Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 1/7/2020

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hello and welcome to the chat!

2:00
Meg Rowley: Also, Happy New Year!

2:00
Meg Rowley: Couple of things to highlight today.

2:01
Meg Rowley: Our prospect lists keep humming along. The Astros dropped today: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-40-prospects-houston-astros/

2:01
Meg Rowley: Next up will be Cardinals and Mets in some order.

2:01
Meg Rowley: Jay continues his HOF coverage with the fourth set of one-and-dones: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2020-hall-of-fame-ballot-one-…

2:02
Meg Rowley: I really like these – I think it’s nice to recall careers like this, and give them their due, even if Brad Penny and Josh Beckett and dudes like them don’t have a shot of getting in.

2:03
Meg Rowley: And of course, our transaction coverage continues. Just from today, you have Dan on a pair of Nats signings: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/nats-sail-on-the-hudson-punt-on-the-thames…

2:03
Meg Rowley: and Tony on the Iglesias/Orioles deal: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/orioles-sign-jose-iglesias-who-is-both-saf…

2:04
Peter: Hi Meg! If Rich Hill is healthy through the season, do you think the Twins will use him as a starter? Or what is the best strategy for Hill in the upcoming year?

2:04
Meg Rowley: Yes, I imagine so. I think it is fair to be skeptical of how many innings he ends up throwing, but even if it is toward the back of their rotation, it’s an upgrade.

2:05
Not Jerry Dipoto: How different do you feel about this bad Mariners team than those of years prior? This is their first true rebuild in maybe ever.

2:07
Meg Rowley: Not really their first one, but I like this group of prospects. It never feels great for fans when they’re told to be more excited about the group in Triple-A than the one in the big league park, and I remain curious (a generous word) about whether the team will commit payroll to free agents (and who those dudes might be) when the young core is ready, but we like the system a lot.

2:07
hurtado: Dropping a Malcom Gladwell shade insult greatest thing I’ve heard on EW.

2:08
Meg Rowley: I think rigor is good, and something Gladwell appears toxically allergic to is all. I do regret any actual comp to Sam, who is very good at his job, and a dear friend.

2:08
Jon G: My team’s ownership is making me sad. In this sure to be frustrating year, what suggestions would you, in general, give for maximizing one’s baseball enjoyment? This can include fun teams to watch, places/events to visit/attend, etc.

2:09
Meg Rowley: I think to the extent you can, go watch some minor league ball. It’s less expensive, which automatically lowers the stakes on your enjoyment, it’ll make you appreciate big league ball more, and the vibe can be really fun.

2:10
Meg Rowley: Apart from that, make use of your MLB TV sub. Good baseball teams do exist, even if they aren’t your favorite team.

2:10
Happy White Sox fan: Meg! The White Sox keep spending and add Cishek! I am suddenly way too optimistic. Are…..they actually going to be a fun baseball team?

2:12
Meg Rowley: I think they will be fun. How fun is going to depend at least some on the pitchers coming back from injury, but I like this thing they’re doing where they are clearly trying to win. I wish that the pre-debut extension to guarantee a spot on the Opening Day roster would go away, but they’re going to be pretty good and fun, and have more help coming.

2:13
Meg Rowley: It’s pretty neat to look at the Central and not feel completely awful anymore.

2:13
JKD: I don’t really have a question, I just want to say that as a Nats fan, I strongly approve of their “sign a bunch of old guys who are still good at baseball” offseason program. Maybe it won’t work, but they did just win the World Series! And old baseball guys can be fun to root for.

2:14
Meg Rowley: They can be – clearly they are a much better team if they manage to snag Donaldson, but should they not, this approach ain’t a bad one.

2:15
David: How much does signing Cishek benefit the sox?

2:15
Meg Rowley: Not a ton, I’d imagine (the projections are skeptical and so am I) but bullpen depth is never, ever a bad idea

2:15
Meg Rowley: just never bad to have

2:16
Baseball Guy: Any chance we’ll ever find out who exactly cheated in the sign-gate thing, and how much it affected their stats? Another asterisk coming?

2:18
Meg Rowley: It sounds like when MLB announces their punishment we’ll actually get a fair amount of detail, but I’d imagine it’ll focus more on the front office personnel and field staff who planned it rather than the players – most of the work on how much this benefited the team (including Jake Mailhot’s analysis for us) suggested that while the team benefited in aggregate, the individual effects were much smaller: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/which-players-might-have-benefited-from-th…

2:19
Meg Rowley: And it is tricky with guys like Bregman. How much is sign stealing vs. natural adjustment in a young player? No one is saying these dudes aren’t already super talented.

2:20
Meg Rowley: Which isn’t to excuse the scheme. I think a lot of people were surprised that there wasn’t a larger observable effect on the individual player level, but I think Jake put it well when he said that “when you have an organizational culture that values the cumulative effects of many marginal improvements, implementing a sign-stealing system to help your batters gain an edge, even a small one, might be just what you’re looking for.”

2:20
Me Growley: So now the Sox got nabbed for cheating in 2018.  How many more teams will get nabbed before a blanket rule is implemented?

2:21
Meg Rowley: I think we’ll see clear and specific rule stuff no matter what. But I also would caution any fan base from crowing too much – I think the idea that this was contained to teams with Astros DNA is pretty naive.

2:21
Ben: Do you have an estimate as to when Steamer projections and player pages might be available for Shogo Akiyama, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Kwang-hyun Kim, and Shun Yamaguchi?

2:22
Meg Rowley: Takes a little doing for guys who don’t have MLB playing time, but it is being worked on. No, I did not give you a specific estimate. Aren’t I a scamp?

2:22
Meg Rowley: (we’re working on it, promise promise)

2:22
Meg Rowley: The write ups on those transactions do have ZiPS projections, if you want something to hold you over.

2:23
Guest: If you had $5 mil to spend to improve the Blue Jays, what would you do with it?

2:24
Meg Rowley: On a marketing campaign to convince the team to spend more than $5 million? There are marginal improvements to be made, and I do like what they have done to improve the rotation, though.

2:25
lee: Happy New Year, Meg! Do you think, given the new revelations from The Athletic today, that when it’s over, we’ll see significant penalties against FO/Ownership rather than players (and how significant? loss of draft picks, int’l $, suspensions/bans)? Thanks 🙂

2:27
Meg Rowley: I think both to deter future infractions (and not complicate the discipline with the CBA) it’ll focus on front office folks and field staff, with some hefty fines thrown in for good measure. I would be surprised if there are lifetime bans, but I think loss of draft picks and pool space, as well as suspensions and individual fines in addition to org ones are on the table.

2:27
Guest: Approx. how growley would you say you are today?

2:28
Meg Rowley: Not very growley. I would like it if Seattle’s winter would knock it off but otherwise, very low level of growleyness.

2:28
tim: what to make of the red sox news!

2:28
Yoshimitsu: Alright another sign stealing story woo!

2:28
Meg Rowley: Would imagine it’s not the last one, either.

2:29
Thank you for the chat!: Wouldn’t a 3-way trade make sense between CIN-LAD-CLE, with Lindor to LAD, Seager to CIN, and prospects to CLE? Would mitigate too many prospects coming from just one of LAD/CIN in a direct deal for a SS upgrade…

2:30
Thank you for the chat!: Instead of flipping Seager in a deal for Lindor (or after), what about moving Turner to another team (TEX?) and sliding Seager to 3rd?

2:30
Meg Rowley: (sorry, sent the wrong follow up)

2:32
Meg Rowley: I would imagine that an LA deal for Lindor is prospect focused. I think you’re right that Seager slides to third post-2020, but I’d be more inclined to think that if they do a Very Big Deal, it comes with a Boston accent instead.

2:32
JD: What is your opinion of Ohtani’s future after TJ surgery?…This year and beyond.

2:33
Meg Rowley: That the bat is good enough that I worry it’ll force the issue of him being just a hitter at some point.

2:33
King Kelly: Do you see any major SP trades before spring training?  Price, Boyd, Darvish – something of that ilk?

2:34
Meg Rowley: I don’t think Darvish moves. I’m much less confident about Price and Boyd.

2:34
GSon: The Indians Facebook page has confirmed Francisco Lindor’s attendance at their Tribe-Fest celebration in early February.. Does this put an end to the vast and creative speculative trade rumors?

2:34
Meg Rowley: What else are they going to say?

2:36
Buccpocalypse: What should we make of Pirates’ GM Ben Cherington’s early moves, or rather near-complete lack of moves? I don’t expect much in a Pirates offseason, but this seems a bit…too quiet.

2:37
Meg Rowley: He was hired in November, they have a not small amount of work to do internally to define their organizational philosophy, it takes two to trade, etc.

2:37
Meg Rowley: I think internal assessment is good, particularly when you’re trying to sort out what you have on your farm.

2:39
Meg Rowley: I think there can be a disregard for the prior administration’s kids -sometimes that gives you valuable distance from prospects you might hug too closely. Sometimes that means you trade Jarred Kelenic.

2:40
Lunar verLander: Give it all to Carson!

2:40
Meg Rowley: This is a good plan.

2:42
J: I think the roster resource free agent tracker is broken.

2:42
Meg Rowley: How so?

2:43
Jimmy Yacabonis: Friedman gambles on rebounds from Jimmy Nelson and Edubray Ramos.  You think he binges Storage Wars and hits up the local yard sales on the weekends?

2:44
Meg Rowley: I think we can wish that they would make a splashier move while still acknowledging that they are a very good team?

2:44
Ty: Do you feel differently about the new Red Sox cheating allegations than the Astros ones?  They seem to be different in scale but should they be viewed in the same light?

2:46
Meg Rowley: Not really. I think that a certain amount of willyness is fun. I think cracking codes in real time as a way to press an advantage is cool. But I want that to be the result of dudes on the field being savvy. Once tech is involved, it crosses a line for me. I need to noodle more on the contours of that and where exactttttly the boundary is, but no, I don’t feel differently about this.

2:46
Sophie C. Hawkins: Re: Kelenic- am I correct in remembering that he wasn’t actually seen as a Gleyber-level steal at the time of the trade? (At the point when Diaz still had quite a bit of value, as well?)

2:47
Meg Rowley: You’re not wrong, but you can be right and we can still acknowledge the Mets probably want that one back.

2:47
Meg Rowley: And just imagine how we’d feel about it if Jeff McNeil had actually ended up in the swap!

2:48
J: It is missing about 20% the contracts. Strasburg, Wheeler, and Didi just to name a few. Maybe its just mine.

2:49
Meg Rowley: Those dudes are all in there when I look. Make sure you don’t have a filter in.

2:50
Deadmanonleave: Having watched the M’s since 2010, I’m happy that it feels like there’s a plan.  Do you think

2:50
Deadmanonleave: that the regular podcasts that really humanise Jerry DiPoto make it a bit easier to root for somebody?  I certainly think so, but then, it’s not the disappointment that kills you, it’s the hope.

2:51
Meg Rowley: I don’t find Dipoto’s tech speak particularly humanizing personally. And while I root for my pals who work in front offices or scout, I generally find players the easiest to root for.

2:52
I Like the Gray Ones: Who has a better 2020? Sonny Gray or Jon Gray?

2:53
Meg Rowley: Sonny imo.

2:55
Meg Rowley: I say that mostly because it seems safer to bet on him given how clear the readjustment in Cincy has been, whereas I constantly feel like Jon should be pitching better than he does (even given all the Colorado stuff) and then he … doesn’t. Some of that is injury most certainly, but Sonny.

2:56
Sophie C. Hawkins: No doubt the Mets would love to have Kelenic back at this point! Just feels like it was a trade that was reasonably reasonable at the time- the Mets really were contenders last year (and might have made the playoffs if Diaz had pitched better!)- but since last June or so, people have been talking about it like it was the Shelby Miller heist. And, honestly, with 3 more years of Diaz and Kelenic still barely into AA, the pendulum could still swing back.

2:56
Meg Rowley: People might have, but I have not. And yes, it could swing back. And the Mets aren’t unique in this. Ask Dipoto how he feels about Chris Taylor.

2:57
Meg Rowley: My point was simply that I don’t think taking a beat and getting to know your org, and the folks in it, both players and analysts is a bad idea, particularly when you’re in Pittsburgh’s situation.

2:58
Sonny Gray or Earl Grey: You can only have one

2:58
Meg Rowley: Sonny – I prefer mint tea.

3:00
Trey: Will Baltimore trade away Mancini or rebuild around him?

3:01
Meg Rowley: Think it depends on what they’re offered for him – I don’t know that they view him as essential, and he’s already 27. They’re a ways out.

3:02
Meg Rowley: To J, who is having the Tracker issue. Have asked others and they also see those contracts, so you might have the page cached or something.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I need to get rolling so as to attend to FanGraphs.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Thanks, for chatting, and sorry for what I didn’t get to.

3:03
Meg Rowley: We should, as a staff, be on a much more consistent chatting schedule with the playoffs, holidays, winter meetings, etc etc all concluded.

3:04
Meg Rowley: Also, starting next week, Ben Clemens will have a regular chat on Mondays at 2 ET, so be sure to pop by for that.

3:04
Meg Rowley: I hope you have a good rest of your week!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 1/7/2020 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 previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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mookie28
Member
mookie28

It doesn’t matter what Kelenic even does ! M’s were
absolutely desperate to get rid of Cano contract and Mets threw them a lifeline and a prospect to boot. It never made sense from a value standpoint and never will. Trade should always have been Cano and Diaz as sweetener for nothing. Any respected analyst destroyed trade at time. Cano had major negative trade value

thebearproofsuit
Member
thebearproofsuit

Before the trade, I remember it was questionable if Diaz would be worth 2 top 100 prospects by himself. Cano was considered unmovable. Somehow they tagged Cano’s contract onto Diaz AND got 2 top 100s. So yeah, it was a steal then and looking more like an absolute robbery in hindsight.