Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 11/15/18

12:31
Jay Jaffe: Hi folks, and welcome to today’s chat. I’ll be along in a few minutes after I dot the final i’s and cross the final t’s on my Lee Smith Today’s Game profile. Apologies for the delay…

12:34
Jay Jaffe: Ok, I’m back! Let’s get to this.

12:35
Hi Jay!!!: Hi Jay,  Among the southpaws, would you rather have Keuchal, Paxton, or Corbin?

12:37
Jay Jaffe: They’re all a bit imperfect, aren’t they? If we’re talking for a single game today, I’d take Corbin, who’s coming off a strong, robust season of 200 innings. If we’re talking for the next few years via trade or free agency, think I’d lean Paxton, who despite being fragile is the one who misses bats with the most consistency, giving him the most margin for error as he ages.

12:37
stever20: So Fox reups for 7 more years.  About another 200 million per year- so a good 6.5 million more per team.  Some rights bubble heh?

12:37
Jay Jaffe: Reports of baseball’s death have again been greatly exaggerated.

12:38
Trade targets: Based on cost in both prospects and $$$, what’s the best idea for yankee SP trades? Greinke, Kluber, Carrasco, Paxton…?

12:41
Jay Jaffe: A lot depends upon how much of Greinke’s remaining salary the Diamondbacks are willing to eat. If I’m Cashman, I think I’d prefer to use the Yankees’ financial resources and the comparatively short time horizon to my advantage and go with that, assuming they can get him closer to a $25-30 million/year range unless the prospect demands for the others are lower than I’d imagine them to be right now.

12:41
Lou: A lot Dodger fans were confused when they heard the Giants hired their GM, they thought “wasn’t Friedman our GM?”.  And Zaidi is not the GM of the Giants.  What is the point of the modern GM position?  And would the Dodgers and Giants be fine if they didn’t hire a GM?

12:45
Jay Jaffe: There are a couple things going on. One, with all of the various departments within a major league operation, the job is bigger than just a single high-level executive can handle; there are big-picture matters as well as day-to-day ones, particularly given the increased fluidity of rosters (the move to the 10-day DL, the increased churning of the last roster spot on the pitching staff to keep a supply of fresh arms).

Two, teams are generally reluctant to let other teams talk to their contractually obligated execs for a lateral move — assistant GM to assistant GM, say; that’s how the Dodgers got Zaidi from the A’s, by offering him the GM job. By not having a GM, a team would probably survive, but the chance to add another smart and capable person to the high-level mix, at a salary that’s less than the average major leaguer, seems like a no-brainer.

12:46
Mike: Why does the HOF keep trying to make Harold Baines, Joe Carter, and Lee Smith happen?

12:50
Jay Jaffe: ‘Twas ever thus for older candidates as well. See Graham Womack’s spreadsheet of past Veterans Committee candidates – some of them have come up a dozen times. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yuFmN8hBv73rxZiaR1OdputmK2_4a0…

With the rejiggering of the four era committees, the last of those, the Today’s Game one, concerning candidates whose biggest impact came in 1988 or later, is the least well-stocked in terms of eligibility; basically, it’s gonna take several more years for some of the better ones, such as Kenny Lofton, to be eligible in that format. Smith is a first-timer here based on how much higher his vote share was than the rest of them — he peaked above 50% — and my guess is that he’s going to be elected

12:51
Roger: Suppose your team has an obvious hole in the outfield, in the infield, and in the starting rotation.  Would you rather sign (a) Bryce Harper at 10/350 or (b) Patrick Corbin at 5/100 and AJ Pollock at 4/80?

12:51
Jay Jaffe: The latter. That’s a lot of extra $ and a lot less risk to assume.

12:51
billsaints: Did you die a bit inside when you saw Degrom got 29 first places?

12:53
Jay Jaffe: no. I didn’t even watch the show, for one thing — parenting duties and a risotto that took a lot longer than I’d bargained for occupied my time. I don’t really care about unanimity in awards voting; the name on the hardware is what matters, to the extent that it matters at all.

12:53
J-Co: Jay, I appreciate all of your work.  I looked under the JAWS hood for Edgar Martinez and Gary Sheffield and compared them on offense (including baserunning) only.  I took the fielding and position components out of their respective RARs and found that Sheffield had a career RAR of 905 (excluding defense) while Martinez was at 815.  I also looked at their best 7 years (to look at their peaks).  Sheffield clocks in at 493 to Martinez’s 534.  So Martinez had a slightly better peak number and Sheffield had a better career number offensively.  

I guess the question is why isn’t there much support for a Sheffield HOF candidacy?  Is it that people think his poor defense was worth less than Martinez’s lack of playing defense (that is what happens when WAR runs the numbers)?  If Sheffield had been a DH instead of a poor-fielding outfielder, would he be getting more HOF love?

12:56
Jay Jaffe: I think Sheffield’s shortfall has to do with 1) the crowded ballots; 2) BALCO connection (albeit a fairly minimal one; even Tom Verducci, who’s as law-and-order a voter as they come, seemed willing to exonerate Sheffield based upon the particulars of his story); 3) personality (including the debunked intentional error story); 4) defensive metrics. Maybe that’s out of order, but that’s a lot to overcome.

And yes, I think Sheffield might fare better as a DH candidate; had he been in that role for most of his career, he might be viewed as the best before Ortiz rather than Edgar.

12:56
Jason N: Is there any thought to marrying the farm system valuation framework with HoF chances?  It was very interesting to see the view of how much WAR and $ value each FV contributes.  And WAR seems to correlate with HoF chances.  I’m hoping you can develop the model that helps me understand the chances there’s another Padres HoF induction during my lifetime.

12:59
Jay Jaffe: I’ve never given it much thought and don’t really plan to anytime soon; I don’t think salary should be much of a concern, if any, in the HOF voting process.

I do think that given what we know about the successes of even top draft choices and top prospects, the fact that Ken Griffey Jr and Chipper Jones are the only 1/1 picks to make it to Cooperstown should enhance our appreciation of Joe Mauer’s career.

1:01
LPFan: Which expensive FA deal is the best deal? Scherzer’s?

1:03
Jay Jaffe: Scherzer’s might be the best right now but Alex Rodriguez produced 56.4 WAR in the first seven years of the 10-year deal from which he opted out in 2007, at a price of like $150 million.

1:03
Matt W: Because it’s early in the offseason and I don’t really have to face the starkness of reality yet, if I imagine a world where the Wilpons have money, wouldn’t Machado be a perfect signing for the Mets? Long term solution at 3B, middle of the order bat, plus it keeps him away from the teams’ biggest rivals. (of course in reality they won’t pay for him and if they did they’d treat him as bad as they did Beltran, but still)

1:05
Jay Jaffe: From a current roster and payroll standpoint, he’d be a better fit for the Mets than the Yankees, and that’s before considering that the Phillies appear to be a bigger threat to sign him than any AL East team. It won’t happen, of course, but it should.

1:05
Hey offseason its me ya boy: Any netflix recommendations?

1:07
Jay Jaffe: On the recommendation of an anglophile friend, I have been digging the Toast of London series. Also enjoying the Arrested Development Season 4 remix much more than I did the original version; eventually we’ll get to Season 5. Bojack Horseman remains great (but dark), and they just added A TON of Monty Python stuff, not only the full Flying Circus series but also several post-series specials. Gonna spend much of my winter non-baseball viewing time (such as there is any) sifting through the above.

1:08
Pat: Verlander with another 2nd place CY finish to give him 3. IIRC, he has finished 2nd in the 3 closest votes ever. Up to 11th all time in the CY shares. Pretty much only a total collapse or PED bust could keep him out of HOF now?

1:10
Jay Jaffe: I think he did a whole lot this year— 200th win,Cy-caliber season, 5th strikeout title, good stuff in the postseason — that turned his election into a likelihood rather than a question mark. See  https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/verlander-and-the-200-win-club/ and https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/zack-greinkes-climb-towards-cooperstow…
We’ll now pause a moment while I order lunch.

1:14
Ryan: Hey Jay, thanks for chatting. Do you see the Angels going after a free agent SP, or will they look to the trade market?

1:16
Jay Jaffe: Given how many injuries they’ve had within their rotation, it wouldn’t surprise me if they go after a top arm such as Corbin, Keuchel or Eovaldi, but I don’t think they’d be favorites to land him in terms of either money or near-term competitive promise.

1:16
Warren: What’s your favorite hall of fame weekend memory?

1:19
Jay Jaffe: I’ve actually only attended the last two Hall of Fame weekends. Loved going to the private Tim Raines party in 2017, loved the enthusiastic reception I’ve gotten while  selling copies of The Cooperstown Casebook on Main Street on the Saturdays.

Speaking of which… sales pitch time… holiday season is coming up and a signed, personalized copy of The Cooperstown Casebook makes a great, affordable gift. See https://cooperstowncasebook.com/2017/07/21/signed-copies-of-the-cooper… for more details.

1:19
resumeman: Does Fangraphs plan to host xstats at any point? I’m not sure if Perpetua’s xstats.org is going to be around long-term, and I make use of stats more granular than what I’ve found on Baseball Savant (like x1B and xHR vs xwOBA). It would be great to have a one-stop shopping here.

1:20
Jay Jaffe: I haven’t heard any discussion towards that end, but I’m not necessarily in the loop. I know we have other stat additions in the works, though, including my baby, K+ (indexed strikeout rate).

1:20
brad: Jay, Grienke will NEVER approve a trade to NY.   or did you forget about his social anxiety disorder???

1:23
Jay Jaffe: Greinke has a 15-team no-trade clause, and it may well include New York. To assume that his social anxiety disorder is the driver for that or for any of his decisions is obnoxious and irresponsible, though. It’s not like he hasn’t thrived in a major market before, or that his condition has impeded him in any way that’s been discussed publicly in nearly a decade.

1:23
Jonny: Would a Veteran’s Committee ever consider inducting Joe Torre as a HoF player? Or once you are in the HoF can you not be inducted as anything else? Or if someone like Paul Molitor, already in as a player, went on to be a HoF-caliber manager could they be added as a manager?

1:24
Jay Jaffe: Offhand I’m not 100% sure there’s explicitly a rule against it but in practice, once you’re in, you’re in, regardless of whether it’s as a player, manager or exec.

1:26
Oklahomabrave: What would your guess be for a Braves “big move” this offseason

1:28
Jay Jaffe: Unless they can get Realmuto from the Marlins, I expect they’ll be players for a catcher and a rightfielder — they’re said to have Wilson Ramos and Michael Brantley atop their lists at those positions. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were to bundle a few younger arms in exchange for Paxton, but I don’t know that they’re gung-ho to do that.

1:29
cheese: Kluber and Kipnis for Verdugo, Joc, and May – is that close?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: Kipnis has been a below-average player for the past two seasons and an injury-prone one for longer. I can’t imagine him being a trade target for any contender unless it’s in exchange for a similarly weighty contract. And as good as Kluber is, I don’t see the Dodgers giving up that much future value for starting pitching when they have a deeper stock than most, particularly with the return of Ryu.

1:33
Nate: How do you pronounce your last name? Silent “e”?

1:33
Jay Jaffe: Rhymes with taffy.

1:33
Leprechaun: Madison Bumgarner’s trade value: higher now or after a strong first half?

1:38
Jay Jaffe: Higher now, because he pitched well when available last year, though yes, the lower strikeout rate is cause for some concern. I’d rather take a chance on getting 180-200 innings from him than 50-60 down the stretch.

1:38
Vino: Assuming Harper doesn’t re-sign with the Nationals and that he and Machado both stay on their Hall of Fame paths, what would you say are the chances they wear the hats they sign with this winter on their plaques?

1:39
Jay Jaffe: less than 50%, because I think both deals will contain opt-outs that allow them another shot at free agency by their early 30s.

1:39
Tyler: Why should what pick someone is have anything to do with if they deserve to be in the HOF?

1:41
Jay Jaffe: I’m not saying it’s a huge factor, but from a historical perspective, it’s an interesting facet of his career, and something worth reminding Mauer’s detractors in particular. There’s a weight of expectations that comes with being 1/1 that few have been able to live up to. in 54 years of the amateur draft, only Griffey, Jones and A-Rod have been chosen at 1/1 and produced more value than Mauer.

1:43
James: What is the worst FA deal ever? Largest contract to provide negative WAR?

1:46
Jay Jaffe: Dunno about the second — Pablo Sandoval, maybe? — but you can spend some time looking at those of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Davis, Albert Pujols and Sandoval and find some of the worst.

1:46
P: What did you order for lunch?

1:46
Jay Jaffe: poke bowl. I just discovered these — essentially an alternate delivery system for sushi — earlier this year and while they make a pricey lunch, they’re a lot healthier than I’m prone to eating sometimes.

1:47
resumeman: Were there people in the media arguing against deGrom for Cy on account of wins? I’ve seen a number of comments along the lines of “even though a few old grumps still think wins should decide the best pitcher, most people no longer do” But I don’t recall *anyone* saying he shouldn’t win on that account. Were there any prominent ones you noticed?

1:49
Jay Jaffe: Within the media, I don’t recall much, but I simply could have forgotten; I’ve only got so much room for that stuff, and it matters even less. What I did see was a whole lot of Nationals fans who obviously felt Scherzer should have won, and I can’t begrudge them their view – he did have a great season.

1:49
Trevor: Will Pujols pass Musial in MVP shares?  He currently trails by .05 (6.96 to 6.91), and he’s got three more years on his contract, but he’s been so bad lately that finishing anywhere on a ballot at this point seems doubtful.

1:50
Jay Jaffe: you answered your own question. he’s never going to be even a down-ballot MVP candidate again.

1:50
Nate: Do you think McGwire ever makes the HOF?

1:52
Jay Jaffe: Yes. It may take 30 years but it will happen, as the electorate changes and distance from the hurt feelings decreases.

1:52
joe: Trevor Bauer pitched over half his games vs the AL Central.  He’s complaint should be against those teams not vs the voters.

1:53
Jay Jaffe: Trevor Bauer will always find something to complain about, as surely as the sun rises in the east.

1:53
SouthSide Jeff: Minnie Minoso and Dick Allen should be HOF.

1:53
Jay Jaffe: yes and yes.

1:54
Nate: Which down ballot HOF candidate do you think has the best chance to start picking up votes in the upcoming years?

1:55
Jay Jaffe: As the ballot traffic thins, I think Scott Rolen (10.2% in his debut) is likely to accumulate support rather than fall off.

1:55
stever20: Is Sale ever going to win a Cy Young in your opinion?

1:56
Jay Jaffe: He’s gotten very unlucky the past two years, spending the first 2/3 of the season as the clear frontrunner, more or less, and then fading/getting hurt. As for his future candidacy, I guess it depends on how serious his shoulder issue was.

1:56
Hello: Would Cutch be a good option for the Braves?  Mid-size contract, solid corner OF guy, good mentor for young players

1:57
Jay Jaffe: That makes some sense, sure.

1:57
Bill: Have you ever thought about indexing JAWS?

1:59
Jay Jaffe: Yes. I struggle with deviating from the simplicity of what i’ve already created, particularly with a book and so much writing out there that I would prefer remain compatible with my current writing, and tweaking it. I tend to worry that more numbers and more explaining is the wrong way to go. KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

2:00
Jay Jaffe: and with that, we’re out of time. No chat next week, so happy thanksgiving to you all!

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Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe.

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FS54

Trick to Sale winning Cy Young is have him take April off.