Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 1/16/2020


Craig Edwards: Going to let the queue fill up a bit as I finish lunch.


Bart: C Beltran has just stepped down a NY Mets Manager.   Yankees and Brewers have been mentioned as possible investigation targets.  When will this end?


Craig Edwards: I don’t know. It will take more people with knowledge i.e. players saying something. I think animosity towards the Astros generally helped this get out in the first place (not that it shouldn’t be out), but I don’t know how if it will work the same for other teams who might or might not have done something similar. We don’t really have any idea how far this goes and I’m not sure we ever will.


Craig Edwards: I wrote a little about that in my piece on Cora’s termination.…


Mike Fiered: Has any player even been responsible for more managers losing their job than me?


Craig Edwards: Not in one week I wouldn’t think.


David Allen Boucher: How is Beltran’s HOF case affected by the scandal?


Craig Edwards: That’s something that will be hard to gauge because we don’t really know for sure what his support was going to look like in the first place. Andruw Jones is a somewhat similar player though not as good offensively and he’s had something of a struggle. I’m sure there are some who will hold this against him. I don’t think I would. It was probably going to take a few years for Beltran to make it in anyway, and I think this just might delay it by a couple more years.


Thank you for the chat!: If Texas wanted to sign Casty or Ozuna to a 2-year, high AAV contract, what would it look like? What makes sense for both team and player?


Craig Edwards: I’d be surprised if that’s what happened with either player. They likely want that 4-year deal with the most security or to get back out there on the FA market next season. I think it would take more than $20 million per year to make a two-year deal something they would be interested in.


pumpsie: Astros and Red Sox still division winners and/or playoff teams?


Craig Edwards: Astros still yes. Red Sox are behind the Yankees with the Rays not too far behind. Boston should still probably make the playoffs next year, but the division will be really difficult.


robert: Flaherty’s second-half amazingness was largely based on his 4 seamer and slider.  Does he risk significant regression if he cannot improve his curve, sinker, and change (which he hardly threw)?    Is his long term ceiling significantly limited by only have 2 ++ pitches?


Craig Edwards: I’m not very worried about that. The other pitches are not bad by any stretch and he used his twoseamer more against lefties as the year went on. I get concerned about two-pitch pitchers, but Flaherty isn’t that at all. He also just has an amazing slider that hitters haven’t adjusted to so there’s little point in mixing in other pitches a lot until hitters force him to.


Chick Pear: Question about sinker-change up tunneling. Kiley-eric recently wrote in Libertadore’s profile that the lack of a swing and miss fastball makes the development of the change critical to his success as a starter.  Can you comment on the and compare Libertadore to Justus Sheffield? They differ in their elite out pitch (Libertadore curve, Sheff slider), but the emphasis on changeup seems the same.


Craig Edwards: It’s a little different with Sheffield because the slider should match up pretty well with his fastball in a way Libertore’s curve doesn’t. But Sheffield needs to have a third pitch, regardless, if he’s going to start, and having a good changeup is important as it is his third pitch.


Craig Edwards: Re: Beltran from earlier, Jay wrote up something on his legacy.…


mt: Are we at peak LOLMets yet or can they get LOLMets-ier than this?


Craig Edwards: We are not yet at LOLMets-iest.


Mike: Did you have any opinions on the other Mets’ managerial candidates from earlier in the postseason?


Craig Edwards: Muelens seems a pretty obvious choice given their options at this point, especially considering they required no managerial experience when they made the last hire.


Thank you for the chat!: Would JA Happ make sense for the Angels in a salary dump type trade for Yanks?


Craig Edwards: Maybe, but that’s not really what the Angels need given a bunch of other Happ-like question marks in the rotation. It also looks like the Yankees might actually need Happ now, anyways.


robert: Is Dakota Hudson due for regression?  Doesn’t miss bats, walks a ton of people.  Is he more #4/5 than #2/3??


Craig Edwards: He isn’t really a 2 or 3. He had one of the best infield defenses in the game and he induces a ton of ground balls. He also plays in a park that prevents home runs. That makes St. Louis an ideal spot for him, but an 18% strikeout rate and 11% walk rate isn’t going to get it done without a ton of help from factors out his control. I think his walk rate could go down a bit, his homer rate could go up slightly and he still ends up with an ERA around 3.5-4, but he’ll still be more of a 4/5 than anything else. The GB rate might allow him to outperform his peripherals a little, but last season was a bit extreme.


Chick Pear: What do you make of all the Mike Fiers shaming?  Seems a sort of indefensible row to hoe to suggest that “snitches get stitches” and “first rule of fight club..” are better messages for kids and fans than “do what you know is right, tell people regardless of whether it is popular to do so or not”.


Craig Edwards: If there had been more guys like Mike Fiers in 1996 and 1997, we might have had the PED era end a lot more quickly. I don’t really care how much Fiers had sour grapes about his time with Astros. He did the right thing and some of his reasons for doing so were certainly right.


Roger: By deciding to part ways with Cora, did the Red Sox run the risk that Manfred will impose a more severe sanction regarding other aspects of the team?  The suspension of Hinch, after all, was part of the Astros’ punishment.  Since Manfred can no longer impose a similar punishment on the Red Sox, he might compensate by increasing the severity of other punishments, such as fines or draft pick losses.


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. The Red Sox said they discussed this with the Commissioner’s office, so it is hard to see how the Commissioner would then punish the Red Sox worse because they fired a guy they found out cheated.


Trent: Is there a worse choice of manager for the Astros than Dusty Baker?  Speaking as a Reds fan, Dusty’s backwards thinking was bad enough for a more traditional organization a decade ago; I can’t imagine him fitting into a more analytically-minded, forward thinking organization like the Astros in today’s world of baseball.


Craig Edwards: I think he’d be fine. Do the Astros need somebody analytically minded if the whole front office and coaching staff is. Given the roster, it’s not like there are a bunch of controversial lineup decisions he’d be likely to make. HIs presence in the dugout might calm everybody down. He’s probably not the choice I would make, but it isn’t a bad one.


Nick: Assuming (likely erroneously) that they get equal playing time in 2020, is Addell or Robert a better ROY bet?


Craig Edwards: If you are putting Adell in the majors right away, it seems possible that both players struggle out of the gate. I would lean toward Robert, but it is pretty close.


Guest: Why would the Angels take on a salary dump, just after giving up their first round pick to dump Cozart’s salary?


Craig Edwards: If it’s at a position where they need it, and it depends on the amount of salary being dumped.


Chick Pear: The J-Rod/Kelenic hypetrain has left the station in Seattle. Any concerns?


Craig Edwards: Not this season. Further down the road, it’s important to remember that one or two really good prospects might transform the outlook of a club, but they aren’t going to do it alone. Braves have Acuna and Albies, but Freddie Freeman was already there and Donaldson was on the team last year. It takes a lot to build a contender from where the Mariners are right now.


AJ: should the white sox be looking for a Brock Holt type player that can play pretty much everywhere?


Craig Edwards: like Yolmer Sanchez? They need to find somebody who is right-handed and can play the outfield but Holt doesn’t fit that.


Greene: My understanding is that Luis Robert does not pronounce the “t” at the end of his name.  Is his OF defense good enough that was can call him Luis “the Robber” Robert (based on his ability to rob HRs)?


Craig Edwards: Sadly, you are mistaken.


Craig Edwards:


Jason Benetti


Pronunciation of @whitesox OF Luis Robert:

loo-EES RAH-burt

First name is like Sojo and Gonzalez

Last name is like Duvall and Frost

3 Jan 2020

Sir Nerdlington: I’m currently reading The Game about the 1994 CBA discussions. Don Fehr/MLBPA rejected 50% revenue share (aka salary cap), four year free agency, and the elimination of arbitration. Think players want a do-over on that offer?


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. They are probably slightly ahead since 1994 on that front.


Trevor: Regarding your trade-value piece, do we know when we might hear final word on Bryant’s grievance?  And do you think the delay is a result of the fact that arbitrators are often paid by the hour?  (And often at rates in excess of 300 or 400 dollars per hour?)


Craig Edwards: I think Heyman reported in the next couple weeks, though that’s what Theo Epstein said at the Winter Meetings two months ago. I doubt the arbitrator’s hourly rate has much to do with the delay. There’s a lot of information to go over and it’s not like the arbitrator is just doing this one single thing.


guest: What sort of package would you see Arizona offering in a Kris Bryant deal (assuming 2 years of control for Bryant)?


Craig Edwards: Arizona has bulk in terms of minor league arms without being able to offer any sure things in terms of prospects. They could do a Gallen-Lamb plus somebody further down their prospect list and that might be intriguing. The three Diamondbacks CF prospects are interesting but pretty far away and even then, it’s not like they are giving up Kristian Robinson in a Bryant deal.


Wicho, Jr.: Does everything that’s happened/happening affect the Red Sox’s plans with Betts?


Craig Edwards: I doubt it.


Miller: So it looks like the hot stove will again be extending into the late off-season this year, albeit on the managerial side of operations, rather than the player side.  Are there any significant difficulties associated with a new manager joining a team so soon before the season starts (e.g., learning the roster, developing a rapport with players, etc.)?


Craig Edwards: Yes, there are some difficulties in terms of getting up to speed with knowledge of the roster on a baseball level as well as a personal one. Not to mention the manager is in charge of running spring training which is a fairly complex task. I’m sure there’s a lot the organizations do to get ready, but it does put them a little behind.


Cody: Will the allegations against the Red Sox and Astros impact their ability to sign free agents in the future?  Does it perhaps depend on just how widespread sign stealing actually is, since–if every team is really doing it–the Red Sox and Astros would not be any different than the rest of baseball?


Craig Edwards: No. Money will always be the biggest factor.


Mr. Burrito: Is there any data that quantifies the value of sign stealing? It seems obvious that it helps, in some way, to know what pitch is coming. But, as with PEDs, players who have talked about it at all tend to downplay the value of that particular advantage. Thoughts?


Craig Edwards: It’s hard to say. Jake Mailhot looked into it some.…


Craig Edwards: In terms of an advantage, it absolutely helps to know which pitch is coming. That knowledge is going to help some players more than others and affect them in different ways depending on the skills they already have.


Soxtober2020: If this latest rumor of electronic buzzers on some Astros players’ shoulders is true, what do you think is next?  Hard to believe Crane could skate through all of this relatively untouched if it keeps snowballing.


Craig Edwards: Well he already had to surrender $5 million, plus four draft picks and much of his front office, which had already been drained over the past few years by outside hires. He’s not exactly getting off easy, here. There’s always more penalties to be levied if more is found out, but I don’t think it is going to get too much worse for Crane.


pumpsie: Are you surprised the Pirates haven’t made any trades yet? Will we see Archer, Marte, Polanco moved before opening day?


Craig Edwards: Not really, Cherington got a bit of a late start on things and Archer and Polanco don’t have a lot going for them right now so the team might as well see if they can rebuild some value. Marte, I could see going, but the outfield market in free agency hasn’t exactly been swift.


Nick: Who writes the MLB Constitution, and does it get periodically revised the way the CBA does?  I ask in light of concerns that the $5 million maximum penalty might not be large enough to deter teams from breaking the rules.


Craig Edwards: The owners are the ones that put the Commissioner in charge and they didn’t want him to have more power than the $5 million allows. Maybe they decide to move it up a little, but it is hard for an owner not to think about himself and whether he might be subject to that sort of fine for something that happened in the organization and want to limit exposure.


Cody: ZIPS says 43 HRs for Stanton and 33 HRs for Judge.  Would you take the over or under on those?


Craig Edwards: I’d probably take the under on Stanton and the over on Judge.


Matt W: We should just be talking about Mike Piazza Drive today


Craig Edwards: As bad as the news has been, I think it is actually better than talking about Mike Piazza Drive.


PS: How possible is it that the MLB missed more significant cheating (like the buzzer accusations) during their investigation? That seems incredibly incompetent of them if true.


Craig Edwards: They interviewed a bunch of people. If they didn’t tell them anything about buzzers, I’m not sure how they were supposed to find out.


Sir Nerdlington: If the baseball returns to ‘normal’ what type of pitcher benefits most? (beyond the obvious of guys with a high fb%)


Craig Edwards: Pitchers in hitters parks.


pumpsie: How much difference is there between 4th-year arb and FA? Aside from the long-term contract, of course. A lot of non-tenders this year, it seemed. Mostly wondering if the arbitration system is getting closer to matching free agency, at least by the 3rd or 4th years.


Craig Edwards: For some players it is, but if you are reliever without saves or an above-average position player, it never gets close. Plus, the one-year contract thing is massive as it almost always nets you a prime season without risk at the end.


Big Joe Mufferaw: Yanks need Happ? You don’t have faith in Montgomerry and German at the #5 spot? With Warren, Loasiga, Garcia, etc as back ups?


Craig Edwards: Maybe he’s a bit of a luxury item, but if a few things go wrong in the rotation, and the rotation has considerable health question marks, the back end of the rotation could get ugly quick, and that might be the difference in the division.


Soto: As a Cubs fan, should I be irritated with ownership over budget, or be happy about the money spent over the last few years and the WS that it brought?


Craig Edwards: You can be both things.


TomBruno23: Path of least resistance for the Cardinals (assuming no Arenado deal) is to re-sign Ozuna. I think? Right?


Craig Edwards: Least resistance is to do nothing and hope O’Neill figures things out and Carlson is ready soon. The longer Ozuna is out there, the more likely his return becomes. He and Castellanos (and maybe Puig) are the only multi-year guys left, but the Cardinals are going to preempt the market.


EL: Thoughts on the Smyly signing?


Craig Edwards: He wasn’t awful with the Phillies and he’s going to a good park for him. He might put up decent numbers next year.


Evan: Any chance the Mets make a big move or signing so they can move on from Beltran?


Craig Edwards: I doubt that.


Craig Edwards: Anyway, going to call it a day. Thanks for all the questions.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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That isn’t how Luis Robert pronounces his own name. The “T” is pretty close to silent when he says it.