Meg Rowley Chat – 3/21/18

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hello! And welcome to a special Wednesday chat.

2:00
Nat: I’ve been greatly enjoying your contributions since you joined the site! Do you expect any big, Craig Kimbrel-esque trades to go down before opening day?

2:01
Meg Rowley: Thank you! And I’d be surprised (though I suppose we are often surprised by these). This isn’t a trade but boy, Greg Holland still needs to sign somewhere, huh?

2:02
Davy: Have you read today’s THT article? It was fantastic.

2:02
Meg Rowley: I, the managing editor of The Hardball Times, in fact edited today’s piece! And I agree that it is fantastic.

2:03
Meg Rowley: You should all read Annie’s piece on her journey through fandom: https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/a-rebuilding-year-my-way-back-to-basebal…

2:03
Joe: Does Alex Cobb make the Orioles a legit wild card contender?

2:03
Meg Rowley: So, the answer for me is yes, and no. That’s annoying, so I’ll say more.

2:04
Meg Rowley: The short answer is, I am very skeptical of the Orioles being able to beat out the rest of a crowded AL field.

2:05
Meg Rowley: Even with Cobb folded in, we have them projected for 78 wins, which puts them behind teams like the Angels.

2:06
Meg Rowley: But, but! The yes part is that having him makes them more likely to out hit their pitching, and that crowded AL field is full of teams with their own problems. So it makes them more likely to be able to take advantage of their own out performance, should it happen, or other teams’ underperformance. But I still wouldn’t pencil them in, personally.

2:07
MikeVail: Can you pair a red wine with seafood paella? Asking for a friend (Chet Lemon)

2:07
Meg Rowley: Lots of light bodied, effervescent reds out there, but also, drink what you like.

2:07
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Do the Orioles think Cobb can get the thing back, or are they buying second-half Cobb? 56 million for an injury risk who stopped striking people out and is getting barreled more than ever shocks me.

2:08
Meg Rowley: If you’ll forgive an obvious statement, this it the thing to watch, now isn’t it? His strike out numbers make me nervous, but he’s also about to be that much more removed from surgery.

2:09
Meg Rowley: So I assume they buy into the second half and think he’s healthier now.

2:09
Al: Is Acuna really that great, ie, perennial all star?  Is a regular 30/30 season in the cards?

2:10
Meg Rowley: Obviously he has to do it, but I think he is going to be really, really special. HOT TAKE I KNOW.

2:10
rwatt@espn.com: If you were to choose a topic of focus for your chats, what would it be? (fantasy, prospects, roster-building/GM-ing, MLB and MiLB labor economics, league trends, etc)

2:11
Meg Rowley: I suppose I would say it is a mix of the GMing stuff, the labor stuff (not such different stuff), league trends, and baseball oddity. I will occasionally dip my toe in prospect land, but Eric and Kiley are obviously superior minds on that score. Fantasy baseball is not my forte but I will give you bad advice if you want it.

2:11
pods: when will you be a guest start on the rotographs podcast?

2:12
Meg Rowley: When they stop caring about how your team is doing.

2:12
ohioastrosfan: What’s Kyle Tucker’s ceiling? I could see him put up 4ish wins for quite a while. 30% he gets there?

2:14
Meg Rowley: To borrow liberally from Eric, there is doubt that he’ll be able to stick in center, which puts a cap on it, but the bat is, and I quote, “likely to mature into a middle-of-the-order threat.”

2:15
Meg Rowley: We should remember how many wins 4 wins is though. We currently have Judge projected for around there.

2:15
Murray Chats: Would you be in to a permanent move to wednesday? Having prospect-only chats on tuesday and wednesday will get to be a drag during the season. Stuff that happens in games on monday night won’t be chatted about until Thursday!

2:15
Meg Rowley: I will ask. Mine isn’t the only schedule to consider, but I’ll check in with the team.

2:16
Everly : Do you think the concept of “starting pitchers” and “relief pitchers” will disappear completely over the next 20 years?

2:17
Meg Rowley: Not completely, no. Relief pitchers generally become relief pitchers for a reason, and not every reliever is a multi-inning guy. But I do think we’ll continue to see starts get shorter.

2:17
Meg Rowley: I think the 200 inning guy will have basically disappeared in 20 years. He’s almost disappeared now.

2:17
A’ron J’dge: Would you eat a poop if it meant your favorite team could get Mike Trout for nothing?

2:18
Meg Rowley: Why would that be the thing? Of all the things, why would it ever, ever be that?

2:18
Newts In My Salad, Oh my!: How good would a team have to be to be broken up by Major League Baseball? I’d wager that once you hit a certain threshold it’s just no fun for everyone else.

2:19
Meg Rowley: Over one season? We love one season oddities! Over the long haul? Baseball lets the Yankees continue to exist despite them being very little fun for other fans, and they have down years, too.

2:20
Newts In My Salad, Oh my!: I allot you 160 points to split up between the five tools; your goal is to create the most valuable player.

2:20
Meg Rowley: This seems like a fun article idea.

2:20
Erich Kall: Other than Ichiro, is Beltre our best chance to see a guy play through his age 45 season?

2:21
Meg Rowley: Of the guys playing right now? You know, probably.

2:21
Meg Rowley: I’m sure I’m forgetting an obvious counter, but Beltre has the unique combo of skill and seeming to just really love doing this.

2:21
Newts In My Salad, Oh my!: Counterpoint: The Yankees have only won once this millenium. Baseball is still fun!

2:22
Meg Rowley: Someone should remind Yankees fans of that.

2:22
CamdenWarehouse: Bartolo will be 45 this year

2:22
Meg Rowley: Ah see, what did I say? The obvious example I missed.

2:23
VermontSoxFan: What team is it most important for to have a good first month of the season?

2:24
Meg Rowley: This is a good question. If we assume for a moment that the first wild card in the AL is likely to be one of either the Yankees or the Red Sox, then probably I’d say…

2:25
Meg Rowley: Maybe the Angels? Or the Twins? Just to get some distance from the WC2 pack.

2:26
Meg Rowley: I mean, you could also throw the Mariners in there. Maybe the Mariners or the Orioles, because unlike the Twins or Angels, they might make some decisions around the deadline with respect to starting their reboots.

2:26
Guy: Do you make a good sandwich?

2:26
Meg Rowley: I like the sandwiches I make.

2:27
John Jaso Jingle Heimer Schmidt: Sam Dyson looks like the 2017 Rangers version of Sam Dyson. What do the Giants do with him?

2:28
Meg Rowley: I mean, put him in low leverage innings for sure. Hope it gets better? He had some ok stretches with them last year when he was filling in but I think those stretches are likely to get sandwiched between long bits of wobbly pitching.

2:28
Meg Rowley: It happened so fast!

2:28
ericstephenisgod: Spoiler alert: Nationals over Indians in a boring World Series after an annoying season. Thoughts?

2:28
Meg Rowley: That Nationals and Indians fans would probably like that a lot?

2:29
Meg Rowley: Beyond that, those are two of the better teams in baseball and most World Series have at least some fun.

2:29
Meg Rowley: It’s always fun when a team hasn’t been there before.

2:30
Bernardo Brito: What under-the-radar storyline are you most interested in following this season?

2:31
Meg Rowley: I don’t know how under-the-radar this is really going to be but I am very, very curious about how aggressive teams will be in offering extensions to young guys that eat up free agent years, and how inclined young guys are to take them.

2:31
Brandon M: Which team has the most consistently obnoxious fans? It has to be the Yankees, right?

2:32
Meg Rowley: Every team has bad fans. Every single team. All the teams.

2:33
Meg Rowley: Now, do I hurry to get tickets to Safeco when the Yankees are in town? No. But that’s true of other teams, too. So many little monsters everywhere.

2:33
Reverend Shroud : I want to force-feed Dee Gordon bananas until he promises to hit for more power.

2:33
Meg Rowley: Well don’t do that. Appreciate the Dee Gordon you have. That Dee Gordon is so fun!

2:34
Daniel Vogelbach: IS THIS NOT WHAT WE CALL GAME POWER!? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!?

2:35
Meg Rowley: I count myself among those who are in fact highly entertained. Vogelbach has been quite good this spring, and while we shouldn’t overreact to spring training, he looks good and it is nice to see that power come out in games.

2:35
Meg Rowley: I believe David Laurila is going to have some Vogelbach content later this week, so stay tuned for that.

2:36
ohioastrosfan: Altuve extension solid value? Age 30-34 Altuve should still be worth a few wins I hope. I love the man and no amount of money would have disappointed me.

2:36
Meg Rowley: Could be worth quite a few wins! Should be, even, unless something dramatic happens.

2:37
Meg Rowley: If Altuve were a free agent right now, he’d get more but he is finally being paid approaching what he is worth, and Houston gets to stay friends with a franchise cornerstone MVP.

2:37
Meg Rowley: What a fun, everyone is happy sort of thing. Love those.

2:37
Nick: Isn’t it crazy that Wisconsin is the only BigTen team without a baseball team?

2:38
Meg Rowley: What’s crazier is that anyone in the BigTen plays baseball at all. Wisconsin is so cold. So so cold.

2:38
tb.25: Loved your 2B analysis this morning, mainly due to your style of writing. Will you do a midseason and/or end of season revisit?

2:39
Meg Rowley: I am taking this not to pat myself on the back (though thank you and I’m glad you liked it) but to say, yes possibly. There could be some movement on that list that is interesting.

2:40
Todd: If Seattle really is up against a hard cap set by ownership, why are they making noise about extending Cruz given how middling the current team is.

2:41
Meg Rowley: I think when we think about the limits set by ownership (which I think exist for the Mariners) there is a difference between them being in the mix for big, multi-year deals for pitchers, and what I imagine Cruz might get.

2:42
Meg Rowley: He’s been wonderful and I have never been happier to be wrong about a contract than his, but he’ll be 38 at the end of the year.

2:42
JJJones: How long does Pujols keep playing if he continues to spiral downwards? This year is his chance to redeem himself, right? He’s supposedly healthy and lithe again, so no excuses this year. If he hits like he did last year, do you think he walks away?

2:43
Meg Rowley: It is really, really hard to walk away from a lot of money, but it is also really, really taxing to feel like you’re bad at your job all of the time.

2:43
Meg Rowley: Pujols already has a lot of money, and a lot of well-earned pride in the career he’s had.

2:44
Meg Rowley: I don’t think it will necessarily be after this year, but I could see a time when it just isn’t worth the grind and resentment.

2:44
Meg Rowley: Remember prime Pujols though? Dang, that was cool.

2:45
Bort: One a scale of one to Zunino, how much do you love Dan Vogelbach?

2:45
Meg Rowley: That is a deeply personal question, how dare you?

2:46
Meg Rowley: Mike Zunino represented the human manifestation of a skill I find incredibly interesting (pitch framing) in a uniform I personally care about (Seattle’s).

2:47
Meg Rowley: Dan Vogelbach isn’t that.

2:47
Brook Jacobin: Do you think the minor league wage issue has much of a carryover effect to the actual, on-the-field product of major league baseball?

2:47
Meg Rowley: Yes, I do.

2:48
Meg Rowley: First, I think there are definitely players who are driven from the sport because it isn’t financially tenable for them to continue.

2:50
Meg Rowley: And second, and this is a little squishier, but I would not be at all surprised to learn that the pay scale’s impact on nutrition matters a lot, nor would it surprise me to learn some guys aren’t playing their best ball because of the psychological burden of worrying about money.

2:51
Toast: Am I the only one that thinks this offseason might be better for baseball in the long run? That your very good but not great players will stop constantly changing franchises and be signing more discount deals through their free agent years.

2:52
Meg Rowley: I don’t think very good but not great players changing franchises is bad for baseball. I do think it is a problem when the players take home so much less of league revenues than owners do.

2:53
Meg Rowley: If the result of this offseason is that we get money to guys earlier in their careers when they are adding the most value, then I think yes, long term it is a good thing. But this is a heck of a hard way to learn that lesson.

2:53
Bort: Related question: why don’t you appreciate Dan Vogelbach’s unique beauty?

2:53
Meg Rowley: One of my favorite things about baseball is the democracy of bodies you see in the game.

2:54
Brian CashGod: Meg, what are your thoughts on a baseball equivalent to the huge UMBC / UVA upset in college hoops the other night? Perhaps something like the worst AAA team knocking off the best MLB team in a 1 game (wild card?) playoff?

2:54
Meg Rowley: I don’t think baseball can replicate quite that split in skill.

2:55
Meg Rowley: But it has a lot of smaller upsets all the time, especially in the playoffs.

2:55
Me Growley: Name a better children’s show than fraggle rock

2:56
Meg Rowley: Mr. Rogers is responsible for about 55% of the person I am today.

2:56
I Mets Up: Will Conforto save us?

2:56
Meg Rowley: If he’s healthy he’ll sure try!

2:57
Slurve: Is there a rule you would ADD if you were Commissioner?

2:58
Meg Rowley: I’m not sure if there is one I would add (I’d have to think on that) though I would use my commissionership to bring an end to the worst rule in baseball: being able to reach on a dropped third strike

2:58
Me Growley: Is your name a clever disguise for the alter-ego that comes out when you haven’t been fed tacos in too long?

2:59
Meg Rowley: Well you saw right through it, so apparently not as clever as I thought

3:00
CapnZippers: Michael Conforto hit 2 HR in his rehab start today. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

3:00
Meg Rowley: See, I was right.

3:01
Points on the Bench: Do you think baseball is doing enough to bring women into the game? Fantasy/announcer/author/coach/umpire wise? Do you see any changes happening soon? Assuming the answer is, no, the baseball industry is not doing enough to bring women in the game, what do you suggest they do?

3:01
Meg Rowley: This answer varies depending on what part of the industry in particular we’re talking about.

3:02
Meg Rowley: I think the general answer is that there is a lot left to do. I have been encouraged by some teams I know are making honest efforts to hire women in the front office. I think they recognize there are people out there who can help them win who aren’t part of the conversation right now.

3:03
Meg Rowley: And I’ve also been encouraged that more and more places are realizing that diversity is something you don’t achieve passively. You have to do the hard work of recruiting and scouting and finding new voices, people, and perspectives.

3:04
Meg Rowley: But there is a lot of work still to be done. When we can still count the number of full time scouts, analysts, writers, etc on two hands, we aren’t where we need to be.

3:04
Tommy Wiseau: Kyle Schwarber has as many SB’s this spring training (4) as he had in his entire major league career prior to this spring.  Over/Under 12 for him this season?

3:04
Meg Rowley: I’d take the under, but he certainly does look more spritely out there.

3:05
Meg Rowley: I’d imagine the place we see the improvement most is in better overall base running than in more stolen bases, if that makes sense.

3:06
Meg Rowley: Hold please, I am being pinged by one Carson Cistulli.

3:06
Meg Rowley: And, I’m back.

3:07
Fat Matt: Are you from Wisconsin originally or just were here for a bit?  If you’re from here, I hope you’re a Jordan Zimmermann fan

3:08
Meg Rowley: I spent two years there for graduate school, before joining one of the world’s largest alumnae associations: the order of PhD dropouts.

3:08
Not Jeff Sullivan: Thoughts on Ohtani starting the year on the 25-man roster?

3:09
Meg Rowley: I got a question about this a week ago and thought surely there is no way he gets sent down. It would just look so, so bad. But then he’s looked so, so bad in spring!

3:10
Meg Rowley: For the record, I don’t think he is so, so bad. I’m confident he’ll be great, but he is making it easier for them to use a service time loophole with a straight face.

3:11
Meg Rowley: I don’t know that I think they’ll do that.

3:12
Justin: What if both Stanton and Judge are as good at hitting as last year?

3:12
Meg Rowley: I think they Yankees will be pretty good.

3:12
Meg Rowley: Can always DH one of them to get the at-bats.

3:13
Meg Rowley: They’re actually one/two on the Yankees depth chart at DH. God, it is going to just suckkkk to be a pitcher facing that lineup.

3:13
Rockie Dangerfield: If there were a golden retriever out there smart enough to read fly balls off the bat, trained enough to take decent routes, and fast enough to run the ball in to a cutoff man (because obviously he couldn’t throw it in.  That would be weird.), which teams would upgrade their defense with him?  And how good a boy would he be?

3:14
Meg Rowley: First of all, the best boy.

3:15
Meg Rowley: Second of all, like maybe one or two. He couldn’t talk to his teammates, he’d make terrible plays at the wall, and you just know he’d run the ball to the cutoff man, but refuse to give it up.

3:16
Captain K: Favorite ballpark to visit(non-Safeco division)?

3:16
Meg Rowley: I haven’t been to them all, but I really enjoyed Miller when I was in Wisco. AT&T is great, but damn pricey.

3:16
Meg Rowley: Coors is wonderful.

3:17
Meg Rowley: I’ve never been more annoyed by drink selection than I was at New Yankee.

3:17
CamdenWarehouse: Visit Camden Yards

3:17
Meg Rowley: On the list for sure.

3:18
Meg Rowley: Alright, I have to get going. Thanks for hanging out on a not-Thursday, and happy last full week with no real MLB games. We (almost) made it!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley Chat – 3/21/18 by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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