Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 1/20/16 by Dave Cameron January 20, 2016 11:44 Dave Cameron: Alright, the queue is open. Feel free and get your questions in now. 11:59 Dave Cameron: Alright, let’s get this thing started. 11:59 MK: Interested in your thoughts on the Nats offseason, it seems they’ve done a lot of settling for second, third, and forth options. 12:00 Dave Cameron: I think that’s probably true. But that’s also a hallmark of a disciplined organization, to some degree; teams that decide they want a guy at any cost do things like trade the farm for Shelby Miller. 12:01 Drew: Inciarte, Teheran, and Markakis for Soler and Contreras. Who says no? 12:01 Dave Cameron: Both sides. Cubs don’t need Markakis, and Braves probably not looking to give up that much present talent. 12:01 sp: is it me or is there no clear-cut best SS and 2B eight now? Everyone is either on the decline or amazing but way too young. 12:02 Dave Cameron: I think Correa is pretty clearly the best SS at this point. On 2B, it’s probably still Pedroia or Cano. 12:02 HappyFunBall: Let’s say, for grins, that Cespedes’ price comes down and the Nats do sign him. What gives? Does Jayson Werth actually have any real trade value? 12:02 Dave Cameron: No. Would imagine either Cespedes or Harper would play center, Revere would become 4th OF/Werth caddy, and Taylor would go to AAA or be trade bait. 12:03 James : What do you think is more likely to happen next, expansion or relocation? 12:03 Dave Cameron: Expansion. 12:03 JCA CPA CA: Any sort of defense you can make for the Kennedy deal? seems like a very poor move on the Royals part 12:04 Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s a terrible contract. They basically threw $30 million down the drain. 12:04 The Dude of NY: When will you release your top trade value list? 12:04 Dave Cameron: The full list runs during the All-Star break. The shorter off-season update will come next week. 12:04 Chris: ZIPS projects relatively few major holes on the Tigers aside from the bottom of the rotation. Does signing Justin Upton/bullpen changes/Zimmerman keep the window open for another couple years? 12:05 Dave Cameron: I’d imagine 2016 is their last hurrah unless everyone ages really well. But 2017 is probably going to be their transition year where they realize they aren’t good enough anymore. 12:05 Bork: Is there any easy solution to Baltimore’s rotation issues? 12:06 Dave Cameron: Not really, no. They can throw money at some bounce back FAs and hope to get lucky, but their pitching isn’t going to be very good next year, and the offense probably won’t be able to make up for it. 12:06 MSW: I know you’re strongly pro-Lagares, anti-Cespedes for the Mets, as is Buster Olney, who argued that they don’t need to sign him because they can always make a midseason trade. But why would it be better for a team to give up valuable assets from the farm system for a rental when they could acquire Cespedes for nothing but the cost of his contract? 12:07 Dave Cameron: Because Cespedes isn’t a CF, and you can trade for something you actually need at the deadline. The Mets don’t need another corner OF. 12:07 MK: On the pod you mentioned Josh Donaldson will likely go to arbitration because the Blue Jays are a file and trial team. With the change in leadership do you think that still holds? Is that generally a ownership policy or a GM/President policy? 12:08 Dave Cameron: Shapiro can probably change that if he wants, but it’s probably safer to assume that he’ll leave that as is until we see evidence that he won’t. 12:09 Mister: Which free agent signing do you think has been the biggest bargain so far? 12:10 Dave Cameron: I liked the Zobrist/Lackey deals a lot for the Cubs. Span for 3/$30M will probably be a nice deal for SF. Gordon at 4/$72M was very nice for KC. 12:10 kris: With the J-Up contract, more articles about the opt-out have come out. The argument, again, is if he opts out that means the Tigers got 2 good years and don’t have to bear the ‘bad’ part of the contract at the end. But that also means the Tigers won’t get the next couple years (should be not have the opt-out) at below what he’d get on the free agency market, right? 12:11 Dave Cameron: Right. The Upton opt-out is probably the most harmful one handed out this winter, because the Tigers giving him an opt-out means they can’t use his good outcomes to restock their franchise as the rebuild begins. 12:11 Dundalkian: As an Orioles fan, I look at the contract signed by Upton and wish they O’s had signed him instead of Davis. Do you agree that they would have been better off with Upton and his contract than Davis and his contract. Which contract ultimately costs more, Davis’ 7/163 with deferred money or Jupton’s 6/133 with an opt-out clause? 12:12 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I’d take Upton over Davis even for the same price. The fact Upton was cheaper makes it an easy call. 12:12 Raindog: Calculating Steamer/600, Austin Jackson projects for 1.4 WAR and Dexter Fowler for 1.6. Jackson’s a year younger. Fowler costs a draft pick. It seems like Fowler’s gonna get paid a lot more. What am I missing? 12:12 Dave Cameron: Fowler’s coming off a good year, Jackson a bad one. 12:12 Michael: Chances lower payroll team like Indians signs Cespedes to a 1 year deal with a high AAV? 12:12 Dave Cameron: Zero. He’s going to get $100M plus. 12:12 Tim: Do you think the Jays re-sign one of Bautista or Encarnacion at the end of 2016? Neither? Both? If you had to pick only one, which one would you prefer to keep if you were the Jays? 12:13 Dave Cameron: I would guess they’ll keep Joey Bats, let EE leave. 12:13 Natitude Adjuster: Are you all in NC going to get snow from the impending storm this weekend? We’re going to get KO’ed in DC, it appears. 12:13 Dave Cameron: We’re going to get a few inches, probably. But that will be enough to shut the city down for a week. 12:14 libre: What is the hardest part about having a puppy? How much easier was it made by you working from home? 12:15 Dave Cameron: The time commitment. We got a high energy dog so I was exercising her 3-4 hours a day to get her worn out for the first couple of years. That’s down a little bit now, but she still needs a lot of time and attention. Working from home helped with training her to go outside when she needed to take a dump, but probably also made her more attached to me than we would have preferred. 12:16 Bork: Jeff Sullivans article this morning on pitch framing brings up an interesting question. With the game advancing more, can we expect pitch framing to decline because of umpires becoming more aware of it? 12:16 Dave Cameron: Yes. I think this is one of the reasons teams have refused to pay for framing; they don’t know how long it’s going to last, and umpires are certainly aware of the reputations of strike-stealers, so they may be starting to compensate. 12:16 Natitude Adjuster: What are your thoughts on the Upton deal with Detroit? 12:17 Dave Cameron: Fair-ish for DET, given that they’re about to crash hard and need to try and win before the long winter. 12:18 MikeMilligan: I’m curious why the Dodgers haven’t shown any interest in Cespedes. Their outfield is one big ? And even assuming Puig and Pederson improve there is still a hole in left field 12:18 Dave Cameron: Ethier/Van Slyke is a solid platoon. They’d only be in on Cespedes if they had a Puig trade lined up. 12:18 davels: What team do you feel has had the best off-season so far? 12:18 Dave Cameron: The Cubs. 12:19 mshirk: While in a large jumble of teams, your early projected standings seem to like the Yankees. With their lineup so dependent upon ancient players (especially for power) can you tell me what it sees in the team? Depth maybe? 12:19 Dave Cameron: Lots of above average players, no holes. 12:20 Dave Cameron: Kind of similar to the Dodgers, just without a Kershaw. 12:20 Robert: What series of events and/or legal action would it take to end baseball’s blackout policy? 12:21 Dave Cameron: The blackouts are the result of MLB taking a lot of money from cable networks and those networks not wanting cord-cutters to be able to watch MLB games without going through them. So the cable cash has to dry up. That will happen, but not soon. 12:22 TJ: Do you think Rays will make a trade with some of their pitching ? 12:22 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I still think Rays/Cubs end up matching up on some kind of deal that sends an SP and McGee or Boxberger to CHC, probably for Baez. 12:23 Alex: The Cardinals at 84 wins? Oh, come on. 12:23 Dave Cameron: They were an 89 team without sequencing luck last year, and I think everyone agrees that losing Heyward makes them worse. 12:24 DD: Aaron Sanchez just announced he put on 25 lbs of weight over the offseason in hopes to add durability and become a full-time starter. 12:24 Dave Cameron: Unless he put on 25 pounds of command, it won’t matter. 12:24 Nelson: Do you have any human emotional reactions to the ongoing stock market crash? 12:25 Dave Cameron: This isn’t a crash. The worst thing anyone with money in the market can do is overreact to short-term swings. 12:25 Roan: Fangraphs has Dodgers at 90 wins. Do you see that as conservative, or can trend up based on how pitching holds up? 12:25 Dave Cameron: That doesn’t include Maeda, who isn’t in our DB yet, so it’s probably a little low. 12:25 Matt: Your article about insider/non-insider data made me wonder about advanced stats in general. Lots of strides were made in the last 30-40 years with finding meaning out of the raw data, put together in innovative ways to find good measures of value, production, wins on the field, etc. Looking forward, what new frontiers are there? How close are we to a point of diminishing returns where there isn’t essentially anything significant to learn? Or will we ever get to that point? I’ll hang up and listen. 12:26 Dave Cameron: We’re nowhere close to that point. I think the next big advancement will be in development rather than acquisition. How did Matt Carpenter become Matt Carpenter? There’s a crazy amount of potential value for the team that can figure that out. 12:27 Bill: Back in November you predicted that Chris Davis wouldearn 26 million per year. He wound up with 20-23 per year depending on hoyu calculate it. Did you over estimate the market or did Orioles get a good deal? 12:28 Dave Cameron: AAV and years go on a sliding scale. He took a lower salary to get more years. My 26 AAV was based on a five year deal. 12:28 Dave Cameron: The Orioles definitely did not get a good deal. 12:28 Ringtone Composer: Thanks for hosting that great article on “The Gap Between Public and Private Information.” Is the main takeaway that new datasets are exciting, but not necessary to drive new insights? 12:29 Dave Cameron: Yeah; I think it’s important to remember that we shouldn’t just stagnate our ability to learn now while waiting for larger samples of tracking data to learn what we can’t know for a few more years. 12:30 Matt: What do you think Ajax ends up getting? Am I crazy to think he’s pretty much a younger, cheaper Span with less injury red flags, and teams are overlooking him big time? 12:30 Dave Cameron: Yeah, he’s not as good as Span. He’s a younger Fowler. 12:30 Guest: Seems like a deal centered around Marisnick and Soler would help both sides no? 12:30 Dave Cameron: Astros have Springer and Rasmus locked into their corner OF spots, and Marisnick isn’t worthy anything like Soler, so no. 12:31 Gila Monster: If you can buy Rodon as a #2 starter and have a bit of hope for Lawrie, aren’t the White Sox quite decent? If they signed Cespedes, they really wouldn’t have that many scrubs. 12:32 Dave Cameron: The back of their rotation sucks. They don’t have a shortstop. If they sign Cespedes, they aren’t starting Garcia, who also stinks, but that’s a big if. They’re still a very weak team at the bottom of their roster. 12:32 Luke: Any guesses as to where Dexter Fowler ends up? 12:32 Dave Cameron: Baltimore. 12:32 Adam: Dave, please assuage my fears here: as a Red Sox fan, I’m terribly worried (especially after the Margot deal) that Dombrowski is going to mortgage the farm in order to add Lucroy. 12:33 Dave Cameron: Lucroy isn’t a Dombrowski-type, I don’t think. 12:33 Joe: What do the Dodgers still need to do this offseason? Bullpen? Is Seager replacing Rollins enough of an upgrade that we all just need to relax? 12:33 Dave Cameron: The Dodgers are a very good team. They don’t need to do anything. They can make more moves if value presents itself, but there’s no gaping holes that need patching. 12:34 Kahler: Do you think the Braves had real interest in Justin Upton or did they just make a call for an old friend to help his market out? 12:34 Dave Cameron: I’m sure they’d have been interested if the price was low enough. It wasn’t. 12:34 Doug: Do you have a gut feeling on if the Cubs will acquire a CF? 12:34 Dave Cameron: I think they will, yeah. 12:34 Bork: Stupid question that I’m too lazy to google…with opt-out’s, can teams still offer QO’s to the playing opting out? Thus potentially gaining a draft pick? 12:34 Dave Cameron: Yes. 12:35 The Dude of NY: Andrew Marchand of ESPN wrote that MLB should limit teams to two visits to the pitching mound per nine innings to improve pace of game. Thoughts? 12:36 Dave Cameron: Then you’d just have delays where the catcher is talking to the manager from behind the plate, then the catcher would go as far as he could without it constituting a mound visit to communicate with the pitcher. You’d just move the delays into a different format. 12:36 MSW: So if it’s assumed that the Mets will want to trade for “something useful” at the deadline, who do you project to be out there at positions they might need (CF, SS, maybe 3B or C if Wright/d’Arnaud can’t stay healthy)? 12:37 Dave Cameron: Guys get hurt. Someone projected to be good will be bad. You can figure out what unexpected need you have in June. 12:37 John: What signing do you like less, Kennedy or Davis? 12:37 Dave Cameron: Davis because of the O’s weak position in the AL East. Kennedy is a huge overpay but at least KC can take advantage of his value in the short-term. 12:38 Duke: I’m not sold on the LAD being the favorites in the NLW. Convince me. 12:39 Dave Cameron: Kershaw is as good as any other teams two best pitchers combined. They have the most SP depth of any team in baseball. They have no holes in their line-up, so even without a superstar hitter, they’ll score runs by not having any easy outs. 12:40 anon: Coghlan would form a better platoon partner in LF with the Angels than sit on Cubs bench. Do you agree? 12:40 Dave Cameron: Yes. 12:40 The old professor: Addison Russell could very well be the top ss in the NL this year .. Not a question I guess but I’ll take your opinion on it 12:40 Dave Cameron: I’m not as high on Russell as a lot of others. 12:41 RRPP: You mentioned the Nats as coming in second/third for premium FAs as perhaps a function of their discipline/rationality. We often see the same labels attached to the Cardinals. Devil’s advocate – is this also, in a market that could be described as irrational when, say, Ilitch wants to win before he dies, a recipe for finishing second in the standings? This isn’t like trading equities, where if you’re in the top 25% of performers, but not #1, you’re quite happy with yourself. In other words, do the slightly irrational/slightly lucky have a better chance of finishing at the top than the more risk-averse? 12:41 Dave Cameron: Winning the off-season and winning the in-season have very little correlation. Most times, coming out on top of the FA spending means you made a mistake. 12:42 Joe: The Dodgers front office does seem to love their platoons. Do you think Utley and Hernandez can be a serviceable duo at 2nd base this season? 12:42 Dave Cameron: Yeah, plus Barnes is still around. I’d bet they get 2-3 WAR from their 2Bs this year. 12:43 Matt: Can I make the case for the Braves signing Cespedes? Markakis-Inciarte-Cespedes is one of the best OFs in baseball on both sides of the ball (assuming Markakis moves to LF). It would be huge to have that ready to go in 2017, along with Freeman-Swanson-Olivera-Peterson/Albies in the IF. Bring in Newcomb, Sims, Jenkins, Blair, Banuelos, Foltynewicz, Ellis, Gant, and myriad other pitching options to pair with Teheran and Wisler, and competing for the playoffs in 2017 isn’t as far fetched as some believe. Are you buying or selling? 12:44 Dave Cameron: You’re overly optimistic about those guys. Markakis is not good, there’s no real reason to think Olivera is anything of value at this point, Swanson probably won’t be ready to help a contender next year, and those young arms are more likely to be bad or injured than carry a playoff team in the next 24 months. 12:44 The Dude of NY: Jeff Bridich said he doesn’t see an OF trade as a necessity. Doesn’t that seems…wrong? 12:45 Dave Cameron: They don’t have a 1B, so if they don’t make a trade, Dickerson could play 1st. So he’s not entirely wrong. But it would make sense to trade CarGo now. 12:46 The Dude of NY: I really like all the NEIFI blog posts. Is this going to be a regular feature on Fangraphs? 12:46 Dave Cameron: They’ll contribute guest pieces occasionally. It’s not a permanent part of the schedule, but this probably won’t be the last thing you see from them on FG. 12:48 Otter: Team that would benefit the most from signing Cespedes? Cardinals? White Sox? 12:48 Dave Cameron: White Sox need an OF more than anyone else in baseball. 12:48 James : Do you follow any other sports just as a fan and not as an analyst? If so, does your enjoyment level differ? 12:48 Dave Cameron: I don’t have a lot of time for other sports, but I’d say college basketball is probably the one I’d watch if given a choice. 12:49 Meowmix: Why is Adrian Beltre your favorite player? 12:49 Dave Cameron: Why isn’t he yours? 12:49 dave cameron: Which fangraphs employee has highest trade value 12:49 Dave Cameron: Sullivan. 12:49 Q-Ball: Where does Howie Kendrick end up? I honestly can’t figure out where he fits with QO comp attached. Can you? 12:50 Dave Cameron: Arizona is the obvious fit; someone there just needs to help Dave Stewart understand that giving up a second round pick isn’t a big deal. 12:51 Kosmo: If you were offered a job with all 30 teams to be their gm, what team is the last one you would wanna take based on their future outlook? 12:51 Dave Cameron: San Diego, probably. They’re bad, Preller gutted the farm system, and they play in a division with a behemoth. 12:51 Mr poopy butthole: What happened to kiley 12:51 Dave Cameron: He got hired by the Braves. 12:52 Threat Level Midnight: Why do you think we don’t see more cases in which rebuilding teams “buy” prospects by taking on big contracts? I.e. hypothetically the Brewers acquire Hanley Ramirez and his full contract along with Rafael Devers for nothing. 12:52 Dave Cameron: We saw that a bunch of times last year. See Broson Arroyo/Touki Toussant. 12:52 The Dude of NY: Are you in favor of brining the DH to the NL? 12:52 Dave Cameron: Yes. 12:53 zach: Joc pederson or jorge soler, who’s career would would rather have? 12:53 Dave Cameron: Pederson. 12:53 Andrew: Should I prioritize paying of 22k of student loan debt at 6.6% over saving up for a down payment on a home? 12:53 Dave Cameron: 6.6%? Pay that off. 12:53 Dave Cameron: Or at least see if you can consolidate it and get a lower rate. 12:54 Todd: Indians – Rockies swap: Bauer for Dickerson. Makes sense, right? 12:54 Dave Cameron: Trevor Bauer in COL would be an unmitigated disaster. 12:55 John: What is the best way to identify league averages for items like HR/FB%, Hard hit%, etc. Thanks. 12:56 Dave Cameron: If you go to the leaderboards, then click on league, you can get the league average for any stat we have on the site. 12:56 Michigan Man: You say 2016 will be a “last hurrah” (unless everyone ages well) for the Tigers – would that “hurrah” involve making the playoffs, or do you simply see it as the year before they start tanking? 12:57 Dave Cameron: I think they can make a run again this year and get back to the postseason. They’ll need big rebounds from Verlander and Martinez, but it’s possible. 12:58 Adam: While only having Beltre in Boston for a brief time, I have to chime in and say he’s endlessly entertaining and impossible to not be a favorite. 12:58 Dave Cameron: If you don’t like Adrian Beltre, you should consider buying a soul. 12:59 Matt: Re: Pederson vs. Soler, why do you go with Pederson? 12:59 Dave Cameron: Much better defense, and not sold that there’s a big difference in offense. 12:59 Logan: Adding the DH to the NL would have to be a delayed thing, right? Something like 2 years after the CBA to let the NL teams prepare. 12:59 Dave Cameron: Yeah, it won’t go in immediately. 1:00 Bork: Girlfriend’s family member and spouse have both decided to drop out of college and sell Primerica. Both early 20’s, both have no real post-secondary education. It sounds terrible, but it’s great seeing their facebook posts about how to save money (they suggest investing at 9.9% interest compounded yearly until 55…) 1:00 Dave Cameron: Break up with her. 1:01 Dave Cameron: (Only mostly kidding) 1:01 Craig in Chicago: how didn’t the cubs overpay for both Lackey and Zobrist? If you think they got “deals”, I really am surprised. Why do you keep harping on free agent ages, EXCEPT FOR THE CUBS!?!?!? 1:02 Dave Cameron: Lackey is twice the pitcher Ian Kennedy is and signed for half as much money. Zobrist is a +3ish WAR player who signed for what back-end starters are getting. Nothing wrong with short-term deals for good old players. 1:03 Joe: Do you think the tank-to-rebuild strategy looks more appealing/foolproof than it really is right now because of how smoothly it went for the Astros and (especially) the Cubs? Not that it’s a bad strategy (the CBA obviously encourages it)…but it’s hard to imagine it consistently working out as well as it has for the Cubs and Astros (in part because most owners probably aren’t patient enough to stick to the full process). 1:05 Dave Cameron: I think people who believe the Cubs and Astros rebuilds were based around tanking for high draft picks haven’t been paying attention. Yes, the Astros got Correa with the #1 pick, but they also got Appel and the Brady Aiken mess, and the Astros were winning before they called Correa up last year. They didn’t get Keuchel, McHugh, Altuve, Rasmus, etc… through tanking. 1:06 Dave Cameron: They took advantage of non-competitive seasons to not just stockpile picks, but to acquire undervalued assets and take shots on guys who deserved them. That’s just as important as getting a good draft bonus pool. The idea that you can suck on purpose, get a bunch of good picks, and easily turn things around based on those picks, is not true.