Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 12/23/2020

4:02
Meg Rowley: Hi all, and welcome to the chat. Give me just one moment to run something to the mail box before my carrier comes for the day!

4:04
Meg Rowley: Ok, am back.

4:04
Meg Rowley: Everyone be nice to their mail carriers – they are having a heck of a time.

4:05
Jerry dipoto: When am I making my next move?

4:05
Meg Rowley: Please not today, I have gifts to wrap after this and feel tired.

4:05
Syndergaardengnomes: What is Realmuto’s market now?  With the Mets out of the picture, where do you think he ends up?

4:07
Meg Rowley: With McCann in Queens, Philly seems like the most likely spot, even with their professed poverty because the need is so great, the depth in the system so poor, and the embarrassment quotient so high. He’s more valuable to them than practically any other team in baseball.

4:07
Meg Rowley: I don’t think he signs for quite as much now, but there’s really no more efficient free agent dollars for them to deploy.

4:07
ballsandgutters: Are you a frequenter of Ebbets Field Flannels in Pioneer Square (Seattle) and if not, why?

4:08
Meg Rowley: Their stuff is very cool, but I am trying to spend less and more practically. I do have a few hats from there I really love.

4:09
Doug: Brandon Marsh plus a couple other guys for Sonny Gray could make lots of sense for both teams, right?

4:12
Meg Rowley: Wouldn’t be my first choice for best imagined trade. I expect they’d prioritize the next generation of cost-controlled pitching, which makes LA an odd fit. And while Marsh is probably a superior CF defensive option to what they have on the roster now, I’m not sure why they’d be keen to add to the outfield clog. Plus, someone is going to have to take Trout’s spot in center when he has to move to a corner eventually.

4:12
Lunar verLander: Who’s most likely to sign a 1-year “prove it” contract? With the uncertainty of next season’s schedule, I would expect more of those kinds of deals, but the CBA negotiations could impact the 2022 season timeline. Any thoughts?

4:15
Meg Rowley: Answer is almost always going to be the recently injured pitching, so Pax, Odorizzi, Walker if teams don’t think the 2020 season is enough to have established a rebound.

4:16
Meg Rowley: Those types of deals aren’t optimal ahead of a contentious CBA but those guys aren’t necessarily going to have much of a choice – Pax was up to 94, but only up to 94 at a workout for teams recently. Sometimes your timing just sucks.

4:16
TomBruno23: Who are the players you make sure to catch in LIDOM? I have greatly enjoyed the quality of the streaming from the Dominican League.

4:18
Meg Rowley: Early on it was Franco before he got dinged up because I just haven’t had a chance to see him otherwise. It’s been good to see how Vlad looks (the shape? the best of his life! no really!), and some of the other young major leaguers. Wish Julio had looked better but it was a weird year with another injury, so not really inclined to make too much of that.

4:18
Meg Rowley: Australia started their season recently, and their teams have a lot of prospects too – teams are doing their best to get their guys reps, I’ll give them that.

4:21
Neal: Will Negro League stats become available on Fangraphs?

4:22
Meg Rowley: We’re working on getting that set up – can’t say exactly when yet because there’s the tech work on our end and then the committee MLB set up has to meet and determine what the official record is, but yes, we’re working on it!

4:22
Me Growley: Odds on the NL Central being the worst division in 2021?

4:22
Meg Rowley: I think pretty high. Congrats to the AL Central! Even with one of your teams getting set to trade away one of the better players in baseball, you’re off the hook!

4:22
Doug: What can Yu get for the Cubs?

4:23
Meg Rowley: A great deal, but I think a trade is unlikely – with the retooled repertoire, he’s incredibly valuable.

4:23
Kolby: Who do you think has the next 5 win season for the Rangers: Gallo, a current Rangers prospect, superstar free agent, or other?

4:24
Meg Rowley: Free agent.

4:24
Meg Rowley: Look, I don’t like this answer.

4:26
Meg Rowley: But I think it would be unsurprising to see Gallo… not in a Rangers uniform, and their system has a lot of 50s in it, albeit ones with injury stuff that is both a potential problem and could depress their outlook in a way that changes if they stay healthy.

4:26
Isolated Thinker: Do you think Nelson Cruz waits to sign until the DH situation is clarified?  I’m sure many win-now NL teams would pay a high price for a year or two of his mashing services.

4:27
Meg Rowley: I doubt it – while the lack of clarity clearly has an effect on his market, I think he’s likely in the one to two year high AAV range anyway given his age.

4:27
Meg Rowley: And I also wouldn’t be surprised if clarity takes a while to arrive, so there comes a point where waiting works against him.

4:28
Dodger Fam: re: Rangers 5 win season, it’s Leody Taveras

4:29
Meg Rowley: Like Leody! Not sure if it’s Leody!

4:29
Charlie: How much negative WAR would a potato get if he were thrown out in centerfield for a season?

4:30
Meg Rowley: A literal potato, or a guy who looks like a potato… because Mike Trout isn’t un-potato like…

4:30
Rex: Do you think you’ll watch any NBA ball this winter?

4:31
Meg Rowley: I do. I had more fun with bubble basketball than I thought I would, at some point winter league baseball and football will end, and the hint of potentially getting a team back in Seattle has me intrigued.

4:31
Lunar verLander: What can Baltimore do this offseason to transform the AL east into the AL BEAST?

4:32
Meg Rowley: They will not do this. Baltimore really doesn’t much in the way of stars, the guys behind Adley are a ways off, and they don’t trade José Iglesias if they are in a rush to get good.

4:34
szakyl: What’s the best Christmas present any team’s fan base can realistically hope for over the next ~2 weeks?

4:34
Meg Rowley: An ownership group that wants to play as many games in 2021 as is safely possible.

4:34
Frank the Tank: If the season started today, who is the favorite in the NL East?  If you say Braves, I’m going streaking!  Then KFC.

4:35
Meg Rowley: Braves, but let’s see where and who the Mets are in two months.

4:35
Sodger Fan: I am very excited about this Tommy Kahnle signing. Any thoughts?

4:37
Meg Rowley: The Dodgers are your friends who is smart, attractive, and has a good job – you’re in awe, you’re a little jealous, but you’re glad life is working out for someone.

4:37
Meg Rowley: (I like it)

4:37
Billy Beane: Am here upon request to do chat. Here is chat. Chat.

4:37
Meg Rowley: Welcome to chat.

4:38
szakyl: Is there a chance that the Indians don’t have anybody offer their minimum asking price on Lindor, or are they that desperate to get rid of his salary that they’ll take whatever the best offer is?

4:39
Meg Rowley: I’m not sure this is the exact framing I’d give it but I think the odds he moves this offseason, when the return is the highest (or at least, likely higher than a half-season rental deal at the deadline) is pretty great.

4:39
Meg Rowley: You will probably feel disappointed in the return!

4:41
Meg Rowley: Alex Verdugo had a pretty good season. Alex Verdugo isn’t Mookie Betts, and the fan experience gets worse the further from the majors the guys sent over for Lindor are. It is just really hard to find equivalent major league value for a guy like Lindor.

4:41
Scott: Why don’t teams buy out option years more often and add a year or two on the end to incentivize both the team and player to wait longer till free agency?

4:41
Meg Rowley: Teams do this a lot, and a lot more lately. They don’t do it more because a lot of the time, the player’s agent says, hey don’t do this, we can get more money in free agency.

4:42
Meg Rowley: Some of you have trade packages in the queue that are… wild

4:43
Chris: What are some of your favorite websites to read, aside from of course Fangraphs.com?

4:45
Meg Rowley: Baseball-wise, I find myself navigating to BP and The Athletic most often to check stuff out, and then there are individual writers at other places I keep tabs on when they publish. I read Defector, The Atlantic, The Ringer and The New Yorker for Other Stuff because I have a debilitating case of being a Liberal Arts Educated 30 something.

4:46
BlueJayMatt: Is anything planned for when the Fangraphs.com subscriber target is reached?

4:47
Meg Rowley: We continue to grow and develop cool new tools, feature exciting new voices, and basically deliver a top notch baseball stuff to you!

4:47
Meg Rowley: Basically hitting our 40k Opening Day target allows us to weather changing ad rates and traffic fluctuations much, much better.

4:48
Noah: Given the moves made by the Reds front office so far, and Gray, Castillo, Suarez, and Moustakas all being mentioned in rumors, how worried should Reds fans be? Is it really just a restructuring of some payroll or are the Reds destined to start the rebuild over?

4:48
Meg Rowley: I think this is a really useful framework for thinking about it https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-reds-arent-done-yet/

4:50
Meg Rowley: Basically, there are some moves that fall in the usual offseason business bucket. Then there’s trading Castillo.

4:50
Vic: The Atlantic is on top of their game these days.   Any chance Sam can make a cameo on EW sometime soon?

4:50
Meg Rowley: Sadly not likely soon, but someday? Yes.

4:51
Chris: Do you see independent teams, especially the newly independent teams, investing in baseball ops in a substantive way? Do you think we could get a redux of Ben and Sam’s Sonoma experiment?

4:53
Meg Rowley: I’m not quite sure what “in a substantive way” means…Do I think that the folks who run those teams will use sabermetric concepts? I bet a lot of them do. But I think it is on a much smaller scale. Ops departments take money, both for people and tech, and I don’t think most of these clubs will be in that position.

4:54
Gashouse Gorilla: How much do you think the new CBA is going to be impacted by COVID related issues…beyond just the money

4:55
Meg Rowley: So much depends on how full (and lucrative) a season they get in in 2021 – both in terms of the economic claims each side makes, and the ability of the players to weather a potential stoppage.

4:55
Scott: With catchers being in need again as always, who is the biggest name catcher you can see being traded before the start of the season?

4:58
Meg Rowley: Possibly Ruiz with LA, just because they have other optioins and he’d net a meaningful return – outside of that… jeez, Váquez and Contreras are probably the best names on teams looking to do other stuff that win, but they still have to field teams so seems unlikely.

4:58
Matt: Hi Meg – I just want to say thanks to you and all of the writers and staff at FG. I am a very happy paid subscriber. Enjoy your holidays.

4:58
Meg Rowley: Thanks so much, Matt – and really, thanks to all of our Members. We say this a lot because it is true, but we wouldn’t be here without all of you.

4:59
Be Honest: Who has farted the most during Fangraphs Staff Zoom Meetings?

4:59
Meg Rowley: Blessed to say I have no idea at all, and not just because we use Slack not Zooom.

4:59
Lunar verLander: A lot of people are in favor of abolishing the MLB draft, which I understand, but wouldn’t that just mean the top tier prospects would go to the teams with the best development systems? Sure, that might incentive SOME teams to spend more on minor league developments, but it’s not like owners are shelling out money for minor league baseball as it is…

5:00
Meg Rowley: The reason to abolish the draft is to get the players paid, not necessarily to further incentivize better player dev.

5:01
Meg Rowley: If you’re the best computer programer at MIT, you don’t automatically have to join the shittiest software developer on the market because they were bad the year prior.

5:02
Meg Rowley: You can like the draft, or you can be horny for Friedrich Hayek, but you can’t do both!

5:03
GoMs: You swap roles with Jerry Dipoto for a month… what moves do you make?

5:03
Meg Rowley: Am I allowed to convince ownership to spend just a litttttle bit before the window is actually open?

5:03
Tony: Re: trades for catching— do you think the Jays would be well-suited by taking a run at Realmuto, then using their cabinet of Catchers of the Future as trade bait?

5:04
Meg Rowley: I do but I also understand them prioritizing other positions

5:04
Mike: Is 2021 the just year without the DH in the NL?

5:05
Meg Rowley: I really wouldn’t be shocked to see the DH in 2021, but announced very late.

5:05
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I need to get rolling – those gifts won’t wrap themselves.

5:06
Meg Rowley: If you’ll forgive some earnestness, truly, thank you for your support this year. We just wouldn’t be here without it. I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas has a merry, safe holiday, and that everyone else gets some needed rest and peace.

5:06
Meg Rowley: Thanks for the questions, and happy holidays!





Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Prior to joining FanGraphs, her work appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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The Yankees will scoop up Realmuto as his price becomes too good to pass up.