Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 12/2/14

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: All right, let’s do this

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Made the mistake of starting a twitter conversation right before the scheduled chat time. I’m the worst 🙁

9:07
Comment From Los
If a chat goes on fangraphs and there is no Jeff Sullivan around, does it make a sound?

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty sure we can now observe that the answer is no

9:07
Comment From Garm Bel Iblis
Bottom to Top is terrible.

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: I tried to look for somewhere to change it but I don’t know where to change it 🙁

9:07
Comment From mtsw
More likely to disappoint in 2015: Nelson Cruz or new CoveritLive interface?

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Cover It Live has always been wonky and it’s not coming off of a career year

9:07
Comment From J6takish
Jeff, you seem to really value pitch framing but it seems like teams don’t care as much as you, is this disappointing?

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not disappointing. I’m not invested at all in pitch-framing; it’s not like it’s my principle or discovery or research. It’s actually more interesting that there *isn’t* a market for it, to me, because that causes one to examine potential reasons why. Are we observing a real-time inefficiency? Or are we observing a situation where the numbers show one thing, but we’re being completely misled?

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: It’s a fascinating conversation and it’s taking place every day

9:09
Comment From adam
Who has the better rotation, A’s or Braves

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: A’s for now. Would be different with Beachy/Medlen

9:09
Comment From adam
The dBacks finish………………………….?

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Fourth. Perhaps fifth if the Padres oddly make some win-now moves in a non-competitive year

9:10
Comment From Charlie
Is Luis Valbuena enough to land Grandal?

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Not Yasmani Grandal. Maybe a different Grandal

9:10
Comment From BlueJay Birdie
What kind of return could the Jays get for Navarro?

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: The kind of return that has us write an InstaGraphs post instead of a FanGraphs post

9:11
Comment From adam
How much better can Rendon get?

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: Realistically, he’ll probably never have another 7-win season. His 2014 was extraordinary. But I can see him settling in around a perennial All-Star. A nice run of 5-win seasons could well be in the cards, given health

9:13
Comment From john
So how bad did sandy a read the market? since they dont care about outfield defense, wouldnt you rather have tomas on that deal than a 12 year older cuddyer on his?

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, but I like risks like Tomas. If anything you could say that maybe Sandy *didn’t* badly misread the market given what Butler signed for, and what Cruz signed for

9:13
Comment From Is it just me or does it really seem like Nelson Cruz could have some godawful .250/.300/.450 slas line for his money in safeco next year?
Is it just me or does it really seem like Nelson Cruz could have some godawful .250/.300/.450 slas line for his money in safeco next year?

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: No, it’s not just you

9:15
Comment From MCLG
I feel like the Indians should have been able to easily beat the Donaldson trade without even having to give up Lindor. Could they or should they have?

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: Not convinced they have an easy Lawrie equivalent. Seems like the A’s pretty highly value that big-league level potential. Lawrie can help right away and according to projections he might not even be that much worse than Donaldson going forward. Indians could deal pitchers or prospects, but the A’s apparently wanted an immediate regular

9:16
Comment From Rob
What’s worse – bottom to top or signing Nelson Cruz for 57 million?

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: Nelson Cruz has upside

9:17
Comment From _David_
Chris Denorfia is a month younger than Cruz and projects for half a win less…so…4/48 then?

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: Chris Denorfia has fewer career home runs than Cruz hit in 2014. Not saying that’s an entire argument, but that’s a big part of one

9:17
Comment From Greg
With a full OF, will Nava get non-tendered?

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: Not necessarily, if they go on to move Napoli

9:19
Comment From adam
Zunino’s splits are odd. Even when adjusting for ABs, his power numbers seem better against rightys. That just a case of a smaller sample size against lefties?

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: Could be he has a different swing, of sorts, against righties; career so far, 50% fly balls against righties, 39% against lefties. Probably, though, it’s noise. Over time, I expect that Zunino’s splits will look more or less normal

9:20
Comment From richdanna
With a seemingly important need for veteran leadership in the clubhouse, if the O’s allow Markakis to hit free agency, do the Cubs kick the tires? Is the deal he is looking for too long for the Cubs’ liking?

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: Too long, and the Cubs’ roster is basically full. If Markakis wants an expensive three years or a slightly less expensive four, he won’t find them in Chicago

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: or at least not in that particular part of Chicago

9:20
Comment From Vslyke
Do the Braves actually manage to get a bigger haul for Justin Upton than Heyward?

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: It’ll be close, and it’ll depend on your evaluation of Shelby Miller, but there’s going to be a difference between what they’re asking for and what they get

9:21
Comment From richdanna
Which is the outlier: Travis Wood’s 2013 season or his 2014 season?

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: Well, in one of them he had a 4.50 xFIP, and in the other one he had a 4.51 xFIP

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: His ERAs have just bounced around where they ought to be. He’s not good, and while he’s not bad, he’d be a sensible non-tender

9:23
Comment From Logan Davis
The Mariners are dumping Michael Saunders for no good reason. The Padres are dumping Yasmani Grandal for no good reason. We know the Padres want some hitters, and the Mariners went after Russell Martin. Dumped-for-no-good-reason challenge trade? (With a secondary piece going to SD?)

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: Padres want and deserve a bigger return. Grandal’s a catcher under contract four more years and Saunders is only a little better than the Padres’ current OF blend. If/when they trade Grandal, they’re going to be looking for more of an impact player, I feel like

9:25
Comment From striker
Do players get paid monthly over a 12 month period?

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: I believe they’re paid twice a month, during the season only

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Coaches and trainers, meanwhile, I think are paid year-round

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Players get playoff bonuses, as you know, in part to split the revenue, and in part because it’s “extra work”

9:27
Comment From Jon
Seems like Lester offers are BOS CHI and SFO. What’s your guess and any idea why Gammons got tricked into reporting Lester was going to be visiting STL this week?

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals make some sense in theory so it wouldn’t be a leap to hear that they’d arrange a meeting. My guess has Boston slightly in front of Chicago

9:27
Comment From Logan Davis
Is there anything exciting happening in the realm of pitch sequencing analysis?

9:27
9:28

Jeff Sullivan: That would be one example. In a lot of ways it’s the next frontier, but oh my holy crap is it ever difficult to parse

9:28
Comment From Jaack
Is CIL tanking to get a better draft pick? I mean, enter doesn’t send comments any more! I actually have to click! This is worse Yuni.

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: As I suggest every week: if you can write up better software, please do, and please let us know! We’ll pay for it!

9:28
Comment From Darth Stout
Lester doesn’t sign for below $150 million right?

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: If he does, it’s not by much. $150m might be the magic number

9:29
Comment From john
what happens in the dbacks outfield now? pollock looked good, they have nowehre else to play trumbo…

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: I think they give Trumbo a shot to re-establish value so they can move him in a trade

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: Two years left, righty, powerful. Could move in July for a decent return

9:29
Comment From _David_
You and Dave have I think stated that you wouldn’t want to work for a team because of the hours and pay…Is it a market inefficiency that teams maintain employment conditions that deter potential talent, or is the allure still sufficiently strong?

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Allure’s still strong. Teams aren’t hurting for quality candidates. Neither Dave nor I would be great candidates anyhow. In a way the teams are selective for particularly motivated individuals willing to throw a lot away for the opportunity. If you’re motivated by things that aren’t life balance and seeing the outdoors, baseball could be for you

9:31
Comment From Dewey
What’s next for the M’s? Rios, Hunter, Gomes? doesn’t seem like they want to trade anyone.

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: They’ll land some second- or third-tier righty corner OF and they’ll presumably trade Michael Saunders for some reason

9:31
Comment From striker
Would you consider Grandal an upgrade over Tyler Flowers?

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: I would

9:31
Comment From Not My Money
How do you value the first-round pick the Mariners lost to get Cruz?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: I’d put it somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million. Obviously that’s not $10 million right away; that would be $10 million in the future, but it’s $10 million of eventual value lost

9:32
Comment From Murphy
It sounds like the Braves are looking at Nick Markakis now. I know they have to have someone in right field, but does it make a ton of sense to pick up a 31-year-old for 3-4 years while they’re trying to do the rebuild thing?

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: It would never make sense for a team to give four years to Nick Markakis. I get that he’s a contact hitter and he’s the opposite of the kind of player the Braves have had and are actively trying to get rid of, but Markakis, if anything, should go to a team that intends to win in 2015

9:33
Comment From adam
How hard is it to build an effective to good bullpen? It seems, given the depth of arms, that an analytically approach could easily develop one.

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: I think in theory it seems really simple, but in reality it’s difficult because some guys have trouble adjusting to relief work and it’s just an unpredictable job. Performances fluctuate, and players get hurt throwing at 100% all the time with a lot of breaking balls. It’s key to have probably 10-12 big-league caliber relievers at any one moment

9:34
Comment From Dave
Who makes the most sense for the Jays LF. Cabrera, Markakis, other (trade for Saunders maybe)?

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: For many teams, it’s going to be trade for Saunders

9:35
Comment From The Oberamtmann
Is there still hope for Austin Romine to become a real, decent catcher? Or is meh backup really all we can hope for, a younger Chris Stewart?

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Chris Stewart path. Romine’s bat hasn’t developed and now he’s 26.

9:37
Comment From Cone
Do you think the Jays add any more impact players via FA or Trade? If so, who do you see landing in TO?? Having a heck of time guessing this.

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: I think they make one more notable move. Maybe it’s an outfielder, maybe it’s a reliever, maybe it’s a second baseman. Outfielder might be the easiest, and second base could go to Devon Travis. Bullpen might already have enough talent in it and they could well opt away from giving Andrew Miller four guaranteed years

9:39
Comment From ThePuck
How many years do you think the Twins have until they are in contention? 2018? 2019? Earlier?

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say 2018. I don’t like projecting that far into the future but they don’t appear close at all to me

9:41
Comment From john
what would a hypothetical daniel murphy to the jays get?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: Low- to mid-level prospect or two. Not saying it’s completely correct but Devon Travis is projected by Steamer to hit just as well as Murphy, and Murphy has one year of control remaining and it isn’t particularly cheap

9:42
Comment From Jays fan
Can the Jays compete with a Dirks/Mayberry platoon in left and Pompey and/or Pillar in center?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: They can, but it would be easier by not doing that

9:43
Comment From Kelvin
Who would be a good comp for Gattis?….Chris Carter?

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: Carter strikes out too much. Gattis is a lot like pre-2014 Mark Trumbo. Gattis technically has additional catching skills, but teams don’t really buy him as a catcher, so that’s mostly something to throw out the window

9:44
Comment From Carl
Sorry if this is explained somewhere I can’t find, but why do NL teams have 300 PA for DH’s on the depth charts?

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: I believe that also counts as pinch-hitters for them, or something

9:46
Comment From richdanna
Does the potential greivance between Harper and the Nats affect their long-term relationship? Or is it just “part of the business side of the game”?

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: People were worried about a damaged relationship when the Angels renewed Mike Trout’s contract that one year near the league minimum. Then he signed one of the best contracts in baseball (for the team). It’s part of the business side, and it’s pretty important for both of them because millions of dollars hang in the balance. However it’s decided, down the road Harper is almost certainly ticketed for free agency

9:47
Comment From Nick
It seems very unlikely the White Sox would include Tim Anderson in a Jeff Samardizja trade. What would be reasonable for one year of Samardizja?

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why the White Sox want one year of Samardzija in the first place. They have too many holes

9:49
Comment From STiVo
What do you expect from Josh Hamilton’s baseball season in 2015?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: I think he will be a very interesting sort of league-average

9:49
Comment From STiVo
.450 SLG for Nelson Cruz seems like it might be high for 2015, right?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Nah, it’s at least an average projection, and in reality he should do better than that in the next season

9:50
Comment From CecilFieldersButtPlug
Worse signing- Cruz or Hanley? All things taken into account- contract, need, value…

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: Hanley projects to be more than twice as good and Boston has more money than Seattle does

9:51
Comment From Logan Davis
Intrigued by your Twitter comments about “not my money” this morning. Seemed like that was your early rationale for being OK with the deal. Did something change, or did I misinterpret your original comments?

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s a bad deal, but if I were to try to rationalize it, I think it’s okay for the first two years or so, and the Mariners are in a good place at the moment. I think it’s almost $30 million of wasted money in 2017 and 2018, but if you can anticipate that going into it, I think you can to some extent plan around it. The money’s going to hurt, but since it’s already on the books, maybe it makes the M’s that much more likely to try to plug other holes down the road with cheap cost-controlled players

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: In short: bad news for 2018. Who the hell knows what 2018 is going to look like? We suck at evaluating future problems, so I’m going to embrace that very human shortcoming, from a fan perspective

9:53
Comment From mtsw
Is Dan Duquette actually interested in idiotic stuff like trading for Kemp or signing Torii Hunter or is this all disinfo to try and scare Markakis into giving them a team option for Year 4?

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: I think if you’re even considering giving four years to Nick Markakis, it follows that you’d also be interested in a guy like Torii Hunter or another guy like Matt Kemp. I don’t blame Duquette for checking in on Kemp — might as well see how much money the Dodgers might be willing to include

9:55
Comment From Jared
Why do you think Chris Tillman outperformed his peripherals last 3 years? Obviously very good at holding runners, but his height and overhead arm slot seem counter-intuitive to his FB rates.

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: He’s a fly-ball pitcher, which leads to a lower BABIP. He doesn’t get stolen against, which leads to a higher strand rate. And the Orioles have played really good defense behind him. The last two years, the Orioles have a team 96 ERA- and 104 FIP-

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: Only the Reds and A’s have bigger ERA/FIP gaps in the same direction

9:58
Comment From Guest
Do you think the Mariners trade a pitcher and Saunders for another righty bat, then sign maybe Masterson or Mccarthy?

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: More likely I think they sign a righty bat and try to trade Saunders for a pitcher. I don’t think they move Walker/Paxton

9:58
Comment From Nick
Which would be a better fit for the White Sox, Nick Markakis or Melky Cabrera? Neither will cost a draft pick, and both can be signed outright.

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: They should be more interested in Cabrera, because he is more good

10:00
Comment From Jeff- with the Rockies caught yet again in their annual “Were contending if healthy,” what might be a realistic move to make to get them there?
Jeff- with the Rockies caught yet again in their annual “We’re contending if healthy,” what might be a realistic move to make to get them there?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: If they really wanted to go that way, maybe they should throw money at experimental sorts of arms. Give guarantees to Anderson, Masterson, and Johnson, enough to buy them away from other interested teams, and then see what happens!

10:01
Comment From Bill
Chances that the Cardinals manage to extend Heyward before his contract expires? If they do, and it doesn’t cost half the franchise to do it, that trade starts to look pretty sweet. If they don’t… well, not so sweet, right?

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: That kind of depends. If the Cardinals were to sign Heyward for his market value, then the trade will have just given them some sort of exclusivity window. They could in theory have signed Heyward after the year. That would be some value, but not a ton of it. Right now I have trouble seeing the Cardinals making that kind of guarantee, but I’d put the odds around…20-25%?

10:03
Comment From Personally I like a little bottom to top
Is this the year the Yankees just say “screw it” and try to get close to freedom, and pay the Cuban 19 year old wonderkid who found out marrying Guatemalans the new market inefficiency 80m? Better use of resources to be relevant again?

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Depends when Moncada is cleared and elects to sign. As of July 2, the Yankees are out of it, so while they’re highly interested, maybe they’ll run up against the deadline. They are of course the team most able to throw money at Moncada without really feeling it, so right now I’d say they’re my favorites

10:04
Comment From John
What’s a realistic trade for Chris Sale? Is the rumored Betts and Owens a good starting point?

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: It would be a starting point ,but more realistically, there is no trade for Chris Sale. He’s basically unavailable. The White Sox are trying to build around him.

10:06
Comment From harmony
How about a trade of six years of middle infielder Chris Taylor and three years of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen from Seattle to Washington for six years of outfielder Steven Souza and one year of lefthander Ross Detwiler? Taylor and Souza address long-term needs, Wilhelmsen replaces Rafael Soriano and Detwiler provides rotation depth or a replacement for lefty Joe Beimel in the bullpen. Projected 2015 salaries are $2.1 million for Wilhelmsen and $3.3 million for Detwiler.

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: You’re in the ballpark, but the Nationals aren’t really looking to move Souza. He looks to be part of the plan in 2015 and a bigger part of the plan in 2016, so if you move Souza to plug another hole, then you just have a Souza-sized hole elsewhere. They want to turn short-term value into long-term value, not long-term value into different long-term value

10:06
Comment From terry
Rule 5 draft, any player worth looking at?

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not an expert on this year, but, no

10:07
Comment From Walt
do you think teams forecast stats like WAR (simplistic) to plan for their “win now curve” and try to act accordingly? or they do wait until they begin to see those wins pile up and make bigger moves in a smaller time frame, such as significant offseason or trade deadline moves

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: I think teams have a good sense of when they’re going to be competitive, in part powered by their own internal forecasts. They don’t wait to see wins pile up — pieces are more expensive to add in the middle of the year — but no team, also, is sitting here thinking “we’re going to be good in 2018”. Just can’t see that far ahead

10:09
Comment From john
regarding the blue jays – lots of good moves to add wins, but given the redsox already project to have a higher WAR and still have the money to add at least 1 if not 2 starters, and given what the jays need (a rotation, bullpen, 2b) how smart is what they are doing?

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: The Yankees, right now, are kind of down. The O’s are out some pieces, and the Rays can’t really add, and the Jays already had a core in place. They don’t need to win the division to make the playoffs, *and* the Red Sox just folded in on themselves one year ago. The Jays are trying to end a super-long playoff drought and I think there’s value in that. People are impatient and I don’t think they’ve done anything really irresponsible

10:10
Comment From Nick
With the addition of Adam LaRoche, do the White Sox non-tender Viciedo? He’s not an outfielder, and 1B/DH are locked up with Abreu and LaRoche.

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: He has trade value because of his tools

10:10
Comment From Ringtone Composer
Who do you think will produce more value for his respective team in 2015: Rusney Castillo or Yasmany Tomas?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: Castillo in 2015 by a small amount

10:10
Comment From Nick
Jeff, how do you write so many articles? It seems like every other article I read on here is by you. I appreciate the hard work.

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: I’m supposed to write two things a day, per my contract. That’s a lot, but I try to make sure only some of them suck

10:11
Comment From Nick
Does Dayan Viciedo have any trade value? Right handed power seems to be a premium, and Viciedo at age 26 is a potential twenty plus home run threat.

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: The value is low, but it’s there. Just last summer the Mariners were reportedly sniffing around. At a projected $4.4 million, though, you’re not moving Viciedo for a plus return package. Either he gets sold for little or the White Sox give him another chance to try to build on his skills

10:13
Comment From Los
Am I crazy or do players not really sign 6 year deals. I can think of a lot of 5 year deals and a lot of 7 year deals but not 6 year deals. Why is that?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: Jose Abreu signed for six. Yasmany Tomas signed for six (kind of). Zack Greinke signed for six (kind of).

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Couple years ago, Greinke’s was the longest FA contract, at six years, with an opt out. Last year, there were some sevens, but Tanaka is young, and he also has an opt out. Ellsbury went to the Yankees, who, whatever. Cano is and was one of the best players in baseball and the Mariners needed to pay a lot to convince him to shift. Choo looked and looks bad.

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Most free agents hit the market around 30-31 so teams don’t want to go too crazy with the long-term commitments unless you’re talking about someone elite. Mentally there’s a significant gap between 5 and 6 years and I think you see players asking for 6 and teams offering 4, so they compromise

10:15
Comment From Cashmere Taco
Is it disappointing when you hear players say they don’t like baseball and just do it to earn a (very good) living or do you think thats fairly normal

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: It’s a job. It’s a very demanding job! It’s a job they liked enough to pursue in the first place. It’s constantly stressful. I certainly don’t blame players for not watching a lot of baseball at the end of the day — they spend enough time wrapped up in the game during the day and during the 9+ innings. Who wants to watch more baseball highlights before bed?

10:17
Comment From mtsw
Is it tougher to be a GM in a pitcher’s park than a hitter’s park? In Safeco, almost every hitter signing will look disappointing to the public since they’ll have less conventional stat production.

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: And then it would work the same with pitchers in a hitter’s park. I’d say they’re mostly equivalent

10:17
Comment From Nick
How do you turn the volume off this chat?

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: The mute button on your computer

10:18
Comment From Matt
Think it’s safe to assume that the Mariners continue to target Kemp/Upton/Cespedes even after acquiring Cruz? He doesn’t solve their (supposed) outfield problem.

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Cespedes, probably not Upton or Kemp. They don’t have the players Atlanta would want for Upton — not that they’ll give up — and Kemp would be too long of a commitment

10:18
Comment From Wrens Bleeding Hart
JUp for Paxton and Saunders…who says no?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners, because they’re not stupid

10:19
Comment From mtsw
I tried ordering 3 customized Ryan Flaherty jerseys as a gag gift for a few O’s friends of mine and the mlb.com store wouldn’t let me put more than one of them in an order. Their system assumed anyone ordering more than one Flaherty jersey must be an error. I don’t have a question I just thought this was funny.

10:20
Comment From Michael
Oakland is reportedly interested in Brock Holt, and I think he makes a lot of sense for them. Is Brock Holt alone enough to get the Shark? If not, how much more would Boston need to add?

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, no, you’re not getting Jeff Samardzija for Brock Holt.

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: You’d be looking at something like Holt, Marrero, and another semi-minor piece

10:21
Comment From frogger
Do you know a lot of these stats that you use off the top of your head or do you specifically look up each player page before answering a question?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Depends on the player but I have a lot of numbers accidentally memorized

10:22
Comment From mtsw
Has anyone done research over whether non English speaking players benefit from having a teammate who speaks their language?

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Not a lot of baseball research in there. I mean you’ll see a guy like Jeremy Guthrie who functions as a part-time translator, and that’s helpful, but *mostly* you’ve got English speakers and Spanish speakers and no clubhouse is short on either.

10:24
Comment From Phil
Is Kemp really so bad a contract to take on? I recognize his massive defensive liability and negative value, but the O’s managed last year with Cruz and even Young spending extensive amounts of time in the field. If the Dodgers had to only give a couple million, couldn’t the O’s get him for little in return (or even a swap for Jiminez as a back-end guy for LA)? Is $18MM AAV or so for him really that much worse than $12MM for Markakis or even the likely $15MM for Cruz they were thinking about for three years? It’s his 30-34 seasons we are talking about, so there is real offensive value there, and surely at some point he will recognize the need to move to DH?

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: His contract is worth almost twice as much as Cruz’s, and it’s only one year longer. You’ve got $107 million and five years for a guy coming off a 1.8-win season, projected for a 2.1-win season. I know it seems like Kemp’s shoulder is healthy again, and I know he has real offensive upside. He’s actually projected to be a better hitter than Cruz. But that’s a massive guarantee. It’s like Cole Hamels money, and Cole Hamels has been an ace, and we’ve written here about how Hamels doesn’t actually have a ton of trade value

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: With Kemp, the Dodgers need to eat money. If they want to get a good player back, they need to eat even more money

10:26
Comment From Pistol
Feels like Saunders could end up the RFer in ATL in a deal that nets one of Gattis or JUp. If that falls thru, Markakis in ATL seems like a fit too.

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: Problem with Saunders for Upton is, what’s the secondary piece? The Braves could probably do better in getting an impact-player type

10:27
Comment From Larry Bernandez
Lindor for Syndergaard. Who says no?

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: Indians

10:27
Comment From Logan Davis
Amusing note for whoever asked the .250/.300/.450 question about Cruz: last year in Safeco, .250/.300/.450 would’ve been a 117 wRC+. Looks even better if you consider the uneven handedness park factors, or if you use Blengino’s. That’s probably a better performance than Steamer pegs him for.

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: It’s funny how extreme ballparks and a diminished offensive environment warp our perspective of numbers. A .450 SLG in Safeco is, yeah, pretty darn good

10:29
Comment From mtsw
Are contract lengths/amounts subject to irrational biases? Do you think front offices herd their bids around rumored/reported numbers?

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t it go the other way around? Wouldn’t the reporters be reporting numbers that have been offered, mostly? I think you see contract herding because teams have similar evaluations of identical players

10:30
Comment From Hank G.
Roughly 25% of all major league pitchers have had Tommy John surgery. If the surgery did not exist, those pitchers would be replaced by pitchers currently in the minor leagues (or pitching with greatly reduced effectiveness). Doesn’t this have to have at least some effect on the balance between pitching and hitting in the major leagues?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: On the one hand, it’s good for pitchers, because they can come back from something that would’ve ended their careers some decades ago. On the other hand, this isn’t exactly a new thing anymore, and it seems like more and more pitchers are getting hurt and missing time, as they throw longer and harder.

10:31
Comment From Tom
Are the Cardinals the current frontrunners in the NL?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Nationals

10:31
Comment From Schist Face
Moncada likley to sign this winter? Any word on that? And please tell me that it won’t be the Angels, Yankees, Cubs, or Sox that sign him. Thanks!

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Kiley’s your man, but Moncada needs to be cleared first, and then July 2 becomes an important date. Before that and after that, there’s a different pool of potential suitors

10:32
10:32
Comment From LeviDavis
Do player get paid cash, direct deposit or script?

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: I believe most opt for direct deposit

10:32
Comment From Mark
Do we know how OOZ plays are measured for RZR? I see some disagreement between players making a large number of OOZ plays and UZR numbers. Seems counterintuitive.

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: I recommend just looking at UZR and DRS. Pretty much never make use of the other stuff

10:33
Comment From Cashmere Taco
Putting on your GM hat/fedora, would you care about trading within the division? If so, at what talent level and years remaining would it not be a concern

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t really be a factor to me. Seems irrational

10:33
Comment From Wrens Bleeding Hart
I want the Braves to pick up Aoki for a 2 year $20 million deal as a place holder/decent player. This Markakis news scares me.

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, that would be perfectly sensible

10:33
Comment From CecilFieldersButtPlug
whats the next move for the sox? As specific as possible.

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s pretty clear Cespedes is gone for a pitcher. There’s some chance they also move Napoli, in the same move or in a separate one. The longer Jon Lester waits, the more likely it is Cespedes gets dealt first.

10:34
Comment From mtsw
Pitcher defense: overrated, underrated or properly rated?

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Properly rated. Seldom do they get meaningfully difficult opportunities. Many bunts are fielded by other guys. The best thing a pitcher can do on the mound, that isn’t pitching, is controlling the running game

10:35
Comment From tenaciousdeucer
It seems like competition for the best FA often ends with a team going in for an extra year. Could Lester end up getting something like 7/$160M?

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll max out around 6/140 – 6/150, and then he’ll just have to pick which city he likes more

10:36
Comment From Schist Face
Do you believe the Mariners want to move Saunders? I mean, we assume that most FO know their assets and know what marginal gains are all about. There is no way Saunders is a cancer in the clubhouse. He’s a great dude. So why the rampant speculation that he’s gone? It just argues that Seattle are idiots.
/pregnant pause

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Seems like they want a more dependable player. From what I’ve heard Saunders isn’t a McClendon favorite. Doesn’t mean Saunders gets dumped for nothing; other teams will place value on him, and the Mariners know that

10:36
Comment From adam
Why is there such a lack of quality catchers? Why aren’t systems developing more talent or, at worst, turning solid upside guys into catchers?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: Seems like there are good catchers. But it’s maybe the most difficult job in baseball.

10:37
Comment From Kelvin
True or False. The Reds should shop Chapman.

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: In a market where Andrew Miller and David Robertson might be getting four years, it would make sense to see what teams have to offer

10:37
Comment From Guest
Could you see the yankees signing both Miller and Robertson? If so, how awesome (on paper) would their BP be with Betances, Warren, Kelley and Co.

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think any team would give eight guaranteed years to two FA relievers

10:38
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Why are we not hearing anything about the yankees search for a SS? Slow developping market, or they are doing a good job of hiding it?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: the SS market in general has been quiet

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: It’ll pick up in a week or so

10:38
Comment From adam
Do you trust Andrew Miller?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Some, but I think I’ll end up preferring the Zach Duke contract

10:40
Comment From Jimbo
Dave Cameron Called Brad Miller a better player than Starlin Castro. Your thoughts on this?.. Thats putting a HELL of a lot of weight in a 70 game audition in 2013.

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: To me they’re roughly equivalent. They’re also basically the same age. I would be happy to be starting either

10:41
Comment From MK
Any chance the Nats could build a deal around Clippard and a prospect for Chapman?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: The Reds should be looking for more control, not less

10:41
Comment From Schist Face
In your estimation, is the Mariner belief that they are a true talent 85-90 win team false?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: No, they’re good

10:41
Comment From Dylan
Are either Betts or Boegart moed prior the opening day?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: Doubt it

10:42
Comment From Schist Face
4th outfielder quest: do you prefer A) scott van slyke, B) chris denorfia, C) torii hunter or D) other?

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: Van Slyke is super neat

10:42
Comment From mtsw
Would we still be able to tell which league is better if interleague play was abolished? Or would it just be sort of unknowable/speculative?

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: More speculative, but we’d evaluate the performances of players who changed leagues

10:43
Comment From Mike
Did not know you were an outsdoorsman, what do you like to do?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: Hike, climb, backpack, camp, the usual stuff. Get away from screens, basically. Best feeling in the world is a successful new campfire

10:44
Comment From Jimbo
Would the yankees be comfortable going into 2015 with this as their rotation? Tanaka, CC, Pineda, McCarthy, Greene, (Nova in may), and David Phelps.. Should they be?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Yes and yes

10:45
Comment From Vslyke
Another sign that teams generally don’t believe in pitch framing: Gattis is actually a plus pitch framer but no one seems to be interested in letting him catch.

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: He’s not a great blocker or thrower, he only seems like a slightly above-average framer, and he’s an awful big guy. Teams don’t like to see big guys crouching that often because it seems like it’s not good for their longevity

10:45
Comment From Jeff
best guess on a Chris Young contract?

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: 1 year, $6 million-ish

10:46
Comment From mtsw
Which are we more likely to see in the next 50 years: left handed-throwing shortstop or switch pitcher?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Switch pitcher

10:46
Comment From Matt
Help me out here: Do the Red Sox trade Victorino? It doesn’t seem like they could get much in return at all. But it seems awful to bench Vicotorino,who put up 5.6 WAR in 2013. And you have to imagine Betts and Castillo have everyday jobs. I’m tired of hearing people say wait for an injury. You don’t have players of that caliber on the bench just in case.

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: No need to trade him. You can absolutely find time for four guys for three spots with Victorino/Castillo/Betts/Ramirez. There will be days off, and injuries, and perhaps some under-performance

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say three outfield positions get 2,100 plate appearances over a year. In theory you could give 525 PA to four different guys.

10:47
Comment From Ruki
What is with the giant yet beautiful mountain picture?

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: so beautiful

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: and CiL basically now mandates a huge image up top. I don’t know how to get rid of it

10:47
Comment From Buck
Is Nick Markakis really that much better than Gregor Blanco?

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: No

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: FanGraphs mission for the offseason: criticize Nick Markakis

10:48
Comment From Schist Face
Which player are you most excited to watch in 2015?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: The answer will be Felix Hernandez until he’s retired or broken

10:48
Comment From JayT
It seems to me that if the money was similar I’d much rather have Kemp than Markakis.

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately the money is not similar!

10:49
Comment From Matt
What does Lawrie’s value mean for Mookie Betts? Betts generated more value last year than Lawrie has since 2012, has more defensive value, and several more years of team control. in Lawrie can land Donaldson, could Betts hypothetically land any pitcher in baseball? Could he land McCutchen?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: Well, Lawrie alone didn’t land Donaldson. But if you’re looking for one website that absolutely places Mookie Betts up on a trade-value pedestal, you’ve come to the right place

10:50
Comment From GS1
How would you find the $$ figure of a prospect in regards to their possible 6 year value? Something like OFP with an average WAR over the 6 years then an average $/WAR?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: The usual two links:

10:50
10:50
10:52
Comment From Slew+(Seattle)
Cleveland seems like they’re at a point (considering success cycle, their projected quality, and their divisional competition) where a small move (an add of a couple WAR) could make a fairly big difference in their playoff potential. Any moves you see that make sense for them, or any thoughts on why they’re so quiet?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: They don’t really have many glaring weaknesses, they’re not a big-budget team, and they have a lot of money tied up in guys like Swisher and Bourn. The rotation is packed, for cheap. The infield is *mostly* packed. As with many teams, I recommend one Michael Saunders. I think they look for a second-tier or third-tier outfielder

10:53
Comment From Pistol
When you say. “he projects….” what do you really mean? That takes you off the hook to a great extent. I’d prefer to know what you think about a particular player than merely ceding to a projection program.

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: That’s fine, and in certain cases I will disagree with a projection, but in many cases, the projection will be smarter than I am. If someone makes a habit of saying things that differ from the projections, then on balance that person will be mostly wrong

10:54
Comment From Guest
What pitcher could you see the Pirates going after in the trade market? I think a deal for Ian Kennedy makes a decent amount of sense, not sure what they’d need to give up though.

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: For some reason now I have this idea in my head of the Pirates trading something for Blake Treinen

10:55
Comment From Justin
How much of the Kemp money would the Dodgers have to pick up for it to make sense for any team?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: Off the top of my head, at least like $30-35 million

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: Obviously, it’s steep

10:55
Comment From nicemarmut
Do you think Boston is planning on Ortiz falling apart in 2015? Many have speculated on who would take his spot further down the road (there are many options), but do you think the Red Sox would consider benching him sooner and not exercising their team option in 2016?

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: Ortiz is part of their immediate contention plan. I don’t think they’re banking on anything other than an ordinary David Ortiz performance

10:56
Comment From cmg8462
What’s your best guess at free agency $/WAR by 2015 season start? It’s started off pretty high with Butler/Cuddyer/Cruz all looking like 10MM per win.

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: $7 million or so. Maybe $7.5 million. You’re seeing guys sign early because they’re getting deals good enough to convince them not to wait around for something better. Later on, players will be forced to settle

10:57
Comment From Matt T.
Are you and Dave afraid to write with conviction? Having read your Cruz and Donaldson pieces, it seems like you are afraid to say “The Mariners are wrong” or “Knowing what we know, you can’t make sense of the Donaldson trade”. You seem to fall into a trap you end up defending moves by making weak and VERY hypothetical arguements on crazy ways that they could make sense. Despite nearly everyone including people within the game think they are bad moves. Aren’t you just abandoning Occam’s razor by doing that?

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: For one thing, Dave is very much *not* afraid to write with conviction

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: For another thing, it takes maybe one sentence or one paragraph to offer an opinion. It was declared, here, that Cruz was an overpay. It was declared, here, that the A’s made a perplexing trade in isolation. That’s not what’s interesting. The interesting bit — the bit worth writing about — is what the explanation might be. *Why* was a transaction made? What is the team thinking? Where might things be right, and where might things be wrong? How can we make sense of a guy like Billy Beane trading a guy like Josh Donaldson, given that it’s not what we’d expect?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: FanGraphs isn’t a report-card website. That wouldn’t be a fun website to write for. Analysis doesn’t stop with “good move” or “bad move”

11:00
Comment From mtsw
So the White Sox’s plan is to build around a pitcher who basically has a stick of dynamite strapped to his elbow?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Does anyone actually know if Sale comes with a higher risk than any other pitcher? He throws weird. So what?

11:01
Comment From Rob
Of all the Cuban signees in the past 3-4 years, who’s going to be the best 3-4 years from now?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Puig

11:01
Comment From Guest
What did you think about what Henry Schulman was saying about the site on twitter yesterday?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Didn’t see it

11:01
Comment From Matt
Is Ubaldo salvageable? Would a bad contract swap for him sense for Theo/Jed if they strike out on Lester. It appears as if Ubaldo’s health remains intact.

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, teams have called on him. The ability is still there, he’s just kind of screwed up. If the O’s eat some money, or accept a different bad contract, Ubaldo can be dealt

11:02
Comment From Mike
Byrd to the Mariners seems like a decent fit, no? He plays good defense (+6 DRS and 3.8 UZR last year). The question will be about his bat (Steamer seemed to project 2015 pretty heavily off of his bad September where he saw very irregular playing time – based on the Phillies trying to see what they had for 2015). But wouldn’t he be a good compliment to bat 5th or 6th in that lineup?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: Yep, I like Byrd as a short-term something

11:02
Comment From Q
So Jeff – basically, would you rather Miller or Robertson?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: Miller, I think

11:03
Comment From Joe
I know opt out clauses are usually heavily in favor of the player. But all else being equal, is there really a downside in throwing one in for Lester or Scherzer after four years? It seems like if Lester would opt out of $25 million per for his 35-36 year old seasons, his next team would gladly take it.

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: The opt-out basically allows a player to decide which way he’ll make more money. If a guy projects to make more money than he’s guaranteed over the remainder of his contract, the team shouldn’t want for him to opt out, even if he poses an age-related risk. The opt-out is pure value for the player and it’s worth several million dollars

11:04
Comment From Chest Rockwell
Didn’t the Twins have a story about how none of the coaching staff could speak Spanish?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Is that true? That’s stupid if true.

11:04
Comment From Mike
Yesterday, Dan posed the idea that Hamels has more value to a contender than surplus analysis gives him credit for (not *crazy* value, but elevated from the typical analysis). The idea being that if a team is in real contention now (i.e. Red Sox) instead of 2 years from now (i.e. Cubs), they probably should have a higher value on him. If you had to guess, how much do you think that “contention surplus” adds to his trade value? $5-10 M?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: That seems reasonable. You get a short-term inflated $/WAR, but you also consider that there are always available alternatives.

11:05
Comment From Brian
Under what scenario do you see the M’s moving Paxton or Walker, if any?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: More than a one-year player coming back. The M’s don’t have any pitching depth.

11:06
Comment From Schist Face
Can you name a single West African (or non-South African) player? I’d love to see a pie/proportion graph depicting country of origin for MLB players.

11:06
11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Kabul, Afghanistan! http://www.baseball-referen…

11:07
Comment From Kelvin
Thoughts on umpire Dale Scott coming out as homosexual? Cant think of an openly gay baseball player. Good for him.

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: Didn’t have a chance to read that article before the chat started, but obviously, yeah, it’s a good story and another step on the path toward total acceptance.

11:08
Comment From Josh
Re Kemp: Isn’t that the exact reason why the Dodgers probably won’t trade him. He’s worth more to them than any other team and now without Hanley, he’s probably their 2nd or 3rd best offensive player. If you’re gonna eat money, might as well eat Ethier’s contract

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Dodgers are probably going to end up agreeing

11:08
Comment From Bret
I want the Jays to sign Nori Aoki to a two-year, $20.5M deal. Sensible?

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Yep

11:08
Comment From Jeff
How horrible would the A’s have to be and for how long for Beane to get fired? Is there a person in baseball with as much job security as him?

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: He’s there until he doesn’t want to be, basically.

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Which means he’s there until he loses enough interest in the game

11:09
Comment From Schist Face
Franklin Gutierrez. If he can avoid rupturing his spleen on the way to the bathroom, you’d think he’d be a valuable 4th outfielder for a good team like Yanks or Giants, yes?

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Not worth a fourth-outfielder commitment. All he is is a spring-training NRI. Absolutely no depending on him.

11:10
Comment From adam
My Sportiva Solutions are a bit tight, and shoe recommendations?

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: How long have you had them? They’ll stretch out some. Maybe go a half-size higher, but, I love my Sportivas

11:11

Comment From Logan Davis
Shannon Drayer had an interesting take on the Cruz signing. She said it gives the team more leverage in trade talks. Apparently, every time the Mariners try to trade for someone, the other side says “include Walker or Paxton or it’s no deal”, banking on everyone else doing the same and the Mariners eventually having to cave to someone. The Mariners signing Cruz reduces other teams’ ability to pressure the M’s.

Or so the story goes. But isn’t that a really dumb negotiating tactic? Couldn’t you get a good deal from Seattle without Walker and Paxton – perhaps inflated specifically BECAUSE everyone else is asking for Walker and Paxton? Why would teams always hold out for other teams’ best players?

11:12

Jeff Sullivan: Presumably this is a reference to like Upton and Gattis and Kemp. Issue with the Mariners is, beyond Walker and Paxton, they don’t really have particularly appealing young pitching to move. So there’s a big gap between them and the next-best guy. So you can see why teams would be stubborn. There’s Maurer, but he doesn’t really look like a starter anymore.

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: From the M’s perspective, this is only really true so long as they’re determined to land a big-time power righty. The Royals kind of just demonstrated that you don’t need that to be good, so maybe the Mariners should’ve been more creative, but here we are and they did what they did

11:13
Comment From Cat
In the aftermath of the Lester sweepstakes what will Shields deal look like?

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: 4/70 or something

11:14
Comment From Heisenberg
Baez + Alcantara + C.J. Edwards for Cole Hamels. Who hangs up first?

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs would talk to their provider to try to get the Phillies’ number blocked

11:14
Comment From Schist Face
Is McCarthy going back to the Yankees or do you think he moves out to a pitchers park with some heavy marine air to enhance his stat line and do the Lord’s work, etc?

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: I think he ends up staying

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get going. More to do, more to write

11:15

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 — from the winter meetings! — and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 12/2/14 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.

newest oldest most voted
richdanna
Guest
richdanna

With a seemingly important need for veteran leadership in the clubhouse, if the O’s allow Markakis to hit free agency, do the Cubs kick the tires? Is the deal he is looking for too long for the Cubs’ liking?

Baltimore Chop
Member
Baltimore Chop

Where would the Cubs put him? They already have Soler in right, seem to want to keep left potentially open for Bryant, and Markakis didn’t even have the range for center during a rookie year cameo.

los
Guest
los

Why do they need veteran leadership?

RichW
Member
RichW

He already is a free agent.