Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/8/16

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Sorry about that, had to meet with the landlord right at 9 sharp

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: Her idea! I’m always late for this anyway! At least this time I have a good excuse for my terrible behavior

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: So anyway, hello friends, let’s baseball chat

9:14
frank the tank: Brian Costa
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@BrianCostaWSJWSJ exclusive: ex-Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa to be indicted today. Will plead guilty to charges related to hacking Astros.
10:29 AM – 8 Jan 2016

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: Remember this? This was the biggest thing! Literally only a few months ago. You figure discipline from MLB could and should eventually follow

9:16

Guest: If the Brewers move Khris Davis, could they expect a lower-end top 100 propsect back, plus maybe some filler? (Sorry, it’s January and I’m bored)

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: Pre-arb, but very limited player. I think it’s easy to draw some parallels between Davis and Mark Trumbo, but I don’t think Davis would bring back a Skaggs + Santiago return.

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: Clearly some value though, despite his relatively advanced age for someone with his service time. Your proposed terms seem appropriate, in order to make space for Domingo Santana

9:19

nickh93: What do you think about Rick Porcello in year 2 and Henry Owens?

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: I like Porcello just fine as a No. 3 who sometimes looks like a No. 2. He won’t give up as many home runs and he made some meaningful progress elsewhere

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: From Owens, I need to see more strikes. Didn’t throw enough in the majors, didn’t throw enough in Triple-A. He’s thrown strikes more frequently before, but he just took a year off, so I’ve got some skepticism

9:22

j6takish: In hindsight, are the 1998 mariners one of the most disappointing teams of all time? They had prime seasons From Griffey, A-rod, Edgar, Unit, and moyer plus pretty good seasons from Segui, joey cora and fassero. How the hell does that team finish below 500?

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: Say hello to an MLB-worst bullpen WPA of -5.5. League average that year was +2 — meaning the Mariner bullpen was 7.5 wins worse than an average group

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: Of course, even with another 7 or 8 wins, it was still somehow a disappointing team. Stars and scrubs ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, all the time

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: From 1995 – 1999, Mariners had elite-level position players, and roughly average starting pitchers. Bullpen was third-worst in baseball in WPA

9:26

Gary: Jeff, my good man! How many innings do you think Yu Darvish is going to pitch this year. I’m a cautiously optimistic Texas fan; any chance he’s back by April or May?

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see. Surgery in March…already throwing…expected to miss the start of the year…I’ll put him at 150 innings

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Rangers are going to want to be careful, and for the moment they’ve assembled plenty of bullpen depth to pull him early, early on

9:30

Fade to Gray: Hey Jeff–did you see Eno’s piece on Sonny Gray? It seems to make a pretty solid argument. But is there any reason to hope things might actually swing the other way? Gray’s K/9 was so much better in his partial debut season…what’s up with that? Do you ever see him becoming more of a strikeout guy?

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Each year, Gray has gotten a little bit better at getting ahead in the count. I buy him somewhat as a soft-contact guy, and his command is improving. I don’t think he’s going to blossom into a swing-and-miss strikeout guy, but I could see him as a guy who ends up with a lot of strikeouts almost by accident. Not quite on the Cliff Lee level, but you get what I mean

9:32

Hugh: Can you please explain the basis of Griffeys backwards hat thing? Did he wear it backwards during games?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: “My dad had a ‘fro, and I didn’t,” he said. “So I wore his hat and it always hit me in the face, so I just turned it around and it just stuck. It wasn’t like I was trying to be a tough guy or change the way that baseball is played. It was just that my dad wore a size 7 1/2, and I had a 6 1/4. It was just too big.”

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: I guess that isn’t super helpful. No, you aren’t allowed to play games with a backwards hat, barring occasional exception. But it’s how Junior was frequently seen and pictured

9:33

matt: Better year next year, Baez or soler?

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: Soler

9:35

The Cincinnati Kid: How would the game be affected if teams used two SPs at the same time (two mounds, 1 RH & 1 LH required per rule change) and the batter got the better of the two outcomes (1 pitch is hit for HR, 1 pitch is a strike, it only counts as HR?) Erases splits, but also would take more concentration

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: The game would die and we’d all blame you for coming up with the proposal in the first place

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: In your defense, the game shouldn’t have listened

9:36

grumbleshoes: Garrett Stephenson is off to an outstanding 11-0 start. But is he for real, or are the Cardinals going to have to rely on younger guys like Rick Ankiel and Matt Morris come season’s end?

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: thank you for indirectly reminding me of Gene Stechschulte

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: who indirectly reminds me of Jason Simontacchi

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: who the hell were those Cardinals

9:37

Inigo: Do Cubs just stay pat with Heyward in CF? With Span signing with Giants there doesn’t seem to be many other options unless they push harder for Inciarte.

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: With every passing day, it gets a little more likely they run with Heyward in the middle, but there’s a lot of time left, and they still have plenty of interest in Inciarte, so you can’t rule that out

9:39

Sophomore Surger: A lot of people see Addison Russell’s rookie year as a disappointment, though several FG/RG writers remain cautiously optimistic. I tend to think that a kid who plays a full season as a 21 year old and OPS’s .780 when playing his natural SS position, still has pretty big offensive upside. Do you see any reasons to anticipate him making advances in contact% or plate discipline this season?

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: I assume you mean OPS’s .696, at least in the majors

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: But that’s still pretty good for a kid rookie handling shortstop in a pennant race. Historically young players have quickly improved in areas like discipline and contact rate as they gain experience, and so while I expect Russell will always have some swing and miss in his game, I think this year his K% ends up closer to 20% than 30%

9:42

groucho: How do you think Gyorko will do in st louis?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: I like his bounceback potential, but right now he’s slated for pretty limited playing time, so he doesn’t have a clear avenue to 500 ABs

9:42

The Cincinnati Kid: Do you know of a location for projections on QS or am I missing it on the site?

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: Nobody projects quality starts. Nobody cares about projecting quality starts

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: If you really want to know that bad, you could just calculate some correlations between general performance and quality starts, historically

9:44

Guest: Do you think there could be a market inefficiency to be exploited if teams limited their front office hours to 40/week? Study after study, decade after decade shows employees are more productive, less burned out, etc etc when they are around 40 a week. Could that be true of baseball orgs?

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s just unrealistic. That’d be far better for work/life balance, without doubt, but other teams aren’t ever going to operate like that, and since teams are constantly in communication with other teams, you’d have to tell employees to ignore messages from other teams until 9-5 hours. Other teams wouldn’t respond well to that, and then your team would be kind of left behind

9:45

Joe: Braves sign Upton to backloaded deal. They have all the pitching prospects, but no offense, and next year’s FA class isn’t very good. If they truly want to compete in 2017, why not get offense now while there is a surplus on the FA market?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not a terrible idea, but I’m not at all convinced the Braves would want Upton back, or that Upton would want to go back

9:47

Clark: If Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio and Ryne Sandberg are Hall of Famers then Jeff Kent should be a Hall of Famer, or no?

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: Kent was probably the worst of all of them

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: So, no, it doesn’t follow easily

9:48

Dweep: Do you think the Rockies are in for a massive season with lots of great victories, and an affable manger who tells it like it is. I saw Dante’s Peak yesterdat, and scoffed at it.

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: <3

9:48

Mets Fan: Hi Jeff. With Denard Span getting scooped up by the Giants, the Mets don’t have too many CF options in the FA market. I was hoping they’d sign Fowler…how likely is this now?

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: They seem to have their outfielders already. Always some chance they surprise, but I don’t think they’re ready to quit on Lagares. 2%

9:50

The Real Chris Davis: 2013, 2014 or 2015? Which Crush shows up in 2016? How much does it depend on the park and lineup he lands in–quite a bit, or not at all?

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, he’ll hit homers in any park. But I have to think he’s had his best season, and probably his best two seasons. I think next year he’s an above-average player, and then at some point along the line people start talking more about Richie Sexson

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: My sense is the Orioles are bidding against nobody. I think Davis stays in Baltimore, where Angelos loves him

9:51

Clark: If Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter are Hall of Famers than Lee Smith should be a Hall of Famer, or no?

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: This is the problem with precedents

9:51

natsfan: The Nationals have historically come out of nowhere to sign guys, most notably signing Werth and Scherzer, but also trading for Gio. Who do you see as their next surprise get?

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: As Rosenthal wrote about earlier, it wouldn’t be a shock if they negotiated with Boras for Chen

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: that’s going to depend on the market for Gio

9:53

Going the Distance: Hi Jeff. Can you explain a little bit about the difference between the HR/FB distance as recorded on the leader board at Baseball Heat Maps, and the “True Distance” I saw a fantasy writer on another site refer to? It was specifically in regards to Joc Pederson, and how his “true distance” on home runs was best in the league, better even than Stanton. What does that mean? Is it reason for optimism with regards to this season’s Joc looking more like last year’s first half than last year’s second half?

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: I believe the Baseball Heat Maps distance data is inferred from Gameday, while True Distance comes from the ESPN Home Run Tracker http://hittrackeronline.com/golden_sledgehammer.php

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: There’s never been any question that Pederson has power. I think the better measure of raw power is an estimate of *max* distance, where Stanton really shines. We know Pederson can hit the ball hard. We don’t know if Pederson can consistently hit the ball

9:54

BT-in-VT: Matt Cain says he is healthy, has reviewed film/corrected mistakes, and is ready for bounce-back season. What say you?

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: Sounds like we’re ready for spring training!

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: The stuff that made him successful is basically still there, but elite-level Cain was elite by a slim margin. He had to be super precise, and that precision doesn’t last forever. The home runs have started to come. The suppression days are probably finished

9:56

ArunK: Hey Jeff, what do you think about Span to Giants? Should be an upgrade on Pagan in centre, assuming Pagan moves to left anyway, but comes with the same injury risk perhaps. Cheap contract though?

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: Wrote about this for Fox. I’m probably guilty of under-playing the injury risk, but the more I think about this, the more I really like it

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: Span is such a good fit for the ballpark

9:56

Guest: As stat-inclined people, are we conflating the hall of fame with the hall of value? We spend so much time parsing e.g. whether Trevor Hoffman had as much value as Jim Edmonds or whatever, but maybe we’re just missing that he was more of a “thing,” nebulous and squishy but human, than Edmonds was. Our stat leaderboards aren’t going anywhere, but the hall is one of fame, not of stat leadership.

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: I absolutely agree with you, that there should be more that goes into this than just statistics. Like, Barry Bonds more than doubled Griffey’s career WAR, or something, and now that I think about it this was a bad example because Bonds belongs in the Hall, too. But there’s no questioning that Griffey was a 90s icon, and he’s a massive part of the story of the past few generations of the game

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: That counts. Perception counts, reputation counts. That comes out of the “fame” part. Now, a problem is this is in part dependent on media coverage, and then that slights underrated players, which is unfortunate because what really OUGHT to matter is performance over everything else. So we’re left making statistical cases

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: There’s no clean answer. We’ll see this pretty soon when Adrian Beltre retires and will statistically qualify as a Hall of Famer. Was he ever really “famous” enough? I’d like to think so, because I love him, but how much is Beltre really a big part of the MLB story of the 2000s?

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: This is why there are arguments. I don’t have the answer for you. I’ll keep trying. I’m only 10 years away from having a vote!

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe in 10 years I’ll be smarter.

10:00

Jenkins: Gordon at 4 for $72 million is grand-theft larceny, right?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: It seems like a good deal for Kansas City. It’s not like he deserved a Heyward contract or anything, but for the team it’s more good than bad

10:01

Tom: With the outfield market beginning to take shape, where do you see Upton and Cespedes landing?

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Cespedes, I’ll stick back in Detroit

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Upton could fit on the White Sox if he’s really looking for something short-term. The Angels are an obvious match but they don’t seem to have the money

10:01

Carr: If the Rangers are offering Chi-Chi for Ozuna, the A’s could one-up them with something starting with Graveman or maybe even Hahn, right?

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: In theory, yeah. But maybe the Marlins particularly like Chi Chi. Or maybe the rumored second piece would be substantial

10:02

Max: Been to any awesome trampoline gyms recently?

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: If I ever go to one again in my life, it will only be to protest outside the door

10:03

Jim: Will Yan Gomes bounce back or is Dioner Navarro the better option?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Gomes Gomes Gomes!

10:03

Chuck: Why baseball?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Existence is bleak

10:03

Nick: Royals need another SP, but with their payroll already breaking records are they looking?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, but they’re rumored to be looking at the uninteresting Kennedy/Gallardo tier

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Seems to me it’s not worth it

10:04

Tom: Could you still see the White Sox landing one of the two big outfielders remaining? As a fan, I don’t think three years will cut it but it could be a posturing move by the Sox

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think either signs for three years. I think it’s either going to be one year or 5-6 years

10:04

AKA22: What are your projections for Hector Olivera? I think every Braves fan hates him… do we have any reason for optimism?

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s something like a league-average bat, but if his defense isn’t adequate anywhere then that’s not really a very useful player

10:05

Ken Griffey’s Backwards Hat: Jefffff can you explain the luxury tax to a dumb-dumb like myself? I read an article somewhere that basically surmised that if the Tigers make a move that takes on more salary, they will go over the luxury tax, something the Dodgers and Yankees have avoided these last few years. Is what I’ve said even close to being correct?

10:05
10:06

Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Giants exceeded the mark last season, and paid penalties in turn

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: The Yankees have talked publicly about trying to get under the mark but they haven’t actually done it

10:09

GSon: Denard Span is recovering from a labrum tear and bone shave.. same thing that made AROD a full time DH.. Are the Giants taking a gamble here with a three year deal and more than $ 10MM/yr?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: I believe Troy Tulowitzki had a similar hip procedure and he’s remained an above-average defensive shortstop

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: Obviously the Giants would prefer that Span *not* have required the surgery, but if Span were healthy, he might’ve commanded twice as much money on the market

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: I like the risk, myself

10:11

Sarah: Padres need a SS and a LF. They are rumored to be interested in Desmond as his price is probably dropping due to a lack of suitors. At what price would Desmond be a good idea for them? Would it make more sense to try to trade for a d first, cheap SS and go after Cespedes or Upton; or try to get Desmond low enough and see trade for a LF or sign Parra?

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: The Padres should see if they can get Desmond for something resembling the Denard Span contract. Gives them a little bit of upside as long as they’re trying not to actually rebuild, and then if Desmond rebounds but the team is bad, he becomes very much tradeable

10:12

MK: Which OF is the best fit for the Nats in a potential Gio Gonzalez trade?

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: Would’ve been Inciarte. Maybe Gardner fits

10:13

Matt in KC: I really enjoyed your post on DeJesus. I vividly remember talk radio segments about whether he was a viable lead off hitter because he couldn’t steal bases in KC. I think the alternative was Joey Gathright. Things have changed somewhat since then.

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: DeJesus always struck me as maybe the most average and uninteresting regular player in baseball. I’m pleased to have been able to find something interesting about him

10:13

Dan Duquette : What’s the best case scenario for my Orioles as far as the rest of the offseason/remaining FAs are concerned?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Cheap Upton, while Davis walks. You sign, I don’t know, Doug Fister. Dylan Bundy gets healthy quick

10:15

Zach: Any particular Griffey memories stand out for you?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: No more than the usual ones. I didn’t grow up in Seattle, so I didn’t get to watch him every day

10:16

Jeremy: a lot of anticipation for Anderson Espinoza, but at age 17, is it way too early to rank him among the top 10 SPs in baseball?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:16

j6takish: What should a rebuilding team do with homegrown average players? Trading a 2-war guy isn’t going to get you anything worthwhile but holding onto them doesn’t seem great either

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: Every team needs those players. Cheap average players are incredibly useful. Daniel Murphy got 3/$37.5m while costing a draft pick and he’s about as average as it gets

10:18

RPs in the hall of fame: On one hand, it makes me kind of mad that punters are poorly represented in the football hall of fame — if you have a position, why aren’t the best performs at that position represented? On the other hand, RPs do the same thing as SPs just in fewer innings, and many of even the best couldn’t hack it as SPs. Help resolve my dilemma.

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not quite the same thing, but I don’t hold it against Alex Gordon that he couldn’t hack it as a third baseman. Relievers play important roles and sometimes they just belong in the bullpen after initially being miscast as potential starters

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: Relievers are important. The best relievers aren’t as important as the best starters, but the best relievers ARE as important as the next-best starters. I think you take the absolute cream of the crop. That means Rivera. That *might* mean Hoffman — I haven’t thought about it much — but Hoffman is close to the line. Which means the Hall of Fame, in theory, should have very few relievers at all

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: But I personally would prefer a bigger Hall over a smaller one. And because I grew up in San Diego Hoffman was sort of a minor icon to me. He had an awesome presence, and so he’s a big part of my own baseball story. He might belong in the Hall for Hell’s Bells alone

10:21

Guesto: At what point this winter does it become increasingly possible that Justin Upton could/would settle for a one year deal?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: This point

10:21

Eric: When do you think Trea Turner takes over at SS?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Early June?

10:22

Eric Weinstein: With all the talent and depth the Cubs have, would you agree that they are exactly the team that can afford to gamble on Soler’s upside (The Eno Sarris camp)? Or do you think that the outfield defense concerns with Soler and Schwarber mean they should deal Soler for controllable pitching (The Dave Cameron camp)?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: This is what the Cubs have to figure out: which team in baseball values Soler the most, right now? Is it the Cubs, or is it someone else? If it’s someone else, by how much more do they value him? And does that team have something interesting it would be willing to give in return?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: This is why Soler for Inciarte is such an interesting potential foundation. It doesn’t mean the Cubs would be giving up on Soler. It could just be them exchanging him for something they believe in a little bit more

10:23

anon: Is injury the biggest cubs potential weakness? Do you see any others that could bring down their season?

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they struggle defensively. But it’s mostly injury.

10:26

ArunK: What do you think about Greg Bird for the Yankees? Looked pretty good in a small sample last year, but could he be the guy to step up and cover any regression (there must be some regression) from Teix or A-Rod

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: Such an extreme air-ball hitter. Feels like he’s basically a younger Lucas Duda

10:27

Paul : It’s a little way off but when A Rod becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame, will there be a similar backlash to him as Clemens and Bonds?

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Oh, totally. Rodriguez was suspended an entire season. He’s an extreme case. He’s going to need to rely on the BBWAA position increasingly softening over time

10:28

Jordan : Would it not be wise for the Jays to go after either Davis or Votto to protect against the eventual loss of both or either EE and or Bautista?

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Or they could just put the Davis or Votto money toward EE and/or Bautista

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty sure the old Jays front office actually tried to deal for Votto. I doubt the new Jays front office is going to do that

10:29

Tim Morris: Are the Dodgers pretty much what we see or could they surprise?

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: They have so much freaking starter depth it feels like they could pivot and do something big. But maybe they wait until midseason

10:30

Pretty Tony: What do you think of a rotation of Verlander, Zimmerman, Sanchez, Norris, Pelfrey? I feel like the variance is so high because you have 3 veterans with injury histories, a 22 y/o who has/had cancer, and…Mike Pelfrey.

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: I feel like it’s going to end up around average. I like Verlander’s bounce-back, and I like Zimmermann fine, but then there are real questions at the back end. Tigers might end up an extremely .500 baseball team

10:31

Brian: I’m not really a fan of other sports, and as the off-season drags on, I start to miss the sports endorphins running around my brain, and want more baseball so I can be happier. But if baseball was all the time, the effect when there IS baseball would probably be diminished a bit, so maybe the effect on net happiness would be a wash. With that in mind, and ignoring any impact on the length of the season or fitting in games, would you like to shorten the off-season or increase the length of the off-season?

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: I like roughly the balance we have now. As a writer, the season is long enough, and the playoffs are draining…but this time of year is terrible in a different way. Yet the writer perspective is not the average-fan perspective. I think baseball takes just long enough off to get people sufficiently jazzed for when it returns

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: You get a number of cold, dark months to reflect on how much you appreciate the fact that baseball is that for you every single freaking day of the summer and spring

10:33

nickh93: Thanks for the feedback. Do you think Dombrowski will make another big move in season because he finally got a chance to see the minor leaguers play more than 2 weeks. Or do you think is hands are tied because of the large payroll

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Red Sox have anything planned, but we’ll see how Hanley Ramirez adjusts in Year 2

10:33

Jim: Just me or do the 2016 dodgers have crazy volatility? Puig healthy, first half Joc/Grandal, Seager, Ryu back = 100+ wins. Puig lost, Second half Joc/Grandal, Seager struggles, Ryu not healhy… yikes.

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: Question is, are they more volatile than other teams? Giants had injury problems, for example, and they added Cueto/Samardzija/Span, all of whom have big red flags

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: Every single team has volatility. What’s important is *relative* volatility. We don’t have a measure of that at the moment

10:35

ElkCreek: Best hike in the north Oregon coast range?

10:36

JP: Would you rather have Bogaerts or Lindor?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Lindor by a small amount

10:36

ArunK: Who do you think signs next, Cespedes or Upton? Any guesses on which team?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Gut feeling is Upton goes next for a short deal and earlier I mentioned the White Sox

10:37

ElkCreek: Best volcano in the north of Bend?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: You mean immediately north of Bend? Big fan of Jefferson

10:38

Daniel: Does Jackie Bradley Jr. for Jorge Soler make sense for both sides? Gives the Cubs a top 2 defensive CF and gives the Red Sox a potential thumper in their lineup.

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: I like this idea about as much as I like the Inciarte/Soler idea.

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Only thing is the Red Sox might not be willing to be as patient as the Braves might be with Soler’s development

10:39

Cory: Do you feel as though the Astros need to make another addition to be considered one of the top contenders? Their offseason has been very dull.

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: They might already be the best team in the American League. They probably want another starting pitcher, which would help. And obviously there are questions about Singleton. But they’re solid top to bottom

10:40

Drew: Who would you rather have playing CF for your baseball team: Griffey Jr, Andruw Jones, Billy Hamilton, Kiermaier?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Like, right now?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Griffey had the best peak. Jones had the best defense

10:40

anon: What is major difference between the defensive measures? What don’t they measure?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: They don’t consider shifts. I don’t really know what the particular differences are between UZR and DRS

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: It would be helpful to have a “team UZR” measure that is different from the sum of the individual components. Because team UZR could fold shifts in pretty easily

10:41

Kylo Ren: Rank the NL West teams best to worst after the Span signing…Dodgers, Giants, DBacks, Padres?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: I also forget about the Rockies like six times a day

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: I agree with your order

10:43

biffyclyro: What is Fowler’s market now that Span signed with SF?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Tigers, if they don’t get Cespedes

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: But it’s not easy. That draft pick compensation is a problem for him

10:44

Drew: Would you rather save some money and sign Alexei to a short-term deal or hope for big things from Desmond? I think I’m taking Alexei and his inflated BABIP and better defense.

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: I’d take Desmond. I feel like Ramirez is about finished

10:45

ElkCreek: If Felix’s career ended today, he’d be border-line for the HOF, yes?

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: He’s still a little short, by the Koufax standard. A year or two off

10:46

Drew: Why would someone vote for Clemens but not Barry?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Literally not one single clue

10:46

Jim: What does it take for the Angels to land khris dVis

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Whatever their best remaining prospect is

10:48

Bryan: Opening Day right fielder for KC will be…?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: They open against the Mets, which means they open against a righty, which means they open with Jarrod Dyson in right field

10:49

Guest: How prepared should we all be for Royals Devil Magic to help Chien-Ming Wang throw 150 innings with a sub-4 ERA

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: As prepared as you are for the next word I type

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: boot

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: that prepared

10:50

Pete: This has got to be a worst-case-scenario type of offseason for the Reds, yeah?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: Votto hasn’t hurt himself doing something he wasn’t supposed to do yet

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise, yeah

10:51

Patrick J: Also regarding Griffey’s backwards hat… I think a lot of the iconography of it comes from the 1993 HR Derby at Camden Yards where he hit the warehouse. He did the entire thing wearing the hat backwards. As a 10 year old, I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

10:51

ElkCreek: How many weird things were going on in the late 90s early 2000s that people were hitting 50 home runs with regularity? Is it just steroids, or was it a perfect storm of the league wanting more offense and failing to police offenses?

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: PEDs, small strike zones, allegedly live baseballs

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Lots of stuff came together to build one weird-ass era of the game

10:52

frank the tank: don’t forget ricky bottalico

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: who could

10:52

Nick: Do you believe the reports that the White Sox won’t exceed 3 years for an outfielder? Or are Hahn and co. posturing?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: They’re probably just testing to see how desperate the OF market is. What we really learned is the White Sox are semi-serious about adding another bat

10:53

Ben: If Chi Chi+ can get Ozuna, shouldn’t the Mariners step in with Paxton?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: well, Chi Chi+ hasn’t gotten Ozuna yet

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: but yes, Paxton would make sense

10:54

Pete: Is Votto and the next best player on his team represent the biggest gap in talent on any single team?

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: It’s cheating, but it’s probably Trout — Simmons/Richards/Calhoun

10:55

Sam: How would you construct SFs current lineup? Span slot in at the top? Or would you push his contact skills maybe a bit lower in lineup?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: I like him just fine at leadoff, presuming he’s healthy and normal

10:56

Jon: Do teams with set positions (five or six starters, three good outfielders, etc.) but needs elsewhere ever sign a player to create a logam in order to trade from it soon after? Seems like a strategy that would make sense, and has probably happened, but can’t think of any. For example, if the Mariners had signed Kazmir, then traded Paxton/Walker for a comparably valued position player. Or something.

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: Teams would probably only do that if they had a really strong feeling the next transaction was right around the corner. They won’t get themselves deliberately into a potential problem if they don’t have a plan for a way out

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Right now the Dodgers probably have too many starters. It’s hard to see how this is going to shake out

10:57

Alex: Who do you think wins a World Series first: Mets, Cubs, or Astros?

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: I guess Cubs, since right now I think they’re the best team and they’re built to be strong for a while

10:59

grumbleshoes: I don’t remember where I saw it on Twitter (always a good sign), but I heard Justin Upton may be considering a 1 year contract. Isn’t that kind of bonkers for what it says about the market?

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: Weird exactly how we got here, but next year’s outfield market is bad, and Upton is young, so it would be basically just buying time

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: You do get the sense there was a run on pitchers that too many teams got swept up in

11:00

Jimmy: Dipoto has repeatedly said that the Mariners are done with significant moves. Seems like an odd thing to say. If something fell into his lap, as already happened with Iwakuma, he would obviously pull the trigger. I can’t imagine that he’s done exploring trades either.

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Obviously you can’t predict surprise offers or free-agent availabilities, but I doubt Dipoto is planning anything else.

11:00

Raindog: Jeff, would a trade of out of options Dylan Bundy for a Colorado outfielder be crazy for the O’s, crazy for the Rockies, or just a fascinating bet?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Fascinating bet

11:01

Manny: Lets say that David Price chooses not to opt out. How good will that contract look in years 4-7?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Presumably not good, if he chose not to opt out

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Are you asking as if he were great, but didn’t opt out for some reason?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Then that’s just a weird hypothetical!

11:02

Zonk: Part of the D-Backs plan this offseason, specifically trading Inciarte, seems to hinge on Yasmany Tomas being good. What is your opinion on how likely that is to happen? ZIPS hates him, FWIW, but he’s only had one year.

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t like him. I don’t like him at all

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: Really unimpressed me last season

11:02

Q-Ball: Will we ever see a major-league deal with a mid-season opt-out clause? Could it be tied to team record?

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: No, you’ll never see that. And no one wants to be a midseason free-agent anyhow. But I feel like there have been contracts with mutual understandings that a player will be traded midseason

11:03

Guesto: Pat Mitsch threw a championship Game 7 no-hitter in Taiwan in October. Baseball is baseball and that’s awesome.

11:03

Aron: Seems like Cruz isn’t going to be one of Dipoto’s many moves. Do you think that’s more because Dipoto values him as a player or doesn’t want the backlash?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Dipoto wants to win in 2016. Cruz is good enough. The outfield market is flooded and the DH market is limited. Not really much of anything to do

11:04

BS: Is it possible that JUpton and YC are still on the market is because teams see some dog in them?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I do think there’s some negative perception about Upton. Not as much Cespedes

11:04

Jesse: Which teams are having the most peculiar offseasons so far?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I never really know what the Rockies are up to

11:05

Sean P: Think it might make any sense for the Cubs to pursue Jonathan Lucroy?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: They don’t need him

11:07

Strotation: Not a Marcus Stroman question, but an Astros one: % chance Lance McCullers ends up being the best pitcher in Houston’s rotation this season? Keuchel is great but seems like McCullers has the strikeout stuff to dominate, whereas Dallas’ K/9 can reasonably be expected to drop a bit based on his SwStrk%, no?

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, 20%? I’m not yet to the point where I really trust McCullers’ command or stamina. Real exciting pitcher, but Keuchel is durable and polished

11:08

Jeff: If I’m remembering correctly there is an effect to having fire ball relievers come in after soft tossing starters. Is the reverse true? The pirates currently have about 6 guys who throw 98.. and a closer who throws 92

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Just off the top of my head, I think there’s a slight advantage — short-term — to any abrupt change in pitching style

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: It’s for this reason I wonder about the Orioles having O’Day and Givens basically back-to-back as similar funky relievers

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Very small concern but an interesting one

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Pirates are clearly prioritizing reliever velocity, Melancon be damned

11:09

James: Do you think MIA manages to move Ozuna? Best trade partner on paper?

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Wrong offseason, it seems like, with so many available outfielders. They have time to re-visit later

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I think it’s time for me to get going

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

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/8/16 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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Original Greaser Bob
Member
Original Greaser Bob

Hi Jeff.

Excelsior
CHD&WB

Brians Sticky Sock
Member
Brians Sticky Sock

Don’t really get the way chats work do ya, champ?

Art Vandelay
Member
Member
Art Vandelay

I haven’t decided if he’s real or not.