Kevin Goldstein FanGraphs Chat – 9/27/2021 by Kevin Goldstein September 27, 2021 11:00 Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone! Should be a really fun last week. Always fun when some of these games matter. 11:00 Tommy: Gausman was good yesterday but has been down overall in the 2nd half. He still your #1 FA pitcher this offseason? 11:01 Kevin Goldstein: He was phenomenal yesterday. I think it was something like 25 swings and misses. that said, Max Scherzer is a FA . . . 11:01 Mark: Isn’t most of sumo wrestling rigged? Why do you care about it so much? 11:01 Kevin Goldstein: There was a match fixing scandal a few years back, but it was limited. It’s not rigged. 11:01 Mac: Who do you think will be the biggest “name” player traded this off season? 11:02 Kevin Goldstein: I think that’s really tough to answer. A lot could depend on the CBA and what the new CBA looks like. 11:02 BR: when with Houston … how many in-office / analyst types worked below you in the pro scouting department? And how many does each team have on average ? 11:02 Kevin Goldstein: Below is a weird word here, but there were 6-8 evaluation analysts doing pro, amateur and international. 11:02 Beignet and the Jets: Did we learn anything about Norge Vera this year besides that he’s too good for the DSL? 11:03 Kevin Goldstein: We learned he has a really good arm. We probably won’t learn about just how applicable the tools are until next year. 11:03 Jj: I’m enjoying Jose Siri on the major league level if only for all the potential announcer jokes. What do you see for him next year? Enough to stick as say a fun 4th OF? 11:03 Kevin Goldstein: At the least. Great find by those above-mentioned analysts. 11:03 Steeeve: How bought-in are front offices to the notion of playing a position (as opposed to strictly DH) helping certain players to being more productive? Beyond very specific players (on either side) is there a general belief that this is a thing or more of an “eh, not really concerned about that one”? 11:05 Kevin Goldstein: You say “beyond very specific players” but I can’t do that. All players are very specific players and have to be treated as individuals. There is no notion like that, just in the sense that every player is treated individually. There are some who are better when they play in the field, and there are some who are fine with DH-ing. 11:05 Kate: Has Aaron Ashby’s command improved enough to stick as a starter? Just scouting the stat line, I see a lot of Logan Webb there (tons of grounders with a good amount of swing and miss). 11:05 Kevin Goldstein: I think he’ll at least be TRIED as a starter long term. 11:05 Guest: How much of a spread is there at the major-league level in catchers’ game-calling ability? Is there a noticeable gap between the best and the worst or is everyone pretty much the same when you get to that level? And if there are differences, are some orgs better than others at helping their catchers develop that skill? 11:06 Kevin Goldstein: There’s a sizeable gap, but there’s more than just pitting fingers down. There’s the whole game management and working with pitchers aspect. That’s where more of the separation can be. 11:06 the big lebrewski: how much is a Juan Soto extension? 11:06 Kevin Goldstein: half a billion? 11:06 Rex: What kind of player do you think Cedric Mullins settles as going forward? 11:06 Kevin Goldstein: 850 OPS 11:07 Kate: Eric wrote a bunch of interesting words on Elly De La Cruz last week. Honestly had never heard of him before that! Were your thoughts included in that write-up or do you see anything else that wasn’t mentioned in the write-up? Sounds like a big-time boom or bust guy with bonkers tools. 11:07 Kevin Goldstein: We certainly talked about him that week. Your last sentence sums him up perfectly. 11:07 Max: At the trade deadline have physicals been exchanged ahead of time? Do they use spring training physicals. How how do they avoid a situation where somebody is buying damaged goods? And, prellers previous missteps on this issue has that made teams reluctant to deal with the pads? 11:08 Kevin Goldstein: Sometimes, if you are close to the deadline, medicals will be exchanged if you are quite sure that a deal is going to get done. There isn’t a physical…. there is a medical review done by by each team based on most recent files. 11:08 Guest: What’s your feeling on the movement to improve working conditions for minor leaguers? Why not bring them in as associate members of MLBPA? Other unions do this type of thing… 11:08 Kevin Goldstein: I am pro union, and think a union for minor league players would be a good thing. 11:08 Quincy: Have the players set aside any funds for a strike/ work stoppage. 11:09 Kevin Goldstein: Always. 11:09 Jack: Yankees tender El Gary a contract this offseason? 11:09 Kevin Goldstein: I think so. Would be a bigger question for other teams without as deep of pockets. 11:09 Dan: Is it possible to get into a full time R&D/Analytics role with a team without first going the intern route? Master’s degree in data analytics and currently work for a large consulting firm. Obviously would expect to take a sizeable pay cut working in baseball, but can’t really afford to go from making almost 6 figures to hourly intern pay. Sorry if that sounds pretentious in any way, just genuinely curious. 11:10 Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. Plenty of data people enter at a higher, often much higher level than intern. Go for it. 11:12 Jarvis: I read most of the articles at FanGraphs and a couple other similar-enough sites. I watch a baseball game most days, including some minor leagues. Let’s call me a relatively high-information baseball consumer, but nothing special. Would I fit into a front office, or would the conversation be way beyond me? Thanks! 11:12 Kevin Goldstein: Some would, some wouldn’t. It really depends on what role and conversations you are talking about. 11:12 Danny V: I keep seeing LA fans accusing SF of cheating or that they’ve just been lucky this year. What’s your response to those who feel that way? 11:12 Kevin Goldstein: It’s very silly. 11:13 JJT: Minor-league playoffs are just finishing up. Do MLB teams care at all about the sort of “legitimacy” or “consistency” (I’m struggling for words) of their minor league rosters, or would they happily run our some rehabbing MLBers in the AA equivalent of WS Game 7 if that’s where the assignment made sense that day? 11:13 Kevin Goldstein: Run ’em out! 11:14 Jacob: Do you think a team will sign Pujols to a 1 year deal and give him a chance to reach 700 HRs? 11:14 Kevin Goldstein: If he wants to play, he’ll get a chance to, but hard to see him getting 21 home runs just hitting against lefties. 11:14 Luis: Would teams take a guy who could throw a complete game every time with a 5.50 ERA? 11:14 Kevin Goldstein: Nah. 11:15 Kevin Goldstein: I wonder what the line is . . . . 4.50? Can you guarantee the 5.50 is done by 5 or 6 every time? 11:15 Dave: What are your impressions of Baz’s first week in the big leagues? 11:15 Kevin Goldstein: He looks like a future impact starter to me. 11:16 Thomas: What do you think of the plan to split the Rays between Montreal and Tampa Bay? Do you think the recent experience of the Blue Jays served as a proof-of-concept for the plan (though not intentionally so)? 11:17 Kevin Goldstein: Either play in Tampa or play in Montreal. I don’t care which to be honest, but play in one. It’s not a hot take, and I don’t have a strong opinion here. It’s my preference, but I’m kind of whatever about the whole thing. More interested in if the FO has to go live and work in Montreal for three months a year and what a pain that would be. 11:17 Numpty: Can Adam Duvall play center field? Joc Peterson? 11:17 Kevin Goldstein: Not in any way you would want to see…. 11:17 The Ghost of Old Hoss Radbourn: Do you think the Red Sox are able to take the division next year with some good offseason transactions? None of the four AL East contenders seem like they’re going to lie down and rebuild, so do you think Chaim continues retooling with low key pickups or tries to build a championship team now? 11:18 Kevin Goldstein: I mean . . . they’re not operating in a vacuum. The Yankees and Blue Jays will make big moves too, and the Rays will keep . . . doing whatever the hell they do. 11:18 CFH: Hi Kevin – thanks for chatting! You were an early believer that the Mariners were “sneaky good” – it seems next year they could take a step back due to their run differential, but also potentially some of their young players and prospects could improve – how do you see their 2022 going? 11:18 Kevin Goldstein: I think the baseline is sneaky good again, with some upside if they have a good offseason. 11:19 sam: Austin Martin going to figure the power out? something like .300/.400/.400 slash? 11:19 Kevin Goldstein: The EVs suggest that he’s not a big power source. 11:19 DJ: The Brewers are locked into their playoff position (NL #2 seed) with a week to go. Is it a meaningful advantage to be able to rest guys at the end of the season, or is it overblown? 11:20 Kevin Goldstein: It’s a VERY meaningful advantage, especially this year. Guys are way more gassed than ever due to 2020’s weirdness. 11:20 mike: is Bailey ober a starting pitcher? #5, or swingman? 11:20 Kevin Goldstein: I think he could be a back-end guy. 11:20 DJ: Do you think the A’s are likely to begin a rebuild this off-season? 11:20 Kevin Goldstein: I have no idea. A lot is going to depend on the location situation. 11:20 Numpty: Re: Evaluating catchers. To what extent do teams rely on input from their pitchers for this? 11:21 Kevin Goldstein: Quite a bit. Pitching coaches too. 11:21 Oren: When a player like Eugenio Suarez badly struggles, does a team send him into the offseason with specific things to work on? Do coaches keep in touch during those months? Or are players responsible for their own changes? 11:21 Kevin Goldstein: Yes and yes. Players who have good years get things to work on as well. 11:21 Guest: Simple question: why is nobody talking about Luis Robert? He missed a huge chunk of the year, but he has been OPS-ing 1.021 in the 37 games since he came back and .946 overall. He just turned 24 at the beginning of August and he is already a beast. Hopefully, they can play long enough in the postseason for people to see what an exciting talented player he is. 11:22 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t really know about the not talking about part, but yeah, dude is a superstar. 11:22 Cole: If you ran a young team targeting 2023 for realistic contention, would you be interested in a trade for Glasnow? Or does trading for a 1-year guy who just got TJ seem a bit risky 11:22 Kevin Goldstein: I’d be interested. 11:23 Jacob: How does one become an evalutaion analyst 11:23 Kevin Goldstein: Understand baseball, have a good feel. Have eyes the work. Understand underlying data. 11:23 Biff: How much information can and do clubs disclose on player injuries?is this mandated by mlb or is every club free to disclose what they want? 11:23 Kevin Goldstein: You can’t hide ANYTHING when exchanging medicals. 11:24 Lorenzo: Who do you think the Mets will hire as PoBO? And hypothetically, if you were the GM what would be your strategy for fixing the team? 11:25 Kevin Goldstein: I think they’ll definitely go after Theo with an ownership stake. We will see if it works. I think they need a total restructure and tighten things up internally in order to operate like a big market team. 11:25 John Chimpo: I recall you mentioning that it’s not uncommon for unconventional ideas to be thrown out in FO meetings – on a scale “from let’s work him out there for a couple months and see how it goes” to getting laughed out of the room, what would you have said if someone recommended trying Ke Hayes at SS last off-season? Pirates having a pretty blank rebuild slate, and they knew what they had in Newman at that point. 11:26 Kevin Goldstein: I would be skeptical, but I wouldn’t laugh it out of the room. That’s one of those things when in February, during spring training, you find a quiet backfield, hit some grounders to him there and see what it looks like. 11:26 Romorr: Jon Gray is going to be an interesting FA case, does he get a QO, and what kind of deal do you see for him? 11:26 Kevin Goldstein: I doubt he gets a QO, but he’s (for some reason) said he wants to stay in Colorado…. 11:27 Jacob: Do you think Brandon Belt will draw a ton of interest as a free agent? He has had such a great year, but is also 33. 11:27 Kevin Goldstein: He’ll get decent interest, just not on a long term deal. 11:27 Dexter: when mlb does things like changing the ball or adding a dh do they notify the clubs ahead of time that that is coming? 11:27 Kevin Goldstein: Yes. 11:27 Peter Off-Brand: If you owned a baseball team, would you rather have it in Oakland or Las Vegas? (Assume you would have a new ballpark built in either location) 11:27 Kevin Goldstein: Oakland. 11:28 Sodo Mojo: The Mariners strength this year has been the bullpen which I know has a large amount of variance from year to year. But with Giles and Munoz coming back from TJ surgeries next year could the Mariners bullpen actually be better? 11:28 Kevin Goldstein: Yes, it could be a real strength for them. 11:29 Ian: Where is Nick Yorke going to fit in for next year’s prospect rankings? Any comparable players? 11:29 Kevin Goldstein: He’s already moved into the Top 100 . . . I don’t have an easy comp, and I’m not a big fan of comps anyway. Bat is great. Other stuff is so-so. 11:30 Russ: Are the Astros limping into the playoffs or are they just trying to get as healthy as they can before flipping the switch (Brantley, Greinke and Tucker’s shoulder)? 11:30 Kevin Goldstein: Read Jay Jaffe today. Limping into the playoffs or going into them like the Cardinals just doesn’t matter. 11:30 Bort: Is Hunter Brown figuring it out? 11:30 Kevin Goldstein: Yup. 11:30 Abe: several of the teams like the angels,rockies and a’s appeared to mistreat employees during the pandemic. Has there beenmuch of backlash against this or are these jobs in such demand? 11:30 Kevin Goldstein: The latter. 11:31 JjjjJJJix: Is Spencer Howard salvageable at this point? 11:31 Kevin Goldstein: He’s so frustrating. The stuff is MORE than major league quality. He feels like one of those guys that will have a really good year or run of years four to six years from now with his fourth org. 11:31 Rudy: I’ve gone to several minor league games and see the radar readings on the scoreboard. Are those accurate? Ive seen several players with supposedly faster velocity than what appears 11:32 Kevin Goldstein: It really depends. Lots of teams just have a radar gun on a fence hooked up to the scoreboard and they’re not calibrated or aimed right and can be a mess. Others are feeding Trackman right to the scoreboard and those are accurate. 11:32 szakyl: Fangraphs playoff odds have the Dodgers with the best World Series odds even though they’re probably playing a wild card game. Are you buying them over a different team (Astros?) that wins the division? 11:32 Kevin Goldstein: It’s the playoffs. It’s a dice roll. 11:34 5 Run Homer: When do we start having the discussion about whether Trout is still the best player in baseball? 11:34 Kevin Goldstein: Can we see what he looks like next year first? 11:34 Cole: Any insight on what kind of stuff managers use to make in-game decisions? Do they have some sort of matrix that displays projected wOBA’s of all of their hitters against all of the opposing teams pitchers and vice versa? 11:34 Kevin Goldstein: Yes, many teams have such a matrix. 11:35 RAGBRAI: Kim in SD seemed very underutlizied this year despite the preseason hype. Does he have a future in SD other than as a bench player? Does he deserve to play more? 11:35 Kevin Goldstein: He hasn’t hit . . . 11:35 Chad: Which badly underperforming met bats (Conforto; Dom; McNeil; Lindor; McCann) do you have the most/least confidence in rediscovering form next year? 11:35 Kevin Goldstein: Lindor and McNeil. 11:35 Sam: Why do some teams sit recent HS pitching draft picks out until the following season? Is this really necessary or just old school thinking? 11:36 Kevin Goldstein: They often go to the team’s spring complex and get a throwing program going so it’s not like they’re sitting around playing video games. I’m fine with it. 11:36 5 Run Homer: I’m a fan of an AL East team so I haven’t watched a whole lot of the Giants this year; will watching them in the postseason finally make me understand why they’re so good or will I still be confused? 11:36 Kevin Goldstein: A little of both. 11:36 RAGBRAI: How does AZ’s catching situation play out next year? Who is the main starter Varsho or Kelly? Does Varsho get more ABs in the OF or behind the plate? 11:36 Kevin Goldstein: Kelly should be their C, use Varsho all over. 11:36 mmddyyyy: Which division spends the most money this off-season? 11:36 Kevin Goldstein: AL East. 11:36 Guest: Jeremy Pena is destroying AAA. Is he a perennial 3+ fwar SS starting next year? 11:37 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t know about next year, but going forward, yes. 11:37 Sam: If you were tasked with trying to create a new two-way stud like Ohtani, and you had your choice of all MLB hitters to try to teach pitching, or all MLB pitchers to try to teach hitting, which would you choose? 11:37 Kevin Goldstein: Joey Gallo; Zack Greinke. 11:37 Guest: What is the secret to Houston’s pipeline of no-bonus international arms? Garcia, Framber, Urquidy, Javier, Abreu already up, Taveras, Tamarez, Robaina, Jimenez on the way. 11:37 Kevin Goldstein: Focus on athleticism, delivery, and pitch data. 11:38 Jacob: I think Oakland is a good baseball town with dedicated fans, but man the stadium is awful! I don’t care what anyone says about the Trop the Coliseum is horrendous and much much worse. I hope Oakland the city and the A’s franchise can figure out building a new stadium. 11:38 Kevin Goldstein: Nothing to add here but amen. 11:38 mmddyyyy: Does the union have to sign off on which teams a player puts into their limited ntc? 11:38 Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely not. 11:39 mmddyyyy: Should there be more off days in the schedule? 11:39 Kevin Goldstein: Maybe 8 and play 154 a year…. 11:39 Dave: Thoughts on MLB testing pre-tacked balls in AAA at this point in the season? 11:39 Kevin Goldstein: Yes please. 11:39 James: Do the Astros need to sign a starter in the offseason to eat innings or should they rely on the young guys? 11:39 Kevin Goldstein: Find a bulk guy. 11:39 mmddyyyy: What type of player might have the flattest rolling OPS? 11:39 Kevin Goldstein: Someone who makes a lot of contact. 11:40 greenfrog: How should the Jays address their catching logjam in 2022? Trade Moreno for a quality MLB piece and keep Jansen (who is hitting again) plus Kirk? Or trade Jansen or Kirk and bet on Moreno as the long-term solution? Or keep all three and see what happens over the course of the year? 11:40 Kevin Goldstein: I would bet on Moreno. 11:40 James: Should the league move to make the wild card game less of a crapshoot, especially when one team is 10+ game better than the other? Maybe make the lesser team win twice? 11:41 Kevin Goldstein: I’d just get right of the WC game. One wild card team, goes right into a series with the one seed. 11:41 Kevin Goldstein: RID of, obviously. 11:41 mmddyyyy: So many more players move from the infield to the outfield than vice versa. How much easier is the outfield? 11:41 Kevin Goldstein: Much easier, except for center. 11:41 purplemini: Would you consider Jameson Taillon’s season a success if you were a member of the Yankee’s FO? Would you consider Jameson Taillon’s season a success if you were Jameson Taillon? 11:42 Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely; absolutely. 11:42 Luis: If service time wasn’t a factor, would you start Grayson Rodriguez in Baltimore next year? 11:42 Kevin Goldstein: yes 11:43 mmddyyyy: How many decks is reasonable for an MLB stadium? 11:43 Kevin Goldstein: As many as you can sell seats for? 11:43 Ted: What is the difference between how teams evaluate defense and how the public metrics do? 11:43 Kevin Goldstein: A lot of teams have developed their own defensive metrics, but to be honest, the ones I’ve seen are as flawed as the public ones. 11:44 Paul: Would you be a fan of three 10 team divisions ? East, West, Central… play under one set of rules… it would eliminate playing the same opponent 19 times per year ? Thoughts? 11:44 Kevin Goldstein: Need more details, but I could get on board if right…. 11:45 Bernard Gilkey: Did you ever see Squirrel Bait back in the day? 11:45 Kevin Goldstein: I think mulitple times. Pretty sure more than once they opened for Naked Raygun, who I’ve seen live . . . 30-40 times? 11:46 The Ghost of Old Hoss Radbourn: Do Red Sox keep Bogaerts around and move him to second when Mayer arrives, or just go for a bridge guy or two? 11:46 Kevin Goldstein: I mean, Mayer is a teenager in the complex league, so cross that bridge when you come to it . . . IF you come to it. 11:47 Don: I’ve heard outfielders say center has the easiest reads. Better view of the pitch, don’t deal with hooks and slices. Higher bar for speed and athleticism aside, of course 11:47 Kevin Goldstein: For sure. It’s a more true off the bat look, but it’s just so much ground to over. I’ve seen plenty of CF struggle to adjust to corner life because of the life on fly balls. 11:48 mmddyyyy: Do mlb players have pets? 11:48 Kevin Goldstein: Sure! Tons of them. Cutest pet I’ve seen: Marwin Gonzalez’ french bulldog. 11:48 Bret: The league seems to be adjusting to Jake Meyers. Will he adjust back? 11:48 Kevin Goldstein: That’s always the biggest question. 11:48 Guest: squirrel bait, shellac, naked raygun (i’m sure i’ve missed other references peppered around in your time here)…when did you get into weirdo noise rock? 11:49 Kevin Goldstein: I was always a punk rock guy, but really got into the scene when I move to Chicago (the day after my high school graduation). Remember The Lorax? That was some amazing weirdo noise rock and with a show to boot. 11:50 Guest: what’s it like to be in the front office when a team wins a playoff series / clinches? more subdued than the players’ celebration, or just as rowdy? 11:50 Kevin Goldstein: More subdued. Go down to the clubhouse, celebrate a bit but leave the space for the players. They put in the work. 11:50 Sam: Are wives/girlfriends allowed to travel with players or is that frowned upon? 11:51 Kevin Goldstein: They do during the playoffs and there are usually two or three roadtrips that are family ones where the family travels with the players. 11:51 Tony Kemp MVP: do MLB players have, specifically, cats? Or all dogs 11:51 Kevin Goldstein: Both! More dogs, but both. 11:51 Inaccessible Rail: I have a 7″ single somewhere of Squirrel Bait’s “When I Fall.” One of my favorite songs. 11:52 Kevin Goldstein: I recently found a Vanilla Blue 7″ on blue marble vinyl among my stuff. 11:52 Appa Yip Yip: Do any MLB teams have clubhouse cats or dogs, and if they don’t should they? 11:52 Kevin Goldstein: They do NOT. 11:52 Tom: Do the players normally have curfews on the road? 11:52 Kevin Goldstein: Yes, but they are often broken. 11:52 Robert Dribble: Story to Yankees. 50% likely? 11:53 Kevin Goldstein: Nah. Less than start, but I’m sure they’ll be interested. I still think Correa is the best fit for them. 11:53 Paul: for three 10 team divisions… we go three series vs. each in-division opponent… makes the rivalry games feel more important… we have one set of standings… 12 team playoffs, top 4 get byes (each division winner and next best record) …. We go 5v12, 6v11, 7v10, 8v9 in three game wild card series all games at higher seed and then best of 7’s division, LCS and WS… it would be a great October format ! 11:53 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t hate this…. 11:53 Trout-ser Minnow: shellac was the last show i saw before lockdown, they were just incredible live. fave albini-involved album? 11:53 Kevin Goldstein: 1000 Hurts. 11:53 greenfrog: The AL East WC spots could come down to the final series of the season. Should the Yankees expect the Rays to play to win (100% effort) during that series, or might the Rays be a softer opponent that they normally would be? 11:54 Kevin Goldstein: The Rays have earned the right to set themselves up for the post-season and should use that to their advantage. Same for Milwaukee in Los Angeles this weekend. 11:54 Tony Kemp MVP: suppose you are a reasonably informed fan who is abreast of the major off field stories (suspensions, etc). If you knew the true level of illicit off field behavior in MLB, would you be surprised by its pervasiveness, surprised by its tameness, or neither? 11:54 Kevin Goldstein: Define ilicit…. 11:55 Tom: I’ve come around to Edmundo Sosa as a starting SS for StL. Too soon? 11:55 Kevin Goldstein: I’m coming around with you. 11:56 Luis: Illicit activities: Jaywalking, Littering, Downloading cars 11:56 Kevin Goldstein: I’ve seen a considerable amount of jaywalking, not much littering. I don’t know what downloading Cars is. Like Candy-O on Spotify or the dumb Pixar movie? 11:57 Filthy Little Hobbit: Karinchek is a pretty safe bet to rebound next year. Just needed a realignment. Am I wrong? 11:57 Kevin Goldstein: You might be. The command is a real problem. 11:57 Tony Kemp MVP: Let’s say two buckets: (1) basically harmless, like most recreational drug use (marijuana included, why not), heavy drinking, infidelity; (2) assaultive behavior (toward intimate partners or otherwise), Skaggs-level drug use 11:58 Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, there’s lots of 1. VERY little 2 that doesn’t get out there. 11:58 Al: What do you see ahead for Zack Scott? Obviously DUI is beyond a poor decision, but it was victimless and he must have been at least somewhat respected throughout the game beforehand. Can’t be the only front office person with one (if it proves to be so once he goes through the legal process). Think he finds his way back to a prominent front office position? 11:58 Kevin Goldstein: I think it hurts his GM chances, but yeah, I think he can still have a career in baseball. 11:58 Downtrodden Cubs Fan: This White Sox team is really fun. There, I said it. 11:58 Kevin Goldstein: They are an absolute blast. 11:59 SlightlyOff: There’s been a good deal of positive attention on the jobs Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler have done in SF, with lots of reporting done focusing on the large coaching staff in particular. Do you think this might be predicting some more severe brain drain than usual from the org, with so many people in baseball seemingly now wanting to emulate what the Giants have pulled off? 11:59 Kevin Goldstein: Oh yeah. Managing permissions is going to be a big part of their offseason. 11:59 Re: Astros: Do you expect Verlander to be ready to rock in ’22? Haven’t heard anything about his recovery. 12:00 Kevin Goldstein: I can’t imagine anyone working harder than him to come back, I can say that. What we’ll get is anyone’s guess. 12:01 mmddyyyy: Does postseason performance impact arbitration? 12:01 Kevin Goldstein: It’s not zero, but it’s not much either. 12:01 Filthy Little Hobbit: why have zebras never been domesticated, Kevin? 12:01 Kevin Goldstein: Zebras tend to be very aggressive and hostile and, therefore, can’t be domesticated easily. Zebras don’t have a hierarchy or family structure, unlike horses, who have herds. Just because zebras are in groups doesn’t mean they have family or friends. 12:02 Kevin Goldstein: Thanks google. 12:02 Albert Belle’s Best Friend: Which AL East wild card contender has the best chance of making a deep run? 12:02 Kevin Goldstein: Any of them. It’s the playoffs. Anything can happen. There’s not way anyone could answer any of those teams with a ton of confidence. 12:02 Tony Kemp MVP: Last off field behavior question: Out of players who are eligible to vote, (1) what percentage would you guess voted in the 2020 election and (2) what percentage would you guess voted for Donald Trump? 12:02 Kevin Goldstein: 50%; 65% 12:03 SlightlyOff: Thanks for the insight Kevin! Always look forward to your chats. If I can ask one more quick Q, what do you think is the biggest postseason X-factor that often goes underlooked when evaluating teams chances? My own theory would be defense, since outs are at such a premium in the postseason, but that’s a common enough take now itself 12:03 Kevin Goldstein: Defense; ability to miss bats. Balls in play are a problem, avoiding them is a good thing. 12:03 Doug: Gurriel possibly winning a batting title and a gold glove at age 37 is ludicrous, one of the best age 37 seasons ever? 12:03 Kevin Goldstein: I love Yuli. 12:04 Guest: Favorite ballpark you’ve been to? 12:04 Kevin Goldstein: Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal 12:04 BettsBellingerCaruso: Trea Turner or Corey Seager. Who do you sign if they were in the same FA class? 12:04 Kevin Goldstein: Turner. 12:04 Guest: What are some realistic things the Angels can do to help out Trout and Ohtani? Starting pitching number one priority? 12:04 Kevin Goldstein: Number one, two and three. 12:05 SJ: Assuming MLB eventually expands to 32 teams, would you prefer 8 4-team divisions or 4 8-team divisions? 12:05 Kevin Goldstein: I’d care more about the playoff structure. 12:06 White sox homer: white sox SP’s v Astros SP’s in a 5 game series – who are you taking? 12:06 Kevin Goldstein: Said it a million times. It’s five games. Flip a coin. 12:07 Appa Yip Yip: If a team did get a clubhouse dog or two is there any rule that would prevent the dog from hanging out in the dugout? 12:07 Kevin Goldstein: Holy crap. I have no idea. That would be awesome though. 12:08 Filthy Little Hobbit: are professional sports leagues looking into on the spot Covid testing for fans entering a stadium…for example a rapid test nasal PCR swab that could screen at least highly viremic individuals? 12:08 Kevin Goldstein: Not that I’ve heard. I do think proof of vax should be the case, but . . . 12:08 Appa Yip Yip: Lots of Story/Correa buzz but isn’t Marcus Semien clearly the best of the bunch? 12:08 Kevin Goldstein: He might be offensively, but he’s seen as more of a 2B. 12:08 BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: You said Spencer Howard is so frustrating. Who’s some other prospects that are frustrating you these days? 12:08 Kevin Goldstein: Nick Pivetta. 12:08 Plooto: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen happen in a clubhouse? 12:09 Kevin Goldstein: A dude with a GIANT snake scaring the hell out of people. 12:09 Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, reaching the final stretch…. 12:09 SlightlyOff: how much of a bounceback should we be hoping for from Cody Bellinger? It seems like we all still agree he can’t keep being *this* bad, but should we be expecting a full offseason of rest and rehab to bring back Cody Bellinger Trademark, or does a season this bad belie some kind of change in true talent level? 12:10 Kevin Goldstein: The question is what’s going on. Is it just mechanical or is it health related. I don’t think that’s something we can know from the outside. 12:11 Plooto: Are you of the belief that “clutch” is a skill that can be possessed by certain players? 12:11 Kevin Goldstein: Yes [ducks]. 12:11 Hmmm: Have you ever experienced first hand a player with the “yips”? 12:11 Kevin Goldstein: Yes, and it’s just horrifying to watch. 12:11 Tom: The M’s are talking about spending in FA this year… whom should they target? 12:12 Kevin Goldstein: You can’t just focus on one player. There are 30 teams out there. You’re probably not going to get that one target. Line up multiple targets that make the team better and go from there. 12:12 Mucho Maas: What kind of contract would you feel comfortable giving to Syndergaard this off-season? 12:12 Kevin Goldstein: I’d love to see if he’s be open to a big money one-year thing with PBs to set him up for FA off a healthy year. 12:13 JB: How does the conversation go asking a player not to bring back said GIANT snake? 12:14 Kevin Goldstein: It wasn’t a player. Manager brought him in during spring training to liven things up a bit. Spring training gets to be a Groundhog Day like GRIND. 12:14 Tony Kemp MVP: Best streamable movie you’ve seen lately? (Criterion and the increasingly niche services are options) 12:14 Kevin Goldstein: November, but it’s rental only, worth the four bucks. Really enjoyed Shiva Baby on HBO Max. 12:15 How Bobby Grich Stole Christmas: We went to a MLB game with a vaccine section and they had set up rapid testing onsite for kids. 12:16 Kevin Goldstein: There you go. Get your shots everyone, if you haven’t already. Do something good for society. 12:16 Mrs. Phanatic: Whats the dumbest thing you’ve heard in the FO? 12:17 Kevin Goldstein: That Framber Valdez should be moved to the bullpen because he’ll never start? Oh wait, I said that. Crap. 12:17 Tony Kemp MVP: Is the worst thing about Minute Maid the wraparound scoreboard message that tells you the game is possible thanks to oil and gas? 12:18 Kevin Goldstein: I mean, is the Halliburton sign still there? 12:18 5 Run Homer: What does LA do at SS this offseason? With Trea in the fold, do they just let Seager walk? 12:18 Kevin Goldstein: I think they do . . . . 12:19 Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, gonna wrap this one up. See you next week and thanks for all the great questions. I always enjoy doing these and you folks always have amazing questions.