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Chat With MLBTR's Steve Adams: 3/18/19
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Steve Adams
Greetings! Tim's unavailable today, so I'm chatting in his slot, and he'll chat in my usual timeslot tomorrow
Free agency, roster battle, fantasy questions -- feel free to throw out questions of any type
Who do you think is more likely to make the Twins opening day roster? Mitch Garver or Tyler Austin? Austin is out of options
Steve Adams
I don't see why they can't both make it. Adrianza seems more at risk to me, though I suppose if they don't want to lose either out-of-options guy (Adrianza is OOO too), they could option Garver and go with Astudillo as the lone backup catcher. That would seem like a pretty temporary solution, though.
Any chance the Giants just release Melancon.
Steve Adams
Is this an overreaction to his spring stats? If so -- why judge him more on like 4-5 spring innings than on the 39 solid innings he gave them last season?

He's owed $28MM through 2020. They're not just punting when he's owed that much and when he pitched just fine when healthy in '18.
Matt Klentak
Should Scott Kingery be getting playing time over Herrera in CF or Hernandez at 2B?
Steve Adams
He should probably just bounce around the diamond until an injury opens a regular spot for him. I wouldn't play him full-time over either player at this point and don't envision the Phillies committing to doing so.
Please Help
I am in a keeper fantasy league and have the first pick, the 2 best players on the board are Votto and Torres.... Who should I draft?
Steve Adams
I don't know your keeper structure or who else is on your roster, but as good as Votto typically is (last year notwithstanding), the ability to have Gleyber for years to come would be too tempting for me.
What do you focus on in Spring Training? What is important to pay attention to?
Steve Adams
Health more than anything else. If a guy has a new pitch or something, that's worth noting and keeping an eye on early in the season. But in terms of a player hitting .340 in 40 ABs, half of which come against minor league pitching ... not too exciting
Omaha farq
Are you surprised to see the Rays didn't do more to add a 1b/dh?
Steve Adams
They clearly didn't have any intention to spend much money there; they cut CJ Cron because he was projected at around $5MM. Can't really get anyone all that notable much cheaper than that, so once they cut bait on him, I wasn't expecting them to add a big name there. If anything, I was surprised to see them spend what they did on Avi Garcia
Todd Adam Tim
Wouldn't a cap on pitcher substitutions be a lot better than this 3-batter nonsense?
Steve Adams
That seems like it'd be far likelier to increase pitcher injuries than the 3-batter minimum does, and it'd draw similar or greater backlash for limiting strategy.
Sean Newcomb with 7 K and 10 BB in 12 IP this spring. If his command doesn't come together by late April/early May when Soroka and Folty come back, does he get optioned to AAA? Kyle Wright at 16 K and 2 BB in 12 IP, Touki at 17 K and 2 BB in 14 IP, and Bryse Wilson at 9 K and 1 BB in 9.2 IP
Steve Adams
Putting the cart way before the horse here. Spring Training is a time where guys do things like work on their weakest pitches, tinker with new grips/new arm angles -- sometimes new pitches entirely. I haven't followed his spring closely, so not sure if any of that's going on with him, admittedly.

Newcomb's control issues are longstanding, of course, but 10 walks in 12 spring innings does nothing to me to suggest that he's in any danger of being optioned early in the season.
Trade me
Baseball was more interesting when teams were irrational and didn’t go with the numbers. Now, everyone is rational and it’s just not as fun. Agree or disagree?
Steve Adams
The offseason was more fun when teams did more things that were borderline inexplicable, haha. I guess from that sense, I agree .... need more unpredictable wild card GMs in the mix
Between 28 and 40
I guess that limiting the roster size to 28 in September stops teams from getting the base stealer, extra bats, extra three or four arms in the pen for contenders---but doesn't it also limit prospect playing time for teams out of the race if they are only able to expand by two?   Seems to be a good idea, yet a bad idea also, don't you think????
Steve Adams
Like virtually any change, it has its merits and its negative aspects. I've never really understood the logic behind completely changing the very structure of all 30 rosters for the final month of the season, and I think it's better for a lot of people to condense the roster. The lost service time does hurt fringe minor leaguers and veteran journeymen, though. I'm generally for the change, but I dislike that element of it.
How hot is my seat if the Braves don't at least make the wild card?? We are one Josh Donalson injury away from having the same team when the whole division (sans Fish) improved greatly
Steve Adams
Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is entering his second season in that job and is not on the hot seat so early into his tenure; I agree, they should have done more, but he's not going to be in any kind of danger, especially if the reason they aren't spending much more is because ownership isn't approving it (which is at least possible, but we can't really know for sure)
Isn't banning shifts likely to increase game time a heck of a lot more than limiting mound visits will reduce it? Do YOU think pace of play is a real issue, or is it maybe [partly] just posturing for leverage in the upcoming CBA negotiations?
Steve Adams
I think banning shifts -- which is an awful idea as far as I'm concerned -- would be more about increasing in-game action than shortening games.
In your years at mlbtrd, what free agent signing shocked you the most?
Steve Adams
Zack Greinke signing for $206.5MM with the D-backs resulted in me texting basically everyone I know who works in baseball for like an hour as we all asked each other what the hell just happened.
What are Kimbrel and Dallas holding out for? Money or Years?
Steve Adams
Both but more years than total money most likely. I'm getting a lot of questions asking where they'll sign, but if I knew that I'd be reporting it, haha; neither of those two players has any clue where he is going to sign, most likely. It could very well be dictated by injury
Fangraphs predicts Robles to get 70% of the time in CF? Is this high or low?
Steve Adams
I think he'll get more than that -- but that's not based on anything more than a gut reaction, and their reasoning is probably more detailed than that.

Really, though, with Taylor a bit banged up right now, Eaton clearly better in a corner and Robles expected to be a core piece, I do think he's in for the vast majority of games there. The glove alone should make him playable, and the bat seems playable at the very least following last year's results in AAA/MLB and his tiny spring sample.
A's fan
Can Matt Chapman be the American league MVP this year? Looking good so far in Japan.
Steve Adams
I can't see his bat approaching Mookie/Trout levels, and while his glove is absurd I don't think that'll carry him to legitimate MVP candidacy, no
Unfortunate Mets Fan
Hi Steve. I'm worried about the back end of the Mets rotation. Should I be?
Steve Adams
The lack of depth is more concerning. I don't think Vargas is especially great, but I also wouldn't be stunned if he were a passable fifth starter for them. Beyond that, however, assuming they keep Gsellman and Lugo in the 'pen, their upper-level options are really unexciting. Corey Oswalt, Drew Gagnon and Chris Flexen doesn't inspire much hope in the event of an injury or two in the current top five starters
Banning shifts would increase offense (which is a good thing in my opinion). I hate watching a guy hit a rope that for 120 years would have been a base hit get caught by the 3rd baseman playing RF.  How about a compromise where you can move as much as you want, within specific zones (which up the middle would be directly behind the 2nd base bag for both the SS and the 2nd baseman), and an infielder must be in each of the 4th infield zones?
Steve Adams
I've harped on this before so I'll be brief, but we all grew up watching various defensive shifts that were just accepted as "strategy" (pulling in the infield corners, no-doubles defense in the OF). Ted Williams was shifted on like 70 years ago.

The only reason there are "positions" in MLB is because players tried to evenly disperse themselves to cover as much ground as possible. Now we just have data better informing those decisions; I'm fine using it and think restricting the ability to do so is far more restrictive than something like a 3-batter minimum for relievers.
tiny papi
who winds up in the marlins rotation?
Steve Adams
Urena, Straily, Chen and two of Lopez, Richards and Smith most likely; I think Trevor Richards and Pablo Lopez have pitched too well to deny them the spots early in the year. Smith should get a look eventually based on his '18 output pre-injury, though
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