Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat — 2/22/18 by Meg Rowley February 22, 2018 2:01 Meg Rowley: Hi all! There is snow on the ground in Seattle, and the city is loudly digging up my street for some reason, so let’s chat and distract ourselves. 2:01 Matt Klentak: When should we expect to hear more about Miguel Sano’s suspension? Day before opening day? When did league finally announce Chapman’s suspension? 2:02 Meg Rowley: I would think before Opening Day. Chapman’s suspension came down on March 1, and the league took its time figuring that one out because it was the very first one of its kind. You’d think they’d give the team some time to sort out its plans. 2:04 Matt Klentak: What did you do with Jay Jaffe? 2:04 Meg Rowley: Jay is on vacation, but I believe will return to his regularly scheduled programming next week. 2:05 Danny: Chances the Padres trade their lower-level (A) prospects for MLB-ready pitching and go for it in the next two years with a still-young Myers and Hosmer? 2:07 Meg Rowley: I think very low. The intriguing young guys are the best part of the Padres, and it’s not like they’re one good pitcher away from a playoff spot. Whatever we might think of the Hosmer signing, I think they’re realistic about where they are in the competitive cycle. 2:08 Chuncey Wiggins: What’s worse, a glacial off season or a month of listening to people pretend that Spring Training games are meaningful? 2:09 Meg Rowley: Here’s the thing I’ve been reminded of in the last week as I work on an overly ambitious post that required me to rewatch a lot of 2017 baseball: baseball is so great. Even when it is dumb, meaningless Spring Training baseball. The best way to get excited about baseball is to watch it. Praise baseball. 2:09 Oddball Herrera: Well that’s depressing, Honeywell may have given us our first Tommy John of the season before spring training games have even started 2:11 Meg Rowley: Gosh I hope it isn’t that bad. There have been a lot of thoughts floating around about what the Rays are doing and how smart it is, but even if it all works out, this is just a bummer of a week to be a Rays fan. Buy the Rays fan you know a drink or a coffee or something. 2:12 Tim: How is it that the Ray’s have traded everybody except Colome and Archer? 2:13 Meg Rowley: Honestly, it’s among the more convincing arguments that they are just doing Rays Stuff and not Tanking Stuff. 2:13 Gigantez: Can the Giants try to sign Timmy? 2:13 Meg Rowley: The Giants can try to do anything. Why would you limit the things you could try to do if you were the Giants? 2:14 Rickey: How does someone like Jarrod Dyson end up going for so cheap? He’s a useful player, and fun to watch. 2:16 Meg Rowley: This market has been brutal for middle class free agents generally, and then you factor in what I imagine are concerns about how his speed ages, especially considering that he was injured last year, and I get how it happens. But that deal still feel light to me. 2:18 Safety Stegosaurus: Do you think the middle tier of next offseason’s free agents will be more or less receptive to in season extensions? 2:20 Meg Rowley: I think a lot of guys are going to be very tempted not to have to deal with waiting as the high profile guys get signed, though it’ll be interesting to see how many extensions get offered, knowing that many teams will be trying for the big name dudes. Next year’s offseason will be fascinating in a hopefully very different way than this year’s has been. 2:20 Hunky Dory: How should I feel about Brandon Drury as New York’s 3B? 2:21 Meg Rowley: I am a person who is comforted by the idea of insurance. 2:21 Moltar: For many years I thought Justin Upton was overrated, but now it seems like he might be underrated? I think he’s in line for a real nice year in Los Angeles of Anaheim. 2:24 Meg Rowley: He is! That outfield should be really good, and not just because of Trout. You can’t say they had a quietly good offseason because nothing about getting Ohtani was quiet, but I really liked the Upton contract and the smaller moves they made. Still have the mean ol’ Astros to deal with, but it isn’t an unexciting time to root for the Angels. 2:24 PTBNL: Arrieta will likely sign a ____-year deal with the _____ 2:25 Meg Rowley: I’m still inclined to say four years, though I could see three, and man, he really oughta be a Brewer. Though the Philly thing intrigues me greatly. 2:25 Zock Jr.: Meg, the Red Sox just scored 7 runs in the first inning against the Huskies! We don’t even need JDM! 2:26 Meg Rowley: That life makes fools of us all is clearly the lesson here. 2:27 Vermont Sox Fan: Is it more likely the Red Sox look to trade Bradley Jr or Hanley at some point during spring training? 2:28 Meg Rowley: Doubt they trade either before Opening Day. Not a ton of urgency to do it. 2:28 Raj: The A’s need a catcher, they have money to spend, Lucroy is unsigned, they could be a sneaky wild card contender with him or flip him in July if they’re out of it…am I missing something? 2:29 Meg Rowley: Nope! Makes a lot of sense. They are my pick for where he goes, though the Nats seem possible, too. Poor guy. He was one of the dudes who really made us understand how valuable framing was, and his free agency could not have been more poorly timed. 2:30 Jason: What % of the lack of a market for John Lackey is due to the fact that he is an extremely unlikable person? 2:31 Meg Rowley: Eh, maybe some but teams put up with so much if a guy is good and will help them win. Though when the winning part starts to feel less certain, I imagine the calculus on whether he’d be a bummer coworker changes somewhat. 2:33 Legeisc: Brewers added Yelich and Cain. Rays were the Rays. What are the odds the Rays win more games than the Brewers? 2:36 Meg Rowley: We have them projected for the same number of wins right now (there is still some good stuff on the Rays!), though I think the Brewers will likely add pitching, while the Rays keep Raysing, so I’d take the Brewers. 2:36 Billy Beane: Question, will your appearances on Fangraphs audio be fortnightly, weekly, or monthly? Because if I had to vote: I would vote weekly. 2:37 Meg Rowley: I am at Carson’s disposal to discuss all manner of baseball, business, and philosophy topics, though with what frequency, I’m not sure. 2:38 Andy: How do you think the Braves up and coming crop of pitching talent works out? 2:40 Meg Rowley: I think some of them will be good, some of them will be middling and some of them will get hurt. It seems like I am snarking, but I’m not. Building through pitchers scares me. Pitchers scare me. Pitching scares me. You ever look at pitching in slo-mo? The heck are we asking these guys to do? 2:40 Nathan: What do you think of the Rays’ moves? I feel like the more I see them, the more I like what they’ve done. It hurts to lose fan favorites, for sure, but it seems like they’ve added a bunch of MLB ready cost controlled talent while trimming future salary commitments (Longo especially). Just wish they didn’t have to operate in this way 2:40 Meg Rowley: Do they *have* to operate in this way? 2:41 Dominic: What do you think of the cape cod league? 2:41 Meg Rowley: I have heard it is nice there but that housing is spendy. 2:41 Marty: Is the Rangers window closed? 2:43 Meg Rowley: Not closed, but closing? They could use some pitching, and have a tough road to the Wild Card (I am assuming that the Astros do not decide to all become school teachers). 2:44 Eric: any guess where Moose ends up? seems weird that an avg defensive 3b who hit 38 bombs can’t find a job. his statline would have been much better too if he didnt get plunked in the thigh at 100mph and somewhat injured 2:44 Meg Rowley: I keep being drawn to the idea of him with the Twins. 2:45 Captain K: Would the Twins rotation be good enough to compete if they sign someone like Cobb or Lynn or should they try for Arrieta? 2:49 Meg Rowley: To compete? Sure. They competed last year and Bartolo Colon started several games for them. You figure a better year from Odorizzi and hope Santana is alright and you can see it for sure. 2:49 YoungBuck: Reasons for excitement in Baltimore? Beyond just having a nice night out at the stadium, I’m struggling to find a reason to buy a ticket. 2:51 Meg Rowley: I would buy a ticket so I could spend time enjoying Manny Machado. Go to ballpark and just enjoy the heck out him and try not to think about 2019. 2:51 Slew : Say nice things about the Cleveland Indians. Thanks in advance. 2:52 Meg Rowley: They are very good at baseball, and employ Francisco Lindor, and Francona is my very favorite manager. You’re welcome. 2:52 andrew: Is Cole Hamels done being an above average pitcher? 2:54 Meg Rowley: There are a couple of these in the queue, and while finding the start of the decline can sometimes be a little tricky, the walks and strike outs are trending in a bad direction. It’s concerning to be sure. 2:55 My name is Judge…: so in the draft next year every team should just let the white sox draft seth beer, plainly for the marketing. a lineup of Burger, Beer and Fry (Jake/Seth/Jace respectively) 2:56 Meg Rowley: That’s a toy I absolutely could not be trusted with. 2:57 CamdenWarehouse: Have you read The Shift yet? Thoughts? 2:58 Meg Rowley: I have not, though I have it so The Hardball Times can review it. Look for that… soonish. I will say that Russell is someone I reliably learn something cool from when I read his work, so I am excited to see what he can do with a book-length project. 2:59 2-D: Do you think we’ll see a significant change in the amount of extensions handed out this year before next offseason’s big free agent class? 3:00 Meg Rowley: I think it’ll depend a lot on the sort of player. Teams will remain incentivized to try to get young, good players on cheaper extensions. 3:01 Mike: Who’s more offensively productive this year – Pujols or Ohtani? 3:04 Meg Rowley: Sooooo much of this answer depends on playing time. I might be misremembering this but I think Scioscia said he’d be open to using Ohtani as a pinch runner and hitter, in addition to some days at DH. Pujols could be better! He could be unusable! Scioscia might not be super creative. Even though he was terrible last year, I’m inclined to say Pujols, just because Ohtani has to adjust and won’t hit every day but I could see myself being super, duper wrong. Just so, so wrong. 3:05 Zach: Realistic odds the M’s add Lincecum? 3:06 Meg Rowley: I’m inclined to say low just because they’ve been so insistent that they aren’t going to add any more, but they really oughta try. 3:08 JT: Who should sign Arrieta? 3:08 Meg Rowley: The Brewers. 3:08 goms: Seriously, why aren’t the M’s looking to add another SP? 3:10 Meg Rowley: The thing that limits you and me going on fabulous vacations is the same thing that limits Jerry Dipoto: having to stick to a budget. Now, could ownership decide to spend more? Yes. 3:10 Legeisc: Which catcher(s) is most responsible for mound visits being limited? Should teams be blamed for stealing signs? 3:13 Meg Rowley: This isn’t based on data, but from my own observations Willson Contreras and Brian McCann sure go out to chat a lot. It isn’t just on them of course, but they are the guys I think of when I think of lots of mound visits. As for the other thing, look a little bit of sign stealing, *just some*, feels like the kind of strategic sorta-cheating that is actually fun in baseball. But teams have ruined it. They’ve gone too far. Apple watches? I mean, honestly. Have some respect as you disrespect your opponents. 3:16 Dan: Now say something mean about the Cleveland Indians! #equaltime 3:18 Meg Rowley: They’re good so this is a nitpick but just signing Yonder Alonso is pretty underwhelming, though they probably rightly feel very confident about winning that division. 3:19 andrew: You can permanently jump to an alternate reality in which all things are the same except the M’s signed Ohtani. The only way to trigger this happening is eating 20 hot dogs in an hour. You making the attempt? 3:20 Meg Rowley: The worst I have ever felt after a night at the ballpark was the time I drank reasonably and ate three hot dogs over five hours. 20 might kill me, and for what, a wild card shot I won’t get to see? 3:22 Hae-Lo Dee: Is the deepest M’s lineup you can recall in a long time? If Gordon bat’s leadoff, that puts Healy/Zunino/Haniger at 6/7/8 3:22 Meg Rowley: Using Healy to bolster an argument about a super deep M’s lineup is a weird choice, but yeah, they should be able to hit pretty well. 3:23 cutty61: Who in MLB infields is athletic enough to climb, say, 15 ft up the extended protective netting to make a catch? Hard to climb with a glove on! 3:23 Meg Rowley: Almost positive this isn’t allowed but now I really, really, REALLY want to see Francisco Lindor try. 3:24 andrew: who has more FG articles written about them this year – Trout or Ohtani? 3:25 Meg Rowley: Ohtani because we love new stuff, though Trout remains incredibly interesting for a guy who is seemingly just a normal dude when not being a baseball god. 3:25 Party Pooper: Can you imagine, after all the talk of the 2018 free agent class, if Machado and Harper resigned long term extensions? I can’t see it happening, especially with Machado. But if it did. 3:26 Meg Rowley: That would be so neat for fans! It feels amazing when the things we love seem to love us back. I cried when Felix signed his extension with the Mariners. He was ours, and you couldn’t have him! But I agree, it seems very, very unlikely, particularly with Machado. 3:27 Uncle Rico: Ummm….having anybody bat in the 9th innings if you are losing is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. MLB can’t be serious about this…..can they? 3:27 Meg Rowley: It is very goofy, and almost certainly won’t happen, but its goofiness is mostly a result of it not being weird enough. If you’re gonna break the damn thing, lean into it. 3:30 Billy Beane: 1st MLB woman you think will be a knuckleballer, a LOOGY, or a 2B? Those seem the most likely scenarios to me. 3:30 Meg Rowley: Knuckleballer seems likely to me, followed by LOOGY. 3:32 Hae-Lo Dee: MLB at bat predictions for Mike Ford, Dan Vogelbach, and Ryon Healy- 3:33 Meg Rowley: Still think Healy is the main guy, even with the hand injury. Mike Ford is kind of interesting to me. Really haven’t had a good first baseman in a while. 3:33 Ryan: Do you think the Yanks will look at adding a SP at the deadline? If so, what names do you think will be available? 3:35 Meg Rowley: They might do it before that if the deal is right, but possibly. I tend to be of the mind that especially with the bullpen they have, the starting pitching concerns are at least a touch overblown, but you can always use more pitching. 3:37 Matt Klentak: Meg usually this is the part of my day when Eno tells me what kind of sandwich he made.. what do you bring to the table? 3:39 Meg Rowley: I’m about to go eat some left over stir-fry, which was very tasty. You should make a good stir-fry, then enjoy the left overs. 3:39 Psych Eval: Hey Meg, thanks for chatting! What do you make of what we’ve seen publicly (in comments to reporters and via Twitter) of Brent Honeywell’s personality? Do you think it’s a kind of competitiveness that will serve him well, or an arrogance that will be his undoing? Do you think his talent is as big as his mouth, or has his mouth outpaced his talent already? 3:42 Meg Rowley: Baseball tends to humble arrogance, so I don’t think it’s something to really fret over. He’ll figure out the right balance most likely, or he won’t and well, it’ll change his life more than yours. I can’t imagine what you’d have to do to psyche yourself up enough to play baseball professionally. Can’t imagine being able to do it, even if I had the skill. And I think it is important to remember that we don’t actually know these guys. 3:43 Matt: Remember when Jake Arrieta thought he was a $200MM+ pitcher? LOLz. 3:43 Meg Rowley: I prefer to remember the time when he was pitching like one because goodness that was fun to watch. 3:43 John: Can you sell me on a trip to Seattle? I’ve never been before but am considering it maybe as a long weekend trip 3:45 Meg Rowley: Come in July or August. The weather will be warm, with very little humidity. The food and beer scene here is great, you’re a short drive to wonderful mountain adventures, and even if the Mariners are bad, Safeco is a great ballpark that is convenient to downtown. As long as you don’t have to worry about buying a house here, it’s pretty great. 3:46 Meg Rowley: Alright, I have to head out. Thanks for all the great questions, and sorry for what I didn’t get to!