Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 1/4/17

12:01
Dave Cameron: Happy 2017 everyone.

12:02
Dave Cameron: For Christmas, my son got me pneumonia, which was very thoughtful of him, and I’m not entirely back to full speed yet, so we might not make it the full hour today, but we’ll see how it goes.

12:02
Bork: What’s more likely to happen: Bautista signing with the Jays or waiting until after the draft to sign?

12:02
Dave Cameron: Signing with the Jays, by a lot. They need him, he needs them.

12:02
Jose Quintana: Why haven’t the Yankees or Pirates worked out a trade to get me?

12:02
Dave Cameron: Well the asking price is pretty high.

12:03
Devil Ray J. Johnson: Can you state Edgar Martinez’s HOF case in 25 words or less?

12:03
Dave Cameron: He was one of the best hitters of all-time. DH is a position.

12:04
Ed in Iowa: Welcome back! I hope you and the little fellow had a lovely holiday. Our small person got introduced to duplos and now they’re all the rage in our house…. Will Travis be on the chat and podcast schedule?

12:06
Dave Cameron: We got some duplos too, but he wasn’t that interested in them. The vegetables that you can cut by separating them at the seams are the big hit so far. And yes, Travis will be chatting weekly.

12:06
Matt: Really excited to have Jeff co host Effectively Wild with Ben Lindbergh. Should we expect any other significant changes with the pod as it switches to Fangraphs?

12:07
Dave Cameron: Besides the change in hosts, nope. We know people love EW, and have no interest in messing with success.

12:07
Erik: ZiPS projects Moncada as already the White Sox third best position player. If he is kept in the minors for a good portion of the year, will that be for service time reasons or legitimate developmental reasons? Will he actually learn faster against AAA pitchers than MLB pitchers?

12:07
Dave Cameron: He didn’t look anything close to big league ready last year, and the White Sox aren’t trying to win. There’s no reason to rush him.

12:07
Jimmy: Dave- When statcast data becomes publically available, what are the types of statistics and conclusions that you most anticipate or expect to see? When do you think the ETA on this is?

12:09
Dave Cameron: Statcast data is publicly available already; you can get it at BaseballSavant.com. In terms of the most used part of the data, I’d expect that once the system is capable of either tracking every play (not currently happening) or we can reliably infer the expected run value of untracked plays, the primary thing people will be interested in is the separation of value between pitcher and fielder. Building a pitching metric that is based on quality of contact, rather than trying to tease that out from the results, is what everyone has wanted forever.

12:10
baby bull : since contracts are basically the same, would you rather have Odubel or Ender?

12:10
Dave Cameron: Inciarte. Believe more in the D, and no real reason to think Odubel makes that up at the plate.

12:10
Matt: Hey Dave, please rank the following young NL East cores (signed long term) according to which one you’d want to build an offense around: A. Turner, Eaton, Rendon; B. Swanson, (Albies,) Inciarte, Freeman; C. Herrera, (Crawford,) Franco. Thank you!

12:11
Dave Cameron: A, B, C.

12:11
Dave Cameron: I remain unsold on Franco as anything more than a mediocre player.

12:12
Dave Cameron: Braves and Nationals are closer, but I’d take Turner over Swanson.

12:12
dirty dan mcgraw: shouldn’t lots of teams, like the Phillies, be in on Dozier with the expectation of flipping him at the deadline or next offseason?

12:13
Dave Cameron: He’ll fetch less at that point then his acquisition cost now, so no.

12:13
Dave Cameron: Rebuilding teams should be getting guys whose values will go up, not down.

12:13
baby bull : If the Phillies can trade for Jay Bruce by taking his $$ and giving up an org prospect, is there any chance at all they could get a better prospect back at the deadline? Id lean no

12:13
Dave Cameron: Sure, it’s possible, if he has a big first half, but then you’re paying $7 million or whatever his half-season salary is for the right to buy a meh prospect in July if things go right.

12:13
Dave Cameron: I’d do something else with my $7 million.

12:14
Zonk: If you are Mike Rizzo, what do you do to address your bullpen?

12:14
Dave Cameron: Greg Holland seems like a natural fit there.

12:15
YOYOma: assuming twins hold onto dozier with plans to trade him at deadline, and multiple contending teams have needs now at 2b, does he still return better than what dodgers are offering right now at de leon plus?

12:15
Dave Cameron: No.

12:15
baby bull : if you could only vote for 1 RP to get in the HOF this year who would it be? Wagner, Smith, Hoffman

12:16
Dave Cameron: I’d abstain.

12:16
Rb: Quintana for Glasnow and bell who says no pirates or white Sox

12:16
Dave Cameron: White Sox.

12:16
FrenchTribeFan: Who’s the most likely to follow the cubs path in the next few years ? I was reading BP’s Milwaukee Prospect list. They feel like the next ones for me

12:18
Dave Cameron: Well, they don’t have the Cubs revenues, and it’s not as easy to get free agents to sign in Wisconsin. The reality is that it’s not very easy to do what the Cubs did, and just getting some good young players for a few years isn’t enough.

12:18
th8_: So, any hope for Peter O’Brien as a productive player?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Sure, the power is legitimate, and he’s a DH now in a league with the DH, so that helps. He probably doesn’t figure out the strike zone, but he could be Trumbo 2.0 or something.

12:20
Meal Ticket: Has CHW said Moncada is moving back to 2B (and not b/c Frazier) ?

12:20
Dave Cameron: Yes, Hahn said that at the press conference announcing the trade.

12:20
biffyclyro: Are the Cubs bluffing, or are they really set on Montgomery as the fifth starter? And if so, with two plus pitches per Eno, is it possible the team already has its long-sought after, cost-controlled starter?

12:20
Dave Cameron: Montgomery’s command stinks. He’s a reliever.

12:20
Dave Cameron: They’ll get someone better.

12:21
Buck: If the Twins can’t convince the Dodgers to include more pieces in a Dozier- De Leon deal, do you think they might be willing to build a trade around Verdugo instead? Could something like Verdugo, Calhoun, Buehler and Brock Stewart get it done?

12:21
Dave Cameron: That is way, way too much.

12:21
Q-Ball: Will Todd Frazier even be traded? He is clearly surplus for the White Sox, and a decent player, yet there seems to be next to no market, and a couple FA options still out there (Valbuena).

12:21
Dave Cameron: He’s probably a spring training trade after someone gets hurt.

12:22
JT: Dave, I’ve noticed that you and a lot of other saber guys are “big hall” guys. Why is that? I’m thankful that the Saber guys have gotten guys in with underrated resumes like Blyleven and Bagwell but is it really that must of a travesty that marginal guys like Trammel and Edgar aren’t in?

12:23
Dave Cameron: The reality is that the HOF is already a “big hall” museum. Basically everyone who played in the 1920s-1940s is already in. The standards for HOF qualification have been set by the voters over the last 50 years, and there are a huge number of modern candidates who clear that bar.

12:24
Dave Cameron: The current batch of voters are trying to hold the modern player to a different standard than older generations have been held to.

12:25
steve: Is there any logic behind the WSox keeping Quintana, hoping that the rebuild window is short enough to utilize his talents?

12:25
Dave Cameron: No.

12:25
Bork: Borkwife is in the final stretches of pregnancy (8 weeks left). Any tips for new fathers who know absolutely nothing about babies?

12:26
Dave Cameron: Don’t stress about everything. Stuff is going to happen. They’re going to get sick, fall, bleed… Just set your baseline assumption that everything is fine and you’ll save yourself a lot of anxiety.

12:27
The Shingo Method: more of a statement than a question, but based on the white sox expectations of when they will be ready to compete again (2020) the white sox do not really need to trade Quintana. Even assuming some regression if quintana is your #4 starter that puts them in a good place that year. At the very least he would be eating innings.

12:29
Dave Cameron: The cost paid over those next three years would make him the most expensive fourth starter in history. Let’s use an analogy; let’s say you’re in college, and you live on campus, and you just walk everywhere, so you don’t need a car. But you’ll need one when you graduate, and you already have one, so you have two options; you can pay to park the car for four years, pay insurance on it, and eat the depreciation cost of the vehicle as it sits around not getting used, or you can sell it now, use the money for stuff you can use today or stuff that might help you get an even better job in a few years, and then buy a new car then. What should you do?

12:31
Mokajige: What do you think the odds are the Brewers trade Braun?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Not good this winter. Too many similar players.

12:32
Electric: Are you surprised at all that Ben Cherrington didn’t get a shot at one of the GM openings this offseason? Seems like he deserves a lot of credit for that roster in Boston.

12:33
Dave Cameron: He’s turned down a bunch of chances to interview for jobs.

12:33
Bubba: Since he didn’t specifically ask about position player cores, where’d you put Syndergaard, DeGrom, Matz, (and maybe Conforto?) on that list?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Ahead of PHI, behind the other two. Pitchers and all that.

12:34
Pharx: Did you see Nathaniel Grow’s piece on the California state provision that could allow Mike Trout to potentially become a free agent right now? Amazing. Given the difference in guaranteed money he’d likely receive as a FA vs his current contract, what do you think the chances are that he pursues that?

12:35
Dave Cameron: I did see it. I think the reality is that there’s basically no upside for any individual player to try it, because MLB would use their substantial power to get an exception written. No representatives in CA want to be responsible for upholding a law that makes it virtually impossible for CA teams to compete.

12:36
NatsFan: Will the EW podcast affect Carson’s schedule at all?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Nope. We’re just helping EW continue.

12:37
Hunky Dory: Is Greg Holland hurt worse than we realize? Feels like he would be gone by now – 2/24 isn’t much of a risk for a player of his caliber, especially if he’s traded for a Chapman package at some point.

12:37
Dave Cameron: Well he’d never bring back a Chapman package.

12:37
Dave Cameron: And 2/24 for a guy who didn’t pitch last year is still a pretty big risk.

12:38
Pud Galvin: Many voters are ok with voting for suspected PED users into the HOF, but nobody is clamoring for Raffy Palmeiro to get in. Why is that? He’s the best batter not named Bonds or Bagwell not in the HOF and has a better case than all non-Bonds/Bagwell/pitcher currently on the ballot. What’s up with that?

12:38
Dave Cameron: You are wildly overrating Rafael Palmeiro

12:39
Dave Cameron: He has a career 130 wRC+. Edgar Martinez is at 147. Larry Walker is at 140. Sheffield is 141. Manny Ramirez is 153.

12:40
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: What kinds of players’ values go up/down now vs at the trade deadline?

12:41
Dave Cameron: Guys coming off career years who will use 25% of their pre-FA service time remaining, like Dozier, will almost certainly see their value go do down. Guys with unproven track records, health questions, or inconsistent performances (think Rich Hill) can have their values go up a lot.

12:41
Tommy Lasordid: Kershaw, Hill, Urias, Maeda, and a mix of Kasmir/Wood/McCarthy/Ryu/Stewart. Seems that should get it done in NL West. Agree?

12:41
Dave Cameron: Yup.

12:41
Dave Cameron: And you didn’t even mention De Leon.

12:41
Mike Milligan: Isn’t one of the standards PED usage ? There are a lot of undeserving players in the HOF now but as far as we no they were clean

12:42
Dave Cameron: So you don’t care if they took amphetamines but you do care if they took stanozolol? Why?

12:42
Pud Galvin: Hoffman, Smith & Wagner are #3, 5 & 6 (respectively) all-time in RP WAR. If DH is considered a position, why does it seem that RP’s are treated as though RP isn’t a position? Hoffman, Smith & Wagner were in the top-6 all time for what their job was. Why don’t any of them merit HOF votes in your opinion?

12:43
Dave Cameron: The bar for RP has to be extraordinarily high because it’s a population of players selected based on their inability to start. As long as we’re not putting elite starters like Mussina and Schilling in, we have no business even thinking about voting for any RP.

12:45
Ed: Tell Bork that our local hospital has a three hour training class especially for new dads. They had other dads bring in their own infants to share some of their tips. It was tremendously helpful and is worth looking into in his town.

12:45
Dave Cameron: That sounds neat.

12:45
Kolbe: How long does a player have to retire before he can play again? For example could the Yankees have offered Holliday say 5 years 20 million with 17 million in the first year, effectively lowering their cost considering the luxury tax and netting more money for Holliday. He “retires” after this year, could he then sign with someone else in the same off season?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Retiring doesn’t make your contract go away. If you unretire, you’re still subject to your contract.

12:47
Buff: When will the Eric Longenhagen piece on the Reds’ prospects be up? How long does an edit usually take?

12:47
Dave Cameron: I think it’s going to run tomorrow or Friday.

12:47
Joe: Are there really a lot of “big hall” saber guys? Even if you take the most extreme “small hall” stance, there are at least half a dozen players on the ballot right now who are clearly deserving. If writers could vote for as many players as they wanted, I’d consider a 10 player ballot to be a “small hall” vote right now.

12:48
Dave Cameron: Right; the “small hall” group is the one that is wanting to change the historical norm for election, not the “big hall” group.

12:48
Dave Cameron: If you’re a “small hall” guy, then you need to be in favor of kicking out about 60% of the currently inducted.

12:49
RMR: Is there a reason there doesn’t seem to be more interest in Nate Jones given the run on relievers and his sweet succulent contract? I’m very confused by this.

12:49
Dave Cameron: White Sox might want to make him a “proven closer” first.

12:50
BK: Closer is a “position” too? Why the different thoughts on putting a DH in but not a closer?

12:50
Dave Cameron: DHs accrue about 80-90% of the value of regular position players. RPs accrue about 20-30% of the value of starting pitchers.

12:51
Dave Cameron: If DHs hit once per game, I wouldn’t vote for any of them either.

12:51
John: Dave, I am with you re HOF, but I think the other side would say that letting amphetamine users in was a mistake that shouldn’t be repeated just for the sake of consistency

12:52
Dave Cameron: Until we’re kicking them all out, then it’s not an argument that holds any water.

12:53
Richie: No, a “small hall” guy can accept that the Hall is too big, so while kicking people out just can’t and shouldn’t be done, don’t continue to exacerbate things.

12:53
Dave Cameron: There is zero reason to hold current players to a different standard than every generation that came before.

12:53
Nate: DH is based on a population of players selected for their inability to play the field. Why the double standard?

12:54
Dave Cameron: The bar for offensive value for a DH to get enshrined also has to be extraordinarily high, since they don’t provide any fielding value. But a DH can accrue way more offensive value than an RP can accrue in pitching value.

12:55
Professor Ross Eforp: Can we move on from the HOF discussion and talk about actual baseball? This is as informative as Fantasy talk.

12:55
Dave Cameron: You’re really missing out on that in depth Rajai Davis signing talk?

12:57
Rajai Davis: I’m important, dammit!!!

12:57
HugoZ: How would you determine which players to “kick out” of the HoF based on amphetamine use?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Basically every player in the 1970s used, so if you played in those years, you’re assumed guilty. It’s the same logic being applied to guys who played in the 1990s now.

12:57
Prich: Is this why you, Jeff and everyone else who does these chats all say January is by far the worst baseball month?

12:58
Dave Cameron: February isn’t much better.

12:58
Ben: Based on current personnel and trajectory, which is the last franchise to return to relevance: Reds, Padres, D-Backs, or Twins?

12:58
Dave Cameron: The Padres are so far away. So far.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Okay, my kid is having a meltdown, the dog is freaking out, and I can’t leave the house because we got a foot of snow overnight. Seems like a good time to stop chatting.

1:00
Dave Cameron: We’ll be back next week!

1:00
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out, everyone.

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Fillmore
Member
Member
Fillmore

Dave is making the same fallacy that so many others make. You shouldn’t care more about “consistency” than principles. Just because something was permitted or approved in the past that we now consider an injustice does not mean we are obligated to continue to condone it. I disagree with “small hall” voters, but they are perfectly free to say “I am unable to change the way Hall of Fame voting worked in the past or remove past inductees, but I will change the way it works now and in the future”.

Dave’s logic is the kind that makes actual progress difficult. It’s related to the fallacious “argument from tradition”. It’s the reason many misguided voters argue that while they think David Ortiz will deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, they won’t vote for him unless Edgar Martinez gets in as well. Why? Why permit two injustices instead of just one?

Similarly, we’re seeing the same mistake this year in another form, where previous “no PED-users” voters are now voting for Bonds and Clemens, in large part, presumably, because Bud Selig is now in the Hall of Fame. This doesn’t make any sense, and I say that as someone who believes both players are obvious hall-of-famers. Either you believe PED users should be eligible for the Hall of Fame or you don’t. If someone makes it into the HOF you don’t approve of, just move on. You don’t have to change your entire voting strategy or principles because of it.

We (generally) can’t undo the mistakes of the past, but we can (and should) avoid repeating them in the future. We are in no way bound to tradition, especially if we think that tradition is flawed.

jiveballer
Member
jiveballer

“Just because something was permitted or approved in the past that we now consider an injustice does not mean we are obligated to continue to condone it.”

I don’t think he’s saying the 70’s guys being in the HOF is the injustice.

The voters are stupid – them changing their collective mind because of Selig’s induction is just the latest symptom of their stupidity. The fact is, objectively, that HOF qualification is defined by a pretty sizable, fairly inclusive precedent. More subjectively, it is very hypocritical and unfair to judge an entire generation of players against a fluctuating standard, especially when that standard is based on an awful lot of soapbox grandstanding. Use the well-established precedent for HOF player accomplishments and judge the players against their peers.

dl80
Member
dl80

I agree with you that the argument from tradition is a fallacy that we shouldn’t be using. However, I also think it is incumbent on “small Hall” voters to argue for actually kicking out the “unworthy” if that is their principled stand. Otherwise, they are guilty of the same argument from tradition fallacy.

If you are going to be logically consistent (and logos/consistency is at least as important as ethos/principles in an argument like this), then a small hall voter should be pushing to kick those guys out. Or at least arguing for an official “Inner Circle” at the Hall of Fame (which I think would be awesome and would satisfy everyone to some extent).

If you don’t want to kick people out because it’s never been done, that’s the tradition fallacy. If you don’t want to kick them out because they are really human beings and it’s not fair, that’s no different than suddenly changing the rules to keep current nominees out.

jianadaren
Member
jianadaren

“If you are going to be logically consistent (and logos/consistency is at least as important as ethos/principles in an argument like this), then a small hall voter should be pushing to kick those guys out.”

That’s just a “perfect is the enemy of the good” mistake. There’s absolutely nothing logically inconsistent about wanting to tighten the admission standards without requiring to go all napalm on the past.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

I agree with most of this, but there is a logical argument to use Bud Selig’s enshrinement by a committee set up by the Hall of Fame as reason to put players in who were also very much involved in the steroid era. This is basically the Hall of Fame itself saying “we think steroid era guys should be included.” They’ve never explicitly said they shouldn’t. I actually find in refreshing that many writers would change their minds. Perhaps they really are just tired of all of the grief surrounding the issue and this just gives them an out. Either way, there is nothing illogical about looking at what the Hall of Fame is doing itself and using it as a guide for how to vote.

Neils-Henning Orsted Joc Pederson
Member
Neils-Henning Orsted Joc Pederson

I can’t agree with that logic.
To me a HOF vote for Bud Selig did not tacitly equal an endorsement of Bonds or Clemens — but a vote for Mark McGwire certainly would have. A peer of Bonds & Clemens in almost every way, McGwire’s career easily crested the HOF threshold as measured by the Black Ink and Hall Of Fame Monitor yardsticks, matched the JAWS peak and career WAR values, and got about 80% of the way there per the Gray Ink and HOF Standards. But the same 16 committee members who almost unanimously elected Bud Selig gave very little support to McGwire (all we know for sure is that it was 25% or less).

bookbook
Member
Member
bookbook

Edgar was better than Ortiz. If you’re going to put just one in, don’t vote for the lesser one.
On your bigger philosophical argument, baseball in general, and the HOF in particular is very much about tradition and continuity. If you don’t maintain some level of consistency, why bother with the exercise at all? Putting aside the DH issue, Trammell meets today’s definition of a marginal HOF candidate. Yet, he had a comparable career to the average already-enshrined shortstop. This isn’t about pushing in every modern player who meets replacement level criteria for a HOFer. It’s about getting the average or better HOF-quality careers in with their peers. The “small” hall that many advocate is a legitimate concept, but it represents a very different institution than the one created and maintained in Cooperstown.

Fillmore
Member
Member
Fillmore

Yes, Edgar was better than Ortiz, but that’s not the point. By the time Ortiz is on the ballot, Edgar will have been off it (one way or another) for at least three years. If you believe, right now, that both of them should be in the HOF, then you should vote for Ortiz regardless of whether Edgar gets in or not. Just as voters shouldn’t let Selig’s induction change their standards, a snub of a worthy player shouldn’t change their standards either. It’s like at a piano recital, if you screw up once, you don’t have to stop playing, or continue screwing up for the sake of “consistency”. Play through mistakes. Get it right the next time.

Fortunately, it’s looking more likely that Edgar will get in eventually, so hopefully this point is moot.

And I can’t really agree about tradition being the main point of the HOF. The voting standards are very clearly about “the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played”. These are subjective measures which can be assessed independently of how other players were assessed in the past.

Llewdor
Member
Llewdor

Consistency is a principle.

Fillmore
Member
Member
Fillmore

Yes, a bad one, based far more on humans’ brains being subconsciously wired for pattern-seeking than on anything rational, logical, or anything we would generally consider a “principle” in any normal context. I’ve never heard a defense for “HOF standards should be based on consistency” that didn’t break down under even slightly rigorous analysis.