Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/9/18

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:04

Bork: Hello, friend!

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:05

Dylan: I know it’s early and spring training but this is the best you could hope for out of Dan Vogelbach, right? How encouraged can we be?

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: .636 OBP, with as many home runs as strikeouts!

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Ultimately, the ceiling is low — Vogelbach will never be valued for his athleticism. We’ve seen how even a good version of this player is viewed in the free-agent market. But he should be an option if and when Ryon Healy disappoints his new employer

9:06

TF Fredrik: Are you a fan of parity or would you rather MLB have a pure free market and let anything go a la European soccer? Youth academies, no cap, no revenue sharing, no draft etc.

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: I like parity, but I’ve also never followed a sport that doesn’t try to have it. So even the basic idea of European soccer rules is foreign to me

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: I imagine I would prefer the MLB way anyhow

9:08

Adenolith: Zimmerman’s note that the pitch readings from Salt River Fields might be running high has me concerned about Greinke’s velocity dip. Is it too early to start worrying?

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: It’s seldom too early to worry about a velocity dip, especially given that Greinke has already started losing some of his miles, but it feels like Greinke has had velocity questions like eight springs in a row

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: He’s pretty much always recovered. And I think, when Greinke was signed, he was viewed as someone who could age gracefully even with a slower fastball, because the command and movement are there

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: If Greinke is throwing 85, that’s not good, but I bet he’ll get up to the 89-91 range by June

9:11

Dontrelle Willis: Why do contracts ever include mutual options if they’re never actually exercised?

9:11
9:12

Jeff Sullivan: He found that, over two decades examined, just four of 100 mutual options were mutually exercised

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Part of the function, I think, is that mutual options tend to come with a seven-figure buyout, so that pushes some of the cost into the future for the team

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: And mutual options also serve to inflate the terms. In the Mike Moustakas case, he signed for one year and $6.5 million, but it’s easy to see there’s an existing option that would make it an eight-figure deal. It won’t *actually* be an eight-figure deal, but it just looks better, which is psychologically appealing

9:15

Nate: What is Moustakas’ best case scenario for his contract next winter?

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, *best case* best case, he’s an MVP this season and he signs for a fortune. But he should probably think about something similar to the Jay Bruce terms

9:17

TF Fredrik: Is identifying talent or developing talent more important. If you had to pick one, obviously you would love to do both well.

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to say developing talent. Across teams, I don’t think there’s all that much difference in talent identification anymore

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: You can tell when someone has power, or a strong right arm. Even if you’re 10% worse at spotting talented young baseball players, you can weaponize the farm system if you’re 20% better at making decent players good

9:19

Dingers!: If Kershaw was exactly the pitcher he is now except every time he threw to a base he had to use Lester’s  bounce pass, how much worse would he be?

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw has averaged about 30 assists per 200 innings. How many of those are close enough that a bounce pass would allow the runner to reach? Half?

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: So you’re turning 15 outs into 15 baserunners. To say nothing of Kershaw becoming a far inferior pick-off threat. Total estimated cost: roughly two wins

9:21

manse gray: mlb should not rely on television feeds for instant replay.  at a cost shared by owners and players (who have a great interest in true representations of any given game event) all parks should be outfitted with cameras and sensors appropriately located for precise mapping of each park to capture all game events.  additionally, the data gathered would produce truer representations than data extrapolated using video recorded from static television camera locations.  is the cost worth it?  with all the lip service paid to ‘integrity,’  i say ‘yes.’

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: I imagine we’re going to see a gradual improvement across the league in instant-replay technology

9:22

Bork: Sooo is there going to be a spike in free agents accepting QO’s next year?

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: Every case is different, and teams might learn from this market and extend fewer qualifying offers in the first place. But I do think the QO will become more appealing, just because you can’t get it twice

9:24

Jack: Are you at the point where you’re starting to believe there will be some big name free agents who don’t have a team by Opening Day? Do you think any of Arrieta, Cobb or Lynn are regretting not taking the qualifying offer the way Moustakas definitely is?

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: It’s a different situation, I think, for pitchers. Nearly every team could end up with an opening in the rotation. Look at the Rays, who have already lost two would-be starters to Tommy John surgery. It was going to be much harder for Moustakas to find a new 3B opening

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: I think the pitchers will still find multi-year contracts, and I think they’re coming soon, as we’re approaching the point where signing players won’t be able to get up to speed in time for opening day

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Gets tougher with, say, Jonathan Lucroy. But he didn’t have a good season

9:27

Raindog: Pretty ballsy by KC: yes we offered you 17.6M before, but now we’re gonna cut our offer to you by 63%.

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Business is cold

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Cold and unfeeling

9:27

Spring’s Sprung?: Hey Jeff! Any pitchers stand out to you so far in spring as potential breakout guys? Last year we saw Morton and Jordan Montgomery. Anyone like that this year?

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe now Wade Miley isn’t terrible

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been keeping a very close eye on Tyler Glasnow. He’s offering the fascinating blend of a much-improved K/BB and horrible results

9:28

Dylan: I want the world to know that I built the Brandon Nimmo bandwagon, and that there is plenty of room

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: Less room every hour

9:29

Nick: Lots has been made of the Braves’ young minor league arms — and obviously, for good reason. What do you think becomes of Julio Teheran when those arms start graduating to the majors? Do the Braves deal him to plug other holes (or replenish the farm, for whatever his value is), or do they keep him as a veteran mid-rotation guy?

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Braves can make a plan here until some of those pitchers actually emerge as good major-league options

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: To this point, they really haven’t

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Teheran, also, needs to figure out what he is. He’s been too volatile to treat as tremendously valuable

9:30

Ross: Am I the only one who’s kind of come around on the Diamondbacks unis? Their all-silver road ones are still terrible, but their home whites and red alternates with the snake scales are good

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty much every uniform change is like a website redesign. Everyone hates it immediately and gets used to it in a week and a half

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Remember how much fun people made of the Marlins’ rebranding? The Marlins’ uniforms are fantastic!

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Which isn’t to say that teams don’t sometimes design bad uniforms. But I wouldn’t pay attention to the public’s short-term response

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: (ever, about anything)

9:32

Sterling Malory Chris Archer: Do you see any lingering injury issues with Josh Donaldson this year?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: I’m less worried about him than I am of most other 32-year-olds in the league

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Track record of extreme durability

9:33

Hans Gruber: Do you see Peacock being used in a Devinski-type role to start the season?

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Going to guess that role will go to Devenski

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: But the Astros might have like three Devenskis at once

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: They have so much pitching

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Peacock will throw multiple innings sometimes, so that the Astros can keep him stretched out as a starter substitute

9:34

Ross: Do you think part of the reason Bautista has had so much trouble in free agency these last two years is that teams just don’t like him? I mean, last year Duquette did call him a villain and said they weren’t interested in signing him because their fans hated him

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: Problem a year ago was that Bautista was greatly diminished. Problem this year is that Bautista in 2017 was bad

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: Teams are cold about this stuff. Everyone knows that Bautista has been a legend, but nobody wants to pay him for it

9:35

Raindog: Every remaining free agent is gonna take a 1 year deal, aren’t they?  And not even at a good salary.

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: I’d personally like to see Jake Arrieta sign for a year and like $30 million or something

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta could have a lot to gain if he goes out there and rediscovers like 50% of his control

9:36

Stevil: Is there a place for Wimer Font on the Dodgers roster? It appears that he is out of options, and with Seattle likely not having Ramirez for the first couple of weeks or so to start the season and Zych being shut down the other day with Servais stating that he’s nowhere near ready, wouldn’t Font make sense for the Mariners? Surely they could package a couple of relief prospects to acquire him.

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: Lots of teams have been trying to trade for Font. The Dodgers like him and will keep him as a long man so that he can be available for when their starters visit the DL

9:37

Bart: What do you see Dahl doing this year with the Cargo resigning?

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: Playing to be available when an opening emerges in June or July

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: The only actual good player out there is Blackmon

9:38

TF Fredrik: Do the top end starters have more value in this current run scoring environment?

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: In theory, everyone’s affected the same

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: I think the top-end starters have more value because they’re the starters who will actually be used in the playoffs

9:39

Sircharles: I really like K%-BB% as a good way to judge a SP, what do you think is the best way to project this for 2018 since you wont know what the PAs are for a SP?

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure K/9 – BB/9 gets you almost all the way there

9:40

CarNo: How many at bats does McMahon lose with the Cargo signing?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: A fair amount, assuming Ian Desmond now sees more time at first base. But not that many in the end if Desmond continues to struggle

9:41

Big Joe Mufferaw: Hi Jeff, Have you ever done some hiking/exploring in Canada? If so, where, if not, WHY THE HECK NOT?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Not nearly enough because there’s already so much in Oregon, Washington, and northern California

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: I’m kind of a completionist in this way, and I want to know every single nook and cranny of the state that I live in

9:43

Billy Beane: Jeff, before Sheryl’s comments, I had never considered the idea of a woman plying pro baseball as a catcher. I had always assumed 2b, LOOGY, or a knuckleballer. You have any thoughts on the matter? (Besides to never read the comments)

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: The Jeff Mathis path is available, if you have a catcher who’s also experienced enough to basically be a pitcher whisperer. Now, developing that experience and trust would be very difficult, but it’s a path

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: It should be noted that good pitch-framing requires a tremendous amount of wrist and forearm strength. That would be another hurdle

9:44

Fred Merkle: Is Snell’s breakout coming?

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: One could argue it already happened in last season’s final two or three months

9:45

Jarrett: Tim Anderson, yay or nay? Seems like the strike zone control is bad

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: Do not like

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: Ground balls, 3% walks, and 27% strikeouts. Come on

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: Several different ways for Anderson to improve. Which, in one sense, is encouraging

9:47

Montu: Any thoughts on whether or not Lewis Brinson Makes the OD Roster for the Marlins?

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: Easy answer is no, for the usual reasons. They could say they want him to get more reps, and they want to give a chance to Scott Van Slyke or whatever. But Brinson would be up quick. And playing him on opening day would be a small sign of good faith to whichever fans are still paying attention

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: It would be nice to see the Marlins make at least one small decision for a reason other than money. But the service-time stuff, in the end, tends to win

9:49

ARC: Thanks for chatting Jeff! Will anyone be taking over Dave’s annuals like the trade value series or the bargains and landmines?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Yes!

9:49

PTBNL: When evaluating relief appearances, is the quality of the opposing hitters accounting for? I.e. it’s a lot easier to retire the Padre’s 7-8-9 hitters than the Cubs 2-3-4 hitters. Seems like especially for relievers who may only throw one inning, this would be an important variable to account for when trying to evaluate pitching performance.

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: For individual games, it’s relevant. For entire seasons, things tend to mostly even out. There are always exceptions, but most of the differences in opposition quality are negligible

9:50

mike sirotka: any chance we see vlad jr in the big leagues later this year?

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

9:51

Marcelino pan y vino: Should the stros just start Marwin at 1B until YG is back and give Fisher a chance to play everyday in LF?

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: With how much Marwin is going to move around, Fisher will still get his opportunities. Although, with Tucker on the fast track, Fisher is beginning to feel like inevitable trade bait

9:51

Raindog: Moustakas is projected for 2.8 WAR.  Let me do some math here… $6.5M / 2.8 = $2.3M / WAR.  When was the last time that was the price?

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: Jarrod Dyson?

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: But I think it’s fair to question whether the projections are appropriately handling Moustakas’ defense and baserunning, which just took meaningful steps backward

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Personally, I wouldn’t buy him as a 2.8-win player

9:53

Deke: How differently would the offseason have gone if Ohtani had gone to Texas or Seattle? Would the Angels have worried about all their other pieces? Would either other team have gone all-in with signings?

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Rangers or Mariners ever had all that much money to spend. Which is a big part of why Ohtani appealed to them so much in the first place. Their offseasons probably would’ve gone similar. The Angels’ would’ve been fascinating

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the Angels still get Cozart and Kinsler, etc. Maybe they still try to be an 83-win baseball team. But we would’ve read more about Mike Trout trade rumors, even if they weren’t based in much truth

9:55

Desperate, confused Marlins fan: So how happy are the Rockies on the 90 million dollar discount they got on Cargo?

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: They probably chuckle among themselves, and then Ian Desmond knocks on the door because he has a question about something

9:57

Max: Thoughts on the Rockies bringing CarGo back?

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: No harm. Can’t go wrong at this price, and the outfield before was not good

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: No reason to just completely dismiss Gonzalez’s first 4.5 months of 2017, but there’s enough there to think he could have a real bounceback

9:57

Kenon: Still consider Daniel Norris a potential top of the rotation guy?

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

9:59

Ethan: I don’t understdand why no one wants Neil Walker. Do you understand why no one wants Neil Walker? Why does no one want Neil Walker?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Similar problem as Moustakas faced. The best would-be options are bad teams going nowhere, and those teams have the least urgency to spend on short-term talent

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Does that mean the Tigers *don’t* make sense? Well, no. They could stand to make themselves a little better. But maybe they just really like Dixon Machado

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: This is where the Rays should swoop in with a one-year contract

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: They have lots of options at second base but none of them are very good

10:02

klof: Do you see Ian Happ as an everyday Cubs lead-off hitter if he lacks a full-time position?

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the defensive position ought to matter at all. If he’s playing a lot, he’s playing a lot

10:02

chet: does the lind signing suggest a lack of confidence in bird? Surprised the yankees didn’t get a clearer platoon partner. Or is it simply to have another lefty bat?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you should read too much into it. Lind is just a cheap guy coming off a productive season. Worth having around in case something goes wrong

10:03

jason: what are we looking at in terms of production for Ahmed Rosario? I feel like he has a high ceiling but it seems that many are lower on him

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Rosario is one of those players where the upside is real but not apparent in the metrics. Good tools. Awful statistical profile. Needs to make real changes to access his better outcomes

10:04

D: Do you have any thoughts on the fringes of the Dodgers Roster? As in Font/Brock Stewart/Trayce Thompson? Thanks!

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: I like Font, I’m okay on Stewart, I have seldom ever thought about Thompson

10:04

Jordan: The Moose contract is an f’ing sham, 4 months ago the same team that signed him for 7mil said he was worth 18mil.

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: And the conditions changed

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: Why would the Royals spend more than they have to?

10:05

C-Mart: Is Dominic Leone good enough to take the Closer’s Job? Or are we waiting on Alex Reyes?

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: I think Leone is good enough to hold the job without embarrassing himself, but Reyes is the obvious upside pick

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: You can’t watch Alex Reyes out of the bullpen and *not* think he should close, just because of his basic profile

10:06

Slick Rick Hahn: For that low of a price and a chance to bring him back as Machado/Donaldson insurance, the White Sox would have be fine signing Moose in retrospect, right?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Well, they could still sign him in a year as Machado/Donaldson insurance

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: And the White Sox would’ve had to surrender a pick, albeit not a first-rounder

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: I think Chicago would’ve been fine if they gave Moustakas like $20 million for one season. I understand why they didn’t want to go longer-term

10:07

Benny : Do you believe in the idea of “small market teams?” I would think that any city that can support a baseball team is by definition a big enough market to win the world series

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: I try not to use “small market” anymore. I’ve come to prefer “small budget”

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: Of course all markets are relative and some are much bigger than others, but it’s not the markets that fuel the drive to win

10:08

toki: With the Gurriel injury how long of a leash does Fisher get with Kyle Tucker’s spring showing?  Granted he has limited ABs at AA and higher.

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: The Astros aren’t going to make a decision based on Kyle Tucker’s March

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: The Gurriel injury is more relevant to White, Reed, and Davis

10:09

Neil Walker: Can thre Brewers just sign me already?

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: I imagine they’re waiting on a pitcher

10:09

Derek: What’s your take on the Ohtani/Dodgers situation?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: Is there a situation, aside from the fact that the Dodgers didn’t sign him?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: I read the McCullough article. I know how the Dodgers players quoted feel. And maybe Ohtani really did prefer the AL the whole time. But he still opened himself up to NL finalists. He wouldn’t have done that if the interest weren’t legitimate

10:11

Brian: Are we sure that next year’s free agency will be different? If the Harpers and Machados of the world are offered X and believe they should get X + $100MM wont they remain unsigned?

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there are any issues at the top of the market

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: Teams still love and recognize the superstars. It’s the middling guys that are easier to talk yourself out of

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not hard to look at Mike Moustakas and focus on the things he *doesn’t* do well

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: Much harder when you’re looking at a Manny Machado

10:12

klof: What does the Moose market collapse tell us about some of the remaining free agents? Does Arrieta get a 7 year deal but for $40 mil or does he end up with a one year deal and 2019 turns into the off-season when everyone is a free agent?

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: I think Arrieta will ultimately sign for something pricey and shorter-term. I think Lynn is going to be unhappy

10:13

Charlie: I just put a post on reddit with ideas for other teams’ versions of The King’s Court or The Judges Chambers. Can you provide us with some suggestions off the cuff?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: The Trout Farm

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: I’m just going to stop there. Can’t stop thinking about fish

10:14

Raindog: Seems to me the Orioles should have been in on Moustakas at that price and one year.  They’re pretending to compete this year, need a lefty bat, and do not care about someone’s ability to run.

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: Schoop/Machado/Beckham. What are you doing with Moustakas?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Say what you will about Beckham’s sustainability, but he just had a better season than Moustakas did, and he was thrilled to land in Baltimore after hating Tampa

10:16

Slick Rick Hahn: Should the Reds take a stab at Arrieta or Cobb? Joey Votto has made it clear he’s tired of losing, the lineup looks good and should get Senzel soon, and the bullpen looks dynamic enough. They should have the resources for one of those guys, why not the Reds?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: Going to guess there are other, better teams that would be comfortable making offers around what the Reds would put on the table

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: If you’re one of those pitchers, why go to the Reds if you could sign with, say, the Brewers?

10:17

Erik: Which is more likely to be true on July 1st: a) Tim Lincecum is in the Rangers’ rotation, b) Tim Lincecum is the Rangers’ closer, or c) Tim Lincecum has been cut?

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: Cut, then closer, then rotation

10:17

Benny : Of every pitcher in the majors, which one would be the most improved by learning to throw a decent knuckleball?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, Carlos Martinez?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Just for the fun of it

10:18

klof: How long can Ohtani be bad at pitching before he ends up as just a DH? Without being able to send part of him down to AAA to retool something, how can he maintain half of his skills if one side of things fails on him?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Remember, Ohtani is his own proof of concept. He was a good hitter and pitcher before in Japan

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: But if he’s a terrible pitcher, I imagine he could be done pitching after one season. I find this to be a very unlikely outcome

10:21

Slick Rick Hahn: The Royals are the anti-tankers champion now right? Obviously going to be awful yet decided to ink 3 vets on incredibly reasonable deals just to make the team semi-respectable. For those who hate the new culture of baseball, the Royals have to be our team right?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: The Marlins signed Cameron Maybin. The Tigers signed Leonys Martin, Mike Fiers, and Francisco Liriano. I like that the Royals have plugged the holes as they have, but there’s not that much actual tanking going on

10:22

Erik: There’s no reason to worry about where Scott Kingery fits in with the Phillies, right? Gabe Kapler is a Joe Maddon disciple, and look how Maddon uses his roster. Everyone will play 85% of the time and will get time at multiple positions. Kingery will be a lot like Ian Happ last year, up in May and playing 115 games at multiple positions.

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: Kingery will find his room, and it gets a lot easier if Maikel Franco doesn’t improve fast

10:23

klof: Does Moose now look like the consolation prize for whoever doesn’t win the Machado sweepstakes next year?

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Teams will pursue Machado because they’re looking for a ten-year superstar. A new face of the franchise. Moustakas isn’t anything like that

10:24

Stumped in Texas: Kopech got roughed up a bit yesterday, but i can’t help but wonder if the sending to AAA announcement is at least half gaining the extra year of control and that he’ll be back within 60 sdays. Thoughts?

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: Kopech is 21 years old, he’s made all of three starts at Triple-A, and he still doesn’t have very good command. I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s in Chicago, but there’s absolutely nothing surprising about his opening the year in the minors

10:26

Sircharles: Jeff do you think a good comp for Brinson is Heyward?

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: When Heyward was Brinson’s age, he’d already been worth like 16 major-league WAR

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: I think Heyward has also had better bat-to-ball skills

10:27

Hal: The Moustakas deal is gonna be exhibit 1A when the MLBPA strikes, right? I get what you wrote about a tough market but it still blows me away an above-average 3rd baseman had to settle for that contract

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: I am almost certain that, along the way, much stronger offers were turned down, under the assumption that they’d only get stronger

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: That would be Scott Boras’ fault, mostly

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: The deal Moustakas actually signed is one data point. What we’re missing are the deals he didn’t sign

10:28

klof: Is Scott Boras actually bad at his job if he can’t get Moustakas more than 5 mil?

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Boras is good at his job, but he might be stretched too thin. And he might also be better with the star-level players he can talk to owners about. You’re not going over a front office’s head to talk about Mike Moustakas

10:29

THE Average Sports Fan: What is your take on the Tampa 4 man rotation experiment?

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: With the extra off-days this season, it makes sense. And the starter designation has started to mean less and less, anyway

10:30

bob: hi jeff.  i’m pretty gobsmacked by the Moose deal.  obviously he didn’t deserve an enormous contract, but he signed for relative peanuts.  i don’t see how the union and the owners are not headed for major strife after this off season.  should we start preparing ourselves for a strike when the current cba expires?

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: See above. Gotta know what Moustakas and Boras turned down

10:30

Vinícius: The Royals are now a .500 team?

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: No, but it’s at least squintable

10:30

John: Why are opt outs and player options both things that can be put in contracts? Is there a difference?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Player options are for one year. Opt-outs are mostly for multiple years

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: I think that’s basically it

10:32

Babe Lincoln: Biggest takeaway from ST so far (other than ST’s general irrelevance)?

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: Poor Rays

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: Easily the most meaningful thing to happen to date is that the Rays are down two major-league starters

10:33

Matt: Syndergaard has been flamethrowing all spring so far, but is there any link between throwing too hard too early and injury?

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Too hard is relative. For all we know, Syndergaard is barely exerting himself

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: But there is a pretty clear relationship between throwing hard in general and injury. And there’s an extremely strong relationship between pitching at all and injury

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: Cherish every outing, is the point

10:34

Ayee: Can we really live in a world where Neil Walker is getting minor league offers while Adrian Gonzalez got a major league deal?

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: Comfortably, it turns out

10:35

Stevil: Speaking of Seattle’s question marks at 1B, would Christian Walker make some sense for Seattle? He would allow them to take it easy with Healy and Heredia, both of whom won’t  have had much of a spring by the time the season starts. It doesn’t look like Arizona is going to have room for him.

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Although I’m interested in Walker, the Mariners would just as soon go with Vogelbach at that point

10:35

Scott: Has anyone in the history of baseball minimized his career earnings more than Jonathan Lucroy?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: He was before his time. HE WAS BEFORE HIS TIME

10:36

Vinícius: Moustakas was dealing with some pain in his knee, that might have prejudiced his Defense, do you beleive he can put a ?3 war season in 2018?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Sure, he can. I believe he will not

10:36

Lee: Which division do you think will have the tightest race this season?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Very clearly the AL East

10:36

Charlie: What would it be like to exorcise an option?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Unsettling

10:37

Wayne: What do you think of Ozzie Albies? Seemed to have a good first stint (Eno’s gushing). Does his swing and approach lend to more swing and miss at the major league level? By eye test, seemed like he was trying to swing for the fences every time.

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: It takes a tremendous amount of talent to play like he did at the major-league level as a 20-year-old

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: I think Albies is going to be one of the best players in baseball over the next five years or so

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Not in the top ten, but only a little outside of it

10:38

Sir nerdlington: Game theory time. Who is the worst free agent to whom you’d offer a qualifying offer in next year’s free agent class?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: There’s an entire season between now and then

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Look at what happened to Carlos Gonzalez over the course of one season

10:39

Moop: What is the likelihood that KC trades Mous mid-season?  Is there anything that would prevent it?  Seems like it would be a no-brainer for KC in the event of a 3B injury on another team (i.e. Cozart/Drury,etc).  Thoughts?

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: He’s not going to have too much midseason value. Even J.D. Martinez hardly brought the Tigers anything, and Mike Moustakas isn’t J.D. Martinez

10:39

Brad Pitt: Over/Under 85 wins for the Mets? They have to have one of the higher variances on how their season turns out.

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take the under, just slightly, but, yeah. I think the upside is also enormous

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Mostly because of the chance of 33 Syndergaard starts

10:40

Michael Westen: So, you’re basically arguing that Moose’s loss of speed and defense might be permanent, and if so, that he’s basically Yonder Alonso – a respectable but non-elite power hitter worthy of limited financial commitment?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: This was a winter where we saw first basemen with decent bats go for nothing. Mike Moustakas at this point might be a first baseman playing somewhere else

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: Might not be that much of a difference between Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda. All depends on whether Moustakas gets any agility back

10:42

Uncle Muscles: Are you sure Dave went to SD? I’m sure if he were still here we’d be seeing posts saying SD should have signed the Mousse. That and it was TB, Pittsburgh, etc’s chance to sign a big FA on the cheap

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: The Pirates are excited about Colin Moran

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: The Padres have Chase Headley, who was just a 2-win player

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: The Rays never play in these circles, and they make more sense for Neil Walker

10:43

Rockie Dangerfield: Jeff Bridich should be fired.  Running out a Blackmon/Cargo/Desmond/Parra outfield when Tapia, Dahl and Tauchman are all ready to go is inexcusable.

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Complain if their outfield is old and shitty in July

10:44

Francis: Expectations for Severino? Truly become an ace or some rough patches?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Hard not to like him a whole lot

10:44

Tommy La Stella: What’s the verdict on bounce houses – as dangerous as trampolines?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Less dangerous

10:44

Jacket: Are you in on the Greg Bird hype train

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: I think he is good

10:45

Stevil: 4-man rotations complemented by 8 or 9-man bullpens. Bad idea, or the evolution of baseball given the lack of starters that can get through a lineup unscathed 3 times?

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: Why stop there? What does “starter” even mean these days? In 15 or 20 years there might be like 50 actual good starters, and a whole bunch of swingmen everywhere

10:46

Andrew: What do you think is the most likely outcome to Ichiro’s second chapter with the Mariners?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Two or three wonderful memories, and an 85 wRC+

10:47

Chris: What do you think the Astros starting outfield is at the end of this year?

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Tucker/Springer/Reddick

10:47

Nate: Thoughts on Kershaw and Turner’s comments about Ohtani? Legitimate gripes or sour grapes?

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Little of both. I can’t quibble with their impressions, since they were there and I was not

10:48

Peter: Noting the speed/defense decline of case like Moustakas, wouldn’t it serve players better to have a DH in both leagues, at least offering up 15 more teams able to be flexible in signing hitters? Ever think the union would push hard for that?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know when the union might push hard — lots of pitchers still like to hit — but the universal DH is inevitable

10:49

Dan: I know you don’t work in a front office setting – but I’m wondering if there’s a place for me in modern front offices and if it’s a career worth pursuing. I’m just not a mathematician or adept to create new statistical models or innovate on technologies. I have some skills down (SQL, R), and have an advanced competency for analysis/research/baseball metrics. But I’m wondering to make it in this as a career – do I stand a chance to work in any capacity of a front office (video doesn’t count), when I’m not ultra advanced at computer science or advanced statistics.

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, there could be opportunities. Obviously, it helps your own case to be more technologically proficient, but to say this in the least arrogant way possible — I’ve been approached several times and my computer skills are shit. Like, you wouldn’t believe. It’s embarrassing. I’ve only even known about VLOOKUP for like four years

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: If you can demonstrate your eye for talent or analysis, and if you can demonstrate how you’d be of utility to a major-league organization, a team would be interested in you. They already have enough coders

10:51

Billy Beane: Jonathon Lucroy to the A’s is so horrifyingly obvious that I cannot comprehend wy it hasn’t already happened unless Lucroy just doesn’t want to play in Oakland (which is, I suppose, possible)

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably the strongest explanation

10:52

Hal: The split between teams gunning for the playoffs and teams developing guys for the future has never felt bigger. Do you think that’s a good thing? How could MLB incentivize more teams to try to win?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think this is necessarily accurate. Just about every team out there wants to win, and is trying to be competitive in 2018. They just haven’t felt like the best way to advance the goal is to throw money at free agents

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: And even if, like, the White Sox signed Mike Moustakas for three years, then what? Does that mean they’re suddenly “trying to win,” because they went from 66 projected wins to 68?

10:54

Dave Kingman: If/When the remaining FA starters sign, how long would it take them to get up to speed? Assuming they wouldn’t be ready for opening day.

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: They could still be ready for opening day, at this point

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: They’re all staying stretched out. Would probably take about three weeks or so

10:54

Guest: Mike Moustakas is guaranteed 130 million less than Eric Hosmer. Just FYI.

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: Eric Hosmer is more athletic, and athleticism is important for future projection

10:55

Amber: Any teams in recent memory projected for as many wins (before the season starts) as Fangraphs has the Astros at? 101. That’s usually a conservative figure, no?

10:55

mmddyyyy: How long will you chat today?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: A few more minutes!

10:56

Gavin: How much should we glean from Exit Velocity? Guys like Mookie Betts and Alex Bregman are lower on the scale–but is that reason for concern?

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: I think average EV only tells part of the story. You also want to look for EV consistency. And also launch-angle consistency. If you can hit a bunch of balls 100 miles per hour, it doesn’t matter if you never touch 115

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Joey Votto doesn’t generate outstanding average EVs. He’s Joey Votto!

10:57

Jim Tracy: My rotation ideas were ahead of their time.

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Current ideas are like your ideas, except with good pitchers instead

10:58

Dominik: Craig wrote that article about the rays 4 men rotation. Isn’t that actually a logical step to reduce the off days of the starters if the IP per game go down? Relievers also get less off days than starters after all. We won’t see the guys throwing 300 innings in a 4 men again, but if you only go 4-5 a 4 men rotation could offer enough rest especially if you do a 4-3 inning tandem, right?

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: Now, it’s interesting when you get to someone like Chris Archer, because you don’t want to hold him to the same standards as, like, Nate Eovaldi. No one should be forcing Archer out of a game in the fourth inning. But the Rays only have one of those

10:59

mmddyyyy: Most exciting type of walkoff?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Two-run double with runners on first and second, in a game you were trailing by one

11:00

Guest: Thoughts on Acuna?  What do you predict for 2018?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Good

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: very good

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Won’t be an immediate superstar, but I have very few doubts longer-term

11:01

Scarecrow: How was the Griffey trade viewed at the time? Cameron ended up being the best OFer in that deal.

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Viewed as a fleecing as a consequence of Griffey leaving the Mariners zero leverage

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Amazing trade in hindsight

11:01

Desperate, confused Marlins fan: Im 24 years old, but am I old school if I hate the idea of losing “starting” pitchers?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: No

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: And, good news. Someone will always have to start!

11:02

Wily Dames: How many years back would you need to go until the currently constructed 2018 Marlins would be considered the favorite to win the World Series?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: 40 years?

11:02

Dominik: Why haven’t we seen a team loading up on ben zobrist types that can play multiple positions and then go 11 hitters and 14 pitchers? That way still 3 guys could have an off day per week so that everyone has like 1.2 off days per month and you could do even more bullpening. There would be less platoon advantage but also less bad hitters.or would the defensive sacrifice of that be too big?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: There are not that many good Ben Zobrist types

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: But there do seem to be more and more young players being introduced to positional flexibility. It’s coming

11:03

Pad Squad: To REALLY contend, the Padres will need a middle of the order third baseman. Is anybody a better fit than trading for Jose Ramirez (in a year or two)? Switch hitter, cost controlled, big-time bat, etc.

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Why would the Indians trade Jose Ramirez

11:03

William: How ready are you for actual meaningful baseball?

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: 90%

11:03

Babe Lincoln: Hosmer has always been one of the more (if not the most) athletic 1Bs.  Why hasn’t he been tried elsewhere, like 3B?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Not a long history of players moving up the defensive spectrum like that. But it’s an interesting thought experiment

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Hosmer’s sprint speed was about the same last year as the average 2B, or corner OF

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I bet he could’ve done it

11:05

IndyMets: Is Nimmo’s ultimate ceiling Joey Votto?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: Well, sure, 0.1% of the time

11:05

Ayye: DBacks as potential suitor for Neil Walker? Would be a big upgrade over Owings, Ahmed, Descalso, etc.

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they see it that way

11:06

William: How annoying is Joe Maddon?

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Never met him

11:06

John Dobson: It’s early still but Justin Smoak’s second half regression from last season is carrying over into the spring so far. At what point should we be worried?

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Second-half Smoak still had a 118 wRC+

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: And we saw similar splits from Alonso and Morrison

11:07

Pad Squad: FOLLOW-UP: Cleveland’s window of contention will be up in a year or two…they may trade Jose Ramirez then.

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: They are in better shape than you think

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I should get rolling

11:07

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 — 3/9/18 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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mmddyyyy: Most exciting type of walkoff?

Jeff Sullivan: Two-run double with runners on first and second, in a game you were trailing by one

I’d rather have the October 8th 1995 version with a runner on third.

Eric Hosmer throws LH. Not a whole lot of LH 3B.