FanGraphs Craig Edwards Chat – 2/13/2020

2:01

Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling, but first a few plugs.

2:02

Craig Edwards: Here’s my post on how the Red Sox aren’t actually getting much tax savings by dealing Betts and Price. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/what-do-the-red-sox-actually-save-by-tradi…

2:03

Craig Edwards: And I’ve written two posts on the minor league contraction situation. The first one is on getting rid of short-season baseball. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/untangling-a-minor-league-mess-part-i/

2:03

Craig Edwards: The second is on efficiency, the cost of efficiency, and the government. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/untangling-a-minor-league-mess-part-ii/

2:04

Craig Edwards: I’ll have a third part up on the individual teams up for contraction at some point today or tomorrow.

2:04

Ben: What would the Rangers’ best offer be if they earnestly pursued Bryant?

2:07

Craig Edwards: I think the Rangers are a great fit for Bryant, but it is hard to put together a good trade match given what the Rangers currently have. The Rangers might be a team willing to take on Chatwood’s final year to bring down prospect cost and then if you start with yerry rodriguez and then add a couple 45-types, that seems fair though might not be incredibly appealing for the Cubs.

2:07

Pumpsie Green: More teams in the playoffs seems to have worked for other leagues. Even the NHL, which could easily have disappeared into the mists of time, has held it’s spot among the big four. It’s worked in other sports, why not baseball?

2:08

Craig Edwards: In the NHL, playoffs are the hockey season. It’s unique in that respect in a good way. Whatever team makes it to the end of the year with the Cup doesn’t have to worry about having earned the title no matter what they did in the regular season.

2:09

Craig Edwards: In the NBA, more playoffs leads to more games on tv that networks love and doesn’t lead to random upsets because the talent disparity is wide, particularly in a seven-game series.

2:11

Craig Edwards: For baseball, expanded playoffs takes a way some of the importance of the regular season. Ben Clemens just wrote a really good post on that, https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-new-playoff-format-would-disincentiviz… plus due to the format the postseason would be more randomized in terms of outcomes and the general lack of a talent spread in baseball.

2:11

Ben: Where would put the chances of Kimbrel bouncing back and having a good year.  That would go a long way for CHC.

2:12

Craig Edwards: He’s a reliever so there’s a decent chance he’ll be better.

2:12

Ben: Does Mookie top Trout in total guarantee once he reaches the open market?

2:14

Craig Edwards: If you are including the two guaranteed years he already had on the deal, which took it to $420 million, I’d say probably not. And that’s one aspect of the rumored $300 M that Betts was supposedly offered. He was already set to make $50 M in arbitration. If the Red Sox offer was for “only” $250 million in money beyond arbitration, then the offer was pretty weak. As to whether Betts tops $360 million or so, I think that will be pretty close to what he receives.

2:15

Oil of Zolay: [ ] KB for Arenado rumors have popped back up, and on second thought I dont think it’s as crazy as I originally assumed. There will be money and prospects to figure out, but the basic framework kinda makes sense to me if NA is willing to opt-in for the sake of going to a better situation. Cubs lock down a core piece without having to do the negotiation legwork and the Rockies get off a huge financial commitment during a noncompetitive window. Plus if KB rakes at Coors they can flip him for a prospect haul at the deadline that could be as large (or even larger) than what they would get for NA since KB carries less financial risk for the acquiring team. And if the Rockies find themselves surprisingly competitive or think their prospects are ahead of schedule, they get a two year window to decide if maybe it’s worth it to commit the money that was earmarked for NA to KB instead. Thoughts?

2:18

Craig Edwards: It’s hard to figure because I don’t know that Colorado would want to give up Arenado+ or Arenado and cash for Bryant when Arenado is better. You have to wonder if the Cubs want to give Arenado $35 M+ with Baez set to hit free agency in two seasons. There are aspects of the trade that are worth exploring, but the fit is kind of a weird one.

2:19

Ben: Over/Under 95.5 wins in HOU with Dusty at the helm?

2:19

Craig Edwards: I worry a little about starting pitching depth, particularly if Verlander ages somewhat, but I probably go over at this point.

2:20

scully’s silky sound: between alex wood, julio urias, jimmy nelson, dustin may and ross stripling, who do you think fills out the #4 & #5 spots in LAD rotation? Urias and May have the ceilings, but others are more proven?

2:21

Craig Edwards: All of them, probably. In terms of expected starts, I’d go May, Stripling, Urias, Wood, Nelson just due to injury concerns, but all will get a chance.

2:23

Ben: Who is the next young star to get a big extension?

2:23

Craig Edwards: Tatis Jr. maybe.

2:24

Ben: If you had to chose one guy to pitch one game, who you got?  I think i have The Big Unit.

2:26

Craig Edwards: Relative to peers, Bob Gibson. In today’s environment, probably just go with deGrom or Scherzer.

2:26

Ben: First overall pick in the All-Time Third bademan draft?

2:26

Craig Edwards: Schmidt.

2:26

Pumpsie Green: Yankees rotation still looks old and shallow. Would they have been better to spread that Cole money around a bit?

2:27

Craig Edwards: Not really. They have a stacked roster that should make the playoffs so having Cole ready to pitch in the playoffs is arguably more important. If they need depth in season, they can just trade for it.

2:28

brad: Craig, what happens if a player comes out and says I saww altuve wearing a wire in game 6 of the ALCS?  How bad does this get then?

2:28

Craig Edwards: Time get Griggs, Freeman and McNulty to investigate.

2:29

Craig Edwards: I think we probably end up with more suspensions fines, etc. particularly for lying and in this case could lead to player suspensions for the same.

2:30

mervdiddy: What advice do you have for passionate fans of teams involved in the sign-stealing cheating scandal who also care deeply about the integrity of the sport?

2:31

Craig Edwards: Don’t spend any time defending the team and their record or World Series. Just start watching the games again and cheer them on. If you feel the need to not support the club financially, that’s fine. If you want to relish in a heel turn, that’s fine, too, but do not defend what’s already happened. Focus on the game now.

2:32

GSon: Does MLB take up the reigns of financially backing College Baseball in lieu of funding the losing MiLB franchise business model?

2:32

Craig Edwards: I don’t see that happening.

2:32

Roy Hobbs: Asking a question for my son, best starting staff in the majors right now; Yanks, LAD, WAS, HOU, or other????

2:33

Craig Edwards: Depth charts says Nationals https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=SP and I don’t have a compelling reason to disagree with that.

2:33

SirMoox: So if Betts trade seemingly makes no sense? Is there something we’re missing?

2:33

Craig Edwards: As long as you aren’t missing that the Red Sox just increased their profits a ton this season, no, I think you got it all.

2:36

Lars: The projected 2020 standings here, are those up to date or no? Brewers at 89 wins, Reds at 75, White Sox 72?

2:37

Craig Edwards: Go to the last section. It only has win percentage. I’m not sure everything is fully updated and ZiPS hasn’t been incorporated, nor have all the signings from Asia, but multiply the W% by 162 for a rough total right now. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Standings

2:37

Astros: What will last longer, the Astros’ imaginary “everyone is against us” motivation, or the fans’ jeering?

2:38

Craig Edwards: Well, everybody is against is us isn’t imaginary and it is going to last a while. Nobody believed in us, however, is imaginary, and that’s going to last an unfortunately long time.

2:39

Ryan E: Did Arte Moreno really kill Joc/Stripling deal just to be a hard ass? Seemed like a good deal for LAA, I know they were taking on money in that deal but seems like an odd move to kill given their depth on both sides of the ball.

2:39

Craig Edwards: I’m not sure we ever got the full deal, but it sure seems odd to pull the plug given how much it would have helped them.

2:40

T: Altuve’s “MLB investigated the buzzers and didn’t find anything” is a pretty weak denial.

2:40

Craig Edwards: I haven’t seen the exact quotes, but at this point, anything other than a full denial doesn’t make a lot of sense if you want to defend yourself.

2:41

DC: So Depth Charts has the Red Sox as a .560 team?

2:41

Craig Edwards: seems pretty close given their depth charts WAR though their starting pitch depth could make things way worse in a hurry.

2:42

Russell: “Altuve: “It was a fake Twitter account that started everything. It makes me upset that a fake Twitter account had that much credibility. I feel bad for 2017 but I can say something that I didn’t do was the buzzer thing. No one on this team wore a buzzer”

 

Chandler Rome
@Chandler_Rome

 

Altuve: “It was a fake Twitter account that started everything. It makes me upset that a fake Twitter account had that much credibility. I feel bad for 2017 but I can say something that I didn’t do was the buzzer thing. No one on this team wore a buzzer” – bit.ly/2uIaYUg
13 Feb 2020
2:42

Craig Edwards: there you go. that’s a good denial

2:42

Kurupt FM: If you could make any change to the playoff structure would you?

2:42

Craig Edwards: I think if a wild card finished five game up on a division winner, the division winner should have to go to the wild card game.

2:43

Chris: Will the mariners deploy a 6 man rotation? Should they with the innings questions on graveman, walker, kikuchi, Dunn and Sheffield. And how would they balance that with Marco?

2:45

Craig Edwards: That sort of thing usually gets sorted out by the start of the season. The reason a 6-man rotation is so hard to pull off is that it is hard to find six guys go five innings. With a true ace, you can just pitch once every five days, sometimes six, and work everybody else around that. the 15-day option/DL rules for this year with the 13-man staff make it even harder to pull off.

2:45

Pumpsie Green: How about mlb-minimum pay for everyone on the 40-man? And set the minimum at $1 million, making the effective salary floor $40 million.

2:47

Craig Edwards: I’m sure raising the minimum is something that will be a big part of the next CBA, though it could be argued that more money should go to 3-6 service time guys as well as opposed to players who aren’t in the majors but on the 40-man, who get paid a lot more than the rest of the minor leaguers already.

2:47

Johnny5Alive: its funny how baseball thinks that the playoff format is the problem and not the archaic blackout restrictions and the contraction of MiLB, which would essentially leave large swaths of the country without access to actual, you know, baseball

2:49

Craig Edwards: I don’t think MLB thinks the current playoff system is a problem. It just happens that tv networks buying MLB packages like more playoff games because that’s mainly what they are buying. Changing the playoff structure is a way to try and get more money from tv networks without changing anything else in the game. MLB might have made a mistake by scheduling the national tv deals and the CBA to end at the same time because they need player approval to make the changes they want.

2:50

Ryan: PECOTA projections on Dbacks, closer to the truth or underselling their squad?

2:52

Craig Edwards: I think they are roughly .500 on paper but have a lot of upside, particularly with respect to a Marte repeat, a breakout in the rotation, plus guys with low projections like Calhoun, Ahmed, Lamb/Walker. If their bullpen ends up being sneaky good, then they look a lot more like a 90-win team. Our depth chart projections https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=15 have them pretty close to .500 as well.

2:52

Pumpsie Green: The playoff format is a big part of the problem. Fans disengaged by July is a huge problem.

2:53

Craig Edwards: I don’t think that has anything to do with the playoff format. The Phillies say they don’t want to try and get to a wild card game just so they can play one game and then face the Dodgers. That’s what the Nationals did.

2:54

Craig Edwards: It is teams opting not to try and win, claiming it is due to things like future flexibility or limited playoff chances when it is really just about saving money.

2:55

Springer McSpaniel: The Dodgers appear deep enough to run a 6 man rotation.  I guess my question is more: the the benefits of rest outweigh the cost of trotting out a guy who otherwise wouldnt make the rotation (say Urias)?  Dodgers case, given their offense and the strength of the 5th and 6th starter, it might.

2:56

Craig Edwards: The Dodgers would be an interesting test case, save for Buehler and Kershaw at the top of the rotation. Having two very good pitchers at the top makes it difficult to pull off. That’s why we’ll see pitchers at the back end of the rotation moving in and out of those spots to conserve innings rather than adding a sixth spot.

2:56

Cubbies: DO you expect Nick Solak to get much playing time this year? If so, is he a super UT type?

2:57

Craig Edwards: I think so. He’s arguably the second best position player on the club so he should be able to find a bunch of playing time at multiple positions even if he isn’t a full time starter anywhere.

2:57

T: What will be the status of the ball in 2020? Still juiced, or will it be backed down a little bit?

2:57

Craig Edwards: Who knows?

2:58

Johnny5Alive: Networks pay, but for how long? Cord cutting is becoming ever more pervasive, and the generation that still uses cable is going the way of the Dodo.  Their next contracts should be with Amazon and Facebook and Yahoo, not with Fox and TBS, etc.

2:59

Craig Edwards: MLB has long gone with taking the best offer. If amazon or facebook or whoever offers the most money, they’ll take it. Cord cutting could get a lot worse, but Fox, ESPN, Turner are still likely to be the highest bidder to keep viewers tuned to their networks.

3:00

senor preller: If you were the Padres and wanted to go about using an opener strategy in 2020, how would you do so? They have the relief depth with a plethora of guys that can go multiple innings, with Lucchesi, Davies, Gore, Patino, and Quantrill looking like great bulker candidates as well.

3:02

Craig Edwards: I’m not sure they are the best team to do so but if one of their top-five guys goes down, piggybacking Quantril and Gore might make sense. The opener is best utilized when you have a guy who can’t quite start, not a guy who you are  limiting innings. Give an inning to a reliever, then get 3 maybe 4 innings from the not-quite starter and go to the bullpen. It’s a way to fill a starter spot if you are down a guy or two and don’t want to just go to a bullpen game once or twice every five days.

3:04

Snid: When will Pederson be traded?

3:04

Craig Edwards: Soon, I would guess.

3:04

James: Feels like Manfred knows a lot more than he actually put out in that report

3:04

Craig Edwards: Certainly seems that way. Not looking good right now.

3:05

sodo mojo: Do you think the Evan White contract becomes the new model where teams try to lock up players before their debut while offer financial  security to the player?

3:08

Craig Edwards: Teams will take advantage wherever they can. They’ve had to sign less promising players in recent years to extensions and now they are dipping down into the minors for potential future stars. Albies and Acuna have been rare exceptions of late. The last crop of stars (Machado, Harper, Betts, Bryant, Arenado) all got close or to free agency because they wouldn’t take team-friendly deals so teams looked elsewhere to spend their money. There is a great crop of players under 23 right now, maybe the best ever. Acuna and Albies already signed deals so it will be interesting to see which route other players take.

3:09

Springer McSpaniel: Any word from Longenhagen on the schedule for upcoming Team Top 30 reports?

3:10

Craig Edwards: Give the guy a break. He’s doing prospect week on his own, and it is a massive task. They are all on the way.

3:10

Springer McSpaniel: What the Hell is Arte Moreno ever doing near a baseball negotiation?

3:10

Craig Edwards: He owns the team.

3:11

Arthur Kinney : Chance the Indians finish ahead of the White Sox?

3:11

Craig Edwards: decently good

3:11

Morbo: If NA is willing to opt-in he’s more attractive to every team in baseball

3:11

Craig Edwards: This is correct.

3:11

Nathaniel : Should the Astros be stripped of their 2017 World Series title?

3:12

Craig Edwards: No. What’s the point? To make fans feel bad. They aren’t giving up their rings. It happened. It’s more important to try and prevent it in the future.

3:12

Baseball Guy: Wait, did you just suggest that the primary piece in a package for two years of Kris Bryant should be a single A pitcher who’s (by the one list I checked) the 24th ranked prospect in a weak Texas system?

3:13

Craig Edwards: He just made the top 100 prospect list, here. https://www.fangraphs.com/players/yerry-rodriguez/sa918130/stats?posit…

3:13

devin has cheeto lips: Would it be OK for Kershaw to earhole the first *stro hitter he faces?

3:13

Craig Edwards: No. It’s dangerous and terrible.

3:14

Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me. Thanks for all the questions.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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Give me 3 of National League Rookie of Year guys that finish as Top 7 Vote getters, and why.