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Mark P
It's chat time!  With about a month and a half of regular season left, let's dive into some questions from the MLBTR readership.
If you’re the Rangers GM what’s the off-season plans??
Mark P
Add a couple of mid-tier veteran signings, maybe the traditional Rangers "three years, $25-$30MM" type of contract for an experienced starter.  It's not like Texas is exactly settled at a lot of positions, so bigger spending won't happen until more of that young core is in place.  I'd guess the Rangers won't start to seriously think about contending again until the 2022-23 offseason at the earliest
Do you think the Dodgers and Giants end the Mets season in the coming days?
Mark P
According to my intensive research, the Mets have several more weeks of games following this West Coast swing.

And, the non-sarcastic answer is that the NL East is still so hard to figure that even with a rough road trip, the Mets still can't be ruled out
There are a lot of good to great bats in the upcoming free agent market, but I'm curious what you think a couple of the solid more mid-tier bats might land on the open market. Specifically Chris Taylor and Mark Canha. Thanks!
Mark P
I think Taylor is going to surprise some people with his next contract.  Something like a four-year deal in the $65-$70MM range wouldn't at all seem out of line for a versatile player who has performed as Taylor has in the last few years.
Canha will be 33 next Opening Day, which limits his market to some extent.  But a healthy deal of three years and something around $11MM per season seems feasible
Where are the Pirates in their rebuild process now after trading away so many good players?
Mark P
They're building up a very nice stockpile of young players, if maybe more in terms of sheer depth than in true blue chip names at this point
But the Bucs are still at least two seasons away from really being a contender, barring some early breakouts from some of these younger guys
Chances Rizzo and/or Bryant end up on the Cubs again this winter?
Mark P
Next to zero for Bryant, I think that relationship is over.  Probably not Rizzo either, since I suspect that the Cubs aren't going to be spending that much this winter.  Everything they've done over the last couple of years indicates that they're trying to conserve money, not just clear the decks for another big splurge.  A veteran like Rizzo also probably wants to join a team that looks more like a clear-cut contender in 2022
So Farhan and I were able to agree on a $32 mil extension. Can I expect that Belt and Gerald are signing extensions as well?
Mark P
Crawford was the most likely of the Giants veterans to sign an extension, though the dollar amount and term is certainly a lot higher than it would've been prior to Crawford's big season.  

If I had to pick, Posey is the likelier of the other two to remain.  Posey might also be open to being a bridge to a prospect, though it will be interesting to see how the Giants bring Bart along if Posey remains.  We probably shouldn't rule out a scenario where Posey stays, Bart is traded, and suddenly Bailey is the new catcher of the future
How did Giants and Brewers improve so much?
Mark P
Both front offices do an excellent job of getting big contributions out of unheralded players
Since I'm getting several questions along these lines, a poll....
Who will win the NL East?

Braves (61.3% | 560 votes)
Phillies (30.7% | 281 votes)
Mets (8% | 73 votes)

Total Votes: 914
Semien has been excellent in Toronto. Qualifying offer with eyes towards working out a long term deal?
Mark P
I have to imagine the Jays have interest in retaining Semien.  A QO is a no-brainer, and Semien will naturally turn it down to look for a longer-term offer from the Jays or another team on the open market.

With Biggio's struggles and Austin Martin no longer being on the roster, the Jays no longer have the young infield depth they seemingly had a surplus of going into the season.  Groshans and Orelvis notwithstanding, the Jays might prefer to just lock in a respected veteran and make Semien an offer he can't refuse
Do you think it is good news that we are hearing nothing about MLBPA - Owner negotiations? Could they possible be acting maturing and be negotiating in secret?
Mark P
This would be my hope, though I would also hope that the lack of news doesn't mean talks aren't happening whatsoever.
What do you think of the Padres running out of pitching down the stretch two years in a row? Bad luck or bad planning?
Mark P
It's hard to say lack of planning, per se, it's just that the team has been hit with a ton of season-ending injuries
Any word on the timetable for name transition in Cleveland?
Mark P
They'll be the Guardians next season, we know that.  At some point over the offseason we'll get the "official" changeover.  My guess is probably sometime around late November, so they can sell a bunch of Guardians merch in time for Christmas
There were rumblings the Jays looking into JRam at the deadline. Do you think they revisit that in the offseason?
Mark P
Undoubtedly, the Tribe front office gets tons of calls about Ramirez on a regular basis.  I'm sure the Jays will be among those checking in
Who is your NL MVP?
Mark P
If Tatis can stay healthy and transition well to the outfield, it's still his award to lose, in my view
tom Las Vegas
Can you please the Mariners keep winning I look at the line up see nothing too exceptional.pitching  so so how
Mark P
The Mariners have a rather astounding 25-14 record in one-run games, and general consensus is that a team's record in such games should usually fall around .500

So there's some good fortune involved, certainly, but this team has displayed a knack for grinding out wins and getting just enough clutch hits
Mark's Bro
Does Votto have a shot at MVP... he has been pretty good after 2 down years?
Mark P
If the Reds actually did make a big late run to snag a wild card, and Votto kept hitting like this......I could see some momentum building for a Votto MVP case.
Dayton moore
are the royals contenders before 2024? The system is ripe but the pitching hasn’t developed. $30 on the books, aggressive on the FA pitching front?
Mark P
The Royals may have jumped the gun on their expectations for the season, and it'll be interesting to see if they double down on signing more veterans to decent-sized contracts this winter or if they'll take a step back to retrench.  Your 2024 projection might be realistic, though the AL Central is fluid enough that I wouldn't necessarily be shocked if the Royals performed well even next year
Cubs needed to get below the luxury tax threshold and now only have 60 million or so in guaranteed money next season, there is no indication that they WONT spend
Mark P
Theoretically, no.  But my take (and I'm not alone with this opinion) is that ownership spent way more than expected on the Wrigleyville renovations, and those revenues became even more daunting in the wake of the pandemic.  That is why money has been so tight over the last couple of seasons, less than the luxury tax.

If anything, I suspect there's a better chance the Cubs will do another rebuild than ramp up spending to aim for contention in 2022.
Bob Sacamano
What did you think of the FOD games last Thursday? Poetic that the White Sox would walk off a winner after a great game.
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