Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 11/18/22

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to the first 2022-23 offseason edition of my chat. I’m not sure if this is the Hot Stove or the smoldering wreckage of Twitter, but here we are. I’ve been covering the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee ballot this week, with entries on Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, and Don Mattingly, all of which you can get to via the nav bar here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2023-contemporary-baseball-era-committee-c…

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Next up is Dale Murphy, which will run Monday because I added some Deep Thoughts that were brought about by the advent calendar of bad behavior by some of the others on this ballot. I also covered Anthony Rizzo’s return to the Yankees https://blogs.fangraphs.com/anthony-rizzo-heads-back-to-the-bronx/

2:04
Malcolm Nunez: Hi Jay is Goldy a lock for the Hall now?

2:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I was just looking at his page a little while ago, prompted by a similar question from MLB Network Radio pal Mike Ferrin. I wrote about Goldschmidt’s progress in mid-July (https://t.co/IydUWFrx7r) after which he continued to mash even with a September slump, which is why he’s the NL MVP

2:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Here’s how he looks via JAWS:

First Base (18th):
58.5career WAR |45.37yr-peak WAR |51.9JAWS |5.8WAR/162
  Average HOF 1B (out of 23):
    65.5 career WAR | 42.1 7yr-peak WAR | 53.8 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162

2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That peak score is 13th all time, nestled between Frank Thomas and Miguel Cabrera. I’d say that the heavy lifting for Goldschmidt is over, and that he’s on his way provided he gets the remaining 250 hits he needs to reach 2,000 (which he in all likelihood will)

2:08
Jeffrey: What would you try to go for at 1B if you were Houston’s new GM?

2:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Astros were said to have made Rizzo their #1 free agent target at first base, which made sense. José Abreu had an even better season than Rizzo and a better Steamer projection (I haven’t seen ZiPS for him) for 2023, and I think he’d make sense even given his age (36 in January). Beyond that, i think you’d have to look to the trade market for a first baseman

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Wait, I forgot Josh Bell, who would be my second pick. I also think it would be worth seeing what it would take to land Christian Walker

2:13
Farhandrew Zaidman: I’m having a really tough time gauging Bellinger’s value. Seems like a logical non-tender at $18 mil, but it also feels like he would be the #2 CF option in FA if he is non-tendered. Such a weird middle ground.

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: To me, nontendering him seems like a no-brainer. If he can be a league-average bat, he can start in center, but he hasn’t been anywhere close to that for the past two years. The Dodgers have given him every chance to sort it out but it hasn’t come together and I suspect he needs a change of scenery. I don’t know that I’d sign him without the expectation that he’s either a project or a fourth outfielder with platoon issues.

2:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think I’d go about $8 million + incentives on him though I wouldn’t be surprised if some team thinks he’ll be easier to fix than I do

2:16
Ben: I know Goldschmidt won the MVP, but between him, Arenado, and Machado, which one would have had an MVP be most helpful to their Hall of Fame candidacy?

2:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Goldschmidt, being the older one and thus the more likely to decline sooner, probably had the most urgency of the three. I do think Machado winning would have been a good illustration of the evolution the perception of him from a bad guy to an organizational pillar, but I think he’s viewed in a more positive light than before already, which is good

2:18
Vermonty: When are the Yankees going to start acting like the Yankees again? They passed on 2 elite players in their twenties in Harper and Machado. Big mistake.

2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Those were missed opportunities, I think particularly when it comes to Machado given the need they’ve demonstrated on the left side of the infield in the years since. You’re going to see a fully operational Death Star  the Yankees acting like the Yankees when it comes to the Aaron Judge pursuit, as I think they’re just gonna end up with a silly number even if it hurts them a bit on the back end.

2:20
Farhandrew Zaidman: Justin Turner gave a very interesting radio interview yesterday. Among other things, he stated that in his conversation with the Dodgers, “There’s all this crap about the luxury tax and payroll and paying a gajillion dollars in taxes.” Maybe JT just accidentally said the quiet part out loud?

2:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wouldn’t call it the quiet part loud — fans and media understand that this is part of the business side of the game, as do players, and that’s even before we start talking about what the projections look like for an injury-prone 38 year old corner infielder.

Which isn’t to say that the Dodgers shouldn’t re-sign him. He was significantly underpaid during his four-year, $64 million deal, he’s been a model citizen for the team off the field (this year’s Clemente Award) as well as a key leader in the clubhouse. He’s not the highest priority for the Dodgers, who have to sort out shortstop and the rotation first

2:24
Bryce Harper’s Torn UCL: Can you rank these scenarios in order of likeliness please:

A. Phillies sign a marquee FA SP (Verlander Tier)
B. Phillies sign a marquee FA SS (Turner Tier)
C. Phillies sign a backend FA SP (Eovaldi Tier)
D. Phillies roll with one of Abel/Painter in their opening day rotation
E. A secret other thing

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d go B first given the buzz about Bogaerts and the Dombrowski connection, and I don’t think that precludes C at all.

2:25
erghammer: What thoughts among the Fangraphs crew to adjust WAR for a guy like Ohtani? Using the traditional metric, he has massive negative defensive value since he’s “only” a DH. But in practice he pushes off the roster the worst other pitcher, replacing that in the same body with a massively useful hitter, leaving room on the roster for somebody else (e.g., a defensive specialist who could add back WAR on the defensive front). Should a two-way guy get a big WAR adjustment for that?

2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ohtani is such an edge case that I don’t think you need to do anything. I think it’s better to acknowledge that our tools only go so far in quantifying the value of a player, and that the model is stretched to its limit when considering the virtues of this particular unicorn. Maybe it’s a win, maybe it’s three runs; I don’t think you’re going to come up with a right answer that can’t be called into question. Just appreciate him for what he is — a unique superstar — and enjoy.

2:28
Jacob: If you were in charge of putting together the Contemporary Baseball Committee ballot for this year, who would you have included?

2:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, McGriff, Dwight Evans, Whitaker, Dave Stieb, David Cone — the last two to get some fresh names out there among the starting pitchers and to steer clear of PED guys (Kevin Brown) and previous Era Committee candidates who made no dent on the ballot (Orel Hershiser).

2:30
Appa Yip Yip: Rumours are skirling about the Jays and Nimmo. Is it of any real concern that to save the injury prone Springer from the rigors of CF they are pursuing an injury prone CF, or does Nimmo’s injury history not worry you too much? (Full healthy season last year)

2:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Nimmo’s history would concern me more for the Blue Jays than for another team given both the presence of Springer, with his ongoing issues, and the fact that the team play on artificial turf, which exacts a greater toll on players. Not necessarily enough to say that he shouldn’t be signed, but he’s a player I’d be careful not to overcommit to; I’d try to keep the guaranteed portion of his deal at four years.

2:34
John: Could the Yankees make a big splash in the SP market (Rodon, Senga, Verlander, trade) even if they sign Judge?

2:35
Mike: The opening day SS, LF, 2B and 3B for the New York Yankees will be __________?

2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Two-fer here. I think the Yankees can and will make a splash beyond Judge; I know they pursued Verlander and wouldn’t be surprised either if they land him or Senga (they’ve had pretty good success dipping into the NPB with Tanaka and Matsui). I suspect that trading away talent in order to dump Donaldson (owed $29 million) would be part of such a bigger move.

I expect both Peraza and Cabrera to be in the Opening Day lineup and that LeMahieu could be at one of the other positions, with Volpe in the picture by midseason. I’m still mulling the possibility that they could trade Torres, who has two years of club control remaining.

2:40
Insert Witty Name Here: Off-season is when I usually read a baseball book or three.  Outside of the classic “Cooperstown Casebook” (alliteration!), any good recent recommendations?

2:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Tyler Kepner’s book on the World Series, The Grandest Stage, is a lot of fun. I spoke to him on a podcast just before the series https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-audio-tyler-kepner-talks-world-s…. Likewise, I thoroughly enjoyed Luke Epplin’s book on the 1948 Cleveland championship team, Our Team, with its focus on Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, Larry Doby and Bill Veeck, and we spoke on a podcast this summer https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-audio-katie-woo-on-covering-the-…. I’ve been digging Howard Bryant’s book on Rickey Henderson, too

2:42
Guest: I do hope the Crime Dog gets in. What do you think about Kenny Lofton’s playing career? Close to HOF numbers?

2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think Lofton has a pretty good case for enshrinement, as he’s 10th in JAWS among center fielders https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_CF.shtml. I hoped he would be on this ballot but an August report from the LA Times in which he was accused of sexual misconduct probably didn’t help his cause https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-22/kenny-lofton-accus…, and this ballot didn’t need another creep.

2:45
baseballenjoyer: Jim Crane told MLB.com that he thinks the GM search could extend into 2023. Is this like when college teams wait too long to hire a coach and tank their recruiting class or does it not matter because Crane appears to believe he can assume the GM role in the interim?

2:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It would appear that Crane — a man who’s never been shot of self-regard — believes that he and his underlings can muddle through in the interim. I wonder if any of his other targets besides David Stearns are under contract for 2023.

2:48
Farhandrew Zaidman: How do you typically hear breaking news? Twitter? MLBTR? Text messages from insiders/colleagues?

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Twitter and the household grapevine, which includes my wife being an editor for The Athletic.

2:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Also the FanGraphs slack channel, because our editors and fellow colleagues spend time picking out news that may be of interest

2:50
Sunny in San Diego: Is Soto an OF going forward, or a 1B? We do need a 1B. Oh, and helluva year for the Padres!

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, I think Soto’s still an outfielder, and that he’s more likely to become a DH down the road than a first baseman. A Josh Bell return wouldn’t surprise me.

2:52
albert belle: do you love mattingly because he is white and loathe me because i am black?

2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s Belle’s repeated issues regarding women, including a domestic battery arrest and two arrests for stalking an ex-girlfriend (for which he did brief jail time and 5 years of probation) that disturb me most. His excuse for the Hannah Storm incident (“I didn’t even know it was Hannah Storm. I thought it was Lesley Visser. I wish it was Lesley Visser, because I don’t like her anyway.”) doesn’t exactly indicate a respect for women, either.

2:56
Anthopolous’ burner: Even if I re-sign Swanson, we still have other needs to address and not a ton of salary room to work with. Corner OF, pen help, etc. How am I going to do it?

3:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It probably starts with forgoing a re-sign of Kenley Jansen because you already have Raisel Iglesias under contract, and possibly a trade of Charlie Morton. Also, with Ozzie Albies back, it wouldn’t surprise me if Vaughn Grissom gets a look in the outfield. Eric Longenhagen suggested a superutility role is more likely than him being the shortstop in waiting if Swanson leaves.

3:03
Moose: Thoughts on that Mariners-Diamondbacks trade from last night? It felt like a Lewis-M’s split had been imminent since the summer, so I wasn’t blindsided by him being traded, but admittedly know next to nothing about Hummel (aside from him struggling in his first MLB stint last season and putting up great numbers at AAA).

3:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t have much in the way of deep thought about the deal other than Lewis’ endless litany of injuries made it tough for Seattle to figure him out. I suspect this increases the likelihood Mitch Haniger sticks around, and I don’t know much about Hummel other than the fact that he has some value at catcher, too. Justin Choi has a thoughtful writeup of the trade here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-diamondbacks-and-mariners-combine-on-o…

3:05
Mr. Burrito: How much more important will speed be after the rule changes on pickoffs and limited shifting kick in? Could T. Turner see his value grow a bit, given his legs help him benefit from both rule changes? Is the industry under-estimating this or am I over-thinking it?

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think you’re overthinking it a bit. Speed — particularly Turner’s 99th percentile speed — already has value, though it’s worth noting that Statcast sees him as average-at-best in moving to his left on the defensive side.

3:08
Matt: Do you think this year had a positive, negative, or neutral effect on Harper’s HOF case?  Was playing great before the injury, bad after until the playoffs, and played like man on fire during the run?

3:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He netted just 2.5 bWAR, which wasn’t great in the long run, but going into Videogame Stats mode in the postseason, racking an NLCS MVP award, and reaching the World Series checked some boxes that will help to round out his case down the road.

3:10
Dan: Does the rumors of collusion affect how hard the Mets try to sign Judge?

3:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: no.

3:12
Liz: What kind of performance and for how long would Bogaerts need to maintain in order to have a shot at the HOF? I remember getting the sense from your midseason writeup that he was behind pace compared to eg. Correa.

3:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Shortstop (56th):
34.9career WAR |32.37yr-peak WAR |33.6JAWS |4.5WAR/162
  Average HOF SS (out of 23):
    67.7 career WAR | 43.2 7yr-peak WAR | 55.4 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162

3:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s got considerable work to do, particularly as he tops out at 6.3 WAR and for as great a season as he had, came in at just 5.8, his second season above 5.0 (he has 2 at 4.9). He’s going to need longevity AND continued star-caliber play for several years.

Let’s say his next 4 years produce 22 WAR via two 6-WAR season and two 5-WAR ones. that gets him to 56.9/35.4/46.1 and he’d be headed into his age-34 season — IOW still needing to do some heavy lifting.

3:17
WinTwins0410: Jay, I know Hall of Fame balloting isn’t a zero-sum game, but seeing the Contemporary Era ballot, it sure is that way now. I was not a fan of inducting Bonds, Clemens and Schilling (I know most disagree!), but regardless, I now find myself thinking, I just wish the writers had let those three hair-covered candidates into the Hall, because I see what keeping them out has done — it’s prevented (for now, at least) other worthy Contemporary Era candidates (Whitaker, Hershiser, Dewey) from even getting on this ballot (I know you wrote as much, when you wrote of BCS, “I fear that by drawing moderate support they’ll become impediments to others being honored by this route.”). Given the inherent limitations now of this new veterans committee structure, is someone like me (a fan of the kinds of neglected candidates listed above) better off rooting for the writers to let in as many candidates possible from here on out?  What are your thoughts? (Thanks for your piece on how the HOC appears to have chosen candidates.)

3:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s a very good question. I think the Hall is in a bind here, and we’re most likely to see the Era Committees slow to a trickle in terms of inductions because of the format change and the presence of those roadblock-level candidates, though I think Schilling’s case is probably easier for the committee to hold its nose regarding than, say,  Bonds and Clemens.

3:21
Inaccessible Rail: Mets have picked up a bunch of low-cost bullpen options of late. Do you think they’ll sign any established relievers beyond Diaz, or are they really trying to build a pen on the cheap?

3:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I highly doubt they’re done spending on the bullpen, but I also think building a great bullpen has a lot to do with figuring out how to turn inexpensive guys into stud relievers. See what Houston and, to a lesser extent, the Yankees have done. Figuring out how to tweak the repertoires of guys so that they’re effective is where it’s at.

3:25
M’s Fan: Will the Mariners finally spend money on a big free agent bat this offseason?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They should — they have several areas of need. Trea Turner would obviously be a fit, and I like Brandon Nimmo in LF there more than I like him in CF in Toronto

3:27
Inaccessible Rail: Is Joey Gallo done? Or does he just need to get out of big cities like NY or LA?

3:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t know that the cities were the problem so much as it was the ballpark for Gallo, who’s already pull-happy enough without the short porch of Yankee Stadium calling to him.

3:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think he’ll straighten it out, and maybe it makes sense for a Texas reunion. The shift ban should help.

3:29
MikeD: Do you think the Hall purposely created a good vs. evil ballot with the good being Murphy, McGriff and Mattingly vs. the bad of Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Palmiero and Belle, who had his own PED suspicions?  A statement ballot will require a statement, so maybe one of the first three will get in?

3:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a theory that’s out there, for sure. I’d also say that McGriff’s odds are an order of magnitude higher than those of Mattingly or Murphy

3:30
Matt (Oceanside): I was recently going through every position on the diamond and trying to come up with my all-time top 10 list just for fun. Regarding center fielders for example, where do you put a guy like Oscar Charleston. From everything I’ve read, Charleston (he’s 5 on my list) could have been better than Cobb, Speaker, or maybe even Mays. It feels really hard to evaluate Negro League players and that is a shame. The fact that they weren’t allowed to play in the majors deprived us of many more legends in the game 🙁 With that being said, I’m not interested in how good people think they are based on some over-compensation, I really want to find out the truth)

3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think we ever really know the truth when it comes to cross-era comparisons of such distance even if we’re talking about, say Cobb and Speaker vs. Mays, or Mays vs. Trout, but it does seem pretty clear that Charleston was the Mays/Trout of his day, an all-around superstar who was far ahead of his peers.

3:33
Conehead: % chance Cone gets enshrined one day?  Not getting to 200 wins hurts, but what’s your take?

3:33
3:34
Pedro: Jay, thoughts about pitcher hangovers the year after winning the WS?  I am thinking of Framber Valdez specifically, and all the extra innings on his arm as a result of Houston’s playoff run.  Thanks in advance

3:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s something to look out for, and also worth noting that the Astros did a very good job of managing workloads this year, at times using a six-man rotation; 22 of Valdez’s starts were made on 5 days of rest, and just 5 on 4 days of rest. I would think it beneficial to the team to try a similar strategy for 2023.

3:37
Guest: If Bonds and Clemens eventually make it into the Hall, do you think it’s necessary to include Palmeiro as well? The 500 homers + 3,000 hits thing, if opinions on the steroid era keep softening, seems like he should be an easy selection.

3:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think there’s any consensus, but the way I have addressed the issue within my work is to consider what came before testing and penalties were in place (the allegations regarding Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, and Ortiz) separately from what came after (the positive tests and suspensions of Palmeiro, Manny, A-Rod).

3:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ve voted players in the first group but not those in the second, and I foresee maintaining that stance.

3:40
Mike: How do no-hitters, perfect games, 4 home run games, etc factor into JAWS?

3:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: well, each of those games adds more WAR than your average game, even for a great player, but beyond that it’s just an accomplishment of note that sits outside of JAWS. Even two voters relying in JAWS might weight those differently.

3:42
D: Do you think Mattingly’s mediocre managerial career has hurt his HOF chances?

3:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hurt? no, unless we’re talking about the opportunity cost. I don’t think they’ve helped him, though — it’s not his fault the Marlins didn’t g anywhere but he couldn’t get the Dodgers to the World Series, for example — and quite frankly I don’t think he’s as good a manager as the handful of guys who may or may not get consideration on the next ballot (Leyland, Johnson, Piniella, Manuel) or, assuming they keep managing for a couple years, the one after (Baker, Bochy).

3:44
Guest: Do you expect A-Rod to eventually make it to the HOF?

3:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Never and forever are a long time. Someday he’ll be there, I think. Whether you or I or he live to see it, or it’s dolphin/human hybrids with flippers who vote him in after the seas rise, I don’t know.

3:45
A Boy Named Yu: If they ever created a Baseball Movie Hall of Fame, what 3-5 movies are in your inaugural class?

3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Bad News Bears, Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, 61*, Bingo Long’s Traveling All-Stars. I’m not sure I have enough to get it to 10, honestly — a lot of the other big name ones make me cringe.

3:48
Gashouse Gorilla: Last year several top-ranked players took much shorter deals  because they weren’t satisfied with the longer ones. Do you think that will recur this year, and do you have any particular players you think prone to it?

3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: One year cleared from the pandemic there’s record revenues in the game and so I think the expectation is that we’ll see longer deals.

3:48
Guest: Why are designated hitters lumped in with first basemen? Especially now with the universal DH, shouldn’t DHs have their own rankings and metrics?

3:52
Avatar Jay Jaffe: For JAWS purposes a player who spent most of his career at DH is considered in the context of the fielding position where he had the most value. Ortiz at 1B, Baines in RF, Edgar and Molitor at 3B. There just aren’t enough HOF-caliber DHs to consider them separately; I’m not going to suggest we should build a JAWS where this is the top 15:

3:52
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

3:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that’s players who spent 40% of their games at DH, which doesn’t capture the way the position classification works anyway (it’s by where a player accrued the most value even if it’s not the majority of his games).

3:53
Matt (Oceanside): Hi Jay, I saw you didn’t include Field of Dreams on that short list. Curious as to your take on that movie?

3:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t have the energy to rehash it but I agree with most of what Craig Calcaterra has written on it https://mlb.nbcsports.com/2017/02/13/field-of-dreams-is-absolutely-ter…

3:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ok folks, thanks for stoping by! There’s no chat next week due to Thanksgiving but please know I’m deeply thankful for the audience and colleagues I have here at FanGraphs. Take care.





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... and Mastodon @jay_jaffe.

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casey jmember
6 days ago

I don’t want to hear what Jay Jaffe thinks former ballplayers think of women. I do not know Jay Jaffe OR Albert Belle, so I have no idea how EITHER of them behave as moral human beings, and neither does Jay Jaffe. It’s inappropriate.
I love every one else’s chats here but, I don’t care about your “positions” on things.

Philmember
6 days ago
Reply to  casey j

Yup, we have no idea how convicted stalker Albert Belle is as a moral person.

Chip Lockemember
6 days ago
Reply to  casey j

I don’t want to hear what casey j thinks about what Jay jaffe thinks former ballplayers think of women.

Also, the public behavior of Albert Belle allows one to get an idea of his morals.

casey jmember
6 days ago
Reply to  Chip Locke

No it doesn’t, you just think it does. It’s irrelevant to a discussion of his baseball career.

A reasonable exception would be if you could demonstrate that a play was actively, criminally evil. Judging players on a mistake or two says much more about the people doing it, to me. People doing that literally don’t even have a rudimentary knowledge of Albert Belle as a person, at all.

Last edited 6 days ago by casey j
Chip Lockemember
5 days ago
Reply to  casey j

When evaluating whether someone should be enshrined in a museum and give them a larger platform, considering who they might be as a person is important.