Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 1/21/20

2:01
Meg Rowley: Hi everyone, and welcome to the chat.

2:02
Meg Rowley: Happy HOF announcement day. Jay has the results of our crowdsourced ballot here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-envelope-please-our-2020-hall-of-fame-…

2:02
Meg Rowley: And Anthony Calamis, who is part of Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracker crew, has a piece special to FanGraphs on ballot trends: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/walking-through-the-2020-hall-of-fame-ball…

2:03
Meg Rowley: Meanwhile, on BravesGraphs, Dan has Atlanta’s ZiPS: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2020-zips-projections-atlanta-braves/

2:04
Meg Rowley: And the prospects dudes put out their list: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-27-prospects-atlanta-braves/

2:05
Lunar verLander: With all this talk on other players hating on the Astros’ players, I wonder what their interactions on the basepaths will be like. No more friendly banter at first? More cleats-up slides into second? Will it extend to players who’ve been traded (Jake Marisnick, Marwin Gonzalez, etc.)? Will they hate on the pitchers as well, who presumably had some inkling what was going on but didn’t directly benefit from it?

2:06
Meg Rowley: I am fascinated to watch this. I worry about them getting buzzed (Altuve and Bregman in particular), and wonder if it the league shouldn’t offer proactive guidance on it.

2:06
Meg Rowley: Gosh, imagine the fan signs we’re gonna get.

2:07
Meg Rowley: So many!

2:07
Meg Rowley: And so creatively done!

2:07
Pat’s Bat: Did you fill out a fake HoF ballot for Jay?  Who was on it?

2:07
Meg Rowley: I have an embarrassing confession: I meant to, but got a very, very bad head cold just before New Years and… forgot.

2:08
Meg Rowley: But as such, my ballot is identical to Jay’s and you can’t prove I made any goofy, bad choices.

2:08
snid: Would you please rank the following for Dynasty league:  Woodruff, Soroka, Paddack

2:09
Meg Rowley: Been a minute since we’ve done this but, please ask one of our very good and smart fantasy writers because I don’t know and care about you personally.

2:09
Vslyke: Do you think the Braves will replace Donaldson’s bat or roll out the current lineup and aim to improve at the deadline?

2:10
Meg Rowley: I think they roll with Riley and Camargo for now and then perhaps contemplate a trade at the deadline if that duo proves wanting.

2:11
Meg Rowley: I know that he had the down year and then the injury, and his club option converts to a player option if he’s traded, but man, Seager the Elder might make a lot of sense for them if things get dicey.

2:12
L. Scott: Considering they are less than 1 year apart in age,  how is Zach Wheeler worth $33MIL more than Madison Bumgarner over their 5 year contracts?  I understand Wheeler had a good 2nd half last season, but $33MIL??  Bumgarner has a much better track record including postseason greatness.  Why would Bumgarner leave so much money on the table?

2:15
Meg Rowley: They’re less than a year apart, but Bumgarner has a lottttt more innings, plus Wheeler has that velo. The difference is reflected in their projections, and their contracts

2:16
Meg Rowley: Jay did a really nice job with the contrast if you want the full length article version: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/madison-bumgarner-saddles-up-for-arizona/

2:16
DJ Tanner: Is sign stealing technically illegal in baseball? If everyone does it in simple terms, just seems like MLB put the the players/coaches in a position to try to get more and more creative. It’s fine to steal the sign if you’re a runner on 2B and get info to the batter, but not if you make it more complex. MLB should ban it completely or you will always have guys trying to find a competitive advantage this way.

2:17
Meg Rowley: There isn’t ambiguity here. The memos clubs were sent put what the Astros did (and what we know of what the Red Sox did) on the other side of the legal line.

2:17
Meg Rowley: The game’s flirtation with some amount of cheating might make the general moral posture a complex one, but this was very clearly against the rules.

2:19
Meg Rowley: The idea that systems of rules cannot address nuance, or that, faced with a strong desire to win, individuals and teams simply can’t help themselves sounds like a pretty bad way to organize a league and a civilization

2:20
Meg Rowley: put another way, I remain unimpressed with the idea that the presence of incentives neuters the capacity to control oneself.

2:22
bartleby: Felix going to Atlanta- he is finished- right?

2:23
Meg Rowley: Not sure about finished. We’ll see. If I recall correctly, ZiPS is projecting him for a FIP in the 5.00’s, which is… bad. But we’ll see.

2:24
Meg Rowley: This was exactly the sort of the deal we expected he’d get.

2:24
Jon G: What’s the most exhausting part of baseball twitter?

2:24
Meg Rowley: Yes

2:24
Patrick: What jersey is Kris Bryant wearing on Opening Day?

2:25
Meg Rowley: Cubs. Even with the Arenado market souring, I still think the grievance being up in the air makes the whole thing too tricky.

2:25
Matt: Baseball (of the college variety) is less than 4 weeks away, and MLB spring training starts in a month! My question is, when is Prospect Week?

2:26
Meg Rowley: It’ll kick off February 10.

2:26
Meg Rowley: College Baseball opening day is that Friday.

2:26
Meg Rowley: Valentine’s Day! D’awwwww.

2:26
Inaccessible Rail: Is there somewhere one can find out which players still have options?

2:26
Meg Rowley: It’s at the top of every player page, and on the RosteResource depth charts: https://www.fangraphs.com/roster-resource/depth-charts/indians

2:27
Bighen: Best bet for mets manager ? The are apparently afraid to look bad in front of Steve Cohen which is why he should probably have taken over control immediately

2:27
Meg Rowley: I don’t get why people are excited about Cohen. I think people should do a little lookin’ there.

2:27
Rocky Mountain Transplant: Hi Meg.  I am a big Cardinals fan and would love to see them pull the trigger on a talent like Arenado.  However, I am also taking a job in Denver and am moving out there.  As I foresee myself taking in some Rockies games.  Despite not being a fan of the Rockies, I’d rather see them competitive with a star player as opposed to being in the midst of a tear-down.  Who do I advocate for?

2:28
Meg Rowley: Arenado staying put, and the Cardinals going back in time and signing Donaldson?

2:28
Trent: Which back-end rotation depth signings look best to you: Wood and Nelson (LAD); Porcello and Wacha (NYM); or Bailey and Hill (MIN)?

2:28
Meg Rowley: LAD, MIN, NYM

2:28
Meg Rowley: But LA and Minnesota are close

2:29
Nick: In light of Arenado’s comments, perhaps players should seek a new contractual innovation: not a “no trade” clause, but  “pro trade” clause–i.e., a clause the player could invoke to require a team to trade him in a specified period of time.  The player would obviously have to give up significant financial value in exchange, but the freedom to exit an organization upon demand might be worth it for a player (perhaps like Arenado) who has become disillusioned with his team.

2:30
Meg Rowley: I mean, he has an opt out after 2021

2:30
GSon: While it’s a foregone conclusion [and deservedly so] that Derek Jeter will be a HOF’er, will his selection be any less impressive than every other (save for Mo Rivera) HOF’er not unanimously selected?

2:30
Meg Rowley: No?

2:30
Meg Rowley: Why would it be?

2:30
Meg Rowley: They don’t arrange the plaques by voting percentage.

2:32
2-D: O/U 9 HBPs for Altuve this season?

2:32
Meg Rowley: Ugh.

2:32
Meg Rowley: Over, but I’m not happy about it.

2:33
GSon: Who kidnapped Jerry DiPoto thereby preventing him from making any trades?

2:33
Meg Rowley: They don’t have much left they want to move

2:33
Meg Rowley: Imagine they’ll listen on Haniger and Seager but there’s not a lot left on the big league roster

2:34
slockwood: What do you make of the discontent with Arenado in Colorado?  Does it lower his value? As it stands, should Bridich entertain trade proposals?

2:34
Meg Rowley: I don’t think anyone in baseball is confused about who came out of that whole thing looking worse, and he’s not in a uniform.

2:35
Tormund: Do you think Gerrit Cole’s actions immediately after losing the World Series (appearing with a Boras hat post game), had any correlation to the sign stealing scandal? Was it just a player eager for free agency?

2:36
Meg Rowley: It was reported at the time that he might have been frustrated with his usage in Game 7, I believe. Imagine he was just mad he’s lost a World Series and eager to get going on his new deal.

2:36
Spotted cow : Tom ricketts got booed pretty severely for mentioning the launch of their marquee network, what would be the consequences of it being a total flop? And would that put theo on the hot seat?

2:36
Meg Rowley: Why would the TV deal put the GM in the hot seat? Theo didn’t negotiate it.

2:37
Sonny: If Kris Bryant wins his grievance what really changes in FOs and how long will it take to see noticeable changes?

2:37
Meg Rowley: There being precedent for a player winning will have impact for sure, though how damn long this took to resolve will probably blunt some of that impact.

2:39
Dog mutton: On rate stats, Jeter is not as good as Larkin, but people gonna vote Jeter in like he was a sparkling baby alien of light and wonder.  Am I oversensitive?

2:40
Meg Rowley: I wouldn’t say that, but I might invite you to consider caring less about it, as Jeter is a deserving HOFer and the way folks talk about him given his role/team/etc isn’t that surprising. Doesn’t have to be read as a slight against other, also very good players.

2:40
Thunder Donut: Are there any fangraphs meet-ups around Sabr/Spring Training?

2:40
Meg Rowley: Yes! Details soon! Exclamation point!

2:42
Zachary: Ooof.  Rough landing for someone who asked a fantasy question, likely just due to not knowing who does what on the site.  “I don’t care about you personally” haha.  Damn!

2:43
Meg Rowley: Sorry, to be clear, I care about them personally, which is why I want them to ask someone who knows what they are talking about. Find your commas, pals.

2:43
reech: we are excited about cohen because his last name is NOT Wilpon!

2:43
Meg Rowley: Multiple things can be bad at once.

2:45
GSon: what a nasty response, young lady.. REMEMBER: You are selling Fangraphs in EVERY POSTING/STORY you make. Flippant and nasty remarks make the first three letters of your site’s name, hypocritical..

2:45
Meg Rowley: Man, you drop one comma by mistake.

2:45
Matt W: Is it really not that hard to understand why Mets fans are excited for Cohen? Even taking payroll capacity out of the question, the Wilpons have shown themselves to be extremely incapable of running any kind of professional organization. Whether it’s the frequent PR bungles, their embrace of DV abusers, the employment discrimination suits, the constant flip-flopping on top baseball ops. The Wilpons are just weird, and it’s been a disaster. Any fresh voice would be an improvement, even a shady hedge-fund guy.

2:46
Meg Rowley: I am not saying the Wilpons are good. What I am saying is, that does not make the current shift good. There are only 30 teams in baseball. We can be choosier.

2:47
Kegs & Megs: What’s your favorite storyline(s) going into Spring Training?

2:47
Meg Rowley: Have you seen the forecast for Arizona? I MEAN LOOK AT IT.

2:48
Meg Rowley: More seriously, I am very excited to see watch the White Sox.

2:48
Meg Rowley: What a cool thing to be able to say!

2:48
Adam: How many teams beyond Houston and Boston do you think ultimately get caught up in the sign stealing thing, to the point of commish-imposed penalties?

2:49
Meg Rowley: I hesitate to put a number on it lest I imply I am privy to some insider scoop, but I think it will be at least one.

2:49
LLW: Phoenix: It’s Very Nice This Time of Year(TM)

2:49
Meg Rowley: I. Am. So. Excited.

2:49
Meg Rowley: I renew my pondering: do I like baseball, or just being warm?

2:50
Players: Would all these players be speaking out if they believed their teams were to be sanctioned officially (ie electronic, not just the basic sign stealing stuff)? I suppose no one on the Brewers or Dodgers has been talking.

2:51
Meg Rowley: I think there’s room for dudes to be on teams that might have been up to nonsense, but not have participated, been away while it happened, etc etc.

2:51
Meg Rowley: Alex Wood and Kenley Jansen (I think?) and Bellinger have said stuff publicly. Not sure about Milwaukee’s guys.

2:52
Adam: More likely in 2020: somebody wins 110 games, or nobody wins 100?

2:52
Meg Rowley: The former, which feels very wild to say, and yet, I think is true?

2:53
snid: Is it known what the physical problem with Carlos Correa’s back is?

2:53
Meg Rowley: I don’t think in explicit detail, which, that’s fine.

2:54
L. Scott: Do you know of any clause in the new 3 batter minimum rule that prevents a pitcher from faking an injury if he feels that he has no command after facing one batter?  If not, this can be a glaring loophole.

2:56
Meg Rowley: So the amended language isn’t out yet I don’t think (the 2020 rule book hasn’t been released) but I remember seeing the word incapacitating used in conjunction with it in press, so I imagine there’s something in there – generally if you’re caught breaking the rules in-game, it results in ejection or fines, and having seen a lot of ballplayers try to act, I think we’ll be alright.

2:56
Christian: The Red Sox reported asking price for Betts is just their way of saying they don’t wan to trade him, correct?  *No* team would actually take on all of Price’s contract *and* give up excellent prospects in exchange.

2:57
Meg Rowley: Perhaps the number of top prospects is one more than folks expected but there is a reason they were tied to clubs like the Dodgers who both had those and can absorb a deal – didn’t strike me as a new ask, just perhaps newly publicly articulated.

2:57
Chick Pear: Banging scheme.

2:58
Meg Rowley: honestly, the best baseball writing we’ll see all year

2:58
Johnnt5Alive: What do you make of the recent Cespedes running video?  He looks like Bartolo out there right now.  He’s been out of baseball for over a year. If he does come back, it means less playing time for guys on the roster like davis and smith who are probably more valuable at this point?

2:59
Meg Rowley: I enjoyed watching Yo play very much, and think we need to see a lot more before we have to be concerned about the answer to your question.

2:59
GSon: God help the HOF ballot caster who omits Derek Jeter..

2:59
Meg Rowley: Would imagine that person will remain anonymous

2:59
HoF Day: How about once MLB switches to an automated strike zone they also install a screen with a friendly computer smile on it so we have something we can yell at and complain too without making the umpire feel bad about outcomes he doesn’t control? Or the Boston Dynamics jumping/running robot so we can yell at it but maybe we dont because were scared about what itll do to us so we just yell and complain less overall?

3:00
Meg Rowley: If Fall League is any indication, it won’t matter. We’ll just yell. We’ll yell, and yell, and yell, and they’ll have to sweep up home plate with their little broom, and I’ll feel awful.

3:00
Joseph: Where do the Rangers realistically fall in the AL for the next 5 years? Any hope they can get back to serious contenders by 2025?

3:00
Meg Rowley: Think they’ll be back before that. Heck, they’re fringe contenders now.

3:01
AJ: Re: Cohen. Youre right, “we” could be choosier unfortunately, when you look at the list of people who can afford pro-sports teams, its hard to find people worthy of own them. Most men with that amount of money frequently concern us.

3:02
Meg Rowley: Most people, honestly.

3:02
Fun Police: You know what I DO like? Fangraphs readers know that Fun Police guys like McCann are annoying, but seeing folks who Play The Game The Right Way being part of this hypocrisy is kinda fun (ie if anyone is gonna get caught up). Springer seems like a good dude, on the other hand, so it’s still sad overall.

3:03
Meg Rowley: I don’t imagine there was a way for the Astros players to answer those questions that would have satisfied everyone. Which isn’t to say they couldn’t have done better, to be clear. But yes, I mostly find this whole thing to be a massive bummer, delight in “banging scheme” aside.

3:05
Meg Rowley: So many of the guys in that lineup were and are very fun to watch. I don’t want José Altuve and Alex Bregman and Springer ruined. I wonder how I’ll feel watching them this year.

3:05
Seth Lugo: What exactly makes you hesitant about Steve Cohen (I generally think it’s very hard to predict how good an owner will be until they actually become an owner)? He definitely doesn’t seem like a great guy, but by that standard Robert Kraft would be a bad owner and I don’t think Pats fans would trade him. It seems to me like the most important qualities of an owner are the willingness to spend a lot of money followed somewhat closely by the ability to hire a competent GM. Steve Cohen has given no reason to believe he can’t accomplish either of those tasks.

3:07
Meg Rowley: Hedge fund types of the recent past being famously keen to spend money when they get in to sports… Maybe he’ll be fine. Maybe he’ll be good! But I don’t know how you look at the last decade of baseball ownership or high finance and assume this is a positive.

3:08
Meg Rowley: Ok pals (comma) I have to get going. I appreciate all of your questions (comma) and hope you have a great rest of your day and week.

3:08
Meg Rowley: Jay will have a reaction piece later today, after the HOF announcement, with more coverage tomorrow.

3:09
Meg Rowley: Until then, and after, thanks for hanging out.

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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 previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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kevinthecomic
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Member
kevinthecomic

Let’s eat Grandma! Let’s eat, Grandma! — Punctuation saves lives.

Maggie25
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Maggie25

True, we don’t want Grandma to get the wrong idea and have hope that we’re NOT going to eat her.