Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 6/14/21

2:01
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, happy Monday. I’m taking tomorrow off (hooray), so I’m very excited to get some chatting in before a quick refresher. Let’s get started.

2:01
John: what is your take on the Brewers?  They seem to have a staff that, if they  can keep it together, could take them  deep in post seasonZ

2:03
Ben Clemens: I’m a believer in the Brewers. With Peralta and Burnes doing what I had been hoping for, they have a really deep pitching staff that is just going to be good enough

2:04
Ben Clemens: Do they have enough offense? I think so

2:04
Ben Clemens: I wouldn’t mind seeing at least one more bat, though, and David Stearns seems totally willin to do that

2:04
Chungus Khan: Explain Hiura. Guy just looks awful, like he has his eyes closed. I can see his swings are poorly timed when watching at 5x speed on DVR. Two members of the Brewers starting rotation have a higher wRC+. His Z contact % is 59 PERCENT! And yet as soon as he goes to AAA he just demolishes it. How does facing AAA pitching fix the problem of not being able to make contact with strikes? It’s so weird.

2:05
Ben Clemens: I was never a big Hiura buyer, because he just made SO little contact for his size

2:05
Ben Clemens: Size is lazy and reductive but like

2:05
Ben Clemens: It’s also not wrong

2:06
Ben Clemens: I truly don’t know what’s going to fix it. The Brewers can’t afford to give him THAT much more time to figure it out in the majors this year I don’t think, but that means they really need a first baseman

2:06
Ben Clemens: Sorry, Vogey

2:06
Ben Clemens: Feelin pretty good about the ‘Wong will out-wRC+ Hiura’ prediction though

2:06
Tati: Do you think Ha-Seong Kim figures out MLB and gets regular playing time this year?

2:06
Derek: Any hope for Ha-Seong Kim or is he just in over his head?

2:07
Ben Clemens: I definitely have some hope, wouldn’t hate seeing him get some time in the minors but a defensively versatile backup isn’t the worst major league piece

2:07
Ben Clemens: The big problem is that I’d rather see him get developmental time and the at-bats aren’t the easiest to find when no one is hurt

2:07
Gunther: When my dad threw BP, his most unhittable offering was without question his “scream pitch” where he would basically just unleash a high-pitched yell as he strided towards home. I typically laughed too hard to make contact, but do you think gimmicky attempts to distract hitters is an underutilized means of limiting opponents’ offense? If a pitcher could fart during their windup, or make well-timed weird noises, do you think those types of distractions, when used sparingly, could make a pitcher more effective?

2:08
Ben Clemens: Johnny Cueto says hello

2:08
Ben Clemens: Although he’s also distracted by extra-curricular stuff, so maybe it cuts both ways

2:08
Ben Clemens: I definitely think that distractions can be effective when used sparingly but many of them are against hte rules

2:09
Ben Clemens: Like, you can’t have a shiny object that you occasionally pull out of your pocket strategically

2:09
Ben Clemens: I think that Cueto-esque timing and delivery variations are the best current examples of this

2:09
Ben Clemens: Oh, and quick pitches

2:09
Appa Yip Yip: Is there a particular type of hitter you think will benefit from reduced spin/break? Or is this going to be a rising tide lifts all boats situation?

2:10
Ben Clemens: People who are weak against high fastballs will probably benefit the most, because that’s the pitch that is most clearly affected by this

2:10
Ben Clemens: It affects breaking balls too, but hitters who were just helpless at the top of the zone are probably breathing a sigh of relief

2:11
Ben Clemens: My first thought was actually Keston Hiura, though uh, this might not be enough help

2:11
Levine: Buxton for Pache. Who says no?

2:11
Ben Clemens: I think that the Twins would say no, though it’s certainly close

2:12
Ben Clemens: Pache has more years of team control but his top end is more in quesiton to me

2:12
Ben Clemens: Just in terms of whether he can hit in the major leagues

2:12
Ben Clewomens: Is Zack Wheeler an ace now? He’s been tantalizing the last few years, but he’s really put it together.  Phils phans are super happy we waited a year to sign him instead of Corbin.

2:12
Ben Clemens: Just yes

2:12
Ben Clemens: He’s an ace, not really a question, just really good

2:12
Derek: Can the Angels continue to be just good enough until Trout returns and then make a real push for the playoffs?

2:12
Doug: Think the Angels could make a move for pitching with their recent hot streak?

2:13
Ben Clemens: I think they’re good enough to hang in there. If I were them I’d try to pick up some rentals, because you REALLY need to go for it at some point, and if you cut Pujols, you’re making a statement that you really care about the wins this year

2:13
Ben Clemens: So just, go do it

2:13
Matt Damon: MATT. DAMON.

2:13
Ben Clemens: Hello there

2:13
Joe: 12 teamer got an empty roster spot looking to add a bat, position doesn’t really matter, Fraley or Bobby Bradley?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Bobby Bradley but without a ton of confidence

2:14
Jacques Pederson: Cardinals are making me sad again

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rough week

2:14
DJ: I’ve seen people mention certain pitchers with spin rates dropping 100-150 RPM for a given pitch. Is that considered a significant decrease in spin rate?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Yes and no?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Pitchers have variation in spin from game to game for lots of reasons

2:14
Ben Clemens: Change in velo, change in weather, just feeling off that day, whatever

2:15
Ben Clemens: The longer it persists, the more likely it is that it’s real

2:15
Ben Clemens: And the bigger the change

2:16
Derek: I find it extremely ironic that MLB is the American sport most outwardly concerned with pace of play being too slow when, in my opinion, NFL and (especially) NBA games are the most bogged down by endless replays in what should be the most exciting and tense parts of the game. Is it MLB’s fault for needlessly making such a big deal out of the pace of play stuff?

2:16
Ben Clemens: I think it’s a little bit of both. They both have a lot of replays in exciting parts of the game, but they do have a higher action per minute level

2:17
Ben Clemens: I don’t think Manfred’s endless whining about it is helping by any means

2:17
Ben Clemens: But baseball is a naturally slower game

2:17
Moonlight Graham: Is there a fringe all star or under appreciated player you really hope makes the ASG? In a similar fashion Cedric Mullins will definitely be on the roster, but I hope he starts.

2:17
Ben Clemens: Yes, for sure

2:18
Ben Clemens: Mullins is a good choice. I think it’d be cool for Kiner-Falefa to make it and I think he’s likely to as the Rangers’ representative

2:18
Ben Clemens: Unless Adolis Garcia is the representative, also cool!

2:19
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure Carlos Rodon still counts as under-appreciated but him too

2:19
Ben Clemens: And Pablo Lopez is just good

2:19
Ben Clemens: He’d be a cool all star

2:19
The Mook: Are Mookie Betts best days behind him? He seems to have dropped from challenging Trout to merely pretty good.

2:20
Ben Clemens: I mean, if you’re asking whether I think he’ll outdo his 2018 season, I’ll say no

2:20
Ben Clemens: If you’re asking whether I think he’s still a 5-6 WAR player, I think yes

2:20
Ben Clemens: When he signed his extension, ZiPS had him in the top 10 for projected WAR over the next 3 years, 4th or 5th I think?

2:20
Ben Clemens: And I’d guess he’s still right around there

2:21
Ben Clemens: I do not think he has that extra gear, but he only really had one year where he was TRULY Trout-tier

2:21
Ben Clemens: Like, 2016 was a great year too but that was more high-volume than high rate

2:21
Ben Clemens: great rate, but also 730 PA

2:21
In five years..: …are these the five best players in baseball, in order? 1. Tatis Jr, 2. Acuna Jr, 3. Vlad Jr, 4. Juan Soto, 5. Wander Franco (with Trout still handing out there, Federer-style)

2:22
Ben Clemens: Those are all good guesses, I’d lay good odds that the list isn’t right though

2:22
Ben Clemens: Because that’s just not how predicting the future works

2:22
Fan who likes graphs: Any hope for the Nats?

2:22
Ben Clemens: It’s getting late

2:23
Ben Clemens: I’m just gonna say no for this year, unfortunately. The pitching situation is too dire

2:23
Joey: Does Correa to the Tigers seem too obvious to happen? Obviously due to the Hinch connection and lack of immediate and long-term SS in waiting for the Tigers. Plus would you be surprised if the Tigers “bought” at the deadline as in players with multiple years of control still?

2:23
Ben Clemens: Given that I hadn’t really considered it, I don’t think it’s too obvious to happen

2:23
Ben Clemens: I don’ particularly get the feeling that the Tigers are one hitter away

2:24
Ben Clemens: I would absolutely be surprised if the Tigers bought at the deadline

2:24
Ben Clemens: They’re 26-39!

2:24
Ben Clemens: If there are some multi-year pieces going for cheap rates, I mean maybe?

2:24
Ben Clemens: But there’s essentially no value in this year for them

2:25
Ben Clemens: They’re just way too far behind the White Sox, and also not many of their players are good

2:25
Dan: Looking around at contenders who will be making decisions about trades and call-ups, and have decided that the Rays are absolutely fascinating. How do you see them handling their infield logjam once Franco and Brujan are up? Franco rotating between 2B/3B with Wendle, and Brujan playing the OF? What happens with the Lowes (plural intended)?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I think Brujan is going to have to be an outfielder if he and Franco are both in the majors at the same time

2:26
Ben Clemens: I think they’re probably shopping Brandon Lowe heavily at the moment

2:26
Ben Clemens: And presumably they’re not going to call up all three of Josh Lowe, Franco, and Brujan unless things go really badly in terms of ML depth

2:27
Ben Clemens: So he’ll just languish in the minors unless they’d prefer to let Brujan languishin the minors

2:27
Kevin: Why would the Astros be selling Correa? They’re one of the best teams in the league.

2:27
Ben Clemens: I was thinking this was in free agency, and the multi-year buying was unrelated

2:27
Ben Clemens: If we’re talking about a deadline acquisition of a rental, yeah, no

2:27
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: At some point in one of these chats, you referenced Baseball Highlights: 2045. From our novice board game household, that one’s a big winner. Scratches a lot of the same itches that something like Slay the Spire scratches in the video game world with the macro deckbuilding and the micro tactics of each minigame.

2:28
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it’s a great one. I got into it on Keith Law’s recommendation. He has a very good boardgame blog

2:28
Brian: Why dont more hitters choke up?

2:28
Ben Clemens: This is a simplification, but because they aren’t confident in their ability to make solid contact and fielders are SO good these days

2:29
Ben Clemens: If you hit weak batted balls, it’s not THAT much better than striking out

2:29
Ben: What does Jose Berrios bring back in return?? Similar package to Stroman? more/less??

2:29
Aj Preller: Im going all in – Abrams, Hassell, and Lange for Buxton and Berrios.

2:29
Twins Fan: Berrios for Pearson enough or would the Twins have to include other rentals like some combination of Cruz, Pineda, Robles/Rogers?

2:29
Ben Clemens: Berrios is going to be a hot piece this trade deadline if the Twins want to move him

2:30
Ben Clemens: not a free agent until 2023, looks like he is takin a step forward this year

2:30
Ben Clemens: I don’t understand the motivation for the Padres to add Buxton, so I don’t see that deal happening

2:31
Ben Clemens: Also, Preller hasn’t been willing to deal from his stash of top prospects, so I don’ think he’s suddenly going to splash out two of his top 5

2:31
Ben Clemens: Berrios for Pearson makes far more sense to me

2:31
Ben Clemens: I’m down on Pearson relative to Eric’s 60 on him, but the Twins should get more years of team control and the Jays should get good now

2:32
Nate: To piggyback on the Correa question…would the Astros seriously let him walk over a refusal to go to a deal over 5 years, like some of the ST reports made it seem? Think his success so far this year might get them to reconsider? That seems extremely short sided all things considered…not like we haven’t spent money recently, or have a lot of money tied up in future years

2:32
Ben Clemens: I think they’d absolutely let him walk if the deal doesn’t fit them

2:32
Ben Clemens: It’s not like they’ve shown a ton of desire to ‘keep the band together’ or ‘focus on the core members’ or anything, though we just don’t know a lot about the new front office yet

2:33
Ben Clemens: But Click is from the Rays, and it’s not like the Rays are really into extending their stars at any cost

2:33
Derek: Why would the Twins move Berrios (or Buxton) this year? There’s no way the Twins expect *this* to be their new normal in the near future. Simmons and Cruz? Sure! But they still have a solid core and to my eyes should be able to compete for a playoff spot in both of the next couple years.

2:34
Ben Clemens: I think they’d have to get someone who they think can be a real major league help next year, which is why Pearson makes sense to me

2:34
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they’re particularly interested in triggering a rebuild, but if you can flip Berrios (1/3 of his remaining team control is not helpful to them) for a worse but still ML level pitcher

2:34
Ben Clemens: It’d be temptin

2:34
Ben Clemens: tempting*

2:34
Ben Clemens: That’s why I don’t think Pache would do it, but Pearson would. Pache is not replicating healthy Buxton. You can talk yourself into Pearson replicating Berrios

2:35
Cole: I understand the thought of a Brandon Lowe trade, but they probably still really value his bat still and he’s still super cheap. 134 wRC+ vs righties this year is right in line with his career norm. You cant expect instant production that good from any minor leaguer.

2:35
Ben Clemens: I don’t think I would trade Brandon Lowe

2:36
Ben Clemens: But they can’t keep Brujan and Franco down forever, and they just have an infield glut

2:36
Ben Clemens: Lowe also costs more than the rookie minimum, which is something the Rays don’t like

2:36
Ben Clemens: Even though he’s on a steal of a deal

2:36
Ben Clemens: It’s just the kind of trade that the Rays have repeatedly been willing to make

2:37
Ben Clemens: They will sacrifice this year production for future production

2:37
Ben Clemens: They literally just traded Blake Snell for Luis Patino

2:37
Don: From where you stand, what’s the loudest tool/best pitch in baseball?

2:37
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say deGrom’s fastball

2:38
Brian: Between his 10/5 rights (probably eliminating Oak/TB), high salary (eliminating Cle, CHC, Mil) and cost in prospects (eliminating BoSox and ChiSox) isnt Scherzer’s market limited to NYM and the California NL West teams?

2:38
Ben Clemens: The Nats could eat some of his salary

2:38
Ben Clemens: And I’d put the Cardinals on there b/c he’s from St. Louis, assuming they’re still in the race

2:39
Ben Clemens: But I just don’t think they’re going to trade him. The return would be light-ish and c’mon, give the fans an extra few months of Scherzer

2:39
Kevin: Who should the Astros be targeting at the deadline? Obvious answer seems like BP help, but I feel like that will resolve itself once they start getting healthy. I personally think they need a starter.

2:39
Ben Clemens: One of either, honestly

2:40
Ben Clemens: They’re willing to let the back of the rotation and the bullpen bleed together, which makes sense to me

2:40
Ben Clemens: If there aren’t any fifth starters available, I wouldn’t hate seeing them get a reliever and let Javier start for a bit again, at least in a piggy-back kind of way

2:41
Ben Clemens: Now, if they can get a top of the line starter, that’s great

2:41
Steve O: I’m starting to worry that Wander Franco won’t be up until after the super two deadline in 2022. The Rays wouldn’t keep him down that long… would they? Would be very Rays of them tbh. The logic is that you call him up next year so he’ll be more seasoned and will be less likely to struggle. But that would be so bad.

2:41
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they’ll do that, but I am definitely starting to get worried

2:41
Ben Clemens: I do think they might just bring him up in August or late July

2:41
Ben Clemens: So that he doesn’t even get Super 2 this year

2:41
Ben Clemens: Keep his days of ML time below 100, let’s say

2:41
Ben Clemens: Super gross, but again, it’s the Rays

2:42
Ben Clemens: I thikn that actually maximizes how much service time you’d get for your money

2:42
Ben Clemens: b/c he wouldn’t qualify for super 2 so you’d get 1/3 of this year, then 3 years at the minimum, then 3 years of arb

2:43
Ben Clemens: so 6.33 years for a cost of 3 years of arb, as opposed to 6.9 years for a cost of 4 years of arb

2:43
Ben Clemens: Better rate, you get him sooner, what’s not to like? aside from how stupid the structure of the league is that talking about how long it makes sense to hold down one of their best players is a thing we’re doing

2:43
Kenny: if you’re a betting man, where does gallo land?

2:43
Appa Yip Yip: Is Joey Gallo on the move this summer, and where does he go?

2:44
Ben Clemens: Let’s piggyback on one of my earlier claims (the Brewers are real but need a bat) and say Milwaukee

2:45
Ben Clemens: He can play some first, he can play some right with Avi in center, and he’s just a big bat

2:45
Ben Clemens: It’s not a perfect fit, of course, but I think it’s still kind of a fit

2:45
Duchess: What the heck happened to Jameson Taillon? K’s are there but otherwise he has been terrible.

2:45
Steve O: Is Jameson Taillon a reliever? Really only one good pitch. Third time through numbers are terrible. Could be like a Chad Green type reliever with that fastball though.

2:46
Ben Clemens: I haven’t looked into Taillon closely this year, but wow he’s giving up a lot of loud contact

2:47
Ben Clemens: I dunno what the plan is there, I guess you just hope his four-seamer continues to come around and get sharper

2:47
Ben Clemens: Because it seems like when he throws it right, he’s missing bats, but he’s also scattershot with the command and leaving some meatballs

2:48
Cole: Is Miguel Rojas an underrated trade candidate? Haven’t seen much buzz on him but he’s put up 3.4 WAR in his last 88 games! MIA clearly has their future SS in Jazz and Rojas seems like he could help a number of teams (NYY, CIN, OAK, LAA, CLE come to mind)

2:48
Ben Clemens: I’m not 100% sure the Marlins want to trade him

2:48
Ben Clemens: He’s definitely a team leader, and they seem to value that quite a bit

2:49
Ben Clemens: He’s also hurt and rehabbing at the moment, which makes it harder to know what he’d fetch

2:49
Ben Clemens: But yes, if he’s on the block and healthy, he’d fetch a nice haul

2:50
Ben Clemens: As best as I can tell, he’s likely to hit his vesting option for 2022, but it’s still a team option even if he doesn’t hit it, and it’s a good price

2:50
Nate: Is there a point where the Rays way of doing things just becomes too much? They’re obviously smart AF…but the idea of keeping down Franco into next year just to control costs when he’s obviously ready now…or having a rotation full of openers and limiting guys like McClanahan and Patino to 2-4 inning showcases…constantly trading away your stars even when they sign team friendly deals to stay. At some point shouldn’t you at least make a slight effort to give your fans something to grab onto and embrace? Winning is obviously a big cure all, but at some point it just seems…exhausting to follow

2:51
Ben Clemens: I’ve said as much as I’m going to say on this, basically, on Chin Music with Kevin

2:51
Ben Clemens: The Rays are really good

2:51
Ben Clemens: We respect that they’re really good

2:51
Ben Clemens: I find their style of baseball management unappealing

2:51
Ben Clemens: I wish the rules of the game were changed in such a way as to disincentivize it

2:52
Ben Clemens: I do think that it might depress their fan interest, because you can’t buy a jersey with any hope of that guy being there in two yeas

2:52
Ben Clemens: But also, they’re in a tough market, it’s a chicken/egg kind of thing

2:52
Eric: How would you change to rules to disincentivize the rays way of doing things? Would be kind of difficult to do, no?

2:52
Ben Clemens: Raise the minimum salary to 1.5mm

2:52
Ben Clemens: Make team control age-contingent

2:53
Ben Clemens: There are a lot of ways to do it

2:53
Ben Clemens: It’s about changing the way money gets distributed to players to give younger players more and older players less

2:53
Ben Clemens: It may not happen, but there are myriad ways

2:53
MATT. DILLON.: MATT. DILLON.

2:53
Ben Clemens: We are equal opportunity Matt posters here

2:53
Erstad says he has it: Regarding WAR, i couldn’t find (apropos of Ohtani) if pitchers receive a positional adjustment to the defensive portion of WAR. Is such an adjustment made for pitchers?

2:54
Ben Clemens: As I understand it, when the Angels forgo a DH to have Ohtani hit, we just don’t give him a positional adjustment

2:54
Ben Clemens: So he doesn’t get the DH hit or the pitcher boost

2:54
Ben Clemens: Pitchers *do* get a positional adjustment when they hit in the NL

2:55
Derek: Also, not like the Rays have many fans to appease! (sarcasm kind of but not really, sadly…)

2:55
Ben Clemens: Right, this is what makes it a tricky question

2:55
Ben Clemens: Are they stunting their market? Probably

2:55
Ben Clemens: But the market is going to be small either wya

2:55
High Cheese: The NL postseason race seems to be the Mets and then five teams (CHC, MIL, SFG, LAD, SDP) fighting for four spots.  It should be loads of fun to follow as a fan not invested in any of those teams, but which of the five do you think misses?

2:55
Ben Clemens: Cubs, but I think it’s between them and the Brewers

2:56
High Cheese: Where would you put the chances that the bulk of Springer’s playing time with Toronto over the life of his deal comes at DH?

2:56
Ben Clemens: Low, like 15%? He’s a plus corner outfielder when healthy and they have other big boys to put at DH

2:56
Keefths: Can you give me permission to release Bohm pleeeeeeeeeease ?

2:56
Ben Clemens: In redraft, sure. In keeper, I don’t think so

2:56
Brose Canseco: Is Cade Cavalli now the best pitching prospect in baseball?

2:57
Ben Clemens: After 40 innings at Hi-A? I don’ think so. Let’s give it at least a year

2:57
Powdered Toast Man: The Giants have been exceptional with their “reclamation” pitchers this year. Do you forecast the same results for Aaron Sanchez?

2:57
Ben Clemens: I mean, I think it’s a good flier to take

2:58
Ben Clemens: I’ve picked up Sanchez several times in Ottoneu this year

2:58
Ben Clemens: Using basically this line of thinking

2:58
Ben Cleveland: Would you rather know it all and be depressed or live with the mantra that ignorance is bliss?

2:58
Ben Clemens: Oh, ignorance is bliss, not close

2:59
Pumpkins at Midnight: Given how badly shortstops age in their 30s, who do you think is going to be left holding the bag this year?  Is Correa gonna regret passing on $120M?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Serious question: do shortstops age particularly badly? This is not a thing that I knew

2:59
Ben Clemens: does anyone have any studies or anecdotes or anything on this

2:59
Junior Lake: What is my father’s name?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Weirdly, Trey Lake

2:59
Puster Bosey: How are the White Sox still scoring so much with half their lineup consisting of Engel, L. Garcia, Mendick, Brian Goodwin (?) etc types?

3:00
Ben Clemens: It’s a wonderful question. I do tihnk Brian Goodwin is a fine player, but yeah, they have some light hitters in there. Feels like their current offensive production won’t continue, but they do have a really solid core

3:00
Josh R: It would take an extremely loud fart for a batter to even hear it with fans in the stands wouldn’t it?

3:00
Ben Clemens: We answer the important questions here at FanGraphs

3:00
Eric: Who do you think the biggest name is that will get traded at the deadline, and also care to make a bold prediction on where that name lands?

3:01
Ben Clemens: I think it’ll be Berrios, unless you think Joey Gallo is a bigger name

3:01
Ben Clemens: And I’ll just go with my Berrios to the Jays and Gallo to the Brewers calls

3:01
Robbie: Where do you think the Rays could improve the team by the Trade Deadline?

3:01
Ben Clemens: They have the best prospect in the game

3:01
Ben Clemens: He’s sitting at Triple-A hitting .309/.367/.566

3:01
Ben Clemens: This isn’t hard

3:02
High Cheese: Nate Pearson as an old-style two-inning fireballer sounds fun.   Hasn’t faced more than 21 batters in a game since 2019.  How long do the Jays wait and hope for a Blake Snell type outcome (4-5 really good innings in a typical start) before doing that?

3:02
Ben Clemens: Blake Snell is the comp I think of for Pearson as well

3:03
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll give him some rope this year as a starter, but that he’ll likely be a reliever if they make the playoffs

3:03
Ben Clemens: And if he shoves in the playoffs, well, he might just never go back to starting

3:03
Ben Clemens: That’s unless they trade him for Berrios

3:03
Ben Clemens: Then, the Twins would give him a TON of rope as a starter

3:03
Robbie: True, but I think maybe a starting pitcher would help?

3:03
Ben Clemens: Well, that’s a different question

3:03
Ben Clemens: The obvious place they can improve is with their copious Triple-A talent

3:04
Ben Clemens: What are they going to trade for a pitcher? They’re not willing to trade these prospects, they’re too good!

3:04
John: Off your Berrios to Jays – does a package of Austin Martin + Woods-Richardson .. would rather keep Nate Pearson if Jays

3:04
Ben Clemens: I’m realllllly high on Martin

3:04
Ben Clemens: I’d prefer to keep Martin and SWR, personally

3:05
Johnny5Alive: Mets need… things.  Can they buy there way into trades? The farm doesn’t have a whole lot outside the top 3

3:05
Ben Clemens: I don’t actually think the Mets need any high-end pieces

3:05
Ben Clemens: They just need to get healthy and find a bunch of randos to keep the boat afloat until then

3:06
High Cheese: Where do you think Martin plays?  CF with Springer in a corner, is the first arrangement to come to my mind, but I did ask the Springer DH question earlier, simply because all Jays fans keep hearing about is Springer’s running.

3:07
Ben Clemens: Yeah, center or third I think

3:07
Ben Clemens: I’m down on Springer as a CF

3:07
Ben Clemens: But I think he’s excellent in a corner

3:07
Specloos: Brandon Lowe to CHW trade a possibility given their 1) new hole at 2B and 2) relative struggles vs RHP?

3:08
Ben Clemens: I was thinking about this one when I wrote about Madrigal, but I don’t think it tracks

3:08
Ben Clemens: Lowe is a valuable chip b/c of how long he’ll be on whichever team acquires him

3:08
Ben Clemens: But that’s not particularly useful to the White Sox b/c they have 2b/ss/3b locked up for a while

3:08
Ben Clemens: And they have a crunch at DH too

3:09
Ben Clemens: If he were on a shorter deal, I’d be all over it

3:09
Johnny5Alive: Re: Mets – but do you trust the pitching to hold up? I have no faith in carrasco coming back or Thor coming back into the rotation, and they can’t keep trotting out Peterson and Lucchesi because it will affect their bullpen play as well.  You think more of a Jon Gray type to at least have someone more reliable to plug in at the back?

3:10
Ben Clemens: If Gray doesn’t cost much, sure. I don’t think Lucchesi is a terrible 5th starter, though

3:10
Appa Yip Yip: I finally made the move to buy a big jar of tahini so I can make my own hummus and baba ganoush and let me tell you it is paying dividends

3:10
Ben Clemens: Oh yes, highly recommend

3:10
Ben Clemens: One big problem: I hate shelling my own chickpeas

3:10
Ben Clemens: But you kind of have to if you make your own hummus

3:10
Italian beef w/ giardiniera: Seems like CHW could acquire Lowe and then flip him this offseason?

3:10
Ben Clemens: I mean, they could, but that sounds liek a LOT of work and you’d likely lose some value there

3:11
Ben Clemens: If you win the bidding for Lowe now, you paid more for him than anyone else was willing to

3:11
Ben Clemens: Then you’re going to need to move him in the offseason where a new CBA gets signed?

3:11
Ben Clemens: Just go get Adam Frazier instead imo

3:11
Joshua: Josh Harrison to the White Sox for a top 15 organization prospect? 20? 30? What would it take? Thanks.

3:11
Ben Clemens: Something in the 20-30 range is my guess

3:11
Norm: What type of contract do you think Baez gets in FA? Goldstein said 5 yrs 100 mil is way too high.

3:12
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll end up on a one-year deal or signing something like 2/40 with a vesting option for a third year

3:12
Ben Clemens: I don’t have a lot of faith that non-Cubs teams are going to look at the shortstop class and think that Baez is the one they feel comfortable handing a pile of cash

3:13
Ben Clemens: He’s a tremendously fun player and has also produced 1.2 WAR in his last 461 PA (’20-’21) while striking out 35% of the time

3:13
Ben Clemens: I love Javy, but it’s just a tough ask to sign someone like that to a long-term deal

3:13
Ben Clemens: Dan wrote about it today

3:14
Ben Clemens: And he has a HUGE number on him, over 200 million

3:14
Ben Clemens: But yeah, I just don’t get it

3:14
Guest: Who are some (relatively) unknown relievers pitching for bad teams that could make a big impact for a contender down the stretch, maybe a tweak away from being dominant?

3:15
Ben Clemens: I wrote about John Curtiss last week, I think he’ll be a big get

3:15
Ben Clemens: Here’s a sneaky one, although not on a bad team

3:15
Ben Clemens: John Brebbia is finishing up his rehab in AAA at the moment and is about ready to join the SF bullpen

3:15
Ben Clemens: career 3.14 ERA, 27.4% k rate

3:16
Guest: Is Moncada an MVP quality player?

3:16
Ben Clemens: I’m not 100% sure what MVP quality means, but if you mean someone who is capable of winning an MVP, definitely

3:17
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s Trout or anything, or Tatis/Soto tier, but he’s a perennial all star type

3:17
High Cheese: What should we looking for in trying to identify pitchers who may have been using sticky stuff?  Anything beyond spin rates?

3:17
Ben Clemens: Their hands, i guess?

3:18
Ben Clemens: You can see sticky stuff on high speed video sometimes

3:18
Ben Clemens: Pure data wise, though, spin is the best bet

3:18
Greg: Clay Holmes has 28.1 IP in 28 appearances for the Pirates so far this year. He has allowed 14 ER good for a 4.45 ERA. However, 10 of those ER have come in two appearances where he lasted just 0.1 IP and allowed 5 ER in each case. In cases like this, do you think a pitcher is better or worse than their ERA indicates?

3:18
Ben Clemens: I think it’s worth looking into extenuating circumstances in those games

3:19
Ben Clemens: If he was pitching hurt, or had to go on short rest b/c of a roster crunch, or got sick in warmups but the team didn’t have another long man ready, I’m more willing to look at it as a fluke

3:19
Ben Clemens: Generally, though, first innings count just as much as second innings

3:20
Matt: Emmanuel Clase has only pitched 2 innings in June. Anything you are aware of that might explain this?

3:21
Ben Clemens: As I look through the game logs, I think it’s just randomness

3:21
Ben Clemens: So he pitched on May 30-31, so they weren’t gonna use him on June 1 (close game)

3:22
Ben Clemens: They then lost a game they down before he would hvae come in, then won two laughers (he pitched in the second to get some work)

3:22
Ben Clemens: Won another laugher that he pitched in

3:23
Ben Clemens: Then their only other close win,t hey were down 4-1 in the 9th, scored 3 to tie it, so they brought in Karinchak for extras b/c he has the better chance of striking his way out of a jam

3:23
Ben Clemens: Just a fluke of circumstance, it appears

3:23
Josh: Going back to the Mets, does a player like Buxton put them over the top? Could send back Nimmo + prospect

3:23
Ben Clemens: Yes, Byron Buxton, the most injured player in baseball, on the Mets

3:23
Ben Clemens: I see no problems here

3:24
Ben Clemens: (I mean it’d be interesting but I don’t think they’d do it)

3:24
Josh: Good teams stick to their identity!

3:24
Ben Clemens: lol!

3:24
Don: You think the Giants keep this up long enough for anything but a wild card? I have my doubts.

3:24
Ben Clemens: I do not

3:24
Ben Clemens: But a WC would be a solid outcome

3:25
Todd: Adalberto Mondesi disagrees with your Buxton award

3:25
Dan: what would buxton get back if he proves hes healthy

3:25
Ben Clemens: How tall would I be if I were a foot taller?

3:25
Ben Clemens: Not much point in answering either of these, how is Buxton gonna prove he’s healthy?

3:26
Ben Clemens: If you mean, not currently inuured

3:26
Ben Clemens: Then I take back the snark

3:26
Ben Clemens: But he’s just so consistently hurt

3:26
Offseason Trade: After a few months worth of games, what do you see as the most lopsided trade that occurred in the most recent offseason, and was it the Taillon trade?

3:26
Ben Clemens: Arenado trade and Darvish trade are up there as well

3:26
Ben Clemens: But I think it might be the Taillon trade, yeah

3:27
Josh: What moves do you think the Red Sox should make? Or do you think Sale returning is the “move”?

3:27
Ben Clemens: If I were them, I’d try to get a 5th starter

3:27
Ben Clemens: It gives them some bullpen flexibility if Sale returns and some insurance if he has a setback

3:27
Harried Accountant: Max Scherzer is a free agent after this year, but still owed $90 million deferred.  If he is traded this season, who is on the hook for that?  (pretending a salary pick-up wouldn’t be in play)

3:28
Ben Clemens: I don’t know

3:28
Ben Clemens: The teams can always work it out, though

3:28
Ben Clemens: Whatever the default is, it’s not like the Nats are going to trade him and then BAM turns out the team that acquired him is paying for him after not expecting to

3:28
Bryan Reynolds: I have rebounded this season, can play a passable center field, and have several years of control remaining. What would my trade value be if Cherington were to listen?

3:28
Greensboro: What do you see as a realistic prospect return for Adam Frazier if he’s dealt at the deadline?

3:29
Ben Clemens: I think I’d offer more for Reynolds than Frazier, but I just don’t have a good handle on what a solid controllable piece returns these days

3:30
Ben Clemens: I think that Reynolds should fetch a top 100 prospect, but I also think the Pirates would like to hold onto him

3:30
Ben Clemens: Honestly, though, this is hard!

3:30
Don: Who’s the most surprising but still somewhat possible active player you think could become a hall of famer?

3:31
Ben Clemens: Looking through the list of active players, this is hard

3:32
Ben Clemens: Maybe Evan Longoria?

3:33
Ben Clemens: I don’t think of him as on a hall of fame trajectory, but if his rebound this year is real and he has another good 3 years in him, he could have 400 HR and sneakily good counting statistics

3:33
Norm: Does Giancarlo count as a surprising possible HOFer?

3:33
Ben Clemens: He was another option I considered

3:33
Ben Clemens: i think he’d be less surprising than Longoria, but not sure what other people think

3:34
Guest: Batters are allowed to use adhesive batting gloves and pine tar to grip and manipulate the bat to improve their batting outcomes. Pitchers are not allowed to use pine tar (or whatever else) to improve their grip. Would a pitcher be allowed to wear a batting glove when throwing to enhance their grip? If not….why? What would be different?

3:34
Ben Clemens: Oh…. because it’s not the same?

3:34
Ben Clemens: That’s why it would be different

3:34
Ben Clemens: Like, what?

3:34
Ben Clemens: There are specifically rules about this

3:34
Ben Clemens: Batters can spit on their hands, pitchers can’t

3:34
Ben Clemens: Why? Because it’s legislated into the game

3:34
Robbie: Do you think Merrill Kelly could be a realistic under the radar piece for a team to add this trade season for back end rotation help? FIP 1 run lower than ERA.

3:35
Ben Clemens: Yeah, for sure. I don’t think he’d fetch much but he’d get something back and the DBacks are out of it

3:35
Ben Clemens: Alright everyone, sorry about the uneven quality of my responses today, I was ravenous and eating lunch, and now I need to go walk my dog

3:35
Ben Clemens: Ruby says hi to everyone, and I will talk to all of you next week. Have a great day!





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

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HappyFunBall
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HappyFunBall

I know that no one reads chat comments but …

Brandon Lowe can play in an OF corner and Eaton is on a one year deal. They COULD put him there longer term.

Smiling Politely
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Smiling Politely

But why waste resources trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when cheaper, rounder pegs exist?