear that

3:05
Ben Clemens: Sadly I do not need, and also cannot afford, an assistant, but I hope something works out. It’s just a phenomenally crappy time to have uncertain employment prospects, and it’s happening to far too many people.

3:05
Pumpsie Green: In a short season, we could see some terrific win percentages. A couple of 8-game winning streaks will be huge! Do you think we’ll see some team hit 60 wins in an 82-game season?

3:05
Ben Clemens: 60 is a lot, but yeah, there’s far more chance of nonsense.

3:06
Ben Clemens: I’m expecting an awesome ZiPS projections article on this if/when the schedule is finalized

3:06
Matt D: Are you surprised that no teams have ever messed around with switch-hitters not switch-hitting in certain batter-pitcher matchups (i.e. finding an advantageous matchup having a switch-hitter hitting L against a certain LHP)?

3:06
Ben Clemens: I used to wonder this a lot. There are some pitchers with real reverse platoon splits

3:06
Ben Clemens: But one thought has kind of frozen me

3:06
Ben Clemens: And that’s the fact that your switch hitter probably has VERY few reps hitting lefty pitching while batting lefty

3:07
Ben Clemens: Maybe the pitcher is easy for lefties to pick up in general

3:07
Ben Clemens: But you’re asking a guy who has, for the last 10 years probably, never faced a lefty on the mound as a lefty hitter

3:07
Ben Clemens: That’s a big muscle memory disadvantage

3:08
Ben Clemens: I’d want to ask someone who’s been a switch hitter in the majors, you know? I goofed around with switch hitting when I was a kid because it was fun but I’m far from an authority on it

3:08
Ben Clemens: It’s just my general feeling that getting reps is too important

3:08
Lorenzo: Are you a believer in the late bloomer Charlie Morton?  What an awesome 2019 he had.  What are the chances that Snell-Morton-Glasnow are the best 1-2-3 combo in baseball(assuming full health)?  Who has a better combo?

3:08
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’m a believer in Morton, potentially even more so than I am in Glasnow

3:08
Ben Clemens: (less than Snell still)

3:09
Ben Clemens: As for better rotations: I’d take the Nats, for now

3:10
Ben Clemens: The Dodgers and Yankees are kinda close

3:10
Ben Clemens: And I guess the Reds? I’m sketchy on the Reds

3:12
Pumpsie Green: How long until the Astros go back into tanking mode? Could it be as soon as this year? If they don’t re-sign Springer and Correa, maybe it’s time to think about extracting maximum value out of their two long-term guys, Altuve and Bregman.

3:12
Ben Clemens: Hm

3:12
Ben Clemens: They stlil have a pipeline

3:13
Ben Clemens: It’s not super imposing, it’s not what it was at its peak

3:13
Ben Clemens: But they have a lot of young players who I find interesting

3:13
Ben Clemens: Abraham Toro, Tucker, Josh James, Urquidy

3:13
Ben Clemens: I think stapling Bregman and Altuve to that and resigning one of Springer or Correa can make that work as a good team

3:14
Isolated Thinker: Can’t teams set up their stadium parking lots with large screens and have fans attend in their cars?  I’m seeing a lot of large parking lots being used as drive-in movie theaters.  They can charge for tickets and make up the gap a little.

3:14
Ben Clemens: Oh I like this idea

3:14
Ben Clemens: Heck, why not, right?

3:15
Ben Clemens: I do wonder how much teams will scratch to get more revenue after and if a deal is agreed

3:15
Kevin Yost: Is there a study out about the potential franchise value decline if there is no 2020 season? Maybe owners and fans siding with owners could get a better idea of the long term damage they are causing the bottom line if they could see that saving 10 cents today is costing them 20 cents down the line. I work as an art and the save a penny today lose a dollar tomorrow culture seems to be very prevalent.

3:16
Ben Clemens: I haven’t seen any, but I have a feeling the owners commissioned McKinsey or some other arbitrary fancy-lad consulting agency to do one

3:16
Ben Clemens: Those studies don’t have a good track record of actually prioritizing long-term gains correctly, though

3:16
Ben Clemens: SO

3:16
Ben Clemens: Shrug emoji.

3:16
Guest: Will Clint Frazier ever get a chance to play regularly in the majors. He’s had some bad timing so far, and I believe he’s now north of 25.

3:17
Ben Clemens: I think he will, but probably not on the Yankees at this point.

3:17
Ben Clemens: I think he’s just destined to be a trade piece now.

3:17
MoKo: And performance wise, would Bartolo translate well to KBO?

3:18
Ben Clemens: Swinging way back to this quesiton

3:18
Ben Clemens: I have no idea!

3:18
Ben Clemens: But I think he’d be average-ish

3:18
Pumpsie Green: Why can’t a stadium limit attendance by sections to, say, 30 percent capacity? Two seats between people is still less crowded than the beach I was at on the weekend. Or is it bathrooms and concessions they’re worried about?

3:19
Ben Clemens: Here’s another version of the drive-in-theater plan

3:19
Ben Clemens: I assume that as public health restrictions are lifted, owners and players will talk about plans like this

3:19
Ben Clemens: Bringing in fans does increase the risk to players, though presumably not by a huge amount

3:19
Ben Clemens: It would be just like the owners to negotiate down the players as much as possible and hten just pack stadiums anyway

3:19
Ben Clemens: As much as relevant local laws allow

3:20
Jj: Michigan is opening back up! Hip hip

3:20
Ben Clemens: I’m both nervous and excited that SF is starting to reopen in phases now.

3:20
Ben Clemens: Excited because I’m kind of tired of just doing the same thing every dya.

3:21
Ben Clemens: Nervous because it looks like LA, which is ahead of us in the plan, is now experiencing an uptick in cases

3:21
Ben Clemens: Alright on that note, I’m going to call it a day. Thanks for chatting with me, and let’s pray for some baseball this year. I could certainly use the distraction.

3:22
Ben Clemens: Have a great day everybody, and be safe.





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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