Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/2/18

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:05

Dan: Do you see new signee Danny Valencia getting playing time in Baltimore?

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Surprisingly yes. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him open as a platoon partner for Colby Rasmus

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: In the outfield

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: In the major leagues

9:06

F. Rodney: How long do you think I can keep my job!

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: My hunch is that Rodney keeps the job all season, with maybe a week or two spent “figuring it out” in a low-leverage role. To Rodney’s credit, he still throws super hard, and although he’s wild he’s never been easy to hit

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: I hate the experience of watching Fernando Rodney close, but the results aren’t so bad from a distance!

9:08

Jimmy: How about those Blue Jays?

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: Is this a reference to spring training standings

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: Is this a reference to spring training standings after seven games

9:08

A big dumb idiot: Like you, I was a curious how the horrible AL Central would impact the Twins projection. So, using depth charts projections and accounting for strength of schedule (weighted records of all opponents) here are the projected win totals for AL WC contenders: Jays: 86.2 Twins: 83.8 Angels: 82.2

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: Feels about right. As soon as we launch our 2018 playoff-odds page, I’ll have a post up that uses our own schedule-adjustment math

9:11

GP: On EW the other day you mentioned that Byron Buxton had started to figure things out over the second half but didn’t seem that impressed with Jorge Polanco. Looking at his splits, he had virtually the same wRC+ (1st half, 2nd half and overall) as Buxton but with better plate discipline. He was also batting third pretty consistently in the second half. Should we be talking about Polanco more as a breakout candidate, at least offensively?

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: Sorry for that delay. Allow me to share with you an incredible split

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Polanco, first three months: .280 wOBA
Polanco, last three months: .339 wOBA

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Polanco, first three months: .276 expected wOBA
Polanco, last three months: .279 expected wOBA

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t mean to suggest we should always get all tied up in xwOBA over all else, but I don’t actually see meaningful evidence of improvement in here

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: For the sake of comparison, over the same time spans, Byron Buxton went from .254 to .300

9:15

JTT: I understand the argument that opt-outs are bad for teams, but why do smart teams keep giving them out? Especially in this market when teams have more leverage than usual.

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: Opt-outs are player-friendly by themselves, but in real life, opt-outs come at a cost. When a team includes an opt-out clause for a player, the total dollar commitment is reduced (by approximately the value of the opt-out clause)

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: It’s a way for teams to provide value that doesn’t count so much against payroll and the competitive-balance tax

9:17

Bob Dobalina: Jeff, what’s your favorite cheese? Are you a muenster guy? I bet you’re a muenster guy.

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: goat

9:17

Nelson: Can we stop saying that Hosmer cost 135 million more than Duda or Logan Morrison? The Twins and Royals will most likely have salaries to pay a first baseman for the 7 years after 2018 also. Its apples and oranges, Jeff!

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: Well, no, that is apples and apples

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: It would be apples and oranges to say that Hosmer cost $135 million more than the Twins and Royals’ first-base situations

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: But that’s not how anyone talks

9:20

THE Average Sports Fan: If signing a starter makes sense for a team like the Phillies, why not the Reds?  Position players and bullpen is pretty good.  1 good starter to secure the rotation allows the many options they have to have to fit 4 not 5 spots.

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: The Reds could use a starter too — obviously — but I think the argument mostly comes down to resources. The Phillies can afford to spend a lot more than the Reds, or the Brewers, and the Phillies’ current payroll is incredibly low

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: Like, if you’re the Reds, you could sign Alex Cobb for three years or something, but that’s, say, $48 million over three years, which meaningfully impacts future flexibility. The Phillies’ flexibility would be impacted far less, because they have almost zero commitments, and they can maintain a top-5 payroll if they wanted

9:22

Hendrik: Is there an MLB franchise with a future outlook as bleak as the Senators? And in a Canadian market ffs.

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: 🙁

9:24

Nap: Callaway has mentioned Lindor multiple times when discussing Rosario in the past few weeks. Think Rosario can be a poor man’s Mr.Smile?

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: As I compare the two, I’m pretty sure that Francisco Lindor is better at everything

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: Rosario is faster, but that’s about it

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Rosario last year had an average exit velocity of 84.7. Lindor’s low point was 87.0, in 2015

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Rosario’s EV last season topped out at 105.5. Lindor has topped out at 112.1

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Perfectly reasonable to say that Amed Rosario can become good, but Lindor is one of the most valuable players in the game

9:28

Ross: Jeff, I can’t tell you exhausting it is to see basically everyone in the media and many fans as well respond to every move the Rays make with “The Rays are a disgrace,” “The Rays are tanking,” “The Rays should tank,” “Baseball doesn’t belong in Florida,” so I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the way you seem to be the only person who sees things for the way they are and doesn’t just run with these lazy narratives that most of these people clearly barely put any thought or effort into

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: Going to seem like I’m patting my own back by including this in the chat, but I do have a point to make!

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: The Rays are interesting. A little like the Pirates. There’s the way the Rays *do* operate, and there’s the way the Rays would *ideally* operate. Most people prefer to see baseball as binary: you’re either trying to win, or you’re not. And if you’re trying to win, you should invest your resources. The Rays don’t invest resources the same way. Maybe they can’t, or maybe they just don’t. I don’t have access to their books

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Under ideal circumstances, the Rays would be able to flex their financial might more than they do. They wouldn’t have to treat roster-building so much like a puzzle. Because of how they *actually* behave, it can be hard to understand without taking the time. The Rays do want to win, surely. But few other teams would combine that goal with shedding Jake Odorizzi because of his salary

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: The Rays front office and the Rays ownership are not the same thing. Nothing wrong with being frustrated by ownership. The front office deserves credit for working well despite impossible constraints

9:32

vince clortho: Milwaukee’s breaking my heart. As the only team outside the big 7 who decided they would deploy resources to field a competitive ballclub, I hoped they would be excellent baseballers. However, the only thing they seem to be brewing… are half measures. Find them a pitcher for me.

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: Firstly, as crazy as it sounds, the “offseason” isn’t over yet. Still moves to be made

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: Secondly, I think of the Brewers’ pitching staff as a big experiment. I think, organizationally, they’re around the forefront of trying to improve the pitchers they already have. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but I think the Brewers are banking big on development

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t doubt that the Brewers would take Arrieta, Cobb, or Lynn if the prices fell. The prices haven’t fallen

9:35

Babe Lincoln: What could/should the Mets have done differently this winter?

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: They probably could’ve done better than Adrian Gonzalez for a small price. But I didn’t hate the Mets’ offseason. The whole year ahead is more or less going to come down to Syndergaard and Conforto, and I don’t know what you do about them in the winter

9:38

Tim: The Cleveland situation with them signing Napoli just so he can play in some spring games and audition for other teams is a little weird, isn’t it? If they like him so much and think he still belongs on an MLB roster, why don’t they just keep him? Francona says they don’t have room for him, but do they not have an obvious spot for him as Alonso’s platoon partner at first?

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: This happens fairly often. The Yankees just signed Adam Lind, saying to the media he’s just an insurance policy. In the Indians’ case, it’s going to come down to the size of their bench. If they carry an eight-man bullpen, including Ryan Merritt, then Napoli has nowhere to go, because he’s not in any way versatile

9:41

Ved: Let’s say you run a contending team or a team on the cusp of contention and have the opportunity to trade for 1-year of a Cy-Young level pitcher in his late 20s, like a Sale or a Strasburg. You also have an opportunity to re-sign him at the end of the season but it isn’t guaranteed. What type of prospect haul is reasonable to acquire this pitcher?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: The situations aren’t identical since they happened in July, but we could consider the Royals trading for Johnny Cueto, or the Angels trading for Zack Greinke

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: On the one hand, prices for aces go up midseason, but on the other hand, if you trade for the ace *before* the season, then you’re lined up to receive some compensation if he leaves

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: I think you’d be looking at three prospects. At least two of them are close to ready. None of them are elite

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: Best prospect probably in the 25-75 range

9:46

Not a Phillies Fan: Hi Jeff, love your chats and articles. Thank you for all that you do. My question is about George Springer. After and increase in contact and an amazing World Series, do you see him taking another step forward this year? Does he have a chance to go .300-40?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think 40 home runs would be at all out of the question. He just got to 34 despite playing in only 140 games

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: But it’s gotten so, so difficult to bat .300. Springer finished at .283. He had a higher strikeout rate than most of the players who did bat .300 or better. Springer could BABIP his way into a high average, sure, but if you’re looking for something “sustainable,” I don’t think he gets there

9:48

Babe Lincoln: Any team miss[ing] a real opportunity to buy this winter?

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: Phillies should add more. A’s should also add more, but it’s possible no one wants to play with them

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes the A’s have a really hard time giving out their money

9:50

Fireface: Probably few modern players are affected by infield shifting as much as Anthony Rizzo. In 2017, he compiled a .163 average and -20 wRC+ on 196 ground balls. Should Rizzo bunt more as the shift allows to boost his OBP, or is the corresponding loss in SLG not worth the offset?

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: Since 2015, 315 players have hit at least 200 ground balls

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: Rizzo has a wRC+ on those grounders of 5, which ranks him 40th-worst. He’s right there with, say, Brandon Belt

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: It gets worse! Justin Smoak, on those same grounders, has a wRC+ of -35

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: Brian McCann, -18. Chris Davis, -17

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: So, Rizzo isn’t getting screwed quite like some others

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: That being said, yes, of course, being a lefty hurts him when he puts a ball on the ground. Thankfully he doesn’t do that very much, and he remains an excellent hitter overall. If he wants to bunt a few more times, he should go nuts, but he probably just doesn’t feel very comfortable about it

9:53

Carson Cistulli Sabathia: Jeff! Are you ready for NHL hockey in Seattle? And given Ottawa’s rebuild, if Seattle does get a team will you switch allegiances to them?

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Cannot switch allegiances

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: How does a fan switch allegiances?

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Even if you told yourself you wanted to, I don’t think you could actually convince your brain

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: You root for the same stupid clothes as always. And you hope every year that the people wearing those clothes aren’t embarrassing

9:54

North Side Nihilist: Hey Jeff, great piece on the decline of the windup. Any plans for FG to track pitches from stretch/windup?

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: Can’t imagine we’re going to do anything like that, but this sounds like a crowdsourcing project, doesn’t it?

9:55

Charles Finley: If Greg Bird hit like Adam Lind 2017, but over a full season (650 PA), would we consider that just about a best-case scenario for Greg Bird?

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: So, a 122 wRC+, but without the platooning

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: I think Bird can be better than that. The Yankees would be happy with a 122 wRC+, don’t get me wrong, but he could push 140 with health and development

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: Bird has the skills to be outstanding

9:56

toki: What can we expect out of David Price this year?  That elbow scares me more than my mother in law.

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: I feel like this comes up every week, but anyway, everyone insists the elbow is fine. The elbow probably feels like it’s fine. I’m also going to be forever concerned. I know there are worlds in which David Price turns in an outstanding and full 2018 season. There are many other future worlds in which that doesn’t happen

9:57

ChatzMcGee: Should the Sens have traded Karlsson?

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: This is the stuff that gets me thinking about baseball comps, like Baltimore and Machado

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: It’s really, really easy to say, well, the Orioles are going nowhere, so they should cash in their best player before he leaves

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: But on the other hand, that sucks

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: Losing your best player sucks!

9:59

John: Shouldn’t the Rays just sign Joey Bats already? This relationship feels inevitable. They’ve been connected since last offseason, indications are they’re still interested in adding another RH bat even after getting Cron and Gomez, their DH VS LHP right now would be, like, Brad Miller, I guess, and Bautista lives in Tampa and reportedly wants to play for them. Assuming, of course, he’d be willing to accept a minor-league deal with a ST invite at this point, which he really should be. He needs to get into some spring training games and not look toast, so while I know he’s a super proud guy and all, he’s not doing himself any favors if he’s still holding out for an MLB deal less than four weeks from Opening Day

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what Bautista wants, and I don’t know what the Rays might be able to offer, but, yes, this is an acquisition I’d like to see. Who knows what Bautista has left, but the Rays have lost a lot of their thump. Might as well give Bautista a few months, since enough of their other players are sufficiently versatile

10:02

MD: Brandon Drury’s ISO hints at some untapped power potential… 35+ doubles last year is intriguing. What could get him there?

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: Pulling the ball

10:03

Derek in Little Rock: The only teams in the American League to finish over .500 in 2017 were those that made the playoffs.  Particularly with the talk of super teams this spring, do you see that trend continuing?  If the gap between great and awful is widening, do you foresee four 100-win teams for the first time ever?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Too many things to go wrong. Two of the three AL divisions are too solid. Only three AL teams appear legitimately bad

10:04

Zach: while he’s still quite a ways away, do you think Aaron Judge should be looking for a pre FA extension due to his age? he turns 26 next month

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: I’d think this is something for Judge to consider four or eight months from now, instead of right at this moment. If Judge can manage anything remotely close to a repeat performance, he’d stand to sign something incredible

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: For now, the Yankees could argue Judge will never do what he did again. But Judge has the talent to be exceptional. He should prove it before he commits

10:05

Yogi: Is Greg Bird the next Freddie Freeman?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: When Freddie Freeman was Greg Bird’s age, he’d already been worth 11 WAR

10:08

THE Average Sports Fan: Labor question:  I have always wondered why teams don’t strike at the end of the year.  It would seem to me that MLBPA would have maximum leverage if they walked out September 1.  Players would have received most of their money for the season already.  Owners would be forced to deal quickly to preserve the post season (I assume the most profitable time of the year).  And in reality over half the players really don’t have much to play for at that point of the season.  What am I misssing?

10:09

Matt Klentak: Boras keeps asking for more years with opt outs for Arrietta… I told him there is a 0% chance of Arrietta ever opting out of a deal. Am I right to hold at 3 fixed years?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: The Phillies could afford a fourth year. And that’s when Santana’s money will be up. I’m not saying I’d be comfortable giving Arrieta four guaranteed years, and if I were the Phillies I might strongly consider *no* opt-outs

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: But because of the Phillies’ payroll situation, I do feel like they’re the favorites. They have the most money to throw around, and they have to be the least careful with it

10:11

Cody F. Schmidt: Barring major injuries to Houston’s middle infield, what will it take for the Angels to end up on top of the AL west instead of the Astros?

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: General rotation health, bullpen repeat, strong offensive season from Ohtani

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: And you’d almost certainly need some BaseRuns luck, in two directions

10:13

Mr. Freeze: Who are you targeting if you’re the Braves’ GM and have intentions to compete in 2019? Shouldn’t they be looking to add via trade or FA some now?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: If I were the Braves, I’d want Domingo Santana. Granted, if I were the Brewers, I’d also want Domingo Santana

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: I sort of understand leaving the pitching alone; the Braves want to give another season to the young guys so that they might emerge. But a young corner outfielder would be terrific

10:15

Matt Klentak: at what price should any of Cobb,Lynn, Arrietta accept a 1 year deal? 15M? 25M?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta: $30m
Cobb: $25m
Lynn: $20m

10:15

toki: Can Thyago Vieira emerge as a lights out closer for the White Sox?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: Tommy Kahnle just turned good out of nowhere, so, sure

10:16

MK: Do you think Nats not signing Arrieta is directly related to re-signing Harper next year?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: No, I think it’s directly related to Jake Arrieta and Scott Boras wanting more than is warranted

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: When I’ve asked around what I’ve been told is that the asking price is still way, way higher than anyone finds comfortable

10:17

Pirate Captain: assuming austin meadows starts at year in pittsburgh, who finishes with more WAR at the end of the season, Cutch or Meadows?

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: McCutchen

10:18

Erik: Let’s say you could start an expansion team in 2018 using the All-Star roster from some previous All-Star team. How far back could you go for that team to still be a playoff team? How far back for them to at least not be the worst team in the league?

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see. the 2013 NL All-Stars had Harper, Votto, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Molina, Carpenter, Posey, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Chapman…

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what you’d do with all three first basemen. Trade one!

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: The AL All-Stars the same year had Sale, Verlander, Trout, Cano, Darvish, Machado, Perez, Encarnacion, Scherzer…

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: You could do well with 2013

10:21

KilleBrews: Whats your best guess as to what Yankees do with 2B/3B to start season?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Still feeling Wade/Drury, but with neither of them feeling particularly comfortable about their job security

10:22

A friend : Willie Calhoun gets +\- 500abs?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: How about 500 PA? I’ll give him the over. He’s not really being pushed by many other guys

10:23

brad: are the O’s going to hold Hays down to get another year out of him or let him play to give the fans hope for the team’s future?  Is he the next O’s star player?

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: Hays has played basically one half-season above A-ball. They’re not going to rush him

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: But he does look quite good. If the Orioles are going to avoid plummeting to the depths post-Machado, Hays’ll be a reason why

10:24

Scooter: Who do you want to see rent Machado at the deadline?

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: Whoever is good and needs him most

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know who that’ll be!

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: For the ultimate twist, I’ll say Rays

10:26

toki: Is Schwarber a legitimate threat to steal now?

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: No

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, Daniel Murphy stole a bunch of bases that one time despite not being fast, so you never know what might be possible if Schwarber decides to dedicate himself to moving up. But losing weight doesn’t make a guy much better at sprinting

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Thinner Schwarber almost certainly isn’t much faster, and he’s still going to swing and miss. This should just have him in better condition, so he doesn’t wear down or fatigue as quickly. Also keeps some pressure off of his knees

10:29

Q-Ball: What is the last date that Lynn, Cobb, or Arrieta can sign and be ready to start the first week of the season?

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Kyle Lohse signed with the Brewers on March 25, 2013. He started the fourth game of the season, going six innings

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Ervin Santana signed with the Braves on March 12, 2014. He started the eighth game of the season, going eight innings

10:32

Jason N: Hi Jeff.  A couple of teams have very deep farm systems.  As competitive windows open, I’ve read that it’s likely these teams (like the Padres) will probably use that depth to trade for some high-end MLB talent.  But why not trade some of that prospect depth for more prospects?  If a team with limited spending dollars can take a good prospect that’s blocked at the major league level, you could trade for a bunch of good back-field talent and extend the competitive window by creating more waves of prospects.  What’s the flaw in my thinking?

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Basically that teams want to get good in the majors. That’s the whole point. And you very rarely end up in a situation where a very good prospect is actually blocked

10:34

Derek: Last week you talked about five consecutive quality first round draft picks by an organization. The Nats had: Strasburg, Harper, Rendon, Giolito, (no pick), and Fedde. The first three have each recorded a season at 5.5 WAR or better. I wonder how many other teams have three (or five) first round pick sequences that good. Interesting idea for an article…

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: How many other teams have gotten to draft first, first, and sixth?

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Rays went Longoria/Price/Beckham at one point. Beckham is working out at last!

10:36

Fireface: If a team wants a player to wear his cap straight on his head, the player can just keep his head cocked to the side. No big deal, right?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Seems like an agreeable compromise

10:36

Scott: Are Moustakas/Cobb/Lynn waiting for someone to get injured at this point?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t say that’s exactly correct, but none of them would shed a tear in such an event

10:37

andy: if the former minor-league players win the pending wage and hour suit and teams have to start paying minimum wage, that’s been estimated to cost teams an extra $10M or so a year. do you think teams would respond by shrinking the minors?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: Teams definitely wouldn’t shrink the minors, but in the short-term, if a few teams were really unhappy about it, they’d just take it out on their major-league payroll

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Within a few years, everyone would just get on board, since every team can afford an extra $10 million

10:38

Murray Chats: So, not sure who controls this, but I have an opinion about the chat schedule. Love all the new chatters, but is it possible to break up the prospect chats a little bit? Right now there’s double plain baseball chats monday and thursday, but tuesday and wednesday are just prospect guys who won’t really be talking about the games. IMO that’s a long time to wait until thursday if you have a question about a game from monday night. All the same, I wouldn’t be positing this if I didn’t enjoy and respect all of your chatters. Thanks!

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: I will ask!

10:39

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: So the dust has settled and Honeywell got his surgery already. Timeline for recovery is about a year, followed by a rehab assignment. He loses no team control for now and was going to miss half a season anyway for service clock shenanigans. Am I reading the situation correctly in that the situation could just be Honeywell in mid-2019 instead of mid-2018? (Plus, of course, the chance he doesn’t recover or and the increased injury risk in the future. Wonder how many guys have had to re-learn a screwball after TJS.)

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Your read is basically correct. Honeywell has simply been shifted back by a year. It’s bad for him for obvious reasons, and it’s tough for the Rays because their hopes for 2018 contention hinged on him to some extent

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Now, I think the Rays are more focused on 2019 anyway, and they can still have enough pitching this season depending on, say, Chirinos. But losing Honeywell right after trading Odorizzi was tough

10:40

Charles Finley: Is Adam Lind going to take the bench spot previously penciled for Tyler Austin?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: It’s possible, but I’m not convinced. Austin bats right-handed, and he can do more defensively

10:41

Bort: Are you excited about Andrew Triggs for 2018?

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t say I’m excited, but I’m hopeful that he can get himself back on track now that he’s healthy. The A’s could use him

10:43

HugoZ: What do you think of a payroll floor? What should it be?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: I would not mind a payroll floor. It’s also not a perfect solution. To go back to the example of the A’s, on several occasions these past few years they’ve made large free-agent offers that simply weren’t accepted

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: What do you do?

10:44

Mike sixel: Just a few years ago, maybe a few months ago, it would be inconceivable that three of the best free agent pitchers would miss the start of the season for not being signed.

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: I have to believe they’ll get signed. I think Lynn will hurt the most, relative to what he’s been expecting

10:44

Guest: What do you think about Red Sox bullpen? I think that’s not enough to be a contender for the ring

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t like the Red Sox bullpen *last* season, behind Kimbrel, and yet they still literally led the majors in bullpen WPA

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: With bullpens, you just don’t know. If Smith and Thornburg are reasonably healthy, they’re terrific

10:48

Thurmon: Braves offer Ronald Acuna, Kyle Wright, Austin Riley, Mike Soroka, and Alex Jackson for Mike Trout. Do the Angels hang up?

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: It’s funny. I just ran through general surplus-value estimates, and the Braves’ side and the Angels’ side here come out virtually identical

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: Now, because of that, I think the Angels still say no, because there’s value to having Trout beyond his performance and the terms of his contract. But if the Angels, say, hadn’t signed Shohei Ohtani, you wonder…

10:50

Evan Gattis: Will I stick at DH or will my playing time trail off as the season grinds on?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: I imagine that it will dwindle

10:50

Cason Jollette: Should the Rays sign someone like Bautista or Holliday? There aren’t a lot of good options available on the free agent market but neither of those players can really be counted on to play the field.

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: I think they should

10:52

Pat G: Bregman has a ton of helium right now, but I don’t see him all that different to Benintendi (not that either is bad, but neither feels like a superstar). Where do you stand (on Bregman)?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: I like them both, actually about the same when it comes to batting. Above-average hitters, non-elite

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Bregman is benefiting from postseason exposure

10:53

Q-Ball: In the past, Dave did an excellent series on best and worst transactions of the offseason.  Are those planned for this year?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, someone else will be running those

10:53

Slurve: How many different pitches are there?  Do you anticipate any new pitches or, based on the rules and/or ligaments, are all the pitches essentially out there?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty much every pitch that could exist does exist. Eno wrote about this once or twice before

10:53

Jacob: Is the AL central taking the title of weakest division from the long time champion NL east

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: I will write about this soon!

10:53

Charlie: When is the 2018 playoff odds page expected to be launched?

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: I think within a week or two, but it’s getting some extra work this time around because Sean Dolinar wants to introduce some new features

10:54

Harry Richard Head: How is the 538 story on the change in baseballs that Ben highlighted on yesterday’s Effectively Wild not the top news story in all of sports? If I were a pitcher who saw my ERA tick up because of home runs, I would be furious. Because, unlike in the steroid era when the pitchers could also cheat (looking at you, Clemens), this seems to exclusively benefit batters.

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: Part of it is that this isn’t new. There’s been juiced-ball research for a couple of years. Part of it is that fans don’t really mind. And part of it is that all pitchers are working with the same balls, so no one is really more affected than anyone else

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: Now, that last part isn’t exactly true. This is worse for contact-oriented pitchers, I suppose. But like Justin Verlander said yesterday, he’s not even mad about the ball. He’s just mad that baseball itself hasn’t been more forthcoming or honest, in his opinion

10:56

the one padres fan: Any thoughts about Matt Strahm’s role this season on the Pads? Rotation or bullpen? Does it matter?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: It matters, sure, but I don’t think anyone really knows yet. Gotta see him pitch as his healthy self first. Then his role will work itself out

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Very intriguing upside play

10:57

TF Fredrik: Do we have to assume we will see same run scoring environment this year until otherwise observed?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Yep

10:57

Tommy N.: Can Franchy Cordero be a 3-4 win player?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Yes!

10:57

Zonk: Park effects are park effects, but has anyone ever done a study on the volatility of those effects due to weather?  The Trop or covered parks would have zero volatility, but many parks have much more volatility anecdotally (Wrigley, for example).

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: The only real problem, aside from sample size, is data accuracy. Like, wind could have tremendous effects, but there aren’t constant wind measurements being taken and recorded

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: And wind patterns are different depending on ballpark location, anyway

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling. Podcasting to do

10:58

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 — 3/2/18 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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I do think there has been some discussion/speculation that various parks (Fenway?) have played neutral some years and as hitter’s paradises in others, largely due to an unusually cool summer? I can’t remember the article/study.