Chat with MLBTR's Steve Adams: 9/20/22
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Steve Adams
Happy Tuesday all! We'll go for at least an hour today, provided I don't fall asleep at the keyboard after being kept up from 3:30-5:30am by an ill child, ha. Think I've had enough caffeine that we can avoid that, but no promises!
Do you think the Red Sox will pick up James Paxton's 2 year, 26 million option for 2023-24?
Steve Adams
I think there is zero percent chance that the Sox would commit $26MM to a pitcher who has amassed 21 2/3 innings since the close of the 2019 season and had multiple surgeries along the way.
I've seen some Sox beat writers suggest the possibility but I find it wildly implausible after Paxton missed the entire season on the injured list.
Guards fan.
Do you think we win the division or fold at the end and why?
Steve Adams
I was picking the Twins post-deadline because I appreciated that they went out and got better while their two primary foes largely stood pat, but Minnesota has faceplanted in spectacular fashion. With a four-game lead at this point, I expect Cleveland to close it out and take the division.
Still a Giants Fan
Do the Giabts get any compensation from the Tigers for swooping Scott Harris?
Steve Adams
I doubt it. Teams typically allow their executives to interview with other clubs if it means pursuing a promotion, and Harris goes from GM/second in command in SF to president of baseball ops/the top spot in Detroit. They didn't give any compensation to the Cubs when they first hired Harris.
Miguel Cabrera
Should retire if a settlement can be reached. I still feel as I could DH, be a mentor and good “bench” coach to help the kids. What day you??
Steve Adams
I say if Miggy wants to keep playing, let him keep playing. I'm always a little perplexed by calls for people to retire. I get it from the perspective of Tigers fans, specifically, I suppose... but the money is going to be paid to him regardless. He's not just going to give it up.

Maybe he's frustrating to watch on the day to day, but hey, kudos to him for trying to grind through all the injuries he's had and for continuing to gut it out. I'd rather look at it that way than pour dirt on his grave, I guess.
What would a potential Amed Rosario extension look like?
Steve Adams
I think Rosario's a far likelier trade candidate, both given the wealth of young infielders and his escalating price in arbitration for a perennially low-payroll Cleveland club. Rosario is an average hitter and a fine-not-great defender at shortstop who most clubs probably feel will eventually end up at second base or in left field.  We just don't generally see extensions for players in that mold, but I guess if you want to pencil him in at $7MM or so for his final arb season and then tack on two to three years in the $8-10MM range, maybe that's something he has to consider.

Generally speaking, while he's a solid player, he's a non-star, non-longterm shortstop with an average bat, and the market just hasn't been all that kind to such players in the past. Cesar Hernandez isn't a direct parallel, because he wasn't playing SS, but there's a similar offensive player (probably a bit better than Rosario) who was non-tendered and has continually played on one-year deals in free agency
Twins need both a new hitting coach and a new pitching coach. Popkins and Maki aren’t the answer. What do you think?
Steve Adams
I think it's plenty fair to criticize the Twins coaches, but Maki has been in that position for all of two months and was thrust into unexpectedly it when Wes Johnson abruptly left the team. I don't think that's an appropriate window of time to judge anyone. (Really, the same applies to Popkins, a first-year hitting coach)

More broadly, the Twins have larger problems. They've seen a lot of their top pitching prospects stall out in recent years, the injuries that habitually plague them are pretty glaring, and the reluctance to invest heavily in the bullpen on an annual basis has been problematic.
I'm not saying they needed to sign Raisel Iglesias or need to back up the truck for Edwin Diaz this winter, but Addison Reed is the only free-agent reliever this front office has ever signed to a multi-year deal. Yes, that went poorly, but that alone shouldn't dissuade them from making similar investments.

The Twins seem confident that they can make the right calls by finding value relievers on the fringes and signing the guys whose markets don't materialize late in the winter. More often than not, that hasn't been the case.
And probably their best example of finding a fringe guy like that was Matt Wisler, who they dumped after the 2020 season rather than pay a tiny arb raise to. It's weird.
Scott Harris
Is the cupboard bare? How long is this going to take before I can put a contender on the field? Even if only a Wild Card team?
Steve Adams
Scott Harris is inheriting kind of a mess as the Tigers' new president of baseball ops, but there's still a good bit working in his favor. There's a young core around which to build, albeit some of which is currently injured. Still, come 2024 they're going to have Skubal, Mize, Torkelson and Greene, all of whom I'm a believer in. (Manning, to a lesser extent, but he looks more fourth-starter-ish than expected)

The payroll is generally pretty clean, even with the regrettable Baez signing on the books. This year has been a disaster first impression for E-Rod, but talent-wise, I still think he can more than justify the deal.

I don't think 2023 is going to happen, but a Wild Card berth by 2024 doesn't seem outlandish.
Underrated free agent available this offseason?
Steve Adams
Brandon Nimmo doesn't get the love he deserves and is probably going to make a lot more than many fans would expect. Tyler Anderson's season in L.A. is pretty impressive and should get him a decent multi-year deal, but probably not such a large one that it has  more albatross than bargain potential. Healthy Drew Smyly is pretty good.
Angels question
Everyone says the infield is the biggest weak spot on this team.  But Walsh, Renjifo, Fletcher, and Rendon are not that bad if healthy -- maybe above average.  Doesn't this team need to sign several reliable starting pitchers if it wants a shot at a wild card spot next year?  Shohei is nice at the top of the rotation, but Sandoval is really a 3 at best and Detmers at this stage of his development should not be counted on for anything more than back end production.  They need to go out and sign a front line starter (Gray or Rodon?) AND another solid rotation piece (Stripling or Tyler Anderson?)
Steve Adams
Well, I just wrote like 1800 words last week about how I'm bullish on the Angels' young lefties, so I'm probably not the best person to ask, ha:

I think you're underselling Detmers pretty heavily; the improvements he's made since doubling the use of his breaking ball midseason are pretty strong. I think both he and Sandoval are good enough, right now, to be considered No. 2/3 starters in a good rotation, and Detmers (for me) has potential to be more than that, even.

Ohtani, Sandoval, Detmers, Suarez is a pretty nice 1-4 -- better than some currently contending clubs have. I don't fully buy Rengifo as an everyday guy, and you really can't bank on healthy Rendon. I think infield is a greater need, myself.
Do you think the Mariners can hold on to a wildcard with all their sudden injuries?
Steve Adams
Blowing a five-game lead with 16 games to play is pretty hard to do in any context, but it seems nearly impossible when the remainder of their schedule is: 4 games in Oakland and then a 10-game homestand hosting the Rangers (3), A's (3) and Tigers (4)
They have 16 games left to play and they're all against four of the nine worst teams in MLB. If the drought doesn't end, this team might be more cursed than the Red Sox or Cubs ever were, haha.
I know they will blame it on injuries,but Doesn`t Balldelli have to leave for the twins and maybe hire Joe Maddon?
Steve Adams
Baldelli's insistence on using Tyler Duffey and Emilio Pagan in key spots, especially earlier in the year, was pretty glaring -- but it's also a symptom of the team's generally flawed bullpen construction to which I alluded earlier. It's not like he was given many great options. I still can't defend using Pagan as extensively as he did, but his alternatives have often been... Jharel Cotton? Juan Minaya? Cole Sands?

As for the early hook on starters, it's again compounded by the bad bullpen, but it's pretty commonplace in MLB at this point. In Archer's case, that's exactly how he was designed to be used. It's more a flawed construction of the pitching staff than anything else, at least in my view.
Hoskins for Pablo Lopez and unload Jorge Solar?
Steve Adams
Marlins aren't doing that.
Any thoughts on the Nats offseason outlook?
Steve Adams
We'll be getting our annual Offseason Outlook series fired up in the next few weeks and will probably have something like 2k words on Washington once that gets underway.

Broadly speaking, right now, it's probably going to be a light-spending winter focused on short-term veterans who can perhaps be flipped next summer. If I'm the Nats, with all that payroll space, I'm happy to take on some smaller but cumbersome contracts (Evan White in Seattle, for instance) if it means getting back a decently intriguing prospect or two.
Camden Chat
This year has been great for the O's but I really hope we dont pull a tigers and go in on the wrong free agents in the name of "taking the next step"
Steve Adams
I just don't think the O's are going to spend at the nine-figure range the Tigers were comfortable with last winter.
Jays signed Tanner Roark to a two year $24 million contract and Yusei Kikuchi to a three year $36 million deal, with little to show for either contract.  Ross Stripling, who is a free agent at the end of the year, has outperfomed both for a fraction of the price.  What's he likely to be offered on the market?  Would you issue him a Qualifying Offer?
Steve Adams
Stripling would insta-accept, ha. If you get 2022 Stripling, that's not a bad deal, but it's an overpay to say the least. The QO is going to be in the $18-19MM range, and Stripling might be looking at something like that, total, over two years. He'll be 33 next season, has never been a full-time starter and he'll establish a new career-high in IP this year, somewhere in the 130-140 range.

Stripling is another name I could've dropped into the "underappreciated" free agent bucket earlier, because I do think he's oft overlooked, but I doubt he's getting more than $8-10MM annually over a two-year term. Three years is as far as I can see things going.
Rangers a playoff team next season?
Steve Adams
Impossible to say when we don't know what the offseason holds! They need to add two meaningful starting pitchers, and I wouldn't mind seeing them make a corner OF upgrade. I don't think that means Judge -- though, hey, they could afford it even with Seager/Semien since the rest of the payroll is so clean -- but there are lots of options both in free agency and via trade.
Charlie O'
With catcher's being a premium and the Jays having a surplus, you'd think Jansen is the odd man out with Kirk and Moreno. Do you expect Jansen to be on the move this winter and what can you expect that haul to be for a primarily glove-first guy?
Steve Adams
Jansen is hitting .251/.328/.503 this season and .237/.314/.487 in 406 PAs dating back to 2021. I would not, at all, call him a "glove-first guy." That's better-than-average production for any hitter and it's miles better than the average catcher. Catchers, over the past two seasons, have been about 12% worse than your average hitter; Jansen's been nearly 20% better.
If they trade Jansen, which isn't a given, they should be able to acquire immediate MLB help in the rotation. It's two years of a good-hitting catcher with a plus glove.

I think the Jays will be open to this, of course, but I don't think they'd be doing their jobs if they just locked in on "We have to trade Danny, the others are off limits." It'd take a marquee name for them to really consider moving Kirk or Moreno, but with the depth they have, I wouldn't just take the blanket approach of saying they're off the table.
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