Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 11/12/2020 by Craig Edwards November 12, 2020 2:07 Craig Edwards: Trying to put the finishing touches on a Marcus Semien piece. Will be with you in a few moments. Keep that queue rolling. 2:15 Craig Edwards: Thanks for your patience. Let’s get rolling. 2:15 Craig: How excited should I be as a Mets fan? 2:18 Craig Edwards: I think there’s reason to be excited. It is very hard to build a consistent winner, but being in New York lends itself to certain advantages that make it easier. You can’t just spend a ton of money and magically have a winner, but it certainly helps. It looks like the Mets are pretty close to starting over on the front office side so that could take some time to get going, but it feels positive so far. That said, Cohen is going to have to do some of it himself as the financial situation left behind isn’t as good as it could be given the tv contract and the potential lack of fans this season. 2:18 Sodo Mojo: If the Mariner’s try to accelerate their window into 2021 how much additional WAR would the need to accumulate in the off seasons? 2:20 Craig Edwards: Our Depth Charts have them at around 22 wins. Another 12 would get them to 34, which is basically around .500 and into somewhat contending level. The good news if you could call it that is that the team has a lot of holes that can be fairly easily filled. I think the problem with the 2021 timeline is that the team is going to need internal improvements to take a big step and Kelenic and Rodriguez are probably more 2022 or 2023 in terms of being game-changers, similar to Robert and Jimenez for the White Sox this season. 2:21 Curtis: Which Free Agent is most intriguing to you – either in where they may end up or in how their signing may impact the market going forward? (or other factors of course) 2:22 Craig Edwards: I just finished up a piece on him, but it is Marcus Semien. There’s a bunch of unusual factors surrounding his entry into free agency with his one great year, defense, and the shortened season. He looks to be underrated and with the shortstop market being full, he’s a guy I would target, and even if I wanted to be open to a shortstop after next season, Semien could move positions and still be a solid player. 2:22 Rico: How do the Stroman and Gausman decisions affect Bauer’s market? Seems like now it’s him, the Morton a step back and then a lot of meh. 2:24 Craig Edwards: I think it affects guys like Tanaka more. Bauer was always going to be alone at the top of the pitching class, but the available depth options just got a lot thinner. There’s a lot of intriguing names down the list for starting pitching, but they have question marks. 2:25 Curtis: The last time you browsed or worked with career WAR, what one player’s career WAR total was surprisingly higher that you expected? how about lower? 2:25 Craig Edwards: That’s an interesting question. I just searched for active players. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y… 2:27 Craig Edwards: It was kind of interesting to see Matt Carpenter’s name up there on the first page with Chris Davis not until the third. I know Davis hasn’t been good the last few years, but he was great for a little bit there. I guess that was just for fewer years than I would have thought. 2:28 Craig Edwards: and how does Hosmer only have 11 career WAR? It’s not like he hasn’t been around for a while. So much uneven play from him. 2:28 Dave: Craig, you told us last week that the Mets shouldn’t trade away talent for Francisco Lindor. Jay Jaffe even told us all about the other options available as FA this year and next, should the team feel the need to upgrade the SS position. Nevertheless, Mets fans and writers everywhere have persisted. They are willing to give away the farm (or at least important barns and granaries) for 1 year of Lindor. Lindor is good, but the marginal improvement he provides, IMO, does not justify the acquisition cost. How do I fix the world? 2:29 Craig Edwards: Get them to win the bidding on Springer or Realmuto? 2:31 Craig Edwards: I think once the Mets lock up one of the other big fish, Lindor is going to make less sense given the cost. I still think Realmuto is a better fit than Springer. If the Mets have money, they should use it. Lindor is a great player, but they can get him or several other really good players next offseason. Raise the floor this year. Try for the ceiling next one. 2:31 Alex Cora: Who’s most likely to bounce back this year for us out of JD, Rafy, and Benny? Least likely? 2:32 Craig Edwards: I would expect more out of Devers next year. Martinez is probably better than he showed last year, but he’s 33 years old and was more good than great even in 2019. I have no idea what to expect from Benintendi. 2:33 Gardy: Yankees turning me down for basically $7.5mil is a little scary for players, no? 2:34 Craig Edwards: I think Gardner and the Yankees is a fairly unique situation, but it is part of this offseason’s landscape for sure. 2:34 Bauer: What’s the case for Bauer as the Cy? I get that he’s in the top four, but he was only a hair better than Darvish or DeGrom and his opponents were much worse 2:38 Craig Edwards: He’s got that great ERA and his Statcast numbers were fantastic as well. I don’t think he was a bad choice, though I would have given the award to Darvish, who even though he played in the same division, like you mentioned, his opponents were better than Darvish. Bauer gave up 9 homers and eight were solo. Sequencing luck or skill? 2:39 Benny Biceps: You mentioned the Red Sox not being able to get any value back for me via trade last week… What do I have to do this year to avoid getting non-tendered after the season? What has happened since the All Star Break 2018? 2:41 Craig Edwards: To avoid getting non-tendered next season, he just has to be average. He’s set to make $6.5 M this year so he isn’t likely to break the bank next year or be much of a liability if he just shows he can be productive. His 2019 season might be enough. 2:41 John Jaso Jingle Heimer Schmidt: Does the La Russa hire make it more difficult for Chicago to bring in the free agents they want/need? I have to imagine a lot of players feel the same way Stroman does (and perhaps are as bold to be vocal about it). 2:42 Craig Edwards: Almost every time, money talks. Maybe it costs more to get a certain player, but probably it just costs more than the next-best bid. 2:42 Dave C: Do you think the Mets will regret tying up almost $19 mill on Stroman or was it worth it since it’s only a 1 year commitment? 2:43 Craig Edwards: I doubt it. If he has a good season, then he helps the team whether they contend or not. If he doesn’t, then he has no impact on payroll beyond this season. It a win-win. 2:45 Matt (Oceanside): Hey Craig! Wonder if you heard the radio interview of Andrew Friedman on MLB radio recently. Friedman mentioned a couple of relievers and a RH bat as the targets for this off-season. All in all, it seemed kind of underwhelming. With acknowledgement to the COVID revenue situation, do you think the Dodgers would be willing to go over the lux tax threshold for this year with all the money they have coming off books after 2021, especially with just winning the world series? Thanks! 2:48 Craig Edwards: The big move was to sign Mookie Betts. They are already a playoff team. They might be willing to go over the tax threshold given there’s not that much penalty for them to do so and we have no idea what’s going to happen after 2021 in that regard. If there’s a big move out there, I don’t think they would hesitate. They’ve got a ton of money coming off the books in the next few seasons. 2:48 Matt (Oceanside): How much cash inflow does a World Series win net a team like the Dodgers relative to the COVID revenue situation? 2:50 Craig Edwards: It really cuts into it given that most of the benefit is the home games in the playoffs plus ticket increases the next season. The Dodgers benefit more financially from being a consistent winner, generally, than actually winning the World Series. They sell a ton of tickets and have a great tv deal so there’s a lot of motivation to keep winning even if they didn’t quite get the World Series bonanza they might have otherwise. 2:51 Curtis: Similar to Realmuto being a “must” for the Mets, isn’t Bauer a “must” for the Angels? Not that they don’t have any other holes… 2:52 Craig Edwards: Bauer makes a ton of sense for the Angels. A shortstop or second baseman as well but there are a bunch of those. He isn’t necessarily a must, but the team could really use a boost on the starting pitching side. 2:52 Braves: If you were his coach would you tell Acuna to hit more liners? 2:55 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure I would tell him much of anything except to go get em. In theory, every player should be trying to hit liners. You miss a little below, you hit a homer, hit it right, you get a hit, miss a little above, and you still hit the ball hard. Hitting the ball hard in the air is the most important thing and he does a ton of that. Line drives don’t really carry over from year to year so I wouldn’t pay too close attention to liners by themselves. 2:55 B: When will we know what the rules will be for the 2021 season? 2:56 Craig Edwards: It could be a while. We don’t really have a sense of the economic impact of the 2021 season yet and that might play a role in what the owners want and what they are willing to give up to get it. 2:58 Ozzie: Ozzie Albeis is listed as 70 grade speed and has great running metrics but Statcast has him as well below average. Is his running value all from instincts? 2:59 Craig Edwards: Look at his home plate to first times. He gets started very quickly and his straight line speed is still very good. 2:59 Guest: As a Cardinals fan, what’s your take on TLR and the White Sox? 3:01 Craig Edwards: He did a great job managing the Cardinals until he retired after the 2011 season. I don’t know what made him a great candidate a decade later and I don’t know why the White Sox would have overlooked the second DUI. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. 3:01 MilwaukeeBeerJays: Dear Craig, tremendous work on the site, especially recently! 3:01 MilwaukeeBeerJays: …..but where is DAN?!?!? 3:02 Craig Edwards: He’s working on ZiPS, probably. He’s going to be going fast and furious with those. 3:02 Jackson Is Curious: Do you think you would be physically capable of hitting a home run in a major league stadium? Let’s say in a batting practice scenario where you have unlimited opportunities. 3:02 Craig Edwards: No. 3:02 Jonathan: It seems that K% and EV are two of the best predictors of success. Has a projection model been made around these factors to predict breakouts? Am I describing xwOBA? 3:02 Jonathan: xwOBA doesn’t take into account K% though, does it? 3:04 Craig Edwards: xWOBA does take into account K% as well as walk %. xwOBACON is contact only. xWOBA is basically FIP except instead of home runs and essentially average BABIP it uses expected outcomes based on launch angle and velocity. Much like FIP, it can be used to spot outliers over smaller samples that could or should even out over time with a larger sample. 3:04 Eric: Jonathan Schoop didn’t make the cut for this year’s top 50 free agents. What sort of contract do you see him signing? 3:04 Craig Edwards: He was actually on the list at number 50 before Kolten Wong’s option was not exercised. I would imagine a one-year deal somewhere between four million and seven million dollars. 3:05 Chaim Bloom: Why wouldn’t I just bring back JBJ, keep Verdugo in right, and add a righty bat on the cheap to platoon with Benny in left? 3:07 Craig Edwards: Do you also need a righty to platoon with JBJ? I think bringing back Bradley would be fine. Need starting pitching to really compete. 3:07 Dodgers Fan: Has anyone reported the terms of Friedman’s extension from last winter? 3:08 Craig Edwards: I haven’t seen it though his first deal was 5/35 and I doubt Dodgers’ owners are displeased. 3:08 Stevil: How should Cleveland address their outfield issues? 3:08 Craig Edwards: The first step is acknowledging such issues exist, and there haven’t been a lot of moves to indicate that. 3:10 Craig Edwards: There’s not a lot out there in free agency and most of the players moved this offseason who are good will have contracts attached to them that Cleveland doesn’t want. Maybe they can wait and have the outfield equivalent of Cesar Hernandez fall in their laps. 3:10 Craig Edwards: Here’s my Marcus Semien piece. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/marcus-semien-potential-bargain-free-agent… 3:11 David: Will we finally see average salaries start to come down as a results of this past year? 3:12 Craig Edwards: Average salaries in MLB have been mostly stagnant for the last five years. They will definitely go down this year, but they were going to do that anyway. If there’s a return to anything like normal over the next few years, there should be considerable room for growth. 3:13 Deivi G: A lot of pitchers will probably be fine next year (people miss a year all the time, and this is basically that), but what happens to a guy like me if I’m being asked to do a lot more? 3:14 Craig Edwards: I think a lot of teams are going to have pitcher workload questions that don’t have easy answers. I think teams will try and be responsible with pitch counts and days off but ultimately, every healthy arm is going to be asked to pitch a lot more than last year. 3:16 Guest: Hey Craig, how would I be able to submit an article on fangraphs based on some research we’ve done? 3:16 Craig Edwards: You can submit articles to the Community Blog here, if that’s what you are looking for: https://community.fangraphs.com/wp-admin/post-new.php 3:16 Isolated Thinker: Could there be a bidding war for Hendriks so great that he exceeds 4/$60M? Any team with money to spend has room for an elite reliever. 3:17 Craig Edwards: I doubt it. I just don’t see teams spending that much money on relievers right now. 3:17 Chris: Are you surprised Justus Sheffield got 0 roy votes? 3:18 Craig Edwards: A little bit. I think I would have had him third, though it is close. David Laurila had a vote and he ended up fourth. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-look-at-one-writers-american-league-… 3:18 JC: In a few years when the qualifying offer reaches mid 20s it will become almost impossible to offer it to anyone outside of major stars, right? 3:19 Craig Edwards: A lot of other things could go up, too so that there are non-major stars making that much money. 3:19 Guest: Who is the most underrated starting pitcher in baseball right now? 3:19 Craig Edwards: Lance Lynn. 3:19 David: Opponents should be irrelevant when considering the cy young. 3:20 Craig Edwards: How a pitcher pitched is relevant. If there was a Cy Young for the whole league and one group pitched to pitchers and the other didn’t, wouldn’t you consider that if two pitchers’ results were equivalent? 3:20 Tom: Lindor to Cardinals? 3:21 Craig Edwards: I just don’t think that is very likely. Lindor is a push you over the top move and I don’t see the Cardinals at that level right now. 3:21 Craig Edwards: Thanks for all the questions. Have to run.