Would you have handed out any of the awards differently?
Jack: I think I voted for Luis Robert for AL ROY in the polls, but Kyle Lewis was actually the correct pick.
I had worked out a table to look at different Metrics for NL Cy Young. I had Darvish ever so slightly ahead of Bauer, but either one is the correct choice. The next 4 were very tightly bunched, but again, DeGrom coming in 3rd is also correct.
Makakilo: Three thoughts:
- I strongly agree with Freddie Freeman’s NL MVP award because his hitting skill is a gold standard.
- Although it was a close choice, I would have picked Jayce Tingler for NL Manager of the Year.
- Zac Gallen deserved more votes for NL Cy Young. Jack’s table shows him one spot higher than his vote total.
James: Pretty sure I voted for Kyle Lewis for AL ROY. However, I don’t particularly feel that votes for Luis Robert were wrong votes. Devin Williams was no big surprise in the NL, though I am a bit surprised that Cronenworth did not finish a bit stronger.
I think I pretty much agree with the other selections as well. I had Bauer as the NL Cy Young, edging out Darvish. It was wonderful to have reason to vote for Freeman rather than one of the boogeymen in the NL West that will be haunting the Diamondbacks for the next decade.
Jim: I watched so little baseball this year, I am in no real position to argue. By the numbers, it didn’t seem that they got it wrong, but I will confess that as soon as I saw the list of nominees, I lost interest. I kinda wonder if that way of announcing them is counter-productive. It leaves the fans of 27 teams more or less without any rooting interest in each award.
Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer is a free-agent. Predict the contract he’ll sign. Bonus: pick a team.
Jack: There are several factors that may suppress Bauer’s take:
A.) Obviously uncertainty about 2021 revenues may depress his total value, or at the very least cause 2021 to be a lower figure and the contract to be more heavily backloaded
B.) His age: He’s 30 years old next season and has 1,200 Innings on his arm. I will be surprised if he gets more than 6 years
C.) While he has been a good pitcher for a while now, He’s only got one other season over 3 WAR, (2018)
I’m going with 6-7 years, with total value between 150-180
Makakilo: In the past Bauer has wanted 1-year contracts, although this time he said he would consider a longer contract. I predict he will sign either for 1 year, $35 Million (double 2020), or 2 years $49 Million (barely avoiding QO compensation).
His strong preference for a short contract makes sense. Like Zack Greinke, he will age well because of his extreme preparation. “He just does everything at such an elite level. To me, his preparation is second to, really, nobody I’ve ever caught. The way that he goes about his business trying to just find that extra — we talk about it as a pitching staff — 1 percent to get better every single day.” — Tucker Barnhart, catcher for Reds
In an interview with Yahoo sports, Trevor Bauer said things that may indicate 3 teams of interest:
- “Ultimately, I love this game and I just want to be in a supportive team environment where I feel happy playing baseball.” Maybe he re-signs with the Reds who “…valued him and his outlook on pitching,…” according to Trent Rosecrans.
- “…I loved seeing players like Tatis Jr., Mookie, and Bellinger this year really leaning into that.” These are players on the Padres and the Dodgers. Both teams are in win now mode, so they might be agreeable to a 1 or 2 year contract. Both teams are close to Los Angeles, where Trevor Bauer has family.
James: With so much uncertainty about the future of the game, I’m just not convinced Bauer goes year-to-year. There is too much to lose when looking at contracts for 2022 and beyond. If he does go year-to-year, I see him getting $35-36 million for 2021, quite likely pitching for the Dodgers, a team he has more than once professed a desire to play for. If he goes multi-year, I could see 5 years/$160 million. The Angels have the resources. They also have a new GM with a mandate to get things fixed quickly. Bauer is an instant upgrade to that rotation that has held them back for several years now. They lost out on the last two pitching targets. If they want Bauer, I think Moreno makes it happen.
Jim: It will be interesting to see if Bauer sticks to his often-touted philosophy and goes year-to-year or not. There’s a case to be made that the bizarre economic circumstances this winter will suppress his value to such an extent that a one-year deal makes sense. Even if he doesn’t repeat his Cy Young win, as long as he’s half-way competent, an economic rebound could make waiting until next winter the more profitable long-term route. However, that rebound is by no means guaranteed at this point. .It wouldn’t surprise me if he signs very late in the off-season, in order to get a better idea of where things are heading. A multi-year deal with the Mets would be a good way for new ownership to make a statement. Five years, $150 million,
Which of these rule changes do you want to see retained for 2021:
- DH in the NL;
- Runner on second in extras;
- 7-inning double-headers;
- 3-batter minimum;
- limits on position players pitching
Jack: DH in NL and 3 Batter Minimum can stay, but I’ll be ok if they don’t. The rest can go die in a fire.
Makakilo: I would be happy to see all of them retained except the DH. My article on DH is scheduled to post Monday.
James: Personally, I would see them all go away. That does not seem realistic though. With that being the case, I would stick with the 3-batter rule and possibly the universal DH. I am never going to be a fan of the universal DH, but I also am a realist. It may go away again in 2021, but it will no doubt be back for good once the new CBA is negotiated. Jack had it right for the rest of the rules - burn in fire. Nuke them from orbit.
Jim: Only the 3-batter minimum. Everything else was fixing a problem that really wasn’t a problem. And I’m not sure how much the 3-batter minimum helped. The average this year was 3.43 relievers used, which is actually up from the same figure for 2019, when it was 3.41. Now, there may be other factors involved in 2020 obviously. Average game length was four minutes less, but that appears due to the 7-inning games. The average 9-inning game took 3:07, two minutes more thank last year, and the longest in MLB history.
Kim Ng became the first female GM. Do you see others following?
Jack: My question is what other female executives are qualified at this point in time? If qualified, gender should not be a factor. There are a couple of potential future candidates mentioned in this ESPN article from 2018 . Ng waited a long time for her chance, and was definitely highly qualified a long time ago. This took longer than it should have. But I don’t know of any other female executives on the immediate horizon that are serious candidates.
EDIT: Hat tip Mak for coming through with great info on other candidates !
Makakilo: Lindsey Adler wrote an article that mentioned three strong candidates:
- Jean Afterman is assistant general manager for the Yankees.
- Raquel Ferreira is an executive VP and assistant general manager for the Red Sox.
- Eve Rosenbaum is director of baseball development for the Orioles.
MLB focused resources on bringing more women into baseball and likely developing some of them into GMs. “As MLB’s Chief Diversity Officer, Renee Tirado oversees a number of initiatives to bring more women and people of color into all levels of the sport, from front offices to the field.” Quote from this article.
James: For Ng, it is about damn time. I was championing her cause the last two times AZ was on the GM hunt. I remember being a bit disappointed the team went with Hazen over Ng. That seems to have worked out though. I do think there will be another waiting period before we see another top female executive. For one thing, there are only 30 slots available. Most of them are fairly well filled right now. There might be a few hotseat GMs next season unfolds, but I don’t think MLB will be looking to promote any of the most likely candidates into those roles right away. Unfair as it is, I think Ng is still going to be made to prove she can do the job well before the glass ceiling fully shatters. Also, I think the best chance for another female top executive might be expansion. It will open up two more seats to be filled, meaning that those assistant execs will have a clearer path to the job, since there will not be organizational incumbents pushing them down the depth chart.
Jim: She absolutely seems qualified for the job, and it’ll be fascinating to see how she does. It may be a bit of a poison pill, coming in after the Marlins vastly over-performed expectations. Gives the naysayers an easy out: if she does well, they can say Miami were already a winning team. But, for me, it’s all about appointing the best person available. I don’t care about their chromosomes. There’s certainly no reason why other women can’t follow suit, in just about any role bar actually playing the game (and never say never there!).
How many fans will be in attendance on Chase Field Opening Day 2021?
Jack: Between 4,000-10,000
Makakilo: 30,000. If every other seat was sold, that would be roughly 24,260 people. I predict the D-backs will offer a family plan – buy two seats and a family member can sit in the ‘empty’ seat between you for half price. I estimate 5740 families will grab the offer, raising attendance to 30,000. That compares favorably to the 26,364 average in the 2019 season.
An alternate way to raise attendance would be to sell 100% of seats in special sections that require proof of COVID vaccination to buy non-transferrable tickets – and those tickets require a picture ID to enter the stadium. This alternative approach may be too controversial to implement because a no-vaccine person might claim their ‘freedom’ was infringed on.
James: Given that the Cardinals, with their much larger stadium, are in the 10,000-12,000 range, I will put Chase at hosting maybe 6,000 fans. Of course, that will be reliant on things not getting much worse between now and then.
Jim: I was just reading today about Ticketmaster considering checking vaccination status for ticket holders, which is an interesting but severely problematic concept. However, it may well depend on the effectiveness of vaccines. If that works out, I think we may still be at about half capacity, so 25,000. However, there is a real risk we still won’t have the vaccine, and the number could end up being zero. Averaging those two out, call it 12,500 for the over/under.
What has changed in your life that won’t change back once COVID-19 is over?
Jack: This is really personal, and borderline political, but there is no other way to answer the question. My wife is from Taiwan. She is a U.S. Citizen for the last 35 years, but is ethnically Chinese. (Her ancestors are from Fujian Province on the Mainland and migrated to Taiwan in the mid 1800’s) Due to the attitudes of many in our communities that have been revealed this year, and specifically because of a couple of negative experiences she’s faced with racist behavior and words directed at her, she feels far less safe and comfortable being out and about on her own. She hasn’t been out without me or my son with her in almost 6 months. Hopefully that fear will diminish or go away, but what affects her directly affects me.
Makakilo: Because of COVID, I started storing more non-perishable food (water, nuts, dehydrated food,…) and more items that I consume regularly (paper products, home air filters, potting soil, soap, …). Having more of these things in any emergency will be great, so I won’t stop.
James: The changes in my life are more a result of changes to the lives of those around me. I will have to give this one some more thought.
Jim. Sorry to hear that, Jack - it’s wrong in every way. I think it’s the social side of things which may well have changed in SnakePit Towers. We may never go to the cinema again - we’ve simply got out of the habit - and even eating out could become considerably less frequent. I feel apprehensive whenever I am around any more than a handful of people, and that’s not going away any time soon.