Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 11/5/14

11:42
Dave Cameron: Welcome to the offseason. It’s our first chat since the World Series ended, and now the other 28 fan bases can join in on the fun again.

11:43
Dave Cameron: Let’s talk Hot Stove Baseball, starting in about 15 minutes. The queue is now open.

11:59
Dave Cameron: Alright, let’s do this thing.

11:59
Comment From John
The Braves are saying they’re not interested in trading BJ – do they truly believe he’s worth keeping or do you think they couldn’t find a taker?

11:59
Dave Cameron: Teams say all kinds of stuff. If someone would take that contract off their hands, of course they’d let him go.

12:00
Dave Cameron: No one will, though, so the question is how motivated they are to pay him to play for someone else, or take an equally bad contract back in return.

12:00
Comment From Will Middlebrooks?
What happens to me?

12:00
Dave Cameron: I feel like you were born to play for the Marlins.

12:01
Comment From Xolo
What should the Padres do this offseason?

12:01
Dave Cameron: What the White Sox did last offseason. Collect as many interesting, controllable assets as possible.

12:02
Comment From Agente 0
What kind of contract would you give to LaRoche?

12:02
Dave Cameron: He’s basically a league average player, so something in the 2/22 to 2/24 range should be about right.

12:03
Comment From mtsw
Do you ever see Fangraphs growing to the point that you have writers assigned to covering individual teams?

12:03
Dave Cameron: I’d say that’s unlikely. Even ESPN only has a few city specific outlets.

12:03
Comment From Isa
What is the approximate dollar value of 1 WAR these days? I know it used to be $5MM, and I think I saw someone say a conservative estimate now would be $6MM. Is that true? What would be an aggressive estimate? Thanks.

12:03
Dave Cameron: There are different ways of calculating the cost of a win, but it was in the $6-$7 million range last winter, and will probably go up again this winter.

12:04
Comment From Miguel
Should tweets like this one from Ben Badler make us uncomfortable about the process by which Cuban players get to the states, or can we shake that moral obligation by putting the blame on politicians? “Still no verification on the whereabouts of Cuban 2B Jose Fernandez. Possible he is still in Cuba. Would not assume anything either way.”

12:04
Dave Cameron: Yeah, this system doesn’t work for anyone except the smugglers who get rich using people as human cargo. I know there are political issues at play, but there has to be a better way.

12:05
Comment From Jon
So the Rockies are taking a gamble by offering Cuddyer a 15.3 Million QO. He certainly has to take that correct? I mean he’s basically a DH and this maximizes his earnings this year more than he will receive on open market (as his value is surely down due to the QO.) But why would Colorado offer him that? How can they justify (if he accepts) that keeping him @ 15 Million and trading someone else who is better is smart? Maybe I’m missing something

12:07
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t have made him the offer, but I don’t think it’s as crazy as some are making it out to be. The crowdsourced projection was 2/18, and the crowd is often a bit too low on players like this. Let’s say he’s worth $10M per year on a two or three year deal. Teams will pay a premium for avoiding multiple years, so that would put his one year value at around $12M or $13M. If the value of a compensatory pick is $4M, the Rockies only have to think there’s a 50-50 shot that Cuddyer accepts to take the gamble of overpaying by $2M.

12:08
Dave Cameron: Now, you could quibble with a lot of those assumptions, and the break-even is probably closer to 80-20 than 50-50. I think Cuddyer probably takes it. But even if he does, overpaying by $2M or $3M isn’t the end of the world, and if he has a good first half, they could easily trade him for prospects at the deadline.

12:09
Comment From Guest
If I were a player, I’d feel pressure — to perform better pre-contract expiration, to perform well in the playoffs, to help my team when they’re really in need of great play. Why does the data not bear this out?

12:09
Dave Cameron: Because people who don’t respond well to pressure don’t make it to the Major Leagues. Guys who can’t handle that kind of pressure get weeded out in high school, college, or the minors.

12:10
Comment From Corry
Why are writers giving up on the 2015 Reds? If Votto, Bruce, Latos etc. can remain healthy, and with the signing of a left fielder, They are essentially the same team that made playoffs in 2012,2013.

12:10
Dave Cameron: The same names, sure. Not the same players though. Age = decline.

12:11
Comment From Matt
It’s surreal to think about the Cubs being the team who goes big, because while I believed we’d get here, I didn’t think it’d be with such a treasure of a system. What do you think the Cubs need to do this offseason in addition to the Lester/Martin signings everyone assumes are a lock?

12:11
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t assume either of those moves are a lock. The Cubs are smart enough to not have a plan in place that requires them to acquire specific players; they’re going to pursue the best returns on investment they can get. But I don’t think they’ll be busy this winter.

12:11
Comment From David
What are the chances that anyone is willing to trade for Ryan Howard for anything less than 100% salary coverage?

12:12
Dave Cameron: I think a team like the Angels might take $1 or $2M of his annual salary. They gave $3.5M or something in that range to Raul Ibanez, after all.

12:13
Comment From Dave
So they Jays seem to be making an effort to shed payroll to start the winter. Where do you see them investing this cash? Cabrera extension, R.Martin, left side of the infield?

12:13
Dave Cameron: I still think they’re best off acquiring a second baseman and keeping Lawrie at third. That means a trade.

12:14
Comment From Joe
With a fairly quiet first day of free agency, when do you see the first shoe dropping and where? Will it be Cuddyer or Robertson accepting the QO or an international signing or something else?

12:14
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be surprised if Yasmany Tomas was the first big guy to sign.

12:14
Comment From Wes
Kennys Vargas. How good will he be? Is he really the next coming of David Ortiz?

12:14
Dave Cameron: Absolutely not. He’s a bench guy.

12:16
Comment From Guest
If/when Hanley leaves LAD, does Dee Gordon move back to SS, opening 2B for Guerrero?

12:16
Dave Cameron: Gordon can’t play short and Guerrero can’t play second. I’d expect the Dodgers to try and trade for an SS.

12:16
Comment From Will
Let’s say Ervin Santana declines his QO.. What does his deal look like and with whom will he sign?

12:16
Dave Cameron: I’ll guess 3/39 to the Diamondbacks.

12:17
Comment From Rumor Mill Operator
How do teams structure their agreements with their minor league affiliates? Do they take equity stakes, or have revenue-sharing… or is it merely, “MLB team can take your players on a whim and is in charge of hiring and firing of personnel. Most everything else up to you.”

12:18
Dave Cameron: The players don’t belong to the minor league teams. They have two year contracts in which the MILB team and MLB team agree to a partnership in which the MLB team provides the players, equipment, coaching staff, transportation, and logistics associated with training the players, and the MILB team provides the stadium and the logistics involved with actually putting on the events.

12:18
Comment From Ray
How will Farhan Zaidi impact the Dodgers roster this offseason? Who is most likely to be traded?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Zaidi is a very smart guy, and the combination of Friedman and Farhan at the top of the organization means that they’re going to be very good at finding value. I’d expect the team to make a lot of trades this winter. My guess is Matt Kemp is the OF to go.

12:19
Comment From John Thomas
How much of the statistics and information discussed on FG is irrelevant to MLB teams? I think about how interesting Jeff’s piece on the Angels was, but how little it would matter to Dipoto. I also think that stats that are interesting to me would be useless in a front office, but I can’t really think of a good example now that I dig deep into it.

12:21
Dave Cameron: Teams use data on FG all the time. They have their own data sources, too, of course, but the gulf in statistical information between the teams and the public isn’t as large as people think. The big gaps are in information about health and wellness.

12:21
Comment From JBD
Most likely free agent destination for Russell Martin?

12:21
Dave Cameron: Cubs make the most sense, but I could see the Dodgers going hard after him too. We know Friedman likes catcher framing.

12:21
Comment From Depressed Democrat
Could you give an opinion on two QO’s-Liriano and Cuddyer? Will either of them bite, and what was the thinking of the front offices? Seems like a lot to pay for someone Cuddyer’s age/injury history, and the team isn’t a big market-can afford to throw away money type. Pirates the same way–that’s a lot of money for their budget.

12:22
Dave Cameron: The idea that Liriano might have to accept the QO is weird. He’s quite good, and easily worth more than 1/$15M.

12:22
Comment From mikecws91
The White Sox have a gaping hole in left field. Should they go for Aoki, Markakis, Melky, or Rasmus?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Trade for someone younger.

12:22
Comment From That One Guy
Hi Dave. Do you think the Red Sox would consider a Mookie Betts for Nick Castellanos swap?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Not for even a second.

12:23
Comment From J Rock
Advanced Metrics rated the Pirates pitching as near the league bottom, and graded their team defense as mediocre. Can you explain why they were average at run prevention then? It can’t all be due to PNC Park, right?

12:23
Dave Cameron: A lot of it was the park.

12:23
Comment From Munenoris Espresso Stand
Worth it to remind people that there’s nothing magic about the dates of the GM meetings, or of the winter meetings, and that significant deals get done at any time? Seems every year fans get testy when their team hasn’t done anything yet by Dec / Jan.

12:24
Dave Cameron: Well, I agree there’s nothing magical about specific dates, but there’s no question that teams have planned schedules that they follow, and those dates are often built around these events. This week is all about making contact and laying the groundwork. Teams won’t get serious about really trying to make moves for another couple of weeks.

12:24
Comment From Jim
Who is the most likely trade partner for the Phillies if they are to trade Cole Hamels?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Probably the Red Sox and Cubs.

12:25
Comment From Eric Weinstein
I know you and everyone else has said the Cubs should go after Russell Martin. The winning bidder for Martin will probably have to commit to 4 years. Isn’t there a case to be made that it makes sense for the Cubs to spend there money on other holes (more pitching!) and allow catcher to remain a weak spot for 1 year (or perhaps make a shorter term upgrade) so they have one year to see what they have in Schwarber? If Schwarber can even be a below average defensive catcher he could be a perennial MVP candidate. But if Martin is locked up at 13-15 million for 4 years you might as well scrap the Schwarber at catcher plan. Or have an untradeable 13M 34 year old catcher on the back end. I say spend the $50 million plus on Brandon McCarthy instead and if Schwarber can’t cut it then sign Matt Wieters next year

12:26
Dave Cameron: You’re overestimating Schwarber’s proximity to the majors, and underestimating the need for multiple catchers on the roster. Even in the best case scenario, where Schwarber develops as you hope, you can easily do a job share with two catchers splitting time behind the plate and both players playing other positions to keep their legs fresh.

12:27
Comment From Humorous Thoughts
Odds Justin Smoak breaks out in Toronto with his “warning track power”?

12:27
Dave Cameron: 5%

12:27
Comment From PJ
Do you see the Cubs moving Luis Valbuena, or will they look to use him as a Zobrist-type (without quite the same skill level!) under Maddon?

12:27
Dave Cameron: I could easily see him being moved in a deal for a pitcher.

12:28
Comment From Derek
Should I be worried about the A’s FO loses?

12:28
Dave Cameron: Well, losing a guy like Farhan is never a good thing, but there are a ton of very smart people working in baseball, and a lot of them would love to live in the bay area and work with Billy Beane and David Forst.

12:28
Comment From Pablo
Should the Orioles offer Nelson Cruz 3/45, and should be take it?

12:28
Dave Cameron: No, yes.

12:29
Comment From mtsw
Could the reason for why no player has taken a QO have to do with how agents are compensated? If I’m an agent I’d always roll the dice on getting my client a longer contract (ensuring I get several years of commission from them) rather than take a one year deal and risk the player seeking new representation before their next contract.

12:29
Dave Cameron: it’s probably a small factor. A larger one is that players just don’t like playing on one year deals. They want long term security.

12:29
Comment From Kmball
If all the QO guys who expect an AAV less than the QO cooperated, agreed to take their QOs and buy an insurance policy against anyone getting (semi-permanently) injured, wouldn’t they be able to turn the table on the QO? Would any of them really expect a much smaller offer next year just because they’re 1 year older?

12:30
Dave Cameron: The problem is that the value to the player isn’t just in maximizing dollars. Especially veterans with kids and families, the knowledge of knowing you can buy a house in AZ or FL and count on going to spring training in the same place several years in a row has a significant pull.

12:31
Comment From Mike
How should the Tigers go about VMart’s FA? What price becomes too rich where they should walk away, in your opinion?

12:31
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t make a serious effort to keep him unless he wanted to give a big discount. My max offer is probably 3/42 or something in that range, and he’ll go way above that.

12:32
Comment From Munenoris Espresso Stand
Are there any free agents that will be most likely to set the market, and thus set up a domino effect where several 2nd tier / lesser players are held up waiting for destination and $ amount of the market leaders?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Scherzer for the pitchers, Hanley/Sandoval for the hitters.

12:33
Comment From Billy
Will Joc Pederson get 500 MLB ABs this year for anyone? If so, what kind of power/speed could he realistically add for said team?

12:33
Dave Cameron: I don’t think he’s MLB ready, personally. I’d guess more like 200.

12:33
Comment From Sean
Has the Reds’ window to compete closed?

12:33
Dave Cameron: No, but it’s very close to closed.

12:33
Comment From STiVo
Does the following make sense: If I’m a team contemplating giving a qualifying offer to a player, I make the QO if the player is within the neighborhood of expected to provide $15.3 million in value. If the person accepts, I might be out a few million in value (though I might not, if he’s better than expected!). And if he rejects it, I might very well get a valuable draft pick as compensation. Sound about right?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Pretty much, yes.

12:34
Comment From Kmball
Fielder’s 30, Cabrera’s 31 — why does a team like Boston think 5+ years for Sandoval is a good idea?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Pablo is a better athlete than either one.

12:34
Comment From Nick C
Dave – If you were handicapping, which of the Reds current starters is most likely to be dealt?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Johnny Cueto, and I just suggested the Reds trade him to Boston for my Fox piece today. http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

12:35
Comment From Josh
Re: Cuddyer. My problem has more to do with the fact that the Rockies are not good and don’t have a good roster and he doesn’t really help them. At most he gets them a B prospect at the deadline. Just think it hurts their draft position more than anything

12:35
Dave Cameron: Draft position in MLB is mostly unpredictable and hardly worth much, unless you’re just tanking on purpose to get the #1 pick, and even that might not be a good strategy.

12:36
Comment From Brett W
Will Arismendy Alcantara ever be a serviceable MLB regular?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Guess here is he ends up as a utility guy.

12:37
Comment From Drew
’ve been in favor of the Rockies trying to trade Carlos Gonzalez, but Rockies fans seem unwilling to move him at lower value. Do you get the sense there is a market for him or are other teams too scared by injury history?

12:37
Dave Cameron: General consensus is that it makes the most sense to trade a guy like that when he’s healthy, but if a team is willing to pay the healthy price to get him now, they should think about it.

12:37
Comment From Dan
Most egregious gold glove awarded?

12:37
Dave Cameron: Markakis and Jones.

12:38
Comment From Jake deBomb
Do you think the Halos really have to pare back their payroll as implied by making Kendrick supposedly available? Easier thing would be to simply non-tender Beckham.

12:38
Dave Cameron: Doesn’t seem like it’s a payroll dump as much as it is an attempt to acquire another starting pitcher.

12:39
Comment From Ed
If Cuddyer declines the QO, do you think any team would be willing to give up the draft pick to sign him? Will he be this year’s Kendrys Morales?

12:39
Dave Cameron: If he took a cheap enough deal — maybe 3/27 — there’d be interest. Teams were going to pay him 3/30ish, I think, so you just take the lost draft pick out of his salary and go from there.

12:40
Dave Cameron: Question is does Cuddyer prefer 3/27 to 1/15?

12:40
Comment From On Behalf of Everybody Everywhere
Are you all happy with Cover It Live? How has nobody developed a better chat interface??

12:40
Dave Cameron: Make a better one and we will give you our money.

12:40
Comment From Jake deBomb
along those lines, do you see a Hamels to Cubs deal happening? Jordan Zimmermann to the Sox?

12:41
Dave Cameron: Depends on if Amaro has lowered his absurd asking price from the summer. Zimmermann to Boston could be a fit, but I’mg guessing the Nationals will ask for the moon, and the Red Sox could probably get a better deal by looking elsewhere.

12:41
Comment From JayT
If you were a GM with a 1B/DH opening, how much of Howard’s contract would you be willing to cover, assuming you got him for nothing?

12:41
Dave Cameron: $0.

12:41
Comment From Darrell M Zumsteg
Scott Van Slyke: full time starter or platoon/bench bat?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Probably the latter, but he deserves a shot to prove it.

12:42
Comment From Ed
What else would need to be added to make a Brad Miller for Matt Kemp deal work out? How much salary would LA have to eat?

12:43
Dave Cameron: I’m the wrong guy to ask, because I think Brad Miller is a better player than Matt Kemp even without the cost difference considered. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Dodgers tried to make that kind of deal.

12:43
Comment From Jake deBomb
so the Dodgers are going to eat the 28M they committed to Guerrero?? Huh?

12:43
Dave Cameron: No. He’ll probably become an outfielder, and join their overcrowded contingent.

12:43
Comment From BassmanUW
I’m confused. You said “but I don’t think the Cubs will be busy this winter.” Did you mean you do think the Cubs will be busy this winter? They’re expected to be one of the most active teams in discussions with a whole host of free agents, whether they get them or not, right?

12:43
Dave Cameron: Yes, that was a typo. They’ll be busy.

12:44
Comment From JayT
When do players have to make their decisions about the qualifying offers? Last year it was November 11th, but I can’t find the date for this year.

12:44
Dave Cameron: Next Monday. They get a week.

12:44
Comment From mtsw
I imagine for many clubs, accessing FG or BR is just a lot simpler than consulting their internal stats database, since any computer with an internet connection can call them up instantly. Like how South Park was inspired to put their episodes online when they realized their writers were watching pirated streams of their own show since it was easier than requesting the episodes from their tape archive.

12:45
Dave Cameron: I think this is somewhat true. Especially on a mobile device, where you’ll have to connect to the main server back in the home office; it’s probably just easier to use your browser for a basic search.

12:46
Comment From Seth
Michael Bourn for Edwin Jackson. Does this trade make sense for the Cubs

12:46
Dave Cameron: Plenty. No reason for the Indians to do it, though.

12:46
Comment From cave dameron
if you had to pick a 2014 royals for 2015, who would it be

12:47
Dave Cameron: The Cubs.

12:47
Comment From semperty
With the Cubs and Dodgers both doing this, are we seeing a trend of trying to put together a conglomerate of the smartest people in one office?

12:47
Dave Cameron: Yeah, front offices are going to get bigger.

12:47
Comment From Will
Is lineup protection a thing? How much would Victor Martinez benefit from, say, hitting before or behind (generally near) Jose Abreu?

12:47
Dave Cameron: No, it’s not.

12:48
Comment From Jake deBomb
that implies that you don’t think Nelson Cruz will get 45M elsewhere this winter. not sure I agree…

12:48
Dave Cameron: He’s an average player who is a year older than he was last year when the market realized he wasn’t worth what he was asking for. One good year doesn’t change who he is.

12:48
Dave Cameron: He might get $45M, but I doubt he gets much beyond that.

12:49
Comment From hscer
Would the answers to “should [team] offer [player] X dollars for Y years, and should he take it” ever be Yes to the first and No to the second?

12:49
Dave Cameron: Of course. “Should (Pirates) offer (Martin) ($1 million) for (1 year)? Yes. Should he take it? No.”

12:50
Comment From mtsw
Should the Orioles be trying to extend Steve Pearce this offseason even though he’s in his last arb year?

12:51
Dave Cameron: It feels like this is how the Blue Jays saved a ton of money on Bautista and Encarnacion. If the breakout is real, you save $100M or more. If it’s not, okay, well, you lost $20 or $30 million or something. So, yes, they should probably take a shot at it.

12:52
Comment From Guest
why isnt joc ready? he seems to have aced the minors minus the srikeouts, and he’s what? 23?

12:52
Dave Cameron: “Aced the minors”? Adjust for park effects, note that his BB% won’t translate very well, and that a large part of his offensive performance was built on a .385 BABIP. There’s a reason Steamer sees him as a league average hitter next year.

12:54
Comment From Mike
With Marlon Byrd being the most active name the Phillies are trying to trade, what do you think he’d get in return? B prospect (in the team’s 5-10 range) or a pair of C guys (in the team’s 10-20 range)?

12:54
Dave Cameron: The latter.

12:54
Comment From Nop
With Friedman emphasizing framing, do you see the Dodgers as a match for Lucroy? Sure Brewers love him but I think there could be a match there

12:55
Dave Cameron: Sure. Just make sure you don’t let it interfere with the Marlins phone call where they try to give you Stanton.

12:55
Comment From John
Do you know of any factual proof that a “change of scenery” actually makes a difference?

12:56
Dave Cameron: It’s just another phrase for regression to the mean. Guys who get a change of scenery are selected because they’ve underperformed.

12:57
Comment From PR
i didn’t understand your cueto article. It seems to say the Reds should trade Cueto because they can’t sign him which is also prob true for Cespades. Aren’t they just opening up a new hole in their rotation? what am i missing?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Cespedes will be cheaper, and potentially in their price range, while Cueto is very unlikely to be. The money saved by dumping Marshall would let them buy an SP to replace Cueto.

12:58
Comment From Mike
How much fear do you think there might be of having “too many” front office people – along the lines of too many cooks in the kitchen? Is it just a question of leadership or something that may cause some stir?

12:58
Dave Cameron: Front office employees have been doing two or three people’s workloads. Teams aren’t yet at a position where there are too many cooks.

12:59
Comment From Jake deBomb
to be clear, I’m not sure Cruz gets over 45M either but a lot of people seem to think otherwise. I think the guys on MLBTR just projected 4/70M !!

12:59
Dave Cameron: The GMs that are dumb enough to do that aren’t in a position to give out that contract this winter. The game has gotten smarter.

1:01
Comment From a
Hi Dave — can you tell me how a DH can have a negative defensive value? Is that inherent in the DH WAR calculation – to start DHs at less than zero? Isn’t a league-average hitting DH who never plays defense better than a league-average hitter who plays atrocious defense? The DH doesn’t fail to make outs that the defender does.

1:01
Dave Cameron: The atrocious defender has to play the field because the DH is blocking the position that would let him focus solely on hitting. The team, by playing the atrocious defender in the field instead of the DH, has already decided that alignment is better than flipping the two.

1:02
Dave Cameron: So, yes, DHs are assumed to be the worst fielders on the roster. And that’s accurate.

1:03
Dave Cameron: Okay, off to get some lunch and do a few more radio interviews.

1:03
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out everyone.

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Drew Creasman
Guest

I’ve been in favor of the Rockies trying to trade Carlos Gonzalez, but Rockies fans seem unwilling to move him at lower value. Do you get the sense there is a market for him or are other teams too scared by injury history?