Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 3/14/2019

1:59
Craig Edwards: Hope everyone is well.

2:00
Big Fan: No question, just a comment that I can’t wait to start reading the work of all of your new writers, and it’s AMAZING what a diverse group you’ve managed to put together!

2:01
Craig Edwards: It is a great group, and I think they will do a great job providing important (to me) analysis about baseball.

2:01
Mac: Would teams be willing to pay the risk of injury for the 2-way player if Ohtani instead had the position player profile of Kiermaier, where most of that value comes from playing the field, and can’t really DH?

2:03
Craig Edwards: Depends on how much value. If it Ohtani-level pitching expectations, then probably not. If the player were middle-reliever level, then yes. If Kevin Kiemaier profiled as an average pitcher, they would probably do the reverse-Ohtani, and limit innings exposure while providing the time in the field.

2:03
Mac: With MLB’s commitment to making as much money as possible, how did shortened commercial breaks get passed or are we just getting more in-game commercials to make up for it?

2:04
Craig Edwards: don’t be surprised if games start like 3 minutes later to make up for the missed commercials. We aren’t exactly talking about a ton of time.

2:04
Cove Dweller: Outside of the ASG/HR Derby bonuses, I’m having a hard time understanding why the MLBPA would agree to these changes. Are the players getting something I’m missing? Did the MLBPA play its hand poorly?

2:06
Craig Edwards: Some of the changes can be imposed without player consent and players didn’t want a pitch clock. If that was important for the players, it is probably a mistake to give up something for it. What the players are really getting is one more full-time player, which would presumably help a bunch of vets looking for jobs as well as a few more minor leaguers getting earlier exposure to the majors.

2:06
brad: Craig,  Could/Should the Yankees trade betances for a prospect but mostly to clear cap and sign Kimbrel?

2:07
Craig Edwards: Wouldn’t it have been easier to not sign the other relievers and then sign Kimbrel? Trading Betances isn’t out of the question, but doing it to add Kimbrel doesn’t make them way better given the guys they already have in the pen.

2:08
Dave: If they’re going to have one trade deadline, shouldn’t it atleast be moved back a couple of weeks?  End of July is pretty early

2:09
Craig Edwards: I think a lot of people wanted August 15, and that would have made sense. It’s pretty arbitrary regardless. You don’t want to have it too late because you have more teams drop out and give up. Keeping more teams in contention or apparent contention is better.

2:09
John: With cable/satellite customers declining, when is the day of reckoning for Regional Sports Networks, since they are the most expensive channels with the lowest actual viewership?

2:11
Craig Edwards: They also have the most loyal viewers, which is why they are so expensive. We see a lot of surveys that show a bunch of people would happily drop sports for a reduction in their bill, but fewer about how many would drop a subscription completely if the sports were removed. Most skinny bundles without sports haven’t been that popular. I think teams are going to have a difficult choice to make at some point when the number of subscribers declines to the point where they aren’t reaching a large enough audience, but choosing to reach that larger audience will mean less guaranteed money.

2:12
Matt W: I hate the three batter minimum rule for the same reason I hate banning shifts: Don’t make a rule that impacts actual, on field gameplay. I want a team to align its fielders in such a way that makes it most likely they will get the big out when they need to. I want a manager to be able to bring in whatever pitcher they feel is most necessary to get a big out. Full stop.

2:13
Craig Edwards: I’m not a fan of the rule change, but it isn’t that more arbitrary than saying a pitcher has to pitch to one batter when batters can come right out without hitting. It is a matter of degree. I don’t think this really solves any issues that baseball should be worried about, but that’s only because pitching is so good right now. If baseball were to expand and pitching thinned out a bit, the three batter rule might end up with a decline in quality of relievers which is going to make the sport look bad.

2:14
RR: Brandon Nimmo = Christian Yelich 2.0. True or false?

2:14
Craig Edwards: False

2:14
Cathedral_of_Beisbol: At what point can we get our pitchforks regarding Manfred?  Unilaterally making a change as big as the “3-batter minimum” is some BS.  I hope the PA strikes and slaps Manfred down from his high horse.  I’ve got plenty of research projects to catch up on anyways.

2:14
Craig Edwards: If you don’t already have them, you are behind the curve.

2:15
Craig Edwards: Manfred is employed by the owners and he is doing a generally good job, though some of the recent movements are a bit shortsighted.

2:15
smendrick: Any chance we’re underrating the Yankees? They won 100 games last year and it seems like they have a lot of potential from Sanchez, Voit, Judge, and Stanton to see even greater improvements.

2:16
Craig Edwards: I don’t think anyone is underrating the Yankees. Most thought they would win the division last year and many probably will again.

2:17
LPFan: What if Nationals add Kimbrel?

2:17
Craig Edwards: They would distance themselves from the rest of the division a bit more. They are already favorites and remade their pen a bit, and Kimbrel would presumably help them even more.

2:18
Brian: Who do you like more in 2019, Eovaldi or Eduardo?

2:18
Craig Edwards: Floor: Eovaldi, Ceiling: Eduardo

2:19
Tyler: Who would you be ok being the better player over the next five years: Juan Soto or Ronald Acuna? Why?

2:20
Craig Edwards: Between the two, I’m taking Acuna. More complete player.

2:20
stormin’ norman gorman: as a chicago resident, do you have any reliable sources on the cubs’ finances, or know anybody who does?

2:20
Craig Edwards: They are rich and have a lot of money. Will work to confirm.

2:20
brad: Everyone keeps saying  Jose Martinez would be a great player with playing time, but if he is that good, don’t they have to play him?

2:21
Craig Edwards: I think he will play, but he’s not going to be great. He’s limited defensively, and his power is going to have to play a little better than it did last season.

2:21
Guille: July 28th. Angels out of it. Whitley, Bukauskas (or Josh James), Reddick (maybe) and Tucker for Trout. Who says no? kinda in the ballpark?

2:21
Craig Edwards: The Angels say no. I just can’t see them trading Trout.

2:22
bruwin blue: Why is julio urias’ soft innings limit 70-100 IP? Seems like a waste of a season, even considering injury history

2:23
Craig Edwards: It helps lower expectations, for one, and maybe lower his usage earlier on in the season so that they don’t waste a postseason, which might be worse given the dodgers’ chances. If Strasburg had a soft cap of 120 however many years ago, maybe the Nationals would have made it to the NLCS or beyond.

2:23
Tom: Thoughts on Carlos Martinez as a closer?

2:24
Craig Edwards: I’m sure he would be a good closer, though if his arm can take it, he’d be much more valuable as a starter.

2:24
Doug: I need Chris Paddack on the hill opening day. You need it. We all need it. How can we get it done?

2:24
Craig Edwards: Tell Paddack and the Padres to sign a Kingery extension.

2:25
mike sixel: If you were the players, would you rather 3-4 more minor leaguers get plenty of weeks in the majors (1 more roster spot, with injuries and shuttling), or 10 more players get September time? Seems like an interesting trade off, and I’m not sure which is better.

2:26
Craig Edwards: From a rough math perspective, you have 180 months of service time with an extra roster spot, which is 6 extra players in September per team. The trade-off is probably pretty close, though you get more vets jobs and get better players closer to free agency with the one extra spot.

2:27
Slothrop: If you were going to have a kid and your partner insisted on naming them “Greg”, would you want the name to be spelled “Graig”?

2:27
Craig Edwards: Why would I possibly want that? Don’t answer.

2:28
stoph: It seems that people are kinda down on Strasburg this year – do you know what the reasons for that might be, other than health concerns?

2:28
Craig Edwards: He just wasn’t as good last year as he had been in the past. That’s going to bring expectations down a bit.

2:28
HappyFunBall: Jose Martinez = Brandon Belt.  Mostly just a tease.

2:28
Craig Edwards: Brandon Belt was actually very good. He just played in the worst park possible for his talents.

2:29
Brian: Just about everyone seems to be down on Javier Baez this year, citing low walk % and high swing %.  Do you think he has a chance to repeat or build upon 2018? Or is that a career year for a player with that approach?

2:30
Craig Edwards: It feels like something has to give, whether it is walks go up or power goes down. He has a very unique profile, which makes people conservative about picking a repeat performance. He probably isn’t quite as good as he was last season and I’d say 60/40 that last year was his best season.

2:31
Matt Klentak: NEWS FLASH MANFRED: People who dont watch baseball, are not going to watch baseball because of any rule changes. If you dont find a way to market to kids & incentivize their parents to get them playing tball & little league there wont be any fans left to complain

2:31
Craig Edwards: I think it is important to think about rule changes that can make the sport better, but yes, finding future consumers is number one for the long-term health of the sport.

2:32
vince clortho: If the Pads are really going for it they need a pitcher no? If they’re really against signing either or both of the very good ones who are sitting around for nothing but money, might a mediocre contract swap with the Giants for Shark or Cueto make some sense?

2:33
Craig Edwards: That might make sense later in the year. Right now, we have no idea where the Padres are going to be in June, especially in the current NL landscape. Spending on a potentially mediocre pitcher now when the same pitchers will be available in June doesn’t make as much sense for the Padres as teams that know they are going to be in it.

2:33
the donut whole: is carlos martinez shoulder issue bad….like really bad?

2:34
Craig Edwards: that’s a good question, but wild guess, I’ll say no.

2:34
the donut whole: do you think cards traded pham, in part, to get him out of org? (not deal with him anymore)

2:34
Craig Edwards: Given the return they got, it is hard not to think that.

2:35
Brian: Greinke seemed to show “some” signs of aging last year.  Given he leans on command and pitch mix, how long do you see him being a top 20 SP?

2:35
Craig Edwards: He was only a borderline top-20 pitcher last season and he’s 35 so the odds are not in his favor. If he could limit home runs this season a bit, that could put him back in.

2:36
Dallas Keuchel: Am I signed by opening day? If so, where?

2:36
Craig Edwards: Yes. Astros, probably.

2:36
Lennifer: wrt the Sonny Gray trade: how much negotiating capital was it worth to the Yankees that there was a window to work out a contract extension? Did the Yankees deserve to charge more because the Reds extended Gray?

2:37
Craig Edwards: More than they got? No, guessing that was already worked into the price and the Reds were offering more than other teams who didn’t need a window.

2:37
Lou: If starting pitchers are required to face three batters in a inning, isn’t that going to incentive teams from not sending them out in the 6th or 7th (or even 5th) like a the people whining about the current state of baseball want?

2:38
Craig Edwards: Is that what the rule is? I thought it was just three batters, which sort of incentivizes managers to send out their starter for an extra batter. We might not end up with fewer in-inning changes at all.

2:39
Bo: How can MLB stop teams from circumventing the three-batter minimum by faking injury? I envision something similar to football defenses faking injury to slow faster-paced offenses.

2:40
Craig Edwards: Nobody will care to do it or at least about it until the playoffs, and then it will happen in a big game and then there will be another rule change.

2:40
Bread Gardner: It’s not three batters per inning, it’s three batters from game entry: “The Office of the Commissioner will implement an amended Official Baseball Rule 5.10(g) requiring that starting pitchers and relief pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or the end of a half-inning (with exceptions for incapacitating injury or illness).  The Players Association has agreed that it will not grieve or otherwise challenge the Office of the Commissioner’s implementation.”

2:40
Craig Edwards: that’s what I thought.

2:40
Brian: How worried are you about Corey Seager? Hip and elbow surgeries.  this has all the signs of a frustrating season for him

2:42
Craig Edwards: I’m expecting good things though I think I might have picked him for MVP to start last season so my expectations might already be too high. He might not be all the way back, but he should still be good and could switch with Taylor on the infield if shortstop proves to be too much.

2:42
Lennifer: for the Gray trade Q: how much extra do you think teams have  to give because they are granted a negotiating window?

2:42
Craig Edwards: little to nothing. It really isn’t worth a whole lot.

2:43
Seamus Catuli: Who does Keuchel sign a one year deal with next week and why is it the Padres?

2:43
Craig Edwards: If he signs a one-year deal, it won’t be with the Padres. I think Astros, Cardinals, Braves would be better bets. Doubt he signs a one-year deal, though.

2:43
RR: The rule changes, at least the ones around shortening the game, are designed to make the game more appealing to kids (/ppl with short attention spans)…

2:45
Craig Edwards: The theory is that kids want action, and shortening a commercial break or having one less pitching change every third game doesn’t really help. If you want more action, you need to reduce the number of strikeouts and get more balls in play.

2:45
mike sixel: I doubt the best way to find new customers is to black out local streaming viewers…..

2:46
Craig Edwards: This is true, but there are those paying a lot of money for exclusivity and that talks louder for MLB teams right now.

2:46
Brian: Did Kris Bryant peak in 2016?  Injury marred season in 2018, but not a lot of buzz about him rebounding to MVP form. Your thoughts on him for 2019?

2:48
Craig Edwards: Anybody who puts up an 8-win season has probably just played their best season, but Bryant basically repeated that in 2017. The big issue is health, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a sixish-win Bryant this season.

2:48
Dr. Bob: So if it’s three batters period, then a team can’t hit for a pitcher if he gets two batters out but comes up the next half-inning?

2:48
Craig Edwards: if you finish the inning that meets the requirement for the rule.

2:48
Barbados_slim: Do teams watch their players during the offseason so they do not get hurt?

2:49
Craig Edwards: they try but players understandably want time off and want to train with people they trust and that isn’t always the team.

2:49
Barbados_slim: Before the marlins fire sale of stanton ect a fee years back, Would they have been a threat to win the world series? Why didnt they keep their players?

2:50
Craig Edwards: they could have spent a little more money on pitching and contended. They opted to save money and rebuild again.

2:50
MikeM: Team brings in a pitcher who gets the final out of the inning.  He then starts the following inning and gets another out.  Now having only faced two batters is he eligible to be replaced since he met the finished the inning criteria?

2:50
Craig Edwards: I doubt it, but not sure.

2:50
Guille: reg rule changes, I see lots of pitching changes with two outs happening, and waaaay fewer in between innings pitching changes

2:51
Craig Edwards: this is possible. We might not see any fewer pitching changes. Who knows?

2:51
Barbados_slim: If machado and harper have a rough start in the beginning of their contract, would that scare other teams in signing big and long deals to other players?

2:52
Craig Edwards: There’s a long history of players not performing well on long term contracts. Enough do well that teams have generally still paid for stars. Some teams need wins now at the expense of future wins and are willing to pay now.

2:52
Mark: What do you make of the Cardinals vocal commitment to not break camp with their best arms in the bullpen and instead make decisions based on roster flexibility? Only asking about this because too flustered to even ask about Fowler/Ozuna vs O’Neil.

2:53
Craig Edwards: I’ll wait and see what they actually do. A lot of this tends to work out over time. Cecil and Gregerson aren’t even doing much of anything right now. Martinez opens up another slot.

2:54
The Amish: Pitching change will prevent the 3 RP coming in to face 3 hitters which is just ridiculous so I’m all for it.

2:54
Craig Edwards: this is the obvious benefit in terms of having a bunch of in-inning breaks. The question is how big of a problem it is and whether other problems will make the benefits moot.

2:56
MikeM: Robot umps are the best way to reduce strike outs and get more balls in play.  It would be easy to tighten the top and bottom of the strike zone so that hitter would have a better chance of putting the ball in play.  You would be able to tweak the zone from year to year to get exactly what you need.  I dont know why the umpires union is so against it.  It wouldnt eliminate the home plate umpires job and would significantly simplify it.

2:57
Craig Edwards: There’s a reason they are trying this out in the Atlantic League. It helps to have an actual case where we know how often calls are missed by the robots to make a plan going forward. I wouldn’t be opposed to a beep in the umps ear if a ball were off the plate so they would know not to call it a strike. high-low is a bit more difficult that way.

2:57
Brian: ______ will lead the Red Sox in saves this year?

2:57
Craig Edwards: Mookie Betts

2:58
Brian: Starling Marte or Michael Brantley for 2019?

2:58
Craig Edwards: Marte

3:00
Brian: Marco Gonzales was top 20 for WAR last year, don’t feel like he is getting the buzz he should entering his prime with solid peripherals.  Do you like him in 2019?

3:01
Craig Edwards: Like him? Sure, but he does have an injury history and wasn’t quite as good in the second half. He has to keep the walk rate down to be good given his okay strikeout numbers so it doesn’t leave him a large margin for error.

3:01
Antonio: Over/under 90 home runs for Judge and Stanton?

3:01
Craig Edwards: I would take the under. Just too many possibilities of one guy getting hurt or falling short.

3:02
Craig Edwards: Looks like I made it an hour. Thanks for all your questions. I’ll be back next week, probably Thursday, maybe earlier in the day.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

newest oldest most voted
thestatbook
Member
thestatbook

“Brandon Belt was actually very good. He just played in the worst park possible for his talents.”

Did Brandon Belt die?

gorillakilla34
Member
gorillakilla34

No. He’s just no longer very good.