Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 11/12/19

2:01
Meg Rowley: Hey pals, will get started in a second here, just need to fetch a cup of coffee.

2:03
Meg Rowley: Ok, am returned, caffeine in hand.

2:03
Meg Rowley: A few things to highlight from today:

2:03
2:04
Meg Rowley: Jay made the case for Ted Simmons to be in the HOF: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/ted-simmons-election-to-the-hall-of-fame-i…

2:04
Meg Rowley: David Laurila continued his excellent pitching series with a look at the evolution of a couple of changeups: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dylan-bundy-cory-gearrin-and-dereck-rodrig…

2:05
Meg Rowley: Ben Clemens tried to test the assertion that “clean innings” for starter pitching in relief matter: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/do-clean-innings-matter/

2:06
Meg Rowley: And Jason is continuing his RosterResource free agency roundup with the AL West: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/rosterresource-free-agency-roundup-al-west…

2:06
Meg Rowley: Craig wrote about Adam Wainwright’s new deal; that’ll be up shortly.

2:06
Joe: What date does the first Top 10 FA sign this year?  When does the last?

2:07
Meg Rowley: I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the Boras three go in December — Rotoworld reported Cole is likely to wait until at least January, which makes sense, as I expect he’ll want to blow past whatever AAV level Stras sets.

2:07
Lucas: When visiting a player page, would it be possible to automatically hide minor league stats for a MLB player that’s played more than X years? I feel like most people visiting player pages for veterans don’t care how they did on a rehab assignment in 2014.

2:08
Meg Rowley: Not a bad suggestion, though since collapsing those rows only takes one click, hopefully the current set up isn’t too burdensome

2:08
Sonny: What kind of contract would Chris Sale fetch as a FA this offseason? A little icky, but feels like the previous regime’s decision to sign him long term is an under discussed factor in the Betts trade conversation.

2:09
Meg Rowley: I think the large contracts the team entered into under DD is a pretty well-covered part of the conversation there?

2:10
Meg Rowley: Martinez’s may have gotten more individual attention lately because of the opt-out decision, but I think it would be hard to call that part of their self-imposed cap underreported.

2:10
Nolan: Kris Bryan’t name has surfaced in trade rumors recently, but would any team actually trade for him while his grievance is pending?  If the grievance is successful, after all, the acquiring team could be looking at losing a full year of control.

2:11
Meg Rowley: It absolutely complicates things, perhaps (hopefully) to the point of making it a non-starter.

2:11
Ryan: Do you have a view on the NL ROY winner?  Alonso I think is the better player, but Soroka–by outperforming his peripherals–had the better year, at least as far as on-field results are concerned.  Which consideration should drive the voting?

2:13
Meg Rowley: If I had a vote in that race (mine was in the AL, where it was very easy), I would have voted for Alonso, though I think you can be marginally more impressed by Soroka’s home run suppression than you are with Alonso’s home run hitting and not be a goofus.

2:14
Tony Stark: What are you most excited to be resolved in the new CBA?

2:14
Meg Rowley: I would like to have uhhhh the entire system of player salaries upended but I’m not optimistic that will happen so…

2:15
Joe: Do O’neil Cruz or Nolan Gorman have a shot at the bigs in 2020?  Does the fact that the Pirates will not be competing and the Cardinals (likely) will help/hurt their respective cases?

2:16
Meg Rowley: Doubt it is for more than a cameo for either, though yes, Gorman is far more likely to my mind given where the Cardinals are (a competitive place!) relative to the Pirates (seemingly nowhere!)

2:17
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: Are you a proponent of Small Hall, Big Hall, or Bill Hall?

2:18
Meg Rowley: Big Hall. Make it a real museum, have it tell baseball’s story, and make sure it does so honestly, warts and all.

2:18
Astros fan: Do you know if the MLB is reverting back to less-juiced baseballs? If so, which players do you think will be most affected?

2:18
Meg Rowley: Due respect, but if I could break that story, it… wouldn’t be in this chat.

2:19
Geoff: Hi Meg! Your thoughts on the “reliever must go 2/3s or more of an inning?” I assume there will be additional stipulations to make it less crazy but it seems… crazy.

2:20
Meg Rowley: Would imagine that there will be exceptions for injury, which addresses the most significant concern, but yeah, later days, LOOGYs.

2:20
Sirras: Meg, do you have any thoughts on the meltdown at Deadspin last week-ish?

2:22
Meg Rowley: Based on you describing it as a “meltdown,” I might hazard a guess at your thoughts about it, but I think especially given the landscape of the industry, it is a pretty incredible display of integrity to voluntarily give up a full-time job because the direction of the site and the mandates of its new owners are so obviously at odds with what Deadspin was.

2:23
Meg Rowley: I didn’t always love all of their coverage (what site is there where you do?), but that crew was willing to be skeptical of those in authority at a time when we desperately need skepticism, especially when backed by quality journalism. We’ll miss that funny, weird, skeptical, cranky corner of the internet badly.

2:24
BRS: Hey Meg, thoughts on the Athletic story breaking about the Astros stealing signs in 2017?

2:24
Big Fan: Hi Meg, there’s a story out that the Astros stole signs electronically in 2017.  How prevalent do you think this is?

2:26
Meg Rowley: I haven’t been able to get through all of it yet (had to come chat with you lovely people!) but I can tell you that folks in the industry, who granted believe a few things about Houston that strain credulity, have thought this was going on for a while now — pretty impressive for Fiers to go on record about it.

2:26
Greene: Why do you say “hopefully” the Bryant grievance makes his trade a non-starter?  Do you have a rooting interest for the Cubs or some other reason you’d like to see him stay put?

2:26
Meg Rowley: I think generally players of Kris Bryant’s caliber are hard to come by, and when you have one, you should try to win baseball games with those guys on the roster

2:27
Nick: Re: Hall Size:  The Institution is called the “National Baseball Hall of Fame *and Museum*.”  The Hall and the Museum are distinct: We can tell the story of the game (warts and all) in the Museum, while still only enshrining in the Hall itself those players who didn’t, say, use steroids.

2:27
Meg Rowley: We can, I just don’t think we should.

2:28
Big Fan: If MLB finds that the Astros were stealing signs, shouldn’t the penalty be as drastic as what the Braves got for their international signings?

2:29
Meg Rowley: Seems premature to talk about punishments without knowing the extent of the offense, and as Fiers points out, this has an effect on players but these seem categorically distinct from one another.

2:30
Sirras: You actually misunderstand, the site melted down but I agree that the integrity and honesty of the writers is admirable. I’m just sad that I can’t read it anymore!

2:30
Meg Rowley: Ah, my apologies. Yeah, it is a really bad development, for sports media, and media generally.

2:30
Derek Smalls: Hi Meg! It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Cooperstown, but I want to say the museum DOES tell the story of the game, warts and all. IIRC, Pete Rose is all over the museum, but doesn’t have a plaque in the Hall of Fame. Is that right?

2:32
Meg Rowley: Pretty weird to have Selig in there, but to exclude PED users — I realize that is a recent development but that doesn’t feel like an especially honest accounting of the game’s recent history (as an example)

2:32
BPLee: also…kikuchi…you think he’ll have a better sophomore season?

2:33
Meg Rowley: Would be hard for it to be much worse, and have him still be rosterable. Eric made a good point on FG Audio recently that because of his pitch mix, the changes to the ball might have hit him especially hard vs. what he was used to with the ball in Japan.

2:34
Meg Rowley: Seems possible. He doesn’t have a good fastball, so the margin for error is just smaller to begin with.

2:34
Lebron James’ Food truck guy: am i the only one that thinks the dodgers’ predicament is a little more nerve racking than 7 straight division titles would care to predict? Rising padres & dbacks squads, significant bullpen questions and a thinning starting rotation for the boys in blue… just feels the media is penciling them in for an 8th straight in their tone and its just gonna be a different year next year… thoughts?

2:36
Meg Rowley: That it is November 12, so we aren’t really penciling anyone in for anything yet? They have money, good prospects, and good player development, plus a big league roster that is already quite talented. That isn’t to say the things you mentioned aren’t possible issues, only that they are pretty well positioned to deal with those issues..

2:37
Billy Beane: Hey Meg, how’s life?

2:37
Meg Rowley: Life is good, and returning to a more sustainable pace following the postseason.

2:38
StrongGlad: Are you saddened by the news of Kristopher Negrón’s retirement?

2:38
Meg Rowley: He’s very well-liked around the game – imagine if he wants to stay involved with baseball, he’ll get the opportunity.

2:40
Chris: I know last year it was a bummer with guys like Keuchel getting signed late in the season. Do you think his performance encourages or discourages teams from the practice?

2:43
Meg Rowley: So, the guys who signed as late as he did were essentially him and Kimbrel. Kimbrel is locked up through 2021 and while in a similar contract situation going into the draft, isn’t really a Keuchel comp. I don’t think Keuchel’s 2019 did a whole lot to change the likelihood of him getting a long term deal. He was largely the same guy, is now older, and I imagine will go in with diminished expectations of his market.

2:44
Meg Rowley: I think Kiley and Brendan’s take in the Top 50 was right: that’s he’s probably going to post a couple more years of 2-point-something WAR as an innings-eating fourth starter for a contending club. That guy has value, just not the value Keuchel assumed last winter.

2:44
Meg Rowley: (reportedly)

2:44
2-D: Do you have any opinion either way on the increasing amount of states that have legalized sports betting? Is that an avenue that will affect FG coverage in the future?

2:46
Meg Rowley: That second thing is tbd. I do know that I will likely need to learn more about sports betting than I know now regardless and I am mad about it. It just isn’t how I think about the sport or want to engage with it, but it looks like I’ll need to.

2:47
E.L.: Who do you see as potentially nice buy-low candidates in free agency?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I’m going to sound like I am snarking and I only sort of am: pretty much everyone outside the top 15 relative to what they would have once commanded?

2:48
Meg Rowley: More seriously, seems like there’s always a starter who flashes in a way his contract makes surprising.

2:49
Meg Rowley: So dunno, maybe Lyles, depending on what version of him is the real one?

2:49
Red Flags: Stras seems like a big injury risk. Most innings he has ever thrown in his career, has not been durable and is on the wrong side of 30. I think the only chance he gets big money is by tricking the Lerners. I can’t see another team paying a lot of money for him

2:50
Meg Rowley: I don’t think that is an accurate read of Stras’ market.

2:50
Jeff: What gets Lindor to the Cubs?

2:51
Meg Rowley: Seriously doubt they have the prospect capital for that.

2:51
Jason N: I’m puzzled why the Padres aren’t being connected more with Ryu?  They need TOR pitching, he won’t command a lot of years, he’s already comfortable in SoCal, and Nomo in the front office can have a big recruiting role (like he did with Ohtani).

2:51
Meg Rowley: It’s November 12. I’m not saying they’re the leading candidates, but it is November 12.

2:52
v2micca: Question regarding the Bryant Grievance.  What is actually on the table?  If the Arbiter 100% sides with the Bryant camp (unlikely as that is) what is he actually empowered to award?  Could he theoretically declare Bryant a free agent effective immediately?

2:53
Meg Rowley: I don’t believe so, but he could award him the service time he needs (which I think is literally a day) to be a free agent in 2021.

2:53
Astros: They seem like kind, ethical people.

2:56
Meg Rowley: Like any club, there are a lot of different sorts of folks who work for Houston. It’s good to acknowledge there are good eggs there, if only to remind ourselves that they hardly have a monopoly on the Taubman’s of the world. But that’s why it is useful to understand this stuff in terms of culture. Are the good eggs sufficiently empowered? What is the team’s institutional approach? The last couple of years haven’t offered particularly inspiring answers to those questions, which is bad on its own, but also concerning given how keen other teams, faced with the Astros’ success, seem to be to mimic the Astros.

2:57
Nicholas: If sign-stealing is as pervasive as implied by the recent news about the Astros, is it odd that MLB has the smallest home-field advantage of any sport?  Wouldn’t home-park sign-stealing systems create a larger disadvantage for visitors?

2:58
Meg Rowley: That’s hard to answer without knowing a lot of other things like how pervasive it actually is, how good or bad teams are at it, how much it is helping to elevate the performance of bad hitters vs. making already good hitters better, etc.

2:58
Reynolds: Do you think more players will elect to take their teams to arbitration in light of increased suspicion about owners’ attempts to tamp down spending?

2:59
Meg Rowley: I think it depends on the player and the resources they have at their disposal to prep for arbitration, and how likely they think they are to succeed, which might very depending on how good they are, the position they play, etc. But I think you are right that we are likely to see the overall posture of players be more antagonistic the closer we get to the next CBA negotiation.

3:00
Jeff: What moves *can* the Cubs make? I ask because I keep hearing people tell me the Cubs say they’re poor (they haven’t), have no prospects (because listicles say so or something), and maybe should rebuild

3:02
Meg Rowley: Ownership has indicated it doesn’t see spending as the current way out, and we have their system 20th at the moment, which is more than listicle. There are a lot of things they can do, but the easiest one is just to spend some more money.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I need to get going. Craig’s piece on Wainwright is here for your enjoyment: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/adam-wainwright-stays-in-st-louis-for-2020…

3:03
Meg Rowley: I will sadly, once again not be chatting next week as I head NYC way for our FanGraphs Live! event.

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

3:04
Meg Rowley: Have a great rest of your week!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 11/12/19 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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