Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 11/12/18

12:00
Dan Szymborski: It’s a’ me, Mario!

12:00
Dan Szymborski: OK, not really.

12:01
Dan Szymborski: I’m going to hold off the off-topic questions until we get to the Lightning Round.

12:01
Ginny: do you think “extremely available for trade”  Kole Calhoun has a market? and does the Angels trying to trade him give indication of their actions in the FA market?

12:02
Dan Szymborski: I think he has *some* market, but I think it’s wishful thinking on the Angels if they think someone’s going to pay as if the first half of 2018 never happened.

12:02
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense for the Angels to trade him.

12:02
Dan Szymborski: Unless, naturally, someone gives them something stupid for him.

12:03
Dan Szymborski: But you can say that about everyone.

12:03
Ozzie Ozzie Albies Free: A while back you mentioned you get the Short Circuit newsletter. I subscribed and love it. Any other recommendations like that?

12:03
Dan Szymborski: Not really as I’m not a law-talking guy. But I got used to seeing those on Volokh over the years, so I subscribed to the newsletter myself. They highlight some interesting and funny cases.

12:04
Fred: Dustin Fowler — AAAA guy or just growing pains?

12:05
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think he’s a star, but I still think he’ll end up a credible major leaguer and well better than his 2018 intermezzo.

12:07
brad: Dan what is your take on Rodgers vs Tucker.  Seems like Rodgers in Colorado at MI could be a stud, but so far not huge numbers in AAA, vs Tucker mashed everywhere but not great numbers in first cup of coffee?

12:07
Dan Szymborski: Kind of a random comparison, no?

12:07
Dan Szymborski: Both will be fine and I wouldn’t care about Tucker’s cup of coffee.

12:07
Dan Szymborski: Tucker’s offensive upside is, of course, extremely high.

12:07
Dan Szymborski: I feel better about Tucker’s *organization* than that of Rodgers

12:08
Will: Thoughts on 3 zWAR/600 PA legend Esteban Quiroz?

12:09
Dan Szymborski: I’m a bit confused, ZiPS projected him at 0.4 zWAR coming into 2018 (in like 350 PA)

12:09
Del Mar: The Padres could trade Mackenzie Gore and still have the number one system. That is all.

12:09
Dan Szymborski: It’s an excellent system. The nice thing about the Padres pitching is while they haven’t graduated much of it yet, they’ve got strength in numbers.

12:09
Jim Leyland Palmer: It makes sense for the Tigers to shop Nick Castallanos this winter. But what kind of market is there for a 1-year rental of a quality bat, with atrocious corner outfield defense? Can they realistically expect any kind decent return?

12:10
Dan Szymborski: I think there would be *some* interest in him as a corner outfield, DH, but far less than the Tigers hope for and I imagine they just hold onto him

12:10
Rick Hahn: 1) I have the money and opportunity to sign Bryce Harper. Can I influence him with the clear talent in the minors that is near to the majors, or do I have to just blow him away with money

12:10
Dan Szymborski: You’re not going to get many discounts with that really

12:11
Dan Szymborski: WILL Hahn be given that much authority to spend that much money? I hear it being talked about, but I’m not sure it’s not just wishful thinking

12:11
LFC Mike: A very heartfelt  Happy Veterans Day to all that have served and their families.

12:11
Stevil: Hey Dan, I’m curious what you think of the swap involving Plassmeyer and Fraley. Fair deal?

12:12
Dan Szymborski: I thought it was reasonable given what both teams needed.

12:12
Dan Szymborski: The Mariners seem determined that the Gordon-in-CF experiment is over

12:13
Dan Szymborski: And Kiermaier leaves little room for the Rays to get maximum value out of Mallex

12:14
Marc: When does free agency actually start? I thought it was around the beginning of November but I haven’t seen signings by any team yet, even minor ones.

12:14
Dan Szymborski: It’s already started.

12:14
Rick Hahn: 2) If I can sign Harper/Machado, but instead I can get a combo of Corbin/Happ, McCutchen, Eovaldi, which option is best. Both hypothetical obviously

12:15
Dan Szymborski: I think in the *White Sox* case, I might go the latter. It really comes down to the team.

12:15
Jake: A study that I think would be fascinating and, to my knowledge, hasn’t yet been undertaken: Testing the actual value that teams have received by manipulating service time for top prospects. I would suspect that the value in avoiding “super 2” status is much more significant than retaining a 7th year (call it the Kris Bryant Rule). I also don’t suspect that there will be enough data points to make any rock solid conclusions.

12:15
Dan Szymborski: I seriously doubt it.

12:16
Dan Szymborski: Super Twos don’t get to be an additional service group above non-Arb Twos *after* that first year.

12:17
Dan Szymborski: And Super Twos dont’ exactly break the bank.

12:17
Dan Szymborski: After a year, they’re just a regular old three.

12:18
Dan Szymborski: The Super Twos will still have the salaries compared, in year three, to members of their class.

12:18
Dan Szymborski: It’s not like they get a “running start” that persists through four years of arbitration.

12:18
Dan Szymborski: There may be a *small* benefit, but it’s dwarfed by the one-year FA salary of a top player

12:18
LFC Mike: Jose Altuve said he will be back at 120%. The only person to comeback at that rate or higher after a big injury was Colonel Steve Austin. Is Altuve the first bionic player?

12:18
Xolo: Is it weird that Preller came out and said he wants Suarez, who the Reds have not come out and said is available? Seems bold, or is that really not so uncommon?

12:19
Dan Szymborski: It’s a bit unusual to be so frank about players on other teams

12:19
Jeries: Is Yolmer Sanchez basically Josh Harrison?  Should the Sox extend him so he’s a super-utility guy when they’re ready to be good?

12:19
Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t call them the same player, but on a general value basis, probably

12:19
Tim: The Padres are expected to be active in the SP market. What would it take to deal for Dylan Bundy? I see 4 years of team control on a buy-low player who had a reasonably high prospect pedigree. Good fit or nah?

12:20
Dan Szymborski: I think it’s hard to see without the Orioles even having a GM in place

12:20
Dan Szymborski: Also, I *think* offhand that Bundy’s got three years to FA, not four

12:20
Mandy is the Best Movie of 2018: It is unlikely to happen, but what is the best type of deal the Royals could get for Merrifield?

12:21
Dan Szymborski: I think they could get a backend top 100 prospect for Merrifield. Even cutting back some ont he BABIP, he was a legitimate star-level 2B in 2018.

12:21
Dan Szymborski: The age is a concern, but he’s not hitting FA for a long time

12:21
Kiermaier’s Amblyopia: Daniel..A final argument and chance to berate me and other chatters..for the final time..should ROY awards be adjusted so established veterans like Ohtani  are not considered? Mike Trout winning the Japanese ROY award?..really?

12:22
Dan Szymborski: I love NPB, but it’s also not quite a the level of MLB.

12:23
Dan Szymborski: While it’s between AAA and MLB, it’s near-enough to AAA that a pitcher in the PCL or a hitter in a pitchers’ park in the IL have about the same environmental difficulty change.

12:23
Dan Szymborski: And it would be weird to say a pitcher from Albuquerque or Colorado Springs shouldn’t be eligible for ROY, wouldn’t it?

12:23
CamdenWarehouse: Where is the line to be berated?

12:24
Dan Szymborski: No bright line; I’m a Judge Potter-berater.

12:24
Matt VW: FG’s projections had the Red Sox as (admittedly slight) underdogs in all three of their postseason series. Looking back, do you think they had something that was escaping quantification/ running underestimated in the projection, or do you think that they basically won three coin flips even with the odds tilted slightly against them for each toss?

12:24
Dan Szymborski: One of the frustrating things about projections is you never know answers like this on a micro level about projections.

12:25
Dan Szymborski: There’s no Hand of God that comes down and gives you a tablet letting you know what .300 hitters were in fact “true” .290 hitters that were lucky or .310 hitters that weren’te.

12:25
Dan Szymborski: On a larger scale, there are lots of tests for calibration

12:25
Dan Szymborski: But you’ll never get an answer on something like this related toa  projection.

12:26
Mandy is the Best Movie of 2018: Ryan O’Hearn:  Solid everyday 1B, platoon 1B, or bench bat?

12:26
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sold on him being a legit starter.

12:26
Dan Szymborski: He was quite lousy in AAA.

12:27
Dan Szymborski: But that doesn’t meant he Royals shoudl bench him or anything, but simply continue to show he’s legitimately improved.

12:27
Dan Szymborski: And the good thing about being a rebuilding team — though I’m not sure the Royals understand this — is that you have the luxury of being able to test out players like this.

12:27
Dan Szymborski: A team like the Yankees or Astros would have a hard time simply trusting O’Hearn in 2019.

12:28
Kevin Faulconer: While the focus of this off-season will likely focus on the future of Thor in NY, what are the chances the Mets deal Steven Matz? As Mayor of San Diego, I’d love to see my hometown Padres land him as he has 3 more years of team control. Is that a pie in the sky wish, just like my hope that Hosmer will win a Silver Slugger?

12:28
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think they deal their pitchers.

12:28
Aleman Marquez: Aren’t the chances that some GM takes advantage of Van Wagenen this winter pretty high? What does he know about making trades, or even valuing his players and prospects?

12:29
Dan Szymborski: I think people are overrating these types of issues.

12:29
Dan Szymborski: I suspect Wagenen’s problems would be more *political* and authority-based within the Mets organization.

12:30
Dan Szymborski: He’s not some guy the Mets picked up because he won his Yahoo fantasy league three years in a row. Agents have to understand these issues quite deeply in order to properly represent their interests.

12:30
Porter: Which top 10 free agent do you see still waiting come February?

12:31
Dan Szymborski: I’m not quite sure he’s even a top 10 free agent, but he may at least be on the edge – Moustakas again.

12:32
Dan Szymborski: I’ll be very surprised if Moustakas beats $15 million and he may come up much short.

12:33
Lucy: Do the suddenly short-of-cash Cubs and the suddenly selling off Mariners match up? Cubs looking to add a “versatile position player”.  Does a Dee Gordon-Tyler Chatwood make a sensible (albeit uninspiring) swap.  Same years & dollars.  Chatwood aint going to Des Moines & would take up a valuable BP spot.

12:33
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think the Cubs are actually short of dollars.

12:33
James: What is your favorite terrible star trek episode?

12:34
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure which one. Probably one of the Ferengi episodes from DS9

12:35
Dan Szymborski: Maybe that episode where they accidentally kill the Vorta guy and have to reanimate his corpse for a hostage trade and the whole thing is played for comedy.

12:35
Dan Szymborski: Oops, forgot I was supposed to save this.

12:35
LFC Mike: When we get to the Lightning Round please take on the persona of your alltime favorite game host please.

12:36
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure how to be Richard Dawson in ch at

12:36
pat: would frazier, king, loaisiga, garcia, and sauer be enough for paxton?

12:36
Dan Szymborski: Yes

12:36
Luigi: So is that it for job postings ? I see nothing else anywhere. Gonna be quite the battle for a job this year

12:36
Dan Szymborski: We have a regular flow of postings!

12:36
Jeries: Where is Moncada starting in 2020.  CF, 3B, or 2B?

12:36
Dan Szymborski: 2B

12:36
Silver Slugger Nick Markakis: Did Joe Mauer play enough catcher to get serious HOF consideration?  Or did his last act as an overpaid mediocre 1B doom him?

12:37
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think he played enough C to get consideration

12:37
Dan Szymborski: *I* think his peak is enough and *I* woudl vote for h im.

12:38
Dan Szymborski: But the average voter isn’t me or Jay,

12:38
Dan Szymborski: And peak value as a thing is essentially dead with BBWAA votes right now.

12:38
Dan Szymborski: Johan Santana’s peak was like 90% Koufax and he got pretty much ZERO play

12:38
Bill James : You’re replaceable, Dan!

12:38
Dan Szymborski: I am!

12:39
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Steamer’s out again, and it’s another year of really poor projections for the Brewers.

I don’t know how they again are forecasting MIL for 78 wins (if my math is right: 48 win baseline, 19.6 WAR offense, 10.4 WAR pitching staff) – is that a system simply slow to react to modern pitching usage that Counsell did very well in 2018?

12:39
Dan Szymborski: You gotta ask Jared and gang about that!

12:39
Dan Szymborski: Remember, I only know how ZiPS works. My opinions on how Steamer does things is guesswork.

12:39
Dan Szymborski: And I’d be the last person they share secret sauces with

12:40
Boo Radley: Omar Narvaez finished 8th in WAR among catchers with far fewer plate appearances than the top guys.

Do the Sox have something there or was this a fluke?

12:40
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sold on him yet, but again, like the Royals and O’Hearn, the team is in a position to find out

12:40
Silver Slugger Nick Markakis: How will the Padres screw this up?

12:41
Dan Szymborski: Good god, I’m only up to 12:11 answering half the questions.

12:41
Dan Szymborski: Time to lower that ratio 🙁

12:41
Ryan: Is Manny Margot a viable Major Leaguer or will the bat always hold him back?

12:41
Dan Szymborski: I think he’ll be fine, though he’ll have to hit more to have real upside.

12:41
Ryan: Higher long term value: Hunter Renfroe or Franmil Reyes?

12:41
Dan Szymborski: Renfroe may be a little safer, but Reyes has much higher upside, I feel

12:41
Outta my way, Gyorkass: “Kris Bryant available for trade”: hot air, or real strategy?

12:41
Dan Szymborski: The truth is *everybody* is available for trade

12:42
Dan Szymborski: It’s not like someone calls the Yankees and inquires about Severino and Cashman yells HOW DAR YOU YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME OR MY MUSIC and hangs up on them. People are always talking.

12:42
Dan Szymborski: And sometimes, a trade that nobody would expect happens actually happens.

12:43
D: Does the rumored package for Harper sound insanely light? Seems like you’d need a Torres or an E-Rod type in there to get what could possibly be a franchise player.

12:43
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think it was unreasonable. They weren’t acquiring a franchise player, they were acquiring Two Months of a franchise player.

12:43
Dan Szymborski: The Dodgers gave a solid package for Machado, but it wasn’t an earth-shattering one.

12:43
Dan Szymborski: and Machado had a better season than Harper

12:44
Silver Slugger Nick Markakis: Let’s the say the Angels remain in wild card contention for the whole year.  Ohtani hits his projection.  In August, the doctors clear him to pitch rehab.  Do the Angels wait until after the season or is his long-term value as a pitcher too much to delay it?

12:44
Dan Szymborski: I think the Angels push him.

12:44
Dustin: Keith Law recently said that the Mets would have an above-the-median farm system heading into next season, and a “good chance” (direct quote) at top 10.  Agree or disagree?  Are you more or less optimistic?

12:44
Dan Szymborski: I’d put myself about that same tier for the Mets.

12:45
Dan Szymborski: It doesn’t have the super duper elite guy like Acuña or anything, but they’ve got a lot of guys you could put in 50-100

12:46
Dan Szymborski: See, what makes the Mets amusing isn’t that they’re some super-incompetent franchise at all times

12:46
Dan Szymborski: It’s that they have their fits of super-incompetency at the most hilarious possible moments.

12:47
CamdenWarehouse: Do the Orioles have a front office by Thanksgiving? I can’t believe I’m asking that

12:47
Dan Szymborski: If you’re not doing anything all winter, you can save months of salaries by waiting!

12:47
stever20: what do you make of the Dodgers thoughts on not going over the tax threshold?  Do you think that’s real?  If so, how do you think it will impact them competitively going forward?

12:47
Dan Szymborski: I think right now it’s posturing

12:47
avs18fan: Hi Dan – Does your ZiPS projections for next year like the Cardinals more than Steamer does?

12:48
Dan Szymborski: I’m still in prelim mode. There’s a *lot* of data to sift through.

12:48
Bill James : Can I get in line to be berated

12:50
Dan Szymborski: Poor Bill. I disagree with him strongly on this issue, but it really just seems like he said something off-the-cuff without giving the consequences enough thought and then stubbornly tried to defend himself rather than just let everything blow over.

12:50
Dan Szymborski: I think the outrage has *long* surpassed the crime. So I’ve stayed out of piling on as it’s no fun if everyone’s already flooding with the same tired bromides. Complaining isn’t fun or productive if it’s unoriginal

12:51
Dan Szymborski: Though I do think it’s rich seeing the MLBPA complain about James not consider players like people.

12:51
Dan Szymborski: Given how the MLBPA has repeatedly thrown the poorest baseball players under the bus in CBAs.

12:52
Dan Szymborski: Sure, they have no legal responsibility to protect 17-year-old Dominican amateurs, but on a moral level, when you’re trading money for them for perks for yourself, you’ve got no leg to stand on with the moral preening.

12:52
ZiPS question: You’ve alluded to in the past that ZiPS has an “estimated” BABIP for batters in past seasons.  I’m curious as to what sorts of data you use for the estimation of the BABIP and which parts are most “sticky” going forward

12:52
Dan Szymborski: ZiPS has an xBABIP-like model. I have multiple versions, depending on what data are available.

12:53
Stann: Aaron Judge is 6’10”, 340 lbs.  Thoughts?

12:53
Dan Szymborski: Maybe in wrestling weight.

12:53
Brian CashGod: Yankees are reportedly conducting “extensive background research” on Manny Machado – what do you expect them to find?

12:53
Dan Szymborski: I think the point of extensive background research is to find the things you DON’T expect to find.

12:53
Brian CashGod: the Machado question isn’t meant to be serious, in case that didn’t come through 😀

12:54
mike : subscribe to numlock news…..

12:54
Dan Szymborski: Ah, Hickey’s one, I forgot about that. I like him

12:54
Trainman: If Washington ownership allowed Harper to be dealt to houston, do the Astros repeat? Or the Red Sox just too good?

12:54
Dan Szymborski: Pretty impossible to nose.

12:54
Dan Szymborski: know

12:54
Dan Szymborski: I typed nose for know?

12:55
A cat: How many teams would you guess employ an Opener for one-two rotation spots next season?

12:55
Dan Szymborski: Rays? 😀

12:55
D: Are you surprised by Steamer’s optimism for Harper (4.9 WAR projection)? Or do you think ZiPs will be similarly sanguine?

12:55
Dan Szymborski: Doesn’t smell that far off.

12:55
Dan Fan: Chances Dodgers trade Seager (0-100)?

12:55
Dan Szymborski: <1

12:55
LFC Mike: I picture you more of a Gene Rayburn type of guy…  with a microphone that lokos like a very silly LONG bat.

12:55
D: There used to be a sort of rule of thumb that you didn’t want a position player prospect to have a K rate over 20%. What do you think that number is now?

12:55
Dan Szymborski: I don’t like rules of thumb.

12:56
Dan Szymborski: I’m paid to have rules of brain and I at least *try* not to be lazy with analysis.

12:56
D: Should the Red Sox make their #1 priority getting a catcher such as Grandal or Realmuto?

12:56
Dan Szymborski: It should be way up there.

12:56
Omar Narvaez: finished dead last in BP’s catcher defensive metric at 15.7 runs below average (this includes pitch framing), so he’s probably not as valuable with the glove as fWAR says he is

12:56
Joe: Dan, thanks for the awesome insights.  Interested in your take on a “change of scenery” swap of 2 underperforning young pitchers with some past health issues and equal number of years of control left…Dylan Bundy for Vince Velasquez.  Fair deal for both sides?

12:57
Dan Szymborski: On some level, I don’t think the Phillies want to do it.

12:57
Dan Szymborski: I think Bundy’s problems are more serious

12:58
Dan Fan: Do you believe in Dipoto to come out of the “re-imagination” successfully? Or M’s fans in for another decade of broken hopes?

12:58
Dan Szymborski: I really have no idea how far the team is going.

12:58
Michael: How come we talk about prospects in a vacuum like state, without acknowledging the effect of the organization.  Shouldn’t certain org’s prospects receive a different FV based on the likelihood of reaching it with that org?

12:58
Dan Szymborski: I think how good a prospect and how good a fit he is for the team are two different questions

12:58
CamdenWarehouse: Dan’s rule of thumb is “hit the nail, not your thumb, with the hammer”

12:59
v2micca: Did the Braves luck into a good situation with AA as the GM?  He seems to respect the farm system, but since he didn’t build it, it seems less likely to fall into the trap of overvaluing his own prospects.

12:59
Dan Szymborski: In some way they did, since they wanted Dayton Moore initially.

1:00
Dan Szymborski: That’s a bit like getting bummed because the local Taco Bell is closed due to a water main break and you have to settle for Frontera Grill instead.

1:02
Dan Szymborski: OK, let’s star the lightning round.

1:02
Dan Szymborski: start

1:02
Dan Szymborski: Lightning

1:02
Dan Szymborski: Round

1:05
Derek: What is the attendance of these chats like in the offseason vs. regular season vs. postseason, etc.?

1:05
Dan Szymborski: Down about 25% from posteason chats it looks like

1:05
Q: if you were a bad off topic question what bad off topic question would you be?

1:05
Dan Szymborski: A politics one.

1:05
Takao: Five Guys or In n’ Out?

1:06
Dan Szymborski: Five Guys by default as I’m not on the west coast (and rarely am)

1:06
Kick Rocks: Jose Martinez is a ______ on opening day of 2019.

1:06
Dan Szymborski: baseball player.

1:06
LFC Mike: You want to be mayor of: Danville or Statcity, ZIPtown or what fictional city? First decree as mayor?

1:06
Dan Szymborski: Statcity

1:06
Dan Szymborski: there actually is a Danville of course

1:06
Dan Szymborski: if I’m hte mayor of it, I might have to do work

1:08
Billy Beane: That Craig Edwards is a smart fella/

1:08
Dan Szymborski: He is!

1:08
Rudy: Marion’s or milanos?

1:08
Dan Szymborski: Yuck

1:09
Dan Szymborski: If we’re talking Dayton, South Park or Pizza Factory or Flying Pizza or Dewey’s or Little York

1:09
Dan Szymborski: subs, Submarine House

1:09
Takao: Pizza Hut, Domino’s, or Papa John’s?

1:09
Dan Szymborski: BLECCH

1:09
Silver Slugger Nick Markakis: I assume chili is always on topic:  what type of onions do you use?

1:09
Dan Szymborski: Meat

1:09
Dan Szymborski: Chili peppers

1:09
Dan Szymborski: spices

1:09
Donald Drumpf: Why are you working on Veterans Day?

1:09
Dan Szymborski: I’m not a veteran.

1:10
Dan Szymborski: And really, my job is better than like 99% of jobs so I don’t “need” random days off

1:10
greg: Cat update please

1:10
Dan Szymborski: Don’t know what Mercutio is doing right now.

1:10
Dan Szymborski: I heard jingling and thumping, so Cassiopeia is playing upstairs with a ball or something.

1:11
Dan Szymborski: Galileo is asking for dinner. Because nobody consulted him about turnign the clocks back, he’s now asking at 1 PM instead of 2 PM.

1:11
Dan Szymborski: But here’s the thing, when the clocks are turned forward, he doesn’t get hungry an hour LATER.

1:14
Dan Szymborski: Oops, sorry, door

1:14
Darren: Corn or flour tortilla?

1:14
Dan Szymborski: Corn

1:14
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Disappointed with Artifact’s pricing model? No free draft, boo.

1:14
Dan Szymborski: Yeah, it doesn’t look like the game’s going to be av alue

1:14
Takao: I’ve got no other questions, but I hope you have a great day!

1:15
Brian CashGod: My gf made chili last week with beans. Beans from a can of Bush’s baked beans, though she at least strained the beans first. What do I do Dan?

1:15
Dan Szymborski: Ask if she’s ever made chili

1:15
Takao: Better question: New York or Chicago pizza

1:15
Dan Szymborski: NY

1:15
Dan Szymborski: I like Chicago deep dish, but you can’t beat a floppy NY slice

1:15
Dan Szymborski: On that note, I’m off for another week!

1:15
Dan Szymborski: Thanks for joining me everyone.

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Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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pepper69fun
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pepper69fun

I won my Yahoo fantasy baseball league four years running and Mets didn’t give me a sniff. I’m working out a deal with Baltimore though…..