Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 1/3/18

12:04
Dave Cameron: Happy 2018, everyone.

12:04
Dave Cameron: I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays.

12:04
Dave Cameron: We’ll start a few minutes late today, but should be chatting in about five minutes.

12:10
Dave Cameron: Alright, let’s get this party started.

12:10
Desperate, confused Marlins fan: Finally! a chat!

12:11
Dave Cameron: That’s right! We’re back, even in MLB is still apparently on vacation.

12:11
Matt: I get the impetus that the Yankees have behind acquiring a 3B/2B, but is there really a lot of difference between what Gleyber/Andujar would produce at those spots than some of the lower tier options that have been thrown out there (excluding Machado and Frazier of course).

12:11
Dave Cameron: I mean, if you can Moustakas cheap, then yeah.

12:12
Dave Cameron: But I like Tyler Wade enough that I’d probably be comfortable with the in-house trio for now, then re-evaluate at the deadline when Machado/Donaldson/Beltre all might be available.

12:12
Ever had a Christian yell at cha: In your opinion, best fit for Christian Yellich is…..

12:13
Dave Cameron: Dodgers. His super low AAV is even more valuable to them because of their luxury tax situation, and he’s the kind of high-end player they need to keep upgrading their roster.

12:14
Just me: Who starts at SS for the D-backs, Owings or Marte?

12:15
Dave Cameron: Marte is much better, so him.

12:15
Ernest Hemingway: Hey Dave,

How have the first applications for the staff writer job looked?  Should we be excited for some more great talent to join the FG team?  No, I’m not sucking up hoping to get a job; I’m not a vary goode righter.  

Related: how would you decide how much content is too much?  Like, if you had 20 staff writers (somehow), you’d probably be pumping out so much content readers wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Is that a good problem to have, or a bad one?

Thanks and Happy 2018!

12:17
Dave Cameron: I’ve been really impressed with the quality of applications we’ve gotten already. FG is going to add another good writer in this spot. That said, if you haven’t applied yet and are still interested in doing so, please do. We’re going to review every application and give everyone a real shot at this thing, and even if you don’t end up getting this specific position, just giving us the opportunity to review your credentials might lead to something down the line.

12:17
Middlestfansinbaseball: Let’s say the Cardinals do nothing else this winter but acquire a decent, non-elite closer.  How far back of the Cubs are they at that point?  And would it even be worth trading one of their best assets – Reyes, Weaver, Flaherty, Kelly – to try to inch closer in the short term?

12:17
Dave Cameron: They’re a good ways back. I wouldn’t go all-in on this group.

12:18
Alex: How would you like to see the forthcoming addition to your writing staff complement your current coverage?

12:19
Dave Cameron: One of the things that I like best about FG is we don’t necessarily have specific jobs that we have to fill; we mostly just try to use the platform we have to let quality people publish things that interest them. So we’re not looking for one specific skill or someone who wants to tackle a particular set of topics. We really are just looking for someone who asks interesting questions, knows how to try to answer them, and can put some sentences together in an entertaining way.

12:19
Dookie Howser, MD: Would JDM really be an upgrade over JBJ (assuming Benitendi moves to CF)?

12:19
Dave Cameron: At best, a modest one.

12:20
emlazar: Does Hosmer to STL make any sense to you at all?

12:20
Dave Cameron: None.

12:20
Dookie Howser, MD: Is Kiley ever going to write anything>

12:20
Dave Cameron: No, we just had him write that teaser to get everyone’s hopes up so that we could crush them later.

12:20
Jobu: Guesses on who signs first between Yu and Jake, and when that happens? Do you think Cobb and Lynn will wait until those two are off the board to sign to maximize their own value?

12:21
Dave Cameron: Darvish first. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arrieta was the last big money FA to sign. He might not sign before ST starts.

12:21
v2micca: Will this Free Agency period prove to be a bit of an outlier in regards to front office spending?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Yes. This crop is getting hurt by next year’s crop. That doesn’t usually happen to this degree.

12:22
Mike: Should the Red Sox be happy if Martinez signs for something like 5/160?

12:23
Dave Cameron: That’s a bit of an overpay, but it’s not the worst outcome, unless they then turn around and trade Bradley because of it.

12:23
Andrew: What type of contract would Hanley get if he were a free agent?  1 year, ~$10 million?

12:23
Dave Cameron: Maybe less. Somewhere between $5-$10M, but definitely only one year.

12:23
Dave Cameron: He’s not *that* different from Jose Bautista at this point.

12:24
Lee: How many starts does Walker Buehler make this year?

12:24
Dave Cameron: <5

12:24
tacopocket: Yankee fans say I’m nuts and they think torres is the next ARod but doesn’t torres for Archer make a ton of sense??  Archers contract is fantastic and the yanks offense will be fine without torres (maybe sign a guy like neil walker).  I just think the yanks could use a stud pitcher than a stud prospect.  And this isn’t even talking about the possibility that torres busts (I know it’s not likely but there’s a chance).

12:24
Dave Cameron: I would trade Torres for Archer, yes.

12:24
Outta my way, Gyorkass: I admit, I’m not the greatest at valuing prospects relative to establised major leaguers under X years of team control, but let’s imagine a Brewers trade for Chris Archer. Am I anywhere near a deal with an offer of Brinson, Woodruff, Burnes, one of Ray, Diaz, or Erceg, plus a low level lottery ticket or two? In a gut feeling sense, that would seem like a wild overpay to me, especially given pitcher health being such a variable, but is that the type of return that it’s going to take?

12:25
Dave Cameron: I think even that’s light, honestly. TB would rather get a better top guy or top two than getting 6-7 guys back.,

12:26
El Jefe: Could the Yankees pursue an NBA style buy out with Jacoby Ellsbury to help slightly reduce their payroll figure for luxury tax purposes?

12:26
Dave Cameron: No.

12:26
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Wade Davis’s deal…man, I thought baseball execs were past overpays for the “proven closer”. Or, was that deal more like a “sorry, but you have to pitch at Coors” overpay?

12:27
Dave Cameron: If you think Davis is an elite RP, the price is fine. The question is whether you think Davis is still that. He’s got some pretty big red flags.

12:27
Nelson: Do Machado and Donaldson have similar trade value?

12:27
Dave Cameron: I think Donaldson probably has a little more, because he’s a bit better right now and probably has a more reasonable chance at a pre-FA extension.

12:28
Pat: Hey Dave, how many applications are you going to get for the position? I applied, we might be on the verge of becoming best friends!

12:28
Dave Cameron: We got something like 150 on day 1. We’ll end up with several hundred, for sure.

12:29
DK: In the unlikely scenario that the ChiSox got Machado, wouldn’t something like this be attractive? Front loaded 350 mil. 10 year contract, player option after 5, team option after 7. While he might get a higher AAV in FA, his AAV in years 1-5 could reach or exceed the FA AAV. The huge money starts earlier (like a 150% raise in 2018). If he continues to be elite, he opts out after 5 likely gets a higher AAV in 5 years. Plus, he shields against the risk of a down year/injury in 2018.

12:29
Dave Cameron: Why would the White Sox do that, though? They get Machado for 2-3 years when they won’t win, then maybe 1-2 when they might, all for the low price of ~$200M?

12:30
Jay: At what point do I say “okay, the Braves aren’t doing anything big” and set my sights on 2019?

12:30
Dave Cameron: I would never feel comfortable that Alex Anthopolous doesn’t have something big planned.

12:31
Dave Cameron: His track record suggests he’s always working on something crazy.

12:31
Sterling Malory Chris Archer: Can you announce some of the cool new things FGs is doing this new year?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Not yet, but we have a pretty cool announcement about another new staff member joining on Friday, separate from yesterday’s job posting. The staff is going to be pretty great this year.

12:32
Stevil: Merry New Year! I’m curious if a deal between Seattle and Boston might be feasible, with Boston sending Rodriguez, Castillo and a little salary relief to Seattle (2019-2020) for Rzepczynski and maybe a low-level prospect. Rodriguez might miss the start of the season, but should be ready in the first half, and Seattle has no real outfield depth. This would be more of a salary dump for Boston and a way for Seattle to land a starting pitcher with some upside, simply paying for it in another way. Who would be more likely to say no? Does Boston have enough starting depth to get away with that?

12:32
Dave Cameron: The Mariners should do that in a second, but there’s no way Boston should give away Eduardo Rodriguez just to clear Rusney’s money.

12:33
Estevao: Imagine if NYY, BOS, SFG, STL or anyone else 4 that matter, had realized Justin Turner at 64/4 was the definition of a steal and offered him 90+ over 5

12:33
Dave Cameron: I know he’s an LA kid and probably didn’t want to go anywhere else, but that one will never make sense to me.

12:33
Dave Cameron: So many teams could have used him, and he signed for half of what he was worth.

12:34
Erik: Let’s say Bryce Harper decides that the way to maximize his earnings is to sign one year contracts for the forseeable future, for at least the duration of time in which he remains a top-10 hitter. How much would he get paid per season? Would his career earnings actually be higher that way, barring a career-ending injury?

12:35
Dave Cameron: He’d get over $50M on a one year deal. The problem with this plan is the CBT specifically incentivizes longer deals, not shorter ones, by taxing big spenders on the AAV. So the teams that will want to sign him will want to spread the money out so they don’t get taxed as high.

12:35
Dave Cameron: But yes, if Harper stayed healthy, he’d get the most money by taking a series of one year deals

12:36
Skeptical AF: Hey Dave. Happy New Year. I’m assuming you read Swydan’s piece a couple of weeks ago on the Orioles’ choice not to pursue Ohtani–or pretty much any other international free agent. Does the idea that Angelos is being, on some level, principled and pro-worker have any cachet with you? Do you see a single owner taking such action having any impact whatsoever? Or is the whole thing just PR spin on a massive organizational shortcoming (international scouting)?

12:37
Dave Cameron: No, I don’t actually think Angelos is being pro-worker. But it was an idea worth considering.

12:37
SalYellon: Think Arrieta or Darvish get a 6th year?

12:37
Dave Cameron: Not anymore.

12:37
Sam: When do you factor in ZiPS into 2018 projections?

12:37
Dave Cameron: In March, when they’re all done.

12:38
JH: Can you give us your hypothetical HOF ballot?

12:38
Dave Cameron: The guys who run the HOF have effectively made me not care about their institution. It’s a poorly run museum made up of people with agendas who have too much power. Get rid of the people in charge and maybe I’ll care again.

12:39
Matt: Gimmie some thoughts on JP Crawford. Has the “offensive shine” come back a little bit? Looking like a solid offensive SS, or we still concerned he’s glove only?

12:39
Dave Cameron: I think he’s going to be a solid average bat, maybe a bit above.

12:39
IsIt2015Yet?: Would Ian Happ + a prospect pretty far away like an Aramis Ademan be a reasonable Cubs/Pirates package for Cole?

12:39
Dave Cameron: It’s not crazy, but I bet PIT could do better.

12:40
Mike: Who are the most likely suitors for Matt Kemp if they can package him with a prospect?  Likelihood of a trade?

12:40
Dave Cameron: At this point, the only teams I see being interested are ones who are looking to buy a prospect. Maybe someone likes Wilmer Font’s projections enough to take $5M of the deal in order to get Font or something. Otherwise, I think LA cuts him.

12:41
Beni and the Betts: With the way this free agent market has gone, seems unlikely JDM will get the 7/180 deal you had predicted.  What would you say he gets now?

12:41
Dave Cameron: 6/$160M, maybe.

12:42
Jon_D: Is there value to a second tier free agent to take a one year deal this year so they are back on the market for next year’s free agent bonanza?  Not everyone saving money for next year will get Harper or Machado.

12:42
Dave Cameron: I think you actually don’t want to be in that group. NYY/LAD/CHC/PHI are going to have to wait out those big guys, and so anyone hoping to get any of their money will have to wait out the whole winter, then risk taking a short-term deal if they don’t end up pivoting to you.

12:43
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some real bargains outside the top tier next year.

12:44
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: Hi Dave.  With the White Sox currently projected to only having 63M committed to payroll next year (according to Cots), I’m wondering if the following trade makes sense for all parties:

White Sox get:
Clint Frazier
Dillon Tate
Andrew Suarez
Rodolfo Martinez

Yankess get:
Tyler Saladino

Giants get:
Jacoby Ellsbury (White Sox kick in 20M, 12M, 3M)

Yankees get more payroll flexibility (Yu Darvish?) and a place holder at second (and can still build a package around Florial if they want to pursue Cole).  Giants get an outfielder for basically 8M per year.  White Sox continue to build up the farm system by “buying” prospects while they are in a position to do so.  Ellsbury gets to go to a team on the West Coast where he can play everyday (might convince him to waive his no-trade).

I know this will never happen, just more or less wondering if everyone would benefit from this, or who would need to receive more.  Thanks.

12:44
Dave Cameron: So you want the White Sox to get Clint Frazier for basically $35M in cash?

12:44
Dave Cameron: I’m not as high on Frazier as some, but I think NYY could do better than that.

12:45
Biscuit: So, Willie Calhoun’s projections seem pretty aggressive. For comparison, Aaron Judge was projected to SLG .450 last preseason…Calhoun is at .491! What about this profile is driving the strong projections?

12:45
Dave Cameron: Well, Texas is a pretty nice place for left-handed hitters.

12:45
Dave Cameron: And Calhoun can really hit.

12:46
Eric: Management has obviously gotten smart on the risk of big-time free agent deals…what’s the next move for the MLBPA in future labor talks?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Blow up the arbitration system and get pre-FA guys paid more.

12:47
Stevil: Dipoto insists that he’s comfortable with the starting options they currently have. We know Gonzales is out of options and is re-introducing his cutter. But Jerry can’t seriously be content with this group, can he? At some point, whether it’s before or after the season starts, they likely need another front-line starter, right?

12:47
Dave Cameron: I don’t think they have any money left.

12:47
Dave Cameron: Or not enough to get a difference maker, anyway.

12:48
Dave Cameron: They really needed Ohtani.

12:48
HugoZ: What’s the positional hit if you move Cain to left field?

12:48
Dave Cameron: A few runs. Not huge. Nothing wrong with having multiple CFs out there.

12:49
Shuck Bowalter: So Szymborski just posted the Zips projections for the Yankees bullpen on Twitter and…woah…

12:49
Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s the best bullpen I’ve ever seen.

12:50
Aaron: If you were John Mozeliak, who would you sign/trade for to upgrade the team. I keep hearing Arrieta/Moustakas/Hosmer. I’m not sure they really need a CI, and Arrieta has come down from his Cy Young days. Personally I’d like to see a trade of Gyorko or Carpenter if you’re going to trade for a CI and sign Darvish and one more bullpen piece.

12:50
Dave Cameron: If they just want to spend money, sign Lorenzo Cain.

12:50
Dave Cameron: If they want to do more talent-package trades, then just keep pestering TOR about Donaldson until they give in,.

12:51
Vance: Do you plan on writing back to those who did not get the position (like a thank you for applying)

12:51
Dave Cameron: There’s no way we can send individual personalized emails to everyone who applied, but we’ll probably do one big email to those who don’t get interviews thanking them for their application.

12:52
Dave Cameron: And it’s not just to be nice. We really do appreciate the time everyone has put into their applications.

12:52
Dave Cameron: We know it’s not fun to put yourself out there and face potential rejection. We are legitimately honored that so many of you want to work here.

12:52
Matt: Should the Cubs spend 4/110 on Arrieta?

12:52
Dave Cameron: No

12:53
Erik: What is the minimum amount of baseball writing experience a new FanGraphs writer has had?

12:53
Dave Cameron: I don’t think Carson had ever written anything about baseball when he got hired.

12:53
Dave Cameron: Or if he had, it was weird.

12:55
Hal: Are you surprised there has been little activity for Cain?  Might be a little old, but he is still really good and could help a team like the Mets.

12:55
Dave Cameron: He could help almost everyone. He’s good and won’t be that expensive.

12:56
Q-Ball: How much of the FA slowness do you blame on a favorable CBA for the owners, and how much do you blame on smarter FOs?  Or maybe dummer agents?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Well, I don’t think you really want to spell it “dummer” when blaming them for this, but I do think there’s a pretty big divide between how front offices are valuing players and what most agencies are doing these days. I do think the representation side of things is ripe for a major analytical overhaul.

12:58
Slothrop: Hey Dave, any chance we get some spanish language content from you guys in the future?

12:58
Dave Cameron: It’s definitely something we want to do.

12:59
Babe Lincoln: Re the proposed MIL-TB Archer trade above, you said “TB would rather get a better top guy or top two than getting 6-7 guys back.”  Are there organizations that would rather have 6-7 guys than a better top 1 or 2?

12:59
Dave Cameron: No, most teams really focus on the top names in those kinds of deals.

1:00
Joseph: I’ve been studying the pitching prospects and one thing I’ve wondered — are we getting duped a little bit by guys like Forrest Whitley and Walker Buehler? These guys are pitching in such short stints, that their stuff has to be playing up knowing they are only tossing 75 pitches. So you get sucked into these big time K rates and low walk rates because they can give 100% on every pitch. They average around 4IP. Personally, I’m much more impressed by guys like McKenzie, Kopech, and Keller who are going much deeper into games. Thoughts?

1:00
Dave Cameron: You definitely want to adjust rate stats for outing length, no question.

1:00
Dave Cameron: That said, I wouldn’t go so far as to say someone like Keller is up there with Whitley just because he’s throwing more innings per outing,.

1:01
Jshep12: Did the year Greg Bird missed count as one of the 6 years the Yankees have him under team control?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Yes, you get MLB service time while on the 60 day DL.

1:02
Erik: Is something wrong with the whole idea of a luxury tax when teams like the Yankees and Dodgers are trying to stay under it? Isn’t the whole point supposed to be that franchises with ridiculous amounts of money are supposed to blow past the tax, using that money to subsidize the poorest teams so that they too can afford quality players? The tax is supposed to spur revenue sharing, not depress player salaries. Should/can it be fixed?

1:02
Dave Cameron: That’s not really how taxes work. Taxes are disincentives to spend. That’s their purpose.

1:02
Dave Cameron: MLB clearly designed the tax to punish LA/NYY specifically for going so far over the CBT so many times.

1:03
Babe Lincoln: Any idea why not many other sites (baseball or otherwise) do chats like these?  I find myself wanting to ask a basketball question sometimes with nowhere to turn…good thing you guys are around for baseball.

1:03
Dave Cameron: These things aren’t as easy to monetize as a post you can fill with SEO language or a video.

1:04
Dave Cameron: The fact that we can still devote time to these is because we’ve chosen to try and engage with our audience as much as possible, not so much try to grow at all costs.

1:04
Anthony: What would you do if you were Neal Huntington? Should they move McCutchen/Cole, blow it all up, or try to compete?

1:04
Dave Cameron: I’d blow it up, yes.

1:04
Q-Ball: Do you think a future baseball CBA could include something like the NBA amnesty or other provision to allow clubs to write-off bad contracts, and keep spending?

1:05
Dave Cameron: I think the PA might push for some way to get contracts to still be paid but not count against the luxury tax, though the league won’t want that.

1:06
Alice: Speaking of job opportunities in the baseball industry, do you have a sense of how many applicants there are for the average internship with teams in the postings on fangraphs?

1:06
Dave Cameron: Hundreds.

1:06
Dave Cameron: I’ve had GMs ask me if I could just recommend a few people so they didn’t have to do the whole job posting thing and get inundated with resumes.

1:07
Andrew Friedman v. the Jeets: Would it take Buehler for the Dodgers to get Yelich? Or does the Miami fire sale mean that the Dodgers could theoretically get him for less?

1:07
Dave Cameron: LA has enough talent that he doesn’t have to be in the package. But he shouldn’t be off limits. If you can move Buehler for Yelich, you do it.

1:09
AlexLu: Confused on how the Cardinals are a “ways away” from the Cubs when they had nearly identical offensive production last year, Cardinals added Ozuna, and the Cubs lost 2/5ths of their rotation and their closer. Behind them sure, but it can’t be significant anymore. Can you explain?

1:09
Dave Cameron: We’re going to pretend like Tommy Pham’s 2017 is just going to repeat itself in perpetuity?

1:10
Dave Cameron: You can’t just look at last year’s results, adjust for roster changes, and call that a forecast.

1:10
JB: What’s a reasonable price for Yelich? Some suggestions have pointed to Almora from Cubs if they’re interested. Seems kind of high, but I’m also really over Yelich at this point.

1:10
Dave Cameron: You think Almora for Yelich is too much?

1:10
Dave Cameron: Like, really?

1:11
Dave Cameron: A real offer from CHC is something like Russell, Almora, and some lower level add-ons.

1:12
Brian: Any chance the Mets could get Cain for something like 3/60?

1:12
Dave Cameron: Seems like the answer might be yes, and they should if they can.

1:12
Matt: I’m curious why you think Buehler will make so few starts next year. The Dodgers could still add a pitcher, but even so, they’ve already said that they’re going to let him compete for a rotation spot in spring training, and that team had 6 guys make at least 16 starts last year, not including Darvish, who made another 9.

1:13
Dave Cameron: He’s probably not big league ready, so I’m assuming he spends most of the first half in AAA, then when he comes up, he splits time between starting and relief, before transitioning to a relief role for October.

1:14
Tim: Did Coppolella really get banned from baseball for just being extremely brazen with breaking the rules, or is there more to it than that? A ban from baseball is extremely rare and there was talk before the punishment came down that the front office was a tumultuous place to work, but few details more than that.

1:15
Dave Cameron: We don’t know what happened, but Manfred said that while plenty of others who got caught basically admitted it and took their punishment, Coppolella kept denying it, so they might have held that against him.

1:16
Kevin: Re: Matt Kemp.  If he’s cut, do you think he signs on with a AL team on a cheap single season contract to DH, or is he done with baseball if he’s cut?

1:17
Dave Cameron: He’d get an invite to spring training from someone, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that team ended up realizing that a DH with an average bat who isn’t all that fun to be around isn’t worth rostering.

1:17
Erik: Is that really the purpose of taxes? I thought taxes exist to fund other things (like government spending or revenue sharing). Only things like sin taxes can really be called disincentives to spend. If the CBT is acting as a disincentive to spend, it’s not doing its job.

1:17
Dave Cameron: No, taxes are there to get people to not do things you don’t want them to do.

1:17
Dave Cameron: There are lots of ways to raise revenue that aren’t attached to specific actions,.

1:18
Bob Pollards No Hitter: The FG hoodie is really comfortable.  Was a fine holiday gift to myself.

1:18
Dave Cameron: I can’t believe I don’t have one yet.

1:18
Dave Cameron: I’m currently wearing a hoodie with no FG logo on it. This is a travesty.

1:19
Henry: Employees should get them for free

1:20
Dave Cameron: I agree.

1:20
Dave Cameron: Listen up, Appelman. Where’s my hoodie?!?!

1:20
Dave Cameron: Okay, I’m going to have to call this a wrap.

1:20
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out today, everyone.

1:21
Dave Cameron: Lots of exciting news coming out at FG in the next few weeks.

1:21
Dave Cameron: So stay tuned for some big announcements in the not too distant future.

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Alex Trebek
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Alex Trebek

Dave Cameron
12:53 “I don’t think Carson had ever written anything about baseball when he got hired.
Or if he had, it was weird.”

Isn’t that still the case?