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PostPosted: September 11 19, 3:49 pm 
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These comments came from a chat with MLB Trade Rumors' Jeff Todd that occurred on September 10. I added two questions about RBIs at the end, just to give people something to debate.

The link to the entire chat can be found here: https://www.jotcast.com/chat/mlbtr-live-chat-5995.html

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Is there any chance Theo Epstein makes a second coming (well third actually) to Boston?

Jeff Todd
Y'know, I haven't really sat and thought about it carefully, but it is a fascinating possibility. Obviously there are a few rumblings of discontent in Chicago and all bets are off if they whiff on the postseason. Loads of possibilities for Boston, though. Nothing can be taken off the table at the moment.
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Does Nico Hoerner fill the need for a leadoff hitter and 2nd baseman next season? Seems to not get phased by the moment.

Jeff Todd
Slow your roll, Nico Hoerner fans. He wasn't shaking in his boots for his debut, which is good. And he is indeed able to make contact, as expected. Beyond that, we don't know much at all from one night. He has a sub-.400 slugging percentage in Double-A. I don't think he's a slam-dunk regular 2B/leadoff hitter for a contender by any stretch.

Not trying to hate on the dude here, just ... the expectations ramped WAY up very quickly.
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What do the Cards do about the outfield?

Jeff Todd
I don't even know. They have traded away such an unreal volume of good but not great MLB outfield talent and it doesn't stop coming. I do think they could pretty much roll with what's there and focus the acquisition efforts on other areas. More than anything, might be driven by opportunity and the way the season turns out.
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Hello what kind of moves in the off season do you see the Pirates doing?

Jeff Todd
Budget-conscious ones. I mean ... obviously, ha. But really, the front office isn't able to do more than compile targets they want and decide on limited offers they can make and then go see what fish are biting.

As far as whether they will be looking to add or sell, etc .... I'd expect a sort of opportunistic approach. They aren't likely to blow it up. But they'll consider moving Vazquez and perhaps others at the right price. No matter what, I think they'll make a few targeted adds and hope the team is reasonably competitive.
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I'm not saying Nico Hoerner for MVP. I am saying the Cubs might want to leave a spot at 2nd that he can compete for next year.

Jeff Todd
Wasn't picking on you for the question. Sorry if it came across that way. I think he'll be considered a part of the picture. But I'm not sure he'll be a favorite to break camp.

Now this is a good observation:

@SLGreenberg
I see Nico Hoerner’s face and just want to tell him: “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.” #Cubs
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Does Hamels get a QO? Will he accept it?

Jeff Todd
Nah.
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With the way he has talked about wanting to stay in St. Louis, do you think Ozuna is a potential "accept the qualifying offer" candidate if they can’t agree to an extension, or is he heading to free agency?

Jeff Todd
It's not like he grew up there and has only ever wanted to be a Cardinal. He may prefer to stay and might even give a bit of a financial advantage (or the chance to match an offer, or whatever), but I doubt he'll sacrifice a shot at a long-term deal just to remain in St. Louis.
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The Reds made some improvement this year, however, most Reds fans are not keen on Mgr. Bell. He never lets a lineup gel, constantly changing. Has tendency to use the same struggling bullpen guys. I know he is a rookie manager, but he has lost them enough games where the Reds should be a few games over .500. Your opinion of the job he has done?

Jeff Todd
I don't really have a strong opinion, except that I don't think the factors you mention really are major strikes against him. I have never understood why lineups need to stay fixed. When it is your turn, you go hit. These guys are pros. Re the pen, I get that, but he's pitching the guys that the front office gave him.

I would also strongly contest that he's the reason they are ten games under rather than a few games over.
Generally, my view is that most of what a manager really does is hidden from view. It's in the clubhouse. It's heavily influenced by conversations with the front office re player usage that we don't know about.
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7 guaranteed years for Castellanos?

Jeff Todd
No way.
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Reds have to add to their bullpen for 2020. Who should be targets & does Raisel stay as closer?

Jeff Todd
They do need to add to their bullpen. Side note: I remember getting pushback for suggesting their 2019 pen was anything but superlative ... didn't think it was this bad, but the likely regression was there for all to see.

What I think they need to avoid is the recent Rockies experience of overpaying guys to pitch in a tough environment. It'll be hard. Notice they gave multi-year deals to Hughes and Hernandez when most teams wouldn't. That was b/c of Great American and the fact that the Reds weren't contending. Now, they can promise a chance to play for a team that's trying to win, but they might have to go beyond their comfort zone to get arms. It'll be tricky.
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What team has surprised you the most in how they have performed this year, whether it be over or under performing?

Jeff Todd
Think I'd take the Pirates on the low side and the Twins on the high side.
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Todd, wondering why stat-geeks like here on MLBTR don't seem to value RBI? Is it because most have never played past t-ball and don't realize hitting with runners on is really kind of important to win games?

Jeff Todd
I am no pro ballplayer, but did play through high school and for quite a while in high-quality mens' leagues. Not that it means anything.

Just please try to understand this. Nobody disputes that hitting with runners on is important. It's just that there's no reason to believe that the number of RBIs accumulated in a given season reflects a particular skill at that task.
RBI is more a function of a) how good you are at hitting anyway and b) what other guys on your team do

If there is a "hitting with runners on" skill, it would need to be assessed by different means and likely wouldn't really be reliably determined until a guy was too old to tell anymore.

I like to cite the catcher framing thing. It was long appreciated as having value, even though it couldn't be quantified. Then, it could be quantified, and everyone of all stripes appreciated it.

This is ... sort of the opposite. RBI is a misleading stat as it has been used historically. It doesn't tell what it has been believed to say. There may still be some underlying thing -- a combination of good nerves, situational awareness, exceptional bat control, etc -- but we'll have to devise better ways of identifying it.
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RBIs are a skill because you have to be skilled to make them happen, and some are clearly better than others.

Jeff Todd
This is utterly conclusory. I don't disagree that RBIs reflect some skill -- not like you can get a lot of them if you are a terrible hitter, even if you always hit with guys in scoring position -- but they are an incredibly imperfect tool for assessing the thing they've long been claimed to reflect.
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PostPosted: September 11 19, 3:53 pm 
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He was so nice to the troll complaining about RBIs. He's probably had that argument so many times that it's grating at this point.


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PostPosted: September 11 19, 5:34 pm 
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TheoSqua wrote:
He was so nice to the troll complaining about RBIs. He's probably had that argument so many times that it's grating at this point.

Don't think it was a troll. More likely some idiot Pirates fan that thinks Josh Bell should be in the MVP conversation.


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PostPosted: September 12 19, 6:29 am 
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InvincibleCakeEater wrote:
TheoSqua wrote:
He was so nice to the troll complaining about RBIs. He's probably had that argument so many times that it's grating at this point.

Don't think it was a troll. More likely some idiot Pirates fan that thinks Josh Bell should be in the MVP conversation.


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