Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–6/6/19

2:00

Craig Edwards: A lot of Kimbrel questions already. We’ll get going right after I refill my coffee.

2:03

Craig Edwards: and here’s my longer take on the signing in full post form. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/craig-kimbrel-is-no-longer-a-free-agent/

2:04

I remember 1984: Kimbrel is headed to the Cubs, and is a bit of an unknown as he hasnt taken the mound in a long while. Does this push the market up for Shane Greene, and increase the urgency for the other teams in need of backend bullpen help like the Dodgers and Red Sox?

2:06

Craig Edwards: I don’t think Kimbrel really changes the relief market for the trading deadline. There are always a ton of relievers traded and available and nearly all of it will happen after the All-Star Break. Teams are still going to spend the next month trying out different arms and hoping they can get it together before they go out and add someone. Nearly all contenders will add a reliever because that’s just what contending teams do.

2:06

Greg: Are you surprised by Kimbrel’s deal.  Seems a lot for 2 1/2 years.  And if it’s not a lot, why not just sign him in February and get the benefit of the whole season.  Is draft pick compensation really that important?

2:07

Craig Edwards: We don’t know for sure what Kimbrel’s demands were, but it sure seems like if you are willing to pay 3/43 now, 3/50 plus the $5M-$6M in draft value doesn’t seem too outrageous to get a full season.

2:07

Alec: Craig, the Twins sure seem like they ought to be aggressive in landing additional pitching. With primary target Kimbrel gone, how aggressive do they 1. will be and 2. ought to be in pursuing Kuechel?

2:09

Craig Edwards: I’m not sure they need a player like Kimbrel. The bullpen concerns in Minnesota are a bit overblown. There are some good arms there. Keuchel would probably be a better fit. He’d be a better fit on most teams, honestly. The Twins can spend less on relief help at the deadline and better assess their needs in late July as they have some cushion to decide. They might as well wait.

2:09

Dr. Bob: I thought that your tweet had a tacit criticism of the Cards not signing Kimbrell because of being cheap. Weren’t you the one who reminded us that their organizational philosophy is to never pay for a closer because they can be developed? BTW, I completely agree with that sentiment. Keuckel is another story. I do hope they go the extra mile to get him for two years.

2:11

Craig Edwards: If I’m running an organization, I’m not going to spend a ton of money on a free agent reliever. If you are going to spend money on a free agent reliever, I think going for a more elite option is better. The Cardinals are really playing with fire right now in the rotation and Keuchel would really fit well with what they need without costing too much.

2:11

Voldemort: CRAIG what is up?

2:12

Craig Edwards: Just looking for horcruxes.

2:12

Bobby Cox: The Braves really need to sign Dallas and push Gausman or Folty to the bullpen, right? What other SP help is realistic at this point.

2:14

Craig Edwards: Keuchel would really help them. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them make a run at Stroman. Bumgarner is going to be available. Maybe Boyd or Mike Minor or Lance Lynn. There should be starters available. I wonder if teams wouldn’t be better off trying to jump the gun and trade now given that two more months of a starter can be a pretty big difference given the state of most teams’ fifth starters.

2:15

Slurve: Is it preferential to be a fly ball pitcher vs. ground ball pitcher? Other than park factors, what else would tip the scale or is it generally one over the other?  I get that ground balls are rarely home runs…    Thanks!

2:16

Craig Edwards: Ben Clemens had a good article on that the other day. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/gregory-groundball-vs-marty-mcfly-who-allo…

2:16

Craig Edwards: It doesn’t really matter that much as long as you can get outs.

2:17

Chris: Leake almost got traded to Arizona? Why are they buying number 4 starters?

2:17

Craig Edwards: They are kind of in contention, he would be pretty close to free and he’s from there. He would make the team better.

2:18

Kw: Are the Cubs done fixing the bullpen or do they go after a lefty in the trade market?

2:19

Craig Edwards: Depends on how some of the internal options progress and get healthy, but it is still a pretty good bet that they trade for another reliever near the deadline.

2:20

Matt: Why is Chris Archer throwing a sinker 22% of the time this season(twice as much) after hitters had a .396 wOBA off it last year and a.492 wOBA off it this season. It doesn’t generate any whiffs really either. It seems like baseball has moved away from the sinker too.

2:23

Craig Edwards: It does get called strikes a decent amount of the time and it usually pairs well with sliders and changeups which Archer does throw. Whether he has the right mix, I couldn’t say, but that’s the philosophy behind it. As for the numbers, we are only talking about 24 PA this season, so it isn’t much to go from.

2:23

Kurupt FM: If you were the jays what would you do with Aaron Sanchez?

2:25

Craig Edwards: If he’s healthy, trade him. He hasn’t looked great the last few starts and would need a good run over the next two months to really build up value. With another year of control after this season, the team can keep him if there aren’t good offers, but if they can move him, they should.

2:25

Guest: Why does German Marques continue to be overlooked? Seems like he was overlooked last year relative to Kyle Freeland and this year his great start hasn’t gotten much attention

2:27

Craig Edwards: I can’t speak for everyone else, but I wrote about him last year https://blogs.fangraphs.com/somethings-gotten-into-german-marquez/ and Eric covered him when he signed his extension. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/rockies-long-term-core-takes-shape-with-ma…

2:28

Craig Edwards: He did get off to a slow start last year which doesn’t help attention-getting. This year, the Rockies got off to a slow start and that doesn’t help matters. He doesn’t have eye-popping strikeout numbers and his ERA sits at 4, even if that is good for Colorado, it isn’t going to turn heads. He’s a good pitcher and if he continues to pitch well, the attention will come.

2:29

Admiral Akbar: How much are you buying into Frankie Montas for the rest of the year?

2:32

Craig Edwards: He’s obviously always had the velocity and the splitter gives him another swing and miss offering with the slider. The chase rate on the splitter is really high right now, and I do worry as players get more looks at it that the’ll be able to lay off the pitch, but even so, it is an encouraging start to the season.

2:32

Dylan: Does Kimbrel’s deal hurt Keuchel? Or are they mutually exclusive

2:33

Craig Edwards: I wouldn’t think it would hurt. It might help that the team that signed Kimbrel wasn’t going to be in on Keuchel. If Keuchel’s expectations were anchored for a one-year deal, this might give him pause given Kimbrel got three, but I couldn’t say that for sure.

2:34

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Per Rosenthal, the Rays (!) were runners up for Kimbrel at 3/39 or 2/31, so apparently they’re willing to add around $15MM for their push. How do you see those hypothetical dollars getting used now? Keuchel? Taking on contracts at the deadline?

2:35

Craig Edwards: It’s possible that they would take on contracts at the deadline, though this might have been an isolated case for the Rays. They certainly have the prospect capital to make any move they want, but I don’t know that this means they will end up using the money on anyone else unless they think it will make a big difference.

2:37

Andrew: So is Jason Vargas actually a perfectly solid 5th starter? How is he having a better season than Thor? I’m very confused.

2:38

Craig Edwards: Depends what you want out of a fifth starter, but a guy who can go five innings at an above-replacement rate definitely fits that bill, which is what Vargas is. As for Syndergaard, he’s been way better than Vargas, just not quite as lucky.

2:39

James: Is Matthew Boyd legit? How much of a haul would he command at the deadline?

2:41

Craig Edwards: Still a skeptic on Boyd due to the pitch mix, but he keeps producing. I would think he would get the biggest return of any of the starters who are available. Something less than what Archer was moved for last year, though.

2:41

just a guy: it seems the Cubs could still use a starter. Yu just doesn’t seem comfortable. What would be reasonable starter return for Happ?

2:44

Craig Edwards: I don’t see the Cubs moving for a starter. As for Happ, I’m not sure what his value really is right now. He’s not hitting in the minors and he’s got almost two years of service time. He’s not exactly lighting it up in the minors. He’s not going to be the centerpiece in a deal that gets a quality starter in return.

2:45

Casey Mize: How well do you think I pitch if I come up to majors this year and what are your early projections for next year if I keep up this pace and workload?

2:45

Craig Edwards: I think league-average starter right now with a 3-WAR expectation for next season. He’s a good prospect.

2:47

Tulo: …this is not going to end well for me since Didi is back tomorrow, I fear.

2:48

Craig Edwards: It was never going to end well. Sadly, with 13 PA so far this year, you might have already hit the over for some prognosticators.

2:48

Matt: Is Anthony Rendon under-rated? There is reason to believe he has taken another step forward offensively too. He is crushing fastballs with a 95.2 exit velocity and a 23.3% barrel rate against them. Hard hit rate against fastballs? 65.6%

2:50

Craig Edwards: I do think he’s underrated. Not sure about another step forward though. He’s put up a 140 wRC+ the last two years. He’s above that now but I’m guessing he settles in pretty close to that at season’s end. Also, today is his birthday.

2:51

jkim: Over/Under on Ryu at the end of the season ERA: 2.50

2:52

Craig Edwards: I think the projections probably have him at 2.53 at the end of the season now. Unless he gets injured, things probably move up over 2.50 at some point before the season ends.

2:52

Overbearing Padre: Who would be a better fit for the Padres, Michael Conforto or Jeff McNeil?

2:53

Craig Edwards: Noah Syndergaard.

2:54

count123: The market for closers is heating up .It seems inevitable that Jays trade Giles – do you agree? If the Jays were to trade Giles for a single prospect what FV IYO would that prospect likely need to have. 45 ? – 50 ? – more – less ????

2:55

Craig Edwards: I think a 45 sounds about right.

2:55

Syndergaardengnomes: Padres pythag winning% is 6 games under .500.  They shouldn’t be trading prospects for Conforto, McNeil, Syndergaard, or anyone else this year.

2:58

Craig Edwards: All of those guys would be for more than one season when the Padres are trying to compete and they have enough prospect depth to make a trade like that and still be fine for the future. It would also inject even more excitement for a franchise that has been bad a while. The Padres can be the 2012 and on Pirates if the Pirates had invested in the team. It starts by getting better this year with a mind on competing next year as well.

2:58

Voldemort: Arizona trying to get Leake … does that most likely mean they anticipate Weaver to be out for the season?

2:59

Craig Edwards: Forearm injuries are never good and Weaver has worn down some in past years. There were always reliever concerns, but it is too bad if he misses a bunch of time because he appeared to have turned a corner this season.

2:59

Brian, or maybe Steve: Why exactly would the Mets be selling on Conforto, McNeil, or Syndergaard, regardless of whatever the Padres need? Even if the Mets were going to be sellers, don’t guys like Wheeler make a lot more sense? And do the Mets realistically need to be sellers? They’ve played a tough schedule, have some guys hurt, and are in striking distance in the division.

3:00

Craig Edwards: If I were the Mets, I wouldn’t be selling those guys, but it is hard to know where the Mets see themselves this year and in the future. Wheeler does make more sense if they fall out of it this season, but the other guys would fetch a bigger return.

3:00

Averagejoe: Jimmy Nelson came back with diminished velocity (92-ish) according to Brooks versus working 94-ish back in 2017. Is there any reason to expect the velocity to come back in the near-term? Not a great control guy to begin with so diminished velocity could really be killer. Sad to see something like this the result of a baserunning injury of all things.

3:02

Craig Edwards: He’s been gone a long time so it is possible the velocity comes back at some point, but it is hard to see that happening right away. He just might not ever be the pitcher he was back in 2017, which was ace level.

3:03

Joe: Just a rough patch for D. German or is there something else going on?

3:04

Craig Edwards: He’s a fly ball pitcher so giving up an occasional batch of homers is going to happen. His walk and strikeout rates have been just fine lately, so I wouldn’t worry too much, unless you were hoping he was already Luis Severino.

3:05

Detroit Sad City: What kind of return could the Tigers expect for Shane Greene.  He’s been mostly awesome (when needed) this year, but apparently many contenders see him as an 8th inning option.  Could he return a 50 level prospect plus maybe a flyer?

3:06

Craig Edwards: I doubt he’ll net a top-100 prospect which is basically what a 50 is. Probably a couple guys a little below that level.

3:06

Mario Mendoza: If Yanks get Keuchel, does German go to pen?

3:07

Craig Edwards: I wouldn’t think so, though skipping a start might be a more realistic option. Most of the guys in that rotation might benefit from an extra day’s rest.

3:08

dezre: What do you think the Yankees do to shore up that rotation? Could be a big concern heading into the postseason as is (assuming they make it).

3:08

Craig Edwards: I think they will wait on Severino and if they don’t get good news, they will make a move at the deadline like they did for Happ last season.

3:10

99: Has Devers made some significant change or is this is real potential?  He seems like he is hitting everything, even when shifted.

3:11

count123: If Jays traded Marcus Stroman to the Astros would he have enough value to bring back either Kyle Tucker or Yordan Alveraz ?

3:12

Craig Edwards: Guessing not Tucker. Depends on how they value Alvarez. Stroman doesn’t fit the Astros typical pitcher profile so it would be interesting to see what they would do with him.

3:13

Mario Mendoza: Can Bryan Reynolds remain a starter when Dickerson returns?

3:14

Craig Edwards: I would imagine there would be plenty of playing time to go around if Reynolds keeps hitting.

3:15

S: Should the Pirates be willing to trade Starling Marte to the Phillies at this point in the season? What would a realistic trade look like?

3:16

Craig Edwards: I’m not sure why the Pirates would trade Marte. He’s a good player on a cheap contract and he plays center field. When are the Pirates actually planning on contending if they trade Marte?

3:17

Craig Edwards: That is going to do it for me today. Thanks for all the questions. See you next week.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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