Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/16/18

9:02

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:02

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:02

Bork: Hello, friend!

9:02

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:02

Fredrick: Hi Jeff! Do you know when the pre-season Depth Chart prjections will be updated to include ZiPS? Also, do you know if steamer or ZiPS has taken into account the new humidor at chase field?

Thanks

9:02

Jeff Sullivan: Can’t imagine the projections will adjust themselves for the humidor

9:03

Jeff Sullivan: As for when ZiPS will arrive, I don’t have a specific date, but the last few years everything has been folded in by the beginning of March, and I think this year ZiPS is slightly ahead of schedule

9:03

Jack: Toronto’s chances of keeping Stroman past his team control years don’t seem very good, given they’ve already had to go to arbitration in both years he’s been eligible so far and he tweeted he’ll “never forget” the things they said about him at the hearing. He’s also apparently on bad terms with Aaron Sanchez for whatever reason now, who used to a very close friend of his, and how thin skinned he is and how he’s constantly taking everything as a slight against him sounds like it’s starting to wear on some people with the team. If the Jays aren’t contending this year, do you think they look to move him? He’s a good pitcher, but he doesn’t seem likely to stick around long term, and he also seems like a bit of a headache

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: First things first — I don’t think these situations really end up having long-term impacts, most of the time. Arbitration can be ugly, but when Ben Lindbergh has looked into this in the past, he hasn’t found that players who go through arbitration are more likely to leave

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Players and teams have relationships for a while. Relationships involve disputes. It happens; Stroman would still feel some kind of internal loyalty toward the club and his teammates

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Now that all being said, it’s not hard at all to see Stroman becoming available in July if the Jays are out of it. Of course, that depends on how badly they’re out of it, and on how Stroman has performed, but he could be their own version of Chris Archer or whatever

9:06

Vargas, baby, Vargas: who is the odd man out in nym rotation? Matz, Wheeler or too early to tell?

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Too early to tell for now, but, very obviously, the Mets are going to need more than five starters anyway

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Matz is coming back from surgery. Wheeler is coming back from his own health problems, which followed surgery. The Mets’ actual opening-day rotation doesn’t mean much of anything to me beyond Syndergaard and deGrom

9:08

Old Man Manny: Anything the Dodgers, Astros, or Cubs can do before Opening Day that would significantly increase their odds of winning the World Series?

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: Cubs are presumably finished with the big stuff after Darvish. The Astros could go get, say, Realmuto. Or the Dodgers could get someone like Archer. Wouldn’t move the odds more than a percentage point or two, but those are impact moves that remain possible

9:11

Tater: With the Vargas and Cashner signings, can we say that ~180 average-ish, low upside innings is worth roughly 8M in free agency?  That definitely seems cheaper than in years past…

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Vargas is coming off a 112 xFIP-. Cashner, 121. I know that Vargas had a great April and Cashner had a low ERA, but I don’t think either one of these guys can rightly be considered average-ish. They’re fringe starters

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: A year ago, Travis Wood got 2/$12m

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Jason Hammel got 2/$16m

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: Hammel and Vargas presented similar cases, so they’ve received similar contracts

9:14

Ben: Jaime Garcia, Vargas or Cashner? Do you like any of these deals more or less then the others?

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: Somehow Garcia got the smallest contract of the three while being the best pitcher

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: I know he has a bumpy health history, but so do the other two

9:17

Matt: hey Jeff. Thoughts on the Jason Vargas deal?

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: At least Andrew Cashner is analytically interesting

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: The value in Vargas isn’t really about Vargas, in a way; it’s about the reliability of innings. Having him around means fewer innings might have to go to zeros, even if Vargas is just a one or a two

9:18

Bork: Will Cashner save the O’s?

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: He’ll actually cost the O’s! Sixteen million dollars!

9:20

Ross: Why has Sergio Romo had to settle for small one-year deals in back-to-back offseasons? He has a long history of being an effective reliever, a 2.69 ERA and 2.88 FIP over a 10-year career, lots of postseason experience and success if you care about that sort of thing. He was going through a rough stretch as a Dodger with balls flying out at an insane rate against him, but that corrected itself after he was traded to the Rays and then he got back to being very good. Seems like someone the Nationals, or even the Giants, should’ve signed at that price, no? They’re probably just gonna end up looking to trade for a guy like that at the deadline

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: I like Romo enough because he still misses bats, but these days he tops out in the mid-80s and teams feel like they have to be careful not to show him too many lefties. He’s unusual and he’s kind of a specialist, so teams just aren’t willing to give him multiple years at a time

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: This is where Steve Cishek will end up in a couple of seasons

9:23

Lou : The Dodgers value depth and probably don’t like the idea of spending $20 mil for zero return on the field, are the chances Matt Kemp makes the Opening Day roster getting better?

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: I think what’s changed here is the urgency. The Dodgers are like $17 million under the luxury tax. Before Darvish signed with the Cubs, you could easily see why the Dodgers would want to shed Kemp’s salary. But now — what would they be clearing for? They’re not going to sign Arrieta or Hosmer. They don’t seem to need that flexibility

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Dodgers actually like or want Matt Kemp, in particular. But now they have even less reason to package a good young player along with him in a salary dump. They just don’t need it like they might’ve before. So for that reason alone, Kemp’s chances of making the roster are higher than they were, since they were about 0%

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Even if Kemp does make the team, though, I don’t think he lasts very long

9:27

manse gray: There is talk that a team desperately! needs! a power hitter, yet that team won 90+ games with its particular combination of pre-game preparation, pitching, defense, offense, baserunning, in-game management, and luck and despite the below average overall players’ performance by offensive statistics and advanced metrics and, by some accounts, despite clubhouse dysfunction.  Wouldn’t the expected current year win total be similar, given: all players return;  positive and negative regression (including factors for age and injury) of those players and of their current season scheduled opponents (who may have added or subtracted players) while controlling for the difference in inter-league opponents and luck?

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: The Red Sox are very good

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re quite as good as the Yankees, but this is an excellent baseball team. There’s a fair offer out there for J.D. Martinez, but if it’s not good enough for him, the Sox can survive. They’ll be great for three and a half months, then they can try to trade for whatever else they might need

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: David Price is the huge question mark. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if, in a few months, they need a pitcher more than they need a hitter

9:29

Tater: Landing spot for Greg Holland?  I’ve felt like it was STL from the start even after stories came out about them being not too hot on him.

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: I honestly don’t know. It’s a complete mystery to me

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe that’s where the Nationals go if they don’t go for Arrieta, but in that case Holland wouldn’t be closing, so is that something he’d really want?

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Random dark horse: the A’s have budget room left to spend, and no one to spend it on

9:32

Hunky Dory: How should Mets fans feel about their offseason, now that a reasonable amount of money has been spent, if mostly on middling players like Vargas, Bruce, and Frazier?

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: The Mets have been in the right position to tinker and try to add. But their season is also probably going to come down to Conforto, deGrom, Syndergaard, and a few of the other starters. Not a whole lot you can do about health, during the winter — it’ll either be there or it won’t. The real impact players were already on the roster. They’re the question marks. Everything else has just lifted the team’s floor

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: Like, it feels a little strange to take at-bats away from Wilmer Flores, but on the other hand, now that’s a good hitter who’s available off the bench as a multi-position reserve. Pretty neat

9:34

Tim: Have you had a moment yet this year where you’ve seen a picture of a guy at spring training and been like “Oh yeah, this guy’s with this team now”? For me, I had totally forgotten that Ron Gardenhire is managing the Tigers now

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: I had too until your comment

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: My job is to be aware of everything, but out of the 30 teams this season, I expect to pay attention to the Tigers the least

9:35

Hannah Hochevar: Given he still throws hard, is it possible Cashner can get his k’s back?

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Some of them, yeah. It might not be a coincidence that he, Hamels, and Darvish all lost a bunch of strikeouts while pitching for the Rangers last season

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: Cashner’s bat-missing slider kind of disappeared as it turned more into a cutter. Can probably be at least partially recovered

9:37

Philosoraptor: Jeff, you are a Very Smart Baseballman. Today, you would almost certainly be a terrible GM, because that is a really specific and hard job. If you were transported 20 years back in time, say, with a secret Fangraphs/Statcast/modern baseball stats machine, how awesome would you be? The knowledge would make you really good right

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: 20 years ago most of us here, including the readers, would’ve been able to build an MLB juggernaut

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: I mean that in all sincerity!

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe we wouldn’t have the necessary people skills, I don’t know, but just in terms of analysis and roster-building, we would’ve been so far ahead of the curve

9:40

Kareem Hunt: Has there been any news on Sano? Good bet for suspension?

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t seen an update, but I know a month or so ago the team said that ideally they’d have an answer by the start of spring training. Something will probably come out soon, and I would expect that Sano will be suspended

9:40

lagniappe: Jeff, are you going to continue KATOH or is that lost forever?  What if Pecota had been lost when Nate left?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: KATOH belongs to Chris, and Chris has been hired by somebody else

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Eventually someone new might come along who does statistical prospect analysis, but for the time being, I guess it’s just up to Carson’s fringe five

9:42

Zonk: Gerardo Parra is out 4-6 weeks…even if the Rockies are kind of broke, why not get some cheap depth?  Thinking something Seth Smith or Cameron Maybin-esque

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: They’re probably focusing instead on a resolution at first base, since that could affect their outfield depth on account of Ian Desmond

9:45

Sean R: Jeff, I need your breakdown of Nick Franklin rejoining the Brewers

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: Technically, between 2016 and 2017, Franklin’s wRC+ dropped from 109 to 48

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: But in 2017, he actually posted the higher expected wOBA!

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: He’s still not actually good, but since he turns only 27 in a couple of weeks, whatever, there’s worse depth to have in Triple-A

9:46

Charlie: Why aren’t types of outs considered in calculating wOBA and similar stats? Don’t strikeouts have different base-out implications than flyouts and groundouts?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: All the outs are similar. Strikeouts present basically no advancement opportunities, but ball-in-play outs can turn into double plays

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: The benefit, in other words, is statistically negligible

9:48

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: How cocky is too cocky? Asking for Brent Honeyw…er, a friend.

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: On Ryan Anderson:

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: “”Typical” may not be the most apt description for the storkish kid, now 19, who showed equal parts precociousness and braggadocio. Struggling to find his place among the veterans, the man-child misspoke badly when he stated that he had “pretty much dominated” the hitters one day in batting practice early last spring.

Those hitters, including Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner and Ken Griffey Jr., the latter leaving after a handful of pitches, were taking the first swings at live pitching after a winter off. Anderson had been throwing in the bullpen for 10 days.

His comment was not received well by the Mariners, who quickly showed the raw pitcher a rookie’s place was one of quiet observation. They rode him hard. One day, they left a case of baseballs next to his locker in mock expectation of getting him to autograph them. “The Dominator,” they called him.”

9:50

Zach: so the Blue Jays offseason consists of Granderson, Grichuk, Solarte, Diaz, now Jaime Garcia…..how much more blah can that get?

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: The Blue Jays are trying to transition to an imminent younger phase and instead of bottoming out they currently project to be in the thick of the AL wild-card hunt

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: They could probably use, say, another good reliever or something, but given that the Jays weren’t going to keep up with the Yankees and Red Sox, this isn’t so bad

9:51

Davy: You’re still here!

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: The Athletic hasn’t even sent me an email!

9:52

Zonk: Do you hate offseason grades?  Drop us one on the Cubs offseason if you please

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: Probably A-, maybe B+, but the only real negativity is that I’m not a Tyler Chatwood believer like they are

9:53

Old Man Manny: Has this off-season been slow enough to make you excited for the first two innings of the first spring training game? I hate spring training games generally, but this year I’m pumped up enough to start my own spring training fantasy league.

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really care about spring-training games at all, but I am excited to have stuff to read that isn’t just about the free-agent market

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Give me fluff!

9:54

Hunky Dory: Yankees fans should be ecstatic that the Jays signed a soft-tossing lefty to face the all-righty Murderer’s Row multiple times this year, right?

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: That would be an over-the-top response

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: I envy anyone who could feel genuine ecstasy about something like that

9:56

Tater: Who do you think is the best pitcher in the BAL pen and why is it Mychal Givens?

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: I love Mychal Givens

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: Although at the same time I’ve had to laugh at rumors that have suggested he’s “untouchable”

9:57

TC: If i’m watching 2 guys sitting at a table, squabbling about how they are going to divvy up my money, why am I supposed to care which guy gets more of it?  Where does this narrative come from that if I’m not “on the players side” then I am :on the owners side”?

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: Like everything else in America, baseball is proving incapable of avoiding polarization

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: That being said, those interested in true fairness would give less of a shit about those two guys and more of a shit about the third guy, sitting at a nearby table, eating a quarter of a peanut-butter sandwich

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t actually clear at all so to be more direct, they should pay minor leaguers. I don’t care what major leaguers are getting paid as long as minor leaguers are getting paid basically nothing

10:00

John: Is Stroman-Sanchez-Happ-Estrada-Garcia the best rotation in the AL East?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: No

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Might even be fourth

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: At least you know it’s not fifth!

10:01

Andy: Did you ever think you’d see the day where Jason Vargas, Andrew Cashner, and Jaime Garcia were the top 3 most searched players on Fangraphs?

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Our readers are passionate about the news!

10:01

Q-Ball: Where does Jake Arrieta land at this point?

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: You can’t count out the possibility that Boras will persuade Nationals ownership. But I can’t help but imagine the Phillies trying to overwhelm Arrieta with high salaries and limited years

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: The Brewers could conceivably attempt the same thing

10:03

A Baseball Person: Do you think Tim Lincecum can end up being an effective reliever in 2018? I feel like if I’m the Royals, or some other terrible team, I might bring him in just for the fan interest aspect.

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Not only do I think Lincecum could succeed as a reliever; I think he’ll get an opportunity with a team in contention

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: If Bud Norris can be a good reliever, Tim Lincecum can be a good reliever

10:05

Mark: Hey Jeff, after Stroman’s ‘outburt’ is there any correlation between going (or not) to arbitration and performance the next season? (eg. arb guys want to show their team the folly of their ways and thus play better)

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Players are already so deeply motivated. Motivated by ego, motivated by fortune. Marcus Stroman has never been lacking for drive. This isn’t going to matter

10:06

Mike: Remember you’re going to die.

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Possibly soon!

10:06

Mike: Congrats on a better chat.

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: I appreciate your support

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: I’d call it your undying support, but, well

10:07

Q-Ball: At what point in the offseason for hitters and pitchers does a late start to ST start to hurt their value?

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: I’d say they have another two weeks or so. Beyond that it could be tough to catch up by opening day

10:08

Sirras: Has any research been done into the relationship between health (or days spent on the DL as a quantifiable proxy) and either baserunning or defense? My gut mostly just processes food but if it could think I’d imagine it would expect a relationship of some sort.

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: I can’t think of any specific research but I don’t know why your intuition wouldn’t be correct. Especially with leg or hip problems

10:08

Damian: Jose Martinez’s breakout seemed awfully last year. Are the Cardinals going to be able to find him more than part time ABs?

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: I know that, this offseason, teams have inquired about his availability and the Cardinals have turned those teams away. So that at least seems to suggest they like having him and intend to use him

10:09

Scoko: Am I missing something here by the positive spin of recent Vargas signing?  Vargas basically missed all of 2015 and 2016 with injury.  He was horrendous 2nd half of 2017.  He is 35.  I can swallow 1 yr 8M, but 2 at 16M seems optimistic.

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: He made the All-Star team. Full stop. The Mets get to say they signed an All-Star. In reality, Vargas had one strong month, and it was his first

10:10

Q-Ball: It seems like a bunch of fringe FA are signing minor-league deals to get into camp, and cheap signs like Vargas, Garcia, Cashner are coming off the board.  Will we be left with just “expensive”, and “possibly toast” FA left soon?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: You mean Boras clients

10:11

PTBNL: What are the odds Hanley hits the PA threshold for his 2019 vesting option? Feel like the Sox wouldn’t want it to vest especially with the nunez signing and potential JDM signing.

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: They’ll almost certainly find a way to not let Hanley get there. That is, unless he’s totally mashing, but if they do sign J.D. Martinez or some other bat, that’ll be the control right there

10:13

THe law : Hi Jeff, happy Friday. what happens to the Yankees if Sanchez goes down for a while? Romine is really really bad and the drop down to him from Gary may be the biggest in baseball

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: What do the Angels do if Trout goes down for a while?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: What do the Astros do if Altuve goes down for a while?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: The Yankees could use a better backup catcher, but as team needs go, that’s not a horrible one to have near the top of the list

10:14

Sean R: Is it easy to say the Mariners should steer into the skid and spend this offseason given the lack of prospects in the fold?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: They could use another starting pitcher. They don’t seem to be willing to spend for one. Ownership has probably imposed some kind of budget ceiling

10:15

Guest: Now that the A’s have an fairly set infield, and at least a couple of outfield pieces, do you see them being a surprise team in the free agent pitching market to bolster an anemic rotation?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Since their projected payroll is down about $23 million, yeah, I think they could be lurking

10:16

Sharp: Can the rest of the Yankees roster hit enough home runs to carry Judge, Sanchez, and Stanton’s total and break the single season record?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll write about this when we actually get ZiPS information included

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: Last time I checked, which was a few weeks ago, Steamer thinks the Yankees will end up second in home runs, behind the Orioles(!)

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: But I’d like to get ZiPS as well before I publish anything

10:17

Anthony: Are you optimistic about Michael Brantley? All of the skills seem intact despite the injuries

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: I think his peak is long gone. I still think he’s capable of starting most days

10:17

Lou Sassole: How do you think Cashner will fare in a division full of hitters’ parks without the ability to get strikeouts in bunches?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: The amazing thing is he’s still probably an improvement over who the Orioles were *going* to use

10:18

Hunky Dory: What could happen to derail the Nats’ season and open a door to a Mets NLE title?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Mets stay mostly healthy, one or two core Nationals get hurt

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: That simple

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: If that’s simple

10:19

Eric: What team that people view as an around .500 team or better do you see most likely ending up deep in the cellar. My bet, is the Rangers. And for me I see “around .500” meaning 82 wins +/- 4 games

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: I agree on the Rangers. I see more downside than upside there and I like the other rosters in the division

10:20

Matt: In this era of platoons becoming more prevalent, would it potentially confer an advantage for a team facing another team that utilizes one or more platoons to announce a starting pitcher, then pull that starter after one pitch and replace him with another pitcher who throws with the opposite hand? It would probably require a swing man or someone who is prepared to start being in the bullpen, but seems like it could work in some situations.

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think any team wants to set that precedent. The advantage would be so very small, and the opponent would get pissed off and look for reasons to do something similar to you down the line

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: To say nothing of how hard it would be to “hide” a second pitcher warming up at the same time as the first one

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Now, if it’s late September and you’ve got a must-win game coming up, whatever, go nuts. It’s all in the spirit of competition. But a lot of people would see this less as a stroke of genius, and more as something bush league

10:22

Lester is More: Do the Cubs stick with Lester as Opening Day starter?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: I cannot imagine caring

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: They have four very good starters. It’ll probably be Lester but it’s irrelevant

10:23

Tito: Jeff, love your writing style for its informal, spoken nature.  Do you have writers who were influential in developing this style?  Are you the Faulkner of Fangraphs?

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: I have no formal writing background so I know of no other way to write

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes it works out and sometimes I’m deeply jealous of Carson’s vocabulary

10:24

Fan of a Super-Team: Enjoyed your article on failed super teams. Which of this year’s anticipated Super-Teams do you think is most vulnerable to underwhelming expectations?

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it would take anything too unreasonable to kind of derail the Indians pitching staff

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: Like, Salazar is already behind. The bullpen has gotten thinner, etc

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: But really this comes down to me trying to project good and bad health. The Dodgers look a little more vulnerable, too, given how their starting depth has thinned out

10:25

Q-Ball: Why do the Brewers projections seem consistently low?  (78 wins right now).  Do we believe the projections, or is there something they are not accounting for?

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: ZiPS likes them considerably more than Steamer does. I wish that we could have ZiPS all year long, so that situations like this wouldn’t happen

10:26

AC: With the variability in projections, and the possibility that super teams can still miss WS wins, could the new trend be for teams to try to build 82-Win teams and try to sustain that over a long period of time, while hoping a few things break in their favor every few years?

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: That’s kind of been, say, the Pirates/Rays/A’s model

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: And I think, at least anecdotally, we’ve observed two disparate trends in the wild-card era. At first, when we had a second wild card, it felt like teams were just trying to get to 85 wins. Now it seems like they’re trying to get to 95 wins. It’s going to be cyclical; there won’t always be so many great teams as right now

10:28

Foodie Estevao: Here is my list of the best things to put on a hot dog, in descending order of necessity:  mustard, dill relish, sport peppers, tomatoes, celery salt, pickle, onions.  Thoughts?

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Good hot dog

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: But if you’re trying to get me to insult the ketchup crowd, you’re going to fail, because I don’t care how people eat

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Sure, some people eat in ways that I find personally disgusting, but some people root for the Maple Leafs. Doesn’t mean I can’t still get along with them

10:30

Matt: Remember all those stories about how sign-language interpreters at large events didn’t actually know sign language? Any chance there is a similar explanation for the entire health staff for the Mets?

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: Every single medical professional working for the Mets has been a secret agent who had to gain access into the ballpark by wearing a costume they found on a hanger outside

10:31

PTBNL: True or False: Manny Machado is an Oriole on 8/1/2018.

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll go with false

10:31

Hannah Hochevar: Eno says Cashner suffers from where he releases the ball re effective velo and spin, but wouldn’t all that have been true during his good years too?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Cashner suffers from his pitches not being good enough

10:32

Chuck-it: Is the Jays offense really going to be right there with the Indians and Red Sox for runs?

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so

10:33

Ramirez: Jeff how much of the Pham breakout do you buy? Seems to me he’s a legitimate 20/20 .275 guy. Chance he can be more? Seems to be training hard in offseason.

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: I buy him as a 4-win player more than I buy him as a 6-win superstar

10:33

Anthony: Could the Phillies jump in on Moustakas? He seems an upgrade over Franco, and it’s not impossible to see a WC contender, right?

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: While I think the Phillies are in a decent position, and while I think Moustakas is indeed better than Franco, it’s still hard to see a move like this happening, with Franco still young. He’d be directly blocked at a sensitive time in his development

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: If Franco has an option remaining, I guess you could send him to Triple-A for a season, but the more likely path, I think, is that the Phillies bring in a starter instead

10:37

mmddyyyy: If he had to choose today, would Stanton opt out in 2 years?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Today, Stanton probably wouldn’t be all that excited about the prospect of being a free agent

10:38

Craig: Why would a minor league free agent sign with a team like the Yankees or dodgers as opposed to with the Marlins or Tigers for a better opportunity?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes teams like the Yankees simply offer more money

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: But you’re right in that generally speaking minor-league free agents with ambitions will target organizations where they feel like they aren’t blocked

10:40

Polonia’s choice: Where are you on Brandon Maurer? Is he one tweak away from becoming Tommy Kahnle?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure there’s ever been anyone worse at pitching with runners on base

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Career .283 wOBA with the bases empty, .384 with runners on. FIP gap of 3.16 and 4.98

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if that’s mental or related to pitching from the stretch, but Maurer *has* to figure that out

10:41

mmddyyyy: Would Kershaw put up better numbers as closer than Jansen?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: No. Numbers better than Jansen’s basically cannot exist

10:42

botchatheny: more likely to win cy young: wainwright or mikolas?

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: uhhhh

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: Wainwright

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: he hasn’t lost all that much stuff since 2014

10:42

Coz: Do you foresee any of the big name free agents signing after opening day?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: I still can’t see that happening, given that it hasn’t worked out very well for players before

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: But admittedly in a few of these cases this offseason is very weird

10:43

CamdenWarehouse: over/under 5.00 ERA for Cashner?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: Over

10:44

chet: should the cubs be a darkhorse team for JD, look to trade Schwarber to, say, cleveland?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Nah. You don’t want to make that kind of commitment to J.D. Martinez playing the outfield

10:44

Cause and Effect: Think that the ultra-slow offseason will lead to more in-season deals occurring as chips continue to fall, and the super-teams begin to separate themselves from the pack? Or will the fact that would-be-buyers like NYY and LAD are determined to stay under the competitive balance tax threshold hamper in-season moves, too?

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers probably aren’t going to add $17 million to their luxury-tax payroll midseason

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Trading activity should look familiar. Great teams will have surprising weaknesses. Some mediocre teams will overachieve and look to make a July addition or two

10:46

ericstephenisgod: how many teams have a legit chance at a championship?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Depends on your cutoff for “legiti.” 8? 10?

10:46

David Chavin: Any news on Jonathon Lucroy? It just seems like there has been no interest at all from any teams.

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t even seen a rumor

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Makes me wonder about the A’s

10:47

TF Fredrik: On the dodgers team preview, having barnes and grandal was discussed like it was a zero sum decision. Isn’t catcher the best spot to have two good players? What is wrong with a 55-45, 60-40 split between the two. Seems a less is more approach at one of the toughest jobs in pro sports. Would Grandal really be that against splitting the job? I feel like you could spin it to keep him fresher and healthier.

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: This is probably how the Dodgers feel. If you trade Grandal, you’re getting worse at a position where the starter needs to get regular rest. As is, maybe the Dodgers have “too much” talent at backstop, but it’s better than not having enough. No team in baseball places a higher priority on depth

10:48

PTBNL: Who else do you think the O’s will add to fill out the back of the rotation? Or will they try to fill it out with internal options?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll add one more C- or D-list free agent

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the O’s either bring Chris Tillman back, or sign like Scott Feldman

10:50

Endy Chavez: The Mets have been active this offseason but they don’t seem to be getting much for their money. Thoughts on their moves?

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Well, the Frazier move was great on its own

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: And I like Swarzak quite a bit

10:51

Anthony: Is Realmuto on the Marlins opening day roster? What about on August 1?

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Beginning to feel like Realmuto gets moved next winter

10:51

Nicky: Are you planning to visit Japan to see some active volcanoes and attend NPB games so that you can watch Takuya Nakashima’s at bats?

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: I am not

10:51

c: what are the orioles doing? garcia goes for 1/10 and cashner for a fortune?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: In fairness, if $16 million is a fortune, $10 million is also a fortune

10:52

mmddyyyy: Is a TJ pitcher riskier 2 years after surgery or 4?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: I think the answer might actually be 4

10:52

mmddyyyy: What are you drinking?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: water

10:52

Chuck-it: Jaime Garcia the best signing of the last 24 hours?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: I think so. Not much competition

10:53

Hi Red Baron: Where do you think Alex Cobb is most likely to sign and what are your predictions for his season?

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: I feel like I have to put him on either the Phillies or the Brewers. I don’t have any inside intel. And Cobb should pitch like a fine No. 3

10:54

Tugs: What is your Brewers Bandwagon status? Were you on it after the Cain//Yelich deals, but now your off now that the Cubs landed Darvish? Still on? Never on in the first place?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: I still like their direction, even though I never thought they’d be as good as the Cubs in 2018. I just like that they’re opening their window, and Cain/Yelich are multi-year adds. They could really use another starter

10:55

Hunky Dory: Should the Royals salary-dump Hammel (Angels or Mariners), or hold onto him until July to raise value?

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: No one’s going to pay much for a starter like Jason Hammel in July. That’s because no one wants to be starting Jason Hammel in October. If the Royals need money now, they should salary-dump him. If they want him to eat innings in the meantime, little harm in keeping him around and flipping him for a low-level flier in five months

10:56

Best Beard *Right Now*: Who has the best beard in the game right now? I’m voting Justin Turner, but I’m biased.

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: Late comer onto the scene: Tony Zych

10:57

Sterling Malory Chris Archer: If Vince Velazquez gets hurt at some point this year, should he move to the bullpen when he gets back? Or would you give him another year to start?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: I’d be very close to just putting him in the bullpen permanently

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: He could even be a shutdown closer by June, for all I know

10:58

Chuck-it: Any chance a team swoops in and steals Oh from the Rangers? Is the delay related to his physical?

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why there’s a delay, but it’s probably because of the physical, and, if that’s true, I don’t know why another team would be in a hurry to scoop Oh up

10:59

JoeBo: What kind of season do you think Quintana will have with the Cubs?

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: A good one

10:59

Sean R: Do you have any “jealous lover” envy when you hear Baumann & Ben pod?

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have the stamina to pod more than I already do. If Ben has needs that exceed what I’m able to provide, well, it only makes sense that we’d come to an understanding

11:00

Nick: What rookie from last year is in for the biggest regression in your opinion?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Probably DeJong

11:01

B: What are you expecting out of Addison Russell this season? He made some pretty big strides from 15-16, but last season seems like somewhat of a lost season for him due to injuries and personal problems. Do you see him bouncing back and continuing to the be the Cubs SS of the future?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: I expect that he’ll remain an above-average everyday shortstop who is still less than what people think he ought to be

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Russell is going to blossom into a regular, consistent offensive threat. Not at this point

11:02

odd questions: NL East – lowest odds of any division to contain a wild-card playoff team this year?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: AL Central

11:02

TRANE: Astros O/U set at 96.5 wins, which way are you going?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: Over

11:03

Ander: Hi Jeff, please don’t leave fangraphs. At least until next year. Thanks and this wasn’t a question

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Not planning to

11:03

Chet Manly: Jeff Sullivan is going to host a “Pitch Talks” one day in Ottawa when he realizes his dream of finally catching a Sens game, true or false?

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been to a Sens game. I had the pleasure of watching them get destroyed by Montreal

11:03

Tater: Of the FAs still available who will get less than a ~50M contract, who has the best season in 2018?  I like Cahill.

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Moustakas!

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I should get going

11:04

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 — 2/16/18 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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shadraaq
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shadraaq

Thanks for the chat!