Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:05
Travis Sawchik: Happy February

12:06
Travis Sawchik: Not so happy for many unsigned players …

12:06
Travis Sawchik: Let’s chat …

12:06
aw: When does the prospect stuff get posted today?

12:07
Travis Sawchik: A LOT of prospect content this week

12:07
Travis Sawchik: And I believe there will be several posts today

12:07
Jason Rollison: Travis – GUT feel – Glasnow or Musgove for Pirates ’18 rotation, and one reason why?

12:07
Travis Sawchik: Musgrove. He can find the strike zone consistently

12:08
Percy Miracles: Hi Travis, can a team pull an offer from a player who is just sitting on it? For instance, it’s reported Hosmer has a 7 year offer from SD that was reported a few weeks ago. Could SD void the offer because they don’t appreciate Hosmer sitting on it trying to get a better deal?

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Until there are signatures, nothing is official, I assume

12:09
Not Carson C.: What is the MLB’s equivalent of the  NFL’s “was is a catch” fiasco?

12:09
Travis Sawchik: Hmmmm. The yellow home run line on the fence?

12:09
sufjan stevens: what % chance would you there’s a work stoppage after the current CBA?

12:10
Travis Sawchik: There have been eight work stoppages in MLB history … and this has been the longest drought

12:10
Travis Sawchik: I’m gonna say it’s inched up to like 20%

12:10
Mozeliak: Do I look to sign Logan Morrison as a value play? If I do, should I have confidence in Matheny that he would know how to deploy the abundance of IF assets to good effect?

12:11
Travis Sawchik: I imagine Morrison is becoming a value play at this point … I don’t know that I’d trust Matheny, however

12:11
La Vie en Bleu 108: I’ve just read parts of Big Data again. Do you think it’s difficult to sell an organisation on that approach if they didn’t do so well the first time around?

12:12
Travis Sawchik: I think it’s easier to overcome a failure today since so many clubs have had success with similar practices throughout the industry

12:12
Streaking is Fun: NFL’s what is a catch=MLB’s runner popping up off the base for a fraction of a second while tagged

12:13
Travis Sawchik: I think the runner thing is more clear-cut … but I think it is similar in that is this really in the spirit of replay and why it was created

12:14
Bravesy McBravesface: I think most fans care more about their team’s ability to be competitive than middle-tier free agents making tons of money.  I don’t see this as siding with ownership as much as it is selfishness, for lack of a better term, of fans wanting their team to win.  Whether JD Martinez signs with Boston for $200M or for $100M, it doesn’t significantly affect any team outside the AL East, and even then, it’s really just the teams competing for the division title.  What does affect my team would be restructuring the CBA and re-opening avenues to big market teams using small market teams as farm teams to pick from in free agency in an effort to get Eric Hosmer more money.  Why should I, as a Braves fan, care if Eric Hosmer gets a great contract?  If I want what’s best for my team, and my team’s ability to be competitive on the open market, shouldn’t I want the free agents to sign for as little as possible?

12:14
Travis Sawchik: The issue, ultimately, is you probably want games to be played

12:15
Travis Sawchik: And if the imbalance in share of revenue grows between players and owners, then that’s a recipe for labor strife

12:16
Travis Sawchik: But, I agree, that most fans care more about team wins than labor interests of players … I think that is natural (rooting for city on jersey) but I think teams have conditioned fans well, too in addition to operating more efficiently within the rules

12:17
Contract lengths: Will the non-QO, non-JDM, non-Darvish free agents all likely be looking at 1 or 2 year deals at this point?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: The vast majority, yes

12:18
Old timer: Do you see any moves left for the A’s?  Seems there will be FA  bargains soon that can be flipped for prospects in July.

12:18
Travis Sawchik: Spending money is the new market inefficiency … so savvy teams should be on the lookout for value

12:18
Mark: If Robinson Cano was a free agent this off-season, what kind of deal would he be looking at?

12:18
Travis Sawchik: He’d be unsigned, probably

12:19
Travis Sawchik: And be lowering demands soon

12:19
CJL: MLB’s equivalent of “was it a catch” is definitely runner off the bag sliding into a base via replay review

12:19
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Mlb equivalent for catch or no catch has to be whether or not the runner came off the bag with the tag on him.

12:20
Travis Sawchik: This is the consensus view

12:20
Travis Sawchik: But it’s not nearly the cluster the NFL catch rule is

12:21
West Coast Wreck: Do you see Todd Frazier as a viable left fielder for teams that have a larger hole in the OF than 3B?

12:22
Travis Sawchik: Maybe? Teams and players can be creative in February. I’m intrigued with Frazier’s BB% spike

12:22
Fix This Mess: How does the MLBPA successfully argue for getting more dollars to prime year players in lieu of paying players beyond their primes? And how does their membership really feel about that?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: That’s such a balance to walk … The next generation of player would be happy to enter free agency earlier, and more teams would pay premium dollars for those years, but veteran players who advanced 6–plus years to reach FA feel they ought be rewarded for the service time

12:25
Travis Sawchik: The economic model, really, free agency model, is broken for players

12:25
Travis Sawchik: Now, next offseason might make us forget all about this winter but the underlying issues for most free agents will remain

12:25
Chris: Could the Tribe bring in another 1B, e.g., LoMo, if the price was right?

12:26
Travis Sawchik: I think they got their LHH fly-ball dude in Alonso

12:26
bosoxforlife: Everybody here has heard all the arguments for this bizarre off-season. Too much money, too many years for older players, collusion,  of these, which of the arguments do you think has been the most important?

12:27
Travis Sawchik: Teams are operating in very similar ways and almost all have devalued FA due to age of player and return on investment

12:27
Travis Sawchik: That could also look a lot like collusion

12:28
Travis Sawchik: But I suspect it is more just using information to operate more efficiently … the soft cap of the new CBA doesn’t help

12:28
Christian: Who do you think has a better season in the majors, Brent Honeywell or Luis Ortiz?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: I’m a big Honeywell fan

12:29
GSon: The best starting staff in MLB is the a. Dodgers b. Nationals c. Indians d. Someone else.. and why…

12:29
Travis Sawchik: FG thinks it’s the Dodgers http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=SP

12:30
Travis Sawchik: Astros are in the discussion

12:30
Travis Sawchik: But Indians are going to be elite again, with health, and I’ll be curious to see if Bauer and Clevinger can extrapolate their second-half performances

12:31
I’ve been framed!: Aren’t Called strikes are the MLBs version of the catch rule?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: I suppose it is the most subjective ruling type on the field

12:32
Dominik: Isn’t better player development actually very bad for player payment? Better PD means players are more interchangeable and it is easier to replace production with another 500k player you taught to hit bombs or throw 97. Could better PD be one of the reasons for the salary crisis?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: Interesting thought. There does seem to be a greater supply of power arms and power bats … so it could be playing a role

12:33
GSon: The addition of Shohei Ohtani as a two way player could be considered a big nothing burger from the offensive side of the equation. The big change would be the starting pitching staff being on a 6 day rotation. With the CBA appearing to be a fight, would the players association consider adding 2 more roster spots or a “taxi squad”  that permits the idea of a 6 man rotation or some version of it?

12:34
Travis Sawchik: Teams would probably try and fill those roster spots as cheaply as possible

12:35
Ronnie: With more team than ever seemingly prioritizing future wins over current wins, is trying to win games in the present the “New Moneyball”?

12:35
Travis Sawchik: BrewerBall

12:35
Lazzaro Da Fietta: If a 33-year-old hitter can only get $8M a year for 2 years, then isn’t that what he’s worth?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: That’s what the market says he’s worth. I suspect he’d argue he was underpaid for the first 6-plus years of his career

12:36
troke: How much do you think Otani will DH or play in the field? Twice a week? Three times?

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Twice. I think they’ll be conservative. It would be more fun if they were aggressive

12:37
Shawn: Is the KATOH top 100 coming out soon?

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Soon

12:37
a different matt: Perhaps money spent on development is just more effective than spent on acquisition.  That would result in more money migrating away from free agents.

12:38
Travis Sawchik: I’d love to know how R&D investment has increased, I’m sure it’s exponential … and still more efficient

12:38
Rockie Dangerfield: How deep in the season will we be before an unsigned FA buys a ticket to a game only to jump the fence and run onto the field?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: June

12:39
tb.25: What self-taught skills do you think increase ones odds of getting into baseball ops analytics? R, Python, understanding of baseball, projects?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: programming language is a good place to start

12:40
West Coast Wreck: My favorite change to CBA would be to guarantee FA at age 28 regardless of years of service.  At the same time, cut League minimum to 1 year then go to 10-20-30-40-60-80-80… in arbitration.  Average rookie age would decrease quickly getting players paid much quicker.

12:40
Travis Sawchik: Kris Bryant would have never played a minor league game haha

12:40
Groupthink: NH’s habit of prioritizing drafting contact hitters has a chance to be a clever strategy, but to a cynic looks like getting guys who won’t earn big arb awards. Which is it?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: It will be quite clever if some of those guys develop power. Kramer is on an interesting development track

12:41
Streaking is Fun: More wins in 2018- Danny Salazar or Cleveland Browns?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: Salazar but the Browns are pretty well positioned if they don’t screw it up

12:42
GSon: T-Saw… Yes, you are correct. The Astros are in the discussion only if you think Morton can repeat his astounding and successful 2017 season..

12:42
Travis Sawchik: I think he can! With health ….

12:42
Bravesy McBravesface: Won’t the problem next year be that teams are going to chase the elite players, but still give the good-not-great players the same treatment as this year?  I saw an agent put it something like “15% of players getting 85% of the money.”  Wouldn’t income inequality of that level within the union would cause major tension amongst the players?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: One of the first things I wrote at FG: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/baseballs-embattled-middle-class/

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Yeah, the issue with next winter is the elite players will get paid but the same underlying issues will remain for the majoirty of FAs

12:44
Connor: I’d say a balk is the mlb version of the catch rule

12:44
Travis Sawchik: Are balks reviewable?

12:44
Rod: Does FG consider Ohtani a prospect?

12:44
Travis Sawchik: Yes

12:45
Travis Sawchik: Or, at least FG prospect writers do. I cannot speak for David Appelman

12:45
Dominik Jr: My dad is on to something. Will avoidance of football make the pipeline of new decent players grow steadily?

12:45
Travis Sawchik: It should help to some degree … baseball still has issues at the youth level, namely cost

12:46
Jackson C: Do you think the MLBPA has the power to get an arbitration restructuring to happen? Surely any gains for the young cost-controlled players comes at the expense of the free agents and that will hurt the leverage of the union.

12:46
Andy: Could we change the Arbitration system to more closely mirror the QO?  Similar players with your mix of stats make x amount of dollars.  here’s 80% of that for the first 5 years of control.

12:46
Travis Sawchik: Players might want to start with overhauling arb … If I’m a player I’d want it replaced with restricted free agency

12:46
Dave: As the best available FA pitcher, could Darvish taking his time in the hopes that the Dodgers or Yankees can clear salary to sign him, be affecting the market? If he wants to play for those teams badly enough, why not offer to take a cheap one year deal and then the Brewers, Twins, etc can move on to plan B?

12:47
Travis Sawchik: Darvish is going to cash in on this opportunity and he’s one of the few unsigned FAs that can wait comfortably

12:47
Taxi or Uber Squad?: The Angels may openly use a six man rotation, but what do we call what the Dodgers did last year?

12:47
Travis Sawchik: Crafty?

12:48
Zack Cozart: Would I have accepted a QO? Would the Angels still sign me if I had declined one?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: No and Maybe?

12:48
Shelly Duncan: How do you think a Loaning system similar to European Soccer teams would work in the MLB?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: I need to learn more about the EPL, but I do like the prize money sharing. If, say, revenue sharing was tied to performanece among small-market teams that would changed incentives and speending

12:50
Fix This Mess: Hard cap plus salary floor going to happen at some point?

12:50
Travis Sawchik: I think so … maybe not this decade … but something like that eventually

12:51
DBRuns: Cleveland could use a RH platoon partner for 1B, plus 3B becomes a hole if Ramirez gets more ABs at 2B and Kipnis moves to the OF. Could they be in on Todd Frazier? I realize payroll is pretty tight at this point.

12:51
Travis Sawchik: Indians were reportedly in on Cain to some degree … for the right fit maybe there is more space available

12:52
Joe: just relocate that A’s, Rays, and Marlins to markets that can actually support a baseball team.  That will help them spend more money, creating more competition, and higher inflation.

12:53
Travis Sawchik: I don’t like the idea of relocating teams, personally, but I’m not sure how many great markets exist domestically

12:54
Joe: oh and force peter angelos to sell the orioles

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Owners have the benefit in not having to worry about personal performance

12:55
Streaking is Fun: More starts- Danny Salazar or Brown’s Week 1 QB?

12:55
Travis Sawchik: Salazar

12:55
Chris: In European soccer, teams loan either 1) loan away younger players who are not ready to start or contribute yet or 2) loan away players who are “out of favor” meaning those players are not getting enough playtime due to poor performance or the presence of other players. In baseball those younger players are conditioned in the minors (which are not usually present in soccer) and those “out of favor” players are usually outright traded.

12:55
Travis Sawchik: Thanks!

12:56
Literally Altuve: Why is Florida uninterested in supporting baseball teams? It’s one of the larger states in the country, and Miami and Tampa aren’t the smallest markets by far.

12:56
Travis Sawchik: Florida is a pretty transient place. There might be more Yankees fans in Tampa than Rays fans.

12:57
Lou : Did you hear about the new MLS LA team doing their local broadcasting rights on Yahoo TV?  Do you think this will be the future in MLB?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Streaming is the future

12:57
Jordan: It’s March 29th, JDM is still unsigned. Hanley Ramirez is standing on the on deck circle. Right before he goes up to hit, Martinez’ music hits and he comes running out of the bullpen and to hit Hanley with a stone cold stunner. He then shotguns two beers before smacking a finger. What are the chances this happens?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: non-zero

12:57
a different matt: Unspent revenue sharing money should go back to the fans.  Clearly we’re being overcharged if they can’t find players to spend it on.  Just hand out cash as you walk in the stadium.

12:58
Travis Sawchik: Now that would be the ultimate ballpark giveaway

12:59
Distracted employee: If you had to wager on one player who is going to sign a 1 year contract this off-season and prove their worth of a long-term contract for next off-season (say, for a 3+ year deal in 2019), who would you pick?

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Can I count Pineda’s 2019?

1:00
Youppi!: How would an expansion of 1 or 2 teams change or affect the current labor strife? Wouldn’t it create more openings for players to go to for playing time, while increasing revenues for the owners and MLB?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Expansion sounds like it’s not too far down the road. Montreal and someone, I suspect

1:00
Erik: What is the benefit for George Springer to sign away next year’s arbitration in addition to avoiding arbitration this year? Why would he eliminate the chance for an even bigger raise next season? Doesn’t it make more sense to go year-to-year?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Security vs. income upside

1:01
Travis Sawchik: I really cannot blame players who opt for security, it’s life-changing money

1:01
Gavin I: Do you care to speculate on the effect of Dave Cameron’s arrival in San Diego and Eric Hosmer’s continued free agency?

1:01
Travis Sawchik: Oh to be a fly on the wall!

1:02
Lam Chop: What is your sense of the percentage of unemployed FA who have offers but are holding out for more (JDM, Hosmer, Darvish) vs. don’t have offers at all (Matt Holliday)?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: The top guys are holding out the other guys are waiting for a call. Holliday said he hasn’t received an offer this offseason

1:03
Raul Gillette: What triple slash does Ohtani have to put up for the Angels to keep giving him ABs past this year? I think the Angels bullshitted Ohtani with the hitting angle to get him to sign and will pull the plug quickly. You mentioned earlier that he’ll probably only hit a couple times a week; is that enough ABs to maintain a swing? This seems hinky.

1:03
Travis Sawchik: I think he should be given a legit chance to hit. The power is very real. Davenport translations had his 2016 projecting to a 130 wRC+

1:04
Jason: What would happen if MLB gave the #1 draft pick to the team with the best record that did not play in the post-season the prior season?   Would it be enough to prevent all this tanking?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: As Dipoto said, more teams might be competing for the No. 1 pick than the WS. That doesn’t seem ideal

1:04
Brady Aiken: Do I still maintain any value in prospect circles? What’s the deal with my velocity?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: Gotta see that velo return first …

1:05
GSon: Which one of the near to competing GM’s (Brewers, Mariners, Angels, other) look at their starting pitching staff and contacts Indians/Mets/Pirates offering an overwhelming return ? Will the contacted teams take the offer?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: A Brewers-Mets deal could be interesting

1:05
Dave Kingman: How do you see the Brewers situation shaking out if they break camp without trading for a SP? Does Braun play 1B and Thames sits? Is the OF Yelich, Cain & Santana? Does Broxton get sent down? Do they mix/match on a daily basis for best matchups and rotate guys for the purpose of rest?

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Even if Broxton is just a reserve OF/defensive replacement, that’s OK. I would think one gets traded

1:06
Pie Eaton Contest: Think everyone is over rating the Yankees arrival, similar to 2016 Astros? I see a lineup with 2 hitters that have turned in more than one season of above average offensive performance and the rest are all question marks

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Yankees are very real. A full season of that uber bullpen and Bird-Stanton-Judge-Sanchez … scary stuff for AL East

1:07
Chuck-it: I noticed in the Depth Chart projections that the Jays are projected to score the same amount of runs as the Red Sox and Indians. Is this for real?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Better question for Jeff Sullivan, who is now tasked with of the depth charts stuff

1:09
Gavin I: Jose Bautista’s agent is talking up his new swing, and we are hearing news about how he is now wearing contact lenses; apparently his friends and teammates  have been teasing him for years about his bad eyesight. If Jose plays for a Major League team in 2018, long live the agent!

1:09
Travis Sawchik: Hey, that’s not a bad sales pitch

1:09
Travis Sawchik: Maybe I’d bite for one year and $5 million

1:10
Pete: Regarding Florida: you’re right about Yanks fans in Tampa. Everyone here already has a favorite team from back home. The only chance the state had was Florida Marlins (not Miami Marlins) but mlb killed their shot at viability in 1998 with Devil Rays expansion. Spring Training here also hurts the local teams.

1:10
Travis Sawchik: These are also still relatively new franchises and the fire sales have probably disrupted the base in Miami

1:11
Dominik: New swing by Bautista? That swing made him great and he was already about the most extreme pull and FB hitter. What is a new swing you going to improve?

1:11
Travis Sawchik: A swing that produces only batted balls between 20-30 degrees in exit velocity

1:12
Bryan: Earlier in the chat someone discussed Joey Bats getting contact lenses.  Do teams not just check eyesight every single year?

Seems like you’d just want to have 20-10 eyesight across the board and shell out a few $ for lasic

1:13
Travis Sawchik: I know there is a lot of vision work done behind the scenes in clubhouses. What player would want to go out there with sub 20-20 visiton?

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Thanks for stopping by folks!

1:13
Travis Sawchik: That’s the end of this chat.

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Until next week, be good and do good

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A Cleveland native, FanGraphs writer Travis Sawchik is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Big Data Baseball. He also contributes to The Athletic Cleveland, and has written for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Sawchik.

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BobbyJohn69
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BobbyJohn69

20-10 vision is superior to 20-20 vision, Travis. 20-30 would be worse than 20-20.