Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 8/20/20

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to another edition of my Friday chat! I’m back from a lovely week in San Diego, where I got to hang out with family for the first time in 18 months, get my feet wet in the ocean and a pool while watching my daughter play with her cousin, catch a game at Petco Park (no Tatis Jr., alas), drink some excellent craft beer, see one of my oldest friends, and much more.

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Anyway, no article from me today, but I’m on this weeks’ FanGraphs Audio podcast, talking to the great Trent Rosecrans about Joey Votto’s rebound and what it’s like to cover him: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-audio-len-kasper-and-lenny-dinar…

Yesterday, I wrote about Chris Bassitt’s good luck yesterday (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/chris-bassitt-escaped-a-potential-nightmar…), and on Monday I’ll have a tribute to Bill Freehan, the 11-time All-Star catcher who passed away on Thursday.

2:04
WinTwins0410: Jay, between the domestic violence allegation last year against Omar Vizquel and the recent sexual abuse lawsuit and allegations against him, is it safe to say that Vizquel’s Hall of Fame chances are officially dead?  (I very much hope so.)

2:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s a good question. Not only do I think it’s going to be much harder for voters to overlook yet another transgression, but I wonder if he could face a fate along the lines of his former double play partner, Roberto Alomar. Recall that Alomar was fired by MLB as a consultant and placed  on its ineligible list due to “an allegation of sexual misconduct by a baseball industry employee.” The latest Vizquel allegation of sexual misconduct was also brought an industry employee, which would appear to me to leave him open to discipline by the league, hence my speculation.

2:08
Bdubs: Given Bill Mazeroski is in the HOF, is Terry Moore a viable candidate?

2:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No. Using the worst picks for the Hall as the new bar for entry opens up the field to literally thousands of players — go look up Tommy McCarthy, an even worse choice than Maz from a player perspective, and the Early Baseball Era Committee ballot, which only gets voted on once every 10 years, is even more crowded now that Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues Black baseball candidates are eligible again.

2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: On that subject, this piece went up while I was in San Diego https://blogs.fangraphs.com/upcoming-early-baseball-era-committee-ball…

2:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As did this fun podcast with Baseball Reference’s Adam Darowski

🎙 Building the Ballot: Episode 2 – Today I chat about candidates from the White major leagues (1871-1949) with the brilliant @jay_jaffe. Dahlen, Ferrell, Glasscock, Bennett, Magee, Schang, Browning, Stovey, and more! Next week: the Black major leagues. anchor.fm/building-the-b…
11 Aug 2021
2:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Moore, with a 99 OPS+ in an 11-year career, wasn’t even one of Adam’s dozens of deep cuts, which I think tells you a lot

2:12
Justin: Hi Jay, I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Golden Days committee. 2015 had 5 significant vote-getters: Allen (11), Oliva (11), Kaat (10), Wills (9), and Miñoso (8). You’ve talked before about the importance of prioritizing living players. Assuming the HOF shares your sensible view, does that give an edge to Oliva, Kaat, and Wills? Or does Miñoso propel forward due to MLB’s official recognition of the Negro Leagues, and does Allen’s death propel him forward? It seems like 2 or 3 could likely get in, but even 4 could be possible based on the 2015 numbers–but have 4 ever been elected from a single veterans committee outside of the special 2006 commission?

2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: While I would like to see living players honored, the other precedent we’ve seen recently is guys who fell just short — Simmons and Miller, most notably — getting over the threshold at the next opportunity. That, to me, points to Allen and Oliva as the most likely honorees.

With a limited number of ballot spots, I think the math is very tough to get more than two honorees in a given cycle. I’d love to be wrong about this and would gladly settle for what would effectively amount to a horse-trade to get both Allen and Miñoso in if it meant one of the less JAWS-approved guys.

2:15
ManDan: What do you make of Hiura’s recent struggles? Too soon for a change of scenery?

2:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Man, I have no idea what to make of his situation except that his career is now deeply in the weeds. A 54 wRC+ with a 38% K rate is just unplayable. He probably needs a winter trade to an AL team to get another real shot.

2:16
Matt: So has Buster Posey once again put himself in serious HoF conversation? It looked like he could fall short, but this is one hell of a resurgence.

2:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wrote this back in May https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-healthier-version-of-buster-posey-is-swi… and think it’s even more true now, though I still believe that it’s going to take his getting to 2000 hits to be a lock.

2:20
Andrew and Dave: Why don’t we get more credit? Missed Games – Betts 35, Bellinger 59, Seager 77…Missed Starts – Kershaw 6, Bauer 7, Gonsolin 15, May 19…Injured Relievers – Nelson, Knebel, Kelly

2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably because you’re still trailing the Giants? Also, in Friedman’s case whatever credit should be granted there needs to be weighed against the colossal f-up of signing Trevor Bauer.

2:22
B: Why doesn’t the MLBPA push harder for the owners to make their books public?Wouldn’t there be less talk of how players should be grateful for the owners “signing their paychecks” if it was also public knowledge of exactly how grateful the owners should be to the players for all the money coming their way because people want to watch those players? I imagine public sentiment could provide a bit of leverage to the union in the future as well.

2:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Because opening the books is probably the last thing that the owners are ever going to do. They’re more likely to burn down the sport — read: lock the players out next spring — than they are to ever show us the money and the accounting tricks they use to avoid taxes and to milk new stadiums and other gains from taxpayers.

2:24
John: I will be going to Cooperstown this fall. While the HOF is obviously the main attraction, what other things do you most enjoy seeing on Main Street or around town?

2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My time is always so tight when I’m in Cooperstown that I generally don’t get too much leisure. I do enjoy browsing the memorabilia shops and getting a drink at the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange on Main St. Would love to make it out to Ommegang (still hasn’t happened despite half a dozen visits) and to explore some of the area’s natural beauty but it’s going to be awhile before I get to do all that.

2:28
Scott W: How about a poll for NL 2nd wild card – SD, Cinn, Stl, Phi, NYM

2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s a two-team race between SD and Cincy — wrote a bit about the latter here (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/surging-reds-lose-hot-hitting-jesse-winker…) — but sure, let’s do a poll.

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

NL Wild Card 2 Race

Padres (34.6% | 26 votes)
 
Reds (50.6% | 38 votes)
 
Cardinals (5.3% | 4 votes)
 
Phillies (5.3% | 4 votes)
 
Mets (4.0% | 3 votes)
 

Total Votes: 75
2:29
Jake: With Baseball America ranking their farm #1 and ownership planning to open up the checkbook this off-season, has there ever been a more optimistic time to be a Mariners fan?

2:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I mean, having Griffey, A-Rod, the Big Unit, Edgar AND a new ballpark on the way was probably the peak time for Mariners fans to be optimistic, but right now, things are definitely looking up, particularly with the Angels getting nowhere despite Ohtani’s superstardom and the jettisoning of Pujols.

2:32
MM: who’s your NL MVP and Cy Young if you voted today?

2:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: CY: Burnes, Wheeler, Buehler, deGrom (too few innings, alas), Woodruff

2:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: MVP: Tatis, Muncy, Trea, Acuña, and then either Crawford or Posey

2:37
Guest: Steve Cohen is a choad, but it is truly hard to understand how the previously-successful hitters in the Mets lineup can be as unproductive as they are. Their much-discussed injury woes don’t actually seem to have affected their record nearly as much as the poor hitting from the regulars in the lineup. Hard to envision even the great Kris Bryant helping out much.

2:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m going to disagree with you about the injury woes. Losing deGrom, Carrasco and Syndergaard is pretty back-breaking for the rotation, and I don’t think we can disconnect the subpar work of guys like Conforto and McNeil from their injury-related absences. Losing Lindor as he was heating up, and missing Nimmo and Davis for a long time haven’t helped either. While the Mets hung in first place amid a lot of those injuries, without them they might have run away with the NL East whether or not, say, Dominic Smith hit like he did last year.

2:41
barrust: Not really a chat question (sorry) but I couldn’t find a place to submit an issue with the site. The Live scoreboards in dark mode are unreadable (well, the teams and score portion). Just wanted to let someone know! Thanks!

2:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wil relay this to the authorities

2:42
Chris: How are the mariners only at 3.9% for making the playoffs? They have 3 wins and the season series on the blue jays and face the dbacks and royals 13 more times

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a combination of factors. For one, they have one of the tougher remaining schedules of any AL contender (.517). Second, they have three teams ahead of them in the WC race (Yankees, Red Sox, A’s, all at least 2.5 games ahead). And third, they project to regress significantly based on our projection systems, with a ROS win% of just .470 while the Yankees and Red Sox are .580 or above, and the A’s .519. They’re not out of it but they’ll have to keep playing well above their heads and navigate through traffic to get a spot.

2:46
Alex: If MLB were to have a salary floor, what is stopping tanking teams like the Orioles, Rangers, and Pirates from just getting to the floor by trading for bloated contracts (see: Hosmer) packaged with premium prospects?

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Right. I don’t think the salary floor is the solution that some people think that it is, for reasons along these lines.

2:47
GarySanchezRBW: The Yankees obviously don’t have the best record in the American League, and there are still uncertainties abound with various players and their injury statuses, but are they the last team you’d want to have to beat in the playoffs this year?

2:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No, because I’d much less like to be lined up against Buehler-Scherzer-Kershaw-Urías than any quartet of Yankees that could be available.

2:48
Chris: Why isn’t Scott servais getting national manager of the year love? Everyone seems to be talking about Hinch for some reason?

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Manager of the Year is basically a media-driven award, and so I think it comes down to fewer eyeballs on the Mariners, and fewer people discussing them, because they play on the West Coast, when much of the country has gotten its fill of baseball and gone to bed.

2:49
Dodger Fan: If you were the Dodgers GM who do you try and keep in the off-season, Kershaw, Scherzer, Seager, Taylor, Jansen? Sign Trea Turner to an extension?

2:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There’s a lot of tough decisions here. IMO Taylor provides good bang for the buck and would be a priority because he won’t break the bank. From an unsentimental standpoint, Scherzer might be a stronger bet for value over the next 2-3 years than Kershaw, but losing the latter would be a huge PR hit, and at this point I don’t think he can realistically expect $30M + based on his injuries. I see Seager as worth keeping with an eye towards moving him to 3B once Justin Turner is done, and leave Trea Turner to be next year’s problem.

2:53
Guest: re MVP: No Harper?

2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Eh, I like Harper more than most but he’s tied for 9th in fWAR and four of the other 9 have even less playing time than he does.

2:54
Chris: Why haven’t servais and dipoto been extended yet? Will the mariners really move on?

2:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d imagine that gets addressed this offseason. There’s been just a wee bit of disarray at the upper level in that org this year.

2:55
Guest: Is Bauer going to pitch again this year?

2:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see how he possibly could, since Bauer has admitted to assaulting the woman while she was unconscious. If you’re Manfred and you can’t find grounds to suspend him for at least the remainder of the season, your policy ain’t shit, and you should board a rocket into the sun.

2:58
Guest: Feels weird to say this about a website like Fangraphs, but I don’t think Corbin Burnes’ season is getting the attention it warrants, Jay.  He’s on pace to be just the second pitcher in the past 70 years with a sub-1.65 FIP  (Pedro Martinez, 1999, is the other).  And even Pedro didn’t lead all of baseball in whiff rate AND walk rate AND home run rate. It’s insane what Burnes is doing!

3:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s had a remarkable season, and we’ve covered him a couple of times, but you’re right, he’s probably worth another look.

3:00
ROGELIO: Turner over Adames for MVP? Trea has a 0.7 WAR advantage, but did most of his damage on an out of it team (+0.66 WPA), while Willy (+2.89 WPA) has fueled Milwaukee to the best record in MLB since his acquisition. That seems more valuable than 0.7 WAR to me.

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not ruling Adames out, nor am I going to wrack my brain very hard about who’s 5th vs. 6-10th, but IMO it’s harder to make a case that a guy who to this point has about 32% of his playing time in the “wrong” league should be a top contender for MVP. Check back in September, and I might feel differently but right now I see this as Tatis’ race to lose.

3:03
Background checks: Do MLB teams do background checks (besides physical exams) on potential signees? Given the accusations against Bauer in Ohio were seemingly quashed (to put it charitably), I get the Dodgers may not have learned of that incident but Bauer has many prior controversies, including with harassing women.

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Seems pretty clear that many teams don’t do this to the degree that they should.

3:05
Houzer: Any chance Matthew Boyd could fetch Gavin Lux or Drew Waters this offseason?

3:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see either of those players moving for a guy who can be a free agent next winter.

3:06
Ben: At this point, is there any way to view the Orioles has conducting a real rebuild or is this just the Angelos heirs paring down expenses as much as possible to maximize what they get for selling the team once Peter Angelos dies?

3:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: We have the Orioles’ org as #1 in future value on THE BOARD, and Baseball America recently ranked their farm system #2. Both have a lot to do with Adley Rutschman, but it would seem that better days are around the corner for the Orioles beyond just having the game’s top prospect.

3:09
Alex: If the league were to have lowered CBT thresholds in the next CBA, wouldn’t the big market teams insist on an amnesty clause also being included so they have some flexibility to spend in future years?

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There would have to be some kind of phase-in for something like the proposal that was floated this week to work. but getting there seems like it would be a lot of work from a grandfathering perspective. I can’t see the players agreeing to lowering the threshold from $210M to $180M anyway.

3:11
Bubba: How many more games do you think Ohtani has to play to pretty much lock in the MVP?

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think we’ve passed that point, and even Vlad Jr. would tell you that.

3:12
Guest: The playoff odds now give the Reds a better chance to make the post-season than the Padres.  You think that will happen?

3:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it comes down to what SD gets out of its rotation the rest of the way — particularly if Darvish comes back and pitches reasonably well, and if Snell and Paddack improve. If they don’t get at least a couple of those guys going, they’re cooked.

3:13
JJ: It seems like most fans have come around to the idea of DH in the NL. Will the owners and players union quit using it as a bargaining chip and make the fans happy next year?

3:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: the DH is inevitable but it’s so far down the list of issues that need to be settled.

And I know there are a bunch of CBA/CBT questions still in the queue but I’ve got my fill of thinking about that stuff for one week.

3:17
Guest: Over/under 1.5 for the number of all-star games that Jonathan India makes in his MLB career?

3:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ll take the over if he can hit like he has this year. Huge boost for the Reds.

3:18
Alby: I read that proposal to slash the salary cap as an insult. The floor just means owners would rather give money to each other than to the players. Will the MLBPA see it that way?

3:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m pretty sure that proposal is DOA.

3:19
Guest: What are your thoughts on the Phillies’ outlook after 2021, following what I presume to be either a lost division race or a swift playoff defeat at the hands of the Brewers, Dodgers, or Giants?

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I suspect they’re in for a managerial change. I thought Joe Girardi would fare better there, but he hasn’t, for whatever reason. The org is 28th in both the FG and BA farm system rankings, and they have a very top-heavy payroll… it’s like Dave Dombrowski has been there for half a decade already, without the winning!

3:21
Guest: Is it time for the Reds to admit that the Akiyama signing was just a mistake?  Even with Winker out, they have a better outfield alignment available with Aquino, Castellanos, and Nanquin.

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: On a roster with Castellanos and Winker, Akiyama has his uses as a defensive caddy but you’re right, the signing hasn’t worked out

3:23
Greg: Will Shogo Akiyama hit an MLB homerun at any point in his baseball career?

3:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I like his odds better than my own, but I’m not under contract for next year.

3:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Looking at his Statcast page, he has only three ballparks where balls he’s hit would have gone out, all from this year: Anaheim (1), Houston (2), and the Bronx (3, LOL).

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Poll results: Reds 50.7%, Padres 34.7%, Cards/Phillies 5.3%, Mets 4%

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that should read 50.7% for the Reds

3:26
Guest: If the Rays end up moving to a city with a larger market, how much differently do you think the organization would be run? Would they be unrecognizable, or do you think they would retain some of their savvy?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it would change over time somewhat, but I’m also not holding my breath for this to happen.

3:29
Tom: Is Nolan Arenado on a HOF track?

3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think so. His bat has rebounded nicely — forget the raw stats, his OPS+/wRC+ is ahead of his career mark — and he’s back to playing at All-Star caliber. I do worry a bit about his defensive decline (only 4 DRS and 5 OAA this year), but that may prove to be a transient thing

3:33
Broken Bat: Question on Chris Davis announcing his retirement before the contract matured: does he still receive the owed $$? If he negotiated a smaller buyout, what is the position of MLPA?

3:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Pretty sure he gets all the money that’s coming to him, just paid out on a different schedule

3:34
B: Has there ever been a player who was a better face of the game than Derek Jeter? He was the face when I first started falling in love with the game. I suppose I’m looking for some historical perspective (Not saying you’re ancient, but your knowledge is certainly deeper).

3:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think the “face of the game” is an artificial construct but in their own times i’d think that guys like Ruth and Mays were pretty great from a marketing standpoint.

3:35
B: I’m not sure quite how to word this, but how much do you think owners and players actually care about fan discontent (as long as they aren’t so frustrated that it hits their pocketbooks)? Do you think they’re forward looking enough to try to snip it out early, or they’d just wait until things got bad enough and their pockets started to feel it?

3:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s pretty far down the list, below the 47th variation on the words “my money”

3:35
Dan: I have a poor quality signed Tony Olivia card. From a financial perspective only do I care much if he get voted into the Hall of Fame?

3:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That seems like a pretty lame reason to care, and no, the card isn’t going to be worth much more for sale unless the signature has been authenticated.

3:36
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: New owner would make a much bigger difference to TB’s spending than a new city.

3:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: agreed

3:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, it’s time for me to roll on out of here. Thanks so much for stopping by! I should be back in this time slot next week. Until then, stay safe!





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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