Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 12/17/2020 by Craig Edwards December 17, 2020 2:02 Craig Edwards: Before we get going, quick plug for a piece that went up yesterday on improving the way baseball is played. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/two-easy-ways-to-make-baseball-a-better-ga… 2:03 Rob: If you’re the angels, despite needing pitching, would you rather give a long term deal to Realmuto instead of Bauer if short term deals are off the table? 2:06 Craig Edwards: In a vacuum, ff the money were the same, I’d take Realmuto. That said, the Angels have a significantly greater need in the rotation than at catcher, though. I would prioritize Bauer as well as a low-end, one-year starter, but would sub Realmuto and two mid-to-low starters in Bauer’s place. 2:06 purplemini: If you were employed by the Texas Rangers, would you try to make Jonathan Hernandez a starter or would you keep him in relief? What’s your prediction for what actually happens to Hernandez next year? 2:08 Craig Edwards: I would at least stretch him out in spring training. He’s got a slider and a change so there’s something there for a blueprint to start. Given Texas’ outlook for this year, if it looks like he can go multiple innings in spring, it doesn’t hurt to see what he can do during the season, either as a starter or multi-inning reliever. 2:08 CIto’s Mustache: How much tech did teams install at their alternate training sites this past summer? Ben Nicholson-Smith mentioned how Alek Manoah used Trackman and Rapsodo data at the Blue Jays’ alt. site in Rochester and I wonder if that was the norm across MLB. 2:09 Craig Edwards: A lot did. I can’t remember the number, but there was a plan in place to share data so that teams could make trades at the deadline. 2:09 Bart: With the very late recognition of the Negro League by the MLB, what will this change have on the recognition of their contributions and especially the less known stars. 2:13 Craig Edwards: I think it is helpful to have their statistics in more prominent places. It’s more important to keep the Negro League Baseball Museum, to regularly honor players who played. Recognition and appreciation needs to be ongoing for it to matter. It’s also very important to continue to make sure baseball is accessible to everyone to make new fans. The casual or potential fan isn’t likely to go looking for anybody’s stats all that often, let alone ones from 75 years ago. MLB and teams need to be active. 2:13 MoKo: thanks for the excellent piece about making the game better, hope it becomes a reality; in the meantime, the blue Jays have been linked to almost everyone available, but which are the moves that really makes sense for them other than pitching? A stopgap ss until class of 22 or a good hitting of? 2:16 Craig Edwards: Thanks. I think Springer makes a ton of sense. Maybe Semien, too, of the relatively bigger names. I think Justin Turner would be a pretty good fit and would allow the team to not make a decision on Vlad’s position now. 2:16 Maggie25: Do you think the ever-increasing reliance on analytics by teams is at least partially responsible for some of baseball’s excitement problem (if you think there’s a problem). I’m a paying member of fangraphs, I love stats, but I wonder if always doing what the analytics dictates results in a less interesting game. 2:16 Maggie25: Put a different (oversimplified) way, it’s fun to cheer for superstars and mythology, it’s less fun to cheer for adding just enough win value to get your team full of boring players into the playoffs. 2:19 Craig Edwards: I think a lot of the success of analytics is recognizing what players are already doing well on their own and emphasizing that with others. Hitting the ball in the air isn’t new or analytics driven. The high fastball and the low curve is the same way. Analytics has helped make sense of why and how some of those things work to make players better. I think too much of the blame about the way the game is played is heaped on analytics when most of the things people don’t like is just the pitching being at an incredibly high level. 2:20 Craig Edwards: and I think people generally cheer for winners whether they have stars or not. Good teams tend to have stars but most teams have fan favorites or heroes who played at less than a star level. 2:20 Ed: Sorry, posted early. Would you rather have player A, who slashes .240/.250/.450 and sees an average of 3 pitchers per AB. Or player B who slashes .050/.200/.100, but see an average of 8.5 pitches per AB? A is self explanatory but B is someone you could lead B off vs deGrom for instance and bank on 25+ pitches being used up, but also likely 3 outs. 2:22 Craig Edwards: A, for sure. Extra pitches simply aren’t worth that much, and there aren’t that many pitchers where you absolutely want them out of the game. A still isn’t a starter, but B doesn’t have a place on the team. 2:22 SomeGuy: Let’s say the Rockies want to deal Arenado to the Mets. How much money would they have to send with him assuming Mets send nothing back (obviously wouldn’t happen that way but for arguments sake)? 2:28 Craig Edwards: Arenado is owed $199 million over the next six years with an opt-out after next season. That’s through his age-35 season. If he were a free agent, coming off the season he just had, he’s probably getting $150 million, and probably $125 million with an opt-out after the first year. I think you would need to tack on an option year for about $20 million to get the opt-out waived, and then you are probably looking at $8M to $10 M per year for 2021-2026 going with Arenado. 2:29 LargePapi: What kind of trade packages could the Mets make for Arenado? Minimizing impact on the farm system so the best prospect going to Colorado is a Josh Wolf/Isaiah Greene type 2:34 Craig Edwards: It’s still really hard to build a reasonable Arenado trade. You can try to send back Cano with a couple longshot prospects, assuming Arenado waives his opt-out. That’s what Arenado’s value is in this market, but it is difficult to find a match is Colorado wants actual players back. Maybe Amed Rosario and J.D. Davis go with him. There’s also the fact that Arenado doesn’t play a position of need for the Mets. 2:34 brad NJ: What do you think of Kieboom, this year and long term? 2:34 Craig Edwards: I think he should hit at some point. Been a couple weird years between getting called up before he was ready and then playing in a pandemic. I’d give him time and he should still be an above-average hitter. 2:34 brad NJ: Wouldnt it make more sense for the Yankees to sign Bauer $30MM per year and Simmons $8MM per year, vs paying DJ $25MM per year and Tanaka $15MM per year, first group higher upside, and on average three years younger, second group more downside, older, and Tanaka has the bad elbow….What am I missing? 2:36 Craig Edwards: I’m pretty far down on LeMahieu versus the consensus so I might not be the best person to ask. I would absolutely sign Simmons or Wong and focus on the rotation and maybe catcher if I were the Yankees. 2:37 Craig Edwards: As for Tanaka, mentioned him in my ESPN piece today, but bad elbow or not, he keeps making a ton of starts, which is probably a better indicator of his health. https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/30533547/age-just-number-3… 2:37 Tigers Fan: Bo Bichette an all star this year? 2:39 Craig Edwards: Shortstop is a tough position to crack. If Lindor stays in the AL, there’s him, Correa, Bogaerts, and Gleyber Torres as well as Tim Anderson. Bichette certainly could make the roster, but it would be a slight surprise with what we know now. 2:39 Guest: Is Pederson enough to make the cards a contender(lite) 2:40 Craig Edwards: The Cardinals are a contender without him. Assuming they bring Yadi and Wainwright back, getting one decent lefty-hitting outfielder like Pederson or Schwarber or Gardner might make them favorites for the division depending on what the rest of the division does. 2:41 First Time Long Time: There are reports that Syndergaard could be back by June, which means back in 14 months. It seems like TJ recovery is getting shorter and shorter. 2:41 Craig Edwards: I still think 15 months is pretty standard. Might be back when we are still six months out is just guesswork right now. 2:41 Guest: Thoughts on the idea of tying DH to pitcher? Do you know how seriously this is being considered? 2:43 Craig Edwards: It’s somewhat complicated. I think the real thing that might be beneficial is that it would force teams to carry more position players on the bench as pinch hitters. I’m also not sure you want to create a rule that will almost automatically take a good bat out of the lineup. I still want to see the best against the best whenever possible. 2:44 SomeGuy: What does an Arenado trade look like? How desperate are the Rockies to move him? 2:44 Craig Edwards: If Arenado gets traded, then they were, by definition, desperate. 2:44 Uri: What are your expectations for Paddack for 2021? 2:45 Craig Edwards: I expect him to be a lot better. Hopeful for a big rebound to 2019 or better numbers. 2:46 Tigers Fan: Is Gavin Lux a bust? And if not why doesn’t he get traded to a team with will play him? 2:46 Craig Edwards: No. He’s just on a really good team, but hasn’t hit as well as he will going forward. He just turned 23 years old. Give him a bit more time. 2:47 Springer: I know it sounds really counterintuitive, but shouldn’t the Nats target defense at our position player holes because of the exponential nature of run scoring? They are best at run prevention, so we should double down on run prevention, and those are our biggest holes. There is more value for the Nats at run prevention compared to run scoring. 2:48 Craig Edwards: But are the Nationals best at run prevention because of what their defense does or because the rotation strikes out so many players without the help of the defense at all. I think the Nationals don’t need to go with a bat or defense particularly and instead can just get the best player possible without trying to double down. 2:48 alan giggs: Hi Craig, I have a question about platoon splits. Can hitters actively change their splits? I saw an article on THT that showed maybe that aging players can hang on to jobs by becoming a bench bat and just really improving how they are against one hand type pitcher. Can younger players work on it more and level out their splits though if they have big differences? Or if they struggles against lefties will they just always struggle 2:49 Craig Edwards: There are ways to get better, yes, but it is also important to remember, particularly with lefties, that it take a long time to figure out if a player needs to be platooned. They just simply haven’t had the practice against the elite level of pitching and it can take some time to adjust. 2:49 Kate: Should we be more concerned about Clevinger’s TJ given that it’s his second? 2:50 Craig Edwards: Some concern yes, but most of that is more longer term than in the next 2-3 years. 2:50 Guest: Do you think Ohtani pitches again? 2:50 Craig Edwards: I sure hope so. 2:50 Tom: Do you believe in Hosmer’s launch angle change? 2:51 Craig Edwards: It is a small sample, but he was so extreme before this, it is hard not to see something there. 2:51 James Harden’s Belly: If you had to place a significant money bet right now, do you think we end up with a universal DH in 21? 2:51 Craig Edwards: Do not use this chat for gambling advice, but I would imagine that there is eventually the universal DH, but it doesn’t get announced until spring. 2:51 Guest: How do you see young talent like Carlson and Adell developing after last year. Does the weird season have any effect on the traditional development curve? 2:52 Craig Edwards: I’m sure it has an effect, but I would expect them to still reach their expectations and be good players as soon as next season. 2:53 Bookbook: Projection for Kyle Lewis in 2021? 2:53 Craig Edwards: Average overall with the bat and as a player. 2:53 Guest: Is there a target year when deferred money is likely to finally bite the Nats in the butt? 2:54 Craig Edwards: I doubt it. They can just keep deferring it if they want. I think part of the reason for those deferrals was due to their tv dispute with Baltimore. Those issues should be mostly behind them. 2:54 Appa Yip Yip: Bo Bichette all star 2b after jays trade for Lindor obviously 2:55 Craig Edwards: Second base would be a lot easier, yes. 2:55 James Harden’s Belly: Follow-up….Wouldn’t you be pissed off if you were an NL exec who had been told to “move forward with the assumption that there will not be a DH” only to find out at such a late phase that it will be implemented once again? Seems like a major change to how one would construct a roster. 2:55 Craig Edwards: Perhaps somewhat, but all other NL execs are on the same playing field so it shouldn’t affect competition too much. 2:56 Rusty Trombone: Any update on Michael Kopech? Do the White Sox plan on having him in the rotation this year after his Covid opt-out? 2:56 Craig Edwards: That is the plan, as far as I know. 2:57 Filthy Lopez: Will Hunter Greene get a cup of coffee in 2020? Seems like it has been an eternity since he was drafted. 2:58 Craig Edwards: It was 2017, which probably feels like an eternity, but he’s just 21 years old and doesn’t even turn 22 until next August and is coming off Tommy John surgery. You might have to wait a few more years. 2:58 James Harden’s Belly: 2nd follow up…..this DH situation is also affected by the amount of inter-league play. In an assumed 162 game 21 season, will MLB most likely implement a similar regional schedule to what we saw in 20? 2:58 Craig Edwards: I assume it will be a normal schedule this year. 2:59 Sam: Who has the best infield in baseball? 3:00 Craig Edwards: Without catcher, probably Astros. With it, maybe White Sox. Twins are solid all around, Some teams like Dodgers Yankees, A’s are very good but probably aren’t done with the offseason. 3:01 6’11” Bottom: Were you surprised that KC non-tendered Franco? 3:01 Craig Edwards: Maybe a little, as he was an above-average hitter, but maybe they just thought they’d try and see if they could catch lightning, didn’t quite materialize so they moved on. 3:02 kcbg: Given their recent bullpen moves, if the Mariners were to sign two fan favorites, Nellie Cruz and Taijuan Walker, and Gilbert comes up late May and pitches pretty well, what are the chances they could slide into the playoffs as a wild card team next year? 3:02 Craig Edwards: Would really need pitching to work out well and get off to a hot start and have expanded playoffs. I’d look more for 2022. 3:03 Craig Edwards: Have to get going. Thanks for all the questions.