Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 1/21/2021 by Craig Edwards January 21, 2021 2:02 Craig Edwards: Let’s get rolling. 2:02 Alex Anchopoulous: Any chance that Realmuto-to-the Braves rumor is anything more than trying to drive up the bidding for the Phillies/Nats? 2:04 Craig Edwards: Not entirely. If the Braves see Realmuto out there and think is best offer is like 5/110 or something like that from the Phillies, that’s low enough to where you might dip your toes in the water a bit. It also gives you some options if Ozuna is asking close to $100 million. While Ozuna might be a better fit in terms of the Braves needs, Realmuto at $120 M is a better value than Ozuna at $90 M. Does it seem likely the Braves will end up with Realmuto? Not really, but it doesn’t hurt to check in if the offers from Philly aren’t world-beaters. 2:04 Jeff: Chances Didi Gregorious or Semien sign to start anywhere but SS? 2:07 Craig Edwards: Semien seems more likely as a super-utility type, but both would be possible. I think I might have slight concerns about Didi’s bat playing at another position, though. 2:07 Thad bosley: Do you think it is odd that with less than a month before Spring Training there isn’t a playoff format in place yet for the 2021 postseason? 2:07 Craig Edwards: There is a playoff format in place. It’s the normal one. 2:09 Adrian: Sonny Gray and Mike Moustakas for Jordan Groshans, Adam Kloffenstein and Gabriel Moreno 2:09 Craig Edwards: I doubt a trade like that happens because the money owed to Moustakas makes the prospects Toronto gives up in that trade to be a bit too much. 2:10 George: What is your criteria for the “Best Division in Baseball?” Would you say that two superteams (Padres Dodgers) is a better division than maybe 5 competitors (NL East)? Which division do you think puts up the highest combined win total this season? 2:11 Craig Edwards: Two great teams aren’t going to cut it. I think there needs to be more competition where you can’t really coast. Both Easts I would put ahead of the NL West right now. 2:12 Jeff: Have the Cubs dropped enough payroll yet to be back in good graces with our lords and their serfs? 2:14 Craig Edwards: Looks like the Cubs are at like $133 M in 2021 payroll. That’s about $60 M less than what would have been last year and about $90 M less than 2019. That’s a pretty deep cut. 2:15 Guest: If you were the Nats GM and you were give $27 million to spend, who would you go out and get to get to Mets/Braves level? 2:16 Craig Edwards: J.T. Realmuto and Kolten Wong? 2:17 George: MLB Network is ranking top 10s at each position and I noticed just how stacked RF is. Of the Betts, Soto, Acuna Jr trio, how would you rank the top 3 for 2021, and would that be different than how you guess they end up in terms of career numbers? 2:18 Craig Edwards: Depth Charts says 1. Betts 1A. Soto 3. Acuña Jr. https://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&type=fang… 2:18 Craig Edwards: I think I would have it as a more clear 1, 2, 3 in that same order. For career, you aren’t going to argue against Betts given his huge head start and I would lean Soto at two, but it is pretty close. 2:19 Moonbeam McSwine: Many tribe fans have concluded that by trading Lindor and Carrasco, they are retooling for 2021 with an eye toward a lower wildcard potential but a REAL chance beginnnig in 2022?.. Does this mean Jose Ramirez and or another one of the Indians vaunted starting pitching staff could be dealt? 2:20 Craig Edwards: It seems like they are trying to thread the needle and while they could conceivably trade Ramirez or Bieber, I doubt it happens anytime soon. 2:20 Craig Edwards: Meant to include this link to Cubs payroll earlier. https://www.fangraphs.com/roster-resource/payroll/cubs 2:21 George: If you were the Nats and you win say 85 games this season with the Big Three SP still looking good and Soto/Turner/Bell/Schwarber all doing fine but not amazing where do you go from there? This feels like a roster on the decline amid a division on the way straight up. I know we’ve been saying since Harper left that “the window is closing” but is this actually the Last season of this window? 2:24 Craig Edwards: You still have Soto for a while, Turner through 2022, then Strasburg and Corbin in the rotation and only $110 to $120 million in payroll commitments. If you want to keep things going, that shouldn’t be an issue given prior payroll levels. 2:24 Ross Atkins: Do Jays fans like me yet? 2:25 Craig Edwards: I’m guessing adding George Springer helps the Jays’ reputation with fans. I thought some of the handwringing on missing out on guys earlier in the offseason was a bit much given that the top free agents were all still available and they went out and got one and still seem to have room to do a bit more. 2:27 Moonbeam McSwine: Craig Edwards stated in his chat that the Padres have pulled even with the LAD’s after their latest round of rosterbation acts.. Should the dodgers: 1. Panic while doing nothing.. 2. Use their prospect currency to ‘buy’ a 3B (like Jose Ramirez)..or 3. Forfeit all their games and refund any & all revenues knowing they’ve lost the offseason? 2:27 Craig Edwards: Guessing that the Dodgers add an infielder, likely in free agency and that they still end up favorites when the season starts. 2:27 Adrian: Gray and Suarez for Groshans, Montero and Kloffenstein 2:28 Craig Edwards: That’s more interesting, but guessing the Reds say no to that one. Nobody has done anything in the NL Central so they probably want more in the way of immediate help. 2:29 Randal Grichuk: is my 3/30 moved if Jays eat 25% 2:29 Craig Edwards: I doubt it without some money coming back in the deal. 2:29 Papa Padre: Pads want a bench bat, maybe a reliever. Who’s the best fit? Thanks. 2:34 Craig Edwards: They could still bring back Profar, I suppose, but they might have a tough time convincing someone they’ll get playing time. The good relievers are becoming less plentiful so maybe someone on the Soria level if Melancon, Colome, Hand and Rosenthal are out of their price range. 2:34 Mike Rizzo: Any way the Nats get Realmuto? 2:35 Craig Edwards: Sure. They just have to offer the most money, which is something they’ve done a lot over the last decade. He fits a need. 2:36 Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: You are the new manager of <insert borderline AL playoff contender>. Which of these fictional players would you rather have on your roster? 1) DH that is guaranteed exactly one hit per game started; that hit is always a single and there is no rhyme or reason as to when it will happen. He can never take the field and never unintentionally walks. He is average across the board in every other skill set. 2) Reliever that will always retire the first batter he faces, but the ball is always put in play. He can never pitch on back to back days or twice in a doubleheader, but can pitch in back to back games if there is an off day in between. He is average across the board in every other skill set. 2:38 Craig Edwards: Maybe I’m missing something, but a pitcher I can bring in with two outs of any inning and be assured I get out of the inning and I can use that pitcher in like 100 games that would be insanely valuable, I think. 2:38 Chaim Bloom: What type of return should I expect for Andrew Benintendi? Everyone is saying “2 years of control” but isn’t he an obvious non-tender candidate given Grossman’s AAV is $5mil and he would be due for at least $7m? 2:38 Craig Edwards: I wouldn’t think it would be much. Like some other team’s former prospect who hasn’t worked out all that well, but still has potential plus a flyer. 2:39 Technical Stickler: There seems to be a bit of a mismatch between the values you found for draft picks and the FV grades given to them on THE BOARD in the draft section. For example, only 8-10 50 FV or higher grades are handed out yet the 15-20th pics are worth over 15m while a 45 FV is only worth 6-8m. Have you guys thought about addressing this? Perhaps adding another FV tier like 50+ FV would help, as it seems like 50 FV can mean a 40th prospect worth 40m or a 110th prospect worth 13m. 2:42 Craig Edwards: The pick isn’t the same as the player. Any one player might only have X FV, but the team gets to pick from among a ton of players and pick the player they think is the highest because presumably they see they can get more out of that player than an industry ranking would. The fact that the team is then likely to put more resources into that player because they are the first rounder then increases their chances of success. In that way, the pick is more valuable an industry grade for a particular player. 2:42 Xander: Dodgers going to sign JT and Semien? I also believe Bauer is still extremely unlikely 2:42 Craig Edwards: I don’t see why the Dodgers would sign Realmuto. I could see Semien. 2:42 bauer: Does the AL West being (or feeling) wide open increase the chances the Angels go after Bauer? 2:43 Craig Edwards: Maybe, and that the Angels have that need and haven’t been able to break through probably helps as well. 2:44 Xander: What would be your best advanced metric to use to evaluate hitters? 2:45 Craig Edwards: I use wRC+ the most often. It’s results-based, adjusts for park, and because 100 is average, it’s very easy to see where players stand. 2:45 Moonbeam McSwine: Does playing in dreary Buffalo (not football) seem like a negative to attracting FA’s to the Blue Jays?.. any way that can be measured?. polls taken?.. tea leaves?.. 2:45 Craig Edwards: Doesn’t sound like Buffalo is an option this year. It will be Florida, then Toronto, I think. 2:46 Guest: With Springer signing in Toronto, what do you see as a possible route the Mets take this offseason with their remaining cash? 2:48 Craig Edwards: It’s a good question. Seems like a righty outfielder who can play center would be nice, but that’s not going to be expensive. Maybe, they end up taking on Kris Bryant’s salary or something, but I doubt there’s anything big that would still be on their radar. 2:49 Eddie Waitkus: Would Bauer make the Angels the favorite in the West? 2:49 Craig Edwards: For sure. 2:51 2020*: Obviously we take 2020 with a grain of salt since it was only 60 games. But how does only facing 1/3 of the league affect how you review 2020? Is there a place to easily see 2020 “league” stat totals by West/Central/East? 2:52 Craig Edwards: If you go to the splits leaderboards, you can pick which teams you want to see and go to the MLB splits for them. Here’s the East. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders/splits-leaderboards?splitArr=195,196… 2:52 Adrian: Assuming you dont want Vlad Jr there ( and you shouldnt) who would you bring in to play 3B if you were the Jays? Personally i like La Stella to balance the RH lineup 2:53 Craig Edwards: I would want somebody who can play multiple positions so La Stella makes sense. So does Semien. 2:54 person guy: what more what need to happen before you would take the jays over the yankees 2:55 Craig Edwards: Another big signing for the Jays and bad injury news for the Yankees on one of their stars, which hopefully won’t happen. I don’s think the Jays can do enough to be favored over the Yankees, but they should be pretty darn good. 2:56 Jeff: Any speculation towards what is happening at 2B? Offense has fallen dramatically? 91 wRC+ in 2020, 94 since 2015, SS put up 100 in 2020 and has the same average 2:57 Craig Edwards: I think 2016 was an anomaly and 2020 the sample is too small. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0… 2:57 Craig Edwards: I also think that teams aren’t really prioritizing 2B so you could just be seeing more lesser players cycle through the position than established regulars, but that’s just speculation. 2:58 Danielectomy: Assuming the Jays still have plenty of payroll capacity, and they they’d eventually be willing to get back to or exceed their previous high mark….does it make more sense to spend huge now while prices are somewhat depressed? Or, should they be holding back for next year’s crop of top free agents? 3:01 Craig Edwards: They should still have flexibility next year, too, but if they see someone else that can help them this year at a reasonable price, there’s no reason not to jump in. What happens if the Yankees decide to spend more in 2022 and the Red Sox do the same and Wander Franco is a superstar. They might not have many better opportunities than the one they have right now. 3:01 Ozuna Stan: Am I crazy, or is marcell ozuna being heavily underrated in Free Agency. The guy is only 30 and is xStats are out of this world. His defensive metrics don’t seem so bad so I could see him sticking in LF for a while and his hitting potential is sooo high. 3:02 Craig Edwards: Hard to know if he’s being underrated. The best outfielder just went off the board two days ago and there’s still some better players out there. Ozuna had a couple weird years in St. Louis and there are going to be questions about his defense. He was probably underrated last year. This year, he probably ends closer to what he deserves. 3:03 doug: Will Carlson have a break out year? MLB had article detailing his very impressive exit veto and barrel rate 3:03 Craig Edwards: I think Dylan Carlson will be a lot better next year. I don’t know about a breakout, but he should be a solidly above-average player. 3:04 JR: So do you think Realmuto is signing for less than $25MMAAV or Wong is signing for only $2MM AAV? 3:04 Craig Edwards: How about 6/125 and 3/18? 3:06 DK: JD Davis really can’t play third base so trade for Suarez or sign Turner or sign Cesar Hernandez and move McNeil to third? 3:06 Craig Edwards: That would make some sense. McNeil provides some flexibility. 3:07 Matt: If the Dodgers sign Trevor Bauer, does their rotation move back ahead of the Padres? 3:07 Craig Edwards: Looks like it. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=SP 3:07 Jeff: I would like to suggest an article: An Ode to Ben Zobrist: The Prototypical 21st Century MLer 3:08 Craig Edwards: Teams keep searching for the next Ben Zobrist, but generally don’t ever pull it off. You really need to have two quality shortstops to get that real shortstop value that Zobrist had early in his career. Maybe the Rays will do it again soon. 3:09 Jeff: Do you like the Braves’ SP? Seems extremely risky and I’m huge on both Fried and Anderson 3:09 Craig Edwards: They’ve got a solid first five, but what happens if Soroka doesn’t come back strong or Smyly can’t go five innings. There are some depth issues there. Morton was a really good signing. 3:11 Phil Rizzuto: Holy cow! Are we throwing out 2020 for Gleyber Torres or is there reason for concern? Do you see him becoming a plus defender anytime soon? 3:13 Craig Edwards: Not sure why you would want to throw it out. I know he didn’t play a full regular season, but including postseason, he put up a 128 wRC+ in 190 PA, which is better than his 2019 campaign. Torres was probably never going to be a good shortstop. The question is if he can be good enough to stay there, and I think another season there could help him. 3:13 Bones: Who would be your top target for the Jays now in FA? In trade? 3:13 Craig Edwards: If they can get Bauer, he makes the most sense, but Tanaka is a fit, so is Semien or Turner. 3:14 Justin Turner: I think I’m who Xander meant by JT, not Realmuto 3:15 Craig Edwards: That does make more sense. I wouldn’t think both, though if there’s confidence about a DH, it could happen. 3:15 yanksfan: yanks fan base is screaming about trading for a real #2. Assuming Kluber and Severino are healthy for the playoffs do the yankees really need another starter? They have 3 starters that project to be above average Deivi (1.6WAR), Montgomery (2.6) and Domingo German (2.1) filling in after Cole and Kluber and Severino should be back by the all star break 3:16 Craig Edwards: I would worry more about innings than a number two. They have guys in Kluber and Severino who could step up. I’d be more worried about a disaster situations where the bottom falls out of the rotation. 3:16 Fluffy/Uranus: Is there any reason for the Mets not to sign JBJ to hold down CF for two or three years? It seems like a no brainer 3:17 Craig Edwards: Both he and Nimmo are lefties so a righty would be a better fit. 3:18 Jason N: What the heck is Preller’s up to? Read a report last night that Padres are the favorite for Profar, and would use him primarily in the outfield. Does he hit or field well enough to fill that role on a championship team? 3:18 Craig Edwards: I think he would be a solid depth addition int he outfield. It isn’t like they are devoid of options if things don’t work out. 3:18 Guest: Is this Vlad Jr.’s last chance to be anything more than a DH? He looked completely incapable of playing major league caliber defense the last two years. 3:19 Craig Edwards: Probably his last chance for third. He could still see first base in the future. 3:19 George: Would an All Trout Position player core be able to make the playoffs with only position player pitching staff? 3:19 Craig Edwards: Yes, if it is Trout. 3:20 Tricky: A Vaughn, J Kelenic or A Kiriloff for 21? 3:20 Craig Edwards: Based on easiest route to playing time, you’d have to think Kiriloff, Vaughn, and Kelenic. 3:20 Mike Rizzo: How many people are asking questions right now? 3:20 Craig Edwards: A ton. Been a very busy day, and unfortunately going to have to stop. Thanks for all the questions.