Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 1/7/2021 by Craig Edwards January 7, 2021 2:08 Craig Edwards: So Francisco Lindor, huh? Going to let the questions roll in for a bit before we get started. Still trying to soak in the big trade. 2:18 Curtis: Hot take on the Lindor trade? 2:21 Craig Edwards: I get that market for Lindor wasn’t going to be great given just a single season before free agency, but adding in Carrasco for that return seems like a massive steal for New York. 2:21 Guest: Why should I remain a fan of the baseball team in Cleveland? 2:21 Chris: Why should I, a Cleveland fan, ever care again? 2:27 Craig Edwards: Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber are two excellent players and it isn’t like the team will be bad next year. That said, it is hard not to see this trade as a huge slap in the face to all the Cleveland fans who have been supporting the team. Attendance hasn’t been great, but after the World Series, they saw a huge increase and the potential for some momentum on that end with improvements to the ballpark and the All-Star Game. They seem to have shot themselves in the foot a bit with the pandemic compounding the problem. If anyone tells you this is a deal Cleveland had to make, they are wrong. There’s no compelling reason in the return not to try to win a championship with the franchise’s best player in decades other than putting some more money in the pockets of owners. 2:27 Guest: What is the upside for the prospects the Indians are getting? 2:27 Craig Edwards: They are both pretty recent draftees. Eric Longenhagen will have more on them, but here’s the write-up on Wolf from last year: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-31-prospects-new-york-mets/ 2:28 Craig Edwards: The TLDR draft report on Greene: Plus runner, center field fit, some feel to hit, some pop, well-rounded late-rising player. 2:29 George: If you’re the Nats what do you do now? You might be the third or fourth best team in the division (with the teams behind you certainly not far behind) but also not that far from being a playoff team. They’ve got to invest in this window right? One more year with Scherzer they have to spend correct? 2:31 Craig Edwards: I think so. They added Bell, but not only do they only have one more year with Scherzer, his money coming off the books at the end of the season should give them flexibility. There are still a bunch of outfielders available if they want them. Realmuto makes some sense. They aren’t that far behind the Braves, though the Mets really jumped to the top of the division today. 2:31 Dave C: Think the Mets still are “in” for Springer after this deal? 2:32 Craig Edwards: It wouldn’t surprise me. 2:32 Craig Edwards: and here’s Dan’s quick write-up on the deal including ZiPS projections. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/new-york-mets-to-acquire-franc… 2:33 Curtis: How much did team control and $$ impact the return in the trade today? 2:33 Craig Edwards: A ton. Cleveland didn’t get a lot back here. 2:34 Kate: How much will Lindor help Mets pitchers in terms of run prevention? 2:36 Craig Edwards: It will be an improvement, though Gimenez was solid and Rosario isn’t terrible. 2:36 LINDT: Do the Mets ignore Bauer now that they have Carrasco (perennially underrated)? Or do they go f’in sign him and roll with the best rotation in baseball (Bauer, DeGrom, Carrasco, Stroman, eventually Thor)? 2:36 Craig Edwards: I would be surprised if they got Bauer. I think they should add another starter, but don’t need to at Bauer’s level. 2:37 Kate: Does the Lindor trade get the rest of the shortstop market moving now that it’s done? Feel like maybe several teams were waiting to see if they could snag him before moving on to other targets. 2:38 Craig Edwards: It should help. In free agency, there’s Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, and Didi Gregorious and all three are quality, full-time starters so teams might be more willing to engage knowing that Lindor is no longer an option, but free agency has been really slow in general so it should be picking up here, regardless. 2:38 Guest: Thoughts on the impact on Rosario? 2:39 Craig Edwards: He gets a fresh start. He’s shown glimpses of being a quality, everyday player and he should get the chance now to show it. 2:39 Guest: Do you think this ends up like what the Dodgers did with Mookie: extending Lindor long-term? He was pretty upset with how the Indians treated him so I wonder if Stevie Cohen can sweep in here 2:41 Craig Edwards: It would not surprise me at all. Lindor is exactly the type of player you want to extend given his age and talent and unless he really wants to get to free agency, I don’t see why the Mets wouldn’t make a huge offer to keep him around for a long time. The Betts contract already looks great for the Dodgers so something similar for Lindor would make sense. 2:41 Zach: How close are close are the Mets to the Dodgers/Padres? If they added one of Bauer or Springer would that put them in the same tier? 2:43 Craig Edwards: Very close. I think either of those two names would put them right there, though they should probably add a quality utility player or maybe a defensive center fielder if they don’t end up with Springer. 2:44 Craig Edwards: Looking at the Mets payroll situation given Cano’s suspension, they still have about $30 million before they even get to the tax level if that is a concern for them. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/new-york-mets-to-acquire-franc… 2:44 Craig Edwards: They can still do something big. 2:44 Sirras: How do you see the Mets infield playing out? McNeil at 2nd, Davis at 3rd? No reason to go for LeMahieu given Cano still will be around post-suspension, right? 2:45 Craig Edwards: I don’t think they will really factor Cano in to their considerations, but LeMahieu isn’t probably the wisest use of their resources. 2:46 Isolated Thinker: Free agents who want to play for a contender certainly view the Mets in a different light now. I can see the Mets now 1)getting a JBJ or a Kiermeier-type via trade as opposed to investing heavily in Springer, 2)another SP via free agency, 3)perhaps another RP, 4)and perhaps an upgrade at 3B. 2:46 Craig Edwards: I think that makes sense. Hard to know if they are really going to go with JD Davis full time. 2:46 George: How does this affect what you think the Rockies might get in a Trevor Story deal? 2:47 Craig Edwards: If this is the market, the return won’t be great. 2:47 v2micca: Cubs fans have to be looking at the Lindor deal and resetting their expectations for the return on Bryant now, right? 2:48 Craig Edwards: I would hope the expectations were already very low. If the Cubs could have gotten a decent return for Bryant, they would have already made that deal. It’s probably part of the reason they traded Darvish. 2:48 Chris: What’s the plan with rosario? 2b? 3b? Cf? 2:48 Guest: Any chance Cleveland does what the Mets never had the guts to do and try Rosario out in CF? 2:49 Craig Edwards: It’s possible. Gimenez is more likely the shortstop so maybe they try the outfield and see what happens. Cleveland has long been in need of quality outfielders. 2:50 Guest: Thoughts on the Mets’ pen now? This presumably makes sending Lugo back there a bit easier. There’s always a lot of year-to-year variation in relievers, but I see quite a few high-end arms not too far removed from their most effective years. 2:50 Craig Edwards: The pen looks pretty solid right now. I don’t think you can rule out anything with the Mets right now, though. 2:51 George: Re: Mets in Padres/LA tier If you were to do quick tiers of NL Contenders how would they shake out? Something like 1.Dodgers/Padres 2. Mets 3. Braves/Nats/Cards 4. Phillies/Marlins/Cubs/Giants 2:52 Craig Edwards: I don’t think the Cardinals are up with the Braves right now, and until Washington makes a move, they aren’t there either. The Brewers and Reds are right there with the Cardinals and Cubs. 2:53 Concerned Baseball Fan: As a Mets fan, this is bittersweet – we got Lindor, but only because a billion dollar franchise got cheap. 2:54 Craig Edwards: It’s definitely bad for baseball, but the change in ownership in New York means there’s one less cheap franchise out there. The Mets have been more cheap compared to their resources than the Indians over the last decade. 2:54 Concerned Baseball Fan: How many other teams will pull money-saving, lose-now deals like this ? 2:55 Craig Edwards: We’ll see if the Cubs are done, and maybe the Reds move payroll. Rockies are the wild card. 2:55 LINDT: So what happens to Jose Ramirez? 2:55 Craig Edwards: He leads Cleveland to the fourth wild card? 2:56 Zaque: How are you feeling about where Saints are in the table right now? Feels like they have a non-zero chance of making Europa. 2:59 Craig Edwards: It looked like they might start sliding a bit after having a great run of play, but then they beat Liverpool. Losing a two-goal lead to Man U could haunt them at the end of the season when it comes to qualifying for Europe, but as long as Ings and Ward-Prowse keep kicking the ball like they are using a remote control, they will be dangerous. 2:59 Mike Rizzo: Am I now the GM of the fifth best team in my division? Am I the Angels all over again? 3:00 Craig Edwards: Juan Soto plus Max Scherzer is going to keep you ahead of the Marlins and the Phillies still haven’t replaced some quality outgoing players. 3:00 LINDT: Advice from a long-suffering Mets fan: never, ever be fooled into thinking that the Mets will actually be good, no matter what your lying eyes try to tell you. 3:01 Craig Edwards: Low expectations help you to be surprised, but high expectations sure do create a lot more excitement on a daily basis. Also, the Mets are good. 3:01 Kate: Who gets the first shot at Carrasco’s spot in the Cleveland rotation (I’m assuming it’s Quantrill or Logan Allen)? Any upside in either of them (especially given Cleveland pitching magic)? 3:02 Craig Edwards: I imagine they will both be starting games at some point next year. I’m not sure there’s a ton of upside in either one, but Allen does seem more likely to get some Cleveland magic. 3:02 Bill: Would you bet on the over or under on Kyle Lewis‘ WAR zips projection of 1.3? I mean come on, Luis Robert projects for a 3.9 WAR and they’re only 2 years apart in age… 3:03 Craig Edwards: I’d go over, but Lewis is pretty streaky and strikes out a ton. Those two years make quite a bit of difference and Robert is one of the best defenders in the game. 3:03 Padres fan here: Basically everything went right in 2020. But if Hosmer and Myers regress a little, this team is not all that. Agree? 3:04 Craig Edwards: They don’t really need Hosmer and Myers to stay at that level. Look at the depth charts. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=29 3:05 Craig Edwards: The pair are projected for 1.8 WAR and the Padres are still right there with the Dodgers. If those two don’t regress, the Padres might win 100 games. 3:05 LINDT: Are there still gonna be four wild cards? Jesus, what a joke this sport is becoming 3:06 Craig Edwards: that was just a joke. but Cleveland will have a tough time making the playoffs without a bunch of things going right in addition to Bieber and Ramirez playing at MVP levels. 3:07 Lex: What do you make of Altuve? Does the power surge in the playoffs redeem what seems like a negative trend in BABIP skill 3:10 Craig Edwards: He’s one of the main examples to consider postseason play when looking at 2020 numbers. He increased his plate appearances by 29% with the playoffs. The 77 wRC+ in the regular season was bad, but if you incorporate the playoffs, he’s at 112. Steamer projects 115 while ZiPS says 123. I would lean more toward ZiPS. 3:10 Leo: Any chance Padres look at Schwarber? 3:10 Craig Edwards: Possible, but I wouldn’t think it is likely. 3:11 Braves Fan: How does the Lindor trade change what Anthopoulos needs to do/should do with the rest of the FA market? Who’s the best bet for a Donaldson/Ozuna-type make-good deal? 3:12 Craig Edwards: They might be a good fit for Schwarber. I’m not sure looking at the free agents I see a Donaldson/Ozuna type situation. Joc Pederson would make some sense as well. 3:12 LINDT: Seriously, though, Manfred has said he wants a 14- or 16-team playoff situation. Why? Because almost every team is trying to lose, and he’s hoping to make it impossible! Then there’ll be even less incentive to spend – you can post a sub-.500 record and still make the ‘yoffs! Outrageous 3:13 Craig Edwards: He wants more playoffs because playoffs bring in more tv money. Having the illusion of more teams in the playoff race probably helps some, too as it might sell more tickets. 3:14 Chris: Madison Bumgarner. Hall of Famer or nah? 3:14 Craig Edwards: I don’t see it. He’s a playoff hero, but he’s never been that great in the regular season. 3:14 Bob: Does Adley Rutschman come up this year? If so, how many PA does he get? 3:15 Craig Edwards: Probably at some point, but not sure it happens before June. 3:15 Bob: Projected role in 2021 for Brusdar Graterol? 3:15 Craig Edwards: likely late-inning reliever. 3:16 LINDT: This may seem like a ridiculous question but: CLE dropped $10MM with Hand, and just dropped north of $30MM with this trade. Could they make some kind of signing with a small portion of that money? Hell, why not Corey Kluber? 3:17 Craig Edwards: I assume they’ll spend some of the money. Their payroll is at like $40 million. Maybe they bring Kluber back depending on the type of deal he’s commanding. 3:18 Sho: Are you a Jared Walsh believer? 3:18 Craig Edwards: I’m not superhigh on him, maybe he’s average for a couple seasons. 3:19 Tim: Do the Braves respond to the Mets? Resign ozuna maybe? Or target a high profile bounceback hitter in the Donaldson/Ozuna (none coming to mind except Puig lol) 3:20 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure this really changes the Braves’ outlook. They were pretty likely to add someone in free agency. Ozuna is probably still an option. 3:20 LINDT: Any thoughts on Didi besides “back to Phillies”? 3:22 Craig Edwards: back to the Yankees? Maybe Blue Jays, maybe Twins. A’s Tigers, Reds all fit to some degree as well depending on how the market shakes out. 3:22 Johnny5Alive: plans for Mets – Profar as a utility guy, Tajuan Walker as the other SP, Hand and Springer and pray for DH? 3:23 Craig Edwards: I think if Profar and Walker both go to Mets, you see an outfielder not Springer added. 3:23 Isolated Thinker: It’s also amazin’ that Carrasco has 2 years left at $12M/per and then a team option for $14M in ’23. I would think the Indians would have received a larger return had they dealt him separately, and still received a similar return for Lindor separately. 3:24 Craig Edwards: Based on performance and projections for sure, though Carrasco’s health history complicates that a little. But yes, a weak return. 3:24 avs: You’re in charge of the Cardinals – what’s your top three immediate decisions? 3:25 Craig Edwards: Sign Molina. Sign Wainwright. Sign Schwarber. Go back in time and pick up Wong’s option. 3:26 Johnny5Alive: Bauer used to talk a lot about betting on himself. And not that I think players should do this – but would he be more palatable to more teams if he, say, instead of asking for 30+ say ok, I said I bet on myself, I will take 20 base, 5 million for 150 innings, 5 million for era under 4, 5 million more for era under 3.5, etc? 3:26 Craig Edwards: You can’t do incentives based on stats like ERA, but he doesn’t need to do incentives for games played because he’ll get his money, anyway. Would be interesting to see if opt-outs were triggered by innings or starts though. 3:27 Guest: We’re talking about the Mets. Lindor and Carrasco will collide fielding a pop up in spring training and be out for the season. 3:27 Craig Edwards: There’s little baseball reason not to be happy right now if you are a Mets fan. 3:28 Jeff: Do you think Cleveland didn’t want Dom Smith or maybe the Mets didn’t want to give him up? 3:28 Craig Edwards: Possible. Or Mets are just waiting for the DH. 3:28 PutMeIncoach: Seems like teams are selling low on stars this offseason. Who should contending teams be on the lookout for. 3:29 Craig Edwards: Lindor was the big one. I would think Bryant is still a possibility. Maybe one of the Rockies. 3:29 Kurt: Things are looking shaky for the Blue Jays the longer this offseason drags on. What do you think the biggest move they make this offseason is? 3:31 Craig Edwards: My top five free agents are all still available. I’m not sure things look shaky for them at all. Their ability to get Springer might have just improved if the Mets aren’t as motivated. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2021-top-50-free-agents/ 3:32 LINDT: Quick review of CLE SP trades…CLE seems to be winning them. Won Kluber, Bauer kind of a wash, won Clevinger…feel like I’m forgetting one but still 3:33 Craig Edwards: When you have a massive World Series drought and you keep taking steps back, winning trades doesn’t really matter all that much. Not really sure how they won Kluber other than saving money. And Bauer won the Cy Young last year. Clevinger is still up in the air. 3:33 Isaac: Do you think the mets would benefit more from signing springer or trading for arenado and signing a JBJ/kiermaer defensive type 3:34 Craig Edwards: Arenado doesn’t make sense unless Colorado is giving him away. I think a defensive center fielder, preferably right-handed makes some sense. 3:34 Richard: 90 minutes left to sign Sugano. Think it will happen? 3:35 Craig Edwards: Probably? But I have no inside info. 3:35 Isaac: Maybe KB instead of arenado then? 3:36 Craig Edwards: that could work, but there are a bunch of moving parts in the Mets infield and outfield right now. McNeil could also go back to third if they signed a second baseman. 3:36 Kate: Thoughts on the odds a guy like Pache, who has great speed but poor SB success rates, can improve in the SB department? Trying to think of past examples that were similar. 3:37 Craig Edwards: It’s possible, but if he’s starting everyday in the majors, he’s not going to get too many opportunities to work on it. 3:38 Isaac: My feeling is that having two guys (JD/Dom) both occupying the “good bat but no defensive spot” role is one too many. May be forced into starting both but it will affect them defensively greatly 3:38 Craig Edwards: I guess the positive is that they aren’t likely to start a ton together. 3:39 Isolated Thinker: Fair to say that the Yankees are too tied up with the Stanton and Cole contracts to compete for headlines with their cross-town rivals in the foreseeable future? Does that matter to the Yanks? Or can you see them now perhaps being more active in the trade market for upgrades, or maybe even abandoning the luxury tax concerns. 3:41 Craig Edwards: I wouldn’t go that far, though the long-term future of Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres clouds their financial future a bit. Next year’s free agent class could be massive. I’d be surprised if the Yankees weren’t in on some of the bigger names. The Yankees are way below past spending at the moment and still have a bunch of flexibility in the future. 3:41 jfc-nyc: Why do you say Cano’s remaining years aren’t a factor? Are you expecting he’ll get waived, or restructure his deal? Or did you only mean on-field and excluding economics? 3:43 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Cano, but I wouldn’t be counting on a 39-year-old coming off a year-long suspension when planning future production. If he comes back and looks great, then play him. If not, move on, but don’t let him get in the way of making other potentially good moves. 3:44 Craig Edwards: Thanks for all the questions, everyone. Have to run.