Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 7/19/18

12:02
Jay Jaffe: Howdy folks, and welcome to today’s chat. It’s been said in connection with Ted Williams’ final game that “Gods do not answer letters” — that’s John Updike, in his famous New Yorker piece — but somebody on high has brought us color footage of his final home run and highlights from his final game. Don’t miss this: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/sports/ted-williams-film-last-game….

12:03
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Brad Hand and Adam Cimber for Francisco Mejia. Discuss.

12:04
Jay Jaffe: I joked on Twitter that the entirety of my analysis beyond recalling that Mejia had a 50-game hitting streak two years ago was Jeff Spicoli saying, “Hola, Mr. Hand”

12:05
Jay Jaffe: That’s from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a staple of my teenage and early adult viewing, and a movie that you damn millennials (stands up from lawn chair and shakes cane) probably know nothing about. Well, rent it on your electric sousamaphones!

12:06
Jay Jaffe: Seriously, Mejia is a very nice get, and as a non-prospect guy I’ve never heard of Cimber. You’re probably better off asking Eric or Kiley about that and about how much catching Mejia will do going forward, though I’d bet the Padres will give him every chance to stick there.

12:06
Jkim: Shouldn’t the Dodgers look to trade someone like Toles & obviously Forsythe for bullpen help?

THey’d need to add a prospect to sweeten the deal obviously.

Idk how the trade will work out but I think Oh could be a good addition to their bullpen

12:10
Jay Jaffe: My forthcoming piece today is on the Dodgers’ glaring need in the bullpen. I didn’t really discuss what they might have to give up, but outfield depth is definitely an area of strength to deal from — as it is, they didn’t have to trade top OF prospect Alex Verdugo in the Machado deal and almost certainly won’t have to for relief help, but a guy like Toles could be a useful piece. Oh was mentioned among the handful of potential targests; I think they’ll pick up two (as they did last year with Cingrani and Watson) and also use some of their rotation surplus to pick up innings down the stretch while curbing usage. Sterling, Buehler, Wood, for as good as they’ve been, probably can’t pitch straight through the end of October out of the rotation if the Dodgers make it that far, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they shuffle through the seventh or eighth inning for a spell.

12:10
Jay Jiraffe: Do you see Fowler finishing out his contract in St Louis?

12:13
Jay Jaffe: No, but I also don’t see the Cardinals dealing him at the nadir of his value. Maybe he hits well enough the rest of the way to be moved this winter.

Also, my word what a garbage fire Matheny turned into as a manager. If you’re as tactically inept as he is,  your Leader-of-Men bullshit can’t be as horseshit as his turned out to be. I would be very surprised if he gets another MLB managerial job anytime soon.

12:13
v2micca: If you had to chose one right now, which division do you think will have the most compelling race down the stretch?

12:14
Jay Jaffe: They’ve got clear favorites according to our playoff odds, but I think all of the NL races have the potential to be tight. In the AL, less so but I’d bet the Yankees and Red Sox wind up staying close until the end.

12:15
Jay Jiraffe: Who is the next big domino to be traded after Machado and Hand not having been dealt?

12:15
Jay Jaffe: My guess is J.A. Happ, who’s probably the top starter available assuming the Mets don’t deal deGrom or Syndergaard.

12:15
tb.25: As a writer, when a trade occurs late n the evening, is it nice to then write about it and have your planned-to-publish articles for future use, or a pain to have to write quickly at night?

12:18
Jay Jaffe: It varies, particularly on a staff where there are several writers capable of leading the charge and some of them don’t have to wake up to deal with a toddler the next morning. If it’s in my lap, I always try to put the breaking news first, but I’m not the guy who can stay up until 3 AM ET writing (Dan) or have the temporal advantage of being on the west coast (Jeff)

12:18
Josh: Will Chase Utley’s Hall of Fame voting results utimately help or hurt individuals like Lou Whitaker, Tony Oliva, Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso and others with < 2,000 hits?

12:22
Jay Jaffe: Whitaker has 2,369 hits, so I think it must be Bobby Grich (1,833 hits and 8th in JAWS) that you’re thinking of. Oliva, Allen and Minoso are all likely to be considered as candidates for the 2021 Golden Days Era Committee ballot, and there’s a reasonable chance one of them finally makes it and breaks the logjam, which could help Utley, who becomes eligible in 2024 but is likely to need several years to get to 75%.

12:22
Theo: Should the Cubs look to add starting pitching at the deadline, or just hope Lester doesn’t regress and the rest of the staff improves in the second half?

12:24
Jay Jaffe: With Darvish on the DL and Chatwood struggling, I would expect that they add a starter and hope that some combination of those two and Montgomery can together fill out one spot the rest of the way

12:25
Kevin: What percentage of questions in the queue have to do with the Machado trade? What about the Hand trade?

12:27
Jay Jaffe: Maybe half the questions in the queue are about those deals and their ramifications for other ones. As Not the Prospect Guy, I’m generally not going to hazard a guess about the specifics of who Team X needs to package to get Team Y’s big asset.

12:27
Jay Jiraffe: What would it take for the Cubs to get Britton on board? What other viable options for late inning impact relievers are there?

12:30
Jay Jaffe: I gave a partial list here. Soria, Familia, Oh and Iglesias are some options. Britton has not really pitched all that well since returning from his Achilles injury, but he has another 10 days or so to recover some of his value. If he can, his history puts him at or near the top of the list. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/after-acquiring-machado-dodgers-need-r…

12:30
Jay Jiraffe: Brewers content to stay put again this year and roll with what they have?

12:33
Jay Jaffe: They heavily pursued Machado, so I would imagine that they do something at shortstop, but it won’t be on the same scale. Galvis, Asdrubal, Mercer – there’s not a lot of obvious candidates out there that’s inspiring but I do think the Brewers have the depth (esp OF) and creativity to go after a more controllable piece if they can find a match.

12:34
fjtorres: I’m getting Rincon for Giles flashbacks after hearing of Mejia for Hand & Cimber.

12:38
Jay Jaffe: Ricardo Rincon was a lefty specialist, Hand isn’t, and for Mejia to have a career, or at least controllable term, that’s as good as Brian Giles’ in terms of value is probably a 90th percentile outcome. Could this look that bad in 20 years? Yes. Will it? Odds say no.

12:39
Dom: JT Realmuto has been a monster offensively this year, but the projections have him pegged for a .782 OPS rest of season. What do you expect from him to close out 2018?

12:42
Jay Jaffe: Given that the MLB average for catchers is a .680 OPS, .782 is still a productive hitter for the position, and he offers above-average defense as well. That’s gonna be an upgrade for most teams even if he cools off or otherwise wears down.

12:42
mlb fan: what realistic package would it take to acquire Noah Syndergaard if yanks keep everyone on 25 man roster ? is it even possible

12:43
Jay Jaffe: Realistically, Syndergaard to the Bronx is not happening. Please, move along.

12:43
GoMs: I’d be really interested in the acquisition cost of Dexter Fowler. I think he’d be a big help to the Mariners or Indians.

12:45
Jay Jaffe: he’s a great change of scenery candidate but no team is going to take on the remainder of his contract without making the Cardinals eat a great deal of it. And I don’t think they’re willing to do that, yet.

12:45
Derek in Little Rock: Thoughts on FanGraphs playoff odds having the Nationals as the current favorite to win the NL East down 5.5 games with two teams to overtake?  The discrepancy between this and Baseball Prospectus’ model is of course the largest among the projections.

12:47
Jay Jaffe: I’ve said this for weeks but I think the Nationals’ route to the top of the NL East is guys like Harper, Murphy, Turner and Wieters coming around — and I think they will.

12:48
brood550: What do we make of Harper’s defensive numbers this season?

12:52
Jay Jaffe: partial season defensive metrics should be regarded with caution, especially when they’re out of kilter with the rest of a player’s recent performance. I do wonder if Harper was losing a larger % of discretionary plays to Taylor than in the past, and also if Bryce spotting in CF is taking its toll both physically and mentally on his game. his 18 games there are already more than he’s played in any season since his 2012 rookie campaign.

12:53
v2micca: Loving that you guys are keeping the trade value series going.  I’m wondering, is Trout good enough that even in his walk year he would still crack the top 20?

12:54
Jay Jaffe: That’s a question for Kiley. Without giving away too much, I do know that he’ll be in the top 5 this year, and that’s with a year less control than anybody else in that group.

12:55
Moltar: I rewatched it not that long ago, and man Fast Times has aged terribly. Spiccoli is still good for some laughs but other that that, woof

12:59
Jay Jaffe: I haven’t seen it in its entirety in a good 15 years, but given its primary focus on sexually frustrated teen boys trying to get laid, that doesn’t exactly surprise me. It’s a classic of the genre, but you have to brace yourself to era-adjust for a lot of stuff that wouldnt’ fly today. You could say the same thing about John Hughes’ movies too — Molly Ringwald’s essay in The New Yorker about her roles, particularly in the Breakfast Club, is well worth a read https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/what-about-the-brea…

12:59
fjtorres: Relievers are volatile and there were plenty available for “mere cash” in the offseason. Blowup potential way high, no?

1:00
Jay Jaffe: to paraphrase Joe Sheehan, whose newsletter you should be subscribing to, variance trumps everything when it comes to small samples, especially for relievers

1:01
Ed: FYI, Spicoli said “Aloha” and not “Hola”. Unless you were watching the movie dubbed in Spanish.

1:01
Jay Jaffe: https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/036a4873-1d09-44c5-bbbd-1a9fc1cb6b89

I don’t have a transcript in front of me but he said both. Come at the king, you best not miss.

1:02
5 Run Homer: Hey! I’m 18 years old and I love Fast Times!

1:02
Jay Jaffe: sexually frustrated teen boys are a renewable resource.

1:02
v2micca: Forthcoming?  I read it while I was waiting for the chat to start.

1:03
Jay Jaffe: As so often happens, particularly on Thursdays, I have become unstuck in time. I even retweeted the article, which was published 20 minutes before this chat began.

1:03
brood550: Could the Dodgers build a trade for Degrom and possibly Familia around Verdugo and Buehler?

1:04
Jay Jaffe: could; won’t. I think they see Buehler as somebody who’s already not that far off deGrom and has a chance to narrow the gap over the next few years.

1:04
Bo: Do you subscribe to The Athletic? There’s too much good content up there to read everything.

1:05
Jay Jaffe: I do, and my wife, Emma Span, is the editor of their national MLB site. I can’t read it all, and Emma can’t keep up with my stuff, so it evens out!

1:05
Doug: You see the Padres using Mejia/Hedges like how the Dodgers username Grandal/Barnes last year?

1:06
Jay Jaffe: are you saying I can log into your accounts with Grandal/Barnes as username/password? Thanks. I’d like a mix of $10s , $20s and $50s

1:06
Dar Yuvish: Staying on the Cardinals, do you think Norris might feel a little awkward/embarrassed with how his role has been portrayed? Or do you think he’s blissfully oblivious

1:07
Jay Jaffe: I think Norris should feel awkward and embarrassed but it seems highly likely that he doesn’t. If I’m Mozeliak, I’m trading him yesterday.

1:07
JP: It’s obviously time to worry about Byron Buxton in the batter’s box.  But how worried on the 1-10 scale should we be?

1:09
Jay Jaffe: playing though the broken toe and the migraine issues is almost certainly a factor in his performance, and they’ll wind up burning a year of his club control in a noncompetitive situation in part due to that. I still think the upside is very high but that they need to manage him more closely, and encourage him NOT to just “tough it out” in order to get the most out of him.

1:10
Bo: With the Braves and Phillies on the rise, and the Nationals’ window closing, should Washington go all-in this year?

1:12
Jay Jaffe: Even if Harper walks, Scherzer, Strasburg, Rendon, Turner, Soto, Robles (assuming they don’t trade him) et al isn’t a window that’s closing imminently. That said, I do think they should be aggressive given the strong possibility this is their last chance to win with Harper, and the pressure to get out of the first round for the first time.

1:12
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: How was the Politics and Prose event? My lovely mother and sister went in my stead and picked up the books for me, and the pod-catcher of my choice has not uploaded the audio of the event just yet. My Mom’s takeaway: “I have so many questions. What is ‘clutch?'”

1:14
Jay Jaffe: the event was great! It felt like the BP annual events of yesteryear that I was privileged to be a part of. Our conversation was fun, and according to the event guy we had 120-140 people in house, and I know we Sold Some Damn Books. Thanks to everybody who came out, and especially those who bought books, your mother and sister included. I too was told there would be audio made available, so I’m hopeful it surfaces soon

1:14
Smokey: In a 7×7 H2H with OPS, offensive K’s, L’s, and K/BB as the extra categories. I just traded away Zack Greinke and Mike Clevinger for Carlos Carasco and Matt Olson (I need power with Donaldson out with a hangnail and my pitching is stacked). How’d I do?

1:15
Jay Jaffe: Beats me, I don’t play fantasy. Sorry.

1:15
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Speaking of ambassadors to the game, perhaps Mr. Manfred could use some better marketing, as he has somehow convinced hordes of baseball fans that he hates the game and wants to ruin it with his pace of play initiatives. His level of visibility must be up there with the tier of players after Trout/Betts/Judge/Altuve.

1:17
Jay Jaffe: I didn’t think it was possible for a commissioner to surpass Bud Selig in negative charisma but I’ll be damned if Rob Manfred hasn’t done so in short order. Anything other than “Thank you Jeebus for this bounty of young, diverse and marketable players such as Trout, Harper, Judge, Lindor, Ramirez, Betts, Correa and Altuve” is doing it wrong.

1:18
CubFan: Do the A’s trade Treinen? Do you think the A’s should trade Teienen?

1:22
Jay Jaffe: Good question. He was mentioned by Olney and Morosi in pieces I linked, ones that were written before the A’s surge, which has their odds at a postseason spot up to a respectable 29%. I think they should listen on Treinen, because they might be bowled over, but I also think that there’s a very human cost to trading him, one that sends the wrong message to his teammates and the fans: “Hey, it’s cool we’ve won some games but we’re just gonna spin our wheels for awhile again.”

Given the extent to which the Mariners have overachieved relative to their run differential, the A’s owe it to themselves to stay ready to pounce on a wild card spot.

1:23
Swarlos: Do you think Utley’s HOF campaign will be handicapped by a lack of support from the NY chapter of the BBWAA?

1:23
Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the NY chapter of the BBWAA is particularly sympathetic to the Mets. That’s not the way this works.

1:24
Moltar: Would the Dodgers be able to fit Familia in under the cap? He seems like he’d take the least amount of prospect capital to acquire. Surely they have a single-A reliever the Mets are interested in.

1:27
Jay Jaffe: I haven’t seen the post-Machado luxury tax projections but I think they’re going to need a bit of creativity, and some of it probably involves swallowing hard and moving a guy  that they generally like in order to create some wiggle room. Maybe it’s Ryu, maybe it’s  Puig or a 50% discount on the rest of Rich Hill’s deal… I dunno, but they’ll find a way to add whoever they feel they need.

1:27
Bo: What could Carlos Martinez fetch if dealt? Any chance the Cards will consider moving him, either now or in the offseason?

1:28
Jay Jaffe: A big one given club control through 2023. I don’t see a strong likelihood of that happening either right now or this winter.

1:28
Kristen: Is there still a market for Kela and Diekman with CLE now out of the picture?

1:29
Jay Jaffe: Here’s something important to remember: every contender has the bullpen among their areas of need. It may not be their #1 priority but You Can’t Have Too Much Pitching is as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

1:29
James: How many games do you expect the Orioles to win now?

1:30
Jay Jaffe: Our projections now have them finishing at 55-107, and it’s gonna get worse. I’d say 50 to 52 wins.

1:31
Bort: Any chance of a Fowler/Chris Davis bad contract swap? Obviously the Cardinals would have to add a prospect or two.

1:31
Jay Jaffe: Fowler has full no-trade protection, and between what happened in Baltimore in the winter of 2015-2016 and where the Orioles are headed, I think he says Hell No to that one, and rightly so.

1:32
Lee: Devers for Syndergaard  straight up.  Realistic?

1:32
Jay Jaffe: Nope

1:33
Sum: value of no-hitters caught in HOF voting? I’m a Red Sox homer and remember all the awesome non-counting-stat things that Varitek did, including catching 4 no-no’s. but he’ll never make it

1:33
Jay Jaffe: I think there’s your answer. it’s a neat bit of trivia that has no bearing on the major things a catcher needs to to do be HOFworthy.

1:33
Matt: I just took a look at Hamels #’s this year. While better than I expected, they’re still…not good. And particularly not good for the Yanks. Running a high WHIP in spite of a .288 BABIP, 20% HR/FB rate…LHB are slugging lower than RHB against him, but higher OBP and AVG. If he comes to NY, my fellow Yankees fans who are much less rational than I are going to collectively poop their pants, aren’t they?

1:34
Jay Jaffe: Hamels has fallen a long way since being dealt to the Rangers in 2015. He’s an expensive #4 now, I think, and he won’t be  helped by moving to another hitters’ park.

1:34
Jkim: Isn’t it incredible that the Mets are this bad? A team led by degrom syndergaard and conforto+ a breakout nimmo shouldnt be THIS bad right?

1:35
Jay Jaffe: Conforto has been bad in the wake of the shoulder injury, the infield is about a worst-case scenario outside of Asdrubal’s hitting and solid play from Frazier, and Cespedes has been injured for a good long time. that’s a lot of bad luck, but the design was nothing to write home about either.

1:36
Scott: Is Zack Wheeler a reasonable target for the A’s?

1:38
Jay Jaffe: I think every team in the market for pitching will be kicking the tires on him. He won’t come cheap but he’s probably capable of being an upgrade at the back of most contenders’ rotation (except the Astros and Dodgers, at least).

1:38
Justin: JA Happ has been real real bad lately. Just a blip or will some team (Yankees I bet) regret it?

1:40
Jay Jaffe: July has been unkind to him. I suspect it’s a blip but at most he’s got 2 starts to turn it around, or the Jays won’t get a ton for him.

1:40
tl: this fowler situation makes no sense. he’s had 250 abs and been arguably the worst player in the NL and is complaining about “needing a chance.” bader has been better significantly in every   way and the team needs to win badly to gain spots in the standings. Im not saying DFA him, but he should be the 4th outfielder for sure. thoughts?

1:43
Jay Jaffe: Some of it is certainly on Fowler, and I wonder if his wife’s pregnancy has been a distraction, but Matheny didn’t exactly foster a hospitable work atmosphere, and Moz only threw more gasoline on the fire. He homered on Sunday, the beginning of the post-Matheny era, and I have to think the Cardinals will give him a longer look in the hopes of getting the guy they’ll be paying for through 2021 regardless. They can do that while still finding work for Bader, too, so long as they stop trying to force Jose Martinez into the OF picture.

1:44
Michael J: Toles, Joc, Puig. Which one gets moved now?

1:44
Jay Jaffe: Ask not for whom the bell Toles.

1:44
Mike: Hand seems to have gotten less than Miller got for fewer years of control, is that the name brand ? Or should Millers return be viewed in a vaccuum similar to Chapman?

1:46
Jay Jaffe: Brad Hand is not Andrew Miller, not close. Thanks to his high K%, Miller was putting up FIPs in the 1s and low 2s for 2 1/2 years before the trade, Hand is low 3s for the last 2 1/2 seasons.

1:46
Mr. Hand: You’re on dangerous ground, Mr. Jaffe…  you’re causing a major disturbance on my time

1:47
Jay Jaffe: Regardless of how that film ages, Ray Walston will never be forgotten thanks to that role.

1:47
Bo: That’s right, Emma is with The Athletic now! They’re adding too rapidly to keep up with who’s on their team.

1:48
Jay Jaffe: Emma moved from SI to the Athletic at almost exactly the time I joined the staff here, in mid-February, but since she’s not writing, the move flew below the radar.

1:48
ralph: With the talks of a possible expansion team….which state is the most likely candidate?

1:49
Jay Jaffe: If it’s not Montreal, I think Portland and Charlotte are the most likely destinations, though San Antonio or Austin might squeeze in there. Oregon, North Carolina, Texas then.

1:50
Ryan: With Utley retiring, does that turn his contract into a one year deal with an AAV of 2 million instead of a two year deal with an AAV of 1.5 million?  Would be a shame for the Dodgers if that 500k difference ended up being decisive in whether they can stay under the cap.

1:51
Jay Jaffe: No. By officially retiring, he’s essentially forfeiting that year’s deal, but my guess is that the Dodgers rework it into a personal services contract of some sorts, which won’t count towards their player payroll. Maybe it’s just one year as a special assistant to the GM, or maybe it’s part of a longer-term deal, but the Dodgers Love Them Some Chase Utley.

1:53
Kevin: Are you disappointed in Acuna offensively so far?

1:54
Jay Jaffe: He had a 110 wRC+ before the injury, but he’s down to 99 now. So long as that’s rust and not him playing at well below 100%, I’m not worried, but if I’m the Braves I’d make sure I know that’s the case

1:54
Follow Up: Read an Athletic article the other day about Posey’s impending (current?) decline years. It talked a lot about the intangible value he adds as an everyday catcher, game manager, etc. My question is this – does he have a chance at the HoF if he falls short of 2,000 hits?

1:56
Jay Jaffe: I think it’s a tough uphill battle for anybody with less than 2000 hits, but a guy with 3 rings and an MVP award is in a better place than most. Still, he’s gonna have to get a lot closer than where he is now, but I think it’s more likely that his bat will play at 1B or, say, LF, than a worst-case Mauer-like scenario.

1:56
Wes: What’s the sandwich-of-the-day today?

1:56
Jay Jaffe: Hanco’s classic banh mi (ham, ground pork, pate). A frequent Seamless order for me!

1:57
LegalEagle: Over-under: Chase Utley will be a head coach on a MLB team within 5 years.

1:57
Jay Jaffe: This ain’t football.

1:57
White Sox fan: Please tell me that Joakim Soria will bring back at least one decent prospect.

1:57
Jay Jaffe: yes, he will

1:57
Jay Jaffe: OK folks, tons of great questions today and I wish I could stay longer but I am gassed and it’s almost 2 PM. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you next week!

We hoped you liked reading Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 7/19/18 by Jay Jaffe!

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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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sterling62
Member
sterling62

Thanks for the informative chat. I noticed that Jay was quite critical of Matheny calling him a “garbage fire” in an unsolicited comment. This clearly is the consensus of fangraphs and I believe Ben and Jeff stated he was the worst manager in baseball. While admittedly I have seen very few Cardinal games recently, it seems strange that Matheny can be considered the worst manager in baseball given his record. During his 6.5 years they won 55.5% of games, and I believe the Cardinals won more games than every other team in baseball during his tenure, with the exception of the Dodgers and Nationals. In fact, I believe he had more wins than any manager in baseball during this timeframe, since both the Dodgers and Nats changed managers.
While a manager has only a small impact on a team’s record in my opinion, it seems highly unlikely that the “worst manager in baseball” or a “garbage-fire manager” could produce the most wins over a 6 year period. Amazingly, for a baseball site which prides itself on statistical analysis, the assessment of Matheny seems to be based entirely on anecdotes and emotions, while ignoring the most important statistic…wins!

fjtorres
Member
fjtorres

It’s not just about wins or losses or John Farrell would still be managing the Red Sox.
Managers wear out their welcome.
Even good ones.

Matheny wasn’t at the top of the list (some would say the team won despite him) and he worked his way ever lower.
Publicly and openly trashing Fowler at a time of team stress made it look like he was trying to save his job at Fowler’s expense. Not even bad managers do that. The term is “bush”.

There’s unwritten rules for managers, too.