Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/20/15

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Hey everybody

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to live baseball chat

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Last week, I had to end earlier than usual, because I had to go meet Rob Neyer and fall down on an artificial infield.

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: This week, I have to end *even earlier* for a different thing I have to do. We’re looking at something like a conventional hour or so. So, ask good questions

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Or don’t, I don’t really care tbh

9:03
Comment From DerpyDan
Could you see Strasburg going to the mets for syndergaard and a complimentary player?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: I think there’s the skeleton of something that could be reasonable, but the Nats are going to look to move Strasburg for a surer bet who can help right away. Someone *like* Bogaerts or Betts, but available and maybe a tiny bit worse

9:05
Comment From pb
What do they Jays do next?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think the odds are they’re done doing anything particularly impactful, but I’m sure they’ve already placed a call or two on Strasburg. That’s the way they operate, and talk about a golden opportunity

9:05
Comment From easywhencheesy
Mr.sullivan… would you trade stroman for Betts in a Dynasty league?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Weekly-ish reminder that I don’t know anything about how fantasy baseball leagues work so I’m a bad person to ask these questions

9:06
Comment From Ignoring A Professor
Which of the three catchers the Astros are rumored to move the most valuable? Castro seems the better offensive catcher but Corporan seems the better framer.

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Corporan’s already in his 30s. He’s a useful backup. Castro has the most value, but his value is also limited after a down year at the plate

9:08
Comment From Derek
Of the remaining free agent candidates, which do you think would be the best for the Brewers to sign as long relief/spot starter?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: They should just give Brandon Beachy something like the contract the Royals gave Kris Medlen

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise there’s not really anyone out there that’s worth it or interesting

9:08
Comment From Erik
Why do you suppose James Shields is taking so darn long to sign anywhere? Games? Lack of a good deal (in his mind)? Something else?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: If the reports are on to anything he’s looking for too big of a contract, but he also probably intended to wait Scherzer out so he could be the last big-type guy on the market. Maybe he didn’t count on other good pitchers being available in trade. I can say there’s a certain amount of Shields skepticism, as teams realize how many innings he’s piled up

9:10
Comment From Vslyke
What do you make of players like Dexter Fowler who have good Inside Edge numbers but poor DRS/UZR? Which would you be more inclined to trust?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: More inclined to trust DRS/UZR. More rigorous picture

9:10
Comment From David
You’ve heard rumors both that the Nationals will trade a SP or that they’re going to go for it with this so called “super rotation.” Which is true?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: They’ve been wide open to trading a starter all offseason long, but I think it’s pretty clear the markets they wanted haven’t developed, so if they can’t find a quality return anywhere, they’ll just go ahead and be a very dominant baseball team

9:11
Comment From Joshua
Mariners and James Shields: Discuss?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t have/won’t spend the money, and also isn’t necessary

9:11
Comment From steven
are international players the new market inefficiency? or is it minor league deals?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I should set up a filter that automatically blocks the term “market inefficiency”. But anyhow, more to the point, I think international players are generally undervalued, but they seem less undervalued than ever. Consider the much-discussed Cuban bubble. Teams are growing bolder, justifiably

9:13
Comment From Padres Jagoff
I assume Hamels wouldn’t be enough to vault the Padres into real playoff contention. How much more do they need at this point to make it a reality, and to not waste the Upton 2015 rental?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I liked what some commenter said the other day, about the Nationals closing this offseason by flipping Strasburg and Desmond to San Diego. That would be nuts, but I’m not even sure San Diego has the resources to swing that.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: If they added a Hamels or a Strasburg, they’d be a real legitimate team. But, you know, Hamels costs a lot of money, and Strasburg costs a lot of players. They don’t have a shortstop. It’s not an easy circumstance

9:14
Comment From Dako
Do the Jays have what it takes to take over Boston in the AL east?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Sure

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t not have what it takes

9:15
Comment From Richard
Does Justin Masterson bounce back this year in Boston?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Some. Vazquez is going to help that

9:15
Comment From Brian
Why is it that a pitcher is given credit for a batter missing the ball or hitting it down or up but not for how well it is it?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Because the evidence suggests the pitchers are only somewhat responsible for how hard a baseball is hit. At least, as far as BABIP is concerned. Now, when you get the more detailed metrics, like those based on HITf/x, you can see real sustainable skills or problems. But you still always have to regress pretty heavily

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Some guys are better contact managers than others. Tony writes about this pretty often.

9:17
Comment From NopeChuckTesta
Why aren’t more teams interested in cliff lee. Seems like a decent, but low guy. What gives? He ded???

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: The last time anyone saw him he developed an elbow injury, and he’s due $25 million this year, with a massive option and a massive buyout for 2016

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Get Lee and you’re either on the hook for $37.5m/1yr or $52.5m/2yr

9:19
Comment From joel
Will Crawford/Pederson/Puig/Ethier/Heisey/Van Slyke all be on the active Dodgers roster come opening day?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Somehow, I still feel like Ethier goes away

9:20
Comment From Brandon G
Is there any way in hell, the Cubs trade a SS to the Mets? and if so which of the 3, and who would the cubs get back?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Not convinced the two match up very well. Plus, remember that the Cubs want to win, as soon as 2015. They’re obviously not moving Russell. You could probably convince them to move Baez, and then in the short term you cover that by sending Murphy back, but it’s a tricky fit

9:22
Comment From Nate
Strasburg to Chicago for Baez and Billy McKinney. Too light?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think it would be pretty justifiable, but at the same time, I don’t think the Nats want such a high-risk player. Depends on how Rizzo feels about Baez’s skillset. If he’s willing to take a chance, that would be one of my favorite blockbusters ever

9:23
Comment From David
Also, why are we believing the Strasburg rumor? I mean, I’m sure the Nats are listening on everybody, but one guy who has never broken anything related to the Nats is the one who reported it.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: The Nats and Strasburg definitely aren’t preparing to part ways. They’re not “ready to move on”. But Strasburg is available, that much is true

9:25
Comment From Peter
Does it make sense for the Brewers to go for it now before Gomez leaves and Braun gets old? What would it take for a Zimmerman trade?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Not a good match here, I’m afraid. The best of the farm system is pretty much all far away

9:27
Comment From Pat
Do the Yankees have the pieces to trade for Stratsburg and should they?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they do. Severino is too far off

9:27
Comment From Philly Buster
Does Hamels start game one for the Phillies this season?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, at this point I think he’s there until at least July

9:28
Comment From Guest
You’ve been pretty high on the Cubs since the start of the offseason. Now that their offseason is seemingly over, aside from maybe a Castillo trade, where do you see them? I could ramble on about how excited I am at all the needs they’ve filled, but you already know this.

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: They’re right there. They’re absolutely good enough for a wild card, and they’re good enough to push for the division if, say, Adam Wainwright has problems. I like them as a playoff team even though I wasn’t wild about the Fowler deal. They’ve worked hard to get here and now it’s the dawn of a new era

9:29
Comment From DerpyDan
Do you think Josh Hamilton is still relevant in LA as a DH or is he on the trading block?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: No one wants him

9:30
Comment From GoatLocker
Who wins the #5 SP in Cleveland? Salazar, House, someone else?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I suspect it’ll be Salazar, but they have four worthwhile candidates and honestly this is just going to play out in spring training

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Good depth in place, in Cleveland

9:32
Comment From MASN Profiteer
How far off his 2014 pace will Mesoraco fall in 2015? Is too much being made of his approach change–sacrificing contact for power? Or is it going to really haunt him? If he plays a full (catcher) season, can he hit 30?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: All the indicators are there of a real and meaningful change. I think he can sustain a legitimate 120-125 wRC+ as a regular backstop

9:33
Comment From Luis Salazar
Should teams fear that Strasbourg will decompose like Prior?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: By 25, Strasburg is trending up, and Prior was trending down. Executives should feel a healthy fear of every pitcher in the game, but Strasburg doesn’t look like he’ll be that fragile

9:33
Comment From Andy
Are you planning on developing another breaking pitch so that Kiley will include you in his big prospect list?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Not only do I have the regular curve, but I also have a particularly bad curve. The bad one keeps people honest against the decent one

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately I don’t really know when I’m throwing the decent one or the bad one

9:34
Comment From The Dude Abides
Does Gallardo to the Rangers move the needle much for you?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Not really. He’s a definite upgrade to that Texas rotation, because what they had before was crap, but he’s like a one-win improvement. They’re still the fourth-best team in the division

9:35
Comment From Bryan
Is there a ranking for caught looking and caught swinging strikeout % for pitchers? Thanks

9:36
9:36
Jeff Sullivan: L/SO, S/SO

9:36
Comment From Jimmer
Will the Nats ultimately regret the Scherzer signing?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: nah

9:36
Comment From J
The inside edge numbers (along with scouts) seem to not hate Dexter Fowler’s defense, but many metrics do. Do you hate Dexter Fowler’s defense?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t hate. I don’t think he’s good

9:38
Comment From joel
Where do you think Big Game James ends up?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been trying to figure that out

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I could see the Blue Jays

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Could also obviously see the Giants. It’s just a hard market to project with Shields’ reported asking price too high for anyone to agree to

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox will forever exist as a sleeper here, if they get tired of waiting for Cole Hamels

9:39
Comment From Pete
Hey Jeff– is there anyway you could join Carson on the podcast more often? I don’t want to sound corny, but you guys have excellent rapport and provide great insight. I’m sure I’m not the only listener who would love it if you made an appearance every once in awhile

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Completely up to Carson. Maybe we just need Dave to have more babies

9:39
Comment From Jose
I love FG’s podcasts, but I run out of them too fast, got any other baseball podcasts you’d recommend?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Effectively Wild would be the automatic recommendation

9:40
Comment From Guest
Seems Fowler is perfect fit for the OBP poor Cubs?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Offensively, yeah, they didn’t really have an outfielder like that before

9:41
Comment From Guest
If the Cardinals fail to sign another arm, how close do you see the NL Central race being? As of right now, what’s your divison standings?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve got the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs all right there in a clump. A few games apart. I continue to give the Cardinals the slight leg up, but one injury or, say, Baez/Polanco breakout and that disappears

9:42
Comment From King Kong
Kang could end up being the best bargain FA this season. Yes no? Power is power wherever it’s played, no?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I like him on those terms — I don’t know who wouldn’t — but power isn’t power across the board, because power in Korea is a lot easier to hit for than power in the US. I think I’m higher on Kang than most.

9:42
Comment From Larry Bernandez
What exactly defines a “bust” in numerical terms?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no industry definition. I think it’s kind of a feel thing, based on each individual player’s hype

9:43
Comment From Jimmer
Hypothetically, what would be a reasonable offer from the Twins to get Strasburg?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing. It would be unreasonable for the Twins to trade for Stephen Strasburg

9:44
Comment From Walls
Marcus Stroman is the ____ best pitcher in the AL next season?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: 5th or 6th?

9:44
Comment From Joe
If the Orioles were to inexplicably send Kevin Gausman down this year, would it still count against his MLB service time?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: If he were in the minors, no, that wouldn’t count against his service time. Unless he weren’t there long enough, I believe

9:45
Comment From Dave
Should the Brewers look to move Carlos Gomez now to maximize the return they can get for him? I have hard time believing they can contend over the next two years.

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Their situation is a little bit like Cincinnati’s — too good to tear down, too bad to dream of the World Series. But I think they’re closer to being good than awful, and given what they did for a lot of 2014, I don’t think the Brewers look to package Gomez away. They can be all right in the short-term

9:46
Comment From Ron
Does Moncado more likely to sign before April or after July 2nd?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Better to ask Kiley. He has all the information. I have none of the information, aside from whatever Kiley might share

9:46
Comment From Tom
In discussing surplus value it seems that the risk of prospects is averaged out. Are there other metrics to value prospects?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Not really. It’s an inexact science, but it’s something

9:47
Comment From Ottopeu
Nathan Eovaldi has bad platoon splits, and is moving to a home stadium that’s really kind to lefty power. Should we expect a significant uptick in his HR/FB ratio?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, he’s not doing 6.6% again

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: But I don’t think it’s going to skyrocket, either. I’m high on Eovaldi — I think the Yankees can make him work pretty well. Real improvement, already, in 2014

9:48
Comment From BassmanUW
Any legitimate chance for Fowler to improve defensively in center moving from to the more compact center field in Wrigley for the spacious outfield of Coors and spacious and odd center field at Minute Maid Park? Or is that a bit too much wishful thinking, and Cubs fans should more just hope he’s more a true talent -5 to -10 center fielder as opposed to the -20 he put up last season?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: He probably is more like -5 to -10

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I suspect Cubs fans won’t really notice his defense, in either direction. He’ll be good enough to not be a talking point

9:49
Comment From Guest
How much better do you think the Cubs have improved while addressing their poor OBP with Fowler and Montero?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: You probably knew you were going to get this answer but it’s about overall value, not just OBP. Fowler does make the outfield better, overall. Montero, I like a bit more than Castillo, but he’s not a meaningfully superior OBP source anyway. I like him more for his defense

9:51
Comment From Walls
Hope this makes sense: how bad can a player be by wrC+ to still provide a positive value by WAR (through defence, baserunning etc). For instance could a player have a 30 wrC+, and be so good at everything else to provide positive value? What’s the lowest conceivable wrC+ where one could still provide a positive overall value?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: It all just depends on how extreme you want to get with baserunning and defense, but I’ll point you in the direction of Brendan Ryan http://www.fangraphs.com/st…

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: 1.2 WAR in 2010, 1.4 in 2012, with a 55 and 61 wRC+, respectively

9:52
Comment From The Dude Abides
Could the Nats end up regretting the deferred payment on Scherzer like the Mets with Bobby Bonilla?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, they could, but I doubt they will

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Won’t even be the same people cutting the paychecks

9:52
Comment From The Dude Abides
I understand that Strasburg has the most trade value of any of the Nats starters, but why trade him away? I don’t see why you’d sign Scherzer to that deal and decide to go cheap on everyone.

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Not about going cheap — this would be an opportunity to exchange shorter-term value for longer-term value, while keeping the current team excellent.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Same reason they’ve wanted to move Zimmermann for a 5- or 6-year guy. Strasburg has two years to go, but two years is only one more year than one year. So if you could actually get a guy like Bogaerts or Betts, this would be a great chance

9:54
Comment From Dave
Padres need a center fielder what about a Carlos Gomez for Wil Myers trade?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Brewers wouldn’t do it

9:55
Comment From Christian
Bostons rotation is so bad. AL East is really up for grabs – imo

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: For whatever it’s worth: http://www.fangraphs.com/de…

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s a *good* rotation, but I dont’ think it’s a weakness, and Boston obviously has the resources to upgrade at any moment

9:56
Comment From The Dude Abides
Could the Yankees be in play for the Strasburg/Desmond type move? I know they got Didi, but Desmond would be a much better deal for them and they could move some younger pieces if that’s what the Nats want.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Yankees don’t have the players, I don’t think

9:56
Comment From L. Scott
The Reds have a nice stocked balanced lineup now with Byrd. If Votto and Bruce bounce back, can they be a surprise team? The rotation is not horrible without Latos, and they still have one of the best closers in the game.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: This is the idea — the Reds are banking on health and performance bounce-backs. There’s a lot of value there if everyone’s clicking. It’s a longshot to not have things go awry, but if they do, then the Reds will be a midseason seller and they can turn Cueto into something valuable

9:57
Comment From Nelson
Predict the Rockies 2015 season in 5 words or less

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Not much worse than Padres

9:57
Comment From HappyFunBall
I think the Nats should stand pat and attempt to hold opponents to Dead Ball Era levels of scoring. They could do silly things like batting their pitchers in AL parks just to taunt everyone. It would be glorious!

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Two of their direct division rivals will already be generating Dead Ball Era levels of scoring

9:58
Comment From Stroman or Odorizzi, in a vacuum, for the next 3 seasons?
Stroman or Odorizzi, in a vacuum, for the next 3 seasons?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Stroman

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Damn your fantasy questions

9:58
Comment From Pat G
are deferred contracts gonna be the new vogue thing? or is this more of a boras needed this structure to make it look like he got more money for his client than he actually did (NPV of money)

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Boras wanted the figure, Nats wanted the actual value, Boras figured out a way to make it work. Deferred contracts aren’t a new idea — they’re not vogue yet, so I don’t know why they’d become that all of a sudden

9:59
Comment From Keith
Any thoughts on Ryan Vogelsong/Astros? Apparently he’s in Houston and deal might be done today.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t even imagine giving this sufficient thought to answer your chat prompt

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I guess it turns Straily, Peacock, and Deduno into depth. All right

10:00
Comment From King+Kong
Is a non stars and scrubs team more difficult to upgrade? A team like the Pirates are projected to have many players with 1 war or more, even the bench and bullpen. How would u go about upgrading such a team?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not easy, but then, even finding 1-WAR players cheaply isn’t easy. For a team like the Pirates with their financial constraints, it gets harder and harder to pay for more and more valuable players, so I think they’ve found a neat workaround — accumulate depth. They’ve already got the stars in McCutchen and Marte

10:02
Comment From Ignoring A Professor
What’s a reasonable expectation for Doug Fister in a trade? Only one year left, but he seems closer to a 3/4 than a 2/3 in theory. What would be a reasonable expectation for the Nats to get back?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Not a good enough player for it to be worth it.

10:03
Comment From Peter
What return do the Nationals want for Jordan Zimmerman?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Ideally, someone like Taijuan Walker

10:03
Comment From Richard
Who do you think plays the most games at 2B for the Braves this year? Is this a Peterson/Callaspo time share just waiting on Peraza?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Basicallyt

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: And Peterson’s always been an OBP guy, so maybe he isn’t a disaster as a stopgap

10:04
Comment From Walt
Are the Braves holding on to Kimbrel just to save face with their fans? They sold off and have confessed to not winning for at least this year, maybe 2 yrs, why would they still keep a guy who only pitches when they are winning?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Midseason trade. Prices go up really high in the middle of the year for good relievers

10:04
Comment From Brandon G
The two match up perfect. The Cubs need back end pitching. The Mets need a SS.

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs have a lot of back-end pitching

10:05
Comment From Nevets
Baez for Zim make sense? Zim said he’d like to be closer to home (Wisconsin)

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Not happening for a one-year player

10:05
Comment From guest
If Vogelsong signs with the Stros do the Giants make a push for Shields?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: The latter would have nothing to do with the former

10:05
Comment From Jimmer
A Twins fan mentioned BUXTON, Dozier and Berrios for Strasburg. Even if the Twins were close to contention, that’s just WAY too much for Strasburg, right?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:06
Comment From David
Addison Russell, Hector Rondon and a throw in or two for Strasburg. Who says no?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs, by a little

10:07
Comment From Guest
Before the deadline will the Mariners upgrade 1st base?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be surprised if we see Kivlehan end up getting a shot

10:07
Comment From Ryguy
Orioles finally win division last season and have done nothing even after losing a couple pieces. Is Duquette holding them hostage until they let him walk?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: They’re active, looking for a second- or third-tier outfielder or two. Duquette just hasn’t splurged for expensive replacements, because he doesn’t need to

10:08
Comment From Matt
Why does Scherzer accept that deal instead of a more traditional one? If you are getting more money up front, you can invest it and counter the effect of inflation. But $15M in 14 years from now is going to suffer from pretty bad inflation.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: He got an extraordinary overall sum, he’s locked in a payment plan for a decade and a half, and he gets to play for maybe the best team in baseball at the moment. If something better were available, he would’ve gone for it

10:09
Comment From Eric
Am I crazy to think that the Pirates are just as good as the Cardinals? I think that division is going to come down to the last day of the season again..

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing crazy about that. They’re super close

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, unfortunately I need to get going. Racing against the clock this morning

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, for much longer!, and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/20/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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You ever think about how many teenaged people look at these advanced statistics?