Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 12/11/15

12:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends!

12:03
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s baseball chat!

12:03
Jeff Sullivan: This one’s coming to you live from Dave Cameron’s living room. Or, arguably, the room beside the living room, which resembles a living room

12:03
c: please friend, baseball chat

12:03
Jeff Sullivan: It’s what we’re all here for

12:04
Gary: Do the Braves have a top 5 system now? Higher?

12:04
Jeff Sullivan: Caveat: not a system expert. But take a system that was already deep in talent, and add last year’s 1-1 and another top-100 or top-150 pitching prospect. If it’s not top 5, I’d be astonished

12:05
Sean P! : As a Cubs fan, I was thinking if the Cubs do trade Soler that Gordon might be a better signing than Heyward assuming the Cubs find a decent centerfielder. Should I be rooting for the Cubs to sign Gordon over Heyward if they find a decent centerfielder?

12:06
Jeff Sullivan: Well it’s always about cost, right? Without knowing the costs you can’t arrive at a definite conclusion but the thing about Heyward is if you get him you don’t need to worry about the additional center-field issue. He fits more needs, which is awful helpful

12:07
Kenji: Why does Fangraphs WAR consider FIP instead of xFIP? Might an xFIP-based WAR be in the works?

12:08
Jeff Sullivan: xFIP pushes everyone to a baseline that isn’t always true. There’s a certain amount of control over homers, and because the defense is uninvolved, the blame goes to the pitcher

12:08
Jeff Sullivan: For evaluation purposes, of course, you should look at everything. But if you’re trying to talk about what actually happened, homers happened, and no one else is responsible but the pitcher (and I guess you could argue the catcher)

12:10
Copp: If I make a starting offer to Epstein of Inciarte + Teheran for Scwharber, he has to at least be curious right? If I threw in one of Tyrell Jenkins/Richardo Sanchez/Manny Banuelos/Lucas Sims.. are we close?

12:10
Jeff Sullivan: Off the top of my head, you could have the frame of something there,

12:12
Jeff Sullivan: …but Epstein might feel like it would be easier to pick up defense instead of Schwarber’s higher-valued offense. Schwarber’s trade value probably exceeds what would be his actual value, owing to his power.

12:12
HappyFunBall: I’m getting a warm feeling at the notion of Jason Heyward patrolling the Nationals’ outfield. Odds you think it happens?

12:12
Jeff Sullivan: 10%

12:12
j6takish: Jeff, I know how you love fun facts and pitchers hitting. During his 2 seasons with the Rockies. Mike Hampton was worth 2.2WAR as a hitter and only 2.3 WAR as a pitcher! Also jose Guillen was worth a stupefying -3.1 WAR in 1997

12:12
Jeff Sullivan: Almost all of the time, pitcher hitting is irrelevant, but it’s so easy to forget about the value contributed by the guys who are actually decent

12:13
Jeff Sullivan: Now, granted, even decent-hitting pitchers are unlikely to get that many opportunities to hit in high-leverage situations, so that drives some of their on-field value down, but it’s a real consideration where if you have, say, Greinke on the mound, you’ve lengthened your own lineup as well

12:15
Derek Carr: Who should get Maeda?

12:15
Jeff Sullivan: This is a difficult market to read at this point and I was going to say Diamondbacks before everything else. The gut feeling I have at the moment says the Giants

12:16
Cheis: I know there was a piece just done on Heyward, but what do you make of the Nats interest in him? And would you play Harper or Heyward in CF if they got him?

12:16
Jeff Sullivan: Of the two, Heyward

12:17
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s sort of proactive interest — softens the blow when Strasburg and Harper eventually depart, because you’ve already signed your franchise outfielder

12:17
Jeff Sullivan: It’s real interest, although I still think the Nationals are pretty heavy underdogs.

12:18
Ken: Any team that intends to have Walker, Paxton, and Karns in its starting rotation should probably have a better sixth man than Vidal Nuno, correct?

12:18
Jeff Sullivan: I think this is why they also picked up Bass but they’re going to bring in some NRIs who might not blow

12:20
Jesse: Obviously prospects are tough to predict. But where is your gut on Dansby and how he ends up

12:20
Jeff Sullivan: Gut pushes me toward 3-win shortstop. Starting a year and a half or two years from now

12:23
HVC: Orioles need corner OF help, are cheap and have very few valuable assets. Cubs (reportedly) looking to continue adding to bullpen. Britton (3 years, ~$30 million) & Chance Sisco for Soler (5 years, $22 million) in the ballpark or do the Cubs immediately hang up?

12:24
Jeff Sullivan: Ken Giles got Vincent Velasquez+, and Velasquez has a lot of risk to him. Soler has his own risk, but it’s a very different risk with I think some more real upside. Don’t think the Cubs like this

12:26
Bret: The Jays have high-floor Ben Revere (~$6.7M), injury-risk Michael Saunders (~$2.9M) and unproven Dalton Pompey (minimum) as LF options. How should they sort this out? Keep the depth? Trade one for help elsewhere, and if so, who?

12:27
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s much of a trade to be made here. Seems like the route would be starting Revere, with Saunders as the backup and Pompey in Triple-A. If/when Saunders gets hurt or underachieves, then you’ve kept your depth.

12:28
Jeff Sullivan: Helpful that you don’t need to worry about Saunders playing center, since Revere would also be Pillar’s insurance

12:29
TheGreatBambEno: Gardner & Refsnyder = xxxx, xxxxx level SP?

12:29
Jeff Sullivan: Probably something like a No. 4 starter if he’s under any sort of cost control for multiple seasons

12:30
mtsw: Given how the Chris Davis contract talks have developed, is it reasonable to assume the Orioles are much more interesting in appearing like they’re trying to sign him than actually signing him?

12:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Orioles have genuine interest. With talks at this level it could just be about ownership even overriding what the front office wants

12:31
Jeff Sullivan: Worth wondering who the Orioles might actually be bidding against. At the moment I think the odds are he sticks around

12:31
El Chapo: Is the difference between SF’s core and Chicago’s core basically star power upside favoring the Cub’s? I know SF’s core isnt as sexy but it would seem like it should be a bigger selling point to FA’s than we hear about. Yeah or nah?

12:32
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I think the point in the Cubs’ favor is their young talent has been easier to see coming. So you get all the attendant hype and anticipation. With the Giants it’s like, Crawford? Duffy? Panik? Since when are these guys actual things?

12:32
Jeff Sullivan: But they’re so valuable. The Giants don’t look like they’ll be bad for a long time

12:33
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs have more remaining on the farm, to their credit. The Giants’ whole core is in the majors

12:33
Jason: 7 minutes early

12:33
Jeff Sullivan: East coast time zone today. I was prepared to be prompt, as well, but I got distracted by Dave’s baby

12:35
Matt: So…What’s not to like about an up-the-middle of Swanson, Albies, and Mallex Smith?

12:35
Jeff Sullivan: The infielders have done nothing about Single-A and Smith is a lower-upside sort with zero power. But yeah, the long-term profile is encouraging for an organization whose position players people have been down on

12:36
Sonny: Could/should Swanson be ready for opening day ’17? (or perhaps June ’17 to save that extra year of service time).

12:36
Jeff Sullivan: A year from now would be hasty, but you’re looking at July or September

12:37
Michael From Texas: How should I feel about Ken Giles as an Astros fan? He looked mediocre in the minor leagues and is now a lights out closer in the majors, cutting his walk rate in half. Is it possible that he just has had two really lucky seasons?

12:38
Jeff Sullivan: He always had strikeout stuff, and the Phillies got him to understand strikes. Doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen, especially for a young player rising fast through the ranks

12:38
Jeff Sullivan: Giles is around 2000 major-league pitches, and he’s thrown two-thirds of them for strikes. He has better control than you’d expect from a hard-throwing righty with his profile

12:39
Austin: If you’re the Blue Jays, do you try to extend both or one of Bautista and Encarnacion and hamper future payroll, or let them both walk and get the draft picks, while risking them going to rival teams in free agency and fielding a bad team in 2017?

12:40
Jeff Sullivan: Early instinct is I’d try to sign them both. Their ages should keep costs down. But there aren’t conclusions to be reached without knowing what their markets are. As long as the Blue Jays are good, they need more players like this

12:41
El Chapo: If Heyward goes to Chi, does Gordon make the most sense to STL?

12:42
Jeff Sullivan: Might prefer a younger starter over an older outfielder. Heyward, clearly, is unusual. But if they have money for both…

12:43
Pat: what are the chances Starlin Castro gets better than 2014 Starlin Castro? Or at least gets back to 2014 Starlin Castro?

12:43
Jeff Sullivan: 40%?

12:43
Alfred Jifford: Pick two: Derek Norris, Austin Hedges, Christian Bethancourt.

12:43
Jeff Sullivan: Derek Norris, Austin Hedges

12:43
Jeff Sullivan: Bethancourt seems to specialize in the thing that’s least important for a player at his position

12:43
guy: Did Dave make sure you were on time today? If you’re the reds, do you take a lesser return for chapman now, try to wait till spring training, or just wait till july?

12:44
Jeff Sullivan: I wait. No one will really want to touch Chapman now, but given what we understand about human nature and front-office dynamics, there’s a real chance this’ll just kind of blow over. Even if Chapman gets suspended, he’ll be of greater interest post-suspension

12:44
Dubya: If the Nats do sign Heyward, are they signaling that they don’t intend to sign Harper once he hits free agency?

12:44
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no chance he’s re-signing regardless

12:44
Jeff Sullivan: Like almost literally no chance

12:45
c: realistically how can the jays now improve given the horrible CAD/USD exchange rate and their already strict payroll limitations?

12:46
Jeff Sullivan: If Tulowitzki bounces back even a little bit, they’re going to be super strong

12:47
Jeff Sullivan: Might be fun to take a flier on, you know, Cliff Lee or something, but this is a good team that I think could afford to re-visit what’s needed in July. At the moment the list of needs is short

12:47
Derek: Is this the most on time you’ve ever been, Jeff? Hiking Question: How ultra-light have you gone while on a long trip. Baseball Question: Is the Ken Giles haul the most the Phillies could have expected?

12:48
Jeff Sullivan: 1. I have been right on time before. Once, even minutes early

12:49
Jeff Sullivan: 2. I’m not one of those ultra-light obsessives, but I do focus on weight and I never have to worry about peripheral stuff like camera gear etc. This summer will probably go lighter still. Haven’t yet done a 2+ week through-hike

12:50
Jeff Sullivan: 3. I think it’s right around there, yeah. Teams aren’t going to project the same long-term value from a guy like Giles as they would from a comparable starter. A slider-throwing max-effort reliever seems to have an increased chance of breaking down, so while Giles has 5 more years of control, I think realistically teams view him as a 2- or 3-year value

12:50
Jeff Sullivan: Velasquez is a fitting return. Hard-throwing risk for hard-throwing risk

12:50
mtsw: If you were Atlanta’s GM, would you have been suspicious of Arizona’s offer? Like, would you suspect maybe they know something about Swanson’s health/makeup/etc and are trying to unload him before it becomes public?

12:51
Jeff Sullivan: The thought has to cross your mind, but they literally drafted him first overall just a few months ago

12:51
Jeff Sullivan: And you have the Toussaint thing that happened not far back

12:51
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s understood within the industry that Stewart just doesn’t value players like other people value players

12:52
Squeak: Rank the rotations in the AL East: is it 1. TB. 2. NY. 3. Bos. 4. Tor. 5. Bal?

12:52
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Jays, Orioles. A Gausman breakout would be helpful. Cobb’s injury hurts TB’s standing

12:54
JW: Your thoughts on Desmond Jennings going forward. This seems like a very important year for him.

12:55
Jeff Sullivan: Historically he’s been underrated because of his baserunning and defensive value. After the year he had with his knees, those’ll be undercut, so I think now you’re probably looking at an average outfielder

12:56
Jeff Sullivan: Dave tells me Twitter says the Cardinals are out on Heyward

12:56
Jeff Sullivan: Which means this is probably the Cubs. Cardinals might turn to Gordon or, say, Maeda.

12:56
Josh: What do you think of the moves David Stearns has made thus far? Is there any justifiable reason you see for not trading Lucroy?

12:56
Jeff Sullivan: From what I’ve heard the ask for Lucroy has been insane

12:56
Jeff Sullivan: That needs to come down before there’s any chance of a deal

12:57
Jeff Sullivan: The problem from Milwaukee’s perspective is the concussion that adds some cloudiness. Because Lucroy isn’t an easy guy to move midseason — teams prefer their catchers and pitchers to work together starting in February

12:57
Jeff Sullivan: I think Lucroy really needs to be traded this winter but the Brewers will need to sell him hard as a guy who’s totally healthy

12:57
Dmo: Has Cueto’s impending contract gain or lost value by being the last pitcher on the market. Seems like most teams willing to overpay for an ace have their ace already.

12:58
Jeff Sullivan: Lots of pitchers left, lots of teams still willing to sign pitchers

12:59
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sufficiently risk-averse that I’d be uncomfortable giving Cueto six years, but the Diamondbacks already made him that 6/126 offer that was turned down, presumably because they’re confident they can get more

12:59
Jeff Sullivan: Since Zimmermann got 5/110, it only makes sense Cueto could top that

12:59
2-D: Why would the Cardinals agree to give Broxton full no trade protection?

1:00
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not like you’re trading him for anything anyway

1:01
I am the Walrus: Trying to figure of Baez’s value. Would Smyly and Boxberger be too much? Or Cobb/Moore and Boxberger?

1:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a bad person to ask because I don’t love Baez all that much

1:02
Jeff Sullivan: But pretty clearly the Cubs are trying to use him to get a TB RP and a TB SP. Maybe Boxberger and Ramirez

1:02
Jeff Sullivan: If the Cubs are confident in Bosio and if the Rays are less confident in Moore, there could be a fit, although he’s got all those club options

1:03
Danny: Who starts in center for the Tigers — Maybin or Gose?

1:03
Jeff Sullivan: Maybin

1:03
tony : How would you rank the young shortstops on who you would rather have? I’d go correa bogaerts russell seager lindor

1:03
Jeff Sullivan: This question is unfair

1:03
Jeff Sullivan: Seager, Correa, Lindor, Bogaerts, Russell

1:04
Johnny5Alive: By giving Madson 3 years and axford 2 years at their prices, did the A’s screw every other team? I mean now kelley gets a 3 year deal?

1:05
Jeff Sullivan: This is the market. 3 years for Soria, 4 for O’Day, 3 for Sipp, 2 for Motte, 2 for Broxton, 2 for Qualls…

1:05
Chris: What do you make of Cueto’s agent selling Cueto’s fit with the Cardinals? Do you see a fit between him and STL?

1:06
Jeff Sullivan: Probably too much risk for them but there’s nothing wrong with the agent trying to drum up interest in his client from a team he knows has money and an opening

1:07
Kenneth: Last year the Mariners were projected as one of the best teams in the league preseason according to Steamer. This year they are around the middle of pack, even though it seems like they now have a better group of role players around the same core. Is this mostly due to recent off-years from Felix and Cano, aging for Cruz, and the loss of Kuma? Felix and Cano actually have pretty good projections this season, so I don’t really get it.

1:07
Jeff Sullivan: Projection-wise, worse rotation, worse bullpen, worse shortstop, worse center fielder, worse second baseman

1:08
Jeff Sullivan: I think Dipoto has done a good job to make the team deeper, but that’s hard to see in a projection that assumes pretty regular playing time for the guys at the front

1:08
Dan: I don’t really understand when I would want to use FIP- vs ERA- vs xFIP-. Help.

1:09
Jeff Sullivan: I use them all to cross-check one another. I look at FIP- first, then I look over one to see if there was maybe some home-run luck. Over larger samples, I’ll think about ERA-, and I’ll compare that to the others to see if maybe the pitcher has something special going on

1:09
groucho: Who do you think winds up with Maeda?

1:09
Jeff Sullivan: Thinking about the Giants and the Cardinals right now

1:10
Jeff Sullivan: That’s me, for the record, not him. I don’t know what he’s thinking about. He doesn’t even know what his options will be yet

1:10
Johnny5Alive: if the Nats sign Heyward, is that in anticipation of harper leaving in 3 years?

1:10
Jeff Sullivan: They know he’s leaving

1:10
Ray: what is more likely to happen: the Dodgers sign Cueto or they trade for a younger starter – Carraso, etc.?

1:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’d think trade unless maybe they convince Cueto to take more money and fewer years

1:11
Lawrence: Will Venable and Alejandro De Aza. Both seem like good fits for the Mets as a platoon partner for Lagares. Venable seems to be the better defender while De Aza has more offensive upside. Who do think is the better fit?

1:11
Jeff Sullivan: I want the more competent defender in CF, so that’s Venable

1:11
Tom: So when are the pirates gonna sign latos? He is the most piratey pitcher on the market and I think he would thrive there

1:12
Jeff Sullivan: Him and Masterson are so obvious. Only question with Latos is whether the rest of the team would be willing to deal with such a prick every day

1:12
Norrin Radd: How much of the reliever market this offseason is being influenced by the Royals’ success?

1:13
Jeff Sullivan: It didn’t hurt. It’s not like the Royals invented the deep bullpen or anything, but teams are realizing that starters should come out of games earlier and earlier, and then that puts more on the relievers, and then that means more demand, etc

1:13
Phillies113: If Babe Ruth were alive today, and entering FA at Heyward’s age, how much would he get?

1:14
Jeff Sullivan: Would project as something like a 10- or 11-win player. So you’re probably talking about $40-45 million average salary for well north of 10 years

1:14
Jeff Sullivan: Dave just looked at me and said about Heyward, “yep, it’s the Cubs.” So Heyward to the Cubs.

1:15
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs are going to be a very good baseball team

1:15
Jeff Sullivan: Gotta be the best team in baseball at the moment, assuming this becomes official

1:16
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, putting my foot down. The Cubs are the best team in baseball

1:16
Lawrence: Any chance the White Sox shop Jose Abreu? Is he more of a 3 WAR player like 2015, or a near 6 WAR player like 2014?

1:16
Jeff Sullivan: They’re not doing that. They really believe in their window

1:16
Scott: What rebuilding team had the best Winter Meetings? any under the radar stuff you liked (rule 5, etc)

1:17
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously the Braves. No way around it. You can overthink the little stuff all you want but the Braves scored like nobody else

1:17
Munenori’s Espresso Stand: Is the AL West on track (on paper, as of 12/11, etc. etc.) to finish Rangers-Astros-Angels-M’s-Oakland again?

1:17
Jeff Sullivan: Astros-Rangers-Angels (after they get an OF)-Mariners-A’s

1:17
Jeff Sullivan: But every single team could be good enough to finish .500

1:17
e: Do the Braves want to keep Inciarte? Could the Indians and Braves work a deal?

1:17
Jeff Sullivan: They’d like to keep him

1:17
Jordan: So what are you doing this weekend?

1:18
Jeff Sullivan: Living a few days in the life of Dave Cameron! Good opportunity to visit with Nashville being relatively close. I usually won’t go out of my way to fly to North Carolina…

1:18
Guesto: Where does Dominic Brown go from here?

1:18
Jeff Sullivan: Down the toilet

1:18
anon: What should the Angels do?

1:18
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll bring in a left fielder and that’ll be just about it

1:19
Jeff Sullivan: I liked the rumor the other day about how they’re willing to trade CJ Wilson. Oh.

1:19
e: Do you think Cleveland would have accepted the Arizona offer for Carrasco? It wouldn’t have made them any better in 2016, they don’t really need a SS but that is quite the offer.

1:20
Jeff Sullivan: I think the would’ve thought long and hard about it. Because of the specifics, yeah, weird to have Swanson and Lindor, but if they thought they could then trade Swanson somewhere else…

1:20
anon: What is the better option for dodgers rotation: sign cueto or trade puig for carassco/harvey

1:20
Jeff Sullivan: The second one isn’t happening

1:20
Prich: Where does Ian Desmond end up? SD? Back in DC? Sidenote: The Mets do realize infield D matters, right?

1:21
Jeff Sullivan: Interesting to see him being marketed as an outfielder. Not a bad idea given the lack of teams looking for shortstops.

1:22
Jeff Sullivan: Could be a way for him to end up with the Yankees if they move Gardner

1:23
Jeff Sullivan: If he gets his way he’ll go somewhere better positioned to be competitive than San Diego

1:23
Jack: Thoughts on Oakland’s offseason?

1:24
Jeff Sullivan: Sort of what I expected. They clearly aren’t a team that likes to tear down and rebuild. They should be something like a .500 club when it’s all said and done. Weird they just flipped Scribner for nothing. Lawrie trade looks bad but that was mostly about his being a disappointment

1:25
Wins: Do you think the Cardinals gave up too much for Heyward last year considering it was going to be tough for them to sign him?

1:25
Jeff Sullivan: they had a good chance to sign him, and they didn’t love Miller, and they get a draft pick

1:25
RL: Wade Miley and a minor leaguer for Smith and Elias. Did the M’s shoot themselves in the foot?

1:26
Jeff Sullivan: Not a terrible trade. Just a trade that I think is 55/45 in favor of the Red Sox

1:26
Jeff Sullivan: Aro will be a big-league reliever next year

1:26
Pumpsie Green: If I recall the lead-up to the draft, Swanson was one of about half a dozen who could have gone first overall in what was projected as a weak draft class. Maybe AZ took him knowing he would look the best of the bunch once he was dressed up? Having “First Overall” attached is its own pedigree, in some ways.

1:28
Jeff Sullivan: You don’t take someone first overall because you’re thinking about dealing a few months later

1:29
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s clearly a boost to his value to have gone 1-1 and since it was a thinner draft maybe he’s not a “true” 1-1, but Arizona saw something they loved, most of all, in June. Now it’s December of the same year

1:29
Mike: How is the new car?

1:29
Jeff Sullivan: Since I got it, I’ve been on the other side of the country. Girlfriend says it’s been great!

1:29
Jeff Sullivan: Dave’s actual new car is better though.

1:30
J Sulls Secret Admirer: will you ever stop using OPS in your articles?

1:30
Jeff Sullivan: Not as long as it’s easy and what Baseball-Reference makes available in the Play Index

1:30
Jon: Assuming Heyward does go with the Cubs would they ship somebody out. Schwarber? Soler?

1:31
Jeff Sullivan: Very probably Soler is dealt next week

1:32
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve got a baby crawling on the sofa so I think it’s time for me to shut this down

1:32
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, and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 12/11/15 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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DAEHEE-JEONG
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DAEHEE-JEONG

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