Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 12/10/2020


Craig Edwards: Let’s get rolling.


Doug: Do you think it makes sense for the Cubs to trade Darvish?


Craig Edwards: Not really. I think even if the team was looking to rebuild, that would mean moving on from everyone next year and while Darvish might net some return, it isn’t really a difference-maker. You are better off trying to compete in a weak NL Central for one more year and see where everything stands. The Cubs talked last year about shaking things up and they pretty much stood pat so the sustainable winner thing isn’t really going to be possible beyond this season unless they spend through it.


Guest: How many combined playoff appearances from the Nats and the Phillies the next 5 years? Are the Mets and Braves going to rule for a while?


Craig Edwards: Depends on how many playoff teams there are. The Nationals have one of the best players in the game and they should have plenty of money in the next few years. The Phillies are harder to gauge but they do have a decent amount of talent there. The Braves and Mets aren’t necessarily going to dominate given the Braves aren’t ever likely to spend big and the Mets are starting a bit from behind in terms of young talent.


ExtVlo: Do you think the pirates package bell and taillon or trade them separately?


Craig Edwards: I think they’ll probably do whatever gives them the best return overall. Generally, that’s going to be separately, but if there is a motivated team, a package might net slightly more. That said, these guys don’t have a ton of trade value right now based on recent/no performance.


J: Does the reduction of minor league teams per organization and minor league roster cap per organization affect your prospect valuation at all?


Craig Edwards: I would doubt it. Most of the value in farm systems comes from players not likely to be affected. It hurts the teams best at identifying under the radar talent and developing players on the fringes. It usually takes a bunch of those types of players to get even one or two successes, but they tend to pay off pretty well.


BK: Is Springer/Kim/Paxton (+ pen filler) a pretty perfect offseason for the Jays? Would this move them past TB, assuming the Rays have a quiet winter?


Craig Edwards: That would be very good for the Jays. It would put them pretty close to the Yankees, I would imagine.


Friar Fanatic: What moves will firmly take the Padres into World Series contention?


Craig Edwards: They are arguably already there. Getting another starting pitcher might help.


Molly: What’s your hot take on the Rule 5 draft?


Craig Edwards: I’m happy for the players to get better opportunities. Looked like a bunch of post-injury pitchers. Not sure there’s going to be much impact there for next season.


Grant: Obviously the Angels need an impact starter. Beyond this, what’s more important – a second impact starter, or a revamped bullpen?


Craig Edwards: I would always choose starting pitching.


Craig Edwards: It also takes a potential starter and should make the bullpen better. I do like Hendricks among the RP free agents this year and if he’s reasonably priced instead of making elite money, he might be worth it.


Verdugo Fan Club: What do you think the best move for the Red Sox this off season?


Craig Edwards: Grab one of the cheap, slugging outfielders that just hit the market and add a few starting pitchers that have upside like Quintana, Archer, Rodon, Paxton and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle. Maybe bring Lester back.


Jon: Mookie Betts article clarification: Did the Red Sox save $60M in payroll and $20M in luxury tax?


Craig Edwards: Last year? They saved $10 million in Betts’ salary. They sort of saved $6 million on Price. They saved nothing in competitive balance tax because nobody had to pay, regardless if they went over, if I remember correctly.


Every ML GM: *Sees Dombrowski news in Phillie* Time to start looking through the Philadelphia farm system, because they are all about to get traded!


Craig Edwards: We’ll see what happens there. I’m not sure what Dombrowski did in Boston is going to happen in Philadelphia. The Tigers aren’t the right analogue, either given where Detroit was when he took over. Philadelphia isn’t exactly teeming with prospects with Bohm’s graduation and Howard is already in the majors as well.


Craig Edwards: While he might not necessarily be the person you would want as a GM, it should signal to Phillies fans that there is no interest in a teardown, which should be a good thing.


bosoxforlife: Do you believe that Betts was never going to resign with the Red Sox even if they offered more than Trout got?


Craig Edwards: Players generally sign with the teams that offer the most money, so I’m not sure Betts would have left if they made that sort of offer.


Isolated Thinker: I know MLB/owners are on the same “team”, but don’t NL owners especially want a decision on the universal DH for 2021 asap? NL decision makers are at a clear disadvantage right now.  This lack of clarity potentially interferes with NL teams fielding their best possible offense, which is unprecedented, and simply not fair.  NL owners should demand it.


Craig Edwards: Except NL teams aren’t competing against AL teams to get to the playoffs. Competitively, it doesn’t make that much of a difference, and it offers a convenient excuse to wait.


RJ: Expansion soon? Owners probably wouldn’t mind a couple billion in franchise fees after the “losses” of 2020.


Craig Edwards: I would think so. I wrote about it what seems like years ago (turns out it was March. Is it still March?)…


Jon: But what would the Red Sox have had to pay if both players were kept?


Craig Edwards: In salary this past season, Price and Betts combined to make, if Price hadn’t opted out, about $22 million, though they would have paid at least half of Price’s deal regardless of if they traded him.


Jon: And I’m referring to what they would have saved if 2020 was a normal, full season


Craig Edwards: I see. So right, around $60 million in salary and $25 million in taxes.


Matt: Initial thoughts on Nate Lowe being traded to the Rangers?


Craig Edwards: Initial reaction is a decent trade for both teams. Rangers get a young major league contributor in Lowe while the Rays deal from some depth, get a decent prospect and more flexibility with a roster spot.


Jonathan: What do you know about Heriberto Hernandez?


Craig Edwards: Eric is going to write up the trade. Here’s what he had to say before last season.


Jonathan: I just now realized that the Rays traded the first basemen Lowe and not the other ones


Craig Edwards: They kept the one whose name rhymes with Mr. Plow.


DD: Remember, Dombrowski built up the Tigers when they were miserable and tore down the Marlins after a world series. He’s done more than just top off a good team


Craig Edwards: right. He’s now getting a Phillies team sort of in the middle. It’s an interesting challenge, particularly if the team doesn’t get back to big-spending ways like it looked like they were headed for.


Jake: I have a CBT penalty related question. Based on the current CBT, if a team carries a CBT payroll over $250 million, their overages get taxed at 62.5 % and their draft pick moves back 10 spots. CBT is calculated at the end of the season. The CBA ends 12/2021, if a team is that much over the line at the end of 2021 but the draft penalties won’t kick in until 2022 under which there will be a new CBA, will they face same penalties as 2021, new penalties that will be instituted in 2022 or no penalties?


Craig Edwards: They would probably carry over unless specifically removed in the new CBA. I’m not sure that will matter this year as no team seems likely to hit that mark.


Tigers: Odds Detroit picks up LeMahieu?


Craig Edwards: Not high. That would also be a pretty bad move for them. They should be targeting guys with the potential to earn more than what they are being paid, not trying to get what they are paying for, if that makes sense.


Gene: Lets say the Mets do get Springer. Would the next logical move to be trading Davis/Alonso/Smith for pitching?


Craig Edwards: Assuming, they already have McCann, I could see a trade for pitching, though they might just be better off signing a free agent starter. They don’t have to trade one of thoses guys, even if there isn’t a DH. The other potential starters in the corner outfield spots do have some durability issues.


John Jaso Jingle Heimer Schmidt: Andrew Baggarly writes that the Giants would be better off making moves while everyone else is scared. Could they catapult their way into contention by flexing some financial clout in the market?


Craig Edwards: I wrote about that possibility last month.


Craig Edwards: I don’t think they need to get into the deep end of free agency, but getting some good deals on some multi-year guys who should still be good in 2022 would help them take an intermediate step forward before making a splash in the huge free agent class next winter.


Nate: While obviously a ways out, you have to admire that the Royals are adding free agents, instead of tanking, right? It’s better for baseball as a whole when teams don’t tank.

I dislike the Royals with a passion, but kudos to them.


Craig Edwards: It’s a little weird, and they are going after older guys on two-year contracts though it isn’t like they are breaking the bank. It doesn’t hurt to be a little bit competitive and be ready just in case the division falls back to them. If there’s expanded playoffs, a hot start could make them contenders for much of the season.


Kretin: Would it make more sense for the Angels to either sign Bauer, or take that money and go after 2 of Tanaka/Odorizzi type pitchers?


Craig Edwards: I think Bauer plus one of the lower-tier starters would make more sense than two of the mid-tier options. Increase the ceiling and the floor rather than just the latter.


bosoxforlife: What percentage of team revenues come from day of the game operations. Ticket sales, parking, food and other concessions?


Craig Edwards: Forbes had it at about 40%.


Mike Hawk: With the minor leagues in flux, what an opportunity to implement a relegation system.  Alas, due to $ it will never happen. Thoughts on such a system being good or bad for MLB?


Craig Edwards: I think incentives to not be bad are good. I think the stadium situations makes it impossible.


Burnt Reynolds: Regarding the Dads search for SP: good fit for Tanaka?


Craig Edwards: That would make sense. Tanaka is the next-best option on the market after Bauer, so he would make sense for just about everybody, though.


ExtVlo: What would be a reasonable return for Sonny Gray?


Craig Edwards: I think a back-end top-100 guy and then somebody else in the top 200 or 300 prospects. A 50 and a 45, basically, would seem to make sense. I’d probably just keep him, though.


Tom: FG shows Brandon Nimmo was the #5 CF in the NL by WAR last year, and #8 overall. How much of an upgrade would Springer represent, especially if he only improves the defense marginally for a year or so and then becomes a corner OF?


Craig Edwards: Based on projections, Springer is a win up over Nimmo, though Springer isn’t really replacing Nimmo because Nimmo moves to a corner. He replaces JD Davis and Davis still gets to have some value as a bench player.


Craig Edwards: Springer wasn’t my preferred target for the Mets. Realmuto was, but it is hard to say Springer wouldn’t be a good upgrade.…


Nate: What does a return for Arenado look like?


Craig Edwards: Colorado adds $30 M to $40 M over the life of the deal, gets a couple prospects outside of the top-100.


Johnny5Alive: Follow-up on Tom – the mets offense has been very good (top 5), but their defense and pitching (outside degrom) have been very bad.  While you always like the idea of adding a Springer, would they be better off going Bauer, Hendricks, McCann and then like JBJ?


Craig Edwards: I’d rather add depth to the rotation than go after Bauer. Hendricks makes some sense if everything else is already in order. I’d be looking for a right-handed defensively minded center fielder rather than a lefty like Bradley Jr.


bosoxforlife: If the Mets sign George Springer he will transform into the second coming of Jason Bay.


Craig Edwards: that’s not really a good comp given Bay’s poor defense in a corner and the two seasons before his good one with the Red Sox.


James: Dodgers seem to be unusually quiet,


Craig Edwards: They were pretty quiet last year until they traded for one of the best players in baseball in early February. They don’t have to do much so they can be patient as long as someone they want isn’t in danger of going someplace else.


JKC: Heyman says 6 players involved in Lowe trade


Craig Edwards: the rays agree:


Sam Dykstra


Osleivis Basabe and Heriberto Hernandez were the #Rangers Nos. 20 and 24 prospects, respectively.

We’ve made a trade with the Texas Rangers
10 Dec 2020

Guest: Do the cards make big moves? They have the money and farm for a trade


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. In the end, they probably just bring back Yadi and Wainwright and sign some outfielder. They’ve made huge cuts to payroll so far and have a bunch more coming off the books at the end of the season. They need some internal options to take a step forward and maybe go big next winter. They should be able to make some good moves this offseason, but there haven’t been any signals that they will. For a look at everyone’s payrolls at the moment and how they compare to last season, here’s this.


Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for all the questions.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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