Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 9/1/20

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the post-trade deadline edition of my weekly chat. While I wait for the queue to fill up, a bit of housekeeping:

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Here’s Craig Edwards on trade deadline winners and losers: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-trade-deadline-winners-losers-and-a-fe…

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Here’s Eric Longenhagen on the prospects traded: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/ranking-the-prospects-traded-during-the-20…

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Here’s my contribution to our coverage:

A’s Add to Rotation While Rangers Get Comparatively Minor Return
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/as-add-to-rotation-while-rangers-get-compa…

Phillies Upgrade Battered Bullpen with Phelps https://blogs.fangraphs.com/phillies-upgrade-battered-bullpen-with-phe…

Mets Add Three Players at Deadline, Though 2020 Impact Could Be Minimal
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mets-add-three-players-at-deadline-though-…

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And now, on with the show…

2:05
JJ: The Padres currently have 2.6 more WAR from their position players than the Dodgers and just 0.6 less WAR from their staff. They just added Clevinger. How tight is the gap in the west?

2:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say it’s still a significant gap. That’s not to say that the Padres aren’t a good team — they are, and they’re a lot of fun to watch, and they made some excellent additions at the deadline, but the Dodgers are a much deeper club that can still win if a few things go wrong, and I think San Diego’s margin for error is much smaller

2:08
Guest: Did the Padres set a record for most catchers traded in one day?

2:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I hear they added Terry Kennedy, Gene Tenace, Benito Santiago, and Doug Gwosdz  as well as Jason Castro and Austin Nola

2:11
Bud Black’s Brain: how would you rank the following OFs ROS? Hampson, Tapia, Solak, Senzel, V. Robles? Any help is appreciated.

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Senzel is the best of them if he’s healthy, but how soon he’s back is the question. Robles and Solak probably the next tier, then a big, big gap, then Tapia, and then in a grim postapocalytic scenario where you’ve already had to eat your own leg to survive, Hampson.

2:14
BlackHouseWife: Any chance we see Wander Franco this year?

2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Supposedly unlikely, but if there’s an injury or the Rays think he can help as a bench/pinch-runner option for the postseason, I guess it’s possible. But don’t hold your breath

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: or anyone else’s breath for that matter, it can get you in a lot of trouble

2:15
Hot Pie: What are the Rays doing with Nate Lowe?

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wish I knew. He’s just buried in that depth chart and spending the summer at the alternate site when he’s good enough to play in the majors just seems pretty lame.

2:15
Marcus: How exhausting was this deadline for you compared to others in a regular season?

2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Eh, not that bad because I didn’t do any coverage over the weekend and the 3 deals I wrote up yesterday had a whole bunch of PTBNLs, only a couple of which we learned about before publication. Getting a late jump on my Replacement Level Killers series and needing to scramble to complete it by the deadline was part of that, but let’s face it, there weren’t many blockbuster trades this time around, and those are the ones where you can get bogged down.

2:19
Jazz: Juan Soto is slugging .800. No one has topped .700 since Barry Bonds. How ridiculous is he right now?

2:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Just a monster. 11 homers in 24 games, .367/,452/.800 (223 wRC+) line. Somebody ought to sell tickets

2:19
Duchess: Think Deivi Garcia is in the rotation from here on out?

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, so long as he’s healthy (the caveat for every pitcher, of course, but the Yankees are just a mess right now in terms of injuries and won’t dare risk a young arm)

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He looked great in that debut vs. the Mets

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: How it shakes out if/when Paxton comes back isn’t worth worrying about because somebody’s always gonna be hurt or underperforming.

2:21
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Gerrit Cole’s peripherals are not elite thus far. Worth being concerned now, or wait a year?

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Obviously, you’d expect him to be better, but this is such a weird year that it’s tough to get too hung up on irregularities. His K% and BB% are still outstanding, his velo is down a hair but not too much to worry, and if his HR/9 is too high, and his HR/FB is out of whack, well, you have to assume it will regress at some point

2:25
PhilDiggety: Compare/rate these contemporaries: M. Ramirez & M. Cabrera, Cano & Utley, Hamels & Sabathia? (ignoring PED stuff)

2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ramirez the better hitter and the one I’d rather watch, but Cabrera’s ability to fake 3B for awhile has given them equal value in terms of bWAR.

Cano > Utley, too bad he literally pissed away a HOF berth.

Sabathia > Hamels any day of the week. One of the dwindling handful of players for whom my fan-emotions were still pretty heavy all the way to the end. It was a damn privilege to cover him as a Yankee right up to the very end.

2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

“50,000 people in The Bronx and shit don’t start until I’m ready.” – Sabathia on what he loved most about pitching
18 Oct 2019
2:30
Ryan: Stripling or Ray: Which is the better pickup for the Jays?

2:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say Ray has the higher upside, and there’s a chance Stripling winds up in the bullpen

2:30
Logan: Joey Votto has a 198 wRC+ at home this year, and a -22 wRC+ on the road. It doesn’t seem to be just bad BABIP luck, either, as StatCast gives his wxOBA at home as .449, with his xwOBA on the road as .242. Any idea what might account for such significant splits?

2:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have to think there’s a lot of sample size issues in there. The Reds have played 17 games at home and 18 on the road, with Votto playing just 13 in the latter totaling 52 PA.

2:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s not to say I’m not concerned about the general trend of his career over the past couple of years — i am, but small-sample weirdness in home-road splits isn’t really where my concern starts

2:33
Duchess: Surprised the Brewers didn’t make a move. Thought Moreland would be an obvious fit.  Maybe they just saw the writing on the wall and decided to plan for next year?

2:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think so. They did take advantage of their depth to trade Phelps for three low-level arms but it was otherwise a quiet deadline for them. They have legitimate holes, making the Replacement Level Killers at first base, third base, right field and DH. I imagine they just looked at the current mess and said, let the chips fall where they may; at best we’re a low seed and probably won’t get far in October.

2:36
Enrique: Seems like most of the trades involved a small handful of teams.  Do you think some teams just weren’t interested in engaging in trade discussions this season?

2:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Very much so. I think money was the driving factor — ownership being reluctant to add payroll given the current state of things — and some viewing this year’s postseason as a crapshoot that may not be viewed the same as one that follows a 162-game season probably didn’t help.

2:39
mal tiempo: Luis Robert is currently second in the American League in fWAR. What are his chances of a ROY/MVP year?

2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think ROY comes down to him and Kyle Lewis. If he maintains this level of play, he’ll certainly be in the discussion for MVP.

2:40
BD: Do you think Steve Cohen will spend like crazy on FA with the Mets- or rather, invest in improving operations and systems?

2:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If the sale goes through (never count those chickens), I can’t see him going nuts spending — without Betts, this is going to be a pretty mediocre crop of free agents this winter, with Realmuto the head of the class — but it will feel like Christmas just leaving the Wilpon era behind. I imagine he’ll remake the organization somewhat, but any owner would do that.

2:43
Enrique: Did his boneheaded move and his subsequent boneheaded cover-up of his boneheaded move substantially impact Clevinger’s value and the number of teams interested in considering him?

2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe ruled him out for a few teams on principle, but as the length of his option stint wasn’t long enough to affect his service clock, probably not substantial hit in terms of value. I just don’t think that there were teams dangling blue-chip prospects at anyone this year.

2:45
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Maybe Eric could speak to this better, but Trammell getting traded twice already seems like whatever the opposite of a ringing endorsement is.

2:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My impression is that Trammell is a polarizing prospect because he hasn’t developed the in-game power some hoped for, which caps his ceiling.

2:47
Marko from Tropoja: Who’s more likely to end up in the HOF: Sale or deGrom?

2:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: deGrom. Cy Youngs and health > no Cy Youngs and TJ

2:52
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Seriously, it took until John Smoltz’ election in 2015 for there to be a pitcher who had undegone TJ to be elected and I don’t think there’s been a second yet. Of the active pitchers on the way — Kershaw, Scherzer, Verlander, Greinke — none has had it, though Verlander’s forearm injury is an ominous sign that he may eventually need it; at least he’s basically clinched a berth and has said he wants to pitch well into his 40s

2:52
PhilDiggety: Why are most backup catchers nowadays named Austin?

2:52
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They were cloned in a laboratory

2:52
Will: When playoff time comes around, which pitchers are the dodgers relying on to get to the WS?

2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: All of them. Gonsolin or Urias out of of the bullpen while Kershaw, Buehler, May and the other one from that pair starts.

2:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: their bullpen is looking rather deep these days. Jansen, McGee and Treinin are back to being effective, and Dylan Floro and Caleb Ferguson have turned into useful pieces

2:55
Derek: From Craig’s winners/losers writeup: “Tampa Bay traded away a player (José Martínez) who they traded for in the last year so they could get more playing time for a player they also acquired (Randy Arozarena) in the same trade as the one that netted them the player they traded away.” Not sure you could write a more Rays-y sentence.

2:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: indeed.

2:55
comish4lif: Jay – what does the postponement of some of the era votes from the BBHOF mean to Doc Adams’ case?

2:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It means that a guy who has been dead for 121 years will have to wait yet another year. Honestly, I don’t think it’s nearly as big a deal as the risk that comes with making a 70- or 80-something candidate who’s still alive wait a year.

2:58
pakkap: given his control issues to start the year (yes, sss, but still), have may (and gonsolin?) caught up to urias in the dodgers SP race?

2:59
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say May has moved ahead of Urias in the pecking order, and Gonsolin is the hot hand who potentially could, but it’s also a little easy to take Urias for granted because he’s been around for so long and because, let’s face it, he’s a whole lot less fun to consider in the wake of his DV suspension

3:00
John: Is Villar going to be a bench guy for Toronto?

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’ll probably play shortstop until Bichette returns, and then could either become a multiposition regular spotting all over the place or take over third base, where Travis Shaw has struggled, or second, with Biggio moving into the outfield when the matchup makes sense. I’d expect he’ll be a more or  less everyday player unless his production craters.

3:05
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Which tier would you put Buxton in with that OF question above?

3:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: atop the list without hesitation, even given the high variance.

3:06
Jazz: How confident are you in Kris Bryant bouncing back to his normal levels of production and that his poor play early was a result of his injury?

3:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: So long as they don’t rush him back, which they don’t seem inclined to do, pretty confident.

3:06
Armadillofury: Do you find what Cleveland did with Plesac to be cynical?

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: no. he f’d up royally, then kept digging deeper until he further embarrassed himself. If his teammates are as angry at him (and Clevinger) as has been reported, then it’s important to show that management has their backs, and that taking the protocols seriously is of utmost importance.

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Zach Plesac needs to grow the hell up

3:09
Armadillofury: Is Victor Reyes on the verge of a breakout?

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe. Statcast has his xBA at .306 and xSLG at .475 where his actual numbers are .282/.427, so there may be some positive regression ahead. That said, his rolling-50 numbers are heading in the wrong direction

3:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: His 4-for-4 the other day helped keep the Tigers off the left field Replacement Level Killers list, for which I’m grateful

3:13
Rick: Reds, Mets, Marlins: Which team’s deadline moves did you like best, and which has the best chance to make the playoffs?

3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I liked the Marlins’ addition of Marte best, though in trading Villar and Smith it’s not like they got off scot-free.  The Mets dealt in volume, and I can see (and wrote about) the potential upside but I’d still rather have added Bradley to the bullpen instead of Castro.

3:16
Kimi: Am I overstating it when I say Winker’s upside is Freddie Freeman?

3:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say so. Winker can clearly hit, but he’s a butcher defensively, and he’s already 27. By the time Freeman was 27 he was a 2x All-Star who had gotten MVP votes in three seasons and signed a nine-figure deal.

3:19
Guest: Will Jonathan Loaisiga ever get a chance to start?

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Possibly. The Yankees really like him, and they’ve got Tanaka, Paxton, and Happ reaching free agency this winter. Garcia is clearly ahead of Loaisiga, and I know they like King and Schmidt too, but they could consider him either as a starter or as a guy who becomes a late-game arm

3:21
Aging DHs: What kind of scenarios need to occur for these players to have a fighting Hall of Fame chance:

  • Nelson Cruz
  • Edwin Encarnacion
3:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Cruz: time machine to start MLB career earlier (didn’t get 400 PA in a season until age 28) and to avoid Biogenesis involvement and subsequent suspension.
Encarnacion: time machine to convince voters that somehow Don Baylor,  Hal McRae and Chili Davis should also be in the Hall

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Realistically, we’re talking about two guys with less than 40 career bWAR, where Ortiz (who isn’t JAWS approved) has 55 plus a raft of postseason accomplishments and a personal note of exoneration from Manfred regarding his appearance on the 2003 survey test list

3:27
Sporer-tzball: Jay what is best way to see a team WRC+ broken down by LHP VS RHP?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ladies and gents, the Splits Leaderboard!

3:27
guest: Is it fairly normal for a RHP who moves to the Yankees to have their HR/9 spike a bit because LH batters can take advantage of the RF porch?

3:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I haven’t studied it but it’s a plausible theory

3:29
Haley: Do you think the Dodgers made a wise decision not adding any SP in light of Buehler’s blister issues and Kershaw’s recurring back problems?

3:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not only didn’t they add, they subtracted Stripling. I think they must feel pretty confident that Alex Wood can help, and that they can turn to somebody like Mitch White, Josiah Gray, or Dennis Santana to fill in for a spell if need be

3:31
bighen: any idea if there is a cut off date for a Covid opt-in?  like if the Mets are likely to qualify for postseason, can Stroman opt back in a few days beforehand?  with the caveats aside that he likely wouldn’t be ready etc.

3:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: “Players must be on a club’s roster by Sept. 15 in order to be eligible for postseason play.”

3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: jeez, seeing that question re: Stroman and the Dodgers’ question side by side, I kind of wonder if David Price is throwing somewhere.

3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Total spitballing by me, that. I know nothing on the subject

3:33
City: Sabathia is far better than Hamels for sure.  But he probably could have been even better if he at least attempted to take care of his body before he retired.  Did he get a total pass for that in NY?

3:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No, and it think it’s a bullshit line of thinking.

3:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sabathia had periods in NYY where he lost weight and he felt he didn’t have the same kind of power as a pitcher

3:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe it didn’t help that he was battling alcoholism during that but jeez, that’s a deeper question given the extent to which that’s an illness with hereditary factors as well as environmental ones

3:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And if you saw what that guy went through with regards to his knees late in his career, the regular injections of the synthetic lubricant… he got nearly 3,600 innings out of that body. Find me the pitchers today who are going to do that.

3:36
Pumpsie Green: If the Yankees are trying to subvert Happ’s option, as he suggested, does that give us an indication about their spending plans for next year? Will they go big or stay home?

3:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Happ has a 4.81 ERA and 5.32 FIP over the past two seasons. it’s not “subverting” an option if you decide he’s not one of your five best starting pitchers based on that performance and potential going forward.

3:37
Trout Enthusiast: More disappointing front office:  Rockies or Angels

3:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Rockies. So many holes, so little done.

3:38
Pumpsie Green: Miami called Villar ‘reckless’ on his way out of town (even though he didn’t actually leave town, as the Jays are in Miami). Did they mean reckless in baseball or reckless at pandemic living?

3:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wondered about that one myself, but as he wasn’t one of the players who got sick, i can’t put a whole lot of stock in it.

3:38
Pumpsie Green: Loved the replacement killers series! Looked like a lot of work – thanks!

3:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thank you, sir! It was a ton of work but I enjoyed it and the response it gets every year

3:39
WinTwins0410: Is the HoF run by a bunch of idiots, is it just plain cruel, or both? They jerked around Santo and Miller so long that both were posthumously inducted. Kaat/Oliva/Allen’s average age is 81 (the less likely Wills is 87). And they’ll delay the Golden Days Era Committee vote by another year and then delay all other Era committees by a year after that? All because Golden Days committee members can’t learn to use Zoom? This behavior makes me lose all faith in the Hall’s credibility as an institution. They clearly just make up rules as they go along. What if, in Dec 2021, there’s no vaccine? Do they defer the Golden Days vote yet again? Golden Days vets really are being screwed here. Already the committee convenes only every 5 years. Now, it’ll be six years, and then it’s not like there’s a “catch-up” later. By 2026, some more candidates likely won’t be alive. I know the Hall’s job isn’t to manage candidates’ feelings but still, it’s unkind, and punitive. Why drag it out further? Are they cruel? Or idiots?

3:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the Hall is run by idiots. they were well ahead of the curve in canceling Induction Weekend despite the minimal impact of COVID-19 locally and the knowledge it would be a huge economic kick in the groin to the region. I do think that not figuring out a way to do virtual voting was the wrong move but I also wonder if they figured that even by using a higher-security platform than off-the-shelf Zoom, each voter would need a devoted IT person, and that suddenly expanded the cone of trust beyond their comfort levels

3:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think they should have gone ahead with the Golden Days vote, which still has living candidates. Don’t think it matters much when the Early Baseball vote happens since everyone is dead. Also think they could have waited until next spring to do the voting – it used to happen in February, back when I began covering it

3:43
Derek: One comment I saw about starling Marte post-trade was that his $12 mil option wasn’t likely to be picked Up given state of baseball finances.  Do you think that’s true and how many similar options are likely to be declined?

3:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Diamondbacks, who often thrown nickels around like they’re manhole covers, may not have been willing to pick up Marte’s $12 million option, and maybe the Marlins won’t given their tendency towards penury, but somebody will — that’s a 3-4 win player easily

3:45
Andrew: Noticed the dodgers’ world series chances increased yesterday on fangraphs by ~1.5% despite their only move being trading away Stripling. Any reason for this?

3:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Might have something to do with teams like the Dbacks and Brewers taking steps backwards through shedding/inaction

3:46
Grand Admiral Braun: Craig Kimbrel’s HoF chances?  Over/under 50%

3:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They’ve fallen off the table in the past two seasons given a 7.53 ERA in 28.2 innings. Wrote this for the 2018 World Series and he hasn’t gotten anywhere since https://blogs.fangraphs.com/world-series-offers-rare-meeting-of-potent…

3:47
jb:

  • dear mr jaffe, nice talking to you, after following your work for several years first at si and now here. do you see any chances now that there no new Jersey numbers between 0 and 99 are left we expand our horizon and will be able to see triple-digit numbers in MLB like let’s say in Cricket the great Chris Gayle with his 333
3:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: let us hope!

3:48
WinTwins0410: Jay, thanks for the very thoughtful response on the Golden Days Committee — and thanks as always for doing these chats.  Always super enjoy your willingness to interact with all of us!

3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thanks! I’m upset about the cancellation and resulting anger — I feel it too — but I do understand the concerns.

3:49
Alex: Given his litany of injuries, does an Aaron Judge extension appear increasingly unlikely by the day? Perhaps the Yankees would have been more open to it without Stanton’s contract already in place but it seems like if Judge is going to get a long-term deal, its probably not going to be with the Yankees.

3:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: maybe but i think it might also increase Judge’s willingness to lock in some security

3:49
Eli: Can you try to play Brodie’s advocate and defend the Mets’ deadline trades with the Rangers (Chirinos and Frazier, will have to cut 2 players from the 40-man then another when Nido comes back) for me?

3:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I tried to find the glass-half-full scenario in my evaluation of the trade but admittedly didn’t think too hard about the 40-man implications.Quite possible that, say, Dellin Betances is done for the year, though

3:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ok folks, it’s been lovely chatting but i must go. Thanks for stopping by and please note that I’ll be on vacation next week, so there will (probably) be no chat.





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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Connor Grey
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Connor Grey

Jacob deGrom had Tommy John way back in October of 2010. He’s still probably a more likely Hall of Famer than Sale but they both have the TJ working against them, not just Sale.