Chat with MLBTR's Steve Adams: 9/6/22
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Steve Adams
Greetings all! We'll got for about an hour today. I'm going to refill what I now realize is an empty water bottle, and we'll start in a minute. Feel free to star asking questions now though
Who do you see as the best fit for judge in the off-season?
Steve Adams
The best fit is just for the Yankees to pony up and re-sign him -- but that's going to take a lot more than it would've five months ago.

Others I imagine will be involved are the oft-cited Giants and pretty much any big-spending club. Rangers need outfield help and are clearly willing to spend right now. The Padres, despite their flurry of fancy moves, can fit Judge onto next year's payroll if they're willing to keep paying the luxury tax. Dodgers, Red Sox will be involved to some extent.
Michael Harris ii or Spencer strider the rookie of the year??
Steve Adams
It's really close, and there's surely some recency bias here for me given last week's 16-K game, but I lean Strider.
Morty Sanchez
Now that the Red Sox have resigned Hernandez should we take it as a sign of things to come.... ie reigning Xander, Wacha and Raffy?
Steve Adams
Two of those three -- Xander, Devers -- are completely different beasts than Hernandez. Maybe the Sox will try to get Wacha to re-sign, and I know he's said he hopes to, but with the season he's had I also don't think he's going to just sign a one-year deal like Hernandez did.

The Sox' prior offers to Bogaerts and Devers were so far removed from what either would plausibly consider that I have no expectation they'll get an extension sorted with either player.
J-Rod or Adley for ALROY?
Steve Adams
This is also very close -- closer than some realize because Adley's numbers are more skewed by his terrible start than Julio's are by his own poor start (Adley's promotion is still more recent).

Rutschman has been better than Rodriguez for the past two months, but I still lean Rodriguez because you can't ignore that he's been nearly as good for a longer period of time. He has the counting stats on his side right now and has done this over a larger sample.

If you wanted to say you think Rutschman will be far more valuable in 2023, when both are up for a full season, I could definitely buy that. Right now, Julio has it for me, by virtue of the larger sample.
Do you think Dayton Moore will be let go considering lack of progress on the rebuild especially on the pitching side?
Steve Adams
It's been less than a year since John Sherman promoted Moore to president of baseball operations and extended him. He's not going anywhere, no.
Can Arizona turn MadBum into a capable closer? Or is it time to just eat the money and give his starts to youngsters in 2023?
Steve Adams
I think they're just kind of stuck hoping he can be what he was for the first four months of this season -- a perfectly fine innings eater to hold down the fourth spot in the rotation behind more talented arms. I don't think you mess with moving him to bullpen, particularly not when, outside of the past four starts, he was generally fine.

The contract isn't good, and Bumgarner is a below-average starter at this point, but there's value to him providing mostly competent innings if he can get back on track.
Could also try to just dump the contract again this winter, but there isn't going to be a long line of interested teams who think "Yes, $37MM for Bumgarner over the next two years is a good plan." (And that doesn't get into the intricacies of the annual deferrals on his contract)
Rumor has it that Vaughn Grissom doesn’t look comfortable in the OF. Any chance the Braves run Albies out there for a tryout?
Steve Adams
I don't see any reason to displace Albies. Grissom is an exciting prospect, but he's also not hitting at all right now after his hot start. He's at .162/.225/.297 over his past 40 PAs. If he's not comfortable in the outfield, have him go play LF in Gwinnett.
Minor leagues
What’s the average minor league yearly salary and why don’t teams take a few millions from the MLB budget to pay the kids?
Steve Adams
Minimum salaries:
$400/week in Rookie ball (three-month season)
$500/week in Class-A
$600/week in Double-A
$700/week in Triple-A
Basically you've got a lot of guys even in the upper minors who are making something like $12-16K for a five-month season -- and that doesn't include the time in Spring Training, where they're not paid. So you're at this point talking seven months of their year dedicated to a profession paying them $15K-ish, before taxes. MLB recent moved to provide housing, which was a nice step (and one that had egregiously not been provided prior), but it's not great -- especially since the majority of players aren't getting the fat, seven- and six-figure signing bonuses that most kids in the first few rounds of the draft receive.
Do you see a “noticeable” drop off in traffic when the football season starts?
Steve Adams
September in general is slow, but not because of football. There's no trades that can happen. Extensions are few and far between, etc. There's just not as much news and intrigue around baseball transactions.

November and December are strong months, for instance, because of free agency, winter meetings, etc. -- and the presence of football doesn't really have any bearing on our traffic in such instances.
Willson Contreras
Given the rumors of struggling to work with a staff plus the Defensive issues, do you see WC potentially accepting a QO.. I do
Steve Adams
Not wanting a guy to learn a pitching staff on the fly in the middle of a pennant race is not the same as coming to camp and spending all spring building a rapport with pitchers.
Worried Padres
Is it possible Arizona sweeps in and steals a Wild Card spot from us, PHI, or MIL? They look SUPER GOOD right now and none of us can handle them.
Steve Adams
They're still 8 games out. Mathematically, sure it's possible The 2009 Tigers blew a lead this size with a smaller number of games remaining.
But no, I don't think it's going to happen.
Ohtani has 32 homers and a 2.58 ERA and I see way too many people online not admiring his greatness. If Judge didn't play for the Yankees, Ohtani would be the MVP again with ease.
Steve Adams
Ohtani has been ridiculous for the past month, which is making the race a lot more fun. But just as you're saying people are undervaluing/understating Ohtani's greatness, I'd contend that you're doing that to Judge right now.

Judge is having the best non-Bonds offensive season of the century, and he's also a plus defensive outfielder who's more-than-capably handled two outfield spots while providing better baserunning value than Ohtani.

A month ago, I said it looked over. Ohtani is making it close, but I'd still lean Judge -- and I say that as a huge Ohtani fan who thought he was the runaway MVP last year and that there wasn't anyone in the world even close
Do the Orioles make the playoffs?   Should they go after Judge in the offseason?
Steve Adams
I know Elias said he's going to raise the payroll, but fans hoping to see them sign Judge or something along those lines are overreaching. Elias even cribbed his own positive vibes by giving that caveat that some of the increase was going to be natural through arbitration.
Ohtani is the MVP.  But I agree Judge gets it because he is a Yankee.
Steve Adams
If Judge wins the MVP award it's not "because he's a Yankee."

It's because he is, quite literally, having the best offensive season since Barry Bonds. He's the only player with a slugging percentage this high since the steroid era. His 202 wRC+ is the highest single-season mark of anyone since Bonds (well, and Juan Soto in 47 games in 2020). He's going to set the AL record for home runs. He plays a strong right field and has been average moving to center, on the fly, because the rest of the Yankee OF has been hurt/generally can't hit.

I love Ohtani. I have no bias toward the Yankees -- I grew up vehemently booing them as a Twins fan, in fact -- and I still think that right now, Judge's season is slightly better. We'll see if Ohtani can keep up this hot streak and force the issue. I recognize how awesome Ohtani is -- but Judge's season is just through-the-roof good
Gallen and Alcantara were both traded by St Louis for Ozuna. Does that make top ten worst trades list?
Steve Adams
I don't have a list mapped out, but if you asked me off the cuff, that'd be one of the first that game to mind.
Gut feeling do I get to 700?
Steve Adams
I wonder what Judge’s numbers would look like if he played in a pitchers park instead of the smaller stadium.  I guess I will need to check the home away splits.
Steve Adams
He's been every bit as good on the road as he has at home, and metrics like wRC+ are designed specifically to weight/adjust for park and league anyway.
Camden Chat
If someone had told you at the time that Ozuna would bring back more value than what they got for Stanton and Yelich combined you would send them to a doctor right?
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