Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 2/10/16

12:00
Dave Cameron: Alright, it’s Wednesday, and spring training is around the corner. Let’s talk lukewarm stove and the upcoming season.

12:01
Joe: Who do you like better for the White Sox: Latos or Gallardo?

12:02
Dave Cameron: At the price Latos got, he’s a pretty clear pick, but I think it’s worth noting that in a market starved for pitching, no one else wanted the guy. I’m not a big believer in paying for chemistry, but when 29 teams decide they just don’t want this dude on their team, there’s a decent chance he’s a more destructive force than the typical “bad makeup” guy.

12:03
Michael Brantley: The difference between me playing on opening day and being out until 5-1 is how many wins for the Indians?

12:03
Dave Cameron: If you only miss a month, less than a win. But I’d bet you’re out longer than that.

12:04
klof: At this point would the Cubs prefer to sign Fowler on a cheap one year deal as a 4th OF or get the compensation pick when another team signs him? How low would Fowler’s asking price have to come down for this to make sense for the Cubs?

12:04
Dave Cameron: I’m going to write about Fowler this afternoon, but my guess is the Cubs prefer the pick.

12:04
infrinjinsin: lazarito or maitan, pick one bonuses aside

12:05
Dave Cameron: Maitan is supposed to be pretty special, but at this point, who knows?

12:05
Ryan : Jeff says Carson is an alien from another planet who can’t go home so he tries to fit in but can’t quite. I say he’s oddly delightful. What say you?

12:06
Dave Cameron: I say those two opinions aren’t mutually exclusive.

12:06
klof: If you had $2 million in investments and savings, would you keep working?

12:06
Dave Cameron: Yep. Work is good for the soul.

12:07
Ryan : Over/under $30 million garuanteed to Fowler? Over/under 2 years?

12:07
Dave Cameron: I’ll guess the over on both.

12:09
Paul: Can you explain why everyone is all over Michael Wacha. I get he’s a good pitcher but I don’t see anything that points to him getting much better than he currently is, not to mention injury concerns. Am I missing something? Mid-3’s ERA, mediocre strikeout ratio’s with low totals because he doesnt throw 220+ innings

12:10
Dave Cameron: This has the feel of a fantasy question, so I can’t help you there, but I will say that Wacha is the kind of guy where it seems like a big drop in walk rate could be in the cards. If he goes from 7-8% walks down to 4-5%, he’s an ace.

12:10
Dave Cameron: And while that’s true of a lot of pitchers, he’s the kind of guy where projecting a big improvement in walk rate feels possible.

12:11
Andrew: In a recent chat, someone had asked why ZiPS loves the Dodgers, and one of your reasons was because Kershaw is as good as the top 2 on almost every other team. My question is, does diminished returns come into play at all by having so much tied up in 1 pitcher, who will only start in 33 GS? At some point the difference in a single game becomes marginal, right?

12:11
Dave Cameron: Not really, no. Teams don’t distribute their runs equally, so there’s still a gain to be made in holding a team to two runs instead of three; you can’t count on your team scoring exactly four runs every game.

12:12
John: After seeing Latos only get $3 mil, what can you expect Lincecum to receive?

12:13
Dave Cameron: I’d bet he’ll get a low base/high incentive deal, maybe with some kind of vesting option for a second year. Latos’ price reflected Latos’ personality.

12:14
John: Thanks for the time Dave. Lazarito is said to be choosing his team sometime today, could he be announcing his team yet wait until after July 2nd to wait to sign with them?

12:14
Dave Cameron: If he chooses the Braves, or whoever else needs him to wait, I’d guess his announcement will be “I’ve decided not to sign at this time.” He’s not going to announce that he’s going to sign with ATL in six months.

12:15
IAmGrootReally: Trying to decide if a Dyson/Orlando platoon for the Royals in RF really excites me. How do you feel compared to what is still out there in the free agent market?

12:15
Dave Cameron: Dyson deserves a regular gig.

12:15
Dave Cameron: So good for them for not blocking him with another worse player.

12:15
The Sophomores: Kris Bryant has an unsustainable BABIP. Sano and Schwarber have their warts. Could Franco be the best from that rookie class?

12:15
Dave Cameron: No.

12:16
Dave Cameron: (Anything is possible, of course, but there’s zero reason to take Franco over Bryant)

12:16
Christian: Give Yankees fans a reason to believe that they’ll compete this season. (please!)

12:17
Dave Cameron: If the arms stay healthy, the rotation is above average, and the bullpen is the best in baseball. Average should be average, maybe a little above. This is a solid team if they can avoid the DL. That’s the big bet.

12:18
Cody: What do you think about the Dodgers getting both Gurriel brothers? Obviously the have the money, and if they take a while to get cleared/Lourdes waits til his 23rd birthday to sign, the Dodgers will have Justin Turner hitting FA and Yulieski could fill the 3B hole.

12:18
Dave Cameron: They are probably the favorite to sign every Cuban player until proven otherwise.

12:18
Doug: aside from possible international draft, what are the biggest CBA changes you anticipate? any change to draft pick compensation for QO’s, seems like it is hurting players FA value/ demand and hurting teams trying to dually replenish farm and win now

12:19
Dave Cameron: Luxury tax will go up. I bet we see some kind of roster expansion, possibly with a taxi-squad kind of thing where teams have a small pool of reserves they can choose to activate for games or series.

12:20
Meowmix: What happened to the podcast being posted on Monday nights? Is Cistulli slacking?

12:20
Dave Cameron: Carson was traveling this weekend, so we couldn’t do Monday. Recording tomorrow.

12:20
Tacoby Bellsbury: Gallardo to Orioles looks like a done deal. Terms unknown, but lets guess 3/$30M. Bargain for O’s or a deal they are likely to regret, given loss of draft pick?

12:21
Dave Cameron: I’d bet it will be more like 3/$45M. And I won’t like it for them at that price.

12:22
Ben: Hey Dave, I listened to you on Toronto radio today and you were discussing increases to average team salary and what it costs to roster a perennial contender. KC proves there’s no hard-and-fast rule, but what would your floor number for this be? Do you think that the ill-timed pathetic Canadian dollar could close this window for winning in Toronto?

12:23
Dave Cameron: On a multi-year sustained basis, I’d guess a perennial contender needs to be in the $150M range. Less than that, and you’ll have to cycle between good and bad. If you’re above that and well run, you can have a legit chancing at winning most years.

12:23
Eldridge Cleaver: I feel like the White Sox have been trying to go from 90 losses to 90 wins for a few years now. Have they finally done enough to be in the wild-card discussion?

12:24
Dave Cameron: They still need another outfielder, a shortstop, and preferably one more starter. They’re up to .500ish, but they shouldn’t be done yet.

12:24
CamdenWarehouse: Do you think Javier Baez moves before Opening Day?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Less likely now that McGee got traded elsewhere; he made a lot of sense for CHC.

12:24
Dave Cameron: Not that it would have been a one-for-one.

12:25
Toby: Grichuck or Piscotty – who stays closer to their production from last year or ends up being the better player?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Piscotty

12:25
GSon: Yuliesky Gourriel is a perfect fit for the Indians at 3B.. what could go wrong with this plan?

12:25
Dave Cameron: He won’t be cleared to sign in time to make an impact in 2016, most likely.

12:27
Elonbrave: Can Mallex Smith and Ender Inciarte coexist on the Braves’ MLB roster?

12:27
Dave Cameron: Sure. It’s not like the Braves are overflowing with quality OFs.

12:28
Fitz: Donaldson extension fair? Could he had broken $20M in arbitration next year?

12:28
Dave Cameron: No, he was going to end up in $16-$18M range. No one gets a $9 million raise.

12:28
Lee: Have you heard from the opinion of any scouts on the Gourriels?

12:29
Dave Cameron: Yeah, and not everyone is as sold as some of the public commentary.

12:29
Fitz: So apprently the Gallardo deal will include an opt-out. How on earth is this a good deal for Baltimore?

12:29
Dave Cameron: It won’t be, most likely.

12:30
Paul Blart: Do the Buccos ever see Polanco as a middle-order bat, or does he stay at lead off? I don’t think he has the OBP to be effective there.

12:30
Dave Cameron: Seems like the power probably won’t ever come around to that degree. Seems more likely that he’ll have to make it as an OBP guy.

12:30
Derek: If you had to offer a major league contract to a reliever available right now in FA, who would it be? Or is it a starter conversion like Lincecum?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Tommy Hunter

12:31
Mike: What should people anticipate from Andrew Heaney for this year and in the future?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Back-end starter.

12:31
Joel: Is going to cactus league spring training any fun?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Depends on your goals. If you want to sit in the sun and see some baseball, yeah, it’s great. But after going to Phoenix for the better part of a decade, I’m looking forward to not making that trek this year.

12:32
Tom: With some players being stuck in free agency with draft pick compensation, do you think teams may consider more sign-and-trades? Are they legal? The buying team could get the player they want for a lower prospect price and the selling team could still get something in return.

12:33
Dave Cameron: Sign and trades are not allowed; MLB recently issued a memo to all 30 teams to remind them of this and state unequivocally that they won’t be allowed if teams try to get around the QO system with any of the remaining FAs.

12:33
KG: We are stopping in Asheville for a couple days on the way to Hilton Head for spring break this year. Any suggestions for things to do with a couple 7 year olds? Good restaurant suggestions?

12:33
Dave Cameron: I can’t guarantee your kids will like it, but Curate is our favorite restaurant in town.

12:33
Dave Cameron: And I don’t have any seven year olds, so I’m not very helpful there.

12:33
Ben: Who is the better hitter: Bryant or Schwarber?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Bryant, by a lot.

12:34
Joel: Do you think they’ll ever be a salary cap in baseball?

12:35
Dave Cameron: Ever is a long time, but no, I don’t think owners have an appetite to push for one any time soon.

12:35
Larry Bernandez: When a minor league player gets traded, is there any compensation given to him for having to move and find a place in a new city? Or is he on his own financially?

12:35
Dave Cameron: They aren’t given cash, but teams help them relocate.

12:36
Zorak: Who would be your pick for baseball’s version of the Broncos? Anemic offense with run prevention so good that they can win a championship.

12:36
Dave Cameron: This would have to be the Indians, though I’m not quite as high on their run prevention as everyone else.

12:36
Gareth : How bad is an opening day outfield of davis, almonte and chisenhall?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Terrible.

12:37
Benny the Jet: You still expect a Soler/Inciarte swap or have those ships sailed?

12:37
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that probably isn’t happening.

12:38
Tronald_Dump: Will someone ever sign Pedro Alvarez and who might it be?

12:38
Dave Cameron: Could see Houston bringing him in now that Gattis is hurt.

12:38
Joe: Is there a price on Gallardo where it would be a good deal for the Orioles?

12:38
Dave Cameron: Probably less than $30M on a three year deal.

12:39
Bumbaclot : Are the Brewers just waiting for the right time/ offer to move Lucroy or do you think they seriously plan on keeping him?

12:40
Dave Cameron: I’d bet there’s a spring training deal there. They want him to prove he’s healthy and build back his value, but teams don’t really trade for catchers in-season, so I could see them letting scouts get some looks at him swinging the bat in early March and then pull the trigger.

12:41
Sean : Are people too high on Inciarte? He’s still a valuable piece, but I think he’s due for heavy regression to his fielding numbers. Last season he was strictly average offensively, but with a .329 BABIP, 4.6% BB%, and .105 ISO, I think his offense can only go down. I enjoyed watching him as a Dbacks fan last season, but I see him as more of a 1-2 WAR player, not the 3.3 fWAR or 5.1 bWAR player he was last season.

12:41
Dave Cameron: No one expects him to be a +3 to +4 WAR guy going forward, but he’d have to collapse at the plate to be a +1 WAR player. He’s a league average player, or maybe a bit above that. And given five years of control, that’s super valuable.

12:41
Mike: Thoughts on JD Martinez? Am I being stubborn for not fully believing?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Yes. The power is legitimate. I don’t know what else you need to see.

12:43
Brendan : Years of Cost-controlled service remaining makes up a significant portion of a players value. Based on what we know about WAR aging curves, wouldn’t it be prudent to hold young players in the minors as late in their careers (i.e. age 23-24) as possible to make sure you control the players prime years, regardless of how “major league ready” they appear?

12:44
Dave Cameron: Ethical issues aside, you’re risking too much present value in exchange for future value that often won’t materialize.

12:45
Ben: You think either Swisher or Bourn does enough in Spring Training to entice another team to take them off ATL’s hands? Or more likely Swisher gets released?

12:45
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I bet Swisher gets cut and Bourn is the fourth OF.

12:45
Lee: Not that it’s going to happen but I really like the idea of a Jackie Bradley Jr. for Jorge Soler trade. Seems like a win,win for both teams although Boston might have to throw in another piece to even things out.

12:45
Dave Cameron: Agree that there’s a fit there.

12:46
Sirras: A friend pointed me to an article on CBS sports that suggested the Mets could buy out all of the remaining arb years of their top 5 starters (including Wheeler, not Colon) for something in the neighborhood of 130MM. Not sure I buy that. What say you, Mr. Cameron?

12:46
Dave Cameron: That sounds about right, but it wouldn’t be a great idea. Arb-only contracts are not great for the team.

12:46
Dave Cameron: If you’re not getting FA years, especially with a pitcher, better to go year to year in many cases.

12:48
jtt: RE: Sign and trades. Why would a team give up prospects instead of just giving up the pick and signing yourself? This would only work if the destination team gives up players worth more than the pick, which defeats the whole point

12:48
Dave Cameron: Teams aren’t giving up equal picks. Teams with protected first rounders, or who have already given up their top pick, could sign a guy for a lower value selection, then trade him for something more valuable than that but less valuable than a first rounder. But MLB won’t allow it, so it’s moot.

12:49
Gareth : Jam had view view bra devi cat rag deck law did Flav geek flew Josh kinda for two doha spa dwell.

12:49
Dave Cameron: I published this because I think there’s some chance it’s a code that will alert someone to the location of a buried treasure.

12:49
Dave Cameron: Or I just published the go ahead to launch a nuke. One of the two.

12:50
Gareth : That last comment was my little nephew playing with the squiggle thing on my phone and creating words.

12:50
Dave Cameron: Aww, that’s less fun.

12:50
The_Oncoming_Ace: I’m thinking about doing a baseball ballpark trip this summer. Since you live in Winston-Salem, is the Dash’s ballpark worth a visit?

12:51
Dave Cameron: It’s nice. I actually like Greensboro’s park a little more.

12:51
Kelly: It doesn’t really seem fair that the Dodgers are just the default team to sign all costly foreign free agents. I guess that’s just the way that things work, but for fans of most other teams (Yankees aside, I guess) it can be a little deflating. This isn’t a question yet. Your thoughts?

12:51
Dave Cameron: The international system is broken. MLB realizes this, though, and will try something else in the new CBA.

12:52
Snarfle: Can healthy Lucroy in ST still get close to peak Lucroy value? At least once you account for the fewer years remaining?

12:52
Dave Cameron: No, peak Lucroy is probably gone forever.

12:52
Gareth : Mlbtraderumors.com scoffed at your assessment of a possible Bautista extention. They thought you were lowballing. Comments?

12:53
Dave Cameron: I know the numbers feel low, but realistically, what other examples are there of guys getting $100M for their 36+ seasons?

12:53
Train: When will we hear a potential suspension for Reyes / Chapman, and what do you think those suspensions will be?

12:53
Dave Cameron: I bet Reyes gets a long one, and Chapman gets a short one. I’d guess 100/25.

12:54
Copp: Over/under on 65% that we get Maitan

12:54
Dave Cameron: 99.9%

12:54
Dave Cameron: Always a chance someone backs out of the deal, but from what I’ve heard, that’s where he’s going.

12:54
jtt: Didn’t the rays get accused of holding players down too long a few years ago?

12:54
Dave Cameron: Teams hold players down for a few extra months for Super Two reasons. No one holds a guy down for years.

12:55
dbet: Could Justin Turner and Ryu get Chris Sale?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Yes. You could have one be the driver and the other be the kidnapper, and combined, they could put him in a van and bring him to Glendale. I think the White Sox would call the police, though.

12:56
GucciFritos: If you could have one mets pitcher for the next few years who would it be?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Syndergaard

12:57
Ben: Fangraphs is always posting these job postings for analytics departments for MLB teams. Do you guys apply? Seems like shoe-ins…..

12:58
Dave Cameron: Yeah, MLB hires from our staff with some regularity. The Reds took one of our interns a month ago.

12:59
Matt: In fixing the IFA situation, people obviously have thrown around the idea of an international draft. What would you think about having all players that have never logged a professional AB/IP needing to go to the draft? Age and years of service in other leagues can have an impact on control years.

12:59
Dave Cameron: The problem is getting other places to agree to this. Why would NPB agree to that system?

12:59
dbet: Miggy is making 100+ from 36 to 40 right?

12:59
Dave Cameron: The deal wasn’t signed when he was 35. There are guys who get $100M for the back-end of a mega-contract, but they gave discounts on their early-30s years to get it.

1:00
War2d2: What is FG doing for spring training instead of Phoenix?

1:00
Dave Cameron: No spring training trip this year. We’ll have a pretty cool announcement about a chance to come watch baseball with us this summer in the not too distant future, though.

1:02
Train: With the Mets willingness to spend 25 mil a year on Cespedes, how optimistic should I feel on them locking up 2-3 of their starters? I think of the 4, Harvey would be most likely to leave.

1:02
Dave Cameron: I don’t thin those two things are that related. I agree that Harvey’s probably most likely to leave, given that they probably can’t get him signed to a deal that buys out FA years at this point.

1:03
Gareth : Thoughts on avocados? They’re 39 cents each right now at my local store and we made some awesome homemade guacamole last night.

1:03
Dave Cameron: 39 cents? They’re $2.50 here.

1:03
Dave Cameron: The south sucks sometimes.

1:03
Gerb: If Donaldson can make it a few more years before he starts to decline, is there any chance he’s a HOFer? Or did he just start too late?

1:03
Dave Cameron: Yeah, too late. He won’t get the counting stats.

1:04
angela smirkle: Hi Dave — I wonder if I can get your opinion about the $150 million contender figure. The Red Sox are obviously not perfect, but they’ve got the money and seem to have been competently well run for a long time. They’ve had great success, no doubt. But the low years — is that just bad luck sandwiched between good luck?

1:04
Dave Cameron: You can’t insulate yourself entirely from variance. I’m still of the opinion that the Red Sox plans were fine, for the most part; they just didn’t work.

1:04
Ed in Iowa: So is being the Fangraphs whipping boy just in Carson’s job description or is he genuinely a strange human being?

1:05
Dave Cameron: He’s fun to pick on. He’s an odd duck, but also one of my favorite people in the world.

1:05
Buctober: A FG Pittsburgh meet up needs to happen! AnyFG writer based in Pittsburgh?

1:05
Dave Cameron: Sean Dolinar is in Pittsburgh, and August isn’t too far over in Cleveland. It’s driveable for me from NC too, so maybe we’ll put that on the schedule for this year.

1:06
Dave Cameron: Alright, off to write. Thanks for hanging out everyone.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

9 Comments
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swingofthings
6 years ago

Wacha wouldn’t be an ace if he had a better walk rate. Here are some stats this season:
K% – 20.1
GB% – 45.8
BB% – 7.6
xFIP – 2.88
SIERA – 4.03

Want to see what he’d look like with a 5% walk rate? 2015 Rick Porcello:
K% – 20.2
GB% – 45.7%
BB% – 5.2%
xFIP – 3.72
SIERA – 3.73

An ace by no stretch. That probably equates to the lower end of the #3 range. To live up to his strangely high reputation, Wacha would probably need a dramatic increase in two of the K%, GB%, BB% trio.

swingofthings
6 years ago
Reply to  swingofthings

3.88 xFIP for Wacha, of course, is what I meant. 2.88 would be pretty tough to square with a 4.03 SIERA.

KJLmember
6 years ago
Reply to  swingofthings

I dont think its quite as simple as picking out a pitcher with a similar profile and lower walk rate.

Take a look at Wacha’s number from June and July of last year, those are the “ace” numbers people are excited about.

swingofthings
6 years ago
Reply to  KJL

“If he goes from 7-8% walks down to 4-5%, he’s an ace.”

That’s what Dave said. Well, if Wacha did that, you’re looking at what his stats would be. If he dramatically improved in other areas, then sure, he could be better than Porcello.

As far as your totally arbitrary sample, yes, pitchers get hot. Kyle Hendricks had a 2.84 xFIP in the second half. In Sept/Oct, he had a 2.20 xFIP with a 32.0 K%. Those things don’t matter too much, because it’s a small, arbitrary sample and we know better than to just believe that stuff. And with Hendricks you could even make the adjustments argument and try to believe he’ll sustain the streak he ended on. With Wacha, he already proved he can’t do that.