Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 11/6/18

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hello!

2:00
Meg Rowley: Welcome to the chat. Apologies for my very brief lateness. I was on the phone with one Carson Cistulli.

2:01
Meg Rowley: If you will allow a moment of earnestness and also sincerity: Please go vote if you have not and your state has not made it impossible for you to do so.

2:01
Meg Rowley: If your state has, shame on them. If your state hasn’t, think of all those having a hard time voting today, and go do your voting.

2:02
Guest: When does “2019” begin for the purpose of no-trade clauses? Jason Heyward has full no trade rights in 2018, but not 2019. I started wondering about coupling one or more surplus value guys in order to try to move his contract but then ran into: when does ‘2019’ begin?

2:02
Meg Rowley: I believe the league year or championship season is defined in the CBA, so a moment.

2:04
Meg Rowley: I believe it is when guys officially become free agents and can be signed

2:04
Mountie Votto: I’ll admit to being pretty jaded by the Reds recently, but their moves so far this offseason are encouraging. I love the DJ and  Turner Ward hirings, and they seem legitimately motivated to get pitching. A savvy trade or two and maybe some high-upside FA signings and could they maybe sorta kinda be a contender?

2:05
Meg Rowley: It all comes down to the pitching. Also, another bat. I think they’d be pretty fringy considering the other good teams, both in the league and their division, but maybe. I wouldn’t bank on this being the year though.

2:05
chris: Is the Indians potentially selling in the middle of a contention window everything that is wrong with baseball?

2:05
Meg Rowley: I don’t like it, not even one little bit.

2:06
Meg Rowley: The Indians didn’t tank, but there have been teams that have tanked and then spent. That’s a good model. Cleveland’s approach seems designed to win through September and then see a lot of early October exits.

2:06
Nick Mar – Cake is Good: Meg, would you agree that “I Voted” stickers are the best part of election day?

2:07
Meg Rowley: Fulfilling our democratic promise and paying off the great leap of faith that is our ability to make smart collective choices and care for one another is the best part of election day.

2:07
Meg Rowley: As someone who lives in a state that does all of their elections by mail, I can confirm that the sticker isn’t missed much.

2:07
Cashman : Hi Meg!  Love your chats. Reports coming out about the mariners needing to rebuild and that they will begin selling off pieces that have value. What do yanks need to give up to get Paxton?

2:08
Meg Rowley: I think it would need to be pretty good, close to major league ready pieces. The return always matters obviously, but here it really does.

2:08
2nd_city: I know someone who annually attends the Winter Meetings and he says at the MILB Gala they run out of beer every year.  Are those which are connected to baseball the most prolific drinkers in sports?

2:09
Meg Rowley: I have never been to Winter Meetings (this will be my first year) and I can’t speak to how baseball stacks up to other sports, but it’s a bunch of (mostly) socially awkward (mostly) dudes, so I have no trouble believing there is heavy drinking.

2:09
stever20: Do you think Grandal and or Ryu take the QO from the Dodgers?

2:09
Meg Rowley: I don’t think either will.

2:09
Nick Mar – Cake is Good: You always have a positive attitude.  Can you help a pessimist, please?

2:10
Meg Rowley: I do not always have a positive attitude, and it’s been pretty hard to sustain at times the last two years. But just remember that it is ok to feel down, healthy even, and that there is always something you can do to help someone somewhere.

2:10
Fangraphs reader: With the Mariners looking to take a step back next year, Nelson Cruz and the Astros seem like a pretty obvious fit, right?

2:10
Meg Rowley: That seemed obvious even before this whispering.

2:11
Meg Rowley: It’s not impossible that Cruz will return– he has limited fit on other rosters– but the last I heard was that they weren’t making an effort to bring him back.

2:12
stever20: Which way would you prefer free agency if you had your druthers?  MLB way where it could play out over 3+ months or NBA/NFL way where top guys are gone 3-4 days into free agency?  I can see wanting it spread out but the way the NBA especially does it- it takes over sports for a week or two.

2:12
Meg Rowley: As a person who likes to sleep and appreciates time to make decisions in her own life, probably this way?

2:12
The Old Buccaneer: Voting lines are long; chat while you wait!

2:12
Meg Rowley: This is good advice.

2:13
B: Am I wrong to think that teams that act early in the offseason to secure second-tier players will win the offseason?  It seems that there may be a number of teams in on the Harper/Machado/Corbin/Keuchel sweepstakes, and teams that lose out on those players are going to have a lot of money to throw at second-tier players once those players are off the board.

2:15
Meg Rowley: I think it really depends what you’re trying to do with your roster, and the relative quality of the second-tier player. I’m sure there’s a first-mover advantage for some of these guys, especially with players probably feeling a bit spooked about waiting with the way last year played out, but my thought in these moments is always ‘Why not do both?”

2:15
Eyebrows: The Mariners are rumored to be selling but want to keep a few players like Diaz. I love Diaz, but it puzzles me why a rebuilding team would keep a reliever that could be one of their best trade chips. Thoughts?

2:15
Meg Rowley: That I am similarly confused.

2:15
Meg Rowley: Now, I get the appeal of dealing Díaz at the deadline, especially if he has another great season.

2:16
Meg Rowley: But relievers are volatile, Díaz throws super harm with those whip-like mechanics on a thin frame, and his value is really high right now. I’d be tempted to move him now. Like, right now.

2:17
Meg Rowley: I don’t say that, to be clear, knowing anything special about his medicals. But I’d be nervous waiting. Though, my tendency to be nervous is one of several reasons I have this job, and not Jerry Dipoto’s.

2:17
Braves fan : I think the Mariners are making the right call in rebuilding especially trying to move Paxton right now. I don’t understand why they plan to keep Haniger and Diaz and trade everything else. Haniger would be the second best corner OF available this offseason behind Harper. Do you think teams should completely tank or rebuild around already established young players.

2:18
Meg Rowley: Like I said, I don’t get holding on to Díaz. Haniger makes more sense to me just given the years of team control.

2:18
Meg Rowley: Mostly, they should pick a lane and commit.

2:18
Billy Beane: Hey Meg, as someone with some level of expertise, what do you think of Washington State’s use of more or less exclusively mailed ballots?

2:18
Meg Rowley: I think it is a really good system being made better by automatic registration that would be even better if it featured same-day registration.

2:19
Meg Rowley: It is really great for folks not to have to take time off of work to vote. It is really great that the registration deadlines stretch into late October. But most political science research suggests that a long early voting period through the mail with same day registration turns out the most folks.

2:20
Bob: A wild Meg appears!

2:20
Meg Rowley: This is a regularly scheduled wild Meg.

2:20
Craig Swan Lake : Why is David Wright still on the Mets 40-man roster? Is this an insurance-related thing?

2:20
Meg Rowley: I believe so? I’m not sure how the timing on that stuff works exactly.

2:21
Eric Clipperton: Were the Red Sox the best team in 2018, or were they just a little luckier than the other top teams? How confident are you in your answer?

2:22
Meg Rowley: They were a very, very good team separated from the other really good teams by not very much.

2:22
Meg Rowley: I feel pretty confident in that.

2:22
Nick Mar – Cake is GoodThat: Should the Padres just go for it in 2019?  One LA collapse away from a division title IMO.

2:23
Meg Rowley: They’re not there yet. They’d be, I think, at best a fringe Wild Card contender next year. 2020-2021 is when it feels serious.

2:23
Meg Rowley: Even with adds, this is a Padres team that won 66 games in 2018. They aren’t one guy away.

2:23
Nick Mar – Cake is GoodThat: The “I Voted” sticker proves that you did that though! AND stickers!!!

2:24
Meg Rowley: They’re a good thing. They just aren’t the best thing. And I promise you’ll feel good even if you don’t get one.

2:24
Kimball: Is there any explanation for the Indians??  They have the easiest division in baseball, and anything can happen if you make the playoffs!!

2:25
Meg Rowley: I try not to call people or teams names because it is rude and unproductive, but I am also committed to giving my honest opinion, and to me the explanation is that their ownership is scandalously cheap while sitting on an asset that will appreciate in value no matter what.

2:25
____: Do you buy the Jeff McNeil hype?

2:25
Meg Rowley: I am very intrigued.

2:25
Oden: Is Cleveland’s potential approach that different than what the A’s have done for the last 20 or so years? Seems pretty comparable, to me.

2:26
Meg Rowley: They aren’t as cash strapped and have had several years of playoff revenue from deep playoff runs.

2:26
Biscuit: In fantasy leagues that don’t count OBP, the values for Joey Votto, Maikel Franco, and Miguel Sano are basically the same based on their 2019 Steamer Projections.  That feels….incorrect.

2:26
Meg Rowley: That feels like a question one of the RotoGraphs guys could address better than I could.

2:27
DJ LeMahieu: in 30yrs when MiILBers are paid real living wages, wat was the path to get there?

2:27
Meg Rowley: A union almost certainly.

2:27
DJ LeMahieu: were it up to you, is there any chance you trade Trout before the 2020 deadline? assume you’d get a fair deal

2:28
Meg Rowley: I don’t think I would see a deal that would make me feel comfortable with trading Mike Trout being the first line of my SABR bio.

2:28
Meg Rowley: Again, I am just cowardly enough that I would make a terrible GM.

2:29
John:

Among #Mariners’ many discussions, per sources: Talks with #Rays about catcher Mike Zunino. TB has only two Cs on 4… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
6 Nov 2018
2:29
Meg Rowley: (I have also heard this is a possible thing)

2:29
Trent: Re: news about the Mariners’ possible sell-off: who has more trade value (or less negative trade value?)–Robinson Cano, or Addison Russell?

2:30
Meg Rowley: Cano is a very good baseball player who now may perversely be perceived as having greater longevity because of the PEDs. Addison Russell is a not all that great baseball player who abused his ex-wife. Even with the contract, I’d take Cano every time. For baseball reasons, for good person reasons. For all the reasons.

2:30
The Old Buccaneer: Which type of success would you rather see as a fan: the bad for years, win for two, including a WS (Royals) or the sustained success of winning in the regular season but losing in the playoffs (Nats/Dodgers) and no WS?

2:31
Meg Rowley: Neither of these experiences is remotely relatable to me.

2:31
Meg Rowley: I guess Dodgers before it got to Nats.

2:31
Meg Rowley: Feeling in it is really awesome.

2:31
Meg Rowley: Being a punchline sucks.

2:31
Meg Rowley: That experience I *am* familiar with.

2:32
Roger: The Reds are rumored to be in the FA pitching market.  The last three FA deals they signed for $15 million or more were for Ryan Ludwick, Jonathon Broxton, and Francisco Cordero.  To find a starter, you have to go back to Eric Milton.  Should Reds fans be afraid?

2:33
Meg Rowley: I get being afraid but I also don’t know how you think your favorite team is even remotely competitive if they don’t explore outside options.

2:33
BK: Do you think the Cubs could steal Segura away from the Mariners?  what would it take?

2:33
Meg Rowley: Apart from anything else? Segura saying yes. He has full no-trade protection.

2:34
Meg Rowley: I think the Mariners would listen, though. If they aren’t going to add good free agent pitching, and it doesn’t sound like they will, they should listen on just about everyone.

2:34
APODionysus: Suggestion: wear your *insert favorite baseball team* to your polling location. That way if you get stuck in line you can strike up conversations! Baseball and Voting: Two great tastes that go great together!

2:34
Meg Rowley: I think this is a very good suggestion.

2:35
Lou: Can Ryu get a Rich Hill type contract or is he better off taking the QO and hope to rebuild his value (and stay healthy)?

2:35
Meg Rowley: I’d be surprised if he took the QO and think he’ll have enough of a market to feel good about not taking it.

2:36
c: what do you see as the blue jay’s surest path back to contention in the next few years, given that they are in the same division as 3 of the best teams in the league?

2:36
Meg Rowley: Develop prospects, spend when those prospects are developed. They’ll need home grown talent, but they aren’t destitute.

2:36
Kluber: …so am i going to NY where I can spend more time with my father, Didi?

2:37
Meg Rowley: I can’t believe we’re entertaining this conversation. If I were a Cleveland fan, I’d be furious.

2:37
Bob: A regularly scheduled Meg appears!  David Wright has to remain on the 40 man roster for insurance purposes, so until an agreement is reached to buy out insurance $, he’ll be there 2 more years…

2:37
Meg Rowley: Thanks, Bob!

2:37
Meg Rowley: Figured it was something like that.

2:38
John: My experience with voting in WA has been that if you take your ballot to a drop box there are, more often than not, people handing out “I Voted” stickers. YMMV, of course.

2:38
Meg Rowley: Hasn’t happened for me, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

2:39
Rox Fan: “If you will allow a moment of earnestness and also sincerity: Please go vote if you have not and your state has not made it impossible for you to do so.”

If you will allow, this narrative is exceedingly overblown with zero basis in reality.

2:39
Meg Rowley: Colorado does a pretty good job. Other states don’t. Some are working hard at doing a bad job.

2:40
JKD: Hello! I voted. The line was scandalously long but everyone was happy to be there.

A baseball question: Jeremy Hellickson this past year was tremendously good for the first two times through the lineup, and basically useless thereafter. But especially now, that’s a very valuable pitcher! Someone who gives you 120-140 innings of above-average pitching is very useful. He got paid basically nothing last winter – do shifting usage patterns start to catch up with him and pitchers like him, this winter?

2:40
Meg Rowley: I… I don’t know. It is one of the things I’m the most curious about. On the one hand, I see how it definitely could. On the other hand, I don’t super trust teams to look for excuses to spend more money.

2:41
Craig Swan Lake : I know you just implored us all to go vote, but as someone who used to teach statistics, I can’t help but know that the odds of my vote making a difference is really, really small. Between my job, making dinner for my son, and a board of directors meeting that I have to attend, I just don’t see voting happening.

2:42
Meg Rowley: You are right that it is unlikely that your vote will be the decisive one, but with turnout rates in midterms what they are (not to mention a ton of really important stuff happening on the local level) smallish swings in participation can matter a lot.

2:42
Meg Rowley: It sucks that we don’t have a holiday or several to vote. But vote if you can. Call in sick to your board meeting.

2:43
APODionysus: I’m not a Cleveland fan and I’m furious on their behalf. You’re a good team, made the postseason, are in the weakest division in baseball… and you’re SELLING?

2:43
Cleveland fan: I am furious

2:43
Meg Rowley: See, Cleveland?

2:44
Ryan: The Astros recently lost a few of their analytically minded front office leaders.  Have you heard any industry chatter about why they left or whether they’ll sign on with other teams?

2:44
Meg Rowley: Nothing concrete yet. They also are hiring a few. I don’t how easy leadership there is to work for.

2:45
Cashman : Question: if you could tell you that everyone on this chat was a republican, would you still be encouraging us to vote?

2:45
Meg Rowley: Yes. There aren’t so many of you. I think the Republic would survive :)

2:46
Marwin: Who’s giving me Ben Zobrist’s contract?

2:46
Meg Rowley: I think you’re going to have a lot of options.

2:46
stever20: Sale didn’t even make the top 3.  If Verlander/Kluber finish 1/2 in Cy Young voting, does that hurt the case of guys who don’t pitch 200 innings ever winning the award?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I don’t think in any kind of permanent way.

2:47
Jeff: These chats help me get through my 2:30 class. So thanks

2:47
Meg Rowley: You’re welcome! Please vote after your class!

2:48
scott: re: one vote not making a difference, as Kant advises us, “Act according to the maxim that you would wish all other rational people to follow, as if it were a universal law”

2:48
Meg Rowley: This is very clearly my chat.

2:48
Ben: There should be more PSAs about how bad catchers are at hitting. There are like 5 good hitting catchers at any time, but I hear fans of about every team complain about how bad their catcher is.

2:49
Meg Rowley: It’s pretty shocking how shallow the position is. I wish fans knowing more always stopped complaining. Perhaps you have greater faith than I do.

2:49
Build me a Bullpen: Is it preferable to pay cash for a free agent before the season begins or part with prospects at the trade deadline?

2:49
Meg Rowley: Depends how much cash I guess, but cash. Cash is a lot easier to make than good major leaguers.

2:49
John: When will teams stop pretending they can’t spend a lot more money than they do….I know Tampa can’t go out and sign everyone LA can, but the tv deals and BAMtech rights alone should not excuse many ownership groups of being so cheap

2:51
Meg Rowley: I think it is good to acknowledge a range of spending levels (as you do) and that not every free agent is going to be appealing, but yes, generally I agree. I think fans are pretty well conditioned to accept ownership interests as team interests and as long as that is true, this perception issue will be allowed to persist.

2:52
Cashman : How important is getting rid of bad contracts for a team like the mariners?  Yanks offer to take on all of cano’s salary and Paxton for … nothing great. Who says no?

2:52
Meg Rowley: Probably the Mariners.

2:52
Meg Rowley: If you’re conceding that you aren’t going to be competitive for a while, freeing up payroll for no prospects is sort silly to my mind.

2:53
Meg Rowley: Felix is off the books next year. Cruz is gone this year.

2:54
Meg Rowley: In 2020, with just those two deals gone, they’re down to like $91 million.

2:54
Meg Rowley: Seager’s gone after 2021.

2:54
Meg Rowley: Not to say that they wouldn’t like to clear money from the books, but I don’t think you move one of your best trade assets to do it.

2:55
Terence: If we demand that teams start spending more and more to reduce their profit margins, won’t that just disincentivze people to buy MLB teams at all?  They’ll move their capital to other enterprises where they can still reap the return on their investment that they expect, as opposed to essentially being bullied into reducing their margins by fan and media demands.

2:56
Meg Rowley: The NBA has a negotiated rev split with the players, requiring around 50% of league revenues to go to players.

2:56
Meg Rowley: Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Clippers.

2:57
Meg Rowley: I think we can count on sports teams remaining an appealing and profitable vanity project for billionaires, especially when you consider the way they appreciate.

2:58
Eminor3rd: I don’t think Cleveland selling is bad at all — they’re better than every team in the division by so many orders of magnitude that they could easily lose a couple significant contributors and still be the divisional favorites. If selling Kluber for a King’s ransom a year or so before he declines helps them avoid a scorched-Earth rebuild down the road, I think it could very easily turn out to be the best course of action.

I might it MIGHT not, but it could.

2:58
Meg Rowley: You have this core for a while now, and while I certainly encourage fans to delight in all the many wonderful things that aren’t winning a World Series, the point isn’t to win the division.

2:58
joe: why not make veterans day and election day one in the same!

2:59
Meg Rowley: Just make it a national holiday. Make it a two-day national holiday. Do extensive voting by mail. Offer same day registration. Re-enfranchise felons who have served time.

3:00
Meg Rowley: Voting should be one of the easiest things we do. That’s how important it is.

3:01
Ben: Which current player would make the best politician and why is the answer Curtis Granderson

3:01
Meg Rowley: God I would love to see Joey Votto on a campaign trail. (I know he’s Canadian, everyone relax).

3:02
Hobbes: Voting counter-proposal: repeal the 17th Amendment and restore at least a touch of sanity to some of American politics.

3:02
Meg Rowley: Galaxy brain: get rid of the Senate entirely, go full proportional representation.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Hi yes, it’s me Meg, I am a political theorist by training. Also Hobbes would have hated the US Senate, no matter who elected Senators.

3:03
Dan: The search bar on this site always pushes you to a player page. Sometimes I want to read articles mentioning a player or a team and not get directly sent to the players stat page. Please pass this along.

3:04
Meg Rowley: This is good feedback that I’ll pass along. One trick you can use is to type in the name but not hit enter. Then you should see blog posts, and a more blog posts option. Imperfect but effective.

3:05
Bearry: Rays offer Franco and Shane Baz for Paxton and Haniger. Who says no?

3:05
Meg Rowley: Mariners probably

3:05
Andy: Proportional representation is dumb.  that’s why it’s a bicameral legislature.  it was designed to have an upper house.  Otherwise, you minimize the opinions of smaller states.  it was designed this way for a reason, please don’t belittle my country.

3:06
Meg Rowley: First, our country, friend. And I know what the rationale was. What I’m suggesting is, that rationale doesn’t work very well now that there are 300+ million of us, and people aren’t property anymore.

3:06
Ben: Reverse question: what political philosopher would be the best baseball player?

3:07
Meg Rowley: I don’t know the answer to this, but damn if I won’t be thinking about it for the rest of the day.

3:08
Rusty: It probably wouldn’t actually work, but if we continue to see slow free agent markets and tanking teams at the bottom, how long before a franchise just slaps together an entire .500-ish, hope-we-get-lucky team of decent veterans on short term deals?

3:08
Meg Rowley: I think it depends a lot on the who of the decent veterans and how decent they are but this is a strategy a lot of teams are that far away from now, just with existing, aging players.

3:09
Baseballonlyplease : Can we stop talking about voting and politics?  I get that everywhere else and all the time. Would really really love to hear your thoughts on the biggest names to be traded!

3:10
Meg Rowley: There will be big names to be traded, but voting is pretty important.

3:10
Meg Rowley: [extreme kid who bends spoon with mind  in the matrix voice]: everything is political

3:11
Meg Rowley: Speaking of, I have to go drop off my ballot, so that will about wrap things up.

3:11
Meg Rowley: Thanks for the questions and sorry for what I didn’t get to. Until next week!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 11/6/18 by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of The Hardball Times and a contributing writer to FanGraphs. Her work has appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing and Just A Bit Outside.

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