Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 12/19/2019 by Craig Edwards December 19, 2019 2:02 Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling. 2:02 Jim Leyland Palmer: If the MLB were to go back to a normal ball in 2020, do you think Ozzie Albies in particular would be adversely affected? 2:03 Craig Edwards: I don’t think so. Albies hit 24 homers in each of the last two seasons. I doubt there are players who are particularly affected by the ball. If it changes back, everyone is going to be affected and it will just lower general expectations. 2:04 Josh Donaldson: As far as productivity, does it make sense for me to join the Nats or the Braves? 2:05 Craig Edwards: In terms of impact, he would help the Nationals more. Wilmer Difo is currently getting a ton of playing time if the Nats don’t add someone. 2:05 Eduardo: Would you prefer Ketel Marte at 2B or CF? And who do you think will be in the Dbacks OF in ‘20? 2:07 Craig Edwards: Offensively last season, CF and 2B were roughly equal with Trout slightly slanting the CF position so in a vacuum, you say CF, but I think his versatility is a plus in that you can add wherever you need to and not have to worry about it. 2:07 JuanTeixeiraBeer: Better fit for the Padres Ryu or Keuchel? Should they stay put and give the young guys i.e. Gore/Patino a long look in Spring? I truly appreciate your work/insight. 2:10 Craig Edwards: Ryu is the better pitcher, so it is Ryu. They have a pretty good rotation without adding anyone so it probably depends on the contract. Even though they seemingly have too many outfielders, that still might be a place where they can look to upgrade. 2:10 Overbearing Padre: Hi. What big bat should the Padres target? Thanks! 2:10 Craig Edwards: They got Tommy Pham. Not sure there are any other ideal targets out there. 2:12 Guest: I really like Wilson Ramos. He could have made a big stink over the way he was treated over the Syndergaard contretemps, but he didn’t. He’s a real mensch. Is there any chance he goes back to being a good player? 2:13 Craig Edwards: He had a 105 wRC+ for the season and 115 after a slow April. He wasn’t actually as bad as it seemed because his early season numbers held his overall numbers down for most of the season. His July didn’t help, but overall, he wasn’t too bad to begin with. 2:14 Thoms: Would the Angels be better off with Goodwin or Adell in right on opening day? 2:15 Craig Edwards: It’s an interesting dilemma. They project similarly so it wouldn’t be out of the question to let Adell get hot in Triple-A and then bring him up once he hits. If Adell has a good spring, though, there isn’t much reason baseball-wise not to have him on the Opening Day roster. 2:15 Jim Leyland Palmer: Who would be your best guess at being this year’s Jack Flaherty? (i.e. takes a major step forward to top of the rotation arm) 2:17 Craig Edwards: That depends on how you feel about guys like Brandon Woodruff, Jose Berrios, German Marquez, who are already there or really close. If you are talking about less experience than that, I think you are talking Chris Paddack, Mitch Keller, Jesus Luzardo. They aren’t likely, but that’s the group of candidates you should be looking at. 2:18 RSO: What would the Yankees have to give up to land Kyle Schwarber from the Cubs? 2:18 Craig Edwards: Now that Gardner’s back I don’t see how Schwarber makes any sense for the Yankees. 2:18 Inaccessible Rail: Have the Astros officially taken the mantle of “Evil Empire” away from the Yankees at this point? 2:19 Craig Edwards: If you are only emphasizing the former, maybe, but if you want to include the latter, nobody is operating on the same financial level as the Yankees. 2:19 The Final Boss: The Brewers are spamming 1b and corner OF. Avisail is already pushed to a part time role? What do you make of this. 2:20 Craig Edwards: Is he the one pushed to the part-time role? I think Braun is the one more likely to lose playing time and between 2 COF and 1B, there’s 2100 PA to go around. There’s still plenty of time for everyone. 2:21 Horace Fury: Tell me if you think there is something here; I’m a Red Sox follower, although many partisans would accuse me of faithlessness for this deal. To me, Rafael Devers is the one chip BOS has that could bring back real prospects. ATL will have to plunge hard on Donaldson or go without a powerhouse 3B. How about Devers to ATL for one pitcher (Anderson or Wright), one catcher (Contreras) and one OF (Drew Waters)? ATL saves a ton on 3B salary and gets a lot of control (4 yrs). BOS gets talent that is ready or near-ready to plug holes at each of their positions w/minimal salary and loads of control. 2:22 Craig Edwards: I, too, will accuse you of faithlessness. Devers is a star with a low salary. Regardless of the Red Sox payroll mandate, they still want to compete now and Devers gives the team a better chance at that than any prospect package. 2:22 Kwang-hyun Kim: How’s Carlos Martinez feeling? Will I be a starter for the Cardinals this year? 2:25 Craig Edwards: The odds of Flaherty, Martinez, Mikolas, Wainwright, and Hudson all making it through spring training without a blip isn’t large so there’s a good chance Kim will start, if not in April, then in May. But I do think the orgs comments on Kim being a reliever do indicate some confidence or at least hope that Martinez is going to be able to start. He’d change the dynamic of the entire rotation if he can go back to what he was 2015-2017. 2:25 Thank you for the chat!: What would a Ray/Lamb package to the Phils look like? 2:29 Craig Edwards: Lamb had to be in the non-tender range so he’s not a major factor in the deal, and I’m not sure he really fits with the Phillies right now. As for Ray, Diamondbacks have taken a mix of close to majors and far away guys in their deals, so they aren’t picky on type, but I think they’d want at least one top-100 type player if they are going to move Ray. 2:30 Thank you for the chat!: If LAD wanted both Clev/Lindor, what would it take? Assuming players like Seager/May/Lux/Verdugo and others would be making up substantial portions of the return. 2:32 Craig Edwards: I really don’t see that as a possibility. Cleveland is going to want quantity and I think it is hard for the Dodgers to give up Lux for Lindor alone, which makes a deal tough to conjure. I don’t see Seager as an ideal fit for Cleveland, so then you are going deeper into the Dodgers system. It’s complicated. 2:32 zach: The Cardinals’ (apparent) plan to let the pile of young outfielders sort itself out for LF and CF this year seems fine, but is there enough in the pile for somebody to force Fowler to the bench? Is anything short of Carlson lighting the world on fire going to get them out of Fowlergatory? 2:35 Craig Edwards: They had this problem last year, right. There wasn’t anybody clearly better than Fowler on the roster to take his starting spot so he just started all year and was slightly below average. A Fowler/O’Neill platoon might make some sense, but then left field is still open wide. A return of Ozuna or Dylan Carlson having an awesome spring (or both) would really help out the team. They can try to choose the three best out of 8 potential starting outfielders, but that’s a tough task to figure out in spring or even in the first 4-6 weeks of the season. 2:35 Chone of the Dead: Any insight as to which prospects the Yanks might have to package with Happ to unload him and his $17m salary? 2:36 Craig Edwards: I think it much more likely they just pay some of it down 2:37 Chris: What team will Donaldson sign with and what should the teams that lose out do? And what would Kyle seager cost prospect wise? 2:38 Craig Edwards: No idea on Donaldson. He makes sense for a lot of teams. Seager is pretty close to a salary dump, and in that sense would be a good fit for a lot of teams looking at a moderate salary, little long term commitment but also only slightly above average production. 2:39 Dick Williams: should I be willing to trade Senzel for Lindor? 2:39 Craig Edwards: oh yeah. 2:40 Ghost of Marvin: There isn’t enough anti-owner sentiment out there. We should be furious that the Cubs claim poverty after the Ricketts’ get liquid having sold TDA for $26B. 2:40 Craig Edwards: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/are-the-cubs-really-going-to-ignore-their-… 2:40 Cole: I think the Cole deal is going to work out as well as the Scherzer one, honestly. Scherzer really put it together the couple of years before the deal, too. 2:41 Craig Edwards: That’s optimistic given Scherzer might be the best big-time free agent signing of all time. Nine years is a long time and a lot can go wrong during that time, but he should help the Yankees now, might hold up long term and the Yankees can write it off if he goes south. All the big corporations do it. 2:41 Astros: What’s ACTUALLY going to happen to us? 2:42 Craig Edwards: Big fine, loss of draft picks, some people are forced to resign probably. 2:43 kevinthecomic: Do you even know what a write off is? 2:43 Craig Edwards: No. but they do and they are the ones writing it off. 2:44 JB: What are the best ideas you’ve heard about how MLB might de-incentivize tanking, or incentivize winning and spending? Could they chop qualifying offer, rethink the reverse order of finish for the draft, lift limits on international spending, would owners even be open to such changes? Can’t help but feel like we’re heading towards an MLB work stoppage and would love to hear creative solutions. Thanks! 2:44 Craig Edwards: C.R.E.A.MLB 2:44 Craig Edwards: I proposed this: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/addressing-tanking-through-revenue-sharing… 2:45 Craig Edwards: Raising the competitive balance tax would help quote a bit, too. 2:46 Jeff: Do you think any of the owners would be my friend? I feel like we have so much in common like really really really caring about player salaries vs The Budget 2:46 Craig Edwards: Maybe you could have a catch. I’m sure the relationship would be a real home run. 2:47 Chris Antonetti: Do I have options other than (a) Wild Card contention with Lindor or (b) a total rebuild? 2:48 Craig Edwards: Have you seen the pitching staff? It’s not like the Twins own the division and the White Sox still haven’t done enough. The division is right there with Lindor and a little bit more. Maybe decrease payroll by only $10 million instead of $25 million and win some games. 2:49 Dan: At what point I’m the off-season did it become impossible for any team with an unlimited budget to make themselves world series favorites through free agency alone? 2:51 Craig Edwards: Ballparking it, it looks like a FA team might get you about 28 wins, which translates roughly to a 75 win season. So I think the answer is once Rendon signed. 2:51 Ghost of Marvin: What’re the drawbacks of allowing MiLB players into the MLBPA? 2:54 Craig Edwards: The two groups have very different interests and the minor leaguers are 4-5 times bigger in population size. 2:54 mike: Twins are going to pass on all the big price FAs, right? Just continue their old ways? Lower payroll for 2nd straight year…. 2:54 Craig Edwards: Seems like they should get at least one of Keuchel or Ryu, right? 2:55 Wichita Cow Pies: Marlins need a bat (okay, 7 or 8 of them). Would Marlin offer of Alcantara for Andujar work for Yanks? 2:55 Craig Edwards: It would definitely work for the Yankees. Not sure why the Marlins would do that deal, though. 2:56 Ty: Is there a bat that Cleveland can realistically acquire, FA or trade, or are they just dumping Kluber’s salary and standing pat? 2:58 Craig Edwards: There are a bunch of 2b/3b guys still out there. I imagine they will wait it out. None of Ozuna/Castellanos/Puig has signed either so there are some options. I don’t think they are done, though it will be hard to make the offseason a success no matter what they do at this point. 2:58 DC: power rank of best remaining FA RPs? Harris/Betances/Hudson/??? 2:59 Craig Edwards: Betances/Harris/Hudson. Betances has the most upside for a team that has some extra money laying around and is willing to take a risk for high impact. 2:59 vin scully is my jesus: do you think julio urias is a possible breakout guy this year? 93-97, great feel… wasn’t too long ago he was untouchable as a prospect right? 3:00 Craig Edwards: I would agree with that. 3:00 Cownose Ray: Is Marco Gonzales going to beat his projections over the course of his career because of his pitch mix and command? 3:00 Craig Edwards: If he keeps beating them, then the projections will get better and then he won’t. 3:00 Son of a Sumo Champion: Will Shun Yamaguchi be primarily used in rotation or bull pen this year? 3:01 Craig Edwards: I think he’ll get a shot at the rotation. Toronto has a bunch of guys at a fairly similar level. Yamaguchi does provide versatility, but if he is one of the five best starters, he’ll get the job. 3:02 pumpsie: Is David Price for Justin Upton a fair exchange, or which side would have to add? Then Mookie to center and JBJr traded for a depth arm and it would be a fairly painless luxury tax limbo, no? 3:02 Craig Edwards: I think the Red Sox would still have to add since Upton still has some value even if last season was a disaster. 3:03 Estevão: Is it fair to say that the Dodgers biggest regret should be in not taking a chance on underperforming young stars like Yelich or Cole and that their unwillingness to give up prospects for established stars like Stanton, Hamels and company was actually a great idea 3:06 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure about that. Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger have been worth more than 30 WAR combined over the last four years. Are those they guys they should have given up. They traded for Yu Darvish when he was available. Seems like not bringing back Greinke or choosing Pollock over Harper last season would be bigger regrets. 3:06 Roger: How is it that we live in an era with a historically great amount of talent at third base, but at least four different contenders (MIL, PHI, WSN, and ATL) all desperately need an upgrade at the position? 3:08 Craig Edwards: Three of those teams just lost their 3B to FA or might be about to and the fourth gave one of their better prospects a shot for years. If Kingery/Bohm play third, then the Phillies might not even have a hole there. There are a lot of very good third basemen, but if you lose the guy who was good, it isn’t like you have an immediate replacement available. 3:09 Jeff: The White Sox have really turned it up since the owners decided Grandal would fit their needs best in that uniform. After signing Gio Gonzalez and Cuthbert, is it time for WS ownership to bring down the spending and let the coredationleus they’ve built thrive behind their incredulous spending? What a show of faith! 3:09 Craig Edwards: They sure do still need pitching. There’s still a couple guys out there, so we’ll see. 3:10 brad: angels sign teheran 3:10 Craig Edwards: This approach didn’t work last year so not sure why it would work this year. They are another, of many, who need a good starting pitcher. 3:11 ADLEY. RUTSCHMAN.: So the Brew Crew just signed Smoak – does this mean a time share with Braun? Is Braun just a 50-60% PT guy now? Thanks! 3:11 Craig Edwards: I would think so. 3:11 Jason: How talented of a reliever could be acquired for a package of Mateo or Barreto + one of the A’s 40 FV AAA RHP’s? 3:12 Craig Edwards: I would think a pretty talented reliever, though not sure what the trade market for those guys looks like right now with a few decent relievers still out there in FA. 3:12 BVW: Is there a solution to the Mets defensive woes, and if so, what is it? 3:12 Craig Edwards: More strikeouts? 3:12 Son of a Sumo Champion: Jays will be higher or lower than last years payroll (113M) come April 1? 3:12 Craig Edwards: lower. 3:12 Trent: Tyler Mahle has four years of control left, and he significantly improved his walk rate last year. Does he have enough trade value to be enticing to other teams? For example, would something like India and Mahle be enough to get the Indians to consider a Lindor trade to the Reds? 3:13 Craig Edwards: That’s not good enough. 3:14 kevinthecomic: Brewers signed Justin Smoak to a 1-year $5-million contract, with a club option for another year at $5.5-million, FYI. How is this better than re-signing Thames? 3:14 Craig Edwards: $2 million for a similar bat and better defense. 3:14 Ryan: One of my friends is a Red Sox fan depressed by their desire to cut payroll and pessimistic about their ability to compete in the AL, but I’m more sanguine. I bet him that the Red Sox would make the playoffs at least once in the next three years. Did I make a good bet? 3:14 Craig Edwards: yes 3:15 Estevão: Is it far to say that the Yankees are being a little over hyped as huge favorites to win the WS because they signed Cole when it is perfectly plausible to see teams like the Astros or the Dodgers beating them? 3:15 Craig Edwards: Nobody is a “favorite” to win the World Series at this point. You have a bunch of teams with decent chances and the Yankees are one of them. The Astros were more talented last year than the Yankees are now and they didn’t win. 3:16 Bob: With the 3B market as it is, would the Indians be better off moving Ramirez and trying to keep Lindor? 3:16 Craig Edwards: If we weren’t considering payroll, sure, but if we weren’t considering payroll, they would just keep both. 3:17 aj: Yankees need to move Happ to get under the third tax level. Do you think they care enough about the draft pick moving back 10 spots? They’d either be sacrificing current prospects to move all of Happ $ and get under or sacrificing a devalued draft pick if they pay part of it down and stay over, either way they are sacrificing talent 3:17 Craig Edwards: the 10 picks is hardly worth considering. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/an-update-on-how-to-value-draft-picks/ 3:17 Estevão: That’s my point. I don’t see them better than the Astros or Dodgers by any significant margin 3:18 Craig Edwards: Exactly 3:19 Offseason: What team really needed to improve this offseason and has failed to do so? (Not complete yet obviously but still) 3:19 Craig Edwards: Cleveland and Chicago seem like pretty good examples. 3:20 Rays Fan in Boston: Over the next 5 years, how many do you think we make the playoffs? 3:20 Craig Edwards: I’ll say three. 3:21 Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me today. I wrote a thing on the Cole contract today: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/gerrit-coles-monster-contract-historically… and a thing on the Kluber trade earlier this week. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/nobody-really-wanted-corey-kluber/ 3:22 Craig Edwards: Hope you all get some time off this next week. If not, hope you are able to tough it out through the new year.