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Fangraphs Audio 11/11/2013

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  1. Fangraphs Audio 11/11/2013 Transcript
  2.  
  3. [music]
  4.  
  5. Carson: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana brass. I'm Carson Cistulli. This is FanGraphs Audio. My guest on this addition of FanGraphs Audio, making his weekly appearance despite that fact that it's the off-season, he doesn't care. He is the managing editor of FanGraphs, his name is Dave Cameron. And this addition of FanGraphs Audio, what Dave Cameron does, as he does in all additions of FanGraphs Audio, is he analysis all baseball. In particular, what he might call his focus in this addition of FanGraphs Audio. His off season intrigue. Off season intrigue.
  6.  
  7. We are in the off season, intrigue. is present. It's ubiquitous one might say. If one were the sort of person who felt comfortable using the word ubiquitous in a sentence. That is pure speculation on my behalf. What is as actual fact, however, is that today, Monday, at 5 PM, is the deadline for those players who are extended qualifying offers by their teams. The thirteen players who are extended qualifying offers, for them either to except or deny said offers. And it's entirely possible that all thirteen will in fact deny the qualifying offers.
  8.  
  9. I ask Cameron about some of them specifically. Some of those players specifically. What it is they are thinking, and what their prospects are. It's also the situation with Atlanta and their new stadium. And Ryan Hanigan's fate. Who can forget Ryan Hanigan? Who wants to forget Ryan Hanigan? Not us right now. Lets move on to conversation with Dave Cameron. It is FanGraphs Audio. It does feature Dave Cameron, and it begins right now.
  10.  
  11. [music]
  12.  
  13. Dave: --good.
  14.  
  15. Carson: --as it frequently does. Listen, you have just tweeted a message. You have sort of been a what we might call an apostrophic message addressed to cities, Dave Cameron?
  16.  
  17. Dave: Yes. All of the cities.
  18.  
  19. Carson: All of the cities. You say cities stop doing this to yourself, and this is in response to a report that the Atlanta Braves will be moving out of Atlanta proper, it seems. After just, what? 16, 17 years at present Turner Field?
  20.  
  21. Dave: Well they have been there 16 now. They are not going to move until 2017 because they’ve got a 20 year lease. And so they have to fill those 20 years. So they are going to spend 20 years in their stadium and then go to a new one, is the plan. That's the announcement at least.
  22.  
  23. Carson: M'kay. So well this raises a number of things. First of all, it's surprising I suppose. Well maybe it's not--
  24.  
  25. Dave: Yeah.
  26.  
  27. Carson: --surprising in the larger way, but it was not an announcement that people necessarily expected.
  28.  
  29. Dave: Correct. I don't think anyone knew that the Braves were working on a new stadium. This is the kind of thing that usually gets leaked. And the Braves kept this very close to the vest.
  30.  
  31. Carson: Okay. So there is that. There is that element. There is also the element regarded the length of Atlanta's current tenure in that stadium, which as we have said, 20 years, ultimately?
  32.  
  33. Dave: Yeah. At the end of their move, it will be 20 years.
  34.  
  35. Carson: I have to think—now of course we are sort of in an unprecedented place right now in terms of baseball as it regards stadia[sic] because we have—there was a huge building boom, I should say, that began at what? Sort of the beginning of the '90s or whenever Camden yards was built?
  36.  
  37. Dave: Yeah. Basically Bob Selig made it as part of his legacy to go around the country and kind of help Major League owners extort new stadiums from all of their cities. So he is just systematically worked his way throughout baseball until everybody gets a new stadium.
  38.  
  39. Carson: Right. With the exception, of course--
  40.  
  41. Dave: The Oakland A's. The last one standing trying to get a new stadium.
  42.  
  43. Carson: Right. And then Boston and Chicago.
  44.  
  45. Dave: Right. But even like Fenway Park was significantly renovated and modernized. And it is not the same—I mean it's the same address and the same structure, but it's not the same stadium it was ten years ago.
  46.  
  47. Carson: Right. It's been overhauled. And of course I guess the Red Sox and the Cubs both have the advantage, and you could argue maybe a couple of other clubs might have too. Maybe the Yankees would have, you know maybe the Tigers would have theoretically been able to sell the age of the stadium as part of its allure.
  48.  
  49. Dave: Yes.
  50.  
  51. Carson: But only the Cubs and the Red Sox, obviously, are still able to do that. And I guess, maybe the Dodgers--
  52.  
  53. Dave: Right.
  54.  
  55. Carson: Dodger Stadium is the next one in line now.
  56.  
  57. Dave: Yeah. I think it's going to be hard for Atlanta to sell to fans on comeback to the memories of 1997. the good old days of 20 years ago, and remember that you paid 100s of millions of dollars for this stadium to be built. As they pay for another one unless they get built out in the suburbs.
  58.  
  59. Carson: Right. Okay. So as I mentioned, this is—we are sort of in a new era of baseball stadia[sic] right now. And this is a stadium that was built less than 20 years ago now. And the Braves are already moving out for it. What are the sort of stated purposes for the move, if there are any thus far?
  60.  
  61. Dave: Well, I mean, so the unstated purpose is to get someone else to pay for it. I think that this is why every city and every team does this thing. Is because they, the Braves, don't want to put money into their own stadium if they don't have to. And you know, I don't want to vilify the Braves too much here, because this is every major corporation in America now.
  62.  
  63. You know making deals with municipalities in order to get low taxes or free land or you know some kind of incentive to bring jobs to their area. And this Dell. And I mean every company in the world with a manufacturing plant is making these kinds of deals. But basically the Braves are a private company that is intent on making profit. One good way to make profit is to have someone else build you a nice facility to work in. and that's what the Braves are basically working to do.
  64.  
  65. Is getting Cobb county to build them a new stadium. That they wont have to put as much money into as if they had to put their own money into Turner Field. Because you know it's a pretty good bet that the city of Atlanta is not going to be interested in just throwing 100s of million of dollars at renovations to make Turner Field better. So the Braves have found an alternative. Or at least found some leverage in Cobb county. Their reasons are essentially that there is a parking problem. It's not in a great area in terms of there is no access to rapid transit. And it's maybe in a less than ideal geographic location. Of course, the Braves are the ones who chose that location.
  66.  
  67. Carson: Yeah. Right. So that would be—so that's a strange argument I guess. I mean I think that if, right, if you are looking for the rationale behind the choice it's that if you can get a nice thing for free, then why not do it?
  68.  
  69. Dave: Right. I mean if we—so if we take like the morality and the ethics out of this, the Braves are doing what every person or industry in the world would do when provided an opportunity to receive 100s of millions of dollars in subsidies. You know I think, I don't know if you remember the crazy guy who used to be on TV selling the book covered in question marks?
  70.  
  71. Carson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
  72.  
  73. Dave: It was like get your free money now, right? Like whatever that guy's name was.
  74.  
  75. Carson: Yeah.
  76.  
  77. Dave: You know people would buy his book because they were ways that they could get free money for grants and loans and all those kinds of things. This is like the Braves are buying the book on how to get free money from a municipality. There is a way to do it. And it's been very clearly effective in other cities. It's probably going to work. They’re a privately funded or private entity focused on maximizing profits, and there is a path to you getting a couple hundred million dollars for free? You are probably going to take it.
  78.  
  79. Carson: And so and the other half of this with the municipalities in this case, I guess, whatever the government of Cobb county is. However that's organized. What is their incentive, precisely?
  80.  
  81. Dave: Well, usually what happens is these counties or cities will trot out some of economic impact study that shows that x number of people are going to work at the stadium. People are going to pay x number of dollars in order to attend the stadium. And we will be able to tax all those revenues. So there are going to be all these people traveling in, they are going to be staying at hotels, they are going to be eating at restaurants. And then they’ll run out some figures that says, like, per year we are going to make 100 million dollars in extra revenues from having the stadium. But these economic impact studies are bunk.
  82.  
  83. Carson: Right.
  84.  
  85. Dave: You don't ever know if they actually reflect reality. What actually happens is people who would have gone out to eat, just go out to eat at the ballpark in stead of at some other restaurant in that county. And the county sees no real benefit.
  86.  
  87. Carson: Yeah. I'm guessing Andrew Zimbalist didn’t write those particular economic reports?
  88.  
  89. Dave: No. Right. And I think pretty much every serious economist who has ever studied the issues has come up with the same conclusion. These things suck for the city. Or for the county. Or for whoever ends up paying the bill. It's basically just a subsidy. Your bringing a team and paying for a vanity to have them associated with your area. And to get your name mentioned on TV sometimes. But in terms of actual economic impact, you're much better off building schools or firehouses or things that are actually in need in order to help the quality of life of your residents. Rather than just giving a bunch of money to a corporation.
  90.  
  91. Carson: So it's a question of prestige, then, really is the incentive on the local municipality?
  92.  
  93. Dave: Yeah. This is basically the county level way of buying Gigi handbag. Right? Like you could buy a cheaper handbag and it would work just fine. But now you get to have like some kind of label it and you get to say hey, look at us, we have this awesome thing. We have this luxury item. We have a status symbol. The sports teams, publicly funded stadiums for sports teams are basically a status symbol.
  94.  
  95. Carson: M'kay. And would they be called the Cobb County Braves in this case?
  96.  
  97. Dave: No, but they're actually what has been a suggestion in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, that the Braves will take this opportunity to completely reboot the franchise, and potentially rename and rebrand and relogo. Which I think would potentially be a positive side effect--
  98.  
  99. Carson: Yeah.
  100.  
  101. Dave: --of maybe not a positive thing. But having the Braves change their name to something that is less controversial, probably not the worst thing in the world.
  102.  
  103. Carson: Yeah. Right. Has Cleveland discussed moving it to a new stadium recently? Because they could utilize that.
  104.  
  105. Dave: No. I think—Yeah I think my guess is that the Braves—or the Indian's real problem is their logo, not so much everything else. So if the Indians just had a new logo, I think they would be okay.
  106.  
  107. Carson: Right. Yeah, okay. And does this go into effect. I mean from terms of precedent, we see teams move into new stadiums and anecdotally at least, for my part it seems that they increase their payrolls when they do that. Is that going to be a thing, is it going to allow the Braves to do, or will this sort of be a lateral move in terms of finances?
  108.  
  109. Dave: Yeah. I mean usually these things come with payroll spikes. But often like moving from an old stadium to a new stadium comes with a payroll spike because the old stadium was dilapidated and they couldn’t draw any fans. The Braves stadium is not dilapidated, and they haven’t had a huge attendance problem, at least not relative to what they should expect in the new stadium, because it's going to house 10,000 fewer people. So either actually decreasing their revenue potentials in terms of overall attendance by moving into something smaller. Which suggests that they are not expecting a huge swath of people to start showing up to the games.
  110.  
  111. I do think that there is probably a side cause here, is that the Braves have the worst television deal in all of baseball. They have a long term, ironclad contract that they cannot get out of that pays them something like 10 or 20 million dollars a year. When other teams are renegotiating TV deals that give them 100s of millions of dollars per year. So the Braves are basically locked out of a significant revenue stream that their competitors are locked into. So this might be the Braves' way of saying, “Well if we cant get any TV, we are going to get our money someway else.”
  112.  
  113. Carson: M'kay. And I'm going to assume, because all new stadiums have gone this way, that luxury boxes, there will be even more of them than there are at Turner Field presently?
  114.  
  115. Dave: I think this is just going to be one big luxury box. Right? But like the whole thing is going to be encased in glass and have waitresses serving you food. And there will be no actual seats. It's just going to be a 40,000 seat luxury box.
  116.  
  117. Carson: [laughs] Okay. Alright. So we have attended to that. That was regard to your tweet. Listen, there is a thing today. There is a baseball related thing today. I believe, if I am not mistaken, that today is the deadline for players who have been extended qualifying offers. The 13 players who have been extended qualifying offers, I believe there is a deadline today. Perhaps at 5 PM eastern, for them either to accept or deny those qualifying offers. Does that sound right?
  118.  
  119. Dave: That is correct, yes.
  120.  
  121. Carson: Okay. Alright. Good, yeah. I read that on the internet, so I was assuming it was. I believe, I don't know if this is the most surprising, I don't know if there is any surprising—Well here let me first read Ben Nicolson-Smith. You are familiar with him? Ben Nicholson-Smith?
  122.  
  123. Dave: I am. Yes. I have hung out with him in multiple winter meetings locations.
  124.  
  125. Carson: A stand up guy, I think we can agree.
  126.  
  127. Dave: Yeah, yes. Because he is very tall.
  128.  
  129. Carson: Yep. And a man with a head on his shoulders. Largely do the absence of a neck.
  130.  
  131. Dave: Yeah. He doesn’t have one of those.
  132.  
  133. Carson: No neck. Yeah. Serious accent. But he suggests that he would not be surprised if he saw all thirteen of those players who were extended qualifying offers, he would not be surprised if all thirteen of them declined them. Is that a thing that would surprise you?
  134.  
  135. Dave: No. I think that's the expectation that no one is going to take it. There has not been any suggestions that any of them are seriously considering taking it. The only person who has been linked to accepting the qualifying offer, in any serious way, is Curtis Granderson. But even that is, he is expected to decline and be able to sign a multi-year deal. I think there is probably one or two free agents that you could make a case that they, if the market was rational, they should have to accept a qualifying offer because they are not worth giving up a pick and giving a better contract to, than the 14 million they have already been offered.
  136.  
  137. Kendrys Morales would probably be at the top of that list. But it seems like baseball is flooded with money. Agents are pretty good at their jobs. And they're going to be able to convince their clients that they can do better than this one 14. and they are all going to look for multi-year riches. That doesn’t mean that someone wont end up like Kyle Lohse and sit out the market all winter with no offers. But it seems like all of them are going to take that chance.
  138.  
  139. Carson: And what did Lohse eventually end up with? I forget.
  140.  
  141. Dave: He got 3/33 about a week before spring training. So he did do better than the qualifying offer. And I think realistically for Kyle Lohse, he probably wasn’t ever going to do that much better than 3/33. so waiting all winter didn’t really hurt him other than the fact that he, maybe this is a benefit to Kyle Bosch, he missed all of spring training. He might consider that a nice little vacation. And a perk, in fact, instead of a deficit. But I think most players probably would of rather had a full six weeks to warm up and get ready and bond with their teammates and all that stuff. So there was some cost to Loucheto having to wait that long in order to get his deal.
  142.  
  143. And I do think that there is something to be said for the fact that teams always need starting pitching. There is always injuries happen in spring training that open up needs. I think that's a more viable route for a pitcher, even to wait into part of the regular season. For a position player, like, say Kendrys Morales. It's pretty unlikely that a team's DH is just going to blow out his knee or there is going to be a huge opening for a designated hitter right before the start of the season. I don't know that waiting for a hitter makes so much sense as waiting for a pitcher.
  144.  
  145. Carson: M'kay. So just a couple of the players who were extended a qualifying offer just to give them a quick look. Well you mentioned Kendrys Morales, he was extended the qualifying offer by the Mariners, who seem to be perhaps the only that thinks he is worth that much money. Is there any chance that another team signs him? And if the Mariners sign him, is just to a multi-year contract for about the same amount per year as the qualifying offer?
  146.  
  147. Dave: Yeah. I mean I think there is a chance that another team signs him. I mean you could look and squint and see that the orioles could use a hitter, even thought they haven’t generally spent money in the free agent market. They could use a switch hitter with some power, who gets on base a little bit. So he fits a need for them. The Ranger could theoretically need a guy like Morales if Nelson Cruz leaves and lose out on Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.
  148.  
  149. The Yankees could theoretically use a DH who can hit. They're teams out there who you could say it would make some sense for them to bid on Morales. But I think he is probably like the third or fourth option for all of these teams. And so there is no way his market is going to move fast. He is going to have to sit around and wait for everyone else to sign. And then market himself to the team who got no one.
  150.  
  151. Carson: If a team signs a player to a multi-year deal to the same player to whom they extended a qualifying offer, do they lose a draft pick to themselves?
  152.  
  153. Dave: Well, they do in that it's an opportunity cost, right? Like if you don't sign the player and the player signs elsewhere, you get a draft pick. You will select somewhere in the 25 to 35 range depending on how many first round picks are lost by the team signing free agents. But you’ll get an end of first round selection. If you resign him you don't get that. So you do actually lose a draft pick for resigning your own player. People don't see it that way and they often talk how, “Oh, yeah, you can resign your own guy without losing a draft pick.”
  154.  
  155. But it's like forfeiting a Christmas present. Like if you tell all your people to not get you a Christmas present, you have essentially given away something that you would of had otherwise. So even if you didn’t already have it, if you didn’t posses it, if you didn’t—like taking something out of your house and giving it away is basically the same thing as rejecting someone else giving you something. It has the same effect.
  156.  
  157. Carson: Yeah. Right. Okay. Hiroki Kuroda, I believe accepted the qualifying offer last year, did he not?
  158.  
  159. Dave: I believe he did not. I believe he signed for $15 million, which was just slightly more than the qualifying offer. I think he turned it down and then signed for something very close to it.
  160.  
  161. Carson: Right. And so if he rejects the qualifying offer presently, do we imagine a very similar sort of sequence of events for Kuroda?
  162.  
  163. Dave: I think it wouldn’t shock me if he got two years this time around. Depending on what he wants to do. I mean if he wants a two year deal, I think he has now establish himself as a good enough pitcher--
  164.  
  165. Carson: Do we have a dog situation here, Cameron?
  166.  
  167. Dave: No, actually the dog is at the vet right now getting spayed.
  168.  
  169. Carson: Oh, wow. Wow.
  170.  
  171. Dave: Yeah. Not a good day for the dog.
  172.  
  173. Carson: Yeah. That literally is going to leave a mark. I awesome. I don't no the science behind it, but--
  174.  
  175. Dave: Yes. Yeah, no, a big scar.
  176.  
  177. Carson: [laughs] Well, that's a surprise. Yeah. Wake up when that happens. Okay, well anyways. There is no dog situation. But so you think Kuroda has established himself to the point where someone like “Yeah, we think he'll be okay for two years, or at good enough for one year that we will give you a second.”
  178.  
  179. Dave: Yeah. I think if Kuroda wants a second year. I mean he has had to sign a series of one year contracts partly because he is getting older. And I think he has proven that he is not really getting any worse. And at this point he is one of the best pitchers on the market. The teams are exploding with money. I think a team that wanted to try and lure him away from the Yankees would happily offer him two guaranteed years if he wants to guarantee himself two years.
  180.  
  181. Carson: Okay. Alright. Another player, you did happen to mention was Nelson Cruz. I believe shortly before you and I began speaking, 11 am eastern, reports surfaced that Nelson Cruz had already informed the club that he wont accept the qualifying offer. He had until 4 or 5 PM. 4 PM local. So he is not—he rejected it. It was expected, but there maybe questions, especially if there is a free agent, sorry, if there is a draft pick tied to signing him. That he may not do excellently, or at least oughtn’t necessarily do excellently on the open market.
  182.  
  183. Dave: Yeah. I think Cruz has the skill set that generally overrated in today's game. That he hits home runs and drives in runs. And he is seen as a middle of the order, right handed power hitter. There is not a lot of those guys out there anymore. Not surprisingly, the Phillies, and the Phillies seem like the kind of team that would do this, giving up a draft pick in order to overpay the declining years of Nelson Cruz.
  184.  
  185. Carson: [laughs]
  186.  
  187. Dave: I think that there is a bunch of teams out there who probably view Nelson Cruz in a very favorable light and think that he is a very good player. And they are going to be very disappointed when they actually have to watch him play everyday.
  188.  
  189. Carson: Because he does things that show up in the box score. And it's funny, because at one point, or maybe it's still the case players were lionized for doing things that didn’t show up in the box score. Or that was a line you would here.
  190.  
  191. Dave: Yeah.
  192.  
  193. Carson: Another sort of player that was lionized was one whose performance is a little bit misleading because it does show up in the box score. That's Nelson Cruz.
  194.  
  195. Dave: Yeah.
  196.  
  197. Carson: I mean I guess it depends what sort of box score you have.
  198.  
  199. Dave: Right. I think one of the interesting things is people will give a lot of lip service to paying attention to everything about baseball that is not home runs and RBIs. In that they will say “We really want guys who play the game the right way, are good on defense, and you need team first guys.” They have all these cliches. And then when it comes to free agency they just want to pay for homers and RBIs. I mean the market has been very clear that power hitters, middle of the order guys, these are seen as like the foundations of your offense.
  200.  
  201. They are kind of treated like quarterbacks are in football, where they are, by far the most important kind of player, and they get paid more money than lead off hitters or comparable middle infielders who get their value through playing a position where offense is scarce. Those guys just don't get paid the same as guys who hit the ball over the fence. And it's shallow and it's silly but it happens. And Major League teams are still not immune to overpaying guys who hit the ball a long way simply because they look impressive.
  202.  
  203. Carson: Well, so tell me how that's—how Nelson Cruz's situation is similar to or different than Carlos Beltran's? Because Beltran is a player who used to do, I mean he to do everything. But some of the things he did were—some of the skills he had were skills to which you were not necessarily paid very well in terms of being able to take a walk. Playing elite defense. Now he doesn’t really, well he takes less walks and he probably shouldn’t play defense. That's I guess is the thing. But he is probably going to turn down his qualifying offer, if he hasn’t already. And he should do—I guess he is looking for three or four years. I don't know if that's a possibility.
  204.  
  205. Dave: Yeah. I mean I think the difference between Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz, is that Carlos Beltran is really good. Nelson Cruz is regularly runs on base percentages in the .310 to .320 range while playing half his games in Texas. Carlos Beltran, you know, doesn’t take as many walks as he used to, that could just be a one year spike, but I think even with his decline, you're still expecting .350 to .370 on base. And probably similar amounts of power. Maybe not quite as many home runs, but a few more doubles.
  206.  
  207. Beltran is just a better hitter than Nelson Cruz. His UZR last year absolutely atrocious and perhaps he should spend more time at designated hitter, but it has been better than that in previous years. I don't think we are at the point where we should say Beltran should never play the field again. But so he is a below average defender, but he is a really good hitter. He is a switch hitter. There is a lot of value in Carlos Beltran that Nelson Cruz just doesn’t have. Nelson Cruz is slightly above average hitter who does nothing else well. Carlos Beltran is a very good hitter who does nothing else really well.
  208.  
  209. Carson: [laughs] Did he lose his speed with all that knee junk towards the end of his Mets tenure?
  210.  
  211. Dave: Yeah. He has had, then again, knee problems that have really slowed him down.
  212.  
  213. Carson: Okay. Alright. I'm just curious. Because at one point I think, wasn’t he like the most efficient base stealer ever in baseball history?
  214.  
  215. Dave: Yeah. He was a super high efficiency runner who would steal 20, 30 bases a year and hardly ever get caught. One of the best base runners of his era. But not so much anymore.
  216.  
  217. Carson: Not so much anymore. Okay.
  218.  
  219. Dave: I mean still a very good base runner in terms of first to third, second to home, that kind of thing. But he is not going to steal bases too often.
  220.  
  221. Carson: M'kay. And so here is a totally different sort of player than, I mean different than Beltran and certainly different than Cruz. He is on the other end of the pay spectrum as well likely. And that's Ryan Hanigan. Ryan Hanigan likely will not be a Red. It's almost assured because I guess Cincinnati went out and signed Brian Pena, who probably has his virtues as a player. The curious thing about that being thought that Ryan Hanigan has provided real value at catcher during his career. And likely will not be fetching a lot in free agency. Or I guess is he a trade commodity at this point?
  222.  
  223. Dave: Yeah. He is arbitration eligible. And he is going to get about $2.5 million in salary this winter, most likely.
  224.  
  225. Carson: Okay. Right. And the comp that you brought up is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Not necessarily that their skills are comparable but it's entirely possible that Ryan Hanigan could be worth more in terms of wins to his teams in 2014 for a fraction of the cost, I guess.
  226.  
  227. Dave: Yeah. I mean I guess the thing with Hanigan is that he performs really well in things that we think we can measure about catcher defense. Right? So he is really good at shutting down the running game. His career caught stealing percentage is 40% which is Yadier Molina levels. And it's not just the pitchers that he is catching. I mean I think he has caught for some guys who historically aren’t good at throwing out base stealers when he is not behind the plate. Hanigan is very very good at that kind of thing. He is very good at blocking pitches.
  228.  
  229. He hardly ever allows past balls and wild pitches. He blocks balls in the dirt very well. And depending on which framing report you're going to use, he appears to be very good at turning balls into strikes. And convincing the umpires to give a more generous strike zone when he is behind the plate. He is very good at receiving. These aspects make him fairly valuable in that he is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. And in some years, not last year, but in previous years, he as actually been a decent hitter. He draws some walks, he doesn’t have a lot of power, but he never strikes out. So he is kind of like a Marco Scutaro who can catch.
  230.  
  231. And he has no power whatsoever. And I think there is some thought that his walk rate has been inflated by hitting in the bottom of the line up in the national league. Where the pitcher would be behind him and he would get some intentional walks, or unintentional intentional walks. And maybe that walk rate wont continue if the situation changes and he moves to the American League.
  232.  
  233. But I think this is kind of the cop out too. I mean I think what we have seen is Hanigan has drawn some walks even in situations where teams weren’t incentivised to put him on base. He has got a good eye. He makes really good contact, he doesn’t chase pitches out of the strike zone. He seems to be, have the skill set at least, of an effective big league hitter, in the kind of casing of a solid or above average defensive catcher. Even though there is a lot of catcher defense we cant measure. To me this reminds me a lot of like Russel Martin last off-season. Where the Yankees basically said, you're aging, your batting average is low. We are not sure you can be a regular anymore. We are not even going to offer you a two year contract, even though you are a very good receiver.
  234.  
  235. And pitchers like throwing to you. We just think we can replace you with Chris Steward who can do what you can do for a fraction of the cost. And then Russell Martin went and like revitalized the Pirates, and had a big bounce back year, and was one of the main reason why they turned themselves around. I think Hanigan could very easily go somewhere. And probably is not going to be as good as Martin, probably wont get as much playing time as Martin did, but could easily be two, maybe even three win player if given regular playing. And a year from now, we are going to be like man, the Reds should not of given away Ryan Hanigan.
  236.  
  237. Carson: Yeah. Yeah. Do you see a team going after Hanigan and using him as a starting catcher? Or do you see them maybe not giving him the job, necessarily, but still deriving some value from him as a backup?
  238.  
  239. Dave: I don't think he is going to get a full time, play five day a week job. I mean he is 33. He is coming off a bad season. I don't think anyone is going to look at him and say “I want to give you 120 starts for the first time in your career.” I do think that a team like Tampa Bay, specifically, would love to have him and Jose Molina as their catching tandem. And say, we are just going to frame the crap out of you every day, all day. And these two are going to split time. I think you could see the Red Sox, with David Roth and Ryan Hanigan in a job share. I think you could see the Yankees adding Hanigan to Chris Stewart as kind of their catching tandem. I think you could even see the Blue Jays, say “you know what?
  240.  
  241. We've already got J.P. Arencibia who is the exact opposite of Hanigan. In that he has power and nothing and we could kind of mix and match with very different skill sets and have these two share time.” I think, basically the entire American league east, except for the orioles, is going to be bidding on Hanigan, and it's going to be those four teams competing for this one player. You can see national teams get in the mix too. Maybe the Phillies are in there. Maybe the Braves are in there depending on if they want a veteran to kind of caddy Evan Gattis. But I think the four AL East teams make a lot of sense for what Hanigan is and each of them are probably going to want to outbid their competitor for his services.
  242.  
  243. Carson: Right. They want to outbid their competitors for a player that they can get under market value. So there is going to be a sweet spot of bidding, I think.
  244.  
  245. Dave: Yeah. I mean $2.5 million for an average, potentially above average catcher is a pretty good deal.
  246.  
  247. Carson: Right. Right right right. Lets see, if I'm not mistaken, that's it. That's a half hour. That's a—oh! Well wait. We didn’t—sorry i apologize. Do you know what I'm going to bring up?
  248.  
  249. Dave: I have know idea.
  250.  
  251. Carson: Troy Tulowitzki, Cardinals. I mean so the Cardinals probably need a short stop.
  252.  
  253. Dave: Yes.
  254.  
  255. Carson: There are rumors that the Cardinals and Rockies might talk about exchanging Troy, or having Troy Tulowitzki sent to the Cardinals for whoever. I mean you know. The Cardinals have a bunch of prospects, so. I'm sure they could figure out something. But is this imminent or is this something that you are going to hear about because it's November?
  256.  
  257. Dave: This is speculation. But it's primary speculation being driven by Ken Rosenthal. Who, in the past, his speculation has turned into exact trades. A few years ago I remember most notably, he wrote some column on like a Thursday afternoon or something, suggesting that there was some chance that Cliff Lee could be moved in a three way trade. Where the Phillies would move Cliff Lee because they didn’t think they could resign him.
  258.  
  259. And at the time, it seemed ridiculous because the Phillies were contending and Cliff Lee was very good, and there was no real reason to think that the Phillies would trade Cliff Lee. And why would it need to be a three way trade? And then like 24 hours later, the Phillies traded Cliff Lee in a three way trade. And it was very clear that Rosenthal knew exactly what was going on. But ensconced his news in the kind of package of speculation, and said “Here is a thing that could happen.”
  260.  
  261. And then it was a thing that was happening. So whenever Ken Rosenthal starts speculating like this, people think like “Hey, maybe he knows something. And maybe he is working off some important that he is not allow to say. So he is just speculating instead.”
  262.  
  263. Carson: Right. So you would not be absolutely surprised given Rosenthal's report if we were to find out within the next 28 hours that there were some serious talks going on between those two teams?
  264.  
  265. Dave: I mean the general manager meetings are happening right now. So all the GM's are in one place. So I would say that it's pretty likely that John Mozeliak and Bill Geivett are going to get together and say “Hey, we need a shortstop. You need stuff. We've got stuff. Are you interested.” And Geivett is probably going to say “No.” And then Mozeliak is going to say “Well, would you be interested if it was Matt Adams and Carlos Martinez and some other nifty little things that you might like.” And Geivett is going to say “Probably not.” And then maybe Trevor Rosenthal's name comes up. But then maybe Geivett says “Well, we will talk later.” I mean my guess is this is not going to happen. I don't think that the Cardinals are going to meet the Rockies' asking price.
  266.  
  267. I don't think the Rockies actually want to move Toluwitski. But I think at the same time, they probably recognize that if they can pull off a Herschel Walker trade. Or maybe more recently like an Eric Bedard trade or a Mark Teixeira trade, that would be in the best interest of their franchise. And if the Cardinals are willing to just go bananas for Troy Toluwitski, they should let them. I don't think the Cardinals are that kind of organization that is going to just cripple their future in exchange for one player. Especially when there are alternatives. So my guess is like the Cardinals would put an offer on the table that the Rockies would not seem to be open to, and then that will be the end of that.
  268.  
  269. Carson: Do you think that it is possible that Ken Rosenthal has important about a potential deal because his son is closer for the Cardinals?
  270.  
  271. Dave: Because his—I'm sorry, what did you just say?
  272.  
  273. Carson: Because Ken Rosenthal's son is a closer for the Cardinals? Trevor Rosenthal?
  274.  
  275. Dave: Oh, yes. You made the Rosenthal joke. Sorry. Your connection broke up slightly.
  276.  
  277. Carson: It was an hilarious joke.
  278.  
  279. Dave: It was. And I have killed it by not hearing it so maybe we should just edit this part of the podcast. I'm going to tell you what to do. [inaudible] part of the podcast, Carson.
  280.  
  281. [music]
  282.  
  283. Carson: Alright. I have taken that to heart, but I have probably forgotten that advice minutes after we get off the phone. So anyway, very good. Yeah you're okay then. So I am going to say thank you. That's why I'm gonig to say thank you Dave Cameron.
  284.  
  285. Dave: Thanks Carson.
  286.  
  287. Carson: Yeah. That's Dave Cameron, managing editor of FanGraphs. I'm Carson Cistulli. And this has been FanGraphs Audio.
  288.  
  289. [music]