Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 12/9/19

10:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good morning — or afternoon, depending upon your time zone — and welcome to the Winter Meetings edition of my lately-not-so-weekly chat. Post-Thanksgiving travel hell prevented last week’s installment, which strengthened my resolve to get this one in despite being 3000 or so miles away from home. I’m in the media room at the Hyatt and thus prone to distractions like greetings from folks around me but we’ll try to get this done.

Anyway, the big news here so far is last night’s Modern Baseball Era Committee result, which added the ridiculously overdue Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons to the Hall of Fame; you can see my writeup here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/marvin-miller-and-ted-simmons-are-now-hall….

10:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And now, on with the show…

10:04
Vander: So… Whitaker… What the? Why?

10:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I know there was a lot of hype and hope for Whitaker this time around, and I’m sorry to see that he missed out. However, if you look at this year’s Modern Baseball ballot, every candidate besides Lou Whitaker and Dwight Evans had been considered multiple times by small (or not-so-small) committees, and the fact that both of those guys avoided the “less than X votes” cluster means that they’ll almost certainly get other shots. Miller and Simmons had each been considered at least three times before and both had missed by exactly one vote in the past. I’m not surprised the voters decided it was “their turn.”

10:07
Chris: Any chance we learn which voters didn’t vote for Miller or Simmons?

10:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not unless they announce so themselves, which they are most definitely NOT supposed to do.

10:08
Thanks for the chat!: Does the hall of fame ever do any sort of road show/travelling exhibits? Is there an opportunity to increase engagement by reaching out to fans in different markets with a sample of the experience?

10:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Around 2002-03, there was a great traveling HOF exhibit called Baseball As America, which I caught twice, once in New York and once in Washington DC. I reviewed it here http://www.futilityinfielder.com/wordpress/2002/03/177.shtml. It would be great to see the Hall mount another such road show but I have no idea that might happen again.

10:10
Roger: Who is the best pitcher to never win a Cy Young and the best position player to never win an MVP (assuming, of course, that the player was active during the years after the awards were established)?

10:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: So you’re saying the answer can’t be Cy Young? Harumph. Cy-wise, I think you can make cases for Blyleven, Niekro, Schilling, Mussina, and Marichal, of which Niekro and Marichal have the highest WAR7.

MVP-wise, maybe Mike Piazza? That one I’d have to think about longer.

10:17
Sonny: Thank you for your Batting Average Matters! (BAM!) campaign. The stat has been appropriately reconsidered, but I agree it’s gone too far. wOBA is most likely a more illustrative stat of value, but BA absolutely matters in how we think about players! Keep going!!!

10:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thanks. This one is still percolating though I wrote about it a bit in the Derek Jeter profile.

10:18
Minnie Monoso: If I can’t get in, nobody gets in

10:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: With Marvin Miller elected, Minnie is number one on my list of Best Candidate Outside the Hall Not on a BBWAA Ballot. Let’s hope we can celebrate next year.

10:19
Overbearing Padre: Got a bold prediction for the hometown Padres at the winter meetings?

10:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: signing Strasburg — couldn’t get any bolder than that, but he is from the area.

10:20
Baseball Guy: My sense is the Padres-Brewers trade was unusual in that you don’t see a lot of trades with major leaguers on both sides these days. Why is that, do you think? Those are the fun ones!

10:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think they’re THAT rare — but this could be a subject worth studying. To the extent that they’e become rare, it’s probably because so many teams are going through noncompetitive phases and willing to trade established talent for future value.

10:23
Paul: How much trade value do you think Dom Smith has? I feel like he doesn’t have a lot due to his lack of positional value and sketchy offensive track record

10:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, his 2019 was pretty promising  (.282/.355/.525 with 11 HR in 197 PA) , and better conditioning played a part in that. he’s still got 5 years of club control remaining and while I don’t think he’s going to fetch a mid-rotation starter in return, he should yield a usable piece or two in the right trade. I did an ESPN Insider/Plus piece (behind the paywall) a few weeks ago where I proposed a Smith-to-Toronto for Ken Giles trade, with additional pieces on each side to balance the deal. Maybe that’s a stretch; nobody has offered me a GM job on the basis of it.

10:27
Wayne: Who would you say is the best 2B post Morgan? Do you go for peak (Utley or Sandberg), straight bat (Cano or Kent) sustained excellence (Sweet Lou), already enshrined (Alomar or Biggio) or still going (Altuve)?

10:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: By JAWS it’s Cano, Sandberg, and Utley, with the first of those now having the big ol’ asterisk next to his name and the last of them having by far the least playing time due to his team’s foot-dragging. I’d go Utley but would also consider Alomar based upon the suspicion that the defensive metrics might not be doing him full justice.

10:29
Jerry Lu: How do you assume Fred McGriff, Jim Edmonds, Kenny Lofton, and Carlos Delgdo’s future era committees’ enshrinement possibilities?

10:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d bet cold hard cash on McGriff getting in. The rest are longer shots and will take time, but longevity is a big deal to the committees and so I’d say Lofton probably has the strongest chance (and by JAWS, the strongest case too).

10:30
Morbo: why the hyatt and not the marriott? trying to diversify your points?

10:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t choose the venues. This is actually a good one though in terms of how easy it is to get to the media room from the lobby. The sprawl of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville or the Whatever it Was in Orlando  — to say nothing of the living hell that was finding your way around Mandalay Bay in Vegas last year — is much more difficult to navigate.

10:33
Jerry Lu: Do you believe that the stances on PED users have softened much more from the BBWAA voters in recent years? Can we envision PED users getting into the Hall one day from the Era Committees in many years from now?

10:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see a ton of evidence that they have softened much; if anything, voters have probably dug in their heels when you consider the slow growth of Bonds/Clemens’ progress in the past two election cycles. Those are the next two players in my series, btw, with Barry Lamar Bonds going tomorrow.

10:34
Trent: No love for Nolan Ryan for best pitcher without a Cy Young?

10:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s in the picture, sure. But I think I’d take some of the other guys I mentioned over him.

10:35
Bubba: I don’t care about the HOF, but I love your write-ups.  I didn’t know about Billy Wagner’s rough life.  Keep up the good work!

10:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thank you! I think it’s important to remember while we crunch the numbers that these are real human beings who all did remarkable things just to get to the major leagues and thrive there, even if it wasn’t for long enough to get in to the Hall. Wagner’s back story — the poverty, the natural right-handedness, the size, the sheer fucking dominance — is one of my favorites of the dozens upon dozens I’ve covered.

10:38
Rick: How about Eddie Murray, Al Kaline, or Mel Ott for best player without an MVP?

10:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: All good choices; I’d go with Ott and Kaline well ahead of Murray though

10:40
GSon: Pirates/Yankees/Indians three way deal..who says no: Pirates get Jones, Naylor, Florial and Garcia;  Yankees get Kluber and Marte; Indians get Andujar, Bell and Dominguez?

10:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good gravy this feels like homework to consider balancing out,  but I don’t see why the Yankees need another outfielder.

10:41
Jerry Lu: Hello, Mr. Jaffe, it’s always been a pleasure reading your thoroughly written and stat-driven analyses about the Hall of Fame candidates either from the BBWAA ballots and the Veterans Committees. it’s been great hearing that baseball legend Marvin Miller is finally inducted and that the obvious glaring mistake from the past voting committees have been fixed this time. I also deeply believe that Simmons, as probably a top 15 catcher in baseball history, fully deserves enshrinement. I just wonder why the American League favored committee could not agree on a third deserving candidate such as Whitaker, Evans, or Munson. Do the voters consider advanced metrics such as WAR or your wonderful JAWS measuring system at all?

10:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: To the extent that the advanced metrics get in that room, it’s through the media/historian types, and some are more fluent than others, while I doubt the ex-players put much stock in them, Joe Morgan — who was on the Committee That Done Elected Baines — in particular.

10:44
brad: If the Yankees offer a vesting 8th year based on Cole making 175 regular season starts or winning 2 rings, does that get the deal done?

10:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ve heard that the 7/$245M offer that was reported yesterday is untrue. I think he signs for far more than that (I’ve heard $280M) and i’d guess he gets 8 years with at least one opt out.

10:46
Overbearing Padre: Where can the Padres find another quality bat to pair with Pham?

10:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: on the left side of their infield, with full, representative seasons from Machado and Tatis.

10:47
The Presumption of Backne: Next year we have the 10-yr cycle veterans committees. 1. Do you see any meaningful ways the long cycle could affect the way the VC approaches things?
2. Besides good analytics picks you’ve pushed like Allen/Minoso and Dahlen/Glasscock, any wild cards you’d think might get inducted? I would think Ken Boyer or Doc Adams, myself.

10:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think Boyer has much of a chance in a field that includes Allen and Miñoso. More likely is Tony Oliva, who like Allen missed by one vote last time, on the 2015 Golden Era ballot. Doc Adams is an interesting candidate but he doesn’t have a chance unless you’ve got some real historians on that committee.

10:49
Alex: Do you think Ryu will have trouble getting more than 2-3 fully guaranteed years because of his lengthy injury history and age?

10:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s more likely he gets 3-4 with the risk built into the total dollar value. Whatever the current equivalent of the Rich Hill 3/$48M deal is, which might just be like 3/$51M

10:52
RO: Any advice for someone on the job hunt who’s proved themselves at affiliates with promotions for the past 3 seasons and a litany or references, yet gets rejected for full time opportunities left and right

10:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Having never sought a job with a team, I’m no help at all but I wish you luck. Kiley McDaniel or Eric Longenhagen surely can help you more in this area.

10:57
Stan: What do you think Didi Gregorius will get, and who are/should be the most interested teams?

10:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Reds, if they fancy themselves contenders, could use an upgrade as they’re dead last in our projections via Freddy Galvis as the incumbent.

10:59
Steven: I’m looking at Nolan Arenado’s BB Ref page. Is he on a HOF path? I know the old adage of “You make the HOF in your 30s” but he’s already right near the average peak JAWS score and could hit that average mark with another couple seasons at his recent pace, both age-30 and before.

11:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say he’s on a HOF path but longevity and the Coors factor will still present obstacles. He’s got an outstanding highlight reel to go with the defensive metrics but he’s going to have to stay productive on both sides of the ball.

11:01
Jerry Lu: Do you see Bill Dahlen and Jim McCormick, the 2 only glaringly good early time baseball players that are still currently snubbed by the Baseball Hall of Fame be successfully inducted in the Committee next year? Since we don’t have too many Early Days Era Committee in the coming years, to be honest.

11:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Again, I think it depends upon how much homework the committee members do. I’d guess that if Buck O’Neil is on that ballot he’s got a much stronger chance just based on familiarity

11:02
Alex: What type of implications do you think the Ellsbury grievance has across the league if NYY prevail? Would it set a precedent for other teams (ie Orioles with C. Davis) to try the same thing even when not justified?

11:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, the Ellsbury grievance is based upon unauthorized treatment at a time he was caught in an endless injury/rehab cycle. There’s no way in hell anyone will be successful with a grievance for Everyday Terribleness, and PED suspensions aren’t grounds for grievances and contract termination.

11:05
Alex: Which remaining unsigned free agent ends up signing for the deal that ends up shocking most fans as in “wow, I can’t believe they got that much!”

11:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe Ozuna? I think he’s going to get more than $75 million.

11:06
Ben: The MVP started in 1931. Babe Ruth played until 1935. The answer to the best non-MVP player is Babe Ruth.

11:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ruth was MVP in 1923, at a time when the award was sporadically given out and at times there were rules that one could only win it once.

11:08
Hmmm…: If Philly signs Rendon or Didi etc, do they still have room for a Realmuto extension?

11:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, those are two VERY different scenarios, potentially by hundreds of millions of dollars.

11:09
Showmeyourtatis: May I recommend you visit Crack Shack to eat lunch this week!

11:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It might be on the FanGraphs dinner agenda, I’m not sure. We eat well, this crew.

11:10
Schmegs: When can we call a person a HOFer? When they are elected or when they are inducted?

11:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Elected, IMO. Induction is a mere formality; some players elected during the war years didn’t receive formal inductions until like 2013.

11:12
Ben: As an Orioles fan, do I have anything to look forward to this offseason/next season/the next decade?

11:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Every passing year will bring you one year closer to the heat death of the universe, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

11:13
Pat: Where do you fall on the Bill Dahlen/McCormick type candidates? Does it accomplish anything to honor them when they played 120 years ago? How do we honor someone that no one alive remembers?

11:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m more convinced on Dahlen than I am McCormick but i’d much rather see the living honored, Marvin Miller and Minnie Miñoso aside.

11:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK folks, I’m being pulled in multiple directions right now so it’s best to end this rather than leave you hanging. Thanks for dropping by, and I promise we’ll do more of these in the coming weeks.





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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