Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 2/6/2020 by Craig Edwards February 6, 2020 2:03 Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling. 2:03 Just curious : Scott Kingery is a AAAA player? 2:04 Craig Edwards: No. Kingery is good. He put up an average line last year despite a nearly 30% K-rate. That should drop a bit and will mitigate a loss in BABIP. He can play all over the field, too. 2:05 Jacob: What underrated team do you think will be the best in five years considering current players, prospects, 2:07 Craig Edwards: Five years is a massively long time in baseball. As a reminder, the Royals were World Series champs in 2015. None of the four LCS teams that year made the playoffs in 2019. Teams like the Tigers, Giants, and Mariners should be good by then. 2:07 vin scully is my jesus: if it is found that it is graterol’s medicals that are holding up the Betts deal, isn’t it on them to pony up more in asset capital to offset potential risks for the sox? That being said, Verdugo had a pretty awful back injury last year… 2:09 Craig Edwards: I would imagine that the Dodgers would add extra in this case. nothing major, a close to non-prospect or just take a little less cash for Price. There was always reliever risk with Graterol so it’s hard to see this as a major change, though taking his chances of starter from 20% to 5% does make the trade look different from the Red Sox perspective. 2:10 vin scully is my jesus: Muncy’s extension feels incredibly light for a guy coming off 5 war, even accounting for age… thoughts? 2:13 Craig Edwards: It’s less about age and more about arbitration years. He was only going to make $4 million or so this year, so the $26 M pays a little more than what he might have made in his three arb years. The Dodgers get cost certainty and reduce his cap amount for 2022 plus one free agent season. It’s a reasonable deal but makes it less likely that Muncy ever gets a good payout in free agency. 2:13 Adam: What does the Betts/Price trade say, if anything, about the market for Bryant? 2:14 Craig Edwards: I don’t think it says a ton about since this deal included Price and his money. It does take away one potential suitor in the Dodgers and maybe two if the Angels had an outside shot at putting Bryant in the outfield. I think in terms of Verdugo plus Graterol, that’s in the ballpark of a Bryant deal with maybe a little less volatility in terms of the prospects/plaeyrs coming back. 2:15 Yo-Yo: Where do you think STL’s freed-up money goes after 2020? Molina/Wainwright/Cecil/Miller/Wieters’ contracts get cleared, which is approximately $50 million. In 2021, Carpenter/Fowler nets $35 million. Arb raises eat into that, of course. Mookie looks good in red, right? 2:18 Craig Edwards: Time to bring back the Bowling Hall of Fame, I think. Flaherty and Bader will both be up for arbitration. I doubt the Cardinals would be in on Betts because they will do just about anything to avoid free agency, but it will be interesting to see the Cardinals outfield outlook at the end of 2020. Carlson should get an opportunity this year and Bader and O’Neill will get chances to show they belong in the future conversation. Betts could be a perfect fit if the younger guys don’t advance like they want, but the rotation might need more help. 2:19 Bring Back Mookie : Craig, do you know anything about the Jessica Quiroli piece that links Verdugo to the hotel room assault that was part of the Kapler unpleasantness? 2:19 Craig Edwards: I don’t know anything more than what the article says. 2:20 Mike: Hello. I was wonerding how much do you put into a player who said he made some off season adjusmnets? Thanks Mike 2:21 Craig Edwards: It’s always good when you hear about a player working on things, but it is really hard to know how that’s going to translate. Sometimes guys try to unlock their swing for more power and it ruins everything. Some guys try to go the other way and it ruins their power. It’s great when a player can identify a weakness, but it is hard to know much until we see it in action. 2:21 CodyBellinger: Will RBI baseball exsist after MLB the Show goes to Xbox and Switch? The ratings for The Show are better than RBI, and now they don’t have the multi-platform advantage 2:21 Craig Edwards: Ask Paul Sporer. He knows way more about it. 2:22 Overbearing Padre: Seems like the contracts of Hosmer and Myers are going to continue hindering the Padres’ chances of succeeding. What should they do, or is accepting that those deals will exclude them from acquiring top tier talent in the short-term/hurting their playoff hopes all they can do? 2:24 Craig Edwards: Well, in theory the team benefited from the first three years of the Myers contract by paying him barely anything. With Hosmer, they’ve just got to let him play and hope he puts up one of his good years. For Myers, if they can unload the contract by eating a bunch of the money, they should just move on. They shouldn’t be including good prospects to get rid of these guys when they could just not play them if the team has better options. 2:25 Bob: Devils advocate: How much does the upgrade of Mookie over Verdugo help the Dodger WS odds when you take into account the offsetting loss of pitching depth and loss of the underrated Joc platoon? Is it really enough to justify the loss of a quality guy like Verdugo (cheap as he is) over the next several years, and the loss of cheap depth that Maeda and Stripling provide? There are opportunity costs here, and the money spent to fill those holes could have been spent elsewhere. Also, the Dodgers farm system value mainly seems to be tied up in guys that have already reached the majors, so internal replacements seem to be more limited than it would appear at first blush. 2:26 Craig Edwards: Jay wrote about the Dodgers staff recently https://blogs.fangraphs.com/david-price-would-offer-dodgers-more-name-… 2:29 Craig Edwards: but adding price and subtracting both maeda and stripling does take away some of that depth, but they still go eight deep in potential quality starters so I’m not sure the rotation loses anything. If they re-sign Betts, they don’t have any outfield spots open for Verdugo anyway. If they don’t, then they can find decent corner outfielders on the FA market. It’s a pretty clear win for the Dodgers, assuming this all goes through. 2:29 MLB Fan: If the Red Sox had intentions of paying down David Price contract to 3 years at 16 million a year, do you think that a few teams would have been interested in trading for him. Sounds like a very fair contract. I think they messed up here. 2:30 Craig Edwards: If Price were a free agent coming off a season where he didn’t finish it and offseason wrist surgery, he might get 1/15 or 2/25 as a FA. I don’t see how individually, any team would take on 3/48. He would have to prove he was healthy first. 2:30 Morbo: Do you have any information on the likelihood that that Carlos Martinez will be in the Cardinal’s rotation or bullpen the season? 2:31 Craig Edwards: He will be given every opportunity to make the rotation, where he would be of more value. It’s up to his arm staying healthy as the pitch counts go up in spring and being able to recover after throwing 60-80 pitches in mid-march. 2:32 Bart: What are the chances that the three team trade involving Betts falls apart because of Gaterol’s medical history? 2:32 Craig Edwards: I think pretty low. 2:32 Jerome: How did the big Mookie trade affect the Playoff/WS odds for the A’s and Rays? 2:33 Craig Edwards: for the playoff odds, they go way up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Sox playoff odds drop 50% and teams like the Rays and A’s and Indians, White Sox, and Angels are going to benefit from that. 2:33 Blue Radley: If the Joc Pederson + Stripling deal goes through, how serious a threat are the Angels in the AL West/Wild Card? 2:34 Craig Edwards: They were a threat before this deal, maybe not the AL West, but needed things to break right with pitching. Stripling means one more thing can go wrong before the bottom falls out. They still need pitching, but they got an upgrade in the outfield plus depth at a position of need. 2:35 Mr. Metropolitan: Move to the NL, pitcher’s park half the time, but below average defense behind him. Is Rick Porcello a solid bounce-back candidate? Thoughts on Wacha as well? 2:36 Craig Edwards: Not a huge believer in either one. I think the effects you talk about will help, but that’s more to make him league-average, maybe a little above. Wacha just hasn’t been healthy. I do wonder if he’d do better as a reliever full time. 2:36 Guest: A lot of people are doing this math: Betts 2020 value < Value of Verdugo & Graterol for 5/6 years. Buuuut if they’re not trying to compete in 2020 aren’t they kinda wasting all the excess value of their cheap cost controlled stars? Shouldn’t that enter the calculation? 2:37 Craig Edwards: Ben Clemens sort of did the math on that here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-red-sox-shouldnt-trade-mookie-betts/ 2:38 Craig Edwards: and basically punting playoff odds in 2020 isn’t worth the slight increase in 2021-2023. 2:38 Guest: Can you link to your approximate evaluations for prospects? 2:38 Craig Edwards: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/an-update-to-prospect-valuation/ 2:39 Craig Edwards: Here’s the one for non-top-100 prospects: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/putting-a-dollar-value-on-prospects-out… 2:39 Craig Edwards: Also, these pieces are in the essential articles section of the prospects page. https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects 2:39 Gil: Thoughts on the Cohen, Wilpon, Mets situation? I thought we finally tossed the ring into Mount Doom… 2:40 Craig Edwards: Silly, silly commenter. I don’t know why you got your hopes up with the Wilpon’s involved. The whole five-year plan was wild from the start. You are either selling or you aren’t. I didn’t think it would blow up this soon, but I’m not surprised it’s happening. 2:40 Meg I dun do fantasy ??s Rowley: Do you do fantasy questions? 2:41 Craig Edwards: If you couch them in actual baseball questions, sure. 2:41 devin has cheeto lips: Do you see Aaron Sanchez catching on anywhere and in what role? 2:41 Craig Edwards: Maybe a reliever in the second half, but probably not much production this season. 2:42 Morbo: The Betts return feels light to me. It seems like the Red Sox somehow received less in return for Mookie than the D-Backs did for Goldschmidt. Especially since catcher is such a weak position. Tell me why I’m wrong… 2:43 Craig Edwards: You aren’t wrong. By attaching Price, they limited their suitors and tanked some of Betts’ value. The deal was probably “fair” value-wise, but if you are a rich team still in a competitive window, that this was a fair deal is all the reason not to make it. 2:43 Marko from Tropoja: Suppose the Dodgers extend Betts right now. Which tandem would you want for the next three years: Betts/Bellinger or Trout/Rendon? 2:44 Craig Edwards: I’ll take Trout and Rendon. Rendon is the most likely to decline over this time, but he’s also paired with the best player by far. 2:44 robert: Could Austin Gomber make it as a mid-rotation guy in 2-3 years? 2:44 Craig Edwards: His track record suggests otherwise. 2:44 dese qweschons: can the rockies please play their young players this year instead of running them geriatrics out on the field? 2:45 Craig Edwards: It would be nice to see what some of their former prospects could do with a full season. Now is as good a time as any. 2:45 Yankees’ Injured List: What does it say about the Dodgers that they were able to basically give the Angels their 2/3 starter and starting LF for a utility guy? I would imagine there was a better deal out there for Stripling? 2:46 Craig Edwards: I’ll be in better position to comment once we see the deal, but there probably wasn’t a great market for Pederson right now. Especially with Puig still out there. 2:46 Kretin: If Joc keeps producing at his current rate, do you think he gets a QO after the season? 2:47 Craig Edwards: If he was able to play every day, yes. Otherwise, it will be a close call. 2:47 Cito’s Mustache: Is the theory behind the Depth Charts WAR totals to approximate how many wins a team is projected to have in 2020? IE. The Blue Jays 30.9 WAR + 48 wins (a replacement level roster) = 79 wins. 2:48 Craig Edwards: That’s pretty close, yes, though out projected wins are based on simulations that are based on those projections. 2:48 Dear Craig,: Do the Angels have enough pitching to be a contender, like Trout was “promised”? In adding Teheran and Bundy, it just seems like they have a bunch of 4th & 5th starters. Why didn’t they go hard after Bumgarner? The D-Bascks basically stole him for less than $20MIL a year. Did the Angels drop the ball there, and do you think they will do anything else to bolster their rotation? 2:50 Craig Edwards: Seems like Bumgarner really wanted to go to Arizona. Not sure spending $100 million on him would have been wise. Cole made the most sense, but getting 2 of the non-Cole pitchers would have made sense as well. They still got Rendon so it isn’t like they didn’t improve, but they really need that pitching to hold up for at least half a season so they can trade for reinforcements. 2:50 devin has cheeto lips: Senzel is only 24, and his season last year was just…meh. What do you see from him this year and can he have a Yellichesque turn around? 2:51 Craig Edwards: That’s a stretch, but Senzel is only a year removed from being a top 10ish prospect and he’s been learning a ton of new positions and trying to stay healthy. Yelich is too much to put on anybody, but I think it is reasonable to expect a lot more than what we’ve seen. 2:51 DL: if their pitching stays healthy they’re a contender. Main problem through the years has been the health of their staff 2:52 Craig Edwards: re: the Angels. I think it’s been less the health and more the quality. Plus their position player group this season should be better than it’s been in any Trout season if Simmons stays healthy (along with everybody else). 2:53 The Ghost of Wade Boggs: If the Red Sox use the money they are saving on trading away Price along with Betts in order to reinvest it in an offer to bring Betts back in free agency, would that change the outlook of the deal? 2:53 Craig Edwards: If they brought Betts back in free agency, I think a lot would be forgiven, yes. I don’t expect that to happen, though. 2:53 Guest: How much do you think the Red Sox would have sacrificed in their package if they waited til midseason to deal Betts (and see what their standing was in 2020)? They got significantly more than the Orioles got for Machado without even considering moving Price (which hurt the value) 2:55 Craig Edwards: They would have gotten a lot less at midseason, I think. Position players just don’t seem to command a ton with two months of the season left to go. The main benefit is getting that production all season long. Pitching acquisitions on almost all teams are taking the spot of a replacement level or worse player plus oversized in importance in the playoffs which leads to better returns. If the Red Sox were going to trade Betts, now was definitely the time to do it. 2:55 Big Joe Mufferaw: Happ, Montgomerry, Loasiga enough to make it to June when German and Paxton come back? Or do the yanks make a move? 2:56 Craig Edwards: I don’t see them doing anything right now. They should be good enough to weather the storm. If Paxton doesn’t come back, then they’ll need to do something. 2:56 dese qweschons: Now that the Red Sox players see how much management is committed to winning, how many of them will try fleeing beantown? 2:58 Craig Edwards: Players generally sign for the most money. It was always going to cost a lot to get Devers to sign long term. Benintendi probably hasn’t done enough to warrant a huge commitment. For free agents, the money talks more than a sense of commitment to winning. If you offer someone the most money, they will think you are committed to winning because they want you. 2:58 Bigfoot Erotica: You obviously do a good job here calling out this stuff generally, but do you think the Indians have been getting a free pass (media/even their own fans) due to their market size, because it sure seems like they are intentionally wasting their window with parsimony. Sign a damn outfielder FFS 3:01 Craig Edwards: I think attendance since they started to take things back is the biggest indicator they aren’t getting a free pass. They gambled and lost last year when Minnesota stepped up. All the Lindor talk isn’t helping. They should just offer him a massive modern, Votto-deal and see if he’ll be the face of the franchise for the next decade. 3:01 Brett: Hi Craig, who would be the most likely Cardinal to have a surprise 5+ WAR year? 3:02 Craig Edwards: Probably Harrison Bader or Matt Carpenter. Carlos Martinez with an outside shot if he pitched 180 innings. 3:02 Yo-Yo: Brock Holt to STL makes sense, right? He’d drastically improve the bench for presumably little cost and would keep Edman in the infield, where he fits better. 3:03 Craig Edwards: I don’t see enough playing time for Holt. They might not have a ton of known quality in the outfield, but they have a lot of guys they want to give playing time to. 3:04 Johnny5Alive: Couldn’t Price be good in the big parks, dry air and (relatively) weaker NL lineups? 3:04 Craig Edwards: If he’s healthy, yes. If he’s healthy, he’ll be good anywhere. He was good in half a season last year. 3:05 Guest: RE: Mookie midseason trade. Isn’t that kind of funny because LAD was basically assumed to win the division anyway? I suppose the threat of SD swooping in played a roll, but those reported packages were much worse IMO 3:06 Craig Edwards: If the Padres had gotten Betts, the Dodgers advantage would have been just a handful of games. That’s far from a sure thing. A Bellinger injury or something like that would put the Padres ahead so although the Dodgers were far ahead before the trade and are far ahead now, the Padres with Betts is a tight division. 3:07 Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for all the question.