Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 11/3/17

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Our first Friday baseball chat of the offseason

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I am fully prepared to take your offseason questions while being unprepared to answer them

9:08
Dookie Howser, MD: Did the Red Sox hire Tony La Russa as some kind of cruel joke?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: The current Red Sox front office sure looks different from the Red Sox front office of just a few years ago

9:09
Bebop: give me a hypothetical trade that helps fix the Cubs bullpen…a trade with the Indians where they get Zach Macallister, Otero, Merrit, Clevinger for Montgomery, Edwards & Schwarber work?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: They could sign Brandon Morrow

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: The elite relievers aren’t out there, at least not in free agency. There’s no Jansen, there’s no Chapman. This was also a season of re-learning that really good relievers can emerge out of nowhere. I’m not convinced the Cubs won’t just load up on talented arms and hope to find another Blake Parker or something

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I also don’t think they would be that interested in moving Edwards, playoffs be damned

9:11
Ned Yost: Can you talk a little about Jake McGee? His FIP away from Coors was 1.95, the Ks are there, control was decent. What kind of deal is he looking at in free agency?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Not too old, re-gained a lot of his missing velocity. Not the strikeout machine he used to be but McGee is positioned to get two fairly pricey years on the market

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: One minute, having some technical difficulties with a podcast just recorded before this

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry for this annoyance

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: This is very annoying for all of us…

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: All right, we’re back to normal now

9:19
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: In a crazy hypothetical where the Yankees decide that Hinch is the only manager for them, what kind of talent would they have to give up for the Astros to part with him?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously, there’s not much of a history of compensation for managers

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: When Theo Epstein went to the Cubs, they sent the Red Sox Chris Carpenter (not that one) and Aaron Kurcz

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I’d think in this weird-ass hypothetical, the Yankees would have to give the Astros a third-tier prospect or two

9:22
Jack: Going into into this year, perhaps more than any other year I can remember, almost everyone seemed to agree on who was going to win each division. In each case, the majority turned out to be correct, and most division “races” weren’t even close. I know the offseason hasn’t even started yet, but it seems like each one of those teams will once again be picked by the majority to repeat as division champs, though I’m sure there will be people predicting the Yankees to overtake the Red Sox. So I’m not gonna let you answer this question with the Yankees. Excluding the Yankees, which non-division winning team in 2017 has the best chance to win their division in 2018?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I’m tempted to say it’s either the Brewers or the Mets

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Neither team has that great of a chance, especially with the Brewers missing Jimmy Nelson, but the Cubs are going to need a lot of pitching help they might not get. And the Mets might get their own healthy pitchers to stay healthy instead of hurt

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Really wouldn’t take that much to make the Mets competitive again

9:24
Safety Stegosaurus: Does Apizza Scholls live up to the hype?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing good ever lives up to the hype, but it is delicious pizza

9:24
Bebop: if you were the Cardinals, would you trade Matt Carpenter this off season?  Seems like either Carpenter or Wong should go.

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t make a point of it, no. He’s too valuable, and they’re still trying to be competitive

9:26
YDG: If you could take control of the FO for any team that didn’t make the playoffs, who would you go with?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Padres, maybe. Zero expectations, very little pressure, potential for a fast rise

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Good place to live

9:27
CamdenWarehouse: whew – I’m really glad we’re moving into offseason baseball coverage.  The playoffs are tedious with the same things being said again and again just changing team/player names etc.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I love the playoffs, work demands aside, but it is nice to get to this point and remember that there are 30 teams, instead of 10 or 8 or 4 or 2

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I’m ready to write about teams who aren’t the Astros or the Dodgers

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Well, let me say, I’ll be ready to write about those teams next week. Right now I’m all out of juice

9:28
Matt: What type of decline, if any, do you expect to see out of Lester in ’18? If it is somewhat steep, does that necessitate a more aggressive FA/trading strategy for SP acquisition?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I expect that Lester’s going to be fine. But I also expect that the Cubs will be very aggressive looking for quality rotation help

9:28
Mark: Stanton is wearing a ___ jersey next season.

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: different

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Take that, Mark

9:29
Daniel: What now?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: The other fun part

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: The playoffs are the fun part, but the regular season is also the fun part. But the transaction stuff is *also* the fun part

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: This is when you get to see organizational plans implemented and tweaked. You get to try to read into every single transaction to see what a team might be trying to do. The stakes are much lower than what they were this past month, but I love it for the puzzles

9:30
Chase Kimura: Who’s your second baseman for the Halos? Cesar Hernandez would look pretty hitting in front of Trout and J-Up. They have money to spend on some pitching as well.

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Hernandez would be a good fit for them, but they’re probably still in a situation where they don’t have what they’d need in order to trade for him

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I wonder if they might swoop in to try to get Ian Kinsler

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Probably too much of a longshot to expect the Angels to buy low on Jurickson Profar

9:33
ljc: The year after their World Series went just fine, but it did not go as well as the Cubs would’ve wanted. If a similar step back happened to the Astros (and Dodgers, though they obviously did not win), what would you guess the reasons were?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a general believer in the hangover effect, whether because of reduced energy, or just because of having to play an extra month, meaning that’s a month stolen from the offseason. The Astros just left everything on the field and they’re going to have less time to rest

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Throw in some kind of psychological component, where it might take them a while to generate that same drive, and you could see a slow start

9:35
Bortky: Any particular features you are looking forward to / want to promote this offseason? (More ball conspiracy, the effects of animals running out onto the playing field, etc?)

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: You might be under the impression that I go into every offseason with a plan

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I do not do that

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Every single day — every single day — I wake up and wing it

9:36
Jerkstore: Roberto Osuna for Ian Happ? if someone needs to add pieces, which team?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think the Cubs want to give up that much control over a quality young position player

9:37
Craig: Which of the current tankers/rebuilders has the best chance of following in the Astros’ footsteps?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the Phillies, depending on how strongly you believe in Hoskins

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: You can start to see the development of a core of position players, plus Aaron Nola

9:38
Q-Ball: Final prediction on Jake Arrieta’s contract?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I have absolutely no idea

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s going to get more than he’s worth, because it’ll only take one owner

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I guess I’ll say 4/$90m, but I wouldn’t want to be the team that does that

9:39
HappyFunBall: Now that we’re officially in the off-season, let’s make some guesses. What FA is going to receive an unconscionably large deal? Who’s going to be the best bargain? What otherwise cromulent player is going to be inexplicably unsigned when Spring Training begins?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta is going to take forever to sign, and then he’ll sign for too much

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Morrow will sign a decent contract, but I bet he could end up worth a lot more than the guarantee

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Chatwood has already been discussed as a clear upside guy

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t see a Charlie Morton anywhere, but I guess you could always take a shot on Henderson Alvarez

9:42
jjkeller: Better for a team like the Mariners to go all in on a guy like Darvish and then cheaper on OF/1B, or try to spread the wealth between the three?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Spread the wealth. Mariners aren’t in position to go all-in on anybody. Their big offseason hope is basically luck into Ohtani

9:43
Steve: The Astros’ decision to not sign Brady Aiken got them Alex Bregman. Safe to say that worked out ok right?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure there’s anyone in the world possessing a higher degree of self-confidence than Alex Bregman

9:44
Bebop: If the Yanks had beaten Houston, can you think of a more impressive road to the WS (beating Cleveland & Houston) from years past?  I’m sure there are some but none immediately spring to mind.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: But it also didn’t happen

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: So

9:44
Tea Leoni for Third: Why does Portland have light rail and a streetcar and why do they overlap so much?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, but there’s still not enough of it

9:44
Zonk: Is it fair to say the Dodgers made all the right moves in putting their team together, it just didn’t work out?  Baseball, right?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty much

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Every team makes moves they regret, but the Dodgers assembled a juggernaut. And then Yu Darvish, one of the better starting pitchers in the game, was shit two times, out of nowhere

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Throw in a Kenley Jansen blown save and, welp, that’s baseball for you

9:46
Tea Leoni for Third: Who will be the best player acquired this offseason by the Mariners?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Some league-average first baseman

9:46
stever20: so how crazy was this World Series that we had not only one of the top 10 WS performances ever in Springer, but also one of the bottom 10 WS performances ever in Darvish?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: In Darvish’s defense, the win probability numbers blame him for defensive mistakes, like, say, the Cody Bellinger error

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: But he was still very bad

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Fun series!

9:47
Safety Stegosaurus: Will Tulowitzki’s unwillingness to move off shortstop present a problem down the road?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Down the road, he’ll be more likely to change his mind

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: For now, it’s not the defense that’s holding Tulowitzki back

9:47
Steve: Do you see any pace of play changes implemented this offseason?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely yes

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: At the very least, I expect to see the pitch clock

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: And I wouldn’t be surprised if the league did something about the innumerable mound meetings between pitchers and catchers

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if it’s just something I started to notice, but catchers in the playoffs were going out every damn third pitch

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I get it, the stakes are high and everything, but, good lord, Willson Contreras

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: (and Brian McCann)

9:48
Steve: Everyone has Harper going to New York or LA. Any dark horse candidates?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: everyone else

9:49
HappyFunBall: What _wrong_ lesson from this year’s postseason are too many teams going to learn?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: You can ignore your best reliever in the World Series based on small-sample struggles

9:49
Tea Leoni for Third: Does Hosmer only get a crazy contract if the Red Sox bite?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: No, he’s going to get something enormous

9:50
Zonk: What next for the Giants?  Can they really acquire enough talent to get back into contention?  Or is it more likely they just plod along because they can’t stomach trading Posey and/or MadBum?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Giants are likely to bounce back in a pretty significant way even by doing almost nothing. Clearly they need some help in the outfield and whatnot, but I’m not too concerned about the core talent on the roster. I think it was just one of those years

9:50
Guest: Postseason baseball is a small sample but can people stop with the notion that the 2017 Astros were “too RH” & while Yuli Gurriel might be a racist, he’s a pretty damn good hitter too, not a offensive liability.

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine caring at this point

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: The Astros won the championship. That kind of validates everything, in retrospect

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Gurriel has an unusual offensive profile and he’s not an elite first baseman or anything, but in today’s game, contact gets you places

9:52
Happ-y, JA-Y: Do the Jays sell off Donaldson and kickstart the rebuild or keep him and try for contention again this year?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I mostly expect them to try again

9:52
Happ-y, JA-Y: Does Molitor win MoY?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Almost certainly

9:53
Canyonero Driver: How would the Cubs analytical department compare to others? Top 5? Top 10?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Easy top 10. Within there, no idea. Little to distinguish one top FO from another

9:53
Mike: With Jake Arrieta seemingly not having a robust market, does it seem like he might end up back with the Cubs rather that the Cubs signing, say Darvish (especially if Ohtani is further delayed)?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine that, at least in private, the Cubs are pretty happy to be going their separate ways. I doubt they’d have much interest at all in a reunion. They see all the same indicators as everyone else

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta is a Boras guy. He’ll go over the top of some front office to sell a know-nothing owner on Arrieta’s proven track record of big-game pitching

9:54
Q-Ball: What teams do you think are going to go full rebuild this offseason?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles should, but presumably won’t

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Blue Jays could, but presumably won’t

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Tigers have already started

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how the Royals are going to emerge from this

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Rangers might start laying the rebuild foundation

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: And the Marlins, of course, are going to begin some major shedding

9:57
Silly Beane: Hi Jeff: Do you think the Giants and Cubbies could work out a Heyward for Melancon and Shark deal?  Swap of bad contracts for everyone *and* that still fits their needs

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Teams would be interested in Samardzija and Melancon. No team would feel particularly compelled to take a chance on Heyward

9:58
James: How do the Astros fix the bullpen? Add a lefty and….?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: voila

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t need to do very much

9:58
RIP Rick the Peanut Guy: Does Andrew Albers make the M’s rotation or at least lined up as the 6th starter?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I could see him opening as the 5th guy

9:59
StolenMonkey86: What will be the worst move of the offseason?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Overpaying Arrieta

10:00
Oscar O’Bannon: Hey Jeff. True or false (or somewhere in between): The Dodgers and Cubs are the two premiere teams in the National League with the best young cores, most resources, and best front offices and we could see them do battle in the NLCS two or three more times over the next 4-6 years.

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Basically true. Reality is never quite that simple, but your statement is basically true

10:00
Moltar: Instead of suspending him for regular season games, should Manfred have suspended Gurriel for part of the offseason instead? Meaning he would be barred from the parade and any other public celebrations with the team.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: That doesn’t really help you set precedent. What if the Astros hadn’t won?

10:01
Matt: Baseball is over :(

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball is never over

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Every day, there are baseball games. It’s just that the games taking place right now involve the front offices instead of the players

10:02
Q-Ball: What trade value does Schwarber have, in your opinion?  He had a great 2nd half, do you think that is true Schwarber?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t have a great second half. He had a fine second half, where he hit for power and struck out all the time without playing good defense

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Schwarber still comes with tons of control, and he’s going to hit, but he’s not in position to land the Cubs a true premium long-term piece

10:03
James: Ken Giles had an ugly month but is he still the astros’ closer going forward?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, he’s great

10:03
Astros FO: Astros fans will be salivating at the thought of Tucker & Whitley coming up after the Futures Game. But once we beef up the bullpen this offseason, would you agree that would pin us as the 2018 favorites?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: No one looks as good as the Astros do. Other teams look very good, but not *that* good

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: We’ve begun the process of updating all of our team depth charts, preparing for the offseason. As of right now, the Astros’ standing roster projects at 3 WAR more than the next-best team (Dodgers)

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hooray, it’s back to months upon months of focusing on team projections!

10:06
Guest: could julio teheran return someone like jo addell right now?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Possible but a bit of a stretch. Teheran seems like a try-this-again-in-July kind of trade candidate

10:06
Moltar: Is it just me, or is there no team you can really pick out for 2018 as being a “year-too-early” surprise? I feel like the playoff field will be pretty similar next year, maybe sans the Twins and Rockies.

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Well, if the surprises were obvious ahead of time, they wouldn’t be surprises

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Who had the Brewers winning 86 games?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: I could see the Phillies having a decent year. Ditto the A’s

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Every year I feel like I’m kind of too high on the A’s, but, look at them!

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Dustin Fowler could be a Rookie of the Year candidate

10:09
Q-Ball: The trade deadline featured a huge difference in valuation between pitching and hitting.  Will that carry over into the offseason?  Or was the 2017 trade deadline somehow unique?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I think pitching always fetches a premium around the deadline because playoff teams know they could leverage pitcher playing time in October

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Less obvious to see yourself as a playoff team in the offseason

10:10
Matt: Could a team, hypothetically speaking, funnel money to Ohtani through Darvish? I.e. Could someone put in an increased bid to Darvish, with the “understanding” that Darvish will help out Ohtani by, say, buying him a mansion, or paying for all his meals?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Congratulations, you’re the Braves. Good luck with your sanctions!

10:10
Silly Beane: What do my dear dear Athletics do this off-season?  Just wait for Chapman, Olson, Barreto et al. to mature, or try to flip veterans like Lowrie or Davis for younger talent?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s all about hoping for the young starters to pitch like capable young starters

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll also try to move Khris Davis permanently to DH in an effort to improve the overall defensive picture, but is trading Ryon Healy a blockbuster?

10:11
Craig: Can Profar regain any of his former #1 prospect glory?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: He can, in theory, but I doubt that he will

10:12
Dan Quinn: An opinion on Darvish tipping his pitches?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Astros had something. Their swings were atypically comfortable

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe it was just the ball. Darvish’s slider in Game 3 was truly bad. But he couldn’t miss bats at all. Too strange

10:13
Zonk: Of all the playoff teams, which do you think has the biggest holes or challenges to get back to playoffs?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Well, of course it’s the Twins, but they probably don’t count, to you

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Cubs will have a lot of work to do. I still think they’ll win the division next year, but they need to add

10:15
HappyFunBall: It’s new manager season now, and so far the only retread is Gardenhire, yes?  WAS, NYM, PHI, BOS … all first time mangers.  NYY is still open, sure, but there’s clearly a trend

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Teams love first-time managers because they’re the easiest managers to control

10:16
Chuck-it: Can teams really view Eduardo Nunez as a utility player able to backup the middle infield?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: They can, but they’d all prefer that he handle mostly 3B and LF

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: There’s value in a guy having middle-infield experience, just so he knows all the various machinations. But even with his experience, Nunez is an obvious MI liability

10:17
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Is the market for slugging 1B/DH types like it was last year, where even the Rays could give LoMo a few million to be a league average player?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Morrison, Duda, Alonso, Napoli, Hosmer, Santana, Moreland, Valencia, Lind…there are a lot of home runs for teams to sign

10:18
Sparks-ATX: Where does Cozart end up? teams should be interested in him to play SS for the next few years.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I could actually see him staying on a QO

10:19
James: Do the astros make a move for a LF or do they roll with Marwin/ Derek Fisher and hope Kyle Tucker moves along quickly?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Astros might try to do something huge, like Stanton, and then if that doesn’t work, they’ll settle for keeping what they already have

10:20
Bort: It seems like the Dodgers are all-in on Austin Barnes (yay!) and they have Kyle Farmer able to back him up. If they put Grandal on the block, who could you see being interested?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: N

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: A

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: T

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: I

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: O

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: N

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: A

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: L

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: S

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: NATIONALS

10:21
Mike Rizzo: Should I sign a true #3 starter? What will get us past the first round next year?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I kind of wonder if they might try to trade Taylor for a young half-decent starter

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: But they don’t need to. What they have is already fine

10:22
Woad Raider: Which of these guys do you think Colorado will re-sign: Lucroy, Neshek, Holland, CarGo? Any? 2 of them? Most likely to re-sign? (I’m thinking Lucroy)

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: If Lucroy knows what’s good for him, he won’t go away

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I see the others all leaving

10:23
Zonk: Alex Avila is a really strange hitter.  Lowest O-Swing % in baseball, best hard-hit rate in baseball, good FB/LD numbers…he would be a superstar if not for an extremely bad Z-Contact%.  What do you make of him?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Alex Avila is Kyle Schwarber in six years

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: He should basically just be a first baseman now, but he’s a useful semi-regular. Maybe a Mariners candidate

10:25
Kevin: What do the Cubs do with the rotation with Arrieta and Lackey on the way out? Do they focus 100% on Darvish/Ohtani?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine that’ll be priority No. 1

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: As it will be for like a half-dozen other ballclubs

10:25
Pie: Do you see the Astros as a likely suitor for Tony Watson?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Well now I do, sure

10:26
Mike sixel: It’s cool and rainy and the gorge is pretty much closed. Snow at low elevations. Where do we hike now? Got laid off, have lots of time to hike…..

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: eastern Gorge

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Trapper Creek

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: snow hike up on Hood

10:26
ATCQ: The Dodgers are going to sign Tanaka, aren’t they?  They love injury-prone, high-upside pitchers…

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t love them when they cost a fortune

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Dodgers are in play here at all

10:27
Jack: How many consecutive NL West titles are the Dodgers gonna win? They’re at five now. And who dethrones them?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the Diamondbacks pass them up in a couple of years

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s really hard to project. The Dodgers are just better at everything than their NL West competition

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Great roster. Great farm. Great FO. Great amount of resources.

10:28
mtsw: Schwarber for Zach Britton + Mark Trumbo’s contract, who says no?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs, almost immediately

10:29
Jeff: You think Francisco Liriano as a reliever could still be a thing? Not that bellinger made it very difficult for him…but he seemed to have pretty good command of his stuff in the WS

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why it *couldn’t* be a thing. Most starters should be able to relieve, and Liriano has always been death to lefties

10:29
Matt: Of the five guys who Cubs would theoretically  move( Schwarber, Happ, Baez, Russell, Almora), would you agree that Almora is the guy whose value is likely most underappreciated by the market? I can see him being a 3 win guy next year.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Sounds good to me

10:30
Ross: What kind of season would David Price need to have next year to opt out? Obviously he’d need to stay healthy the whole year, and I know you don’t trust him to do that, but if he does, what kind of numbers would he have to put up? He seems to hate Boston, so let’s say maybe he’d be willing to leave a bit of money on the table to leave. It just doesn’t seem like a marriage that should continue for another five years. How is a 33-year-old David Price in a position to get something comparable to the four years and $127 million he’ll have left on his contract when he can opt out after next season?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, unless he has a Cy Young-caliber season over 200 innings, I don’t know how Price could justify opting out of that

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I think even if he’s miserable, he’d stay in the contract and ask for the Red Sox to trade him

10:32
Doodus: Am I biased or did Roberts make the right moves but rolled poorly most of the time?  Especially when it was close

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Roberts didn’t do very much wrong. The Dodgers lost in 7. Tough break

10:33
stever20: will the Mets pitchers (and roster as a whole) be able to avoid the injury bug next year?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: But there should be way fewer bites

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: A full season from Syndergaard alone makes the situation so much better

10:34
Raindog: Boston, Houston, LAD, CHC, Washington are all set at 3B long term.  Sooo, are the Yankees gonna sign Machado next year AND Harper?  Or does someone like LAA or SF step up?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: The Yankees will not have a clear path to signing Manny Machado

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: They might be the favorites, but the competition will be intense. Teams can make room for a player that good

10:34
Moltar: I feel like the Mets have the widest range of outcomes of any team in baseball next year. They could win 90 games or lose 100.

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Ehh. I definitely see what you mean, and they’re probably more volatile than average, but I don’t trust our ability to be able to forecast upside and downside

10:36
woeful SFG fan: Some sources suggest Arrieta would fit well with the Brewers. Thoughts?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: lol

10:37
Raindog: I’m thinking one of the bigger storylines of the offseason will be how many of its stars Houston can sign to extensions.  Which of Altuve / Correa / Springer / Bregman do they manage to get it done with?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll guess Altuve as most likely

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: followed by Springer

10:37
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Would the Astros actually part with Hinch for a third tier prospect or two?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: No. It was a weird hypothetical

10:37
StolenMonkey86: When will the Braves be good again?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I hope that you have other hobbies

10:38
Mike Rizzo: Give me a couple of reasonably affordable moves to help get the Nats over the hump.  Despite what my fan base thinks, I’m really too close to the luxury tax to go after someone like Darvish or Arrieta.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I know that this is really unsatisfying, but the Nationals just won 97 games. They’re not missing anything to get over the hump except luck

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: You can make the Nationals better if you want, but they’ll still have to go through at least the Dodgers and the Cubs

10:39
Logan Davis: Jerry Dipoto’s “wolf pack” talk makes it sound like he wants to do tandem starts. Are we going to see Marco Gonzales caddying Felix? Or maybe a tandem start as their #5?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners have a bunch of guys you wouldn’t want to see on the mound a third time through the order. It’s basically James Paxton and a whole host of whatevers. I imagine they’ll be wanting a lot of the arms to be open to flexible usage patterns, whether that be 4-inning starts of 3-inning relief appearances

10:41
Randy: Do the Astros get an extension done this offseason with Altuve and/or Springer?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll guess at least one

10:41
JB: do you think there is an any chance Cueto opts out of his contract has 4 years left at 21 per year?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: holy hell

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: no

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: not even a little bit

10:42
Frostilicus: Travis writes today about the extreme rebuild the Astros went through to build a champion, similar but more extreme than last year’s Cubs.  I imagine we will see plenty more of this in the future from FOs looking to become competitive.
Does this strategy ultimately hurt the game, especially with it combined with the handful of teams that blow by the Luxury Tax?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we’re going to see a widespread wave of tanking

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Especially as teams become more fiscally responsible, and more hesitant to part with young talent

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: In any given year, there might be one or two teams that should decide to blow it up, but it’s not like we’ll ever have a third of the league losing on purpose

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: And as a reminder, while the Astros might’ve gone to a certain extreme, rebuilds are nothing new to baseball or to professional sports. A rebuild isn’t controversial

10:43
Craig: The Padres have had four GMs in the past nine years. It doesn’t seem that low pressure.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: No GM job in baseball is truly low pressure, but some are relatively low pressure, compared to others

10:44
Slapshot: What are your thoughts on the Dave Martinez hire for the Nationals?  On one hand, I’m glad to see him get a chance to manage a big league team after being Maddon’s bench coach for so long.  On the other hand, I’m not sure he’s the right choice for the Nationals, given what 2018 means to them, and think they should have gone after someone like Girardi instead if they want to make the most out of what’s probably Harper’s last season in Washington.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: To whatever extent it’s possible to know what managerial moves are right and wrong, the Nationals hamstrung themselves by insisting on a manager they could easily afford

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Martinez will be great. That would be outstanding! But they limited themselves. They probably shouldn’t have even cut ties with Baker

10:45
Papelbon’s Velo: Do you have any Gabe Kapler opinions?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: He’s going to have more energy than any other person in the room

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: If Kapler succeeds, it’ll be because he’s an extremely capable motivator

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: If he doesn’t succeed, it’ll be because too many players find him obnoxious

10:47
Bob Loblaw: How do you see the Yankees rotation situation playing out?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll bring back Sabathia

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Beyond that, not so clear

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Depending on how they feel about Gray, they might decide they already made their impact addition over the summer

10:49
CamdenWarehouse: Is spring training the unfun part?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: The penultimate week of spring training is the worst

10:50
Matt: Samardizja, based on peripherals and durability, would seem to be an attractive trade candidate this offseason. Given where SF is , do you see them looking to move him as part of a “rebuild on the fly” approach? Cueto elicit any interest out there?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I think they hold the staff together and hope for a major 2018 ERA turnaround

10:50
JB: What team do you think is most likely to get Stanton? What kind of package would you expect they are looking for a couple established major leaguers or mostly prospects?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: When I think about Stanton I think about the Giants, Red Sox, Astros, and Cubs. The Marlins know, or will know, that if they want a showy package back, they’ll have to eat a bad contract or pay down a lot of the money. For that reason I could see, say, Heyward going the other direction, along with a couple useful prospects

10:52
Raindog: Can you explain something about the Stanton negotiations for me?  For the sake of getting cheaper in the present and being better in the future, the Marlins have to get back young controllable talent.  For the sake of PR, they have to get back someone with name recognition.  But what team would trade a bigname controllable talent for a bigname expensive talent?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, for the Marlins, the situation sucks. The best solution might be to try to pay him way down after his opt-out. That way, they might not be on the hook for anything. And they could get themselves a stronger player return

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: And if they wound up with someone like, say, Heyward, he hasn’t been good, but he’s at least a recognizable everyday player, with remaining legitimate upside

10:53
ATCQ: Should every team in the NL West just despair that no team other than the Dodgers will ever have a real shot at the division?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: The Diamondbacks are good

10:53
Safety Stegosaurus: What’s your concern level on Karlsson’s foot?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t participate in camp. I’m sure it’s going to take some time to get fully up to speed

10:54
BESR: Think the Reds flip Scooter Gennett, similar to Dan Straily last year?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know who’d be eager to be on the other end of that

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the Angels

10:54
stever20: So for Kershaw- did he help or hurt his playoff narrative this year?   Did Darvish bombing worse than Kershaw ever has in the playoffs indirectly help Kershaw?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Helped

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not put entirely to rest, but it’s helped

10:55
Raindog: Am I right in thinking that Stanton if he opts out has huge surplus value, and that if he doesn’t he’s an albatross?  So a team trading for him is entirely betting on whether he’s good enough to opt out?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: This is why opt-outs are player-friendly

10:55
ATCQ: Dee Gordon to LAA

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: You’re right, but, bleh

10:55
Andy: Do you see a Tyler Chatwood reunion with the Halos?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: It’s possible, but I think they already have enough risky starting pitching to dream on

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I see Chatwood going somewhere more like Baltimore

10:57
ATCQ: Is Justin Upton good at defense?  Heard some conflicting reports

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Roughly average range, below-average arm

10:58
Mark: thoughts on J UP’s deal?

10:58
Rockie Dangerfield: The Rockies are (finally!) getting a new scoreboard this winter.  Therefore, they should also trade for Stanton, just to see if he can put a dent in it, a la kickers trying to hit the ‘tron in Jerry World.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: There are transactions that ought to be made, and there are transactions I wish would be made

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: This is one I wish would be made

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton, Judge, Gallo. Put ’em all in there. Trade everything to get them. I don’t care

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Hell, add Sano too. Go crazy!

10:59
Rick: It would seem so Dipoto if he went and traded Edwin Diaz to the Cubs for Ian Happ. Or for Schwarber to play 1B.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve heard worse ideas

11:01
Josh R: Throughout the playoffs, 30% of the Dodgers hits given up were HRs. I believe normal is around 15%. Is there any way to explain this?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Good-hitting opponents, good hitting conditions

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not saying there’s no signal there, but it would be impossible to actually detect and explain

11:02
Woad Raider: If you could pick any random country to shock the world and produce a major-league quality player, what country do you pick?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Pirates had the right idea going after cricket bowlers. All it takes is one naturally incredible arm that’s gone undiscovered

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: So, pick your favorite cricket hotbed

11:04
Motown Oden: Playoffs are definition of SSS.  That said–you worried at all about Bellinger?  10:1 K:BB (6:1 in division and NLCS) was troubling to say the least.    He wasn’t a consensus top 10 guy coming into the season, and his season numbers kind of mirror Jason Smoak.   What do you see going forward?  Could this have been his career year?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Kris Bryant had 1 walk and 14 strikeouts

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: A few years back Yoenis Cespedes had 1 walk and 17 strikeouts

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think it was pretty obvious how Bellinger was exposed by his opponents. He knows he has something to work on. But he was seeing a lot of *really* good breaking balls. And rookies get better.

11:07
Josh R: The top 7 teams (NYY, Bos, Hou, Cle, LAD, ChiC, Wash) are set up to be extremely good next year and most of them well beyond that.  Next team outside of those 7 to make a World Series is?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: a long ways away

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Phillies, I guess

11:07
Papelbon’s Velo: WHat is your current opinion on Altherr vs. Schwarber?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Very similar in future value. Altherr has the obvious advantage in athleticism, while Schwarber is younger and therefore in theory more able to improve

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Leaving aside any service-time issues, I’d take Altherr

11:08
Josh: What’s your take on the news with Otani?  Do you think he possibly stays in Japan now?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Slightly more likely, but I think all sides bridge this gap

11:09
Josh R: If almost every hitter joins the fly ball revolution (you have to think a ton of players are going to be working on it this winter), what will baseball look like in a few years?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I have faith in baseball finding a way of staying mostly in balance. Pitchers will gradually find new ways of trying to induce weak/ground-ball contact

11:10
El Fuego: How much of the A’s problems are tied to the stadium issue and how much to just a bad plan?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Major issues with pitching health. Can’t be overlooked. But the stadium has been crippling them for years

11:11
Motown Oden: Since you put it out there–how strongly do YOU believe in Hoskins?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty strongly. 4-win player or something

11:11
Kolbe: Is this the off-season for the Phillies spend? Or a season to early?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Not a lot of talent to throw money at. They’ll find some rotation help but I think the big spending is a year away

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, and until then, be well and have great days

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to the offseason!

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 11/3/17 by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Dave T
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Dave T

I realize that Jeff is answering these questions on the fly without time for him to do in-depth research, but I’m struggling with the logic of the Marlins taking Heyward’s contract back along with prospects as part of a Stanton deal.

The Marlins reportedly want to cut payroll mostly as a cash-saving move to avoid capital calls to cover operating losses, and they reportedly want to cut at least $40 million of 2018 payroll. Heyward only makes $3.5 million less than Stanton in 2018, and only $5 million per year less each of the two following seasons. The Cubs could in theory pay down a lot Heyward’s $20 million per year, but then we’re back to the acquisition cost of Stanton looking very high based on a typical surplus value calculation (he has 10 years / $295 million left on his contract, plus the player opt-out).

I’m also not sure that Heyward helps the Marlins much with PR. A Matt Kemp-type is the sort of not valuable player who helps with PR with casual fans: homers but not a great overall hitter due to low OBP, and also gives back value on defense. Heyward is much the opposite, and was even as a valuable player in 2013-15, without all that much power and getting a lot of value from corner outfield defense. I just don’t see the bad offense version of Heyward as being helpful to a team for PR. The better offense version of Heyward didn’t seem all that helpful with team PR, because casual fans wondered how a player with mediocre Triple Crown stats could be a star. I’d expect this hypothetical trade to generate chatter such as that Stanton hit more HR’s in 2017 (59) than Heyward has hit in the last 5 seasons combined (56).

Lastly, one other wrinkle is that Heyward has a full no-trade clause through next year. Perhaps he’d agree to go to Miami. It’s another complication, however, and it’s very possible that he wouldn’t want to go to a team that looks to need a painful rebuild.