FanGraphs Chat – 2/12/14

11:42
Dave Cameron: I’m hunkering down for Apocalyptic Snowstorm 2014 — for those outside the south, that means we’re going to get a few inches of snow today — so let’s talk baseball for a bit. The queue is now open.
12:00
Dave Cameron: A.J. Burnett has signed with the Phillies, for those who haven’t seen it on Twitter.
12:01
Dave Cameron: Brief analysis: Still a good pitcher, one year deals are almost always a good risk, but the Phillies aren’t a good team, so he’s now probably mid-season trade bait. Don’t be surprised if you see him moved at the deadline once the Phillies realize they’re out of it.
12:01
Comment From Graham
Should fringe-y contenders like the Reds and O’s commit to rebuilding or go all-in? It seems to make the least sense to sit right in the middle.
12:03
Dave Cameron: This is far more true in other sports than in baseball, since the returns on a top pick in the NBA or NFL can be enormous and instantaneous. In MLB, there’s little practical difference between picking 8th and 14th, and the revenue losses associated with being a non-contender may actually outweigh any gains from picking higher. I think the idea that there is little or no marginal value in wins 70-85 in baseball is just entirely wrong.
12:03
Comment From Ted
Is it unreasonable to expect Trout to continue putting up numbers like his first two seasons? What should we be expecting from him going forward?

12:04
Dave Cameron: It’s unreasonable to be disappointed if he regresses a little bit, because there’s only downside left. He can’t really get much better.
12:04
Comment From Eddie
Is this Bryce Harper’s breakout year?
12:04
Dave Cameron: My guess is he’s going to have several.
12:04
Comment From Will
Still a fan of Jason Heyward putting it all together?
12:04
Dave Cameron: If he can stay healhty, sure.
12:04
Comment From marechal
Why haven’t the Yankees signed Drew yet?
12:05
Dave Cameron: My guess is they don’t want to try him at a new position and can’t take the PR hit of moving Jeter off SS.
12:05
Comment From Bo
How far south are you Dave? We’ve gotten maybe an inch here just north of Atlanta. Also, nobody sleeping in cars this time.
12:05
Dave Cameron: I’m in Winston Salem, North Carolina, so the northern part of the state. They’re telling us the storm will get here around 3 pm.
12:06
Comment From Ryan
Do you see a power spike coming for Freddie Freeman? What do you expect a peak line to look like for him?
12:06
Dave Cameron: I guess it depends on how you define spike. I don’t see him ever being Jose Bautista, but I’d expect the ISO to crack .200 in his prime.
12:07
Comment From Concerned Snake
Who do you see winning the SS battle in Arizona? Owings or Gregorius?
12:07
Dave Cameron: I don’t think Owings can hit. So Gregorius.
12:07
Comment From Jack
Who do you like better Minor or Bailey?
12:07
Dave Cameron: Bailey, by a lot.
12:07
Comment From Gila Monster
I asked Jeff this yestersday and I was curious in your response: If you were the GM of the Cubs would you seriously consider building a Baez led package in an attempt trade for and extend Giancarlo Stanton? We should reasonably expect Castro to rebound and he is locked up to 2020(he’ll only be 30). The Cubs are of one of the few teams with the prospects and money to make that happen.
12:08
Dave Cameron: Baez will have more value in a year than he will now, and Stanton will cost less in a year than he will now. There’s no need to push the issue too fast. Let your prospects turn into good young big leaguers, then make the push.
12:08
Comment From John Stamos
Doggie snowtime playtime?!
12:09
Dave Cameron: She saw snow for the first time last week and was unimpressed. We’ll see if she enjoys a blizzard a little more.
12:09
Comment From JEB
Cleveland going to try and sign another pitcher, or go with what they got and hope something sticks?
12:09
Dave Cameron: I could see them signing a Chris Capuano type.
12:09
Comment From JEB
I know you and Carson talked about it on the podcast, but do you like the way teams are paying for players FA years, years ahead of time, or do you think its silly?
12:10
Dave Cameron: I think it makes sense. These deals are much more likely to work than waiting until the player is 28 and then giving him 8 years.
12:10
Comment From Dylan
Do people in the south have no common sense when it comes to driving? I live in New England. I fidn the panic laughable. Nobody “taught” me to drive in the snow. My car is a RWD BMW. Most the times the roads aren’t plowed. But it seems like common sense to slow down when it is snowing. Don’t notice it is snowing and speed up because it scares you….
12:11
Dave Cameron: The panic that sets in is amazing. We didn’t get a ton of snow growing up in Seattle, but I still learned how to handle myself in bad weather. Out here, any winter precipitation leads to a meltdown.
12:11
Comment From Jeff
Please tell me this Eric Young over Juan Lagares talk is just Spring Training nonsense. Isn’t Lagares way more deserving of a shot than EY?
12:11
Dave Cameron: Yes.
12:11
Comment From Flo
How many wins would it be worth to have a guy like MGL on the bench of a ML team.
12:12
Dave Cameron: Are you accounting for the games lost due to suspension when your star player assaults him during a game?
12:12
Dave Cameron: (I kid, and I get along with MGL just fine, but he can be… abrasive. Having him near players is probably not a great idea.)
12:13
Comment From Buc Stops Where?
Not to beat a dead horse, but your final guess on AJ Burnett – ___ years, ____$/year, going to the __________ (team)?
12:13
Dave Cameron: 1 year, $16 million, Phillies. Thanks Ken Rosenthal!
12:13
Comment From Will
Didn’t Pirates do AJ Burnett a favor by not sticking him with QO? Maybe Huntington perceived a false exclusivity, but it also looks like their good faith gesture is not being returned. Do we even know that the Pirates won’t offer 14 mil on 1 yr deal?
12:14
Dave Cameron: Pirates said they couldn’t afford it. Given their payroll, $16 million for Burnett is tough to pull off.
12:14
Comment From Jays fan
Is Jose Reyes’ contract looking terrible now that there is 4 yrs @ $86 million remaining?
12:14
Dave Cameron: Not at all. Plenty of teams would take that.
12:14
Comment From Guest
Apparently some areas are expecting around an inch of ice. If it happens, expect lots of power outages.
12:15
Dave Cameron: Thankfully the ice is expected to be about 100 miles east of us. We had a huge ice storm right after I moved to Winston back in 2002, and had a week without power. That wasn’t fun.
12:15
Comment From Andrew
Phillies have had a weird offseason, right? All of their individual moves appear to have been good, but it’s not part of any coherent whole. If the Orioles had signed Byrd and Burnett to the exact same deals, that would have been a coup.
12:15
Dave Cameron: Wouldn’t go so far as a coup, but yes, the Phillies had a decent off-season for a contender. They just aren’t one.
12:16
Comment From Louis Fyne
What’s the deal with Coco Crisp’s Oliver projections (at age 34: most games since 2007, best defense since 2007, career-high wRC+, career-high WAR)?
12:16
Dave Cameron: Oliver is overly optimistic on a lot of guys, Crisp included. Stick with ZIPS/Steamer.
12:17
Comment From Compton
Related to your point about players signing extensions farther and farther away from FA, and the fact that Votto’s and Freeman’s were both landmark deals, how soon until we see the first traditional prospect(non-Tanaka) sign a contract that buys out all of his arb years? Is this something we could see in the next few years?
12:18
Dave Cameron: That’s basically what Longoria and the Rays did. I don’t think you’ll ever see a player get an extension before he’s called up to MLB — the PR wouldn’t be worth it alone — but I do think that as these arb year extension prices go up, teams will have to move to even younger guys trying to find value.
12:18
Comment From Jon
Um, didn’t the Reds win 90 games last year. Now they are a fringy contender who should throw the towel in?
12:19
Dave Cameron: I think they’re a little better than that, but they had a terrible off-season.
12:19
Comment From Sadwick
The Phillies just signed Burnett….. I’m at a loss here, why would Burnett choose the Phillies if the Pirates or O’s would match the money, and why do the Phillies persist in adding stopgap value when they aren’t that close to competing? The deal itself is a good one, however, the situation isn’t ideal for anyone involved.
12:19
Dave Cameron: They probably wouldn’t match the money. He likely just took the biggest offer.
12:20
Comment From Compton
In your podcast with Cistull, you mentioned that the FIP-beaters (the flyballers, lefties with good pickoff moves, etc) and concluded that these outliers to move closer to the mean after 5-10 years. Is this true for knuckleballers, too? Or can they sustain this in the long run?
12:20
Dave Cameron: Knuckleballers are the primary exception to FIP. They shouldn’t really be evaluated using a model that assumes average BABIP.
12:21
Comment From Jack
So now what do the Nats do with all that money they saved by backloading Desmond and Zimmermann’s deals…by my math they allocated about 14 mill for this year…
12:21
Dave Cameron: They didn’t really backload anything; they just pre-bought next year’s arbitration prices.
12:22
Comment From Spencer
Winston Salem! Im from Kernersville! Thats whats up
12:22
Dave Cameron: You have my sympathies.
12:22
Comment From Brian
Do you see a Nick Franklin to the Blue Jays trade happening?
12:22
Dave Cameron: They could use him, but not sure they have what Mariners want.
12:23
Comment From _David _
If a Mariners employee had the clout/guts to go to Jack Z with a report that proved a team with .350/.425 hitters would score more runs than a team of .325/.450 hitters, would it have any impact or do you think that people’s baseball philosophies are too entrenched and that some kind of rationalization would prevent a change in thinking?
12:24
Dave Cameron: You’re not going to change 30 years of entrenched mindsets with a report.
12:24
Comment From Ryan Brain
The Reds can do _______ to still improve with what’s left with this offseason.
12:24
Dave Cameron: not enough
12:25
Comment From Bryan
After the Mariners sign Nelson Cruz, do you think they will try to trade Justin Smoak? If so, what can they get for him?
12:25
Dave Cameron: No, I think they’d be more likely to bump Saunders or Ackley from the OF.
12:25
Comment From Jays fan
Jose Reyes follow-up, Grantland has his contract as a dishonorable mention for one of the worst contracts in baseball.
12:26
Dave Cameron: Disagree entirely. He’s not that different from Ellsbury in value.
12:27
Comment From Matt
Josh Donaldson extension: what would be fair in the current market for a best-guess +5 WAR player 5 years from free agency?
12:27
Dave Cameron: Donaldson isn’t a +5 WAR player. Because he’s older, A’s are probably better off going year to year with him.
12:27
Comment From David
Do you think the players union would actually be somewhat against this trend of buying out arbitration years since teams are basically getting these players at a discount from their “FA Market” value?
12:28
Dave Cameron: MLBPA should care more about what share of revenue is going to players than how it is getting divvied up. I don’t think they’ll make a big deal out of this.
12:28
Comment From Guest
If the Indians sign Santana, which pick would they have to surrender? Their own or the pick they will receive for ubaldo?
12:29
Dave Cameron: Their own, which is why they won’t do it.
12:29
Comment From _David _
Would you trade Zunino for that Cubs pitcher I don’t know how to spell?
12:29
Dave Cameron: No.
12:29
Comment From bob
do you know when the zip projections will appear on the protections page so we can export them?
12:29
Dave Cameron: Dan is working on the spreadsheet. Soon, I would imagine.
12:30
Comment From Brian
Who says no in a Nick Franklin for Jose Bautista trade?
12:30
Dave Cameron: Blue Jays.
12:31
Comment From JPJ
Which assumes Ellsbury is not a bad contract.
12:31
Dave Cameron: If you think every contract signed this winter was an overpay, then the problem isn’t the contract, it’s your definition of a fair price.
12:32
Comment From Charles
Samadijiza straight up for Dylan Bundy and Eduardo Rodriguez. Who hangs up first? Is that a fair gamble on Bundy?
12:32
Dave Cameron: Orioles would laugh.
12:32
Comment From David
A few years removed from the Pineda/Montero trade, do you have any hope for either of these players bouncing back this season?
12:32
Dave Cameron: Pineda’s all depends on health. Montero just isn’t good at baseball.
12:33
Comment From Jack
Does the AJ signing mean they Phillies don’t like the cuban dude…Miguel Gonzales?
12:33
Dave Cameron: I think it means that they know their rotation isn’t very good.
12:33
Comment From Prich
Better odds: Cruz signs with Seattle, or one of the other 29 MLB teams?
12:34
Dave Cameron: His signing with the Mariners seems inevitable.
12:34
Comment From Anon21
Looking at this point like the Braves haven’t found an Uggla salary dump that’s workable for them. Do you see him getting 500+ PA for them in 2014, or is he displaced by La Stella or a midseason acquisition?
12:35
Dave Cameron: He gets a few months to prove he’s fixed, and if not, he gets cut and LaStella takes over.
12:35
Comment From Robert
But the Cubs should be asking for ridiculous return for Smardzija at this point, right? If all they’re going to get is a package headlined by someone like Paxton and a few throw-ins, then they still have two trade deadlines and an offseason to do that. If they’re going to trade him now, they need to get something elite.
12:35
Dave Cameron: Yeah, they don’t need to sell right now, as Jeff illustrated well this morning.
12:35
Comment From Matt
WRT EY vs Lagaras: Is it typical for a GM to tell the manager which guy is the starter at a position or is it totally up to the manager. It’s not clear to me that Terry Collins appreciates Lagaras’s defensive genius. When Lagaras and denDekker both started in games last season he played denDekker in CF.
12:36
Dave Cameron: Managers usually pick the line-ups, but there’s a lot of input from the front office on regulars versus bench players. If John Mozeliak wanted to start Pete Kozma over Jhonny Peralta, he’d probably get overruled.
12:37
Comment From David
If you’re Mike Trout’s agent, would you take a deal that buys out his arbitration years (say $200-250M)? Let’s say he stays the course – some analysts are giving insane projections that he could command up to $400M in free agency.
12:37
Dave Cameron: Those analysts are not insane.
12:37
Comment From BassmanUW
If the rumors of discussions between the Cubs and Mariners regarding Samardzija are not overblown (and I’m wholly convinced they are overblown), my guess is that the best the Mariners would offer is something headlined by Paxton and Franklin, the Cubs would reject that, and both sides would be right to draw those lines in the sand. Unless the Blue Jays decide to make Sanchez available, which I think they would be wrong to do, Samardzija will be a Cub until at least July 1. Anything in this your disagree with?
12:37
Dave Cameron: There’s no reason for the Mariners to give up Paxton and Franklin for Samardzija. He’s not good enough to justify that.
12:39
Comment From Richie
Snow isn’t the driving problem, but the ice which you can never be sure if it’s underneath it. I’m guessing you got enough ice practice driving in Seattle. It’s counterintuitive enough (‘do NOT! break hard’ ‘steer INTO! the skid’) that I’ll excuse Southerners for quite rationally recognizing that they’re in way over their head when they (so seldom) do find themselves driving on possibly-icy roads.
12:40
Dave Cameron: It’s not even just the driving. It’s the total fear. Buying 40 gallons of milk because we might lose power for a day or two. Towns down here are absolutely paralyzed by the idea that they might not have 24/7 access to buy a new bag of Doritos.
12:41
Comment From Fish
Not spending money this year doesn’t necessarily mean it’s available next year, right? Thinking Phillies and Burnett. No reason not to spend the money and maybe flip him for a B prospect in July, right?
12:41
Dave Cameron: To some extent, this is true. However, just because you’re spending money this year doesn’t mean you have to spend it on old guys with declining value. A rebuilding team that has to spend money can do it on guys under the age of 35.
12:42
Comment From Ry
Paxton and Franklin too much for Samardzija? Didn’t you suggest Paxton/Franklin in exchange for Dexter Fowler in your USS Mariner off-season plan? Dexter “Meh” Fowler?!
12:43
Dave Cameron: Fowler is a +3 win player, would be much cheaper to extend long term, and the deal wasn’t straight up.
12:43
Comment From Spencer
Where does Trout go for 400 mil? Yankees?
12:43
Dave Cameron: If he gets to free agency, the bidding war between the Yankees and Dodgers would be insane.
12:43
Comment From Guest
doesn’t the burnett signing fit your ‘there’s value to marginal wins 70-85’ theory? or are the phililes that bad?
12:44
Dave Cameron: There absolutely is value to adding these wins. I don’t hate the Burnet signing, or the Ruiz signing, or the Utley extension. The Phillies have done plenty of things that, in isolation, make sense. The problem is that they haven’t done enough.
12:44
Dave Cameron: Or, maybe more accurately, that there were too many problems to fix.
12:44
Comment From David
Why would the NYYs take a PR hit for moving Jeter off of SS? Or put another way, wouldn’t Cap’n Jetes’ reputation be improved even more by volunteering for the move? It’s not 2004 anymore where you can argue about ARod vs. Jeter at the 6. He’s clearly in decline at this point…
12:44
Dave Cameron: Has he volunteered to move?
12:45
Comment From Anton
Why aren’t pop ups factored into FIP? Its as guaranteed to be an out as a strikeout, if not more likely (runners can reach 1st on a dropped 3rd strike, and this may happen about as much as popups are dropped).
12:46
Dave Cameron: We didn’t invent FIP, and we don’t feel that it’s our right to unilaterally change the formula while keeping the name. We did include pop-ups in the FIP-based WAR calculation, and if we ever create our own run estimator, IFFBs will likely be treated as equals to Ks.
12:47
Comment From Dan
Dave – Based on FG projections, the M’s are just 3 Wins away from the top of the west. I understand that they definitely could swing that way based on random, but what moves would you suggest to put them over the top?
12:47
Dave Cameron: I think the spread is much larger than what Steamer shows. Once ZIPS gets loaded in and the projections are based on a hybrid forecast, the Rangers and A’s should get a bump. I think the gap is closer to 8-10 wins.
12:48
Dave Cameron: So there are no moves that put them over the top.
12:48
Comment From BassmanUW
By the time Trout hits free agency, there is the possibility of a couple of other teams that should have large revenue streams (Cubs, Mets come to mind first) having their finances sufficiently in order to enter the fray as well. I’d bet on him ending up a Yankee or a Dodger, but it would be interesting to see what happens on the open market with a generational talent who should still be in the heart of his prime when he reaches free agency.
12:48
Dave Cameron: Yeah. A 25 year old Mike Trout, who could very well already have +50 career WAR, would be the most unique free agent of all time.
12:49
Comment From ChrisFromBothell
Most likely 2 or 3 current players to end the season with a .400 average? Or will Ted Williams forever be the last man to do that?
12:49
Dave Cameron: It will never happen again with strikeout rates at their current levels. Until this cycle of decreasing contact ends, .400 is out of reach.
12:50
Comment From BassmanUW
You like Franklin more than I do. I just don’t get excited for the above average at several things but plus at nothing hitting prospects. I’d think Kolten Wong will disappoint too, if not for the fact that he’s a Cardinal and their prospects always turn out.
12:51
Dave Cameron: I don’t love Franklin, but six years of control over two league average (or even slightly below average players) is better than two years of control over a slightly above average player, especially when that player has shown resistance to signing a reasonable extension.
12:51
Comment From Tim
What do you think about the Milwaukee Brewers? For some reason I feel like they might be this years version of the Red Sox (everything goes wrong one year, right the next).
12:51
Dave Cameron: That’s called the gambler’s fallacy. The Brewers aren’t very good.
12:52
Comment From IveChangedMyName5TimesPlsAnswerMe
Iwakuma’s LOB% was very high and his BABIP very low last year. However, he had similar numbers in those categories the prior year. Is he just a guy who can do that? Or should we expect big regression?
12:52
Dave Cameron: Those two things are the same thing. If you don’t give up hits, you’ll strand a lot of runners. They’ll regress together.
12:53
Comment From Ghost of the Cowboy
If Trout goes to free agency the Angels are done as an organization.
12:53
Dave Cameron: No player is that important.
12:54
Comment From Prich
If the Ms weren’t to sign Cruz, and went into Opening Day as is, would you consider this offseason a ‘success’?
12:54
Dave Cameron: Not really, as I think the Cano move was a bad deal.
12:54
Comment From Spencer
What is Kimbrel gonna get in FA? Seems like the braves plan on letting him go.
12:54
Dave Cameron: I think he’ll be broken before he gets there.
12:55
Comment From Robocles
Do you see any last minute trades happening before the season starts?
12:55
Dave Cameron: Sure. Blue Jays still need a 2B. Dodgers still have too many OFs. Lots of teams will need to replace someone who gets injured in spring training.
12:56
Comment From Bubba
You keep predicting regression from Trout. I get that we shouldn’t be disappointed if he turns into an 8-9 WAR player, but given his age (22) and his uncanny ability to make adjustments, why can’t we hope to take it up a notch? Certainly his baserunning and defense will go down at some point, but I don’t see why he couldn’t sprinkle in an 11+ WAR season or two. I know, “regression to the mean” – but with a 22 year old player, there is no mean.
12:56
Dave Cameron: Ask yourself how many +11 WAR seasons there have been in baseball. Now ask yourself how many players have been +11 WAR players for any sustained period of time.
12:56
Comment From Lars
Why, exactly, was the Cano deal bad?
12:57
Dave Cameron: Because they’re something like the 11th or 12th best team in the AL even with him on the roster, and by the time they have a contending core around him, he won’t be worth the money.
12:58
Comment From David
Jeter hasn’t volunteered to move, that I am aware of. It seems like somewhat of a no-brainer to me though. Plenty of HOFers have moved around the diamond in their twilight years to help maximize their team’s chance of winning and still play every day. I don’t know what Jeter would stand to gain by objecting to such a move.
12:58
Dave Cameron: Players have pride, and Jeter likely prides himself on being an SS for his entire career.
12:58
Comment From Troutgraphs
Barring catastrophic injury, what is the worst scenario (in a reasonable sense) for Trout’s career? 70-80 WAR?
12:59
Dave Cameron: Depends on how you define catastrophic injury. He could easily suffer some kind of injury that allows him to keep playing but at a much reduced rate. He could be Eric Davis 2.0. The floor is much lower than 70 WAR.
1:00
Dave Cameron: Okay, have to get some lunch before going in my storm shelter and hunkering down for the impending disaster.
1:00
Dave Cameron: See you guys next week.


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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Zach
Guest
Zach
2 years 7 months ago

If you could travel back in time to the 80s, how confident are you that you could be the GM of a dynasty, assuming you have knowledge and access of modern metrics?

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 7 months ago

Who needs metrics? You know who turns out. You just draft them.

Or are you just assuming you have saber knowledge but don’t know what actually happens? I’d think your chances would be good, but still a lot can go wrong.

I Know Everything
Guest
I Know Everything
2 years 7 months ago

Looking forward to the South’s “artic” freakout. You guys do realize it’s just snow, right?

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
2 years 7 months ago

If you know everything, you also know that the word is “arctic.”

Park Chan ho's Beard
Guest
Park Chan ho's Beard
2 years 7 months ago

I think it was a joke about the South’s pronunciation of the word ‘arctic’

SC
Guest
SC
2 years 7 months ago

Dave- A local Twins scribe (Derek Wetmore-1500 ESPN) raised an intresting propisition regarding Byron Buxton. What if the Twins on Buxton’s first day in the majors offered a 10 Year- 200 Million Dollar extension? The thought process to such a question seems like a fascinating one for a write-up.

It seems at first to be absurd from the Twins perspective to assume that much risk. Yet you would be betting on 30 WAR over Ten Years essentially. It would also seem foolish for Buxton’s agent to turn down such financial security. Perhaps other readers would have insight into such a question.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

“I don’t think Owings will hit”

Huh? He may not hit up to his recent minor league numbers but what makes you think he won’t hit more than Didi? The general forecast is that Owings has the better bat and legs while Didi the better glove. What do you see differently?

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