12:03
Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday, everyone. Hopefully not the last day with actual baseball news for a while.

12:03
Dave Cameron: The CBA expires at the end of the day, so this should be an eventful 12 hours.

12:04
Dave Cameron: We can chat about that, or about the off-season, or how fast things cook at altitude — which I may not have correctly accounted for in making Thanksgiving last week.

12:05
Brad: Hey Dave, I know you aren’t the prospects guy here, but what’d you think of the Atlanta-Seattle deal for minor leaguers? Is there any hope on Jackson turning it around?

12:05
Dave Cameron: He’s, what, 20? There’s always hope with anyone that young. But can anyone think of a successful big leaguer who hit this poorly in A-ball? Anyone?

12:06
Dave Cameron: Toss in the reports that his body has gone the wrong way and makeup questions, and I don’t know that I’d be too optimistic.

12:06
Ryan C: What kind of package should the Brewers be looking for regarding Junior Guerra? 5 years of control, good results last year, but short track record and older.

12:07
Dave Cameron: The years of control aren’t as important here, since he’s an older guy with fringe stuff, so he probably is out of baseball before he hits free agency.

12:07
Dave Cameron: So, really, it’s more about the fact that he’s a cheap innings eater. You could market him as an alternative to Ivan Nova or something, and probably get a couple interesting low-level guys in return. But he’s not bringing back elite talent.

12:08
Baron: Is Yasiel Puig done?

12:09
Dave Cameron: I think the Puig of a few years ago is probably not coming back, but he’s still got enough ability to be a solid regular. The question is if teams are willing to put up with all the other stuff to get a guy who is just average-ish.

12:09
Roadhog: Is it okay for me to be bearish on Joyce? His defense is awful, 2016 came against poor competition, and he hit under .200 in 2015 in the same division. Seems like he’s going to be a Coghlan-level bust for the A’s.

12:10
Dave Cameron: I don’t think his performance in 2015 being in the AL West means anything, but I do think his 2016 line was highly inflated by pinch-hit walks, which aren’t all that meaningful in terms of value. I wouldn’t want to count on him for more than a few hundred PAs, and yeah, I don’t think I’d have given him two years.

12:11
Oren: Dexter Fowler’s fit with the Jays is pretty clear, I think, from the team’s perspective. Do you think having to play a corner outfield spot will make it harder to sell Fowler on joining the Jays, though?

12:11
Dave Cameron: Yeah, i don’t know why he’d agree to that, when I’m sure he’ll have CF offers on the table. TOR would have to blow everyone else out of the water on money, and that’s not a great idea, usually.

12:11
The Average Sports Fan: Is Conforto at 1b a realistic solution for the Mets? Is he better than Duda?

12:12
Dave Cameron: He might be better than Duda, but I don’t think Duda has much trade value, so if you go that route, you’re just dumping Duda for not much in return.

12:12
Cards Fan: Do the Turner to St Louis rumors really make much sense?

12:12
Dave Cameron: Nope. I don’t think there’s anything there.

12:12
Erik: Cubs signing Jon Jay seems like a weird move given how strong their outfield looks even without Fowler. Does this indicate they don’t trust Heyward in center? And they don’t love Almora either? Or is $8 million just the going rate for a 5th outfielder these days?

12:12
Dave Cameron: They weren’t going to play Heyward in CF.

12:13
Dave Cameron: Jay/Almora share CF, Heyward stays in right, Schwarber and Soler share left unless Soler is traded, in which case Zobrist becomes the LF platoon guy, with Baez at 2B.

12:13
The Average Sports Fan: I agree with the Reds shopping Hamilton. What is a realistic return?

12:13
Dave Cameron: I think you should expect a pretty decent return; the speed and defense are top-of-the-scale. Three years of a low price +2 to +3 WAR player is a nice thing to sell.

12:14
Oneear: What went on that the Brewers didn’t trade Carter before signing Thames? Seems like they could have picked up a prospect somewhere.

12:14
Dave Cameron: You don’t think they’ve been shopping him for months? No one else wanted to pay Carter his arbitration salary either. He’s just not that good.

12:15
Matt D: Hi Dave. Any Guesses where Bruce ends up, and what kind of very middling (and non-Dilson-Herrera-esque) return the Mets can realistically expect???

12:16
Dave Cameron: He’s a perfect fit for Baltimore. At $13 million, he’s got no real value, though, so you’re not getting anything of real value back. It’s a salary dump.

12:16
Q-Ball: Odds of a failure to reach agreement, in your opinion?

12:16
Dave Cameron: I’d guess 5%, not based on any kind of inside knowledge. It just seems like the things they’re working through aren’t that big a deal, in the grand scheme of things.

12:17
CoolWinnebago: Hi Dave, I realize the Braves OF is also somewhat crowded, and teams are somewhat hesitant to trade within the division. What about a mets/braves swap centered around Inciarte and Conforto? Seems like a good buy-low for the braves and addresses the mets need. I dont think Markakis needs to play every day.

12:17
Dave Cameron: The Braves think Markakis is better than we do. I don’t think they’re trading for a corner OF at this point.

12:18
Charles the Cat: Do you see the Cubs signing a big money closer or trading for one?

12:18
Dave Cameron: Probably a trade. I could see them going for a guy like A.J. Ramos or someone instead of a big name.

12:19
EvanC: With HOF voting going on, I’m curious, is August no longer a member of the BBWAA as a result of entering a front office?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Correct.

12:19
Below Average American: What’s the ceiling for Mitch Hanigar?

12:22
Dave Cameron: The ceiling? Seems pretty high. If he can play CF and the power spike is legitimate, George Springer doesn’t seem completely out of the realm of possibility. That’s obviously unlikely, but as a best case scenario, the tools seem to be there.

12:22
Ed in Iowa: Good morning, I hope you are feeling better, you sounded a bit under the weather in this week’s Carson chat….. Did you see the ridiculous Cubs-Rays trade that Jim Bowden proposed on ESPN? It was Soler, Happ, Almora, and Edwards for Archer, Kiermeyer, and Colome. I mean I’m a die-hard Cubs fan and even I would be embarrassed to propose that. It’s not clear that they could even get Archer for that, true? Can ESPN not afford an editorial staff?

12:24
Dave Cameron: I saw people making fun of it on Twitter. Yeah, it’s one of those offers that makes you think Bowden still doesn’t really get how to value assets. But the reality is he’s also paid to generate traffic and subscriptions, so he’s probably more interested in getting people talking than in breaking things down analytically.

12:24
Andrew: Conforto to Reds for Hamilton? Who needs to throw something in to make it happen?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Conforto is worth more than Hamilton. Two extra years of control, plus teams pay more for bats than gloves. But could see a deal working there if Reds put Raisel Iglesias on the table too, or something like that.

12:25
Erik: What would you put the current odds of a lockout at? What about the odds of a stoppage severe enough to delay the start of the season?

12:25
Dave Cameron: These guys would have to be lunatics to actually lose baseball games over what they’re negotiating over.

12:25
Dave Cameron: If we have a work stoppage, I would imagine it’s just during the winter, and slows down the off-season, because players aren’t getting checks right now anyway.

12:26
Brian: Don’t we focus too much on free agency $/WAR to measure value as compared to overall? Free agent prices don’t exist in a vacuum – the salaries of league min and arb players factor into team budget planning. So we can say that teams are paying ~$8M-$9M per win in free agency, but that isn’t really “the value of a win” – that’s the value of a win in one baseball sub-market, given the surplus value in other sub-markets. Looking at fWAR and total team payroll I come up with ~$4.6M per win overall. Isn’t this the actual “value of a win” in baseball?

12:27
Dave Cameron: You’re conflating value and price. $8M or so is the price of a win in free agency.

12:28
Dave Cameron: That’s how much it costs to buy one. Of course, in total, each win is worth less than $8 million, because of pre-arb and arb players who are underpaid, so their money is going to FAs. But to acquire those guys as alternatives, you have to give up talent, and teams price their trade assets to be roughly equal to the prices you’d have to pay (in terms of value) as if you signed an FA.

12:28
Andrew: What could Mets get back for Bruce from Jays? Is Bruce for J.D. Martinez realistic?

12:28
Dave Cameron: J.D. Martinez is good. Jay Bruce is bad.

12:29
Erik: How top-heavy is prospect value? In other words, is Cody Bellinger (60 FV according to Eric) worth more or less than Alex Verdugo and Jose DeLeon combined (both 55s)? More or less than Walker Buehler and Willie Calhoun combined (both 50s)?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Bellinger is definitely worth less than Verdugo/DeLeon put together. Buehler/Calhoun is probably closer.

12:30
Bob: what would the Cubs have to give up to get Archer and Kevin Kiermaier? Everyone?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Schwarber, Baez, and stuff.

12:31
Zonk: It seems like the Tigers want to get younger, cheaper, AND better, despite the lack of farm talent. This is impossible, right? Can I eat more while also losing weight?

12:31
Dave Cameron: You can if you eat a lot of kale.

12:31
Dave Cameron: I don’t know that the Tigers are trying to get better as much as they’re trying to get not substantially worse.

12:32
Sirras: Sunday’s links included a link to Bill James’s discussion of the AL Cy Young. He feels that those voting for Verlander over Porcello solely because of his higher WAR are misapplying defensive statistics. Did you read the piece and do you have any thoughts to add?

12:34
Dave Cameron: The issue that people are talking about with B-R’s WAR is the exact reason why we chose a FIP-based WAR. I wrote about it a few years back (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/why-our-pitcher-war-uses-fip/), and I think it’s good that people are starting to realize the downside of doing things the way B-R does them. There are downsides to both approaches, of course, but the downsides of the FIP approach have been discussed a ton, while the downsides of doing it B-R’s way have been overlooked, I think.

12:34
Ursa Minor: Over/under 20 games at catcher for Schwarber in 2017?

12:34
Dave Cameron: I’ll go under.

12:35
Ted: How many Fangraphs writers will be at the Winter Meetings? What is that week like? How much of your reporting gets done in the bar?

12:35
Dave Cameron: I think there will be seven of us there. The week is a mixture of meeting with people we only see once a year, writing about news and rumors, and then just hanging out and being social. It’s a weird event, honestly.

12:36
Mike: A league average hitter is generally worth what in WAR? Obviously there are positional caveats. Or is league average the replacement level?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Average is roughly +2 WAR, and that’s true across positions.

12:36
Ted: Are teams waiting out the CBA now before signing any QO-tagged FA? Indications are the penalty will be going away, correct?

12:37
Dave Cameron: This off-season is functioning under the terms of the current CBA. The new CBA won’t change the QO system for guys currently under QO; it will start next year.

12:37
Curtis: Are DiPoto’s recent moves his way of ridding himself of the old regime’s high profile prospects in order to put his stamp on the Mariners? or is it just a couple of guys that don’t fit his plan or brought in better/more useful pieces?

12:37
Dave Cameron: I doubt it had anything to do with stamps. He is in win-now mode, and got some close to the majors pitching depth for a guy who is as far from the majors as you can get.

12:39
Andrew: Is it worth going to the Winter Meetings just to hang out in the lobby and/or hotel bar? I’m not a job-seeking or media member or anything – just an interested fan from the local area.

12:39
Dave Cameron: If you go at night, yeah, then you can probably just do the social stuff. The day is kind of boring.

12:40
Andrew: Is it possible that Cespedes’ defense was underrated last year (and thus his 2016 WAR and 2017 projected WAR was/is reduced) by playing through a leg injury most of the year?

12:40
Dave Cameron: Sure, if you assume he’ll definitely be healthy going forward. But that’s part of the risk of the deal.

12:41
Mariner’s fan: Thoughts on Dipoto’s last month of moves has he made the Mariners better or just rearranged the deck chairs?

12:41
Dave Cameron: They’re definitely better. If Haniger turns into a +2 to +3 WAR regular, then they’ll have a shot to contend.

12:42
TampaRay: Dave, I became a Member a couple of weeks ago but still get the membership ad every 20 clicks or so. Whom should I contact?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Are you logged in? If you’re logged in, you definitely shouldn’t be getting the message. Use the “Contact Us” form on the site to let us know if this persists.

12:43
Zach: Is there any value to a team like the Yankees signing two of the top relievers this winter (i.e., both Chapman or Jansen together) given the lack of other places to spend money?

12:43
Dave Cameron: I don’t think so; I think the reliever market has inflated enough that the prices for two of those guys are going to be prohibitive.

12:44
Petey: Way to early speculation: Where does Ohtani end up?

12:44
Dave Cameron: Hard to know without knowing what international acquisition system looks like. LA seems like a decent guess, though.

12:45
CamdenWarehouse: did you burn your turkey?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Not burned, per se. But definitely more cooked than I was aiming for. I took the dog for a walk, told my mom to keep an eye on it, an when I got back, it was already overcooked. These altitude adjustments are no joke.

12:46
Gary: Braves holding Freeeman is unjustifiable right? They could get a haul for him – Moncada or Benintendi or Bregman + from Sox or Astros, right?

12:46
Dave Cameron: No, they can’t get that kind of deal.

12:47
Mike M: Where does Fowler land, realistically?

12:47
Dave Cameron: Cleveland, maybe.

12:48
Jeff: Would you trade 6 years of Urias for 3 years of Sale?

12:48
Dave Cameron: Straight up? Yeah.

12:50
Jason: After reading the Sale for a stud article, could you just provide me with some backstory as to why/how the Sox have him so cheaply? Is it a late-bloomer scenario, similar to Josh Donaldson? Thanks, Dave! Love your work

12:50
Dave Cameron: He signed an early career extension before players realized they were selling their prime years too cheaply.

12:50
Dave Cameron: He and Bumgarner signed almost the exact same deal.

12:51
5 Run Homer: Is Jose Bautista going to be the next Nelson Cruz/Pedro Alvarez that signs a pillow deal with Baltimore in February?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Don’t the Orioles hate him?

12:52
Dave Cameron: That said, his landing spot will be interesting.

12:52
Dave Cameron: I could see him sitting on the market until February, but eventually, I bet he gets paid.

12:53
Julio Pepper: Zobrist as a platoon guy in left seems like a huge waste, no? He’s a very good hitter.

12:53
Dave Cameron: He would play 2B vs RHP, LF vs LHP

12:53
Dave Cameron: If they trade Soler

12:54
JKD: Absent being able to get one of the deals you suggest done, doesn’t it kind of make sense for the Mets to trade *both* Granderson and Bruce, play Conforto everyday, and take a flier on, e.g., Ben Revere when the Nats non-tender him? A Revere-Lagares platoon in CF and as 4th OF/defensive replacement/pinch-runner actually seems like it could be a pretty decent allocation of playing time, and would cost almost nothing. Then with the savings from Granderson and Bruce, they could make a serious run at adding back-end relief help.

12:54
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that would work too, if they’re convinced Collins will play Conforto.

12:54
Dave Cameron: If you trade both and Collins still doesn’t like Conforto, and you end up with Brandon Nimmo in RF or something, that’s not great.

12:55
Elbo: No one wants to pay Carter $8M or so for one year but people are going to pay Trumbo $15M/yr for three or four years? I realize Trumbo is a better first basement, but still that would seem hard to explain.

12:55
Dave Cameron: Well Trumbo’s a +2 WAR player and Carter’s a +1 WAR player.

12:56
Dave Cameron: Or, at least, Trumbo’s a +2 WAR guy if he’s a 1B, not an RF.

12:56
Josh: With word that Rangers want to cut payroll by 10-15% this year, along with the idea that they may be near the end of their window – what’s a TORP like Darvish with 1 year remaining return in a hypothetical trade?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Rangers aren’t trading Darvish coming off two straight playoff berths. If they fall apart, maybe they move him mid-season.

12:57
v2micca: When will you be allowed to talk about where August is working?

12:57
Dave Cameron: When that team announces it.

12:58
Uncle Jimbo: What are the benefits of being a member of BBWWAA? Are there economic/employment benefits?

12:59
Dave Cameron: Not really. BBWAA members have an easier time getting access to players for interviews, so if you’re a reporter, it helps make your job easier.

12:59
Joe: Do you think the Cubs are really going to go into the season with Montgomery as the 5th starter, or will the add someone more established?

12:59
Dave Cameron: They’ll add a guy.

1:00
EbenezerBatflip: If you could pay the same price to get one, which would you rather have, 3 years of Sale or 4 years of Quintana?

1:00
Dave Cameron: Sale.

1:00
CamdenWarehouse: What does a winter work stoppage mean in terms of real effects?

1:00
Dave Cameron: The off-season comes to a stop.

1:00
Dave Cameron: FanGraphs traffic goes in the toilet.

1:00
Dave Cameron: We make Sullivan become a mall Santa to bring in extra revenue.

1:01
Ron Fournier: if you had to guess right now, who plays 1B and DH for the red sox in 2017?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Hanley and Beltran.

1:01
JKD: I’ve seen people talking about four or five years for Wieters, but isn’t that kind of crazy? He’s worse at both hitting and catching than Martin and McCann were when they signed, and with an injury history and clear age-related decline to boot. Three years, okay, but he doesn’t even have a bat worth transitioning to 1B/DH once he’s done catching. Or am I misreading the market and his talents?

1:02
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t even give him two years.

1:02
Dave Cameron: Matt Wieters isn’t good.

1:02
Adam: If the Dodgers have to pick between Turner and Jansen, which do you keep?

1:02
Dave Cameron: Turner.

1:02
Kristen : Could you see a team negotiating with CHW to bring the ‘prospect cost’ down by offering to take on all of Shields’ contract?

1:03
Dave Cameron: Sure, eating dead money is an easy way to offset value.

1:03
The Federalist: That league-average hitter comment has me puzzled. Does that really mean that a league-average hitter should get $16-18MM/year on the open market? Does that really happen?

1:04
Dave Cameron: If a guy was expected to be a league average player every year of the deal, yeah. Take a look at Josh Reddick, for instance; league avearge player got 4/$52M, so $13M per year, but he’s only going to be average in year one, then decline, so Astros paying ~$8M per expected win.

1:06
Brendon: Is there friendship or competition between FG writers and other companies (BP, ESPN, FOX, etc.)? Or is it fun to just meet up with everyone at the winter meetings?

1:06
Dave Cameron: We’re all friends, for the most part. We hang out together.

1:07
Okra: Regarding your article on 26th roster spot, don’t you think it’d be better to directly address the problem of too many pitching changes rather than create a roster construction rule as you propose? I think everybody agrees that one out guys are the problem. Why not just change the min to 2 completed plate appearances for a pitcher instead of 1?

1:08
Dave Cameron: I talked with Tango on Twitter about this last night, but I think any rule limiting or adding a penalty to a pitching change is a complete non-starter. You can’t setup a system where pitchers are incentivized to pitch through pain, or hide fatigue/injury from the coaching staff.

1:08
Dave Cameron: If you have a minimum number of batters faced for a pitcher, and his arm is barking, you can’t make him keep pitching.

1:08
Dave Cameron: And if you create an injury exception, then you have to try and legislate what an injury is or isn’t, and that gets problematic real fast.

1:09
Tim: Freddie Freeman can’t bring back Yoan Moncada in a trade? Your kidding right?

1:09
Dave Cameron: Freddie Freeman comes with his contract.

1:09
Dave Cameron: Value isn’t just performance.

1:10
Dan: Do we know for sure that Bruce won’t bring back anything? He really shouldn’t have had any value at the deadline either, right?

1:10
Dave Cameron: He had a great offensive first half.

1:10
Dave Cameron: The Mets paid for half a good season of hitting, then watched him forget how to hit.

1:11
Dave Cameron: Alright, that will do it for me today. I’m off to get some more work done and hope for a new CBA today.

1:11
Dave Cameron: We’ll talk from DC next week.