Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 1/14/2021 by Craig Edwards January 14, 2021 2:03 Craig Edwards: Hey. 2:03 Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: If way fewer people are in this chat than usual, it’s because this chat, like Dan’s earlier, wasn’t posted on the front page. Or maybe everyone’s pulling a prank where no one goes to your chat and they “forgot” to tell me. 🙁 2:04 Craig Edwards: We are aware of the issue and are working on it. In the meantime that means two things. 1. If you ask a question, it is more likely to be answered than normal, and 2. I’m going to wait a couple minutes for the queue to fill up a bit. 2:13 bk: Craig, what do you think of Semien to fill the Blue Jays hole at 3B? 2:14 Craig Edwards: I’m a big fan of Semien. I prefer him to LeMahieu and wrote about that here. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/marcus-semien-potential-bargain-free-agent… 2:17 Craig Edwards: He doesn’t have a ton of experience at third, but given how well he worked at shortstop to make that work, I don’t think it would be a huge issue. I know the Jays seem in on everyone and Semien might seem like a disappointment if they don’t get Springer, LeMahieu, or Realmuto, but Semien would be a solid addition. 2:17 James: DJLM AAV over/under 21 Million 2:18 Craig Edwards: If it is five years, almost definitely under. Four years is a closer call, but I still might take the under overall. 2:18 Kevin: What is the next big free agent domino to fall? 2:21 Craig Edwards: Next or first? Liam Hendriks is a great reliever, but he wasn’t one of the top guys to get signed. Everybody expected the Mets to come in and do great things for free agency, but they’ve kind of ruined it a bit. Signing McCann takes them out on Realmuto. Getting Lindor and Carrasco makes Springer unlikely, pretty much removes LeMahieu, and makes Bauer less necessary. They still have room to do more, but a team expected to spend big in free agency might end up sitting out on the big free agents. 2:21 Craig Edwards: To answer the question, though, I’ll still say Springer. 2:21 Guest: Any guesses on what Brad Hand’s contract will look like? 2:21 Craig Edwards: I said 2/20 here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2021-top-50-free-agents/ 2:22 Craig Edwards: I’ll stick with that. He’s a bit better than Treinen so should sign for a few million more. 2:23 Panik at the Disco: Beans in chili? 2:23 Craig Edwards: Yes. 2:23 George: Who even is going to sign Realmuto if the Phillies don’t get him? Does anyone want to win anymore? 2:24 Craig Edwards: Nationals, maybe Angels or Blue Jays. The Phillies still need him the most of any team so I would think he ends up back there, but we’ll see. 2:24 Jon: Let’s say you’re the Cardinals (you’re not, but roleplay with me here), and you have to sign exactly two of these contracts, which two do you pick?: Molina for 1y/$10M Wainwright for 1y/$6M Wong for 2y/$12M 2:27 Craig Edwards: If I’m the Cardinals, I take the first two. The third is probably the best bargain, but if you can bring back those two, you have to do it. You should also do the third one, though. For $22 million in free agency taking payroll to around $150 million, still like $15 million below last season, you would be easy favorites in a weak NL central. 2:27 The Ghost of Wade Boggs: Do you think there is a trade package that could be put together to aquire Wander Franco, and if so, what would it look like? 2:30 Craig Edwards: From one team? Not a prospect package. Seattle could offer Kelenic and Rodriguez and valuewise, that wouldn’t be enough. 2:30 Craig Edwards: As for some other deal, I ranked Franco 11th in July on the Trade Value series. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2020-trade-value-1-to-10/ 2:32 Craig Edwards: Of the 10 guys ahead of him, I’m not sure Tampa Bay takes on any of those guys until you get to the top-three of Soto, Tatis Jr., Acuña. Albies is in the realm of possibilities, but I’m still not sure they take it. 2:32 bk: 5/$140M seem like a reasonable Jays/Springer contract? 2:33 Craig Edwards: It’s not unreasonable, though I would think if the dollars got that high, it might be spread over six years. I predicted 5/115 when the offseason began, and I still think it probably stays somewhere in that 110-140 range. 2:34 Guest: A lot of talk in DC is focused on extensions for players like Turner and Soto. I don’t think Soto will sign early (Boras) but what type of contract would it take to lock up Trea Turner? I truly think hes one of the most underrated players in MLB and is primed for a Rendon-esque awakening. 2:39 Craig Edwards: Turner is an interesting call given the shortstops available next year and he hits FA the year after that. He might want some of those guys to set the market for him and get to free agency so I imagine an extension wouldn’t be easy to pull off just two years out. He’s already going to make something like $30-$35 million over the next two seasons probably so you buy out those and then you are talking about his age-30 through age-34 seasons. You are probably talking something close to $200 million, but that might not really be of interest to either side at this point. 2:39 Guest: If say, a new owner offered to create a team of the free agents still on the board, how many games would that team win? 2:40 Craig Edwards: They’d be roughly even with the Dodgers and Padres. It would probably cost you $250 million and you wouldn’t have a ton of depth at starting pitching unless you snagged everyone left, but you would have a great team. 2:42 KJ: Which remaining bullpen free agents do you think will provide the best value in 2021? 2:42 Craig Edwards: I’d say Archie Bradley. 2:42 Zack: Hey Craig, I’m wondering if you see Clarke Scmidt beginning the year in the rotation for the yankees, I love his ratios in the minors and see some big upside from him 2:43 Craig Edwards: I suggest reading this, and maybe you just did and that’s what prompted the question. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/clarke-schmidt-talks-pitching/ 2:45 Craig Edwards: I worry a little about the lack of another offspeed pitch aside from the curve. If the change comes around, he could be a solid mid-rotation guy, but if it doesn’t, success will come and go and he’ll be more of a back-end/swingman/bullpen guy. 2:46 Guest: Thoughts on the Twins’ offseason so far? 2:46 Craig Edwards: Hmmm…Checks roster resource offseason tracker https://www.fangraphs.com/roster-resource/offseason-tracker/twins 2:48 Craig Edwards: well…ummm….seems like they should do something before we judge them. Robles is fine I guess, but they should really add to the rotation. If they don’t, they could find themselves in trouble if the White Sox play to expectations. 2:48 Mike Rizzo: If you were me what three moves would you make to put the Nats back on the Mets/Braves tier? 2:50 Craig Edwards: How much are they willing to spend? If they want to make that leap, they almost have to start with Realmuto or Bauer. Then, maybe Bryant and either Willson Conteras (if Bauer) or Tanaka (if Realmuto). Even then, I think it would be tough to get to the Mets level right now. 2:50 The Ghost of Wade Boggs: If you were to go back in time to grab the best player from that time and put them on a team today, how far back do you think could you go before that player is no longer an above average one by today’s standards? 2:54 Craig Edwards: Did the best player come up in the same minors as today. I think once you get past Barry Bonds-era, hitters who saw an average fastball in the upper-80s would have trouble adapting to today’s velocity without experience against it. If you are talking Cal Ripken Jr. or Mike Schmidt or Rickey Henderson, they probably manage to be above-average. Joe Morgan, probably. Hank Aaron, probably, but Mantle, Musial, Williams, that’s tough. For reference, here’s the post I was just looking at to see about best players. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mike-trout-and-the-greatest-offensive-deca… 2:55 Guest: I know we haven’t really heard a lot about La Stella but whats the deal? 125 wRC+ and 3 wins over about 150 games last two years isn’t bad for a guy who can play 3 IF positions. 2:57 Craig Edwards: He’s a fine player, but he’s just not in the upper tier. He’s hurt a little because he isn’t an everyday guy, you probably want to platoon him. I assume there will be a decent market for him once the top tier shakes out. 2:57 Guest: Do you think we will see a huge Armageddon of signings the week or so before spring training because by then we’ll have an idea of the season start time? Or will this drag out Kimbrel/ Keuchel style into the season even? 3:00 Craig Edwards: I think in the next month, things will pick up. The arb deadline is tomorrow so there might be more trade activity and general team focus there on getting more certainty regarding payrolls. I don’t think we’ll see much Kimbrel/Keuchel situations particularly given the lack of QOs to guys in the middle tier of free agency. The QO guys are at the very top. 3:00 Kyle: Do you expect the slow free agent market to lead to more or fewer long-term extensions for players under team control? 3:03 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure it will have a big effect either way. In past years, the bigger names have not signed extensions unless it was close to free agent prices with a few notable (Atlanta) exceptions and teams approached the good, not great players for extensions. I’m not sure if there will be a match on extensions as much this season, but teams will certainly try to take advantage of uncertainty if they can. 3:04 Sam: Who is your projected player to have the biggest bounce back season? 3:05 Craig Edwards: There are a ton of good candidates, Javy Báez, Nolan Arenado, Joey Gallo, but I’ll say Christian Yelich returns to form. 3:06 Mo’s bow tie: Bader and Johan Oviedo for Nimmo. Fair? Mets desperately need CF defense. 3:07 Craig Edwards: I don’t see the Mets going into the season with only Bader in center field. They need a Bader-type to pair with Nimmo, not replace him. 3:07 Paul: Any chance the Cardinals let John Gant have a shot at starting this year? And if not who do you think is their #4 and #5 Starters? 3:08 Craig Edwards: I doubt it, as it seems like there are other players ahead of him preference-wise. For 4th and 5th starters, I’ll say Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez. 3:09 Sam: If you could only bring 3 movies to a desert island, what would they be? And why would they be Angels in the outfield, a league of their own, and Rookie of the year? 3:09 Craig Edwards: I’ll say Groundhog Day, Big Lebowski, and I Heart Huckabees. 3:09 Craig Edwards: Thanks for all the questions everyone. That’s going to do it for today.