Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat -- 1/22/16
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Jeff Sullivan
9:45
Here's the deal with all these things: we can only really evaluate a contract if we know what the alternatives were. So just front-loading in general is worse for a team, because of what money is worth and inflation and everything, but you could balance that by front-loading and reducing the overall guarantee. Without knowing what other contracts would be possible, there's only so much to be said
9:47
If you front-load a contract with an opt-out, you make it more likely the player leaves. To a very small extent we saw this with the Giants and Cueto. That's okay for a team provided it's factoring that in to the actual price. You don't want to pay full retail price for that
Ulysses
9:48
Smarter for the White Sox to go after Fowler or Desmond at this point? Any starting pitcher they should go after in particular too?
Jeff Sullivan
9:48
I like Desmond's potential flexibility, and I think he could be had cheaper
Matt
9:49
May I offer a challenge trade? Ender Inciarte and Arodys Vizcaino for JD Davis, Derek Fisher, and Alex Bregman. Who says no?
Jeff Sullivan
9:49
The Astros are not going to do that
Colin
9:50
What player benefits most from the DH to the NL?
Jeff Sullivan
9:50
It's Schwarber
mattbalasis
9:51
Dave Cameron made a compelling case for Cespedes the other day, why are teams hesitant to offer the long term deal? Do you think there's a latin bias, specifically regarding concerns over age/identity manipulation, ped's, & do you think Alderson's experience as MLB's "fix-it" guy in the Dominican from back in 2010 informs these proceedings?
Jeff Sullivan
9:52
I think with Cespedes in particular, there are concerns over how much he'll remain motivated, and how well he'll stay conditioned. I have no idea how valid that is, because I don't observe the guy off the field every day, but it's pretty clear what the market is saying. And, I mean, the guy apparently smokes a lot. I think that's a legitimate red flag
Q-Ball
9:53
It seems like this offseason has had fewer bad contracts than last offseason. Is that just hindsight, or reality?
Jeff Sullivan
9:53
A lot more opt-outs. Clouds the picture
Greg
9:53
This feels like a dumb question, and I know how "Google is my friend", but could you explain what a "market inefficiency" is and how it's changed over the years?
Jeff Sullivan
9:55
A market inefficiency would refer to an area where you think you're able to get more than 1 win of value for the average cost of 1 win on the market. The classic example, on account of Moneyball, is OBP-first players, who were getting underpaid, relative to what they contributed
9:56
Over time, there have been suggestions that defense became undervalued. So, if you had a two-win player with a strong bat, maybe he'd get $15 million. But you might be able to spend $10 million on two-win player who's more glove-first
9:57
The obvious issue there is our defensive numbers still aren't great, but you look at, say, Leonys Martin, and he's been a really good defender in CF, and the Mariners got him for relatively little
9:58
The last 3 years, Martin has a slightly higher WAR than Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez. The latter 2 are in more demand, because they hit. This could be a legitimate inefficiency
guest guest guest
9:59
what kind of career do you foresee for maikel franco? aramis ramirez-lite?
Jeff Sullivan
9:59
I could see Beltre's bat without Beltre's defense
Well I guess that's Ramirez
OK!
Raindog
10:01
It's weird that a to-be 27 year old semi-catcher with a .193 career ISO had to go to Korea for a job, right?
Jeff Sullivan
10:02
All Wilin Rosario has is power. Pedro Alvarez doesn't have a job and he's the better hitter. Since Rosario can't actually catch very well, it's not really a selling point
10:03
You'd think he could fit somewhere as a bench guy and emergency catcher, but that's a job with little security. He'll play every day in Korea, and he's getting seven figures to do so
_David_
10:04
Can MLB institute a Loria Rule wherein teams have to put a percentage of their revenue towards payroll? Maybe, to prevent forcing teams to spend each year just to spend, put the money in an account that can be used at any point towards payroll, but the team can't keep it...
Jeff Sullivan
10:04
A few years ago MLB nudged the Marlins because they weren't spending enough
Kim
10:04
If you were Dipoto and were trying to convince a FA to sign with the Mariners, what would your pitch be? I'm especially interested if it's a position player.
Jeff Sullivan
10:05
I don't think they have to do anything extraordinary. But you make a point to hit on how the park isn't extreme anymore, and the city is beautiful, and there's a chance to really be part of something if the Mariners make it back to the playoffs
guest guest guest
10:06
brett gardner for jorge soler + ptbnl. who says no?
Jeff Sullivan
10:06
Cubs
Bob Pollard
10:06
Victor Martinez: done or will bounce back?
Jeff Sullivan
10:07
Bounce back. Not to 2014 levels, but he's too good, and next year he should have his legs
Zach
10:08
When it comes to evaluating/ranking farm systems, do we know enough to say whether it's more important to be better at identifying raw talent and getting it into your system, or at refining the talent you do have? Obviously the goal is to do both, but is one superior to the other?
Jeff Sullivan
10:09
My guess is development is more important than evaluation. Most teams should be pretty good at spotting on-field talent. The real difference is in maximizing the talent you have. We don't know enough to quantify that but I think people have senses of who has and has not been good at the development aspect
Brett W
10:09
Is baserunning a teachable skill? It seems like some combination of baseball IQ, instinct, raw speed, and acceleration.
Jeff Sullivan
10:10
To some extent it can definitely be taught. A player can only ever be so good, given his own skills, but there was that year the Mets got Daniel Murphy to steal a bunch of bases
10:11
Awareness is like half of good and bad baserunning. You can grab free bases if you understand the pitcher and catcher aren't paying you enough attention
Aron
10:11
The Mariners have six starters that could theoretically be in the rotation Opening Day. What's their best strategy? Keep one in the minors because someone always gets hurt, throw one in the bullpen and have a fireman reliever whatever the hell that means until someone else gets hurt, trade the most injury-prone (Paxton?), or something else?
Jeff Sullivan
10:12
I imagine Nuno as the swing man, and Paxton to Triple-A until someone or Paxton gets hurt
Sean P
10:12
Approximately how many hours each day do you spend writing?
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