Ginny Searle is an author at Baseball Prospectus, where she covers Transaction Analysis, AL West Depth Charts, and writes the column Between the Lines.
Ginny Searle: Hello! Did you know that an astronaut once took a corned beef sandwich from home to space, a choice for which he was reprimanded by Congress? Now ya do! Let’s talk baseball
The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): What is your opinion on where Brendan Rodgers stands as a prospect? Do you think he can be an above-average 2B for the Rockies? Worries?
Ginny Searle: A season-ending injury is always tough, but the Rockies’ baffling roster-building decisions probably weren’t getting him much more development this year anyways. His .504 SLG in thr PCL this year is his only pro showing above .450, so I’m doubtful he’ll develop much power, but the speed plays, and the way the Rockies operate, Rodgers will get a sustained chance at some point (no guarantees on next year though)
Craig (Chicago): Which minor leaguer has the best season in 2020 - C Kieboom, T Trammell, D Waters, Will Smith (LAD)?
Ginny Searle: I am fully on-board the Will Smith train. Maybe for ‘21 I take Kieboom but I think Smith has shown he’s ready now
Matt (Boston): Springer for Bauer, who hangs up?
Ginny Searle: This one’s pretty interesting, since the control is the same and the cost would likely be similar. I think Cleveland is probably looking for more years of control if they trade Bauer, though. The ‘Stros probably wouldn’t care about clubhouse issues, though
Craig (Chicago): Lorenzo Cainâ€™s BA and SB have dropped off quite a bit this season. Can we expect a better second half of this season?
Ginny Searle: Cain's hitting like it's 2013, except FRAA no longer likes him either. I have to imagine he'll raise the 82 DRC+ as well as his counting stats, but for someone who broke out late like Cain, there's definitely a larger concern (to me, at least) about a quick drop-off becoming more permanent
uncasf1 (Raleigh NC): Which of these A's pitchers, if any, do you actually see becoming a decent MLB starter? Kaprielian, Jefferies, Howard, Holmes, or Dunshee. Thanks.
Ginny Searle: I'd probably put the best odds on Kaprielian, depending on how he continues with his rehab. He's a wild card still, and maybe always will be, given his injury history, but 'decent MLB starter' is such a high bar
Craig (Chicago): Can Anibal Sanchez continue this positive trend?
Ginny Searle: I don't see why not! No one (I hope) was expecting Sanchez to touch his 4.0 WARP from last season, but I do still think his true talent is at least slightly higher than the league-average starter he's been this year (which isn't a bad thing to be). DRA thinks his 3.80 ERA is already more than a full run below where it should be, but a 4.00 ERA the rest of the season seems totally possible (and something the Nats might sorely need if they want to make the playoffs).
Josh (Tampa): What are the odds Vazquez or Marte are traded? 20% on both? Lower for either? Higher for either?
Ginny Searle: I think Vázquez probably has the higher odds this year, simply because someone is probably more likely to put a better package together for a reliever of his caliber. Both he and Marte have ludicrously team-friendly contracts (Marte is owed ~$23M the next two seasons, but only $5.5M by luxury tax), which would help their return but is probably more valuable to Pittsburgh than the league's average team. I'll say 30 Vázquez, 20 Marte.
Jack (Texas): What would a Felipe Vazquez or Starling Marte return look like for the Pirates?
Ginny Searle: I think both should fetch a handsome return, and I'm certain Pittsburgh wouldn't move them unless they got something they were happy with, given their years of team control. Maybe either could get a 55 OFP and some lotto tickets? I have a feeling both are below the echelon that could return a 60, but I am often wrong.
Tim (Oregon): If you were Neil Huntington, what would you do by the deadline? Seller? Stand pat? Who would you trade?
Ginny Searle: The Pirates are in a rough spot, and Huntington has to be feeling the heat. Even with the injuries to Glasnow and Meadows this year, the Archer trade is looking grim. As I said eariier, the financial benefits of Vázquez and Marte's team-friendly extensions means a lot to a smaller-market team like the Pirates, complicating their trades even more (it's why I tend to believe Huntington's posturing that Vázquez isn't moving, unless a sufficiently good offer comes along.) At this point, I'm sure the Pirates are focused on next season, and I don't see many scenarios where anyone of huge significance gets moved.
Craig (Chicago): How do you expect the Reds OF to open next season as? Trammell? Senzel?
Ginny Searle: I think Senzel probably will stick in the outfield – he's been below-average in center, per FRAA, but for how recently he was moved to the position I have to imagine the team is impressed nonetheless. I'm highly doubtful we'll see Trammel before the team control deadline next year, but I bet he does get a significant look after that. For a third outfielder, I wonder if they'll grab someone off the free agent or trade market. The Senzel move tells me the team anticipates most of their immediate positional needs to come in the outfield.
Ray (LA): Hi Ginny, do you see the Angels making any moves at the deadline? I'd love to see them make a push, but seems counter to their development strategy for the prospects?
Ginny Searle: The Angels have sneakily rebuilt over the past few years – it's just having one Mike Trout pushes you from a 70-win team to an 80-win one. And you're right that Eppler has been very studious in his devotion to assembling the pieces for the team's next phase. That said, a lot of that work has paid off this season. The Angels have perhaps the most obviously fillable holes in the league in their starting rotation, and their offense has actually been decent even apart from Mike Trout. I expect the Angels to pick up a starter (and maybe a reliever too, given how heavily they've leaned on Bedrosian/Buttrey/Robles), but probably not anyone top-end that they'd need to give up any serious prospects for. I imagine 2020 is still the goal.
Craig (Chicago): Shane Greene has had a great first half of the season and seems like he would be a highly in demand closer at the deadline, similar to the way Aroldis Chapman has been in the past. Why does he not seem to be a high priority for teams like ATL, COL, PHI, etc?
Ginny Searle: This is a great question! I think part of it simply boils down to Greene having nowhere near the name recognition (even amongst ardent fans) of many great relievers. Another is that Greene has really only broken out this season, after years of being a good, but closer to league-average than great, reliever. Greene is controlled through '21, so the Tigers can hold if they don't get a good offer, but they risk this year proving an outlier and losing out on a potentially higher return. I think Greene is probably one of the top five or ten most likely guys to be dealt.
Craig (Chicago): Who are the current minor leaguers that come up and start a handful of games in the majors in the next couple months - prospects or non prospects?
Ginny Searle: Maybe Luzardo, if he can get back to health? Patrick Sandoval, if the Angels are willing to ignore his 7 ERA in Triple-A. Urías was finally recalled after I waited so long I turned to dust, but given the recency I'll say he counts, and I definitely think he's an impact starter. I really want to say Gore but I know it's not happening.
etronguru (Bolivar, Mo): I keep hearing radio pundits and fans wanting their teams to trade high value players with cheap contracts/team control for prospects. For instance, Luis Castillo of the Reds.
Yes, Castillo would bring a nice, shiny package of prospects, however, what are the chances any of them become the impact player that Castillo is and may continue to be for several more very more controllable years.
I realize every fan base wants what the 2014-16 Royals had when the backbone of their team all arrived within a year or two of each other.
But that Royals team was an outlier, NOT the norm for rebuilding teams. It would be better for fan bases if their low-market teams kept their stars and continued to build around them. Even if they never make it to the WS.
Have these fans forgotten the Kansas City Athletics MLB teams that were primarily a AAAA minor league player development squad for the 50â€™s through 60â€™s NY Yankees?
Ginny Searle: This is a really interesting and thoughtful question! I think you hit on one important thing, that "tanking" is not something teams of truly small markets can probably consider an option without risking their entire fanbase evaporating. If you can't count on your fans to come back if you get bad, you need to avoid getting truly bad at all costs (or else you risk an endless miasma of irrelevance like the Reds long endured). That said, the objective of the game is to win, and it seems like fanbases become more singularly focused on titles by the year. Winning a title rights a lot of wrongs, and buys a lot of slack, and it's not surprising teams go for that approach. Teams are probably thinking probabilistically, i.e., if they believe a move gives them a 10% better chance to win a world series at some point, they are motivated to take it. It's hard to know what makes those things likely, though! Player and roster development is hard! That's not a great answer as much as an elaboration of why I don't have a good one.
Matt (Boston): Iâ€™ve been throwing a Thor to the Astros deal around.
Derek Fisher or Bukauskas
The Astros get their playoff pitcher to slot in behind Verlander and Cole. They also get a Cole replacement for the next few seasons. The Mets get a young controllable potential front line starter that would have likely been untouchable a few month ago. They get a starter that the Astros donâ€™t want to start for some reason in Josh James.
Ginny Searle: I think if the Mets are going to trade Thor, this is the sort of move they'd want to make – they want someone who is legitimately near Thor's level of talent, or else why not just hold onto him? The problem is that only one of those guys (Whitley) has the talent, and he doesn't appear to have the durability (less than 30 IP this year total). Sure, Syndergaard's underperformed his peripherals for a few seasons, but he's still a top-ten in MLB arm, and I don't know what would make the Mets part with him except top-end, majors-ready talent at multiple positions.
Dylan (MA): Does Kole Calhoun to the Indians make all the sense? The Indians get a actual major league outfielder and he is blocking Adell if his 2020 option is picked up. Maybe the Angels include some cash to cover the 2020 option if Clevelandâ€™s budget is really maxed out. Also, could you see a world where Andrelton Simmons to the Brewers could happen?
Ginny Searle: I could totally see this one happening! I think the Angels selling would definitely get them some flak, but the bigger hurdle is probably that the Indians won't want to surrender much for someone like Calhoun (corner OF, wrong side of 30, declined recently) and the Angels have little incentive to sell him unless they are offered something of legit value.
I think the Angels see Simmons as an untouchable cornerstone, but I could be wrong
Justin (Des Moines): What are the chances Felipe Vazquez gets traded by the deadline?
Ginny Searle: I said 30% earlier in the chat, but I'm bumping it down to 25% now because it hasn't happened in the last hour haha
Matt (Boston): Bauer for Springer, who says no? Both have a year and half left and are making similar money. The Astros slot Bauer in behind Verlander and Cole this season and have a Cole replacement if he leaves via FA. It also opens up a spot for Kyle Tucker. The Indians get a real major league outfielder and middle of the order bat.PECOTA has Bauer being worth 1.3 WARP RoS and Springer being worth 1.4 WARP. The preference for the certainty of a bat is outweighed by playoff value of pitching
Ginny Searle: looks like I answered this question before it was completed, or the end was cut off? (if you don't want to scroll up, it's reasonable as a trade if not likely) Just wanted to publish it for the useful info. Thanks, Matt!
miami (not miami): Who are the Marlins 5 or 10ish most talented starting pitchers, including minor leaguers?
Ginny Searle: not sure if you mean present or future, so I'll give five of each
present: Lopez, Alcantara, Garcia, Smith, Anderson
future: Sixto, Neidert, Dugger Rogers, uhhhhhhh
more pirates talk (city or state): Do you think a fully healthy Gregory Polanco will still be a productive hitter?
Ginny Searle: I do! I'm not sure if he'll ever be a 140 DRC+ type, but settling into a 110 or so groove through his contract would be a fine outcome for the Bucs, I think.
awg (bklyn): i saw toni stone at the roundabout and loved it. Great that BP covered it and Toni Stone herself.
Do you think that the first/next female MLB player will be a knuckleball pitcher, middle infielder, or ...?
Do you think we'll see one in the next 20 years?
Ginny Searle: Thanks for reading, and the question! I ardently hope so. I think that the clearest and most foolproof way to get women into the highest levels of baseball is to populate the lower levels of baseball – from MiLB down to tee ball – with women and girls. We need to think about the substantial barriers that prevent women from playing and continuing to play baseball and ask how we can legitimately confront them. Positionally is an interesting way to think about getting *one* woman to MLB, but if we want many women, as I do, we need to think about getting women to play as many positions as possible throughout the multitudinous reaches of the baseball world
Ginny Searle: And that's a wrap, folks! Thanks so much for the great questions, and for reading.
Another fun fact, to finish. Did you know that in Early Modern England, 'nothing" was prominent slang for a woman's genitals, meaning Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" is basically an elaborate series of genital jokes.
have a good one!
Hope you had fun!