Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 12/6/17 by Dave Cameron December 6, 2017 12:00 Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday, everyone. 12:01 Dave Cameron: This week’s book recommendation, for those with toddlers: Hunting the Daddyosauarus. Super fun. 12:02 Dave Cameron: Let’s get to the coldest of cold stoves. 12:02 Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: How poorly does Jeter have to run the Marlins to have a negative pWAR (popularity WAR) in the mainstream baseball world? What about his pWAR in the New York markets? Like, if Jeter sends Giancarlo Stanton to the BoSox and Dombrowski fleeces Jeter, he’s dead to Yankees fans, right? 12:02 Dave Cameron: Michael Jordan is the obvious corollary. He’s run two NBA franchises into the ground as an executive, and I don’t think Bulls fans care at all. 12:03 Big Papi: Red Sox are still the AL East favorites, right? I was worried that NY would get Ohtani, but without him they still look like a WC team. 12:04 Dave Cameron: I mean, if you’re judging them on their rosters in December, maybe. But NY has a pretty easy path to fill out their rotation, and come March, I’m pretty sure I’ll take NYY over BOS. 12:04 Ed in Iowa: I’m an NL guy, so I’m totally scouting the stat line here: but am I right to think that Danny Duffy is slightly better than Alex Cobb, but not enough better to warrant paying him 4/$60 AND giving up serious assets for the privilege, when you could just as well sign Cobb for 4/$65 or 5/$75? 12:04 Dave Cameron: Yep. 12:04 Jack: What team would benefit the most from acquiring Ohtani? 12:05 Dave Cameron: Probably the Giants or Mariners, both of whom have questionable futures once their core ages out of contention in the not too distant future. 12:05 Buff: Is there any chance Ohtani starts the year in the minors? 12:05 Dave Cameron: If he’s atrocious in spring training, or gets hurt and doesn’t have time to build up his arm, maybe. 12:05 Dave Cameron: A team playing service time games with him would get crucified though. 12:06 ohtanifan63102: Who is the better pitcher over the next two years–Ohtani or MIkolas? Better numbers from Mikolas but he’s never succeeded in MLB. What is your opinion on the short term value of those two? The dollar difference (perceived value at least, with Shohei) is pretty staggering is the main reason I ask. 12:07 Dave Cameron: Even the optimistic projections on Mikolas have him as an average-ish innings eater type. Ohtani would have to significantly underachieve in order to not be better. 12:07 FrankJStudd: Thoughts on the Mikolas contract? To me, it seems like another case of paying for stats earned against subpar competition. I see his ceiling being a quality setup guy so I would’ve been interested at ~6M a year. If I’m one of those “AAAA” types in MLB, I’m headed to Japan or Korea for a year or two to inflate my stats then come back to cash in. 12:07 Dave Cameron: People said this about Eric Thames last year too. 12:07 Dave Cameron: And Colby Lewis before him. 12:08 Dave Cameron: And all the good Japanese arms who have come over and signed for nothing, then spent a decade being awesome. 12:08 Jeremy: Was looking over the top 50 free agent list, and thinking about a few of the minor deals so far for a few pitchers (Fister, Minor, Otero). I understand limitations from the 40 man roster, but what is stopping a team with limited pitching depth, and has money to spend but doesn’t want to shell out for a premium free agents (my Blue Jays come to mind) from stocking up on these depth options. Give Fister, Chatwood, Cashner, Tillman, Neshek (Insert cheap depth option) a flyer over a 1-2 year deal, and odds are someone will pleasantly surprise you. You can never have enough pitching? 12:08 Dave Cameron: Otero wasn’t a free agent. 12:08 Dave Cameron: And free agents generally aren’t going to sign with someone to fight for a job. 12:09 Dave Cameron: So if you sign Fister or whoever to fill out your rotation, getting the other guys is now much harder, since all you’re promising them is money and the hope that someone else gets hurt. 12:10 PTBNL: Loved your piece about the JBJ/Abreu swap. My question is, if the Red Sox do want to go after Abreu, what does a reasonable package look like? 12:10 Dave Cameron: Let the White Sox pick anyone from their farm system and then add some filler. 12:11 Dave Cameron: Boston’s system doesn’t have any guys I’d refuse to trade for Abreu. 12:11 Bearry: St. Louis misses out on Stanton. They turn the the Rays for their package of players. Archer, Colome, Sucre, and Longoria for Weaver, Reyes, Kelly, Helsley, Luke Voit, Jose Garcia, and Tyler O’Neill. Who says no? 12:12 Dave Cameron: I doubt the Cardinals do that. 12:12 Dave Cameron: Archer is good and Colome is nice enough, but Longoria is probably negative value at this point and Sucre isn’t worth anything. Giving up Weaver/Reyes/Kelly/extra stuff for Archer/Colome is an overpay. 12:14 Bleh: If you’re running a team like the Dodgers that just finished one game shy of a world series and returns essentially the same team, is your thinking: a) make minimal changes and hope the team produces the same way and gets back to the WS, or b) knowing you have such a good team already in place, make a big move (Stanton) to (hopefully) push you over the edge. 12:14 Dave Cameron: C) Make moves that return more value than they cost. 12:14 Dave Cameron: If you can get a good deal on Stanton, do that. 12:14 Dave Cameron: If you can get better deals on smaller moves, do those. 12:14 Hae-Lo Dee: You’re handed a thousand dollars with the stipulation that it has to be placed on a bet for what team Ohtani signs for. Which team do you put it on? 12:14 Dave Cameron: Probably the Mariners. 12:15 Hae-Lo Dee: All of the pitcher contracts have seemed like steals so far, no? 12:16 Dave Cameron: Do we know what Minor got yet? I haven’t seen that. 12:16 Dave Cameron: Fister was definitely a steal. 12:16 Dave Cameron: Mikolas probably was. 12:16 Nick: When is a team’s payroll calculated for luxury tax purposes? If a team were to start out the season above the threshold but then sell off enough at the trade deadline to fall below the threshold, would that season count towards resetting the penalties? 12:16 Dave Cameron: It’s calculated at the end of the year. So, yes, a team that starts out over the CBT threshold can get under it during the year if they sell. 12:17 Hae-Lo Dee: What do you think the chances are that Ohtani has decided already, but is playing out the decision for no reason other than due diligence? 12:18 Dave Cameron: I’d guess he probably had a preference going into this thing, but is open to a team changing his mind. 12:18 Wes: The ZiPS on the Rangers is really grim. Do they need to rebuild, “re-tool”, or stand pat? One take away, can’t wait to see what Willie can do in the big leagues! 12:19 Dave Cameron: If they don’t land Ohtani, I would expect them to be sellers in July. Beltre will be a decent rental to move, Hamels will have value if they pay down some of his deal… 12:19 Charlie: If baseball were to change to a completely open market, how would you address competitive balance? 12:20 Dave Cameron: You’d have to have even more extreme revenue sharing. 12:20 skwalla: What do the Yankees do with their outfield? Judge and Gardner will man the corners but what happens with Ellsbury, Hicks, and C. Frazier? 12:20 Dave Cameron: Hicks and Ellsbury share CF, Frazier hangs out in Triple-A and tries to learn some plate discipline. 12:21 Colin: Where do you think Carlos Santana ends up? 12:21 Dave Cameron: Yankees. 12:21 skwalla: Would Stanton or Ohtani to the Dodgers make them the Warriors of the MLB? 12:22 Dave Cameron: Ohtani would come closer, given that they’d still have money to go do plenty of other stuff this winter too. 12:22 Dave Cameron: But no, the difference in talent levels between best/worst teams in baseball is just so much smaller than difference between best/worst teams in other sports. 12:22 Eric: How much do you believe in Chris Taylor’s breakout? Do you expect significant regression? 12:23 Dave Cameron: I think he just had his career year, but he can still be a solid everyday guy going forward. 12:23 Terry’s Sarape: Who is the best “worst” team in any division? 12:23 Dave Cameron: Maybe the A’s? Chapman/Olson changed that line-up in the second half, and there are some interesting arms there. 12:23 Dave Cameron: They aren’t great, but they’re ok. 12:24 Zock Jr.: Thanks for the chat, Dave! Travis keeps saying that Ohtani should be used as a super reliever. I assume the likelihood of that is quite low? 12:24 Dave Cameron: Yeah, that’s not going to happen until he shows he can’t start. 12:25 Bob: Rank the 7 teams still in on Ohtani in order of probability of landing him (in your opinion). 12:25 Dave Cameron: SEA-SF-big gap-LAD-ANA-SD-TEX-CHC 12:26 Andy: Where would Ohtani land on the Trade Value list? 12:26 Dave Cameron: Right now, probably top 25. If he’s really good in first half of the year, top 5, maybe top 3. 12:26 Ugh: Expect Acuna to make an impact in Atlanta this year? If so, when? 12:27 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think he’ll be up after Super 2 deadline. 12:27 Dave Cameron: So mid-June 12:27 Brandon M: One advantage, in my opinion, of the slow mrket is paying attention to some of the lower profile yet still interesting signings such as Mike Minor and Miles Mikolas. While not what the casual fan would call “exciting” they are certainly interesting signings to explore. Do you agree or disagree? 12:27 Dave Cameron: It feels like we’re doing this off-season in reverse. These are usually the guys who sign in January. 12:28 Hoops: Can you see Lynn, Cobb or Chatwood going to Baltimore? Which of the 3 would fit best? 12:28 Dave Cameron: Lynn feels more like a Duquette kind of guy. 12:29 David: Which team that thinks it can still compete do you think is in the biggest need to rebuild? 12:29 Dave Cameron: The Orioles. 12:29 Sleepy: Speaking (typing?) as a Bulls fan, you are 100% correct in that I couldn’t possibly care less that MJ is absolutely brutal as an executive. Six rings! 12:30 LPFan: 2) Can we please extend regular season series to 5-6 games from 3-4 at a time? Reduces travel time, season series mean more, gives fans a chance to catch a particular pitcher which otherwise they might miss? 12:30 Dave Cameron: I’d go a step further and make every week a six game series with an off-day. 12:31 Dave Cameron: So it’s “Yankees week” or “Red Sox week” or whatever. 12:31 Dave Cameron: 26 weeks of 6 games per week is 156 games. 12:32 Dave Cameron: The All-Star game becomes a problem, but you can get in almost as many games as now with a more regular rest, hopefully keeping guys healthier. 12:32 David: Surprising to see Maitan get almost half the bonus he got from last year after just a few months in rookie ball? 12:32 Dave Cameron: Nope. His stock is down and teams have less money to spend. 12:33 Bob: Happ + Almora for Archer. Who says no? 12:33 Dave Cameron: Rays should do better than that. 12:33 Matt H: What would a moderately optimistic estimate of Otani’s 2018 WAR be? 12:33 Dave Cameron: +6 12:34 Dave Cameron: I think expecting him to be a +3 to +4 WAR pitcher is probably fair based on what he did in Japan, and he’s almost certainly going to produce some value as a hitter. 12:34 Dave Cameron: So +4 to +5 is probably rational-ish, with +6 being a good outcome. 12:35 HappyFunBall: So last weeks JBJ for Abreu silliness got me thinking … is Rusney Castillo tradable? Since he’s never going to get called up, it’s basically $37M of dead money for the Sox. If someone thought Castillo could put up 4-5 WAR in the next 3 years, and offered to take that off of Boston’s books they might could get an actual value piece or two thrown into the deal. Or does Boston not care about untaxed dead money? 12:35 Dave Cameron: The problem is that he’s not much different from a guy like Leonys Martin, who just signed for 1/$2M yesterday. 12:35 Dave Cameron: Why pay $37M for this skillset when you can get it for $2M? 12:36 Dave Cameron: And the Red Sox aren’t going to care enough about untaxed savings to give up significant talent to move the money. 12:36 Bob Loblaw: If Ohtani’s bat really plays, do you think anyone will do anything interesting with him like move him to the outfield/first and bring in a loogy for one inning of LHB/LHB/LHB, then send Ohtani back to the mound? 12:37 Dave Cameron: I doubt it. No one is going to want to risk injuring him to just get a platoon advantage for a few batters. 12:37 Dave Cameron: Maybe in the World Series or something, but not in the regular season. 12:37 John: Any guesses on guys getting extensions this offseason? I’m surprised theres been no rumblings on Kershaw considering he’s only got a year left 12:37 Dave Cameron: Extension talks happen in spring training. 12:37 Dave Cameron: February/March is when teams do those deals. 12:38 Dave Cameron: Passan says Minor got 3/$28M. 12:38 Dave Cameron: That’s no steal. 12:38 JC: The spot isn’t right on the win curve, but do the Braves go shopping for a 3B in the “buyers” market? Pushing out Matt Adams & Jim Johnson clear a little under 10 mil that wasn’t obviously going to go away, and unless AA has a lower payroll than the past, the need & assets to get one are certainly there. 12:39 Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t go for an aging guy like Frazier, but if Moustakas ends up cheap, it wouldn’t be an awful idea. 12:39 Rohan: Stanton’s tax hit is $25M/yr based on his original contract. If a team trades for the entire remaining contract, would it take the same $25M/yr hit or the remaining $29.5M/yr hit? 12:40 Dave Cameron: The CBT calculation is based on what the team takes, not what the AAV was at time of signing. 12:40 Pops: If you’re the O’s, do you pony up the money to keep Machado for the next 10 years? Or, trade him now for a package of prospects? 12:40 Dave Cameron: I’d pay a lot to keep him, but I don’t know why he’d stay there. They’re going to be really bad really soon. 12:41 Mike Rizzo: If I’m willing to trade Robles as the centerpiece of a major deal, who is the player I could get back who would do the most toward putting the Nats over the top? 12:41 Dave Cameron: Archer? 12:41 Rick: If Devers counts as part of the Red Sox “farm system” you’ve got a deal. 12:41 Dave Cameron: He does not. 12:41 The Man With No Name: Is Walker Buehler going to be a monster in a couple years? 12:42 Dave Cameron: Has to learn how to throw strikes, but maybe. 12:42 PTBNL: I’d say Groome would be on my do-not-touch list in the Boston system in an Abreu trade, but he did have a fairly mediocre first professional season so what do I know. 12:43 Dave Cameron: Yeah, 18 year old pitching prospects should rarely been untouchable, and he didn’t do enough to make himself the exception. 12:43 Jack: Why are the Mariners considered the favorites? Is it simply geography and Ichiro? 12:44 Dave Cameron: There is a huge population of Japanese people and culture in the area. 12:44 Dave Cameron: If he puts a high value on cultural comfort, Seattle is tough to beat. 12:45 Eric R: Is Thames a particular good example? 218 wRC+ in April and then just 103 the rest of the way. 12:45 Dave Cameron: Distribution is irrelevant. He put up +2 WAR for $5M. 12:45 Dave Cameron: The people who thought he couldn’t hit MLB pitching were wrong. 12:46 PTBNL: RE: your Stanton to LAD piece, I can’t see the scenario of the Dodgers letting Kershaw walk and signing Harper occurring. My guess is Kershaw retires a Dodger. 12:47 Dave Cameron: I’m sure they would love to keep him, but if some other team throws 8/$300M at him, is Friedman going there for a guy with a history of back problems? 12:47 Andy: What is the argument for the Blue Jays and Orioles not trading short-term assets like Donaldson and Machado? They seem buried in the AL East and the return at the deadline in 2017 wasn’t very high for a guy like J.D. Martinez. 12:47 Dave Cameron: Blue Jays aren’t buried as far as the Orioles are. 12:48 Dave Cameron: TOR can at least squint and see a contention scenario this year. 12:48 Dave Cameron: The Orioles are being silly. 12:49 Eric: Reports out of Chicago have Schwarber getting into the “best shape of his life.” Any chance he can make himself into a non-negative defender? 12:49 Dave Cameron: Maybe. Guys have made dramatic defensive transformations before. 12:49 Dave Cameron: But if it costs him power, it might not be worth it. 12:49 Daniel: Thanks for the chat! Do you know if any of: scoops, wild throw recoveries, relays, tagging are measured by UZR/DRS for 1B? 12:50 Dave Cameron: Yes, scoops are in UZR and DRS. BIS also calculates “good fielding plays” for DRS which accounts for things like wild throw recoveries, I believe. 12:50 Tachyon75: What’s the optimum strategy for a team like the Tigers in free agency? Bullpen upside plays you can potentially flip at the deadline? A rehab project like Smyly? 12:50 Dave Cameron: Lottery tickets. 12:51 Dave Cameron: Rich Hill types. 12:51 stever20: What do you think happens with the Nats with their OF situation with Eaton back? Does he slide into LF? 12:51 Dave Cameron: Yep 12:52 Dave Cameron: Taylor/Goodwin share CF 12:52 Dave Cameron: Eaton and Harper in the corners 12:52 Terry’s Sarape: Is contract status/money owed/service time, etc. the largest factor in any trade now? beyond ability, etc. 12:52 Dave Cameron: Both things matter. 12:52 Dave Cameron: No one is giving up anything for six years of a replacement level league minimum guy. 12:53 PTBNL: One reason I think JBJ might be traded is that the Sox probably can’t afford to extend Bogarerts, Betts, Benintendi, and JBJ in the next few years. JBJ seems like he’d be the odd man out, as I think Tendi and Betts could handle CF duties if the Sox were to get an offense-first corner guy to replace JBJ. 12:53 Dave Cameron: It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this happened. I don’t think it would make the Red Sox any better, though. 12:53 Dave Cameron: Especially if that offense-first guy cost a lot of money. 12:53 Dave Cameron: Trading Bradley to open up a spot to pay J.D. Martinez $30M per year is dumb. 12:54 DTH: If Ohtani signs with the Cubs (obviously a long shot, but crazier things have happened), they almost have to trade a member of the core, right? I assume they’ll have to promise him OF starts, and with Heyward locked into another spot, the at bats start to dwindle when split between Schwarber/Happ/Almora 12:54 Dave Cameron: Or they could get Ohtani at-bats by letting him PH everyday 12:55 Dave Cameron: Which is what I’d plan if I was an NL team 12:55 YKnotDisco?!: What separates Fister and Mikolas? They seem to be very similar, no? 12:55 Dave Cameron: Mikolas is younger, more durable. 12:55 Brian: Besides possibly Kuroda (7 solid years), what Japanese arm spent a decade being awesome in MLB? 12:55 Dave Cameron: Koji Uehara 12:56 Dooduh: How is 3/28M not very reasonable? Can’t believe several teams weren’t in at that level. 12:57 Dave Cameron: It’s fine, almost exactly what I predicted he’d get. But it’s not some huge bargain. 12:57 Dave Cameron: He’s a guy with lots of injury problems who had one good year out of the bullpen. 12:57 Matt: In your hypothetical six-game weeks, would all of baseball just take Monday off? Or would you stagger the off-days between Monday and Thursday? 12:57 Dave Cameron: Stagger. 12:58 Mike: Why do you think there’s such a big gap between SF and LAD for Ohtani? The Dodgers have basically every factor working in their favor except market size and available bonus to offer. 12:58 Dave Cameron: We’re all just guessing, but don’t think he wants to deal with LA’s media. 12:59 Dave Cameron: Alright, have to go meet with a lawyer for a bit. Thanks for hanging out everyone. 12:59 Dave Cameron: We’ll do a bunch of chats from the winter meetings next week unless teams swamp us with transactions. 12:59 Dave Cameron: Talk to you from Orlando.