Join jolly Jay Jaffe on a tour of the 2011 season.
Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon! Apologies for the delay, had a minor tech issue. We should be good to go now... Listening to my stack off Springsteen boots in tribute to the passing of Clarence Clemons.
DanDaMan (SeaCliff): I heard from a very unreliable source (a WFAN personality) that Wilpon could sell 90% of the Mets and still hold controlling interest? Is this true? I always thought that whomever holds the majority has control?
Jay Jaffe: I would assume that owning the majority means having a controlling interest unless there's some kind of agreement otherwise, but I'm pretty sure your WFAN source is talking out of his ass. It's been reported that there's a very easy path to allow Einhorn to gain controlling interest of the club within the next few years: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-05-29/sports/29615067_1_wilpons-met-owners-david-wright
Greg (DC): Is BP going to bring back those Sunday Night game chats that you all did earlier in the season? I really enjoyed them, but I understand if it's tough to round up enough staff to make the chat worthwhile.
Jay Jaffe: It is very tough to keep herding the cats every week. I imagine we'll keep doing them for special occasions. We may have something else brewing on that front, though, so stay tuned!
Dave (Chicago): If you were Paul Depodesta, how upset would you be about Jonah Hill portraying you in a movie? Depo was at least in athlete in high school and college, no?
Jay Jaffe: As I understand it, Hill plays a character who's a composite of DePodesta and another A's assistant GM (I think David Forst?) so clearly, they used some artistic license. Not sure if it's going to work - not sure if any of it is going to work - but I suppose I'll be seeing it sooner or later.
Tom (Madison): How do you see the A's stadium/location issues playing out? In the next five years, do they stay in Oakland? Move to San Jose? Move somewhere else entirely? Or get contracted?
Jay Jaffe: I spoke to a well-connected friend of mine this weekend who said that he could foresee a scenario similar to the Expos fiasco. If Frank McCourt sues MLB over the TV contract and has enough leverage to force the other teams to open their books, the owners could pool together and buy him out, let A's owner Lew Wolff buy the Dodgers, and then let MLB do what they will with the A's - possibly moving them to another market.
Now, I don't know if I actually believe that, but it's clear that Bud is dragging his feet on the whole San Jose relocation question for the A's, and I wonder if he could use the opportunity to get Wolff out of his way as a means to do something more drastic. I don't see contraction happening, though.
Damon (Oregon): Who would you like to buy the Dodgers once McCourt has to sell
Jay Jaffe: Well, I'd love to see what Mark Cuban would do with the team, but the chances of that happening are somewhere between "zero" and "never ever ever," because he's free-thinking enough to be a real danger to Bud Selig and the MLB cartel. I've heard faint rumors that Mark Attanasio would sell the Brewers to buy the Dodgers - I'd certainly be OK with that because I like the job he's done keeping Milwaukee competitive during his time there.
Beyond that, I'm not sure. I want somebody who's committed to restoring the Dodger brand to the elite status it once enjoyed instead of tarnishing it as a cut-rate enterprise the way McCourt has. Somebody who's committed to the fan base and the locale, who will spend the necessary money to keep the team competitive.
Call me when this guy rides into Chavez Ravine on his unicorn.
lionstar1964 (Philly burbs): I saw in today's paper that with his 500th double yesterday, Johnny Damon joins a group of 11 others (all HoF members) who have 2,500 hits, 500 doubles, 200 HR and 100 triples. I never thought of Damon as a potential HoFer before. Does he have any chance?
Jay Jaffe: Hmm. While Damon's been a very good player for a long time, that's a pretty meaningless collection of round numbers. The only one that really will enhance Damon's chances is 3,000 hits; If he can find a way to stick around for another 354 hits, he may get to Cooperstown.
As it is, Damon has two World Series rings, but only two All-Star appearances, and very little else to enhance his case. Not even close on JAWS. Hall of Very Good in the eyes of most.
Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): Hi Jay! Always following your chats from the very south of the Americas. So, now that Albert "El hombre" will be sidelined for a month, what does this do for his impending Free Agency? thoughts? Letīs point out that he wouldnīt have had this injury playing third base (I know, I know..), from where I think he shouldn't have moved.
Jay Jaffe: Hey Guillermo! Thanks for stopping by. I bet Pujols could have handled third base for awhile longer but I'm not sure he'd be playable there today as anything more than an emergency.
I suspect that the injury increases the chances Pujols will return to St. Louis. Though he had certainly heated up in June (8 HR in 17 games), he's going to have a very hard time putting up the kind of numbers that would have helped him go beyond Teixeira/Gonzalez money. Maybe he takes a one-year deal to return, maybe he settles for something like 5/$150 mil... I don't know, but I do think his price tag will have to be down from the spring.
Nick Carter (London): With all the hitting coaches being fired, when will Larry Parrish be shown the door by the Braves?
He's taken one of the best offenses from last season, had Melky Cabrera withdrawn and Dan Uggla added, and has turned them into one of the worst this season.
Jay Jaffe: It's never clear how much impact a hitting or pitching coach can have on a team, so it's very tough to lay their problems at the feet of one, not that they don't as a means of scapegoating somebody when things get rough. Did Parrish tell Uggla to start swinging with his eyes closed? Did he trade Yunel Escobar for the hacktastic Alex Gonzalez? Did he drive Nate McLouth's career off a cliff? Cause Jason Heyward's injury woes? Force anyone to play Jordan Schafer?
The bottom line is that I'm very skeptical the Braves' offensive woes owe much to Parrish, though I suspect they'll make an example of him anyway if their fortunes don't turn.
dianagramr (NYC): So, do the Cards go and find a 4-6 week replacement for Pujols (Juan Miranda? Casey Kotchman?) or is it Berkman (when healthy) and prayer?
Jay Jaffe: Given the length of time Pujols will be out, I don't see the Cardinals as making a move. I strongly suspect we'll see Berkman playing first base with Allen Craig and John Jay soaking up the bulk of the right field at-bats.
bonzosa (PDX): Do you see the Kenny Williams/Ozzie/Greg Walker/Don Cooper group as a stable group going forward, regardless of whether the Sox make the playoffs?
Jay Jaffe: It's a volatile mix they have in Chicago, and of that group, Walker has seemed to be on thin ice for a long time (though see above about the folly of blaming hitting coaches). It wouldn't surprise me if the Marlins make a run at Ozzie this winter, though he'd be a fool to think life would be better under Jeff Loria and in front of that fan base than on the South Side.
Tim (Bronx): Is Matt Joyce worth keeping for the year or should I trade him now and try to get a quality starting pitcher out of him? What type of pitcher could I get?
Jay Jaffe: Joyce is producing at a level well beyond his 90th percentile PECOTA projection, and there's nowhere to go but down. He's capable of being a productive corner outfielder, but it's a reach to think he's going to evolve into a star.
As to who you could get, i have no idea your league, format, or the tendencies of your other owners. Best I can say is make him available and see who bites.
Silv (NY, NY): RIP to the Big Man - I had never seen Bruce live prior to 2008 and was floored by the energy of the band live and in person. To see how Clemons in particular blew the roof off, with all of this various ailments, was remarkable.
Given the current Dodger freefall, does it not make sense to pare the roster to its very core (Kershaw/Billingsley/Kemp/Gordon) and trade everything else you can? Pieces like Ethier/Lilly/Kuroda (assuming he'd accept a deal), Guerrier, Furcal (if healthy), Blake, etc., all have moderate to substantial value and could yield a solid crop of prospects if handled correctly. There is a lot of talent in the LAD farm system, particularly starting pitching, and the turnaround could be achieved in a year or two if handled prudently and intelligently.
Jay Jaffe: Sadly, I never got to see Clemons in concert - my access to Springsteen shows more or less coincided with a period of having the least interest in his music, and I never had anyone particularly pushing me to go, which is a damn shame, because now I know I've irrevocably missed out.
I don't think the Dodgers can get anywhere near value for the players you list, so I don't see them holding a fire sale. Who's going to take a reliever on a 3-year deal (Guerrier)? or Lilly given his deal? Pending free agents like Furcal and Blake are more likely to be dealt, but their track records for health have been terrible lately, so they won't bring much either.
Furthermore, the Dodgers' farm system is nowhere near as talented as it was a few years ago. The McCourts have bled it with skimpy bonuses, minimal involvement in the international market, signability picks, deadline deals in which they sacrificed better prospects in order to remain payroll-neutral... basically, Frank McCourt did everything he could in order to avoid putting resources back into the team, and for that he should be tarred and feathered on his way out of town.
Nick Stone (New York, NY): Jay, I know the players association will push Sabathia to exercise his opt out clause, but assuming his numbers stay more or less the same (or slightly better, considering his 2nd half track record), will anyone be willing to offer him more than what's left on his current deal? also, how do you see the pujols FA situation playing out, given the slow start and the time lost to injury?
Jay Jaffe: Hey Nick! I think if Sabathia exercises his opt-out, he's more likely to get an increased commitment in terms of years rather than a significantly higher base salary (though you can bet he'll pass Cliff Lee on the average annual value front too). As for Pujols, see above - I think this increases the likelihood he returns to St. Louis for at least another year.
JT (Exhibition Stadium): Who's the most surprising player you can create a convincing HoF argument for? Triple-bonus points if his first name's "Tony" and his surname's "Fernandez".
Jay Jaffe: Rick Reuschel does unusually well on the JAWS scale. Prior to Bert Blyleven's election, Big Daddy rated as the second-best eligible pitcher despite relatively unassuming raw numbers (214-191, 3.37 ERA, 3 All-Star apperaances, no Cy Young votes. Stayed very useful late into his career.
That said, I can make better *arguments* for guys like Orel Hershiser, David Cone and Dwight Gooden, all of whom fell just short of 200 wins but had Cy Youngs and rings to their credit. I can make a better argument for Kevin Brown, but it's hindered by his being named in the Mitchell Report, not to mention his 2004 postseason shame.
jhardman (Rangerland): Can you give your thoughts on why any of the MLB teams starving for a catcher haven't been able to give Cincinnati an offer good enough to free Ryan Hanigan?
Jay Jaffe: Maybe because the Reds are asking too much in trade? Or because they don't want to break up what's been a very productive unit? I don't think they're obligated to solve somebody else's problem without being amply rewarded.
R.A. Wagman (Toronto): If Roy Halladay were to retire after this season, is he a first ballot Hall Of Famer?
Jay Jaffe: No. The voters have elected just one sub-300 win pitcher since 1991, and that's Blyleven. They're not going to rush to elect a sub-200 win pitcher, even one with some nice credentials such as a Cy Young in each league. Guys like I mentioned, Hersiser/Gooden/Cone had a Cy and a ring and virtually disappeared from the ballots instantaneously, Halladay doesn't have a ring. No way would he stick around longer than a ballot or two.
Paul (DC): Philip Humber, 9th in WAR for AL pitchers ... uhm ... please explain.
Jay Jaffe: He doesn't miss a ton of bats but his homer and walk rates are impressively low, and his .226 BABIP is insanely low (and unsustainable). Bet on some significant regression.
That said, Humber's working with one of the game's best pitching coaches in Don Cooper, so I don't think that he's incapable of surviving as a back-end starter. He's going to need to get more groundballs though, particularly in that ballpark.
Marcus (Iraq): Jay, I don't have a question but I just wanted to say thank you. I enjoy reading your material. Keep up the good work!
Jay Jaffe: Holy cow, if you're really writing that from Iraq, it's me who owes the thanks. I'm just trying to keep people entertained and stimulated when it comes to baseball, and I'm glad I'm bringing you some enjoyment.
dianagramr (NYC): If "BaseballProspectus.Com" was to be given the Hollywood film treatment, who would poutray you and/or your 80-grade 'stache?
Jay Jaffe: Tom Selleck is probably too old, so if Brad Pitt can get my mustache down, I'll agree to let him play me.
Bill Simmons (LA): Thoughts on Grantland.com?
Jay Jaffe: As somebody with little interest in basketball or in Simmons' fairly narrow view of popular culture, I wasn't exactly waiting with bated breath over Grantland's arrival. I've read a few interesting things on there but they're invariably by people outside the traditional Simmons coterie. The oral history of the National, and Jane Leavy's Father's Day piece, for example. If we get more stuff like that, then so much the better. Otherwise, meh.
Steve (Montreal): The Jays will make at least one playoff appearance in the next 5 seasons, True or False?
Jay Jaffe: It doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility at all, but it will take some luck in the form of a weak season from either Boston or New York to come true.
Tutis (Oakland): Is it fair to say Billy Beane is no longer an upper tier GM?
Jay Jaffe: Quite. He's very good at assembling pitching staffs, but his inability to build an offense in recent years has become glaringly apparent.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): There is a "What do you think of Grantland.com" question on every chat in many locations lately. Do you suspect its someone from Grantland.com trying to get cheap promos?
Jay Jaffe: If that's the case, then man, they are barking up the wrong tree by asking me, because I have publicly said a whole lot worse regarding some of the parties involved, and in the right mood could expand upon that. Let's just say that it will be a cold day in hell before anyone from Grantland considers me for any project, not that I'm weeping over it.
Peter7899 (Chicago): Do you think there's any chance Cashman leaves NY when his contract is up at the end of the year? The Soriano contract seemed to chap him pretty bad.
Jay Jaffe: Yes, I think there's a chance, because he's done several things which can be read as greasing the skids for his own departure. I laid out that suspicion in my post-Big Sitdown piece (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13929).
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Who is a good darkhorse HOF candidate among active players? Maybe someone who flies under most people's radar in a HOF discussion, but who has a fighting chance. Roy Oswalt, maybe?
Jay Jaffe: Scott Rolen comes to mind, since much of his value is tied up in defense and walks.
I don't see Oswalt as viable because I don't think he'll stick around much longer given his back woes and his past talk of retirement. He's well below the JAWS peak standard, and nowhere near 200 wins.
Richie (Washington): Of course Halladay would get consideration. JAWS needs some sort of 'Puckett Adjustment'. If injury stops Doc tomorrow, he'll benefit from some type of 'halo effect'. Being stopped abruptly at 198 wins beats daylight out of petering out even some ways past it.
Jay Jaffe: On what do you base that? The only starter who has gotten in with less than 200 wins and any playing time in the post-1961 expansion era is Sandy Koufax. Adjusted for context, Halladay's numbers are surprisingly similar, though he doesn't have the World Series rings. You're not going to convince me that being somewhat comparable to a once-in-50-years exception makes his election a likelihood.
Cashman (Bronx): Who am I dealing by July 31? Montero, Romine, Sanchez, Banuelos, Betances, Brackman, Cervelli, Pena, Nunez, other?
Jay Jaffe: Nobody's going to give anything that will help a championship run for any of the last three. I can maybe see Gary Sanchez or Andrew Brackman traded, maybe even Austin Romine, but Banuelos, Betances and Montero are probably untouchable.
goldgarf (Denver): What's the majority view among those sebermetrically inclined of Dan O'Dowd's tenure at the Rockies? After they started building from within, they seemed to understand that counting stats don't tell us that much, but recently I've had the feeling that the reason the Rockies have done better these past few years is just dumb luck; that, and the fact that this Tulo guy is pretty good.
Jay Jaffe: I think many folks recognize that O'Dowd's focus on groundballing starters has been one reason the Rockies have remained competitive in recent years; they've been in the top 6 teams in GB% every year since 2007, which has helped cut down the number of homers allowed. That's not an accident at all, nor is the fact that they have some outstanding young talent beyond Tulowitzki. There's a lot to suggest Jim Tracy is doing more to prevent them from wining than O'Dowd is.
Manprin (Sacramento, CA): Referring to Billy Beane, rumors persist he hasn't been running the day-to-day operations for several seasons; David Forst has. Would that make a little more sense as far as the lackluster rosters, lack of substantial moves, poor minor league development of their own draft picks, etc?
Not that it excuses Beane at all if he is AWOL - he's still responsible for the product on the field.
Which raises a concern with the tarped third deck, lack of promotion, no FanFest and poor product on the field - are the A's built to look like they are competitive and really created to be scuttled?
Jay Jaffe: I think Wolff and Beane are trying to make the case that the A's can't compete in their current ballpark and administering a rather thin gruel of nutrients while hoping that Bud does something to open up San Jose for them. Whether Beane is involved in the day-to-day as much as he was years ago isn't all that relevant if you've got a coherent core philosophy; if you don't, why is Beane even sticking around at all?
Matt (Whippleville, NY): Fred Wilpon has to realize that losing Jose Reyes will result in even worse attendance and less fan interest, right?
Jay Jaffe: I think the question is whether David Einhorn has realized that. I think there's a chance the Mets retain Reyes. Not a great chance but a non-zero one.
tommybones (brooklyn): Can you see any scenario where Pujols signs with the Yanks to play 3B, moving Arod to DH? Seems like a Yankee-type move.
Jay Jaffe: I'm sorry, but that's the least-informed thing I've read all day. Just, wow.
Marissa (Las Vegas): Which team is going to win the Stanley Cup next season?
Jay Jaffe: The Charlestown Chiefs, especially if they can get the Hanson Brothers back together.
Richie (Washington): Kirby Puckett is what I base that on. And Koufax, too, now that you bring him up. Does JAWS account for people being stopped right in their prime? I'm guessing not, perhaps because there are so few. But are there comparables to Kirby and Doc who didn't make it? I suspect there's just such a strong psychological at play there for voters.
Jay Jaffe: Puckett had two World Series rings and 10 straight All-star appearances. As good as Halladay is, he doesn't have that.
Now, by considering peak and career, JAWS is built to allow for stopped-in-prime comparisons, and yes, Halladay is above the standard on that front (49.1 peak, with the average SP at 47.7). There aren't a lot of voters basing their decisions on JAWS, though - the great majority are still paying heed to more traditional numbers.
The annals are full of fast-starting pitchers who didn't make the Hall along the lines of Gooden. Denny McLain won his second Cy at 25 and didn't get in. Bret Saberhagen has two Cy Youngs and won't get in. Johan Santana probably won't get in barring a miraculous comeback from shoulder woes.
Damon (Vancouver): Do you see MLB coming to Vancouver in the 10 years? Vancouver is too big of a city to only have a Short Season Single A ballclub.
Jay Jaffe: It's possible. The Vancouver metropolitan area is about 2.37 million, a bit less than Denver and Pittsburgh, but bigger than Portland, Milwaukee, and probably some other current MLB markets.
Natasha (Austin, TX): How different is baseball going to look 20 years from now in terms of how GM's build their clubs?
Jay Jaffe: Very good question. I don't have an instant answer but it seems like something worth pondering at length.
Jquinton82 (NY): If you're Cashman who do you bring in to give the rotation/pen some help? or do you sit and wait till next year?
Jay Jaffe: You avoid overreacting, and wait to see what Hughes and Colon are capable of once they return, which should be soon. Reports are good on the former, who had a strong rehab start yesterday in which he consistently hit 93 MPH, and who could be back in 2 weeks. The Yankees have no shortage of arms in the system, and may be better off trying some of them in relief roles to help cover for the fact that they don't have outstanding stuff. Beyond that, i'm not sure there are guys who you target so much as making smart decisions about the guys who become available on the market, what's driving their success and what they'll cost you in terms of prospects. Again, avoiding overreaction is the key.
John (Manhattan): mike moustakas? Can I expect power numbers from him? Can I finally trade Mark Reynolds and replace him with mike moustakas? Is Mark Reynolds worth anything?
Jay Jaffe: PECOTA sees Moustakas as a 35-HR type guy. Not sure he's that right out of the box. Reynolds is worth more in real life than in traditional fantasy formats because of the low batting average, as opposed to respectable OBP/SLG marks.
R.A.Wagman (No relation to R.A. Dickey): Has anything in the way you view the game cahnged with your increased inner access, vis-a-vis BBWAA accredition? In other words, how much cheering is there - really - in the pressbox?
Jay Jaffe: There is literally no cheering in the press box. None at all. People root for quick games and tidy endings so they don't have to scrap their stories and stay late. They're very involved in getting their work done, to the point that they clearly don't get a chance to take in everything that's going on with a game. Also, there are definitely some big names in the box who root for controversy so their stories can capture more eyeballs.
Jay Jaffe: Folks, that's as much as I have time for today - I've still got the better part of the NL Hit List to write. Thanks for stopping by and spending some time chatting with me, and look for more chats in this space soon!