Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 9/9/15

11:47
Dave Cameron: I’m back from a week off from baseball — I took the boy to Seattle to hang out with his grandparents and his uncle — so let’s chat about a bunch of stuff that happened while I wasn’t paying close attention.

11:49
Dave Cameron: I kept an eye on the scoreboard and saw the Matt Harvey shutdown stuff, so I’m at least kind of in the loop, but this week’s session might be a little light on specifics if you’re asking about recent events.

11:49
Dave Cameron: Anyway, caveats aside, the queue is now open, and we’ll get started in about 10 minutes.

12:06
Dave Cameron: Alright, let’s get this thing going.

12:07
Comment From HappyFunBall
I’m trying to figure out the best fabulous German word to perfectly encapsulate the angst and disappointment that is the 2015 Washington Nationals. What do you think, is it WELTSCHMERZ: The mental depresssion or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state? Or should I be using TORSCHLUSSPANIK: the fear that time is running out and important opportunities are slipping away?

12:08
Dave Cameron: I don’t know any german curse words, so I probably can’t effectively answer this question. But the Nationals season is probably almost over now, and it’s been an unquestioned disaster.

12:08
Comment From Joe
You’re named the manger of the pirates for the rest of this season. Given the choice among Pedro Alvarez, Michael Morse and Aramis Ramirez, who do you start at first base?

12:08
Dave Cameron: I’d probably run Ramirez out there as often as possible to see how well he could handle the position defensively. If he can be adequate there, he’s probably the best option.

12:09
Comment From Zonk
Should the Rockies trade Car-Go this offseason? What can they expect back in value if they do?

12:10
Dave Cameron: I can’t think of many players who have helped their stock more over the last few months. In May, he was probably a salary dump; now, I’d imagine they’ll have plenty of offers of real talent without covering any of the salary. They’re not going to get a blue chip guy back, given the risks, but they could probably clear the cash and get a solid B prospect in return.

12:11
Comment From Kris
Did you get a chance to read Michael Baumann’s article on Grantland re. Harvey? He employed moral hazard as an argument. I’d argue that the Mets do not have zero risk at stake here. 3 years of arbitration with Harvey is pretty valuable and they’d lose out on that with another injury. If anything – you could possibly argue a principal-agent issue. What would you say?

12:12
Dave Cameron: I haven’t read the piece, but yeah, I wouldn’t think that the health of a multi-year asset is really a moral hazard issue. There’s a moral hazard issue with the Blue Jays and Royals in regards to their usage of Price and Cueto this postseason, because the parties who would feel the affects of aggressive October workloads are not the Blue Jays and Royals.

12:12
Comment From Marlo
So, how did the plane rides go with the little guy?

12:13
Dave Cameron: The first one was great; the flight wasn’t full, so we had a row to ourselves, giving him room to crawl and pull up on things and stretch out for his naps. The flight back was packed, so he didn’t do as well, and we had to regularly apologize to everyone around us.

12:14
Comment From Marc
the pirates won their 82 game yesterday . Just three years ago this would have been a cause for a major celebration. Now people are claiming “the playoffs just arent good enough anymore” Crazy right? Also, think they could still win the division / beat Arrieta in a one and done?

12:16
Dave Cameron: People like to see progress, and expectations have been raised. The reality is that the Pirates are just unfortunate to play in the NL Central, so they keep ending up in the Wild Card game, but there’s nothing they can really do about that. So they just have to play the hand they’re being dealt.

12:16
Comment From SanDiegoDale
AJ Preller has been savaged in some quarters for his GM performance this year. Justified, in your opinion? Why was his strategy so flawed?

12:17
Dave Cameron: I hated the Padres off-season, and was pretty strongly against their plan from the beginning. Giving up huge chunks of future value for short-term gains in a year where you project as a .500-ish club isn’t a good idea.

12:17
Comment From Vic
Can one hope Buxton 2016 pulls a trout after a dismal intro to MLB pitching in his rookie year? Is it even possible?

12:18
Dave Cameron: Mike Trout is the best young player in baseball history. No, he’s not going to pull a Trout. No one ever has before.

12:19
Comment From Johnny5Alive
is there an argument for Cespedes as MVP? I mean he is ridiculous right now and its pretty clear the mets arent where they are without adding him.

12:19
Dave Cameron: No, there isn’t.

12:19
Comment From Jim
Are you still a Mariner fan?

12:19
12:19
Comment From JayKay
There appear to be 2 major division races left (AL East/West): who wins them?

12:20
Dave Cameron: Blue Jays and Astros

12:20
Comment From Cespedes fan
The mutual waiver of the restriction on the Mets’ signing Cespedes makes sense, but what was the purpose of the restriction in the first place? Why would a player want to block his team from bidding on him in free agency?

12:21
Dave Cameron: It’s a good question; other international FAs have signed deals that have granted them free agency before reaching six years of service time, so I’m not sure why the A’s and Cespedes’ agent put this clause in place.

12:22
Comment From Josh G
Do you think Marcus Stroman sticks in the rotation the remainder of September and into the postseason?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Probably depends on how he does. If they don’t think he’s built up enough to throw 100+ pitches regularly, they could probably use him as a multi-inning relief ace in the playoffs; those guys can be effectively leveraged to be just as valuable as a starter.

12:23
Comment From Blue Hearted
Who do you see as the third starter for the Dodgers in the playoffs, Wood or Anderson?

12:24
Dave Cameron: I’d imagine they’d prefer Anderson, but health is always an issue there. I wouldn’t rule out Latos either, especially if they play a team with a good number of RHBs. The Dodgers aren’t going to care about his partial-season ERA.

12:24
Comment From bud
Do you think the Red Sox go into 2016 with the Bradley/Betts/Castillo outfield? Hung up on Dombrowski’s comment about “power at the corners” as a core of his team building philosophy.

12:24
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I don’t see Dombrowski as a guy who is going to go with a speed-and-defense OF. I bet Bradley gets traded this winter.

12:25
Comment From bucs_lose_again
I know often it has been said that a great manager can only influence a team’s win total so much, but in your opinion, how much can a terrible manager (looking at you Matt Williams) influence a team’s loss total?

12:25
Dave Cameron: The real answer is no one knows. There are just way too many variables in play that we can’t measure. Williams seems like a pretty big negative, but whether that’s a few games or a half dozen, we just don’t know.

12:26
Comment From HugoZ
Considering how Jace Peterson is currently playing, was it such a great idea to hand Peraza over to the Dodgers?

12:26
Dave Cameron: I would imagine that had a lot more to do with them not being all that high on Peraza than thinking Peterson had that job locked up.

12:26
Comment From ashief_mt
Dave, Realistically what do the Nationals need to do this off-season? What about the Phillies?

12:27
Dave Cameron: They have to figure out how in they are for next year. With a bunch of impact players leaving, it could be a bit of a step back if they choose to break in all of their young replacements at once, but if they’re set on making another run, then they’ll probably need to make some moves for some stop-gaps who could hold down jobs if Taylor/Turner/Ross don’t prove quite ready for prime time yet.

12:28
Comment From Luke
The Mets COULD sign Cespedes, but should they? Their best window to win a WS is while they still have Harvey and the rest of the big 5 under control, but I still don’t think Cespedes is a great fit, and the backend of the contract will be bad.

12:29
Dave Cameron: Depends entirely on price. I’m guessing he’ll get a deal that ends up not making sense, and I bet the Mets could do better spending elsewhere. But he’s a good player, and they shouldn’t just automatically say no to every big contract just because it ends poorly; deals that end poorly are fine as long as you get the value up front.

12:29
Comment From Donald Trump
Is Harper going to win NL MVP despite the Nationals’ epically disappointing season?

12:31
Dave Cameron: It will be fascinating to see what voters do this year. All the top candidates are on non-playoff teams, so voters will have to decide if they use that factor as just a part of the weight, meaning Harper can still win because the gap is so large between he and McCutchen, or if that is a binary yes/no on MVP coming from a runner-up.

12:31
Comment From Joel
Did you go to any good restaurants in Seattle?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Eating out with an infant is not all that fun, in most cases. Besides a one day trip down to Portland to see one of my uncles (and hang out with Sullivan/Neyer/Kory), it was basically a hang-out-at-home trip.

12:33
Comment From Jim
What do you think is gonna happen with the Mariners GM situation?

12:34
Dave Cameron: I bet they’re going to pick someone who been a GM before. One of Jack Z’s big flaws was his inability to get along with people, and i don’t think they’re going to want to take the risk of a first time GM again.

12:35
Comment From Sirras
Managers probably matter less than popular wisdom would have us believe, but clearly they have some non-zero impact based on the last two games Matt Williams has overseen, corect? If you had to guess, Manager WAR would probably range between what, +/- 5 wins?

12:36
Dave Cameron: I bet it’s not symmetrical. I could see a bad manager being more harmful than a good manager is helpful. Maybe it’s more like +2 to -7 or something.

12:36
Comment From Mike
Dave yesterday Cespedes and the Mets reworked the 5 day clause in his contract meaning the Mets have as good a shot to sign him (if not reworked mets couldn’t get him until May 2016). Do you see this as a positive for the Mets that Cespedes may want to stay here, or am I reading too much into it?

12:37
Dave Cameron: It’s a win-win for both sides. Cespedes gets another potential bidder this winter, driving up his cost, and the Mets get a chance to re-sign him. I doubt it means more than both sides saw a a chance for a mutually advantageous agreement.

12:37
Comment From Johnny5Alive
is the cespedes no argument because of switching leagues, or just because Harper has been so ridiculous this year? he is, afterall, #4 in fangraphs WAR this season

12:37
Dave Cameron: 70% of that value came as an AL player.

12:38
Comment From Guest
Kris Bryant might put up a 6 WAR rookie season. That’s better than anyone realistically thought, right? What’s peak Bryant look like?

12:39
Dave Cameron: There’s no question that Bryant’s defense and baserunning weren’t expected to be this good, but it’s an open question how long he can sustain these skills given his size. I doubt he’ll be a plus defender at third long-term, but if he can keep playing well there, a few +7 or +8 WAR seasons aren’t out of the question.

12:39
Comment From Q-Ball
Why haven’t more FA asked for a “Cespedes” clause that would prohibit a QO, given the negative impact it can have on the contract some mid-tier FAs get?

12:39
Dave Cameron: They got outlawed in the last CBA.

12:40
Comment From Pietraynee
Does Mccutchen have a greater than 25% chance at a second MVP with a good September?

12:40
Dave Cameron: Yeah, as the best position player candidate on a playoff team, he’s probably above 25% now. I’d guess it’s probably something like 40% Harper, 30% McCutchen, 30% field.

12:41
Comment From Boxcar Bobby
While I enjoy your writing, I don’t enjoy your arrogence in regards to your holier than thou attitute in regards to your opinion of yourself as far as a father and man. What has happened in your life to make so such a way? Great – you sound like you’re going to be a great although painsakenly boring father; why spread this around several times each chat?

12:43
Dave Cameron: The internet. It’s the best.

12:44
Comment From The Boat
Will the Dodgers resign Howie Kendrick, or will they trust the 2B position to a younger player like Peraza or Hernandez? Seems like the FO style is geared towards the young rather than expensive stars…

12:45
Dave Cameron: I figured they’d make a run at Kendrick this winter before the Peraza trade. Now, though, I’d expect they’ll bid a bit less, given their internal options.

12:45
Comment From Marc
why do we see so few front loaded contracts?

12:46
Dave Cameron: There’s no real reason for them. Time value of money makes backloading deals make sense for the team, and players don’t really need the cashflow of immediate payouts.

12:46
Comment From TKDC
You don’t think Greinke is a top MVP contender? Why not?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Voters don’t like giving the award to a pitcher, and I’d imagine it’s going to be very hard for a pitcher in the same rotation as Kershaw to garner significant support.

12:47
Comment From Taylor
Neither of the Dodgers aces have any shot at MVP this season, correct?

12:48
Dave Cameron: It’s probably a situation where any support they would get will get nullified by the presence of the other. Writers love narratives, and it’s hard to tell a story about how either Kershaw or Greinke carried the Dodgers pitching staff when you have the other one standing right there.

12:48
Comment From Ken
How much does Chris Davis get as a FA?

12:48
Dave Cameron: I’d bet short-term/big AAV. Maybe 5/$125M or something like that.

12:49
Comment From Ed
I ask this a lot and have yet to find a good answer. Why do teams insist on using former players as managers or even GM? Do players respond better to managers who’ve “played the game”? It seems like you’re better off focusing on finding managers who make good decisions instead of just ones who played right? See (A) Matt Williams or (B) Dave Stewart.

12:50
Dave Cameron: Former players definitely have more credibility with current players than guys who didn’t play, but I would bet this changes eventually. It will just be a slow process.

12:50
Comment From mike wants wins
Oops, meant to also ask …. IIRC, you’ve been less thrilled about Buxton than many others. I don’t think he’ll hit this badly, but what have you thought he could be, talent wise?

12:51
Dave Cameron: The hype around him has been excessive since day one. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up as an average hitter whose value is mostly speed/defense, and the injury issues make that part of his game a long-term risk.

12:51
Comment From The Boat
Hey Dave, for what it’s worth, I enjoy the updates about your son and your dog. All the FG chat moderators have something that humanizes then beyond just knowledge of the game we love – volcanoes, hiking, the Simpsons, beer, weird music videos. Connecting with your readers and fellow fans is part of being in the FG community.

12:53
Dave Cameron: Yeah, from my perspective, we’re all human beings here, and while we have one primary interest in common, that doesn’t mean we can’t ever have any other interests. These will always be mostly baseball chats, but part of the value of having different voices is that we have different perspectives.

12:53
Comment From Boomer
You rated the NL MVP – Right now,how is the AL MVP shaping up with Donaldson playing lights out since the Tulo trade. Donaldson 50% Trout 20% Field 30% or something like that?

12:54
Dave Cameron: I’d bet it’s more like Donaldson 75%, Trout 20%, Field 5%. There’s a clear top two, and the fact that the Jays are going to make the playoffs makes him a huge favorite.

12:54
Comment From Dan
Who’s the AL ROY? Bryant has the NL locked up, right?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Kang is going to get votes too. Lots of good rookies in the NL this year. You don’t usually see half-year guys win, but Correa might steal it in the AL this year; he’s been that good.

12:55
Comment From MM
I’m a non-Jays fan living in Toronto. For so long, I’ve been advocating for Trout as MVP over Donaldson. But I’m having a much harder time justifying it in the present. Do you agree that Donaldson has probably edged ahead for now?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Trout’s ahead by 20 points of OBP, Donaldson by 20 points of slugging. Park adjust, and you give a bit of an offensive edge to Trout. Defensively, it’s probably pretty close, though the numbers like Donaldson more this year. You can’t go wrong either way, as both are having great seasons. The writers will take the guy who goes to the playoffs, though, so Donaldson is very likely to win.

12:58
Comment From Bungalow Bill
Did you see ESPN is doing away with chats after this week?

12:59
Dave Cameron: I did not. That’s too bad, but ESPN seems to be focusing on getting their audience to skew younger, and i could see this format not playing as well with the 12-19 audience as the 18-40 group, which is probably where most of our readers lie.

12:59
Comment From Dan
Bryant is more than a full win ahead of his fellow rookies.

1:00
Dave Cameron: Voters are not going to give Bryant a big boost for baserunning and defense. He’s a big guy, so he’ll be judged on his bat.

1:00
Comment From Tom
Better all-around player – Trout or Donaldson?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Trout. Donaldson is having a great year, but this is the best year of his career, and a totally normal season for Trout.

1:01
Comment From Mike
Chances Sano starts any games at shortstop next season?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Zero.

1:01
Dave Cameron: He’s a giant of a man.

1:02
Comment From Concerned White Sox Fan
Do you think there is any combination of White Sox young minor league pitching that could pry Arenado away from the Rockies?

1:02
Dave Cameron: I doubt it. I can’t see them being interested in moving him.

1:02
Comment From Brandon
Are the Rangers a good team now?

1:02
Dave Cameron: And we’ll end on this note.

1:03
Dave Cameron: A few months ago, I called the Rangers a “bad team”, and engaged a few Rangers fans on Twitter when they didn’t like that comment, given that Texas was a few games over .500 at that point.

1:04
Dave Cameron: The Rangers are still a few games over .500, and so for the last month or so, Texas fans have taken to Twitter to remind me of their record on a daily basis.

1:06
Dave Cameron: Apparently, to some portions of their fan base, it’s a huge deal to get me to admit I was wrong.

1:06
Dave Cameron: So, here you go, Texas fans: your team has played better than I expected. Congratulations on having a good season. Enjoy it.

1:08
Dave Cameron: I’ll be back next Wednesday.

1:08
Dave Cameron: Be nice to Eno tomorrow.

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Generic Guy
Guest
Generic Guy

I, for one, agree with you, Dave. The Rangers have absolutely no chance of competing this year nor next year. You called it and I give you props. Ignore the haterz.