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Chat with MLBTR's Steve Adams: 8/15/23
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Steve Adams
Good morning, all! Looking forward to another Tuesday chat. As always, feel free to send a question early if you're so inclined. I'll check back at 1pm CT and chat for around an hour.
Getting started a bit early! Let's beign
Begin, even.
Cody Bellinger
Any chance the Cubs will extend me for five more years? They need my middle of the lineup bat.
Steve Adams
If the Cubs are only offering five years, I doubt it.

I doubt it regardless, really. Bellinger is having a nice comeback season after signing a one-year deal. He's repped by Scott Boras. He's one of the only good bats available in an ultra-thin market for position players. He's not going to sign early, and he's probably going to sign for a good bit longer than five years.

Darragh and I talked about this on last week's podcast:
Cardinals Fan
Is STL a destination for free agents?  Or with the way they completely screwed up the catcher situation with Contreras, are potential free agents going to be worried about that front office?
Steve Adams
The vast majority of the time, free agents will go where they're offered the most money.

Plus, the Cardinals are regularly competitive (this year notwithstanding), have a strong fan base, plenty of history -- I don't think the Contreras stuff will have much, if any bearing on their ability to sign free agents in the future.
The Nats obviously did not trade Lane Thomas at the deadline this year. However, if he continues to prove that he is a solid everyday OFer for the rest of the year, could you see him dealt in the offseason? The Nats could badly use more starting pitching, and he could be a great offensive asset to a team like the Guardians, Marlins, etc. Thanks, would love your thoughts on what he could fetch in a trade as well.
Steve Adams
I don't think the industry is as high on Thomas as most Nats fans are. I was asked about him a lot leading up to the deadline -- beginning early in the summer, really -- and my response was generally consistent. I think other teams are going to view him as a platoon option. He has below-average numbers against righties and is one of the best hitters in MLB against lefties this year.

There were myriad reports in the days leading up to the deadline that the Nats were pricing Thomas as an everyday player and weren't going to accept lesser offers than that. The very fact that reports of that nature even surfaced should be telling as to what kinds of offers the Nats were receiving.
Thomas is a good player, but I think a lot of teams would be happy to pair him with a lefty as opposed to just giving him 150 starts in the outfield.
A’s fan
Do you think my team will end the season with the most loses in history?
Steve Adams
I think they'd need to go like 6-37 for that to happen, so no. Once they had that random seven-game winning streak, the chances of all-time futility were largely wiped out.
who is your pick for rookie of the year (both leagues)?  i have an obvious biased opinion, but don't want to sway yours, so i'll just leave it at that...
Steve Adams
Corbin Carroll in the NL still, although the huge slump he's been in recently has at least opened the door for someone to challenge him. I still think it'll be him though.

In the AL, it's cloudier. Josh Jung had a strong case but is going to miss most of the final two months now, which likely knocks him out. I think it's reasonably close, with Gunnar Henderson, Tanner Bibee, Hunter Brown, Masataka Yoshida and probably a few others I'm spacing on all factoring into the mix.
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen
Why did the White Sox keep Cease? They aren't competing next year. If they compete the year after, they'll only have him for one year (provided he stays healthy and effective).

Wouldn't they have been better served moving him (Baltimore, Cincinnati, or Arizona come to mind) for 3-4 prospects? Am I just being nitpicky?
Do you see the White Sox going full blowup mode in the offseason? I know Hahn has stated he believes they can contend, but I can't see how.
Steve Adams
These are related so just publishing both. I don't think the Sox will blow it up this winter, largely because they kept Cease. Keeping Cease is a clear sign they think they can retool this group and have a better chance next year. A core built around Cease, Robert, Eloy, Vaughn, Kopech and a few others there has the potential to be good still, and they play in a comically bad division, so why not try to run it back?

If they were going to tear it all down, they'd have moved Cease (and others) at the deadline, when they were marketing three playoff pushes and two full seasons of him.
Cyber Goofpal
Honk, honk!  What kind of deal does Brent Suter get in the office season?  Do the Rockies keep him around?
Steve Adams
He's a 34-year-old (or will be in a few weeks) lefty who throws in the mid-80s, has a well below-average strikeout late, and succeeds through limiting hard contact and avoiding walks. It's not a skill set modern teams are super excited about (hence the Brewers letting him go for nothing).

I like Suter -- probably more than a lot of teams do -- but I don't think he's going to be particularly expensive. I think you're talking a two-year ceiling, probably in the $10-14MM range (total, not per year). And there's a chance it just ends up a one-year deal.
Kyle Tucker
do I sign an extension or am I hell bent on testing FA ?
Steve Adams
I think he'd sign an extension if the Astros were willing to go beyond their typical comfort zone. They haven't really been interested in going beyond six years (Yordan) under Jim Crane; I think Tucker would take at least an eight-year deal.
Tom Kelly's blues
What happens to wander?
Steve Adams
I've had about 50 of these questions, so I will just state the obvious: I don't know. No one knows. Anyone who claims to know with any degree of certainty isn't being truthful. The league is investigating, and we have minimal details on anything right now. I'm not going to speculate. It'd be irresponsible to do so.
Could AA locked up Max Fried to an extension before a possibly dominant postseason run that will cost his price to soar?
Steve Adams
I think if the Braves were going to extend Fried, it'd have happened by now. I also don't think a huge postseason run is going to radically improve his stock. Everyone knows how good he is already. If he can stay healthy between now and the end of the 2024 season, he's going to beat Carlos Rodon's deal in free agency, and the Braves haven't gone beyond $23MM annually on pretty much any of their contracts. That's a tough sell for Fried, I'd think.
Michael Conforto
Because of the weak position player market, do I end up opting out of my contract with the Giants and try my chances at a larger deal?
Steve Adams
Weak answer, but also true: I think it depends heavily on how he performs down the stretch. If he really struggles for the next seven weeks, it's easy to see him just picking up the player option. But he's clearly a talented hitter and is on a nice run right now. Generally, if he ends up something like 10-15% better than league average at the plate, yeah I think he'll go back to the market.
Jimmy ryan
The cardinals mentioned that they want to have 3 starters get acquired this off-season, what are the chances that actually happens
Steve Adams
They've been burned by a lack of rotation depth repeatedly in recent years. I'd be surprised if they don't add multiple starters. It's just a question of whether they sign/acquire the right ones. They've had a relatively spotty track record of late, particularly in free agency. Montgomery acquisition was great, though. And I do think at least one of the arms they're seeking will come via trade.
I know they don’t have to now but would it be wise to extend Acuna again
Steve Adams
They already control him for another five years -- three guaranteed, two options -- beyond the current season. I don't think it's going to be in the cards at this time.
Is Matt Chapman still in line to be the highest paid (non Ohtanhi) position player this winter? After his torrid start he has really fallen off at the plate.
Steve Adams
He's been a bit worse than league average since April ended, but he's still making elite hard contact and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. I think some team will fall in love with the quality of contact, the walk rate and the defense enough to consider him a high-floor regular with MVP-caliber upside.

All that said, I think he's probably behind Bellinger for me at this point (in terms of earning power)
Andy Friedman
Come October would you trust Joe Kelly over Emmett Sheehan in the bullpen?
Steve Adams
If Kelly's healthy, yeah, but that's been an issue for him in recent years.
Jeff T
Can the Rangers actually win the World Series in your view???
Steve Adams
They can!
I don't know if they will. But yeah, they're good enough to.
King Tuck
Does 5/150 get me to extend with the astros after the season?
Steve Adams
The Astros wouldn't offer it. A five-year deal is buying out two arb years and three free-agent years. Tucker is making $5MM this year. Let's say he gets a 100% raise in arb this year, to $10MM, and something like $18MM his final arb year (that's all just rough approximations, but it's close enough for the purposes of this example).

At that point, Houston is basically offering $28MM for his remaining two arb seasons and $122MM for three free-agent years. They're not going to offer an extension that values his free-agent seasons around $40MM annually.
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