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Chat: Jay Jaffe

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday November 30, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jay Jaffe.

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Join JAWSmeister Jay Jaffe in a look at baseball's past, present, and future.

Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to today's chat. It's JAWS season, and we're gonna need a bigger boat...

BeplerP (NYC): Jay: Thanks for the Chat. Many commentators (including your former colleague Joe Sheehan) have denoiunced the new CBA. with formulations such as "Moneyball just died". How concerned are you about the effects you can see now on the ability of teams to continue to approach personnel selection creatively? Did the Cubs make a $3 million mistake with Theo? Is Ed Wade going to get a new job?

Jay Jaffe: While I am grateful that the two sides were able to come together without acrimony in a time when other sports are so full of it on the labor front, I'm very disappointed in what the new CBA means to small-market teams with regards to the draft and international free agent spending limits. Caps are a bad thing, even moreso when they work against the little guys, and the penalties are absolutely draconian. The net effect is going to be either to encourage stupid spending on free agents or to watch owners pocket the savings while the game loses talented athletes to other sports, neither of which is good.

As for Epstein, it's a great move for a minimal price - in an industry where some yutz can piss away $4 million on Juan Rivera, why sweat the dollars a guy who ranks as one of the best GMs makes?

I'm sure Ed Wade will get a consulting job somewhere if he wants it. The old boy network takes care of ex-GMs.

Adrian (Washington D.C.): A couple days ago, Murray Chass wrote a piece on his blog basically stating that Bobby Valentine is one of the most disliked persons in baseball, particularly by other managers. Is he truly that disliked, or is this simply Chass with an old axe to grind.

Jay Jaffe: Valentine is certainly a polarizing figure, mainly because he has an outsized personality and the ability to think differently. However, one should consider the source when it comes to criticizing him; at this point, Chass is an old coot with an axe to grind about everything outside his mother's basement. Once a pioneer in the reporting of the business of baseball, he now embarrasses himself on a daily basis with more vitriol than your average Dick Young column.

Mark (Milwaukee): Love your Twitter feed. Makes me laugh at least once a day (unlike Goldstein, ZZZZZZZZZZ). What kind of deal would you give Fielder assuming 1B was a need?

Jay Jaffe: Thanks! If I'm a team in the upper third of payroll, I wouldn't have much hesitation to give him Ryan Howard's 5 year, $125 million deal, but anything beyond that makes me a bit squeamish unless I'm an AL club that can look to an eventual path to DHing him, and if I'm below that tier payroll-wise, I'd start to get nervous, too.

hulala (Taipei): Hey,Jay! Any thoughts about Yank's infield? Should we bid on Hiroyuki Nakajima though I'm not buying Japanese infielders that much, thanks!!

Jay Jaffe: The Yankees' infield isn't going anywhere. Fortifying it with decent backups is the order of the day - Eric Chavez was a decent cornerman, though I wouldn't mind a bit more sock. Eduardo Nunez wasn't horrible in the total package, but his defense definitely needs work.

The exchange rate on Japanese infielders is horrible right now. I don't know anything about Nakajima, but unless he's a bat-first guy who hit 30 homers over there, I wouldn't touch him with a 40-foot clown pole, and I don't see why the Yankees would need him.

dtwhite (Toronto): Watching Jose Bautista become a superstar at 29 got me wondering - which players in the HoF were the most unlikely to have been considered worthy at that age?

Jay Jaffe: That's a very good question ripe for a January column. Offhand, I'd say Dazzy Vance (0-4, 4.91 ERA) is the heavyweight champion - he didn't win his first game until age 31. Phil Niekro had 31 wins at that point in his career, too.

Greg (Ohio): Who the #$%@ is Jay Jaffe?

Jay Jaffe: He's a lover and a fighter, baby.

yankeesbg13 (Indianapolis): Me and my friend had a little disagreement the other day over Nolan Ryan. My friend thinks he's one of the top 10 pitchers of all time, I say he might not even crack the top 20. What's your take on it?

Jay Jaffe: The new JAWS figures have him 14th all-time, well ahead on career, but a bit behind on peak (64.1/32.3/48.2 vs the standard of 53.0/37.1/45.1). Having watched him throw his 5th no-hitter and caught several more starts where he gave it a good run, he's absolutely in my top 10 in terms of "If I could have a ticket to see one guy pitch."

Urban (New York): Great job on ClubHouse Confidential. So I see where they made you were a tie. Question is: Did you have a tie?!

Jay Jaffe: Thanks! Haha, yes, I did have a tie - I own around 10 of them, some of which I probably haven't worn in 5 years. I brought two to the studio so we could make a mutual decision as to what worked best, and I actually just bought another one in anticipation of a future appearance on the show.

Steven (Sweden): Ryan Braun is on a HOF type career path right now, True or False?

Jay Jaffe: True. He's a 500-homer guy in the making, I think, and with that OBP, he'll carry some real value.

Michael (Detroit, MI): Jay, is there any conversation even about removing the ten "yes" vote limit for Hall of Fame balloting by the BBWAA? Others have pointed out that we're going to have a large number of well-qualified candidates very soon.

Jay Jaffe: I have heard no discussion to that effect. Perhaps in 2013/2014, when the ballot is really swollen because of the backlog of candidates, we'll start to hear it, but I'm very skeptical.

Jquinton82 (NY): Whats the deal with the rule 5 daft and its stipulations?

Jay Jaffe: Basically, once a player is through his third year (if he was signed out of college) or fourth year (from high school) he has to be protected on the 40-man roster by a certain date. if not, he can be chosen in the Rule 5, with the stipulation that he has to remain on the selecting club's 25-man roster for the entire season, or be offered back to the team that lost him.

Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): Hi Jay! Regarding Albert 'El Hombre' Pujols Free Agency, are teams looking at him as anything but 1B? Could he be playing another position (OF, 3B) regularly? What do you see him getting and where?

Jay Jaffe: Hey Guillermo! While I think Pujols could play LF regularly, I don't see any discussion out there about another team considering him for that role. I think he winds up returning to St. Louis on some $200 million deal, maybe shorter than the previously mentioned eight years, to drive up the AAV.

Candice (Las Vegas): Besides Baseball, what other sports do you follow?

Jay Jaffe: At the level of investment with which, I write about baseball year-round, I don't generally get too deeply into other sports - I'll check in on the NFL playoffs, and invariably watch the conference championships and Super Bowl, maybe some college bowl games, maybe a bit of the NBA or NHL finals, but that's about it...

Except for the Winter Olympics. I grew up in Salt Lake City, which hosted them in 2002, and I was able to attend. I hate the figure skating, but I'll devour just about everything else, especially the skiing and anything else where the potential for mayhem is high. The fact that it happens during the deadest time of the sports year (February) really helps.

RJ (Evanston): A haiku about your mustache... go.

Jay Jaffe: Since that would take me too long at the expense of other chat questions, I'll throw this out there to the readers instead.

Blake (San Francisco): Jay, do you think there's any possibility baseball will turn away from having an extra playoff team? The ratings for the World Series are way down from when there were only ALCS and NLCS, and I know there are other factors, but the sport completely ignores viewer playoff fatigue. Last year one of the league championships wasn't even on a broadcast network. Am I the only one who sees this as connected to three playoff rounds?

Jay Jaffe: I think the chances of that happening are asymptotically approaching zero, and I don't think those inside the sport are nearly as worried about TV ratings as people like to believe - personally, I find it to be the single most boring topic connected to the sport. The networks pay MLB handsomely, MLB is awash in cash, so who cares about Fox's bottom line?

As for the complaints about the LCSes, I believe it's been a few years now that Fox and TBS have split them. The days of the big three/four owning all of baseball's rights are deader than Babe Ruth, and since cable is so prevalent, I don't see why it matters much.

jlarsen (Chicago): Why are people touting John Jaso as a Carlos Ruiz-esque catcher and already declaring the Mariners the winner in the Lueke/Jaso trade? Lueke's good K/9 and solid BB/9 numbers to go with his decent FIP make it seem like he'll be good RP with right defense behind him. Character issues are the only concern and Rays have had their fair share of questionable people in past. Jaso is a horrible defender(shoulder surgery in the middle levels of his minor league career) and while his BABIP makes one believe he'll rebound from bad 2011, good bet that he won't return to 2010 levels either.

Jay Jaffe: The Mariners win the deal simply because they get rid of the rapey reliever. Seriously, there's never been a player I've more rooted for a career-ending injury than Lueke. As for the comparisons to assholes like Willy Aybar and Elijah Dukes, I recall that those guys were Rays properties before their major transgressions came to light, so it's a different story in terms of how they were handled by the org. I don't think they went out of their way to acquire either knowing as much as they know about Lueke.

Jaso has some offensive ability for a catcher, but I think we've pretty much seen the spectrum of his 90th and 10th percentiles. He can be a decent bat for the position, albeit with sketchy defensive ability.

Nick Stone (New York, NY): With DeJesus off the market, do you expect Boston will target Beltran? I thought Boston was supposed to be the team with their ducks in a row post-Theo and the Cubs were the team in disorder because of the protracted negotiations over compensation. Did Boston not want DeJesus, or is the dysfunction more pervasive and paralyzing than this Yankees fan originally dared hope?

Jay Jaffe: Hey Nick! I get the strong sense that the manager situation and the David Ortiz situation outrank the right field situation in terms of Boston's priorities. I suspect that if they sign Ortiz, Beltran will be too expensive, but if they don't, then he'll be in play. As for the comparison of which organization is more dysfunctional, it seems pretty clear that Theo's old one is moreso than his new one, and yes, that's probably good for Yankee fans in the short-term if nothing else.

Jon (Town): Hi Jay, Regarding Pujols, why are the cardinals pushing high AAV and shorter years? They will inevitably have to pay him some kind of Jeter "thank you for your years of service" money if he chooses to play beyond a 7 year contract.

Jay Jaffe: I didn't say they were, I said it wouldn't surprise me if they did. That sets them up to face a Jeter-like situation, but it also gives them an out to avoid his less productive years and let him take his business elsewhere, and let's face it, that possibility has already been broached. Jeter has never listened to another organization's sales pitch, whereas Pujols already has.

JT (Exhibition Stadium): Who would be on your top 10 pitchers to see list: I'd put vintage Maddux, Halladay, Pedro, Clemens, and 87 Mike Scott, Gooden, Blyleven, Rivera, Henke, and Johan for people from my lifetime. I

Jay Jaffe: Having seen all of those guys, I'd focus on a lot on the ones that I didn't get to see. If I've included Ryan on that top 10, I'll add Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Grover Alexander, Old Hoss Radbourn (just to see what the game was like then), Burleigh Grimes (need a spitballer), and because he's meant so much to me in the JAWS process, Blyleven.

josh4bs (Germany): Hey there brother. From a Cubs fan from across the pond, am I the only one thinking Pujols or Fielder is a bad signing on the Cubs part?

Jay Jaffe: If the Cubs were closer to a win-now proposition, the value of an intradivisional defection would be higher, but I particularly don't see the sense in going after Pujols given the age difference between him and Fielder. The latter makes a bit more sense in that you're still getting years closer to his prime and in that he may cost less, but he doesn't have the all-around ability that Pujols does. So not a huge fan of the Cubs going after either.

dtwhite (Toronto): If you were AA, how would you deal with Arencibia/d'Arnaud? It sounds like d'Arnaud might end up being the better player, but Arencibia is already producing d'Arnaud could be packaged with another player or two for an impact player

Jay Jaffe: I don't have a whole lot of knowledge about the differences between the two, scouting-wise, but on general principle, I'd rather deal the older guy because somebody will pay for his proven-ness, while I still have more club control over the younger guy.

faztradamus (Chicago): Using the 20-80 scale, how does the new CBA deal (re: draft spending, pick trading, Int'l FA) rate to you?

Jay Jaffe: Maybe a 30, in that there's something not bad about the concept of trading picks/pool money, though I'm not entirely sure how that works yet, and for all I know the fine print could be just awful.

dianagram (NYC): Hey Jay .... nice job on Clubhouse Confidential yesterday. Any thoughts on the show's mission, and chances for its success/growth? Also, can you comment on the impact that inducting a HOF player with a relatively "short" career (Koufax, Puckett) has on your JAWS system? Do you have to do any tweaking based on such additions?

Jay Jaffe: Thanks Diane! I am hopeful that the show does well, obviously - I think it's as good a time as any to see whether a show can succeed by offering a more stat-minded take on the news of the day, particularly given that MLB Network has the programming space to do so.

I don't do any tweaking of JAWS based upon those guys, but they are why I built the system the way I did. I do think it's very necessary to recognize that the notion of peak is one to which voters respond - it explains a lot of short career guys' presence in the Hall, and the way excellence over a compressed period can compensate for a shorter time in the spotlight.

Dalton (Ireland): Do you also get a chuckle whenever you read "I can do a better job than (insert mlb manager)" on the internet?

Jay Jaffe: It varies from chuckle to groan depending upon the name and the context. Much as we think we know it all from our perches atop several volumes of BP annuals and so on, the job of a manager has a lot more to do with dealing with the people side of things than it does deciding when to bunt. Which isn't to say that major league teams make great choices in hiring these guys, but about 90% of what they do is stuff that the general public has no idea, and the well-connected media gets to see about 10-20% more of that.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): In terms of guys who were unlikely HOFers at age 29 - Ozzie Smith had a 72 OPS+ before age 29, although he was still winning GGs and playing plenty. But Hoyt Wilhelm hadn't played in the majors before he was 29, he turned 30 during in his first season.

Jay Jaffe: Good point, particularly on Wilhelm!

dtwhite (Toronto): Regarding proven-ness v. prospect-ness - GMs can still dream the sky on d'Arnaud whereas they're confronted with the reality of Arencibia (with his limitations) - is it possible the guy still having his prospect sheen could fetch more in trade value (especially considering he sounds almost ready)?

Jay Jaffe: I do believe there's something to that idea, yes. In fact I wrote a piece for Pinstriped Bible this summer about just that: http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2011/06/24/prospects-and-the-value-of-uncertainty

Alex (Anaheim): I predict Jesus Montero will swat 30 HR in 2012. Does that seem feasible?

Jay Jaffe: I'd say the chances of that happening in 2012 are small, but 15-20 doesn't seem unlikely. The talent seems to be there, but a lot depends on how quickly Girardi commits to him playing every day.

Paul (DC): Keeping with a Japanese import theme, who are the 5 greatest Japanese MLBers of all time?

Jay Jaffe: Ichiro Suzuki is the clear #1. For #2, I'd go Hideo Nomo, with Hideki Matsui #3. The falloff after that is steep; I'll argue for Hiroki Kuroda as #4 and Takashi Saito #5 based upon peak performance and for not disappointing relative to expectations.

Logan (Florida): Thoughts on last night's Victoria Secret show on CBS last night? On the scouting scale, I saw a lot of 8's for faces, but 1's for body because they were too skinny.

Jay Jaffe: To quote one of my Twitter followers, @HunterFelt: "Dear people watching this Victoria's Secret thing: There is porn available on the internet. It is not 1986."

Steve N (Delaware): On MLB this morning I heard someone, Hart?, say that the Angels are looking for a third baseman. Is this so? I thought that Callaspo had a decent year and is only 28 or so.

Jay Jaffe: I agree with you - Callaspo had a very good year, 4.2 WARP including +14 FRAA. Maybe the thinking is to move him to 2nd and trade Howie Kendrick coming off his best season? Just spitballing, I really don't see the play here.

Vegetable Lasagna (Seinfeld): I am pretty much the food equivalent of signing David DeJesus, right? I mean it fills a role, but doesn't really dazzle the palate.

Jay Jaffe: DeJesus has averaged 2.6 WARP over the past four seasons, including +8 defense. At $5 million a year for two years, it's a useful, low-risk move - he's obviously done better in more hitter-friendly environments, and I expect his raw numbers will look a lot better in Chicago. Plus signing him removes an option for the Red Sox, which is a nice bit of schadenfreude for Theo.

Josh (Germany): Was Broxton actually going to get anything close to $4m from anywhere else. What sense did it make for the Royals to sign him for that? I just can't see how that is a wise use of $4m, unless you are planning to trade Soria and allow Holland to close...

Jay Jaffe: I'm not sure I entirely understand the signing, either. It would seem to open the team up to a wide spectrum of options regarding Soria (rotation, trade), but people forget Broxton has been awful for his past 42 innings, with an ERA above 7.00, so it's no guarantee he instantly recovers form.

One way of thinking about it, though, is that there's a perception gap regarding closers, and if a team can futz with Soria for a bit while showing that someone else can close (Holland or Broxton) they can sell high on that person if they have to move Soria back to the 9th inning.

dianagram (NYC): Jay Jaffe mustache Follicle magnetism It should make the Hall

Jay Jaffe: Hmmm, appreciate the effort, but might need a bit of work.

Boosty (New Orleans): Who wins in a steel cage match between Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein?

Jay Jaffe: those of us who buy tickets. I look forward to the cooking portion of the duel.

Kristina (Arizona): How many more "Halladay like" seasons does Halladay need to have before he's a lock for the Hall Of Fame?

Jay Jaffe: A lock? I'd say 3-4. The voters haven't been very forgiving of guys with less than 300 wins (1 in 20 years, Blyleven) and they're about to get a slew of them for review (Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina) along with the 300-winners (Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Johnson). The Cys are a great building block but Halladay still has work do do.

Functionary (Grey Cubicle, DC): Jimmy Wynn came up in a recent article as one of the best eligible players not in the Hall of Fame. I know almost nothing about him. Any enlightening stories?

Jay Jaffe: In the new data set, Wynn outranks Ron Santo as the best eligible player outside the Hall according to JAWS. Here's what I wrote about him almost two years ago (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9942), when his ranking wasn't quite as high:

The Toy Cannon spent the first 11 years of his career playing in the Astrodome, a godforsaken hitting environment if there ever was one. Properly adjusted for context, he was a helluva hitter, topping a .300 EqA six times during that span, with a high of .348 in 1969. He had two more outstanding years with the Dodgers in 1974 and 1975 before injuries washed him out of the majors at age 35. In the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James ranks Wynn 10th all-time among center fielders, and likens him to former teammate Joe Morgan, another small, strong, speedy guy with outstanding control of the strike zone and good defense.

Sanchez101 (Santa Barbara, CA): Congradulations! You've just been appointed/sold the Los Angeles Dodgers; what are the first three things you do on the baseball ops end of things?

Jay Jaffe: 1) Fire Ned Colletti out of a cannon and poach somebody else's bright young GM/candidate.
2) Sell Juan Uribe to a whale oil refinery.
3) work out a long-term deal with Clayton Kershaw.

HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): The Nationals keep their plans close to the vest, and so the rumors have them attached to every player out there. Who do you think the Nats should get, and who do you think they will get next week? +1/2St

Jay Jaffe: I think that it's a good thing for the organization's perception that they're connected to so many big free agent names - the Werth signing hasn't worked out, but at least a player can believe the Nats will open the purse strings again, unlike with Florida, where they just appear to want to get their name in the papers without any intention of consummating a deal.

I think Prince Fielder's a better fit in Washington than he is in Chicago, actually - if they can figure out a way to make that work, that lineup starts to look scary. I'm not exactly sure what they do about pitching, as it's a rough winter for starters, but adding a Buehrle wouldn't hurt them.

Spirou (Montreal): That is a risky proposition but Iím thinking of acquiring Joe Mauer in my Scoresheet league.What are the chances he comes back to his usual level of playing and that he remains at catcher position ?

Jay Jaffe: I'm not high on Mauer's long term future at catcher right now. If you assume his usual level is closer to 2007/2008/2010 than 2006/2009 and don't overpay, then maybe it works, but you have to seriously consider the risk factor that it doesn't.

Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): Why is Dazzy Vance in the hall anyways? Superb Peak Value? Where does he rank amongst SPs?

Jay Jaffe: Vance was well ahead of his time when it came to strikeouts - he led the NL for seven straight seasons, tripling the league rate at times. Couple that with a couple seasons leading in wins and ERA - all of this during a high-offense era - and you've got a valuable pitcher. JAWS has him 32nd out of 58 - a bit below on peak, far short on career, but given his late start and his dominance, hardly the worst guy in the Hall. Plus he went by DAZZY, which is an awesome name.

Spirou (Montreal): The Blue Jays could contend in any other division than the AL east.True or false ?

Jay Jaffe: True. They'd do well to lobby for a move to the AL Central.

edwardarthur (Champaign, IL): Seems to me one more year could put Posada over the top for the Hall -- imagine even a decent year as TB's DH if they make a serious play for a championship. Thoughts?

Jay Jaffe: I think Tampa Bay is a pretty obvious option for both sides, particularly given the Yankees' connection to the area. I suspect he's going to fall short for the Hall, though, particularly once we get stuff like Mike Fast's catcher framing data incorporated into more comprehensive defensive metrics.

Paul (DC): After having drawn 70 walks last season, can Mike Stanton now be officially diagnosed as a 3 True Outcomes Player?

Jay Jaffe: Oh, most definitely. His TTO percentage was 44.9, which I'd guess (not looking) is around top 5 territory.

JT (Exhibition Stadium): Here's the flip question (for February): who's been already a slam dunk HoFer by 29--so much so that they've not even needed a denoument to qualify.

Jay Jaffe: duly noted, thanks!

Alex (Anaheim): Is Tim Raines for HOF a lost cause?

Jay Jaffe: Not at all. The great thing about Blyleven's election is that it should give hope to every slow-starting candidate. Blyelven was at 17.5 percent in his first year, and slipped to 14.1 percent in his second; after four he was at 23.5 percent. Raines, through four, is at 37.5 percent, a level Blyleven didn't surpass until his eighth ballot. The evolution of the electorate is going to work in his favor as more saber-friendly BBWAAers get the vote.

Jay Jaffe: And with that, I'm going to sign off for the day so that I can get back to BP annual work and other stuff. Thanks for stopping by this afternoon, and look for another chat soon!


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