Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 12/19/2020


Craig Edwards: Going to let the queue get a few more questions. In the meantime, here’s today’s post on Gary Sánchez.


Hiya!: Does G Sanchez make sense for the Marlins? What type of return would it take?


Craig Edwards: I think he does make sense for the Marlins. I’m not sure they should give up much more than what they gave up to get Villar last year which was Easton Lucas, a non-prospect. Somebody who wouldn’t make the prospect list but is in the org somewhere.


Chris: Drew smyly got what???


Craig Edwards: He got $11.5 million guaranteed for next season. I actually thought he’d get a two-year deal for $17 million. Getting a higher salary for just one year is in line with what I would have thought. He was very good in short bursts last year and we’ll have to see what a full season and expectations of starts going more than four innings leads to.


Craig Edwards: Here’s my FA rankings and predicted deals.


Morbo: Man a Craig and a Dan chat in the same day! 2020 might actually be starting to turn around


Craig Edwards: I like your enthusiasm and misplaced faith.


bighen: I’ve been surprised by the happy reaction of so many Mets fans and writers to the Cano news.  The trade was bad, we all get it but Cano was a legit contributor this past season and his best chance to contribute going forward was this coming season and they are still on the hook for ~$40-45 M the following 2 seasons.  If his deal was wiped clean, I’d get it but losing good players is not a huge positive and Cano was a good player this past season.


Craig Edwards: It’s a weird situation, for sure, especially given Cano’s rebound, albeit in the shortened 2020 season. In a very hard sense, they owed $60 million for a player that was probably going to get 3.5 wins. Now, they owe $40 million for like 1.8 wins. It is actually a little worse per win, but the $40 million is more easily absorbed in the future and and even removing 1.8 wins and $20 million allows for more flexibility elsewhere. I’m not sure rejoicing is the right thing to do, but they have the opportunity to make themselves better than they would be otherwise given that they have an owner who isn’t likely to just pocket the savings.


Eric C: Hypothetically, if the Mets do spend the big bucks as expected and sign George Springer, would it be likely that a trade involving either Nimmo or Conforto occur as a result?


Craig Edwards: It’s pretty difficult to project given we don’t yet know about the DH at this point. If you have Springer, then all of a sudden you have Davis, Nimmo, Conforto, and Smith in just two spots unless you put Davis at third and McNeil at second. There isn’t room for everybody, but there isn’t one particular player from that group of four that has to go, but you can’t keep everybody unless there’s a DH. It’s part of the reason I think Realmuto is the better target.


Bronx Bomber: Hi Craig – really enjoyed your piece on Sanchez! Given how much talk there’s been on Benintendi in these chats and your comments on his trade value recently – are you writing one on him next? Would be interested to see your thoughts on two former stars from the same rivalry. Thanks!


Craig Edwards: Thanks. Benintendi is slightly less interesting because he already has a contract for next season. He doesn’t really have any trade value, either, because of his struggles, but the non-tender deadline isn’t going to affect him in the same way. Maybe I’ll get to Benintendi at some point in the offseason, but I’m hopeful we start to get a lot more moves to analyze in the coming weeks.


Lou: Where does Ha Seong Kim wind up?  I think the Dodgers.


Craig Edwards: I think he makes more sense on a team trying to work its way out of a rebuild or just arriving, like the Mariners, Blue Jays, Giants, or maybe a team like the Brewers who need things to go right to contend. The Dodgers could just throw some money at him, give him a starting spot knowing they don’t need him to contend but potentially get a ton out of him. The Nationals fall in between there as well.


Jon: Feels weird making a prediction this bold this early in the offseason, but I’ll *guarantee* that the Mets sign *at least* one of the big four FA (Bauer, JT, DJ, Springer) with Canó out of the picture. Thoughts?


Craig Edwards: I think that was pretty likely before Cano. I’d be surprised at this point if they don’t sign either Realmuto or Springer.


shach1: Am I crazy for thinking that Gurriel JR will hit 295 with 35 home runs, 100 rbi and 100 runs scored next year? I believe in him that much. What does everyone here think about that?


Craig Edwards: That’s very optimistic. ZiPS for the Blue Jays just came out and he was at .272 for average with 25 homers.


SD Friar: Who do you envision being the top five teams this offseason in terms of spending?


Craig Edwards: Mets, Giants, Blue Jays, Phillies, Nationals.


Blue: What are the long term budget and salary implications resulting from covid? Will there still be nine year 300 million deals or will owners be conditioned to younger cheaper rosters?


Craig Edwards: Long term, salaries are still going to go up. Some of that could changed with a new CBA after 2021, but if COVID-19 is a one-year blip in revenues, things will get back closer to normal in short order once the sides agree to a new CBA.


Mike Hawk: Do you see Bobby Dalbec getting 500+ ABs this year and if so, would that put him in the 40+ HR category?


Craig Edwards: It’s possible, but he’s going to have cut down on strikeouts to stay in the lineup. Even then, 30 homers is a more reasonable goal and I’d still take the under.


SD Friar: What acquisition or moves would give SD the best chance of WS contention?


Craig Edwards: The Padres are already really good. They need some bench help and more certainty in the rotation. There are plenty of guys who fit that mold available. An ace would obviously be a help, but they are probably better served waiting until the trade deadline to see who is available then.


Isolated Thinker: Theo Epstein’s letter to friends allegedly said:  …I do plan on having a third chapter leading a baseball organization someday, though I do not expect it to be next year.”   Is this possibly a bargaining chip/leverage statement?  “Do not expect” is not the same as “it will not be” next year.


Craig Edwards: I think it is an indication he would have to be blown away to get right back in the mix. Whether some organization sees that and decides to hand everything over is another story.


Curtis: Which FA makes the most sense for the Mariners, given the state of their “rebuild”?


Craig Edwards: I mentioned Kim earlier. After that, I think they can wait for a bunch of one-year contracts for players who might have good trade value.


Friar Fanatic: With the injury to Clevinger, as well as financial uncertainty, should SD take a step back or hold steady in 2021 in order to go all in for 2022?


Craig Edwards: I think they just build around the edges rather than make a bold move. They already have a contending team.


Mike Hawk: Would you rather be a fan of a team that is in the playoffs 10 years straight like the Braves of yore, or a fan of a team that wins 3 WS in 5 years and then sucks for the next 10 years, like the Giants?


Craig Edwards: As someone who watches baseball everyday, the opportunity to win a world series every year makes the years a lot more fun. I think there’s a tradeoff in there somewhere. Keep in mind the Giants were competitive in every year but one fro 2009-2016, won three series in that time period and will have probably at most, a five-year lull. The more apt comparison is the Royals, probably.


Craig Edwards: I think I will do a poll.


Craig Edwards:

What is the largest number of guaranteed losing seasons you would take if you were guaranteed a WS title in the next year?

10+ (13.5% | 5 votes)
6-9 (24.3% | 9 votes)
4-5 (29.7% | 11 votes)
3 (32.4% | 12 votes)
2 (0% | 0 votes)
1 (0% | 0 votes)

Total Votes: 37

Mike Hawk: What do you make of the sophomore slumps of Huira and Robles and do you think they’ll live up to hype/potential?


Craig Edwards: I think they will both rebound. Robles isn’t reliant on his bat to contribute so he only needs to be an average hitter to be a good player. Hiura will hit a lot better than he showed.


Jugdish: Who is starting at ss for cincy next year?


Craig Edwards: Not sure. What about Didi Gregorious?


phil: How does ozuna’s contract change depending on whether the DH is allowed next semester? Will teams reasonably anticipate the universal DH in the next CBA and just eat the defensive risk for a year


Craig Edwards: There might be a suitor or two that might shy away from him. I’m not sure an NL club would say absolutely not when what they really want is his bat. Maybe it ends up making the difference between an extra year in his deal or something.


Jacques Pederson: Does Sanchez make sense for the Cardinals? If they resign Molina, he could DH and catch a bit. They are already looking at a down year (maybe, not sure) and always seem to need to add a power bat


Craig Edwards: His bat hasn’t been good enough to DH even if there is the DH in the NL next year. I’m not sure a team like the Cardinals that wants to compete but isn’t assured of contention can really afford to just hand a bunch of playing time to a guy who might be replacement level.


Guest: I’m listening to today’s episode of Rates and Barrels, and they are discussing the value of WRC+ for assessing hitters value.  Where can we find a leaderboard for this stat or how can we filter to see that leaderboard?


Craig Edwards: If you go to our Leadboards page, it is right there closer to the right-hand side of the page. You can sort by it or include filters for the stat as well as make different minimums for playing time. You can also go across multiple seasons or separate by team, league, or position.…


Craig Edwards: I find messing around on the leaderboards really fun.


Guest: Is there any analysis on stats that players earn in team wins vs in team losses?


Craig Edwards: Not really. I’m not sure it would be all that useful. If you want to know how much a player’s performance in games contributed to potentially winning games, you could look at WPA, though.


Guest: What in the world of baseball are you thankful for this year?


Craig Edwards: In the world of baseball, I’m thankful that the season happened.


Chris: What teams need to make a trade before the rule 5 deadline tomorrow?


Craig Edwards: I’m not quite sure on individual teams, but if you are curious, you can look on our Roster Resource pages for players who are currently unprotected. Anybody with an R5 designation whose name isn’t shaded in is not currently protected.


David: I see the usefulness in relation to the WAR stat.  if a player gets 4 home runs in a game his team loses, should those stats be apart of a players win number?  Saying they are 3.5 win player that year, it doesn’t actually represent how many actual games they helped win.


Craig Edwards: But that doesn’t tell you how good a player is or how the player performed, which is more important. If I’m comparing two players and I want to know who played better, I don’t want how good his teammates are interfering with that analysis. Good hitters shouldn’t be penalized if they play on a team with a bad bullpen. WAR tells you how much the player did to help his team win games.


Matt (Oceanside): Shelly Osbourne reported that the Dodgers laid some employees off with no specifics. The Dodgers current payroll projects to be around 191 million after arb raises. Do you see this news as being a clear indicator that they are not going exceed the lux tax threshold of 210 million? It seems like if they resign Turner, even at a discounted 12-14 million a year, they don’t have a lot of room to do anything crazy. Thoughts?


Craig Edwards: They might not just because they don’t need to. They could also just wait and see how the season goes and whether there are fans and then decide in season they are fine with going over the tax and add expensive players at the deadline.


David: “WAR tells you how much the player did to help his team win games.” But doesn’t care whether you actually win or not? So calling them win shares is very misleading.


Craig Edwards: They aren’t called win shares. They are called Wins above replacement. How many more wins the player contributes to his team compared to a replacement player.


Cube Jockey: To me, Molina seems to be a border line HOFer that will eventually get in based on reputation and the idea that his defensive contributions aren’t fully captured by current metrics.  I don’t see a two year contract turning out well if that’s what he wants.  Any chance he plays himself out of the HOF over the next couple of years?


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. His reputation is what it is at this point. I don’t think two bad years are going to change that much.


Dr. Bob: If I’m a NL GM, I’m going nuts not knowing if I need to plan for a DH next year or what my roster size is going to be. These are important considerations when building a team.


Craig Edwards: I’m sure there are some GMs who don’t even now what their payroll is going to be. It’s a tough offseason for a number of reasons, the DH included.


Blue: Odds that ticket prices, concessions and parking prices will drop to entice an aging fan base to return to the park or will we just stay home with a better seat watching mlb tv? Won’t that disrupt revenues for years to come?


Craig Edwards: I’m sure there will be packages and specials to entice fans back to the ballpark.


Guest: Will Carlos Santana find a team in’21?


Craig Edwards: For sure. At a minimum, he’s a really good bench bat, maybe a starter for a few teams.


David: I’ve seen them referred to as win shares.  I’ve also seen players referred to as having x.x number of wins for season in reference to war.  For the most part, I ignore all war discussion about players.  Mostly irrelevant.


Craig Edwards: You don’t have to care about WAR at all to enjoy baseball. There are plenty of things to love about the game without diving into WAR. I will say that if you want to have debates that compare players to each other, WAR is a great place to start because it attempts to take everything a player does on the field and give it value.


Isolated Thinker: If it’s true that all Cubs are on the block, what kind of trade value does Willson Contreras have considering the current state of the catching position?


Craig Edwards: He’s got some, but with two team-controlled seasons left, he’s still only projected as a slightly above-average player. He’s not getting the Cubs a haul of prospects.


GSon: The Indians have already stated they will trade Lindor..does it make sense for them to “retool” (not rebuild) with JRam and Carrasco as trade candidates.. with eyes on being able to rebuild their outfield and at least one spot in the infield ?


Craig Edwards: Not really. Assuming they get some MLB talent back, they can still make another Cesar Hernandez type move and with JRam and their pitching staff, they will still be contenders next season.


Mike Hawk: How do you think the NL DH will affect the overall payroll tally in the NL v. AL?  Do teams spend significantly more on that extra bat or utilize something in house?


Craig Edwards: I did some research on it a few years ago, but not that much money goes into spending for a DH. Sometimes it is a high-priced player, but they probably weren’t signed to be a DH. Teams just don’t go out and spend on a DH all that often because there aren’t that many players who really fit that description as bat-only, really good players when they get to FA.


Guest: Should the yanks sign simmons, and bauer?  Trade for Lindor??  Re-Sign DJ?  Other…


Craig Edwards: I think they need to sign one of the decent SS/2B out there, but it doesn’t have to be LeMahieu. They need starting pitching. Bauer makes sense, but not sure they are going to go there after getting Cole last season. A return of Tanaka makes sense, but they need another starter.


Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for all the questions. No chat next week for me. Have a great, safe Thanksgiving.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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