Kyle Glaser MLB ‘Free For All’ Chat (4/3/20)

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone. First of all I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy. I’m glad to be back talking ball with you all. Let’s get chatting.

Ed Scolamiero (Estero, FL):

     It was noted that some minor league teams are owned by the parent major league teams. Others are owned by other means. I would be interested in knowing who and what owns the minor league teams. This could play a very important part when the entire minor league system gets reduced, possibly in 2021.

Kyle Glaser: The owner of every minor league baseball team (including which teams are owned by major league clubs) is listed in the 2020 Baseball America directory. You can pick up a copy here

Brandon (Albuquerque):

     What are you thoughts on how the shorten season will affect the development of the really young guys like J. Dominguez and N. Marte?

Kyle Glaser: The shortened season is going to hurt the youngest and least-experienced players the most. Those are the guy that need the most reps. While there will always be some uber-talented exceptions (and Dominguez and Marte may be those exceptions) on the whole this is going to have a negative effect on the development of their peers in the DSL or complex leagues more than big leaguers or Triple-A players.

Wes (Wautoma, WI):

     So would Las Vegas be betting on a 2020 MLB season or would they be betting against it? My only optimism lies on the fact there is so much money on the line to dream something up.

Kyle Glaser: I do think there will be baseball played in some form. Exactly what that is (empty stadiums, fans in only certain cities, etc.) is hard to say. It’s going to come down to factors outside of baseball’s control.

Logan (Washington):

     What’s your favorite type of exotic bird?

Kyle Glaser: Not much of a bird guy (my Grandpa was, he was a full Audubon Society member) but I have a general appreciation for the uniquely colorful ones in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Logan (Washington):

     Follow up: what is your favorite Jeremy Piven movie?

Kyle Glaser: I think I may surprise some people here when I say Smokin’ Aces instead of Old School.

Joey (The Block):

     Why do you hate Mike Trout and want him to suffer on a second-rate team? Trade him now!!!!!!

Kyle Glaser: It’s not a matter of suffering or not suffering. It’s a matter of you don’t trade the best player in modern baseball history unless you get something absolutely massive back – and what is fair value is something no team would actually part with because it would cripple them.

Jon E (Ankeny, IA):

     Let’s say it’s a 5-round draft…how many draft eligible college guys do you really think will go back to college if they go undrafted? Will any high school guys who seemed like solid bets to head to college get drafted and sign now since college rosters at some of the blue blood schools will be loaded?

Kyle Glaser: The fact MLB capped undrafted free agent bonuses at $20,000 is going to mean most of them go back to college. The answer to your second question I think is no, simply because the high school guys who were solid bets to go to college are mostly – not all, bust mostly – the second-tier HS guys. It’s only the top-tier HS guys who are going to get drafted anyway if it’s a five-round draft. A 10-round would change that dynamic a bit. College are rosters are going to be stuffed if it’s a five-round draft. There’s no real way around that.

Steve (Winslow, MS):

     What would you be if you were a writer for BA?

Kyle Glaser: I assume you meant if I *weren’t* a writer for BA. I’m going to expand this a bit to if I wasn’t a sportswriter, because it’d be easy for me to just say I’d be covering sports for another outlet (as I did before BA hired me.) I’d want to be an archivist or researcher specializing in 20th century Eastern Europe. The idea of combing through old Soviet documents in a remote archive somewhere in the former USSR excites me to no end. I think that’d be ridiculously cool.

Matt (Va):

     I have tickets and travel plans to both the Midwest league All Star game in Bowling Green in June and the Pioneer/Northwest league All Star game in Colorado Springs early August. Do you think there is a shot of either of these happening on time?

Kyle Glaser: I’m very pessimistic the MWL All-Star Game will be played in June. I’m more optimistic the Pio/NWL All-Star Game will be played in August.

Bill (Boston):

     Does Zac Veen possess the highest upside in this draft? He’s got a projectable frame, feel to hit, and massive power potential as a LHH.

Kyle Glaser: Don’t undersell the upside of Torkelson here. If he’s Paul Goldschmidt or Pete Alonso or any of the other mashing first baseman we see in the majors, that’s a higher upside than 95 percent of outfielders (or any other position, for that matter). Don’t fall into the trap of labeling all college guys “safe” and high school guys “high upside”. It’s a false dichotomy.

Ted (Jamestown):

     Even if MLB starts on July 1 or around then, will MiLB have a season too?

Kyle Glaser: Yes, although it might look different if certain clubs are not able to stay in business until then (a real possibility as JJ Cooper laid out in his article last week). But yes, once MLB returns I do think we will see minor league baseball return as well, albeit likely on a more limited and possibly more restrictive basis depending on where the virus’ hot spots are at that time.

Guy (St.Lazare Quebec):

     Whose arbitration should be protected if 2020 minor league seasons are not played,, MLB team or the minor league player?

Kyle Glaser: There is no arbitration for minor league players.

Turk Wendell (Chandler, AZ):

     Who is the best mascot in all of Major League Baseball?

Kyle Glaser: I’m partial to the Swinging Friar. He’s unique and actually has something to do with the club he represents, as opposed to some other teams out there who literally just put a random fuzzy costume on the field and call it a mascot.

Andrè R. Strüš (United States):

     if/when baseball games come back will they be played in front of empty stadiums?

Kyle Glaser: I think in some cities yes. Again though, that’s really fluid and can change on a dime.

Snacks Mladenovic (Milwaukee):

     Does the delay of the season give the MLB an opportunity (given that baseball begins within the next 1.5-2 months) to test how a shorter season may positively impact how the game is played?

Kyle Glaser: It’s certainly something that will be examined. I don’t think it will provide a tipping point to shorten the season from 162 games in future seasons, though.

Randy (Williamstown MD):

     What do you think are the odds of a MLB season being played at all?

Kyle Glaser: Just studying the shelf lives of previous pandemics (and accounting for the fact that most have multiple waves and peak in different regions at different times) I do think we will have a season but it will be significantly shortened. Think 100-124 games.

Bearry (Vermont):

     From an outsider perspective, I like the 40-man aspect and low-key upside in the Rays acquisition of Esteban Quiroz from the Padres to complete the Pham trade. What’s your view of him and would you prefer him or Cronenworth?

Kyle Glaser: Quiroz is a very different player than Cronenworth. Cronenworth is a solid utility guy who can play shortstop and move around the diamond. His versatility is his best asset. Quiroz is a hitter, pure and simple. I like the move to an AL team for him because it gives him the additional opportunity to get some DH at-bats while mixing in at 2B. Cronenworth was a better fit for the Padres and what they needed than Quiroz was, but I think Quiroz certainly has a chance to be a nice piece in Tampa. He can legitimately hit.

Hank (Triple-A):

     If Major League Baseball gets its way over MiLB how much will the landscape change at Triple-A. I’ve seen reports of St. Paul and Sugarland moving up from indy ball and teams like Fresno, Wichita and San Antonio moving down. Seems like the PCL will need another west coast team but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of easy markets and parks available west of the Rockies

Kyle Glaser: I’m glad you brought this up, because it does feel like the western US gets shafted in terms of upper-level minors representation. You’re correct that the current plan calls for Fresno to replace Lancaster as the 8th Cal League team, which would leave Sacramento, Tacoma, Las Vegas, Salt Lake, Reno and ABQ as the only teams above A-ball in the entire western U.S. I actually think they should make Vancouver a Triple-A team (big city, easy access, great attendance) and if someone could get their act together and get a stadium built in Bakersfield (which is between Oakland and Anaheim in terms of California’s most populous cities) they could make a killing there as the Dodgers Triple-A franchise. Portland and Tucson are two others worth exploring, although both have had teams and failed to keep them. Boise is another city that intrigues me in terms of moving them up to higher levels. It’s a bigger city than a lot of people realize, there’s easy access flying from within the western US and they do very well attendance-wise.

Kyle Glaser: That actually got me thinking. I would love to see a 14-team PCL that actually plays in the western US: Sacramento, Bakersfield, San Jose, Fresno, Las Vegas, Reno, Portland, Tacoma, Boise, Salt Lake, ABQ, Vancouver, Tucson, Spokane. Alternately, If some of the mechanics get too complicated, you can have an 8-team PCL Western Conference from that pool.

Jeff (Georgia):

     With a shortened draft, do you see teams making up for the lost picks with a lot more undrafted free agent signings – either college juniors/seniors or international? How do you see that working – a “free for all” with players trying to use multiple teams as leverage to get as close as they can to the $20K max signing bonus?

Kyle Glaser: I suspect there will be a lot of undrafted free agent signings, mostly college seniors whose conferences are saying they won’t be giving returning seniors any aid and juniors who know they might get squeezed out of playing time next year. What’s going to be most interesting is the teams that have already committed to paying their minor leaguers higher salaries (Giants, Cubs, Blue Jays) will likely have an advantage because if everyone is capped at the same bonus, being able to get more money as a minor leaguer will be a separator in which team you choose.

Big Al (Raleigh, NC):

     If the North Wake Men’s Baseball League returns to play before MLB, will you start covering those games? I hear the story lines are really compelling.

Kyle Glaser: Well you can’t really cover a league you play in….maybe a first-hand account Ball Four-style?

Canadian Baller (Comox, BC, Canada):

     Travel is going to be a killer for getting any kind of season going. With people starving for any sports to watch, what are your thoughts on having teams go back to their Spring Training facilities and playing some sort of season there with no fans. I’d watch guys in Rookie ball take grounders for hours right now 🙁

Kyle Glaser: That is certainly a possibility. Again, so much of this is going to depend on factors outside of baseball’s control.

Raul (Nogales, Az.):

     Kyle, thanks for chatting and giving us something to do while staying at home. What are the chances that teams are reluctant to send most of their minor league players out to various outposts around the country and putting the players with host families, and instead do something like playing games for every level below Double-A at their complexes in Arizona and Florida?

Kyle Glaser: Hey Raul, my pleasure. MLB teams are contractually obligated to supply players to minor league teams in the current PBA, so there would have to be some sort of agreement reached between MLB and MiLB that supersedes that contractual obligation. Teams can’t just up and decide to do that unilaterally.

Jeff (Bay Minette, Alabama):

     With potentially only 5-10 rounds in the draft, about how many free agent signings do you think most teams will need to aim for to fill MILB rosters?

Kyle Glaser: If there is enough time left to play short-season – which is a big, big if – there will be a decent amount, but keep in mind teams can also just hold on to a lot of the players they otherwise normally would have cut to fill out those rosters. As we reported yesterday, fewer minor leaguers were released March 1-April 1 this year than there were last year. A lot of the guys who get drafted in the 36th round, play one year of short-season ball and then get cut actually may just be held on to for another year to fill out that short-season roster with the draft being shortened. Again though, this could all be moot if there isn’t enough time left to reasonably play short-season ball.

Jackson (Seattle):

     I’m a new follower of the Mariners. Who is their least talked about, but most promising prospect?

Kyle Glaser: Newly-turned 20-year-old righthander Juan Then, who they had, traded and then re-acquired, is really interesting. He’s someone I think could really pop in their system.

Choochcast (Phoenix):

     Salaries in the future?? This should bring down the average salary a bunch wouldn’t you think? Expectations come 2021?

Kyle Glaser: I think the players who were set to be free agents in 2021 are very likely to see reduced offers. The loss of revenue for these clubs is very real and will only get worse the longer the season is postponed.

Kyle Glaser: I should clarify this to say players who are scheduled to be free agents after the 2020 season.

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