Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 12/23/14

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: Hello there friends and welcome to Christmas Eve eve baseball chat

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: I will be attempting to perform this live baseball chat with what appears to be a loose A button on my keyboard

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: wish all of us luck!

9:02
Comment From adam
the best candidate for replacing Rube in Philly?

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: This is the default answer: http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

9:02
Comment From Invisible Man
Tell me mean things about Nelson Cruz

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: For much of his professional career he wore braces

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: But it would appear he no longer has braces

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Do you mean the current Nelson Cruz or the somewhat recently retired Nelson Cruz? I don’t know any mean things about the second one

9:04
Comment From Walt
what is seth smith worth in a trade?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Either a B-level prospect or some sort of complementary team-controlled piece that can help the Padres now at first base

9:04
Comment From Damon
Hey Jeff, Merry Christmas to you, just wanted to get your take on the Jays off-season thus far.

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I know it feels like things have slowed down but they did start by adding Martin and Donaldson. Liked the Saunders move. They could still use a little rotation depth and obviously there’s help to be added at second base, but I’ve really liked the course of things to date

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t yet seen an update on them and Toritani http://www.baseball-referen…

9:07
Comment From ryan
what kind of baseball background did you have before Fangraphs?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Started writing late in 2003. Did it daily, writing about the Mariners, then got a full-time position writing about everyone with SB Nation in early 2010

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I also played baseball poorly and got hurt during it

9:09
Comment From Monster of St. Pete
What do you expect out of Kipnis this coming season? Do you believe it was the injury that caused his numbers to slide?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, that was a big part of the equation, to me. Now I don’t think Kipnis’ future baseline is best represented by his 2013, but his 2012 should be absolutely achievable

9:11
Comment From Greg
What are you expecting from Zunino this season?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: A K/BB better than 10. He moved quickly and he couldn’t really adapt any sort of approach last season. Easy to forget that the year before, in his initial cup of coffee, his discipline wasn’t completely disastrous. I’d like an OBP of .275 or so

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Didn’t think I’d ever write that sentence

9:12
Comment From BB
Jeff do you see a Tulo trade actually happening, and, if so, do you see the return being less than desired?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t see one happening this offseason. Rockies justifiably value Tulo like a superstar; other teams justifiably value Tulo like an injury-prone superstar

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Never count out AJ Preller, though!

9:13
Comment From Josh I
What do the A’s do at second base? Asdrubal Cabrera (yuck), Everth Cabrera, Jose Fernandez, Hector Oliveras, Ben Zobrist, stick with Sogard/Ladendorf, transition John Jaso there maybe? I have no idea at this point.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a little bit surprised they didn’t make a (stronger) play for Kang. I would’ve liked him there, too. It remains possible they move Lawrie to second and deal with third base instead, which was their intent when they made a run at Headley, but without Headley, or Kang, or Lowrie, options are thin

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I do think, however, that Beane wants to do something pretty big. Wouldn’t have been too surprised to see him go after Upton. There’s money available, after Headley turned it down. So I don’t think the A’s go into next season projecting for like 1 WAR at second base

9:15
Comment From Sergey from Russia
Who will be Cubs #4 and #5 rotation spot: Hendricks, Wada, Wood, Doubront etc.?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Wood and Wada, I’m guessing, if Wood doesn’t get dropped or dealt. But Wood could go quickly, opening the door for Hendricks

9:16
Comment From adam
Should Royals fans be prepared for a disappointing season?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: They should be prepared for a colder season. Last season was magical. Odds are too slim for a repeat, but they will at least be competitive, so that’s a warm snuggly blanket to wrap yourself in

9:17
Comment From DerpyMets
Do you think defense is being underlooked by current GMs? I see loads of teams seemingly ditching defense in favor of offense.

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Offense has pretty much always been preferred to defense, and maybe teams are trying to think of how to reverse the trend of declining run production, but I don’t think any teams are all-out ignoring defense entirely. The Padres have acted…boldly…but they dont’ get to be too picky about what’s available to them.

9:18
Comment From Tom
Does Boston need another starting pitcher or are they good?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I think the 5-man is okay as is, but there’s very little depth, so if nothing else they should add to the depth chart. But, probably, they’d like to improve the 5-man as well as build out the depth

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I think, as the roster stands, the Red Sox look like a playoff team, but there’s no reason for them to stop improving now

9:19
Comment From Vitruvian Man
Is Allen Craig a Sock at the beginning of the regular season>

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: 60/40 yes

9:19
Comment From Biggy
How worried are you about tanaka lasting the season? How about Garrett Richards!

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Well, Richards won’t start the season until somewhere in May, looks like

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: And I’m at a heightened level of Tanaka-related concern. It was reassuring to see him pitch at the end, but even the Yankees can’t pretend like nothing at all is wrong. Let’s go with color code orange?

9:22
Comment From Derek Smalls
Aaron Sanchez a starter in 2015? beyond?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think he makes starts in 2015, but I think he mostly relieves, and relieves well. I feel like his best future is indeed out of the bullpen because I just have trouble with guys who haven’t thrown strikes

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Last year between minor-league levels he threw about 58% strikes. League average is 63-64%.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously good stuff, obviously time to improve, but this is a dangerous foundation

9:24
Comment From Josh I
Can you flip the chat?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why it keeps doing this

9:24
Comment From Johan
Would it be fair to say that Kang is like Baez with less bat speed but a more fluid swing?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Baez has like 80 bat speed. He’s a freak. I don’t want to compare Kang to a freak

9:25
Comment From mtsw
I think in August/September games where both teams have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the teams should have to run the bases clockwise both as a way to keep things interesting and as a punishment for their failure. What’s the downside to this proposal?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I hear that’s how they play baseball in Australia

9:25
Comment From adam
If not Myers, who would be the main piece coming back to Philadelphia in a Hamels-Padres swap?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I could see Hedges

9:26
Comment From nolan
how do you feel about cashman’s moves this offseason?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Liked the Headley move. Liked the Eovaldi move. Fine with the Miller move. Okay with the Gregorius move, even though I’m a big fan of Shane Greene. I think there’s work still to be done, and almost the entire starting rotation is a big flashing question mark, but the Yankees have a competitive team

9:27
Comment From Tom
Matt Adams – platoon worthy or a full-time first baseman?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Gentle platoon. Doesn’t have to be strict, but he should be protected against the best southpaws

9:29
Comment From BigRedLives
How do you see the replay system changing for the upcoming season? Do you anticipate any significant rule changes?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I wish I had a link to the thing I was reading a few weeks ago. I anticipate they’ll do something to address pointless manager stalling

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise it worked pretty well, all things considered

9:30
Comment From Santiago
Hi Jeff. I recently asked Neil if one can make multiple split searchs on Fangraphs (e.g. Tim Hudson vs lefties during the second half). He said the site can’t run it. My question is: Are you guys planning to add it? It would be really useful. If not, do you know of any site where I can look at those splits?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: You can get to some stuff like that using the Baseball-Reference play index. I haven’t heard of any plans, here, but I can throw a note to Appelman since he’s fairly responsive

9:32
Comment From Derek Smalls
Will the Cubs OF be Bryant/Alcanatara/Soler? how does this compare to say the Pirates OF – on potential anyway (no McCutchen type evidence… yet)

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t expect to see Bryant playing regularly in the outfield this coming season. He could get some time, but Valbuena will move or move around once Bryant is “ready” a few weeks in.

9:34
Comment From Invisible Man
If a baseball statistic’s usefulness were best personified by a single player who would personify RBI?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Tony Batista?

9:34
Comment From Guest
How long have these chats been a thing?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think I’ve been doing them since I joined? So at least a couple of years. But I have a worse memory than what was I talking about

9:35
Comment From Johan
Why is Santa Clause looked at positively? I see an obese slave-owner whose main method of transportation is animal cruelty…

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Since when have people given a shit about what happens behind the curtain so long as they’re given neat little gadgets to consume?

9:36
Comment From Chuck
Do the Padres keep trading to get a shortstop or do they stick with Amarista/Barmes for the start of the season?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Right now I think they stay. Consider it something of a defensive oasis

9:36
Comment From Hi+Erix
Please invert CiL

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Tried; don’t know how

9:37
Comment From Ducks
Jeff, what is a realistic return from the Padres for Hamels if the Phillies do not eat any of the contract? Would more than a top prospect be needed?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Assuming Myers *isn’t* available, it’s not hard to see the Phillies getting one of the Padres’ “big three” prospects. They aren’t actually that great, but they’re all solid, and the Phillies should be able to get one of them

9:39
Comment From Guest
This article was very thought provoking. Where do you fall on the idea? http://www.fangraphs.com/co…

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I like it, it’s bold. Now, when I was editing that, I kept feeling like I was missing something, because I hadn’t seen the idea suggested before. So maybe there’s something I just haven’t thought of. But while it’s risky, I like when teams run counter to what’s expected

9:40
Comment From Damon
quiet day?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I put bits of fudge in pumpkin pancakes. This is the most exciting day of my life.

9:41
Comment From mtsw
What international city gets an expansion team first? Havana, Tokyo or London?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: No way that Tokyo or London ever happens. Not with a baseball schedule. It’s Havana, out of that group

9:41
Comment From adam
Given that most stats guys see Hamel’s value way under what Rube is asking for, at what point does it become more valuable to simply hold onto him and get the revenue he creates?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Hamels doesn’t really generate revenue. Not to an extent worth caring about. There are reasons for the Phillies to hold on to him, but the real answer is to either settle for the best package they can get, or to pay down his contract to essentially buy more prospects. The Phillies don’t *have* to trade Hamels, but doing so would be better for the overall organizational health

9:42
Comment From BigRedLives
Franklin Gutierrez is making a comeback attempt. What is the likelihood that he makes it onto an MLB roster this year?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: 10%

9:43
Comment From Homer
Will Scherzer sign soon or will it drag out a lot longer? Do you think his price tag has gone down since other top-tier SP have signed already?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: It’ll drag out, and he’ll cost a ton

9:44
Comment From Guest
What’s the coolest experience you’ve had as a baseball journalist?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Clubbing with Felix Hernandez, but that was just weird and not as interesting as it sounds like

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s definitely still the most “what?” moment of my career as a baseball writer

9:45
Comment From LimeyJaysFan
Do you stick with the 2nd base options in house and invest in the pen, or stick with the pen options inhouse and upgrade 2nd if you’re the Jays? Any bounce back candidates in the pen?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: More interested in upgrading at second. You can usually find adequate relievers around the end of spring training if you need to

9:46
Comment From IamRangers
What’s the Cubs’ next plan of action?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Trade Castillo

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe trade a back-of-the-rotation starter as well

9:47
Comment From Jeff
How would you grade the Mets front office? These past two offseasons have been bad.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Never did understand the Granderson move, but it’s hard to evaluate a front office without totally understanding the conditions in which they have to maneuver

9:48
Comment From Ed
Could a trade between Seattle and San Diego centered around Wil Myers and Brad Miller be feasible? It’s hard to believe that the Padres want to go into 2015 with Myers as their CF and Amarista as their SS.

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, there could be something there

9:49
Comment From Shawn
What would be a reasonable return for evan gattis, and should the braves move him at this point since he seems to not have much projection left?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Whenever I think about Gattis, I think about the Mark Trumbo trade

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: That’s the kind of thing the Braves should be looking for

9:50
Comment From mtsw
Why was the strikeout rate so low in the deadball era? Were players just better at making contact or is there an alternate explanation (say, umpires tightening the strike zone in 2-strike counts to avoid having to make at-bat-deciding calls moreso than they do today)?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Just a different game. More emphasis on contact and speed, less pitching velocity, more limited repertoires. Some pitches just didn’t exist back then

9:51
Comment From ParallelSnarking
Being Ben Cherington: Considering roster construction and relative return, do you trade Victorino or Craig?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’m more likely to trade Napoli, banking on bouncebacks by the two above

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I like the idea of a Victorino/Castillo/Betts/Ramirez outfield

9:52
Comment From John
Got into an argument the other night about edgar martinez. granted, i get that some people argue that he was just a DH and that should hurt his hall chances, but the guy had the audacity to say edgar martinez was essentially don mattingly without a position. I wanted to punch him in the face, and i dont even like the mariners

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Don Mattingly was worth 250 runs above average at the plate. Edgar was worth 550. When Mattingly stopped hitting, Edgar didn’t

9:53
Comment From Joe
2008 called. They want their chat software back.

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: They probably don’t

9:54
Comment From Patrick Green
To your knowledge, do you have an idea if horizontal or vertical movement tends to, overall, lead to more effective results? I know it varies from pitcher to pitcher; however, I have been pondering lately about which type of movement correlates better to success.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I have a fondness for pitchers with fastballs with little horizontal movement. Seems to play better against both handednesses. I guess I like my fastballs to somewhat resemble cutters

9:54
Comment From John
can you pontificate on why, given the posting fee and the contract, the mets refused to put out basically 17 mill on a 2 year deal for kang? thats paying him to be worth 1 WAR a season? is there really no chance he can do that?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets already have a decent offensive shortstop who might not be a shortstop. That’s the best explanation I’ve got

9:55
Comment From Trevor
You’re Billy Beane for a day. You have ~20 million bucks available and need to upgrade second base and left field. You have starting pitching galore, along with a few prospects. Who do you sign/trade for?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I chase Tulowitzki

9:55
Comment From BigRedLives
Is Logan Morrison really going to be the everyday first baseman for the M’s or is a platoon option in the works?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I sure hope/think they’ll find a right-handed partner. Last I checked there’s a spot still open on the bench. Maybe it’s Stefen Romero, maybe it’s external, maybe it’s Jesus Montero!

9:56
Comment From Derek Smalls
Is the timing interesting that San Diego is seemingly pulling out all the stops in the same division with the largest payroll AND the WS Champs?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Guess you can’t worry too much about context. Last year the Orioles won 96 games sharing a division with the Yankees and the defending WS champs

9:57
Comment From nolan
How do you think Eovaldi will perform next year? 3.5 FIP sound reasonable?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: In the vicinity, yeah

9:57
Comment From mtsw
Which historical player was the most underrated due to park factors? Or overrated?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Is Jim Rice too obvious?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Slugged .546 at home, and .459 on the road. One hell of a fit for Fenway

9:59
Comment From Matt
Do you see Sir AJ making anymore major moves before the start of the season? In your opinion what is the best move he could make? Hamels, Tulo, etc.?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I’m buying this as a legitimate Hamels opportunity. Works extra well since Hamels is from the area. Given what Preller sold to get Kemp, I could see him giving Amaro something agreeable

10:01
Comment From Justin
What are the White Sox playoff chances in 2015? Do you think they hang around for a while kind of like what the 2014 Mariners did

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’d estimate right now they’re around 20%, with wild-card odds double or triple the division odds. I do think theyl’l be playing interesting baseball at least through most of August

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Going to make a big difference how ready Rodon is, and how quickly

10:02
Comment From nolan
will refsnyder’s bat be decent in his rookie season? 2575/350/400 seem reasonable?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a little high, but not out of reach

10:02
Comment From Dane Egenes
How likely do you think the Mariners will try to re-sign Chris Young?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Less likely now that they have Happ. He should keep pitching himself to SD or SF

10:02
Comment From L. Scott
Obviously the Nationals are the team to beat in the NL East. Do the Marlins, Mets, or Braves keep it close?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:03
Comment From Derek Smalls
are you a Big Hall or Small Hall HOF guy? beyond Unit and Pedro, who makes your ballot this year?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: bigger hall, but it’s not something I think about or worry about too much. If I were voting this year, I’d select 10 guys

10:03
Comment From Zach
what is the point of holding on to Tulo and Cargo when your team is most likely going to finish last in the division

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Because if somehow you get a healthy Tulo and Cargo, perhaps you don’t finish last. The Diamondbacks aren’t very good. The Padres still aren’t very good. The Giants are beatable. The Rockies + health = better than expected

10:04
Comment From Jake
Plot twist: you’re only chatting with one person, who is constantly changing his nickname and submitting random questions

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes it feels like that

10:06
Comment From Aaron
Would a trade that sends Jackson, Valbuena and like $8 mil to the As for Coco Crisp be balanced, or am I a crazy Cubs homer?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: The A’s have no particular use for Jackson, but that aside, that’s a more balanced trade than you might think

10:07
Comment From Guest
Was there a Fangraphs holiday party?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: There wasn’t even a FanGraphs holiday conference call

10:08
Comment From Matt
What are the common misperceptions regarding what projections do and how they are/should be used? How can we disabuse people of these notions?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I think people don’t really realize that projections come with pretty big error bars, and projections aren’t predictions. There’s also the thought that we lean too heavily on projections around here at FG, when in reality *everyone* leans on projections, whether they acknowledge it or not. Everyone’s always trying to forecast the future. Projections are a shortcut that save us several paragraphs or minutes spent running calculations

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: “How good are the Padres now?” We could write 3000 words about that, but the projections make it really easy to arrive at an evaluation. From there, you can decide where you do and don’t agree, but it’s like “projections” is turning into an almost dirty word, when really, it’s easy and useful and user-friendly

10:11
Comment From Ray
Jeff – thanks for the chat. What are your thoughts on the moves Andrew Friedman has made? Are the Dodgers going to miss the bats of Hanley and Kemp or will the improved defense and GB pitchers result in a longer playoff run in 2015?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Right now, we have the Dodgers projected to be the best team in baseball, by a handful of games

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: On one hand it’s pretty easy to make decisions when you’re supported by a massive organizational budget, but I’ve been pleased with what the Dodgers have pulled off so far and they’ve been able to hang on to all their big prospects. This is something of a transition year, with Pederson playing and Kendrick/Rollins holding the fort, but the Dodgers look strong and they’re an Ethier dump away from having just about all their problems solved

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: They could add to the bullpen, but, almost every team could stand to add to the bullpen

10:13
Comment From What kind of season lies ahead for Matt Shoemaker?
What kind of season lies ahead for Matt Shoemaker?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: A good one

10:14
Comment From NYYFan14
Thoughts on Tommy Milone?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t imagine having any

10:15
Comment From Denver Tribe Fan
I wrote a small piece last fall about the impact of high innings on reliever injury and performance. One of the things I had trouble calculating is how to average non-counting stats like xFIP and pitching WAR. Is there an easy way to do this that I’m not thinking of?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Pitching WAR is a counting stat. ?

10:15
Comment From Sean
Jeff – What are our beloved Mariners going to do with RF? Is there one more move coming?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: If not Miller/Ruggiano, then probably Seth Smith/Ruggiano

10:15
Comment From Dullard
Are the Dodgers failing to maximize their chances for a third season in a row by keeping Mattingly in charge

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: No good reason to think that

10:16
Comment From Chris
Will the Nats do anything this offseason, other than the Souza event?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, they’re active. You might’ve missed that they offered the Mariners Desmond/Zimmermann for Miller/Walker. The Nats will move pieces around

10:17
Comment From IamRangers
How good do you project Bryant to be?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: 3-4 wins. Strikeouts the only real pressing concern, but they’ll limit his upside

10:18
Comment From Hi+Erix
Is Hedges really enough to fetch Hamels? I know you’ve been the Low Man on the return for Hamels, but I’ve seen some worrying reports about Hedges ability to hit in the majors

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, he just had a lousy offensive season, but then he was a 21-year-old catcher in Double-A, and he might be the best defensive catcher in the minors. He’s a solid non-elite prospect, which is the sort of thing I think the Phillies should get used to unless they want to pay Hamels down

10:20
Comment From LimeyJaysFan
Could Marcus Stroman change scouts’ minds about how much height matters for pitching prospects or is he more an exception to the rule?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Wandy Rodriguez is fairly undersized. Tim Lincecum. Johnny Cueto, Roy Oswalt. Stroman isn’t changing anything on his own

10:21
Comment From Walt
speaking of injured stars, obviously Tulo is great and put up 5-6 WAR year but missed 70 games. is there research that shows an injured star player has a larger impact than just losing the production for that time? (i.e. changes defensively, batting order, backups) is there ever a way to justify a 3-4 WAR shortstop over a year vs a 4-5 WAR Tulo over 90 games?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Well, teams love durability. They love being able to rely on a guy day in, day out, and if you have a fragile star, then you also have to worry about having a good reserve available in case he has an extended DL trip. So there are some real issues, but I think Tulo’s fragility is overstated, and at the end of the day you want to bet on talent more than health. In 2013, Tulo had a rib fracture, and that was about it. That’s not so concerning

10:23
Comment From guest
Best remedy for a holiday cold?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Holiday sleep

10:24
Comment From Matt
So you don’t believe Hendricks has cemented himself into the rotation of the Cubs even after his 3 WAR in less than half of a season?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Hendricks is useful, but Hendricks also has options, and some of their depth doesn’t

10:25
Comment From Ryan
Who says no to a deal involving Yelich and Haren for Myers and Despaigne?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Marlins

10:26
Comment From Steve D.
Jordy Mercer, better than last year or regress?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Offense looks right. Defense looks right. Roughly the same player. Unspectacular but sufficiently effective

10:27
Comment From uruguayan
Now that it’s so widely understood that the strike zone has expanded, particularly low, what’s preventing umpires from making a concerted effort to tighten it again? If they did, wouldn’t it completely disrupt some teams’ philosophies?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: There are signs — limited signs — the zone is moving back up http://www.baseballprospect…

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: It’s pretty clear something needs to be done about the zone. It’s possible MLB quietly initiated this process. Teams are aware that change could happen at any moment, and this is among the reasons why there isn’t a super strong market for pitch-framers. Even if you believe in the skill, there’s no telling when MLB might do something to reduce its value

10:28
Comment From Derek Smalls
Does assuming the entire Hamels contract and hanging on to prospects bring more or fewer teams into the trade conversation?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: The more the Phillies are willing to pay, the more teams can afford to have Hamels on the roster

10:29
Comment From mtsw
People who sneak down from the cheaper seats to sit in unoccupied seats in a nicer section: heroes or villains?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Neither. Those are strong words.

10:29
Comment From Markus
Cueto’s agent is giving the Reds an Opening Day deadline for an extension to get done. He wants Scherzer money. What could the Reds expect in return for Cueto from teams that may target him if made available (Red Sox,Blue Jays,Dodgers, etc)? 2-3 top prospects? Any chance Betts could be part of a deal? What team matches up best with the Reds in a Cueto trade?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Nobody’s giving up Betts or 2-3 top prospects for one year of Johnny Cueto

10:30
Comment From Steve D.
Has Neil Huntington improved the pirates team, other than the bench? I dont see it. They needed that player to put them over the top…is it pitching or hitting?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: That player doesn’t exist. What does “over the top” even mean?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: The team’s still in good shape, it’s preserved its load of prospects, and the outfield is going to be stupid good.

10:31
Comment From Nik
Why does everyone think that the Phillies need to trade Hamels now? He’ll have just as much if not more value in the middle of the season. Even next off-season his value won’t change much at all as long as he stays healthy.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: “as long as he stays healthy”

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Remember when the Phillies were going to trade Cliff Lee?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Remember when first-half Hamels in 2013 had an ERA over 4?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, Hamels could preserve most, if not all of his value if the Phillies hung on to him. Or his value could get obliterated! The longer the Phillies keep him, the greater the risk

10:33
Comment From Peskys big pole
Do you think Allan Craig can bounce back and put up decent numbers again or are those few good years basically his career?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: His peak’s behind him, but I think he was really bothered by injury last season and I do think he can be an above-average hitter again

10:33
Comment From uruguayan
Who’s a player you just don’t understand what happened?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Chone Figgins

10:34
Comment From Alex J
So many articles on the A’s lately, but If you were Billy and could only upgrade one position further, where would you look?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Well, it’s one of 2B/SS/3B. Pick one. Semien could be SS or 2B. Lawrie could be 3B or 2B.

10:34
Comment From mtsw
For non-English speaking players, do they do better if they’re the only one of the team who speaks their language (since it will force them to learn English faster) or if they have fellow countrymen on their team (so they aren’t isolated)? Do we have any data on this?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: No reliable big-sample data, but I suspect it would be helpful to have fellow countrymen, to help a player feel more comfortable and more like he’s a part of something

10:35
Comment From Eric
Do the Pirates entertain moving Mercer (or even Walker?) now?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure they’d entertain it, but I don’t know how much value a Mercer would really have on the market.

10:35
Comment From Jim
Can we get the depth charts updated? Red Sox still have Middlebrooks, don’t have Hanigan, Breslow or Varvaro

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Weird around holiday time. I’ll go in and do it myself after this

10:36
Comment From mtsw
You’re approached by a genie and forced to choose between decreasing the diameters of all baseballs by a half inch or increasing them all by a half inch.. You have to choose one or the other, keeping baseballs at their current size isn’t an option. Which do you choose?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Increase. More balls in play, for a variety of reasons

10:37
Comment From Derek Smalls
How about Tulo to SD? lots of reasons why not but….

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I’m certain Preller has already asked.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: That sounded like I have sources. That’s not what I meant. But I’m pretty sure Preller has already asked. He seems to ask about everything. Kind of like Anthopoulos in that way

10:38
Comment From Hi+Erix
Strictly from a business standpoint, how important is it to win the world series? Is that twice as good as losing the world series, 1.2x as good, etc.? I wonder to what extent teams really just want to stay interesting all season long.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely, the highest priority is being competitive for six months. That way you sustain six months of good gate receipts

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Taking last year as an example, I don’t think the Giants were really that much better off than the Royals, on the business side. There’s clearly some benefit to being the actual champion, but the Royals will do very well on their own despite the loss. So I don’t think it’s twice as good

10:39
Comment From JJB
Pittsburgh will sign Kang right? Blocking another team just doesn’t add up.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine a team looking to block would’ve entered a bid of just $5 million.

10:40
Comment From Paul
Quentin+Smith to the Orioles makes too much sense, right?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: The right amount of sense

10:40
Comment From mtsw
What will people in 2050 think of when they think of the 2014 season? A’s-Royals WC game?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Alex Gordon stopping at third

10:41
Comment From Logan Davis
The Mariners have a bit of a 25-man problem. If they want to have eight relievers, there’s no way they can afford a platoon bat for LoMo somewhere in their three bench spots (Bloomquist, Sucre and Ruggiano). They could demote Carson Smith or something, but then wouldn’t you rather have an LH platoon RF and let Miller and Taylor share time at shortstop? Basically what I’m saying is why the fuck do the Mariners have Willie Bloomquist

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Mariners will actually roll with eight relievers. Not all season long. It will help to have guys who are super versatile like Bloomquist and Miller, but there’s a little more certainty in the rotation now, and if you have seven relievers you can keep an eighth and ninth guy more regularly active in Triple-A

10:42
Comment From TB
What do you do about LF if you’re CIN?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Aoki

10:42
Comment From Cream
How much of a bounceback will Texas have this season if they stay relatively healthy? With Darvish and Holland fronting the rotation, do you see the Rangers competing for a wildcard?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I think they end up in the 70s, as constructed, but I also wouldn’t put it past the Rangers to swing a significant trade after the holidays

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve mentally linked them to the Nationals

10:43
Comment From John
you wont grade the mets fo because you dont know what kind of environment they can manuever in? sandy and co are supposed to be geniuses. GMs of similar ilk have done more with considerably less; PLUS, sandy’s free agent acquisitions have been awful and not a single one of his draft picks have made the bigs. I think its safe to say he was HIGHLY overrated by the stats community

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: The stats community doesn’t know how to evaluate GMs

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: No one really knows how to evaluate GMs

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: It’s also pretty clear the Alderson front office is working with limited flexibility. Within that, mistakes have been made. I don’t understand Granderson and Cuddyer with those budgets, so, sure, let’s slot that front office at least one level below the level of genius

10:44
Comment From baseball
what is the best projection system out there?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: All the top ones are similarly effective. Can’t do better than ZiPS and Steamer

10:45
Comment From Conor
How would you try to make a case for Mussina in the HOF?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: He was an extremely good starting pitcher for a long-ass time

10:45
Comment From Captain Crunch
With Baez at second and Olt at third, does Valbuena have a role on the Cubs this year? He’s a great fit for a lot of teams (NYY, SF, etc.).

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Olt?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Olt at third?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Mike Olt at third?

10:46
Comment From L. Scott
I always envisioned a day where all televised baseball games ever broadcasted and recorded would be available online. Are the wheels in motion to make this happen?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: You’ll never have a complete archive, but I could see an eventually complete archive going back to, say, 2009 or 2010

10:46
Comment From KB
Is there a more boring team in MLB than the Milwaukee Brewers? No one in the farm that’s even a Top 50 prospect to be excited about. No payroll for splashy free agent moves. No “all or nothing” approach in the offseason ala Beane.

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Until literally just a few weeks ago, one could’ve suggested it’s the Padres

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: And the Brewers have Gomez, Lucroy, Braun, etc. They’re definitely unexciting in terms of organizational strategy, but they’re also a fine overall product

10:47
Comment From david
what do you see brett anderson doing this year in LA?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Pitching well sometimes

10:48
Comment From Bret
I know they’re not done, but as of right now the Padres are still really bad, aren’t they?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Really bad? No, they’re not really bad. They’re not close to being really bad.

10:49
Comment From Lucas
Most exciting player to debut in 2015?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Buxton in September

10:49
Comment From Fred
Regarding projections, why aren’t the error bars shown? I think that would be really useful and informative. I think it would definitely help people to understand how to look at them.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: We don’t really know what the error bars are. And most people don’t know how to properly interpret error bars anyway.

10:50
Comment From SMC
Is it possible in light of modern aging curves that teams are wasting their prospects’ best seasons in the minors?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s anything that extreme, but I do think we’ll see pitchers keep arriving younger and younger

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Some of them, anyway

10:52
Comment From Guest
favorite song of the year, favorite movie of the year, favorite food item of the year, favorite volcano of the year: go

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: 1. Celeste (Ezra Vine)
2. Wild?
3. forever and always these chicken and waffles http://www.thegastrognome.c…
4. forever and always Mt Hood

10:54
Comment From Derek Smalls
what 0.0 WAR player do you have an unusual liking to ?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Carlos Peguero

10:55
Comment From Guest
Basketball fouls look arbitrary to this casual viewer; when I expressed this to a friend he replied that baseball is even more arbitrary — every single pitch is influenced by the umpire’s strike zone that day. Resolve our feud.

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Umpire judgment in other sports is less frequent but more impactful. Also, I feel like more is “missed” in other sports. In baseball, little is actually missed now with instant replay, and even bad ball/strike calls tend to be borderline. In a hockey game, you might have a dive called a trip, or you’ll have a roughing penalty that nobody noticed. That always feels worse

10:57
Comment From Scooby
If a position player had a 50 arm how many mph does he throw off a mound?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Daniel Descalso was throwing, what, 85?

10:58
Comment From baseball
Which outfield do you like better, Dyson, Cain, Gordon, or Rios, Cain, Gordon

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: The one with Dyson in it

10:58
Comment From Alex
How close is Justin Verlander to Ryan Howard levels of untradeability?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Howard might be literally worthless. Verlander can still be good. But Howard has two years left. Verlander has five. Taking that into consideration, it’s close

10:59
Comment From Guest
who edits THT?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Paul Swydan

11:00
Comment From ryan
what do you think has more value someone who hits the ball in the air or on the ground speed being equal

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Air, if the player has at least like average power

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Ground, if it’s Ben Revere

11:00
Comment From Ed
Would you and Dave ever try to put together another one of those Mariners pre-season magazines like you did back in 2009? I’m sure it’s a lot of work but that was awesome!

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: The last time we did that I wrote thousands of words about how awesome Chone Figgins was going to be

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Tons of work, not enough payoff, ultimately. Like most published things

11:01
Comment From Ermo
Did we see Jacob DeGrom’s ceiling last season or can he reach another level?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: He already reached that level

11:01
Comment From Ermo
What are the chances Swihart breaks camp with the Red Sox?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Won’t happen

11:01
Comment From baseball
How does one get their articles on the community page?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: You submit something to the community blog, and then at some point I look it over and make a decision

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I try to look at the group of submissions every, say, 48 hours or so

11:02
Comment From Guest
Who makes Steamer?

11:02
11:03
Comment From mtsw
Setting aside any moral/ethical issues, which MLB organization would you most like to see hacked, Sony-style with all their internal documents and correspondence made public?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Marlins

11:03
Comment From Guest
Bryant > Buxton gtfo

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: He said exciting, not good

11:04
Comment From Dustin
Buster Olney recently said that the Orioles should attempt to extract Strohman from the jays for Duquette, under the idea that Duquette is under contract and the Orioles have all the leverage… What are your thoughts on this? Both the actual intention but also the possibility of it happening?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Never happening

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: The Red Sox got Chris Carpenter for Theo Epstein

11:05
Comment From Bob
What is your honest thoughts on the Seattle Mariners? Legit team? Contenders for the next several years? AL West favs?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Do you feel like I’ve been dishonest? I like them a lot in 2015, and probably in 2016. Things get too unpredictable more years out

11:06
Comment From adam
at what age does having a favorite player stop being acceptable?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: It’s never unacceptable to find joy in things

11:06
Comment From Ermo
Any reason to think Josh Johnson can be effective in 2015?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: His talent

11:06
Comment From Guest
why would you ruin perfectly good waffles with dead animal

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: The waffle part is worse than the dead animal part

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: they cook and spice the slabs of dead animal to perfection

11:06
Comment From Guest
did you write about your clubbing experience with King Felix?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: No. It never really gets more interesting than the one-sentence description

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Jose Lopez was there though

11:07
Comment From Conor
When does Scherzer sign?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: last third of January

11:08
Comment From Sculley forever
Dodgers don’t go into season with only 5 starters, do they?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Wieland, Nicasio

11:09
Comment From James
Have you been chatting so long because you are desperately trying to procrastinate doing anything holiday related?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I can never stop these things once I get started

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a problem 🙁

11:09
Comment From Nick
Chat’s starting to go nuts Jeff…it held out for awhile but now things are getting kooky with the Q&A order.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Well I guess that’s my cue!

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll stop this right here and get to work on a post about, I don’t know, something else

11:10
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, and until then, be well and have great days, however you choose to spend them

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 12/23/14 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.

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Steven
Guest
Steven

I’m a Black man, Jeff. Is my voice supposed to sound a certain way. From your audio analysis you might be “surprised” by the way it sounds, buddy.