Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 11/20/18 by Meg Rowley November 20, 2018 2:00 Meg Rowley: Hello, and welcome to the chat! A moment while I communicate with a writer of FanGraphs dot com. 2:02 Meg Rowley: Ok, hello, here I am. A Meg ready to chat! 2:02 John : How worried should teams be about harper’s defense? 2:04 Meg Rowley: I think anytime you’re going to give potentially $300 million to a free agent, you worry about everything. It has been identified as a weaker part of his game, and defense declines over time, but I don’t think it will alter the eventual value a tremendous amount. 2:05 Meg Rowley: The evaluation of defense is one of the places where the gap between public side analysis and team’s internal stuff is the biggest. Which isn’t to say that the assessment of Harper is wrong. But it is a place where they know a lot more than we do. 2:05 Nate: Are you on record with where you think Harper winds up? 2:06 Meg Rowley: Increasingly intrigued by Philly. I think Machado ends up in New York, which is part of it, too. 2:06 reech: Just a comment- The M’s are going to be very happy with Justus Sheffield. He’s gonna be the real thing. 2:06 Meg Rowley: Seems like they agree with you! 2:07 James: Given the recent departure of Carson for the Blue Jays, what team do you think you will eventually leave Fangraphs for? Any preferences? 2:07 Meg Rowley: Appreciating that we are often surprised by this stuff, I don’t ever see that as my move, which I am just saying to let David Appelman be less stressed over the holidays. 2:07 Meg Rowley: I really love writing and editing, and am neither an applied math major nor a programmer. 2:08 Meg Rowley: If a team wants to know how their roster construction relates to Foucault, though, I am their gal, so watch out. 2:08 All Cats Are Beautiful : What are your feelings on the Mariners’ rebuild thusfar? 2:09 Meg Rowley: That there is likely a great deal more to come, that I hope that great deal more waits until after Thanksgiving, that I’m glad they’ve picked a mode. 2:10 Meg Rowley: Also, and I appreciate the many ways in which this was unavoidable but, it is sort of weird that this crew gets to move franchise pieces while an MLB investigation is looming over them. 2:10 Craig Swan Lake : Please reassure me that the Mets are not about to trade Noah Syndergaard for a handful of magic beans. I’m feeling I’ll thinking about it. 2:10 Meg Rowley: It definitely won’t be for beans if it happens, and you can quote me on that. 2:10 Ryan: Will you still be doing weekly chats? Can will still expect monthly DaynCasts? 2:11 Meg Rowley: Yes to chats, TBD on Dayn. 2:11 Meg Rowley: Dayn and I are twitter pals, but our friendship is not so deep that he would feel fully comfortable swearing at me as he did with Carson. We’ll see if we can catch a wild Dayn now and again, though. 2:12 Craig Swan Lake : Is it just my own internal biases, or does every trade the Yankees makes seem hopelessly tilted in the Yankees favor…like the one they just made for Paxton. 2:12 Meg Rowley: Hopelessly tilted is too strong in my opinion. The return outside of Sheffield struck many (myself included) as a little light, but this was in no way embarrassing. 2:13 Meg Rowley: And while I wish Paxton the very best, and think the durability stuff is a bit overblown, it isn’t non-existent. 2:13 Todd: Do Pirate fans have anyone to get excited about in their farm 2:13 Meg Rowley: Tune in after the holiday, when the Pirates list goes live, to find out! 2:14 Dave Cameron: Y’all didn’t have an Adrian Beltre retirement article in the hopper? 2:14 Meg Rowley: Craig Edwards is working away as we speak 2:14 Sammy Sooser: About the fangraphs hoodies – might we see a pullover option sometime soon? 2:14 Meg Rowley: I will ask! 2:15 Davy: The CY voter who went for Scherzer over deGrom: What it came down to in my mind was wins and losses.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/11/15/one-writer-who-voted-… 2:15 Meg Rowley: I mean, this isn’t surprising as justification, even if we find that justification silly. 2:16 Meg Rowley: Also, I’m not sure there is a ton to be gained from going after this dude. Like sure, silly. A goof! But it seems, at least to me, like a weird thing to spend emotional energy on. 2:16 Meg Rowley: And I spend emotional energy on some goofy-ass things. 2:17 Roger: When the off-season is over, which team goes into 2019 with the best starting rotation? 2:18 Meg Rowley: Hmmmm assuming moves/re-signings, I’d be inclined to say Astros? 2:19 Meg Rowley: Dodgers in there, too. Cleveland assuming they don’t trade a bunch of guys for some dumb reason. 2:19 I Miss Baseball: Why is the winter so damn long? Surely it must be March already? 2:20 Meg Rowley: It is ok to miss things. Missing things is nice. You appreciate things so much more once you’ve missed them. 2:20 Josh: Cashman and Dipoto have made a handful of trades over the past few years, and some of them have been for spare pieces (Nick Rumbelow, James Pazos etc…) Do you think that GM’s tend to call GM’s they’re more comfortable with or is it just a coincidence? 2:21 Meg Rowley: I’d imagine that it factors some. The terms of the deal are going to matter the most, but if you have a good working relationship, it helps. It probably works the most strongly in the opposite direction. 2:22 Mandy is 92% Fresh: Of the players who rejected Qualifying Offers (Keuchel, Corbin, Pollock, Grandal, Harper, and Kimbrell), which one gets the least amount of guaranteed money? 2:22 Meg Rowley: Harper and then Corbin 2:22 Craig Swan Lake : How has Kurt Suzuki managed to turn his career around? It’s remarkable and befuddling to me. 2:22 Meg Rowley: Not a lot of catchers can hit. Of course, he sometimes does less-well if the catching part. But… 2:22 Jeff: Is Fangraphs going to do a massive contest to look for a new writer like they did last year? 2:23 Meg Rowley: Describing a hiring process as a contest is a bit odd. Calls for resumes aren’t unusual. 2:24 Meg Rowley: We’re always looking for interesting, smart voices. The particular administrative form that takes can vary, but if and when we do another call, we won’t be shy about it. 2:24 Nick Mar – Cake is Good: Do you think Corey Seager’s injuries will affect his production in 2019 significantly? 2:25 Meg Rowley: Being able to throw and run more comfortably will likely be to his benefit. There may be some rust, and these things are never certain, but I imagine he’ll get in the swing quick enough. 2:25 sadman: The Braves biggest signing will be… 2:26 Meg Rowley: You! Congrats, it is you! 2:26 Meg Rowley: I think their biggest impact acquisition, and I say this in an appropriately speculative way, could happen via trade. 2:26 Meg Rowley: They need pitching. 2:27 My Other Car Is A Ferrari: Do many deals really get done at the winter meetings, or is it really just an elaborate excuse for a bunch of execs to go drinking together? 2:27 Meg Rowley: It varies year-to-year, sometimes a lot. I think it has more to do with the time of year than the physical proximity, but it doesn’t suck to get together. 2:28 Adam: Thank you for carrying on the torch of philosophically-inclined baseball writers! 2:28 Meg Rowley: Can only be myself! 2:29 GSon: In as much as you’re not an applied math major nor a programmer, can you comment on the fashionable & chic new alternate weekend unis of the Cleveland Indians?.. 2:29 Meg Rowley: I have not seen them, actually (being a managing editor makes one quite busy), but they don’t have Wahoo on them, so they are wonderful. 2:29 Nick Mar – Cake is Good: Should and/or would: The Mariners trade Edwin Díaz 2:30 Meg Rowley: Should they? I am personally of the opinion they should. Will they? I think eventually, though they seem inclined to wait until the deadline. 2:31 Rockie Dangerfield: If the Rockies had to pick one to pursue, should they go after Pollock or McCutchen? 2:31 Meg Rowley: Pollock, I think. 2:31 NotGraphs Revivalist: Do you think Kluber/Carrasco’s prices were lowered by the Paxton acquisition? Was surprised to see a 50 FV guy as the top piece for two years of an inexpensive ace 2:33 Meg Rowley: I don’t think they’re valued the same. Kluber is older sure, but the perception of him is different than Pax (established ace vs. up-and-coming) and his contract has the option years, and for all the durability concerns with Pax, Carrasco has actually had TJ. 2:35 Jonesy Whales: What’s the best place to submit baseball writing now that the community blog seems to be on hiatus? 2:35 Meg Rowley: We are going to sort out the community blog. We simply beg your patience a little longer. 2:35 Ethan: When does the Pads list go live? I’m stoked to see the evaluation. 2:35 Meg Rowley: Man, the internet’s commitment to that joke is astonishing. 2:36 Adam: Were Carson’s instructions about how to manage the site as meticulously detailed and bizarrely inscrutable as I imagine they must have been? 2:36 Meg Rowley: There were a fair number of notes, and he produced a document that described his role, and then we did a lot of side-by-side editing. 2:37 Meg Rowley: I had subbed for him before, so it wasn’t entirely new. 2:37 Guest: Would you view a lack of big splashes by the Angels this offseason as an indicator that Eppler and Arte aren’t viewing a Trout extension as a high priority? Or that maybe Eppler and Arte see Trout’s departure as more or less inevitable? 2:37 Meg Rowley: I would view it as it being November 20th. 2:37 Meg Rowley: I don’t think they’re in the Machado sweepstakes or anything, but I imagine they’ll make some moves. They need pitching. 2:38 Mandy is 92% Fresh: Would you consider doing podcasts with Fangraphs alumni, at the least the ones not working for a team and subject to non-disclosure agreements? 2:38 Meg Rowley: Yes, indeed. 2:38 Sigh: I’m a Mariners fan (yes, still), still feeling all kindsa underwhelmed with the Paxton return. Sheffield seems fine and all but those secondary pieces tho! Can you talk me off the ledge? 2:39 Meg Rowley: In addition to Eric’s notes, which found there way into Jeff’s post, Kiley just did a deeper dive on them here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/updating-the-prospects-in-… 2:39 Meg Rowley: Congrats, you’re now a fan of not the worst farm system in baseball! 2:39 Adam: Will you now refer to yourself as the Managing Editrix? 2:39 Meg Rowley: Editor isn’t a gendered word. 2:39 Meg Rowley: Also, I mostly go by Meg. 2:39 Another Damn M’s Question: Who is the Mariners opening day starter in 2019? 2:40 Meg Rowley: God, it’s Mike Leake, isn’t it? 2:40 Jackson: I never knew how much some Mariners fans hated Beltre until I read the comments on your twitter post earlier. Yikes. 2:41 Meg Rowley: It remains a deeply weird thing that I will never understand. 2:41 Dennid: Turkey or Ham? Mashed or scallops or Yams and marshmallows? Meatless options available by request…. 2:42 Meg Rowley: Turkey AND ham. Mashed and scalloped, and yams, but without marshmallows. 2:42 Meg Rowley: Those are my personal preferences. You should eat whatever you like best. 2:43 Jonathan: You mentioned this above, but how unprecedented is it for a GM to be making trades while under investigation from MLB for a potentially fireable offense? 2:44 Meg Rowley: I’m not sure what the alternative is in this case, as weird as it is. I’m sure there have been others, though my memory is failing me. 2:44 Andrew: Could you please explain how any roster relates to Foucault? 2:45 Meg Rowley: What is a roster if not a series of power-relations? 2:45 All Cats Are Beautiful : How often to chat questions turn into the inspiration for an article? 2:45 Meg Rowley: Not super often, but sometimes. Which, that’s a good hit rate. Think about how much baseball I watch that I never end up writing about. 2:46 onomatopoeia: Meg! Congrats on your promotion, and sorry for your loss (Carson, but maybe also Paxton). Before I listened to the last Fangraphs Audio episode I thought it would be cool if Carson did the intro and you did the outro. Did you guys consider doing that at all? 2:46 Meg Rowley: We did not, if only because Carson was very busy, but it is a good idea. Perhaps I can lure him out of retirement some time. 2:46 losingseason: the orioles would need to sign the top X free agents this offseason to be favored to make the playoffs next year (ignore the infeasibility). i’m not sure X is defined. 2:47 Meg Rowley: They would need to replace muchhhh of the roster. They had literally Manny Machado for half the year and were that bad! 2:47 v2micca: I’m not saying losing Harper is a good thing, but the Nationals are arguably in a better position post Harper given the potentially cheap and effective outfield they have in Soto, Eaton, and Robles. 2:48 Meg Rowley: In terms of the talent on the field, and the flexibility, yes. I continue to think we slip too comfortably into the ownership mindset of praising cheapness, though. 2:48 Z: Wait, did that say you think Harper will get the LEAST guaranteed money? 2:48 Meg Rowley: I did and I meant most 2:49 Meg Rowley: Friends, I am… tired 2:49 Meg Rowley: Harper the most, then Corbin the next most, then Meg to take a nap. 2:49 Chidi: With you hosting Fangraphs Audio what are the chances we hear more takes on Season 3 of The Good Place? 2:49 Meg Rowley: Greater than they were before! 2:49 Meg Rowley: I thought it started a bit slow but is wonderful. 2:49 Meg Rowley: How does that show exist? We are so lucky to have it. 2:50 Jeff: If we refer to it as a contest, then you can be Gordon Ramsey and yell at us a lot 2:51 Meg Rowley: I don’t like yelling at strangers. I do yell at strangers sometimes, but I don’t enjoy it. 2:51 Davy: Carson is great and I will miss him, but now that you’re in charge, please tell me that you’ll let writers use the first person pronoun rather than going with, “this author.” Please. The madness must stop. 2:51 Meg Rowley: I used “I” in my posts often. 2:52 Z: So the MLBPA and the Mets players are really just going to accept that an agent representing like half the team just became the GM, then? I was really expecting pushback on that. 2:52 Meg Rowley: I was also surprised it was not a bigger deal, though of course, I wasn’t party to the conversations they had in private about it. 2:53 Tim: Are you ready to get Bonds/Clemens/Schilling out of of the HOF discussion like I am? This is the principally annoying thing about 10 year ballots – some of these stories aren’t fun & just wont die. 2:53 Meg Rowley: It is the part of Jay’s chosen beat that I envy the very least! 2:54 Meg Rowley: I think conversations about how we account for baseball’s history and celebrate baseball greatness, while grappling with the uglier parts of their careers and personal lives isn’t uninteresting, but it also can get fairly repetitive, and I’m not sure how much convincing we actually end up doing in the end. 2:55 Matt W: Is FG worried about someday losing Jaffe to the HOF itself? If I was in charge of hiring at Cooperstown he’d be working there already… 2:55 Meg Rowley: I worry about everyone leaving all the time because I am a worrier, but I imagine if that were a path Jay wanted it would have already happened by now. 2:56 JR: Can someone explain to me why Harper is going to get such a big contract? I still don’t get it. 2:57 Meg Rowley: Because even in a “down year” like this one, he was worth 3.5 wins? Because he’s 26? 2:57 Meg Rowley: Because he’s pretty stinking good at baseball. 2:57 NotGraphs Revivalist: Adrian Beltre 🙁 2:58 Meg Rowley: Baseball will be worse for him not being in it. 2:58 trevise-en: Any thoughts on the Angelos brothers choice of Mike Elias as the Orioles new E-VP/GM? 2:59 Meg Rowley: He seems smart and capable and they have a long way to go. 2:59 Meg Rowley: It looks a lot like a lot of other front office hires lately. 3:00 Lou: Will you have podcasts where the entire time is dedicated to abusing a hypothetical son who chose to play lacrosse like Carson and Dayn Perry? 3:00 Meg Rowley: We grow to like such weird stuff. 3:00 JR: Re the Nats outfield, not only is it cheaper with Eaton, Robles and Soto, but I’d bet money that Soto and Robles both outperform Harper next year. 3:01 Meg Rowley: That’s fine, and they’re quite good players. 3:01 Meg Rowley: I appreciate why we think about team budgets. But we don’t have to be excited about cheapness is my point. 3:02 Justus League: If the Mariners window is 2020-2022, is it correct to think they’re not going to sign a free agent this year other than maybe some washed up catcher? 3:02 Meg Rowley: They really very much need a catcher! 3:03 Meg Rowley: They probably also need some pitching, but that won’t be by way of a splashy signing. 3:03 Meg Rowley: I think we will remember them more by their trades out than by any signings. 3:04 Ian: Do you think there are any legs to the Noah Syndergaard to San Diego talk? If so, what’s a realistic package the Padres have to give up? 3:04 Meg Rowley: I imagine there have been conversations, though I think I lean toward it not happening, personally. 3:05 HappyFunBall: Cheapness is not an end in itself, it is but one aspect of deploying an efficient roster. When the Marlins go cheap it sucks. When (if) the Nats go with a cheaper outfield and spend the difference on a more competitive starting rotation, THAT is to be celebrated. 3:05 Meg Rowley: Let’s wait to celebrate until after the “spend the difference” part happens, is all I’m saying. 3:06 Meg Rowley: And while I don’t think this was the intent of the Nats questions, there are times when we (fans, writers, etc) get too fixated on the cheap, to the point of it being an end in itself. 3:07 Meg Rowley: The Rays have different resources available to them than the Dodgers do, but I think pushing back on assertions of poverty is always a good idea. 3:07 HappyFunBall: Nats spend money. Hell, they were over the luxury tax last year. They won’t be this year, but it will be as close as they feel comfortable getting. 3:08 Meg Rowley: They do not routinely bother me on that score. It was meant as a broader point. 3:08 Tyler: I have more issues with the luxury tax. I am a Red Sox fan it is going to be hard to keep this team together without being way over the tax. 3:08 Meg Rowley: (we should all be bothered by the luxury tax) 3:08 Meg Rowley: Except teams, who should care a lot less about it, but won’t. It isn’t there on accident. 3:09 Sad fan : When do you expect the big name FAs to sign? 3:10 Meg Rowley: If I had to guess, we’ll see Machado before Harper, both because of the particularities of them each as players, and their respective representation. 3:10 Sad fan: I think that distributing money among multiple positions rather than investing it into an inconsistent player who can’t play defense should be applauded as good business, not cheapness. 3:11 Meg Rowley: If that is what it is motivating the applause! Again, it was meant as broader point about how we talk about this stuff, and less an issue specific to the Nats. 3:11 Justus League: Edwin Diaz and Jean Segura are probably at the peak of their value. But, they’re under contract for at least the next 4 years and could be part of the next great Mariner team (cough). Should the Mariners seek younger chits, or hold on to these established talents? 3:12 Meg Rowley: It’s important to remember that Segura has a full no-trade clause. 3:12 Meg Rowley: I would try to move Díaz if it were me. 3:12 NotGraphs Revivalist: Do you answer a disproportionate amount of M’s questions in your chats, receive a disproportionate amount of M’s questions in your chats, both or neither? 3:12 Meg Rowley: I receive many. Many, many. And especially today. 3:12 Excited About Cheapness: It feels good beating teams with higher payrolls than yours. 3:13 Meg Rowley: There are lots of ways to fan, and as long as you aren’t making other people feel bad in your fandom, I’m not here to judge. I will speak for myself and say, as a Mariners fan, that I used to feel that way, but don’t any longer. I want players to get paid. Teams who pay players are good imo. 3:13 Rick: Wait, you said Harper gets the *LEAST* guaranteed money of the FAs who declined QOs? 3:14 Meg Rowley: Again, clarified this that I misread the question. The most. He’ll get the most! So many dollars, indeed, the most dollars of those on that list. 3:14 This Author: How many creative writing MFAs are working at Fangraphs now? 3:15 Meg Rowley: Zero, as far as I know. My master’s is in political science. I was in a PhD program, but didn’t finish. Like a big ol’ drop out. 3:15 Brewster: Given NO team has broken the bank for a competitive advantage and the one team that kind of tried didn’t get over the hump and appears to be pulling back, isn’t there some circumstantial evidence to suggests teams aren’t hiding 8 and 9 figured under their mattresses? 3:16 Meg Rowley: Spending doesn’t guarantee you a playoff spot by any means. 3:16 Meg Rowley: But it helps. 3:17 Meg Rowley: I’d also point out that we don’t really know what most teams are capable of in specific terms. Players’ salaries are disclosed; team profit isn’t, and there aren’t a ton of sales that fill in the gaps. 3:18 Brewster: Yes it does, but maybe the top teams are closer to their break-even point than we’re quick to assume as distant observers. 3:18 Meg Rowley: Perhaps. The galaxy brain answer to this is, maybe you should have to have the resources to run a payroll if you’re going to own a team then. 3:20 Meg Rowley: There are a lot of ways to construct a competitive roster, and the most reliable is going to be good drafting and player dev. But at some point, teams are likely to have to supplement that with free agents, or offer extensions to young, core pieces. 3:21 Meg Rowley: I agree that the Rays are in a different spot than the Dodgers. But as I said, I think we ought to push back on, and not take as given, the spending limits of teams. 3:21 This Author: Abandoning a Ph.D program is the surest proof that you possess common sense and reasonable priorities. 3:22 Meg Rowley: I miss grad school a lot sometimes. But the prospect of not being able to control where I lived wasn’t worth it to me on balance. 3:22 Meg Rowley: Now I just quote Foucault at length when writing about Ryan Braun. 3:23 Brewster: Us pushing back doesn’t seem to be turning any tides. It might be shouting at the rain … and maybe even in ignorance. 3:24 Meg Rowley: It isn’t even about that as much as painting a complete picture, and identifying what we are taken as given to ensure that we are comfortable with those assumptions. 3:26 Meg Rowley: Perhaps you think the Rays can’t afford $100 million on Corbin, or $300 million on Harper. But we know they, along with every baseball org, could pay their minor leaguers a living wage, and choose not to. That is an active decision. What other active decisions are being made, not out of true necessity, but out of preference or in service of profit? You, we, me, may decide we don’t object to those preferences, but I think it behooves us as analysts to make sure we know what is what, and which is which. 3:27 Meg Rowley: On that note, I am bound for more editing! 3:27 Meg Rowley: The site will be dark on Thanksgiving and on Friday, so that we may spend time with our families. 3:28 Meg Rowley: We’ll resume our regular schedule on Monday. Until next time, I hope everyone has a great day and a great Thanksgiving, and my apologies for what I didn’t get to.