Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 2/27/2020 by Craig Edwards February 27, 2020 2:00 Craig Edwards: Will be a few minutes late as I try to finish a few things up. Keep that queue going and I’ll be back in a few. My second piece on MLB’s relationship with television went up today. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mlbs-winning-and-losing-efforts-to-conquer… 2:19 Craig Edwards: Okay. ready to roll. Here’s a piece on the Braves that just went up. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/braves-print-money-for-liberty-media/ 2:21 Bort: Griffin Canning is apparently getting his elbow looked at. Severino’s is being repaired. Is this the time for the Tigers to strike and get a haul for Matthew Boyd? 2:23 Craig Edwards: If there is a haul to be had for Boyd, then yes, the Tigers should look to strike. For the Angels, their best trade option after Adell, who is basically untouchable, is also injured in Brandon Marsh. Boyd would make sense for the Yankees, but there are questions about Boyd’s home run issues. If he could get a reliable third pitch, he’d be an ace, but I understand why teams might be hesitant to give up a ton for him right now. 2:23 BlueJayMatt: Jays have a ton of pitching at AAA that doesn’t really look good enough – what does Atkins do with players like Waguespack, Hatch, Zeuch, Reid-Foley etc.? Are they all bullpen bound or does trading them for relievers make more sense? 2:24 Craig Edwards: Both? I think giving them a shot in the bullpen is probably the best option as they also theoretically provide some starting depth that trading for a reliever wouldn’t. 2:24 Moose_Bolton: Do you interact with the comments on your posts/articles much? And if so have there been any that were particularly memorable? 2:25 Craig Edwards: I try to, but sometimes there’s just too much to track and other things to do. I probably read 90% of my comments and I like to think I’m a well-balanced individual. 2:26 Ryan: How many innings do you think Sale throws this year? 2:26 Craig Edwards: 130? 2:26 scully’s silky sound: i know we are all tired of the cheaty cheaty bang bang scandal… however, what do you make of this: as the Astros players were given immunity as a group in order for MLB to ascertain the truth, why doesn’t Manfred just come out and ban them from posteason contention in 2020? Group immunity, group penalty 2:28 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure one more team with nothing to play for is good for the sport. They probably should have had future penalties already negotiated with the union plus some sort of increased scrutiny or something for the Astros. 2:28 Logan: MLBTR relayed recently a report that MLB teams were pressing to sign many pre-arb players to extensions during this spring. Have you heard similar reports from the industry? What players seem like good extension candidates? 2:29 Craig Edwards: The report came from Jeff Passan, I think, and he’s usually right about that sort of thing. The Bummer and Peralta extensions aren’t exactly extensions for stars, but I could see teams trying to get some cost certainty on a bunch of lower level players as the CBA comes to an end. 2:30 The Amish: Who has a better year this year? Bo Bichette or Whit Merrifield? 2:30 Craig Edwards: Probably Bichette though it wouldn’t surprise if their hitting lines were pretty similar. 2:31 Concerned Fan: How many games does Giancarlo Stanton play this year? O/U 90 2:31 Craig Edwards: I’ll go over. There’s a lot of time left. 2:32 Zachary: Can the Cubs win the Central this year? 2:33 Craig Edwards: Of course. I would give the four non-Pirate teams a pretty equivalent shot so the odds of choosing any one team to win isn’t good, but the Cubs have as good of a shot as anybody. https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds 2:34 guest: How much money would the Giants have to kick in on either Cueto or Shark’s contract to get a decent prospect back from the Yankees? 2:34 Craig Edwards: To the Yankees right now. Probably nearly all of it. 2:34 Marko from Tropoja: My idea for “fixing” the playoffs is to keep the single WC game but make the DS seven games. Your thoughts? 2:35 Craig Edwards: I don’t think that’s too bad, though I’m not sure the playoffs really need fixing. 2:35 Matt: Has MLB started planning for if/when the Coronavirus starts to impact the US? 2:35 Craig Edwards: I would hope so. It’s worth being prepared for even if nothing comes of it. 2:37 Rothbert: The Brewers’ owner recently stated that the team ‘operated at a loss’ in 2019. The Brewers have also cut payroll by 10s of millions compared to last year. Am I to believe that the team is stretching itself financially to try and field a competitive team? Am I wrong to be a little offended by an MLB team’s portrayal of its accounting? 2:38 Craig Edwards: They also opened up a new spring training facility last year in addition to their increased payroll. A loss doesn’t mean much if we don’t know what the loss is and how much of the expenses are carried forward year to year. 2:39 Red Ruffing: Do you know any longitudinal studies on the frequency and severity of injuries among mlb players? Would mlb players be better off pursuing a strict Babe-Ruth-like regimen of beer, hot dogs and philandering? 2:39 Craig Edwards: Not if they want to stay in the majors. 2:39 MB: Thoughts on the YouTube TV incident? As someone who finally went streaming *because of a Fox Sports Ohio blackout with Dish*, I’m pretty irritated. 2:41 Craig Edwards: It’s very disappointing and completely expected. MLB had the opportunity to control its own destiny but instead Sinclair is and what’s happening with YoutubeTV, Dish, and Sling as well as Comcast in Chicago is what they do. I wrote a little about it last year. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/how-sinclairs-purchase-of-baseball-sports-… 2:41 Bring Back Mookie: Craig, are you a boardgame person as well? Or is that just Ben’s beat? 2:42 Craig Edwards: It is not my beat. 2:42 Jurassic Carl Everett: Who makes the playoffs again first from: BAL KC DET MIA 2:42 Craig Edwards: Detroit if Manning and Mize both pan out? 2:43 Rox Fan: Daniel Murphy, Ryan McMahon, and Brendan Rodgers are all on the roster. How does that shake out? 2:43 Craig Edwards: Rodgers still needs to get healthy, but I would think whoever hits, plays. 2:44 Matt: How long until the fans of most teams are able to watch their local team without a cable package? 2:45 Craig Edwards: Not sure. Teams now control their own streaming rights so some big monthly/yearly package might come soon, but to have 16 or more teams all do that could take years. 2:45 Appa Yip Yip: Astros hitters have been hit like, 7 times in 3 games. It’s dumb and wrong, but how did Manfred not see this coming? 2:46 Craig Edwards: I think a few other teams have been hit like 6 times so this really isn’t quite enough yet to be worried about. 2:46 Lord Explosion Murder: If the Mets can’t decide between Matz & Wacha for starter #5, why don’t they just pitch each of them four or five innings every fifth game? 2:47 Craig Edwards: If they would both be good relievers, it would be better to leverage them in multi-inning stints at important moments instead of waiting every five days and not know if the second pitcher will come in at a needed moment. 2:47 Gavin Electrolux: What slash line do you project for me this season? 2:48 Craig Edwards: Depth Charts say .267/.330/.447. Seems fair. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=22 2:48 Don Von Handburger: Stanton games played over/under: 123 – which side do you bet on? 2:48 Craig Edwards: under, but don’t use my advice for gambling purposes. 2:49 Gil: Do you have time to go to any ST games or are you happy catching whatever you can via streaming? Heading out to Arizona for the first time this year myself and happy to check out whatever recommendations for food/beer/fields if you have them 2:49 Craig Edwards: Not sure I have too many recommendations. Just go see as much you can. I will be there this year and we are having a meetup. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/fangraphs-phoenix-meetup-march… 2:50 Christian: The SP projections on the depth charts seem to have some surprises, like the Rays being third overall (ahead of, e.g., the Dodgers), and the Yankees still projecting to be seventh overall (even after the injuries to Severino and Paxton). Do you disagree with the SP projections at all? 2:51 Craig Edwards: Keep in mind teams 2-8 are only separated by like 2.5 games. As for the Rays, there is a lot of Glasnow love happening in the projections, but Snell and Morton give them a great start. As for the Yankees, Cole would keep just about any team high. 2:53 LScott: So the new 3 batter minimum rule says something to the effect of if a pitcher gets injured before he faces 3 batters it is up to the umpire to decide if it is legitimate. If it is indeed declared legitimate, and the pitcher is a RHP, does his replacement need to also be a RHP? Does the injured pitcher need to be placed on the IL? If the answer to both is no, then I can see teams using this loophole to bring in a LOOGY to face a big time lefty hitter before his RHP predecessor faces the 3 batters Your thoughts? 2:55 Craig Edwards: It’s possible, but how often is this going to actually happen. If it happens a few times and the pitcher doesn’t go on the IL, a team is going to get fined or something and they’ll stop doing it. If you are an ump, you have to take them at their word. 2:55 Dylan Carlson: How well do I have to hit for Mo to not Bryant me? 2:56 Craig Edwards: If he puts up what Kris Bryant did in Spring Training, then he’ll make the team. I think it’s reasonable to send Carlson to Triple-A if he’s not clearly better than the other options and Tyler O’Nell has hit well when given extended playing time so it is probably worth finding out if he’s good. The real hard test is going to be if O’Neill plays well to start the season and Fowler struggles. 2:57 LScott: Is Yasiel Puig still a FA because of his mediocre production/ceiling or more because of his personality/behavior/clubhouse influence? 2:58 Craig Edwards: He’s a corner outfielder who put up an average hitting line last season. A much better version of that in Marcell Ozuna had to settle for a one-year deal. He needs to find a team willing to give him decent money and a guaranteed spot playing and there aren’t a lot of those options out there. 2:59 The Amish: Who has a better year? Max Scherzer or Luis Castillo? 2:59 Craig Edwards: Not going to pick against Scherzer. 2:59 Kevin: Are you shutting down at 3? 3:00 Craig Edwards: I’ll keep going for a bit since I started late. 3:00 Guest: Is it just me, or the BVW do a sneakily good job building this NYM bullpen? 3:01 Craig Edwards: I’m not quite sure how sneaky it was to trade Kelenic and take on Cano’s deal to get Diaz plus giving Familia a big free agent deal, but I like the Betances move. Could really pay off. 3:01 The Dude: Do players get drug tested for marijuana? I have never heard of a player being suspended for that. 3:02 Craig Edwards: minor leaguers do, though I think that might be changing. 3:02 Sox Fan: Are you a believer in Fried making that next elite step? Could he be ’18 Snell? 3:02 Craig Edwards: Next elite step? Probably not, but solidly above average starter seems reasonable. 3:03 Matt W: I find it very annoying that for years, the party line of MLB is that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to have a 3 game wild card series, and similarly impossible to have any team go on bye. Now, they are very keen on adding more playoff teams and doing exactly what they previously said they could not do. Why not just try to make our current format better? 3:03 Craig Edwards: They are trying to get more money from the networks that pay for playoff games. This has nothing to do with making the game/playoffs better. 3:04 Matt: What’s a best case scenario for the Phillies this year? 3:04 Craig Edwards: 95 wins and World Series. They have a lot of talent and if they put it together, they can win the division. 3:04 You heard it here!: Stanton will play between 90 and 123 games. 3:04 Craig Edwards: seems like something I would say. 3:05 Soto: Is it insane that I think the Cubs could have a sneaky good year? There are things that have to go right… KB has to be closer to his MVP year, Contreras needs to repeat last year, Happ needs to have a full season like his September,Darvish needs to be a #1, Hendricks #2, Q #3, Lester #4, KImbrel has to be usable, and the cheap arms they’ve added to the bullpen need to have an impact… 3:05 Craig Edwards: I get that people are down on the Cubs because they refuse to improve and didn’t make the playoffs last year. Not being as good as 2015-2018 doesn’t mean bad though. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they won 90 games. 3:07 Craig Edwards: If you haven’t, check out the distribution graphs we have in the playoff odds section. 89 wins is the Cubs 75th percentile outcome. https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds?displayOption=distrib… 3:08 Kevin: Revisionist history: Who’s the best player of the past decade to not make a World Series (not named Trout). I am thinking more of someone who played the majority of the decade rather than an Acuna type. My pick is Freeman 3:08 Craig Edwards: The leaderboard says Votto and hard to argue with that. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y… 3:08 Jay Will: Are the Diamondbacks going to be better this year? 3:08 Craig Edwards: Better than 85 wins will be tough, but that’s certainly possible. 3:09 Kurupt FM: Teoscar Hernandez played far better defense at CF than LF. Do some players not transition through the defensive spectrum conventionally? Also will he finally figure out how to be a consistent all around player this year? 3:10 Craig Edwards: Could just be a comfort or small sample thing. I think most of the skills translate over though players with great jumps and arms in the corner but are somewhat slow might not translate as well to center where there are longer runs. 3:10 Richard Martin: Will the Angels prospect list come out soon? 3:10 Craig Edwards: I think Eric’s chat is tomorrow and he would know best. 3:10 Damien: Do you think the three batter minimum could blow up in Manford’s face? There are a few umps with questionable decision making abilities. All it would take is for one of them to say he thinks a team is lying about an injury and having a legit injury turn worse. Seems like a lawsuit wating to happen. 3:11 Craig Edwards: I don’t think it ends up mattering much and I doubt your scenario will come up precisely for the reason you say. 3:11 Pete: No one seems to think the Phillies will make the playoffs in 2020. If they miss again in 2021, is Girardi gone? Harper’s prime years are flying by. 3:13 Craig Edwards: That would be a pretty big reversal. The Phillies are in a tough division. Despite Harper and Wheeler, the team isn’t carrying too high of a payroll and a bunch comes off the books at the end of the year. I would guess they would just spend more. 3:13 Zachary: Can Rob Manfred be fired? 3:13 Craig Edwards: By the owners, yes, though his track record with CBA bargaining suggests the owners will want to keep him around for at least two more years. 3:13 Matt: Any insight/guesses as to what will happen to AT&T’s RSNs? The Pirates don’t even stream in-market to most cable subscribers. 3:15 Craig Edwards: They were trying to sell them but didn’t get a big enough offer with Sinclair the high bidder. The lawsuit MLB settled required in market streaming in order to raise the price of MLB.tv so I would guess that AT&T would get something done, though it doesn’t look like they want to be in this for the long haul. 3:15 Brood550: Does Nate Lowe stick in the majors this year? Sounds like he showed up in better shape and lighter. They are even playing him at 3b in spring training. 3:16 Craig Edwards: There are some blocks to playing time, but he should hit well enough to be at least a semi-regular. Not sure about full time though. 3:17 Brandon Warne: Who should the Yankees trade for, and why is it someone other than Robbie Ray or Jon Gray? 3:17 Craig Edwards: I think the Yankees should just ride it out and trade for someone at midseason if things are still going poorly. 3:17 Johnny5Alive: like your pieces on the media issues. i just got notification today from my youtube tv that they they couldnt agree with sinclair and now we wont get the fox regional sports networks. I guess sinclair is trying to force people back to cable, but i cant see it working for them. It might make me drop Youtube TV, since i left Sling when they lost the regional sports networks (among other reasons), but ill just use a VPN and watch in mlb.tv local games rather than ever go back to cable. it is extremely nearsighted on sinclair’s part. especially since more people are opting into these streaming platforms. 3:18 Craig Edwards: I don’t disagree, but Sinclair is making a bet on gambling eventually being their revenue driver anyway so they are just going to try and squeeze as much money as possible as they can right now. 3:18 Pete: Unless Stanton’s injury is serious, isn’t it time for the Yankees to trade Frazier even if it’s not for the return they might have once hoped for? 3:18 Craig Edwards: They might as well keep him at this point given that the return isn’t going to be great. 3:19 Disappointing player: Who would be the most surprising comeback player of the year for you be? 3:19 Craig Edwards: One guy I’m rooting for is Alex Reyes. 3:19 Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me this week. Thanks for all the questions.