Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 1/27/20

12:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, and welcome to my first chat since the end of the Hall of Fame cycle. I’m running a few minutes behind, but hang tight and I’ll be along to tackle some questions shortly.

12:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: In the meantime, feel free to poke your nose into my five-year outlook for the BBWAA ballot, which just went live a short time ago: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/big-battles-looming-the-next-five-years-of…

12:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK back

12:11
Dave: Any thoughts on yesterday’s news?

12:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Assuming you’re talking about the death of Kobe Bryant, obviously, it’s tragic and shocking not just that he died but that his daughter was among the other eight who died too. I think my view of Bryant lagged far behind that of the general public because I stopped following the NBA closely when the Stockton/Malone Jazz dismantled (I grew up in Salt Lake City), and that was around the time of his sexual assault trial; to me, he was just a young, irresponsible punk who had game. I’ve never been comfortable with how the legal stuff played out, and I don’t think it should be kept under erasure, but I guess he grew into quite the beloved athlete. I mostly missed that.

12:14
Fiers Mustache: Jeter not being a unanimous vote is a travesty. Who (if anyone) will be the next unanimously voted HOFer?

12:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wouldn’t call it a travesty; it was a minor disappointment given how close he came but everybody should just move on, because it really doesn’t matter a whit in the grand scheme. As noted in the above piece, I think Ichiro may have a shot, and I thought Beltre might, but a Tracker teamer pointed me to a voter who is a vocal critic of the latter.

12:16
Dave: Todd Helton has to be a big winner coming out of this election, right?

12:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think so, in that Larry Walker’s election shows that voters can wrap their heads around a hitter who racked up big numbers in Coors Field. He’s far from just a one-dimensional candidate, too — excellent fielder. And of course he benefits by the relative dearth of strong candidates coming down the pike, but 29.2% of the vote means that he still has a long way to go.

12:17
Nelson: Are there any other committees convening or coaches eligible, or any other possibilities that Shilling wont be going in to the Hall alone next year?

12:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Early Baseball (1871-1949) and Golden Days Era Committees will both vote in December. Dick Allen, Minnie Miñoso, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva figure to be the top candidates for the latter, and I’d hope at least one gets in – I’m partial to both Allen and Minnie.

12:19
Desperate Times: What’s for lunch?!

12:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably falafel. Getting it on the way to my eye appointment, after this chat.

12:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: When progressive lenses go, man, they go.

12:20
Dave: Have you seen any of the best pic nominees? I saw Parasite over the weekend, amazing flick

12:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As seeing a movie in a theater for the most part requires hiring a babysitter unless I go alone (which I sometimes do), the only ones I’ve seen are Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (liked it, didn’t love it, but my appreciation deepened while watching it a second time, on an airplane) and the Irishman (liked-didn’t-love, too). Parasite is up next because it’s coming to iTunes.

I don’t give a single damn about the Oscars, though. They’re like the Grammys of movies, and fuck the Grammys.

12:22
HeyNowYoureanAllStar: C’mon Big Trades! Does FG root for trades, seeing as how it provides tons of analytic opprotunity?

12:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s always exciting when a major transaction comes down, and there’s a bit of tension when one is poised to happen but hasn’t yet — but we’re a bunch of people scattered across the country and usually we all have other things we’re working on if there’s no trade. I wouldn’t say we “root for trades” per se. Or at least I don’t.

12:24
HeyNowYoureanAllStar: Better Spring Training experience: AZ or FL?

12:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a longer flight but I’ve come to prefer Arizona because the venues are closer together. You can see a handful of parks and teams without having to change hotels or drive several hours in one direction or another.

12:26
Travis: Do you foresee yourself reaching a point of voting for candidates such as Vizquel that don’t meet the standards of your JAWS system? It seems as though he’s trending towards election, and I’m curious as to what flexibility and leeway you’ll apply towards candidates. (Your reasonings on your virtual ballots are always a great read/insight)

12:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ll probably never vote for Vizquel because he’s hell and gone from the JAWS standard and I’m already sick of his candidacy and the desperate attempts to claim he’s the equal of Ozzie Smith. I’ll generally vote for anybody who’s in the top 10 or 12, rankings-wise, even if he’s a touch below the standard  among a top-heavy group (Ted Simmons, Carlos Beltran — setting aside the sign-stealing issue for the moment — and Kenny Lofton). Whitaker’s close enough for my tastes (well above the bar on career WAR, and just a few runs below in JAWS). There are candidates who fall more than a handful of runs below the bar that I’m more willing to consider. Sheffield and Sabathia come to mind.

12:32
Houston, we have a problem: Do you think the prospect of Schilling going in alone and having the stage alone will cause any current no votes on Bonds or Clemens to becomes yes votes?

12:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If so, i’d say you could probably count them on one hand.

12:33
v2micca: What is going on with the Kris Bryant grievance?  First we were supposed to have ruling before the winter meetings.  Then before the end of the year.  Now maybe in February?  If everyone already knows the arbiter is going to rule against Bryant, why is this being drug out?

12:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a very complex case and I’d imagine that the arbitrator is doing his best to make sure s/he understands everything in play and can come up with a sound, logical ruling. Or maybe s/he isn’t ready to come back form a long winter spent in some Mediterranean beach town and will write the opinion on airline napkins on the way home. One of the two, definitely.

12:35
asinwreck: What’s Robinson Canoe’s contract status, and will the squirrel make more media appearances as spring training approaches?

12:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As he was a birthday gift from me to Emma a few years ago, he’s still under her control but probably approaching his first year of arbitration. I’ll see about getting him some more airtime, though.

12:37
mike: Are you at all surprised the Twins paid that much for Donaldson, while being unable/willing to go BIG for starting pitching three years running now?

12:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not really. $92 million is a fair bit of money, and more than, say, Ryu or Bumgarner or Keuchel got (I think they pursued all of them?), and rightly so. I imagine they were less comfortable about digging deeper for those pitchers than they were for the slugger, where it was very clear that teams were shy about going that fourth guaranteed year for him. For whatever reason, they were willing to do it, sweetened by the $16M/$8M option.

12:41
Guest: Should the Hall implement a five-vote (or other number) minimum on ballots?  Looking at the ballot history, there have only been three ballots with <5 eventual honorees on them, and two of those were the past two years and will likely fall off of that list pretty quickly.

12:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: While I think the blank ballot or 1-candidate ballots are done by people who want to hijack the proceedings in order to draw attention to themselves (to say nothing of the flawed logic of “having the stage to himself” when Era Committee candidates have been elected), I’m not very comfortable with the Hall/BBWAA telling writers they HAVE to vote for a minimum number of candidates. It’s your ballot, you’re allowed to make an ass of yourself with it, and people are allowed to respond to that silliness.

12:46
TomBruno23: Pedro Martinez was the first 1970s born Hall of Famer. Who will be the first 1980s born Hall of Famer? Albert Pujols?

12:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My guess is either Joe Mauer, who will be eligible in 2024, or CC Sabathia, eligible in 2025. Pujols, if he plays through the end of his contract, won’t be eligible until 2027. I think even if the other two need a couple cracks, they’ll get in before that.

12:48
Vote_For_Kodos: Is Pete Rose correct when he says he did less to harm baseball than Alex Cora & the Astros?  Should Pete’s ban be rescinded?

12:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The answer to the second question is a firm no.

If there’s a dumber thing in baseball than thinking that the latest scandal — whatever it is — somehow mitigates what Pete Rose did and was deservedly banned for life for, then I have yet to see it. Completely separate situation and entirely deserved punishment. Move along
18 Jan 2020

As for the first question, we can debate that all day (but I’ll go out for a bite to eat and leave you talking to yourself because I made my mind up a long time ago).  Rose broke a rule that had been on the books forever and he clearly knew the consequences. Cora was messing in an area where the rules were murkier and there was no precedent for punishment. He should get what’s coming to him — I’d go with a 2-year ban assuming the Red Sox investigation demonstrates his knowledge of what they were doing, and how could it not?

12:51
Reds: Thoughts on the Castellanos signing? (Assuming a full write-up is in the works by someone else at FG)

12:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think Craig Edwards has the writeup on that one coming, and ZiPS projects him to be worth 8.0 WAR over that span. I wouldn’t have signed him for that kind of dough given his defense and my questions about his offensive consistency, but that will come out to about $8 million per win (I’m not adjusting for inflation because, well, I’m chatting) which isn’t out of control. I’d rather go for a higher-ceiling guy with that kind of commitment, but good for him getting paid.

12:55
WinTwins410: Jay, is there some reason why the individuals on the Hall of Fame’s small committees (IE, successors to the veterans committee) never divulge their ballots?  Can you think of an example where one of those voters (say, a writer) actually did say, “hey, I voted for Lee Smith” or “hey, I was one of the guys on the committee who didn’t vote for Harold Baines.”  Are they barred from disclosing that?  I know it’s a small committee, so if four or five guys give up their votes, then you can pretty well guess how most of the others voted.  Your thoughts?

12:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s the Hall’s decision to keep it secret, and yes, voters are basically barred from talking about their votes publicly. I’m not sure if it’s a blood oath or an NDA that voters have to sign, but you won’t get any voter to talk on the record about his or her vote.

12:57
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Now, should it be that way? I don’t think the process is well served by secrecy at any turn, and one look at the spotty record of the Veterans Committees should tell you that.

12:57
Andrew: Gun to your head: Do you think Helton and Andruw Jones ultimately get elected by the BBWAA?

12:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Helton will be elected by the writers, but after 2025. I don’t see Jones getting in via the writers but maybe via committee. And please put away your gun, I’m not a fan of that metaphor.

12:59
Chris: What would you do with senzel if you ran the reds? Especially if lindor/seager aren’t available. Trade for the next ss tier, hold him or trade for prospects and clear the 40 spot?

1:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Lots of questions about Senzel in the queue. He had labrum surgery at the end of the past season so I don’t see him as being a very good trade candidate right now. I also don’t have a ton of faith in Aristedes Aquino maintaining his 2020 form. I think once Senzel gets healthy he’ll find his way into the lineup at multiple positions, particularly given that he’s a righty and Moustakas and Akiyama are lefties.

1:04
Nicky C: $64 million with two opts? Is this real life or is this fantasy? Or just the Reds…

1:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Oh jeez, I didn’t see the opt-outs because I’ve been buried in my own work. That.. .I have questions. Again, not a wild fan of this move, and even less so if it leads them to punt on Senzel (which MLB Trade Rumors gives more credence to than I do).

1:06
Elliot: More likely to be traded: Betts or Senzel?

1:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I suspect we’re nearing a Betts trade.

1:06
Matt: Lindor for Senzel, Winker, Galvis and any single prospect from Cincy’s system.  With the state of Cleveland’s corner OF, doesn’t that maaaaaybe feel like a push in terms of their 2020-21 WAR while saving money and adding a ton of control years?

1:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that seems like too much for Cincy to give up in terms of club control years versus just two from Lindor.

1:07
Yikes: I just have to say, your HOF series is some of the best writing of the year, every year. I was struck, this year, maybe I was paying closer attention, to HOW MANY people’s bios included “and also he committed some horrific violence.” Is it more that we know more of this since the internet or that it’s happened more, or that it’s reported more, or what? And these are the greatest of players (not that that means anything, but still).

1:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thanks for the kind words. While I doubt the frequency of, say, domestic abuse has changed appreciably among the player population, I think we as an industry are more aware and sensitive to such stuff than we were even five or 10 years ago, and rightly so. I don’t know whether, say, reported domestic abuse is something that many voters consider to be disqualifying but I’d rather include that information when I write about a player and let that person make up his or her own mind. Given how slippery the Hall has been with the character clause, I can understand why a voter might consider something like DV to be disqualifying

1:14
Dave: Everyone else in baseball history is cheating to win.  Rose may have been breaking the rules to the detriment of his team – he calls into question the very nature of the competition.  His permanent ban is entirely justified and earned.

1:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: thank you

1:14
Desperate Times: Do you at all think that Luhnow’s rule-stretching reputation now at all vindicates Correa’s accusations that he was counter-hacking Luhnow’s Astros for first stealing info from STL?

1:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: What Chris Correa did was a crime (however lax the Astros were) so no, I don’t see him being vindicated even given where Luhnow ended up.

1:15
Jerry Lu: Any thoughts on whether the PED related players such as Manny or A-Rod will never be elected into the Hall if Bonds and Clemens are snubbed in the 2022 elections?

1:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s tough to imagine Manny or A-Rod getting to 75% via the writers if Bonds and Clemens can’t get there. Maybe 10 years down the road, there will be a critical mass of players on an Era committee that decides it’s time to recognize them, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. it could be decades before any of them is in .

1:16
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Why preference for Allen and Minnie over Tony Oliva?

1:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Stronger JAWS and mitigating circumstances for short MLB careers. Minoso was blocked by the color line, Allen was horribly mistreated by the Phillies, which contributed to his alcoholism. Wrote about both at length in The Cooperstown Casebook. Oliva — well, injuries suck, but he’s 10-15 WAR behind the other two and hardly the only one whose career was curtailed by ’em.

1:19
I Like Her Not: Are there different types of falafel?  I had it at a restaurant over the weekend (my first time) and it was only okay.  I assume that there are variations that would make it tastier.

1:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There are three places within a few blocks of me and all of them have distinctly different falafel, some of which has to do simply with how long they fry it and how quickly it gets into my pita or plate.

1:21
We can do better: Let’s do away with phrases like “pull the trigger” too, while we’re at it.

1:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: amen.

1:22
AP: Any newcomers on next year ballot get to 5% in your opinion?

1:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No; see today’s article

1:22
Ray King: Did you take issue with Verlander’s jokes this weekend? Did you find them in bad taste as many did? Do you think the baseball world is in any way owed some sort of explanation by JV since he has indeed been so outspoken about similar issues in the past?

1:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yeah, that was horseshit, and his reputation as being vocally critical of the shenanigans of other players and teams looks a whole lot like hypocrisy if he’s just shaking this off.

1:24
Scott: Will the sign-stealing alter your views towards Altuve?

1:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: While I’m very skeptical about the wearable/buzzer stuff, the sign-stealing scandal in general has already has taken some of the fun out of Altuve, and certainly makes me suspicious of his postseason exploits. Likewise for Bregman and Springer.

1:26
Jerry Lu: Do you think Ichiro’s achievements and stats compiled in Japan will add into the voters’ consideration for electing him into the Hall in the future? If so, should the players’ minor league stats, or stats in other lesser leagues be put into the Hall considerations?

1:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and so no, I don’t see Ichiro’s Japanese stats being taken into consideration; the guy has 3,000 hits and a full resumé as it is, so I don’t think it matters except as background. Without looking I assume he’ll be a strong candidate for Japan’s Hall of Fame, if he played enough years there (I’m not up to speed on their process).

1:28
Sanford: Could a BOS/SD/CIN trade involving both Betts and Senzel make sense? Betts to the Friars, Senzel + Myers to the Sox, and maybe some SD pitching prospects sent to both teams.

1:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d have to think about it a lot longer than a rapid-fire chat question allows.

1:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And that’s true for a whole lot of trade proposals that come through here.

1:29
John Olerud: Far from it being a travesty that Jeter wasn’t unanimously selected, I find the bigger (keeping these things in perspective) issue to be the narrowness by which Walker barely even got in. In fact, base on their comparative career numbers I’m truly surprised there hasn’t been much discussion about how Larry Walker’s career is a lot closer statistically to Jeter’s than impressions might imply. Indeed, Jeter has the milestone numbers that are important with HOF voters. And he was especially good when it ‘mattered’, but that has a lot to do with who and what teams he was lucky enough to play with and for. Of course, this is not so much to disparage Jeter, but more a comment on the “fame” element inherent to the HOF. Whatever the reasons, do you find it at all strange that there seems to be this prevailing feeling that somehow Walker doesn’t breathe the same air as Jeter? Or maybe you disagree entirely with this premise? Thanks.

1:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s the Hall of Fame, and some candidates are certainly more famous than others, as Jeter is relative to Walker. To do what he did, both on the field, and off, while a Yankee carries a much greater reach in terms of people’s awareness of his career than that of Walker, who spent the vast majority of his career with two teams whose cities are relatively off the beaten path, baseball-wise.

1:32
Mets fan: If the NL gets the DH in 2021, how much more value does a guy like JD Davis have?

1:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a couple extra wins. Nelson Cruz played in only 120 games, none in the outfield, hit for a 163 wRC+ and was worth 4.3 WAR. Davis played in 140 games, hit for a 138 wRC+ and was worth 2.4 WAR by our system, and 1.0 by B-Ref’s (-20 DRS ooof).

1:36
L. Scott: How come we don’t see SP pitch in relief on their throw days during the regular season?  We see it a lot in the postseason.  Couldn’t they do their throwing during the game on their throw day so they are available if needed?  Or do they usually do their throwing prior to games?

1:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s extra stress on the arm, dealing with game conditions and timing the warm-ups right, something that can be done if a team is short-staffed but probably not something to be done regularly through a whole season.  Pitchers usually throw before games but if there’s a chance they’ll be used, they’re held back. That’s why sometimes you’ll see a starter in the bullpen in the late innings of a lopsided game, getting his work in.

1:38
WinTwins410: Jay, this December, the Golden Days (1950-1969) ballot should have at least one newcomer on it, because Luis Tiant, who was on the 2015 Golden Era ballot (1947-1972), is now classified as Modern Days (1970-1987).  The other nine on the 2015 Golden Era ballot were Allen, Oliva, Kaat, Wills, Minoso, Boyer, Hodges, Howsam and Pierce.  Who will get added?  Possibles from previous ballots are Allie Reynolds, Charlie Finley, Buzzie Bavasi, Roger Maris, Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Harvey Kuenn, Don Newcombe, Bill Freehan, Norm Cash, Boog Powell and Don Larsen.  Who do you see being added?  And who *should* be added?

1:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There are a lot of viable candidates there. I’d have to think about that for awhile but at first glance, Bavasi, Newcombe and Freehan stand out to me, Flood has a strong case if we’re going beyond the stats, and Don Larsen definitely doesn’t belong in the conversation.

1:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK folks, lots of good questions still in the queue but I have to get rolling. Thanks for stopping by today! We’ll do this again next week.





Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe.

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