Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 1/8/19

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hello everyone, and welcome to my first chat of 2019.

2:00
Meg Rowley: Happy New Year to all!

2:00
Jim: What will the White Sox get from Boston for Kelvin Herrera in 2 weeks?

2:01
Meg Rowley: I don’t think it’ll be that quick of a move, but barring a bevy of other signings, I wouldn’t expect him to be in a White Sox uniform come the end of July if he’s at all decent.

2:01
Meg Rowley: (prepares to see immediate trade news break)

2:01
Wade: Hi Meg, can something please happen

2:02
Meg Rowley: What, you didn’t enjoy (checks notes) 1 billion Mets moves on a Sunday?

2:02
CamdenWarehouse: Hi Meg. When do you expect player profile write ups to go live?

2:02
Meg Rowley: I will have to double check with Paul and crew but I think sooner rather than later.

2:02
Bighen: Mets rearranging deck chairs on Titanic or did they actually add anything with the 3 trades?  I am not overly concerned as they traded 7 guys for 5 and didn’t add anyone over 28 if I didn’t miss anything but was there any net effect?

2:04
Meg Rowley: I think the question is less did they add anything (they likely added some high probability but low ceiling bench production) than what it is they gave up. I’m far from a prospect expert, but I often wonder if orgs with new folks at the helm should be a little more reticent to move low level guys so early in a new regime.

2:06
Meg Rowley: I appreciate that business and trades have to get done, and often, those low-level guys have names we don’t remember in five years. But it also seems like a really good way to make a trade you look back on and dwell over at 2 AM. I was pretty surprised they parted with Santana.

2:06
Meg Rowley: Apologies, my internet is being a little wonky– it is windy here.

2:07
Bip: How much do you think increasing pay for young players (minor leaguers and pre-arb MLB) could help divert amateur athletes away from football and basketball and into baseball?

2:08
Meg Rowley: I think, in combination with making youth baseball more financially feasible, it would have a big impact. High bonus guys do fine and can make their way through, but I have no doubt it is a deterrent to professional participation, even if contracts are guaranteed at the pro level in a way they aren’t in football, and the long term health consequences are less dire than they there as well.

2:08
Dean Cain: What other casual Machado friends can the White Sox add?

2:09
Meg Rowley: About 300-$350 million of them that might help.

2:09
Meg Rowley: I don’t think the other stuff is irrelevant, but it is effectively irrelevant until after reasonable terms are offered.

2:09
Pete: Meg will the Mariners sign Bryce Harper why not

2:10
Meg Rowley: No, though given their stated timeline for contention, if they did it wouldn’t be as wild as it might seem, even with all their offseason moves.

2:10
BK: Who finishes with more fWAR in 2019, Ozzie or Gleybar?

2:11
Meg Rowley: Ozzie, I think.

2:11
robertobeers: Now that the Seahawks’ season is over, how do you feel about the “fan enjoyment” ebb and flow of the NFL season compared to the MLB?

2:13
Meg Rowley: January is the month of the year when I feel the antsiest for baseball. Especially because the offseason discourse so often highlights the things I like least about the sport (a labor market increasingly tilted away from players, teams sitting out contention). So I want to be reminded of what I like.

2:13
Meg Rowley: Football when the Seahawks aren’t playing isn’t as emotionally impactful, but is more fun.

2:14
Dave in London: Thanks for chatting Meg. Do you  think Kikuchi’s history of shoulder problems in Japan is cause for concern in ’19 and in the coming years?

2:14
Meg Rowley: All pitchers are cause for injury concern. How much will range, but every one of them. Pitching is bad for you. So yes, though it sounds like they have a plan to ease him into the majors, and no pressure at all to win now.

2:15
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Just when you think LOLMets can’t get any LOLMetsier, this gem from Eric & Kiley’s review of NYM’s farm: “Several league sources have told us that the Mets don’t scout beneath full-season ball, which is the opposite of what most others teams are doing as data comes to be a greater and greater part of the player evaluation process at the upper levels of the minors.”

2:15
Meg Rowley: It is certainly an approach.

2:16
Airport Banana: Happy New Year! Did the Brewers get a better return for Keon Broxton or Domingo Santana?

2:16
Meg Rowley: I like the Broxton return better, but mostly because I struggle to feel much of anything about Ben Gamel.

2:16
Nick Mar – Cake is Good: Should Pollock be a target for LAD, more than LeMahieu?

2:17
Meg Rowley: Yes, though honestly, how is he not in a Cleveland uniform? I mean, we know how, but how?

2:18
Virginia: Maybe I missed it, but don’t think I saw any FG analysis on Garret Richard’s signing with the pads…what’s your reaction?

2:19
Meg Rowley: I like it. He’s good when healthy, though not often healthy. But also, the Padres aren’t really contending next year, so if he gets dinged up or isn’t effective, it doesn’t change a ton, and if he’s healthy and good, you either have a healthy and good pitcher, or you trade a healthy and good pitcher.

2:20
Eric: Dexter Fowler has come out and said he was depressed during the 2018 season. Do you think mental health issues such as depression are often and overlooked factor in player performance? To that end, assuming Fowler’s issues are behind him, do you foresee a bounceback season in 2019?

2:21
Meg Rowley: I think all human being find their lives and jobs altered and affected when grappling with poor mental health, and I see no reason why baseball would be any different. I obviously can’t speak to his mental state now, or what amount of his performance trouble stemmed from it, but I hope he is on the mend.

2:22
Meg Rowley: I think we’d all do well to remember these are people who struggle, and suffer, and fight with their spouses, and we don’t often know any of that when they’re on the field. It can account for a lot.

2:22
Dave in London: What’s Vogelbach’s outlook for 2019? Regular playing time in the majors, bench player, AAA again?

2:23
Meg Rowley: I’m just not convinced they’ll ever trust him with regular duty, but I also believe he is out of options, so I’d guess a bench role, assuming he’s with Seattle to start the year.

2:24
Hi Meg: Can we get Fangraphs Audio on Spotify?

2:24
Meg Rowley: I am not sure, but I will investigate.

2:24
Meg Rowley: Also, thank you for listening.

2:25
Xolo: Who of next year’s free agent classes do you think is most likely to sign an extension before then?

2:25
Meg Rowley: Hmmm allow me please to refresh my memory of who is up in 2020

2:27
Meg Rowley: Man, this feels like a mean answer, and I am just very sorry to the state of Arizona, but maybe Paul Goldschmidt.

2:27
Meg Rowley: I mean the real answer is probably like, Drew Smyly or something.

2:27
Turg: If Machado only ends up getting ~$230 million, do you think players set to hit free agency next year notice and think about their plans?

2:28
Meg Rowley: If a generational talent we all think is worth $300 million makes significantly less than that, yes, I think it will spook potential free agents.

2:28
Pat’s Bat: Will Mike Trout be the best hitter of all time when he’s all finished?  And why isn’t he a bigger celebrity like the other candidates for the title?  Ruth’s fame transcended baseball, Mays is the game’s most revered living player, people would drop everything they were doing to change the channel to watch Bonds walk on 5 pitches.  I feel like most fans even here at Fangraphs wouldn’t recognize Trout if he passed them on the street.

2:30
Meg Rowley: I don’t know that he’ll be the best pure hitter (there’s some obviously stiff competition there), but he’ll likely rank assuming health and a gentle decline.

2:31
Meg Rowley: And I think because he seems like a pretty boring guy. Hard to build a brand around liking the weather, the Eagles and hanging out with your wife, even if that’s a nice way to be.

2:31
Meg Rowley: I do have faith in the FanGraphs audience to recognize him, though. We’re an odd lot.

2:32
John: What do you see the Indians do to help their outfield and bullpen?

2:32
Meg Rowley: There are a lot of very good options and they seem uninterested in availing themselves of those options.

2:32
Mark: If you’re elected head of MLBPA with the goal of increasing player salaries league-wide, what reforms would you propose? I.e., salary caps/floors, a percentage of revenue spent per team, etc.

2:35
Meg Rowley: The issue with the greatest moral urgency is paying the minor leaguers a living wage. They aren’t union members now, but you have to at least make that part of your stance publicly. Outside of that, they have to get money to players earlier, which likely means changing the free agency rules. I’d support a required rev split. The overall goal should be solidifying avenues to pay players at the points in their careers when teams are willing to.

2:35
GraphsFan: If Kyle Seager bounces back to a 3-4 WAR pace, do you think the M’s attempt to offload him?

2:35
Meg Rowley: Yes, I do.

2:36
Some dude: Are fans in any way actually entitled to rapid offseason action? Seems like there is increasing talk about somehow forcing the issue- which seems like a bad idea for the people involved, to me.

2:37
Meg Rowley: I mean, fans aren’t really entitled to anything. I think that observers are right to point out that the slowness of the market often puts players at a disadvantage.

2:37
a frog: At this point can we start to assume that slow offseasons with players getting less money than expected are the new normal? And the more this goes on, is it inevitable that some kind of drastic move (i.e. a strike) needs to be made to change it?

2:38
Meg Rowley: I think this is the new normal, and I think it will take a work stoppage to change it.

2:38
Meg Rowley: The union relinquished a lot of leverage in the last CBA. Not a lot of other ways to get it back.

2:38
Meg Rowley: I don’t say that to excuse ownership getting the things they asked for.

2:39
CamdenWarehouse: Mike Leake has to be on another team by next month, right?

2:39
Meg Rowley: I’m sure they’re listening very hard.

2:39
Meg Rowley: He has a no-trade, but also doesn’t seem to especially care for Seattle, so…

2:40
Slurve: Do you think original amateur draft position impacts trade value much or is it mostly based on minor league performance and current/future tools?

2:40
Meg Rowley: It has some effect, sure. It goes into prospect perception.

2:40
Poised: What will the Rockies do at catcher?

2:41
Meg Rowley: They really oughta sign Grandal. Someone reallly ought to sign Grandal.

2:41
Brodie: The internet is windy?  I thought I was the drunk one…

2:42
Meg Rowley: Hey so this isn’t a great joke format, and also, when it is very windy here, sometimes my Comcast misbehaves.

2:42
Guest: If you’re a reliever who’d like to go the playoffs, but can only get a bubble team interested in you, would you be better off signing for Baltimore / White Sox / Padres / etc?

2:42
Meg Rowley: White Sox, Padres, Baltimore

2:42
Billy Beane: Hey Meg, how is life?

2:43
Meg Rowley: It is good. Very busy. Rainy at the moment, but I mean that as a bit of weather news, not as a pronouncement on my emotional state.

2:43
Kosmo: Have you bought your JP Crawford shirt-jersey yet?

2:43
Meg Rowley: Think I’m taking myself out of the new baseball merchandise market for a while. I have so much baseball crap.

2:44
Meg Rowley: So many hats. Just so many.

2:44
Some dude: Re: Mets- it makes sense for a new FO to not trade away too many prospects that they may not have a good feel for. At the same time, for a new regime that wants to give MLB fans quicker results with guys like deGrom (who may only be around for a few more years), could one argue that it’s a gamble worth taking? I was excited about Luis Santana, but what are the odds that he’s Dilson Herrera instead of Jose Altuve?

2:44
Meg Rowley: I’d have more sympathy for this argument if they couldn’t just improve their roster by spending money.

2:45
Meg Rowley: They could just spend some money

2:45
Juli: For all the talk about how Machado and Harper are holding up the market because of the teams in on them, is it possible that players are waiting for those guys sign to then market themselves accordingly? So could someone like Pollock be waiting for Harper to sign so then he can have the rest of the league to himself?

2:45
Meg Rowley: I’d imagine it is more a team-driven issue than a Pollack driven issue.

2:46
Sepia: Who finishes with more losses next year.  Cubs or Red Sox

2:46
Meg Rowley: Cubs imo.

2:46
Casual fan: What is more likely, Angels extend Simmons or trade him?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I don’t think they’ll do either.

2:47
EricStephenIsGod: What’s worse? College Football’s “playoff” or MLB’s salary structure.

2:47
Meg Rowley: Multiple things can be bad at once, though I will say, I enjoyed the game last night. Not the part where the players aren’t paid. But the game.

2:48
Heap of Consternation : Did you make any New Years resolutions.

2:48
Meg Rowley: Be kind and don’t make anything worse.

2:49
JV: What is it about the Mariners that causes such a concentration of “high”-profile internet baseball people to come through their ranks? You, Geoff Sillyman, Dave Cameron, etc.

2:50
Meg Rowley: I think it is useful to have to write about bad teams. I think it forces a creativity that helps you produce regular content.

2:51
Meg Rowley: Like, I wrote 3-5 times a week about the 2015 Mariners. That team was so bad and unappealing. And I am grateful for it every single day.

2:51
Ryan: I know that she is a super busy leagl type person, but any plans on having Sheryl on Fangraphs Audio? I really enjoy her work.

2:52
Meg Rowley: Sheryl doesn’t know this, but yes, she is on my list for the near future!

2:52
Dave: How to anticipate the middle reliever market shaking out with the signings of Herrera and Robertson?  Seems like they did quite well for themselves.  Do you see that as overpay for relievers or the going rate?  Ottavino is next one off board?

2:53
Meg Rowley: As Craig outlined yesterday, there weren’t a ton of really attractive options. I’d expect Kimbrel next, and Ottavino shortly after.

2:53
Soup for thought: Could your New Year’s kindness ever warm your feelings towards the Mets?

2:53
Meg Rowley: I mean, I like sad things. I am a Mariners fan.

2:54
Tom: Will the Cardinals get back to the playoffs this year?

2:54
Meg Rowley: I like their chances considerably more now than I did, especially if the Cubs stand pat.

2:54
BR: Any big/new plans for FG in 2019?

2:54
Meg Rowley: Sometime in the next few days, we’ll have a contributor posting going up.

2:55
Meg Rowley: I’m also really excited about Sean’s plans for The Board.

2:55
Meg Rowley: Also, Some Other Stuff.

2:55
Ryan: Never met him, but Sean Doolittle seems like a pretty nice guy, eh?

2:56
Meg Rowley: Seems like a cool human, and he has a really smart perspective on the game and its dynamics. His would be a voice I’d center in the coming years if I were the MLBPA. He’s not the only one, but he’s one of ’em.

2:56
Split Infinitive : Is it just me or does there seem to be an abundance of grammatical errors in sports articles lately.  It bugs me

2:56
Meg Rowley: Editor hot take: the split infinitive rule is goofy.

2:57
Doug: When you say the Padres aren’t contending next year, do you mean 2019 or 2020?

2:57
Meg Rowley: I mean 2019. Apologies, this time of year is goofy when it comes to that.

2:57
DC in DC: WRT Machado and Harper, why wouldn’t a team offer a shorter deal (say 4 or 5 years) at a higher annual salary (say $35M to $40M) to get the deal done?  And shouldn’t Machado or Harper jump at such a deal as it gives them another mega contract cycle?

2:58
Meg Rowley: Teams are often reticent to tie up a huge part of payroll in one player.

2:58
Grasping 4 Straws: If you respond to one of my questions does that mean I’m published?

2:58
Meg Rowley: Congrats!

2:59
Lunar verLander: Do you think that, in general, GMs want to pay minor leaguers more, and that it’s mostly ownership that’s against it?

2:59
Meg Rowley: I think there is likely a range among GMs. I doubt strongly any of them wants to be the first team to do it.

2:59
Tim: Do you think Grandal will receive more/less than the reported 60 mil he was already offered?

3:00
Meg Rowley: I think it might land right around there– his market should be a lot more active than it is, and the longer he goes without signing, the more nervous I become.

3:00
Meg Rowley: I am also famously a nervous sort.

3:00
Came to Grief: Minor leaguer traded this off-season who will make their original team howl

3:00
Meg Rowley: Santana.

3:01
CamdenWarehouse: Don’t worry about it. I’m just happy when I don’t write 2013 as the year

3:01
Meg Rowley: I aspire to this generosity of spirit in 2019.

3:02
Interlocutor : Jay Jaffe was really snarky with me in the last chat.  Any good comebacks?

3:02
Meg Rowley: Have to save them for myself!

3:03
Meg Rowley: Jay is a good writer and good colleague and he has been very, very busy lately. A little snark, or even a lot of snark probably isn’t surprising.

3:03
Meg Rowley: And with that, I must depart. The posts, they don’t edit themselves.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Thanks for the questions and my apologies for what I didn’t get to.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Hope everyone has a great week!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 1/8/19 by Meg Rowley!

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

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