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Chat with MLBTR's Steve Adams: 4/25/23
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Steve Adams
Good morning everyone! Looking forward to another chat today. We'll get going around 1pm CT, but feel free to ask some early questions if you'd like.
Let's get underway!
With Bryan Reynolds’ extension, does this mean that the trade talk is finished? (I didn’t see if there was a no trade clause)
Steve Adams
There's a six-team no-trade clause (as written in like the third sentence of that post, haha). Doesn't matter. They're not signing him to an 8-year contract (seven-year extension, technically) and trading him at any point in the near future.
No love
I know it's not you personally, but how do so many DBacks roster moves get completely missed on MLBTR? I saw nothing about: the Mantiply recall after optioning Frias, the Henry recall after optioning Jameson, and today we had Rivera recalled after optioning McCarthy. Every (and I mean every) site was all over the Bumgarner DFA, though
Steve Adams
The simple answer is that we don't really cover optional assignments unless they're particularly notable. (We considered the McCarthy one quite notable and actually had a post on that go up like 2 minutes before this chat started.) There are players optioned every day. We can't and don't want to cover them all. We cover pretty much every 40-man move, and a handful of notable instances of players being optioned/recalled.
Phillies bullpen has been taking a media beating for lack of effectiveness early in the season. However, closer inspection shows the worst happened in the first handful of games. Performance has been much better since then. Maybe this is not going to be an issue going forward?
Steve Adams
In general, there's a lot of knee-jerk reactions early in the season. I think the Philadelphia bullpen will be fine. Alvarado's a monster. Dominguez is typically quite good -- poor start notwithstadning. Soto's been mostly hat you expect. Brogdon is underrated. I didn't love the Kimbrel signing and think there's obviously some work to be done in the middle-relief portion of the group, but they can do that closer to the deadline. And they probably will.
Big Lar
What are the chances that the Braves cut loose Ozuna when Michael Harris III returns?
Steve Adams
I think I'm asked every week why Ozuna is still on the Braves/when they'll cut him. And my answer is pretty much "I don't know" to both. He should've been cut long ago, but they're still stubbornly sticking with him. I'm not sure why, other than "we're paying him all this money," but that's not a good reason.
He's batting .210/.271/.381 over his past 778 MLB plate appearances, including .073/.190/.200 this year. I don't know what they're expecting at this point. Move on.
Concerned White Sox Fan
Which team that has yet to give out a 9-figure contract is most likely to sign a player to a $100+ million contract first: A's, Royals, or White Sox?
Steve Adams
I would guess the White Sox, since they're at least trying to win. The Royals don't really have a $100MM extension candidate outside of Witt, and the A's aren't spending like that til they move to Vegas. ChiSox have made some $100MM+ offers, at least.
How good do you think the Nats pitching is? They're currently 16th in the MLB in ERA, and 8th in ERA since April 6th. Gore/Gray/Williams all have ERA+ over 110, and the bullpen has 6 guys over an ERA+ of 95. Heck, Patrick Corbin isn't good, but has kept them in games this year.
Steve Adams
ERA+ isn't really predictive, though, it's just contextualizing their ERA to date within the current run-scoring environment after weighting for home park.

Gray just doesn't miss many bats and doesn't have particularly good command. It's nice that his grounders are up, but I don't see him sustaining a sub-4.00 ERA unless he starts missing more bats and/or issuing fewer walks. Williams gets even fewer whiffs.

I think Gore is their only above-average starting pitcher and I'm generally not a huge fan of the bullpen. Hunter Harvey, Mason Thompson, Carl Edwards and Thad Ward all have some positives to them, but they all need work in some areas, too.
Probably not the answer you were hoping for, ha. Sorry.
What was the logic behind the Pagan extension the Twins gave out. He is the latest version of Alex Colome and a disaster. What can they possible see in this guy.
Steve Adams
They didn't extend Pagan. They tendered him a one-year contract.
I don't think they should have, to be clear. They see velocity, a long history of missing bats. I've said this before, but I know of other clubs who similarly view him as someone whose stuff is better than his results to date.

Doesn't mean they should've stuck with him, and his presence in the 'pen is costing them. Rather than bring in Pagan, the Twins preferred to let Jovani Moran and his 48 career innings just wear it in extras at Fenway the other night, when he had no command whatsoever.

If you can't trust Pagan in that spot, over a kid with good stuff but a 14% career walk rate in a huge pressure spot on the road, what's the point of rostering Pagan?
Just weird. I don't get it. They could've taken the $3.5MM they gave him and signed any of a half-dozen decent relievers late in the offseason (Boxberger, Will Smith, etc.)
Will Angels DFA Jose Suarez after his four consecutive poor starts?  What options do the Angels have if he is DFA'd?
Steve Adams
They're in a tough spot with him. They can't send him down, since he's out of minor league options. It's basically either put him in long relief and hope he figures it out there or designate him for assignment, at which point they have to trade him or make him available to 29 other clubs via waivers.

Suarez was never going to be great, but he looked like a slam-dunk fourth starter as recently as 2021-22. His velocity isn't way down or anything, but he's falling behind in counts way more often than in the past (57% first-pitch strike rate in '23; 64.5% in '22) and his command has generally just taken a dive.
Gotta drop 1of L. Gurriel, L. Thomas or Nootbaar, which one the most expendable right now?
Steve Adams
Dunno the league specifics but I don't think Gurriel's particularly worth owning in most fantasy formats. Thomas crushes lefties but is otherwise meh. Nootbaar should be owned pretty much everywhere. The other two aren't close to his level. Noot mashes.
ETA on Abner Uribe? Everyone seems to ignore RP prospects but I think this guy is the real deal!
Steve Adams
He's thrown 8 innings above A-ball and has walked a quarter of his opponents in his tiny sample of Double-A work.
The fastball is eye-popping, and the slider is awesome too, but he's not close to MLB ready right now. If he smooths out his command in AA for a couple months, shoves in AAA for a handful of games ... MAYBE you're looking late '23. But it could well be 2024 before he's up, too.
Sausage Race Fan
Are the Brewers for real? Everyone has been talking about the Rays & Pirates but Milwaukee is off to a scorching start and not missing a beat from some key injuries. Brian Anderson has been a great pickup … And how about Rowdy Tellez? He has been showing a keen eye and absolutely crushing baseballs; he appears to be one of the preeminent power hitters in the game now. Wade Miley has shown durability and consistency in the rotation. Just a well balanced team. Will they keep it up?
Steve Adams
I picked the Brewers to win the NL Central before the season started. Losing Woodruff for a prolonged stretch hurts, but yeah I think a lot of people generally overlooked Milwaukee and don't think that was wise.
Big Red Machine
Who on the current roster besides Lodollo, Greene, and Ashcraft do you see as part of the next Reds winning team?
Steve Adams
Stephenson if they can extend him. (If not, he could be traded at some point) Alexis Diaz perhaps. Jonathan India. Spencer Steer.

Am I allowed to tap into the minors and pick Elly De La Cruz?
Taj Bradley optioned just now. What does that mean for him? A quick turnaround to the majors, or will he be down for a bit?
Steve Adams
Marc Topkin from the Tampa Bay Times said they're optioning him to get him more used to an every-fifth-day schedule rather than the six-day schedule he'd been on in AAA. I don't expect him to be down for all that long.
Tampa CUPCAKE schedule
Sorry to rain on the Parade but the Opponents the Tampa Bay Rays have played have not exactly been Juggernauts.  More like they have been Beating up on the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Steve Adams
Teams always have soft patches on their schedules. They still don't go 20-3 in those patches with any degree of regularity.
Rest of the schedule will get harder, sure, but the Rays have 20 wins in 23 games. Those wins are in the book. They could play sub-.500 ball from here on and still probably make the playoffs.
Do you think Justin Steele is legit
Steve Adams
Define "legit." Is he a 1.44 ERA ace? No. He's sitting on a .200 BABIP and 90% strand rate, neither of which he can sustain.

Is he a "legit" big league starter? Yeah, for me he's someone who's a fine third/fourth starter in a Major League rotation.
Who gets the call first?  Bibee or Pfaadt?
Steve Adams
Sounds like Bibee could be up as soon as tomorrow, though that's just a bit of speculation after he was scratched from his AAA start. I think they'll both be up within the next two weeks, maybe even the next week. But Bibee first, I guess.
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