Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 1/30/2020 by Craig Edwards January 30, 2020 2:04 Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling. 2:04 Guest: Hello, thoughts on soroka? Is he the real deal or did he pitch way over his head? 2:06 Craig Edwards: Both can be true. He was a four-win pitcher by FIP last season, and he got a lot of sequencing luck that pushed his ERA well below three. A mid-threes ERA is more likely next season, but that still makes him a solid pitcher. 2:06 Josh Nelson: Over/Under 105.5 wins for the Dodgers if they acquire Mookie Betts? 2:07 Craig Edwards: I don’t what it would take for me to go the over on 105.5, but Mookie still wouldn’t get me to make that call. Too much pitching can go bad that might prevent that outcome no matter how good the lineup is. And the lineup would be pretty amazing. 2:08 Overbearing Padre: When Mookie DOES hit free agency, who would you say are his most likely suitors? It’d be pretty rough if the Pads sell some of the farm to get Betts just to see him sign with the Dodgers in a year. 2:11 Craig Edwards: The Padres would still have a very good farm plus Betts for a season and they’d get a draft pick in the low-30s after he’s gone. As for suitors, the Dodgers and Rangers come immediately to mind. Depending on what the Cubs situation looks like at that time, they would probably fit as well. I also wouldn’t count out a team like the Mariners trying to make a splash and accelerate the rebuild. 2:11 jill: Can Alex Reyes contribute to the cardinals this year or am i just getting my hopes up 2:12 Craig Edwards: Yes to both. I think now is the time of year to get your hopes up about players like Alex Reyes. He’s still tremendously talented. He’ll be in the bullpen for sure this year if he can make an impact. The odds of him being an impact player aren’t great, but its okay to dream a bit now. 2:13 Kurupt FM: How much shine has come off Vladito? You can see a path where he becomes a ground ball prone 1B/DH type who contributes negatively defensively and on the basepaths. 2:15 Craig Edwards: Little to none, I think. There was always a strong possibility he’d end up as a 1B/DH. After the first couple weeks, he was a comfortably above-average MLB hitter at 20 years old. If he’s getting in better shape, he could be an all-star as soon as this season. 2:16 Johnny5Alive: Mets have a lot of money coming off next year, they could be players for mookie too! i mean they are the mets, so they wont be, but they could be! 2:16 Craig Edwards: They could be. I wouldn’t count on it, but they could be. 2:17 MTL: Do you envision the rise of a particular type of specialty player in the 26th roster spot? No-hit speed demon? 5-position defensive whiz? Immobile pinch-hit slugger? 2:18 Craig Edwards: I think it is going to be different for every team. there might be a speed demon assuming there’s really good defense with it for late in games. The extra RH bat on the bench who can only DH or play first base, the third catcher, too. It will depend on what a team needs and what player they have to fill that role. 2:19 Guest: RosterResource estimated payroll for the Yankees is 249M. There’s no way they go 1 million over the 3rd luxury tax level right? That would be super inefficient 2:20 Craig Edwards: The competitive balance tax payroll is up over $260 million so they might already be there unless they get rid of a lot more than a million. https://www.fangraphs.com/roster-resource/payroll/yankees 2:21 Big Joe Mufferaw: Is there something in the CBA that limits the amount of cash teams are allowed to “give” in trades? To avoid, ‘buying’ players 2:21 Craig Edwards: No, but they all have to be approved by the Commissioner’s office to prevent teams from doing that too much. 2:22 Nick Martin: What do you think about the chances of the Marlins being the 3rd team in the potential BOS-SD Betts trade or the potential COL-NYY Arenado trade? The Marlins FO has done a great job rebuilding the Farm System, but the one question they’ve yet to answer is will they spend money. Granted spending big money one Free Agents doesn’t make a lot of sense for them right now, so instead maybe use some of that cash that they aren’t spending on the major league club on eating undesirable contracts and thus accumulating more quality prospects so come 2021 and 2022 they’ll really be ready to rock. 2:22 Craig Edwards: That’s a good strategy to get more talent, but I’m not sure I see the Marlins going there. Old habits and whatnot. 2:22 Matt: What team is Kris Bryant playing for on Opening Day? 2:23 Craig Edwards: Braves? 2:23 bigleaguelou: If Tatis Jr.’s struggles with routine throws continue, do you think it makes sense to try him in CF? 2:24 Craig Edwards: I think he’ll be given a lot of time at shortstop. He has all the skills to stay there so it doesn’t make a ton of sense to move him until he proves he can’t do it. He was still a very valuable player with all the mistakes last season. 2:24 Sir Nerdlington: Let’s solve the CBA. Who balks? (heh) Owners get: 50% Rev share and international draft. Players get: year of service time if called up prior to 9/1, increased minimum salary to $1M, free agency after five years. 2:25 Craig Edwards: The players. None of the things the players get benefit them as much if the revenue share is limited. 2:25 Llango: What can we expect from Hiura, bichette, and moncada. All breakout players? 2:27 Craig Edwards: Moncada already broke out. Hiura and Bichette probably won’t hit as well as he did last year, but they’ll still be good players. 2:27 BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Dustin May isn’t in the Dodgers projected rotation. Not a question, just pointing that because damn. 2:29 Craig Edwards: Given how starting pitching works out during the year, particularly with the Dodgers, May is going to get a lot of starts. The Dodgers have a bunch of questionable depth guys in Wood, Nelson, Stripling, Goselin and all of them will get chances in the rotation and maybe bullpen as well. It’s enviable depth. 2:29 Zac Gallen: Is my upside a #2 SP? 2:29 Craig Edwards: Seems about right. 2:30 BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Brusdar Graterol – how do you think his season will go? 2:30 Craig Edwards: I think above-average reliever and a handful of below average starts. 2:30 Brian: How worried are you that Eugenio Suarez’s shoulder injury will impact his bat? 2:31 Craig Edwards: Fairly worried, especially given he won’t really get the ramp up time that spring training usually provides. 2:34 burts_beads: No concerns about Moncada and his .400+ BABIP in 2019? 2:35 Craig Edwards: No. He hits the ball really hard and was nearly a six-win player last year. It could drop to .340 and he’d still be a four-win player. 2:35 Guest: What do you see happening with Andujar? 2:35 Craig Edwards: I would guess he gets the opportunity to show he’s healthy and if he can still hit, he’ll get a bunch of playing time somewhere. 2:36 pelkey: it seems like a trade for Arenado shouldn’t be too difficult. the teams could come to an agreement on a deal for the first two years of the remaining contract. they would also agree to a number or PTBNL, a number of player submissions, and a number of vetoes. for instance, if Arenado opts in, the Rockies get 2 PTBNL, they submit a list of 15 names at the time of opt in, and the acquiring team has 10 vetoes. the Rockies choose 2 from the remaining 5. perhaps it also triggers some money from the Rocks, a la the Stanton deal. is this a silly idea? it seems very workable to me. 2:38 Craig Edwards: The length of the question speaks to the difficulty. There aren’t going to PTBNL two years from now. That’s just not possible. You can do cash but not players. It’s a very hard trade to work out. I wrote about it a couple weeks ago. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-nolan-arenado-trade-problem/ 2:38 Brian: More Wins: White Sox or Cubs 2:38 Craig Edwards: Today, I say Cubs. Ask me again if they trade Bryant. 2:39 Cogswell Cogs: ERods stats seem to be fairly consistent over the past few years with streaks of good and bad…..do you see this changing any time soon? 2:40 Craig Edwards: Last year was his first full season in the majors really, so it’s hard to know if he has another level beyond the four-win pitcher in a full season from last year. I’d bet on another similar season in 2020. 2:41 Kirt Manwaring: Aren’t the Giants the obvious fit for Betts? Desperate need for an outfielder and about to have a ton of money coming off of the books…and they’ 2:41 Craig Edwards: For 2021? Depends on how soon they want to restart things, but from a financial perspective that makes a ton of sense and his defense would fit really well out there. 2:42 Johnny5Alive: Nola bounceback or is he more 2019 than 2018? or is part of it the juiced ball from last year? 2:42 Craig Edwards: I’d split the difference and predict a four-win season or so, which is still really good. 2:42 Kirt Manwaring: Would Mookie be a plus in CF? In a huge outfield like SF? 2:42 Craig Edwards: I’d put him in a corner in SF. 2:43 Dan: Do you think the Reds have the pieces to land Lindor or Seager? (Or another obvious upgrade at SS)? 2:44 Craig Edwards: I think so. They still have some good prospects though not as good of a fit with LA given their lack of needs. 2:44 Alex: if an international draft were to be implemented, how would the league go about determining the draft order? If it is worst teams To best teams, that would even further incentivize tanking. 2:45 Craig Edwards: This is a good question. Right now, they let small-market teams have bigger pools so there might be some of that. An auction would make more competitive since, but that is pretty unseemly. 2:45 BESR: Thoughts on Strop signing? 2:46 Craig Edwards: He’s a reliever. He’s been good. He’s not expensive. That’s a good signing. 2:46 Christian: Does the Bryant for Arenado rumor make any sense for either team? 2:46 Craig Edwards: If the Cubs could unload another contract, it makes sense, but I think they 2:47 Craig Edwards: would want the opt out waived. For Colorado, it only makes sense if they think they can’t move on with Arenado and that they are a winning team now. That’s not reasonable, but if they want to show they can still win now, then Bryant makes sense. It’s not likely though. 2:48 Johnny5Alive: vegas has mets at 86.5… their bullpen should be better (and it cost them about 20 games last year), their lineup should be better, they will regress in starting pitching a little bit. The divisions is tough and in particular, the nats have made a lot of shrewd moves and the braves got ozuna. what’s your take? 2:49 Craig Edwards: I think slightly over is reasonable, but don’t take my advice for gambling purposes. 2:49 Jerome: There were rumors at A’s FnaFest that they were open to moving Cahna or Piscotty. Obvioulsy they would only do so if a potential deal could improve their 2020 outlook. The question I have for you Criag is how good of a player could the A’s acquire with a package of Cahna/Piscotty + Mateo/Barreto + another 40 FV prospect? Might not be enough for Syndergaard (please tell me I’m wrog lol), but could it land them Whit Merrifield? 2:51 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure I see that. Canha and Piscotty are coming off opposite 2019 seasons leaving the latter with little value, but one of them should be good next year and going with an internal 2b plus seeing how the other two do is probably better than Whitfield without Canha and another internal 2B option. 2:51 BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: The Reds seem that they’re not gonna ride Aquino. Do we riot? 2:51 Craig Edwards: He really struggled in September. If he can get back to August, they will find some time for him. 2:52 Alex: Following up on my intl draft question, I would certainly hope the league would find a way to make it equitable rather than shutting out all the top teams. Maybe they could use a system where each team gets to have a spot in a “15-team lottery” every other year where each team gets an equal shot at every pick, with selections 16-30 being ordered based on previous year W-L record. 2:52 Craig Edwards: A lottery would also prevent too much maneuvering of draft deals. 2:52 Morbo: If Lindor gets moved which teams are realistically in on other side of that trade? 2:53 Craig Edwards: It’s sounding more like he won’t be moving, but the Reds and Dodgers look like the more interesting suitors. 2:54 Nick Pappagiorgio: No question, just a statement. I sure hope Clayton Kershaw worked on his change-up this offseason. He can’t be content as a 4-WAR, 3.0-ERA guy at age 32. 2:55 Craig Edwards: Those are pretty high standards, even for an inner circle Hall of Famer. Hope you enjoyed all those free cars. 2:56 Kevin: Could this be the biggest deadline year in history? Potential for Arenado, Betts and Lindor to all be moved if their teams are out of it, which is a real possibility 2:56 Craig Edwards: Maybe, but odds are two of those three teams are still in it. 2:57 Alex: You think Stanton has a decent bounceback year in store? The production should definitely be there but he needs to stay on the field. 2:57 Craig Edwards: I think so. 2:57 Nick Martin: Is Jorge Alfaro a starting Major League Catcher 3 years from now? 2:57 Craig Edwards: I’ll say yes. 2:58 Christian: If Babe Ruth were born today and had access to modern training techniques, etc., would he be the greatest HR hitter in history? Or would he just end up playing football or basketball because that’s what great young athletes do these days? 3:00 Craig Edwards: His quick-twitch skills would probably still best apply to baseball and his size wouldn’t be enormous enough to go to other sports. Mike Trout has 20 pounds on Ruth’s listed weight. My guess is that if Ruth was able to adapt to the speed of the modern game, he’d be more of an all-around hitter than a slugger. 3:00 Kevin: Corey Kluber: Worried about him this year? Feels like everyone is sour on him to fit their narrative (Indians sold low, he was awful last year ignoring the SSS, and his fastball is terrible) blah blah blah. You on that train or do we see a top line starter, in line with a Strasburg? 3:01 Craig Edwards: I don’t see that, though (and I feel like I am saying this about all the pitchers in this chat), a four-win season seems within reach. Kluber’s skills were on the decline before he had the injury-riddled season, but that doesn’t mean a healthy Kluber can’t still be good. Great is unlikely. 3:03 Kurupt FM: The jays have essentially no plus defenders besides their catchers. Is that sustainable? How would you go about addressing this issue considering their trio of prodigious sons generally project to be bad to average fielders. 3:04 Craig Edwards: There are a lot of ways to win. If the pitching is strikeout heavy and the offensive is powerful, it’s something that can be overcome. Of course, the Jays in 2020 aren’t the next Jays team that will contend so it is something that could fix itself in the next couple years. 3:04 Alex: More games played for the Yankees this season: Clint Frazier or Aaron Hicks? 3:04 Craig Edwards: Hicks. 3:04 pumpsie: Would you prefer a compensation system based on service time or age? I’d go league minimum up to age 23 and FA at age 29 for hitters and skew a little higher for pitchers. 3:06 Craig Edwards: I still think service time makes the most sense, though how it accrues could maybe use some modification. There are some players who play their first season of pro ball at 23 and there shouldn’t be any more reason to ignore those players than there already is. 3:07 Kevin: Any non-baseball subjects you like to chat about? 3:08 Craig Edwards: I try to keep myself somewhat well rounded, watching tv and movies, listening to music, reading books, etc., but most of my non-family time is devoted to thinking about baseball. 3:09 pumpsie: Different types of players, but same position: would Heyward get Ozuna’s or Castellanos’ contract if he were a FA? 3:09 Craig Edwards: Today? Ozuna’s. 3:09 Alex: Do you expect the Red Sox impending punishment to be the last of this electronic sign-stealing scandal or do you expect more to follow over the next year or so? 3:10 Craig Edwards: There will probably be more trickling out at some point, but this is likely to be the last of the major punishments. 3:10 Craig Edwards: A few plugs and maybe a few more questions before I get going. 3:10 Craig Edwards: I wrote about a potential Mookie Betts trade. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/walking-through-a-potential-mookie-betts-t… 3:11 Craig Edwards: The Kris Bryant grievance. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/kris-bryant-loses-grievance-as-trade-rumor… 3:11 Craig Edwards: Nick Castellanos signing: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/reds-see-opportunity-in-signing-castellano… 3:13 Craig Edwards: I will be in Arizona in March if you are interested. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/fangraphs-phoenix-meetup-march… 3:14 diadem: You in on the Villar regression wagon? How bad is it? Same same Pham? 3:14 Craig Edwards: Miami is not the park I’d want to go to if homers were a big part of why I put up a career year. 3:15 Craig Edwards: The same is true for Pham somewhat but another three-win seasons seems more reasonable. 3:15 Scott: Is juiced ball in AAA going to decrease emphasis placed on stats there? For instance, Varsho hit very well at AA; will anything be learned about bat and baserunning in AAA? Or should players lIke him just consider skipping? Lux might be a counter point. 3:16 Craig Edwards: You can discount the stats there and still learn about a player’s performance. Walks and strikeouts and solid contact. Teams have the Statcast data so they can go off that without worrying too much about the ball. 3:16 Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for all the questions.