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Chat: Jay Jaffe

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday January 06, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jay Jaffe.


With the announcement of Hall of Fame results, the JAWS of Jay Jaffe offer a few observations on justice and injustice as far as the outcomes.

Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, ladies and gents. There will be a 15 minute delay in starting today's chat because while I'm able to tell you precisely why Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines belong in the Hall of Fame, I'm unable to keep track of how much money is in my wallet, thus necessitating a quick dash for a sandwich. Back ASAP.

naehring (houston): I enjoy your HOF opinions every year, but I am having trouble understanding your argument for Edgar and against Ventura. Their overall numbers in your table are essentially identical, yet the guy who cant field gets your vote, but the guy who can (and historically well) doesn't? What gives?

Jay Jaffe: It all comes down to the amount of confidence with which one can measure hitting versus doing the same thing for fielding. There's really no way to look at Edgar's hitting whether via BP's stats or otherwise and not conclude that he was among the game's best at that. Whereas there's much more uncertainty about the value of his fielding over the course of his career - systems generally regard him as good, but among the top handful ever? That's harder to buy without a lot of corroboration.

AlexBelth (Bronx): Jay, It seems that many sportswriters share their Hall of Fame votes these days, and if it proves anything it is how far apart they often are in how they evaluate who belongs. Do you think this is part of the nature of the beast or do you ever see it changing?

Jay Jaffe: Hey Alex! I do see it changing over time. Hell, it already has, given the back and forth between writers and readers that the Internet makes possible. When even a Spink award winner like Tracy Ringolsby will cop to the work of a website changing his mind about Blyleven's merits, that marks a big change in the field.

BeplerP (New York, NY): Jay, thanks for the chat. Tyler Kepner in yesterday's NYT handicapped the HOF choices, in which he made reference to stat-based criteria, but he remains confoundingly lukewarm on Tim Raines (in my opinion, the highest impact player on the ballot), yet high on Fred McGriff. While I agree with you that McGriff is not an overwhelming candidate (please don't tell Bill James, who loved him), he has a case, but so does Raines, of an order of magnitude several notches greater than McGriff. And Kepner continues the patronizing commentary on Bert Blyleven. You can tell where my vote would go, but I cannot understand the lukewarm response to Raines. When will these guys learn?

Jay Jaffe: I don't know exactly how Kepner voted (or if he even has a ballot) but I think you're in danger of mistaking his opinion of those players' cases for his assessment of their chances in this year's voting, at least when it comes to Raines.

When will the voters learn? Some of them may never change their views on guys like Raines and Blyleven whom the statheads like us hold dear. The best we can hope for is that newer generations who come to the question with open minds can be swayed by the preponderance of evidence in their favor.

dianagramr (NYC): Hi Jay ... thanks for the chat. Is Edgar Martinez's run creation in the ballpark with Jim Rice's, when you take into account Rice's subpar defense in LF? In other words, how much better must a DH be in order to make the Hall, assuming voters take defense into account?

Jay Jaffe: If Edgar's overall production WERE the ballpark, Jim Rice's overall production would be stuck in the breakdown lane 50 miles away. It ain't even close. Edgar accumulated double Rice's WARP over the course of his career (68.9 to 34.2) and about 2.5 wins more per year at his peak. (46.4 to 28.5). I can't tell you if that will be enough for the voters because there really isn't much evidence to suggest voters DO take defense into account at all, or even that some of them think rationally about the process.

krissbeth (watertown, ma): What do you get out of doing chats as a writer?

Jay Jaffe: I get an extra gold-plated yacht for my armada for every 11.6 questions I answer.

Seriously, does that question even need to be asked? It's a chance to talk baseball with the smartest collection of fans out there in a casual setting - not only the ones whose subscription fees help put bread on my table, but the ones who might be swayed by the level of that conversation to join that wonderful group.

MSTI (NYC): Jay, I was surprised to see how well Kevin Appier stacks up against Jack Morris in your article today (granted, over a shorter period). How hard would the heads of people like Shaughnessy explode if you you tried to convince them that KEVIN APPIER was a more deserving candidate than Jack Morris?

Jay Jaffe: I know it's not exactly what you asked but yes, I would be happy to see Shaughnessy's head explode.

BostonU Yankee Fan (CT): Jay, really appreciate your work. Will you please tell Kevin that the HOF voting/debate matters, or at least matters more than the identity of the 10th best prospect in the Royals organization?

Jay Jaffe: I disagree vehemently with Kevin on the topic of the Hall of Fame voting and debate, but I respect his POV and I know he respects mine - and I think we're both entertained by how wide that gap is. You have to realize he's concerned with the whole other end of the sausage factory than I am. His job is to look into the future rather than the past. To most of us, the Royals' 10th best prospect means nada, but to a small subset of baseball fans, it's a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and the great thing about BP and about baseball in general is that there's room for both opionions. Vive la difference!

ElAngelo (New York, NY): Between admitting that he used steroids and not being any good, will David Segui get a single vote?

Jay Jaffe: It's certainly possible that there's a voter out there who respects his candor for his admission if nothing else. That or they really dug his hairstyle, though if that's the case then I'm surprised that Jay Mariotti had to jump up and down to tell the world he voted for no one. If anyone was gonna fall for Segui's do...

Tim (Tampa): Jay, always nice to chat with ya. Still along the lines of the changes in how writers will vote, is the hallowed area of being a "first ballot" guy being overshadowed by being in at all? Jay Mariotti made it public on ATH yesterday that Robby Alomar wouldn't get in because he said, "He's not a first-ballot guy." I'm assuming he'd vote for him later on...

Jay Jaffe: I assure you Jay Mariotti scoffs at your assumption that you have any understanding of what makes him tick. Compare his rationale from last year to this one and you'll find that consistency ain't his forte.

Disappointed Readers (Everywhere): Will the truth of what really happened with Joe ever come out?

Jay Jaffe: It's already out there, so don't worry your pretty little heads about it.

If there's a day of the year that should remind the world of baseball why it needs more Joe Sheehans and fewer Mariottis and Shaughnessys, it's the day of the Hall of Fame voting announcement. It is to rational baseball analysis what Halloween is to moderation with alcohol - amateur night.

I've already said so in a couple of different forums, but I'll say it once more for those of you who missed it. I've counted Joe among my short-list favorites when it comes to baseball writing for nearly a decade, and privileged to call him a colleague for five years. He's taught me invaluable lessons in both capacities, and helped me refine my own critical thinking about baseball, so on both levels, I'm sad to see him depart, but excited to see him stretch his wings, and I wish him all the best.

shaughnessy's head ((does air explode?)): Personally, I find it more than a little sad that someone could even write that statheads "try to take all the fun out of the game." Preaching to the choir here I know, but it is a passion for the game that drives all of us, isn't it?

Jay Jaffe: Indeed. Though I do find it hard to believe the omniscient CHB could have his fun spoiled by people who never leave their mothers' basements.

Christina Kahrl (BP Volcano Hideout): Maybe the problem is that being 20-something and cool comes once in a lifetime; voting for Rice for what he was (briefly) in the late '70s and early '80s, or Dawson for what he was (even more briefly) in the '80s probably has far too much to do with remembering those days over-fondly. Either way, here's hoping my cadre gives Frank Thomas his due come that day.

Jay Jaffe: That's a good point, but I think we'll see it put to the test in a few minutes when the voting results are announced, because to some extent you're also talking about Roberto Alomar as well, though he truly did remain effective into his 30s.

Going to take a few moments to prep myself for the big announcement...

BostonU Yankee Fan (CT): Ok, that makes sense re: Kevin. On another note, any guess/estimation of when Raines gets inducted (with the assumption that it doesn't happen today)?

Jay Jaffe: Perhaps once the first waves of Internet-based writers gets their vote in what, nine years? Neyer, Law, Karhl, Carroll and more to come (hopefully one day including myself).

Watch the voting announcement live: http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?topic_id=6261176

Mountainhawk (Salem, MA): I wonder how many media 'geniuses' in five years will decide Randy Johnson isn't worthy of the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Jay Jaffe: It's Dawson and Dawson only. Rats

JasonC23 (Huntley, IL): Just Dawson. That's...odd.

Jay Jaffe: Holy cow, Blyleven 74.2 percent

Tim (Tampa): Surprised at the vote?

Jay Jaffe: Surprised but not terribly so. My conclusion to today's piece:

So with the business of the pitchers concluded, we add Bert Blyleven to the ranks of Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell on the JAWS 2010 ballot. With the voting results scheduled be announced later today (Wednesday), I wouldn't be at all surprised if that slate draws a blank while Andre Dawson gets in, though I do think Alomar has a decent shot (early returns suggest reasons for optimism) and Blyleven may be nearing the tipping point.

JasonC23 (Huntley, IL): Was Blyleven last seen driving to Jay Mariotti's house with brass knuckles?

Jay Jaffe: It's going to be a long year, but he's going in, and so is Alomar, who got 73.7 percent.

Gregor (Bathurst): Are you saddened as I am that the inclusion of Ozzie Smith seems to have helped Omar Vizquel when it could or should have helped Larkin and Trammell?

Jay Jaffe: Omar's not on the ballot, so we shouldn't worry about his candidacy for at least another six years. I don't think Ozzie's presence in the Hall has any bearing on Larkin and Trammell any more than the presences of Robin Yount and Cal Ripken do. There were a handful of great shortstops playing during the eighties, and some people apparently feel we've enshrined enough of them.

Christina Kahrl (BP Volcano Hideout): Five blank ballots were submitted, apparently. While I can understand that more readily than ballots that have Morris but not Blyleven or Dawson or Parker but not Raines, that seems interesting.

Jay Jaffe: Blank ballots are voters' way of throwing themselves on the ground in the middle of the produce aisle and hoping mommy notices.

Especially given that Mariotti was one of the guys who voted for Blyleven in the past.

Mcheung ((VA)): Clearly I'm biased as I grew up rooting for the Jays in the 90s, but how does Alomar not get in? Does the Hirschbeck incident make him wait a extra year for induction?

Jay Jaffe: Yes, that's exactly what it did. There's an overwhelming consensus he belongs, albeit with a few writers who think that it's more important to punish the man for something that he's apologized for countless times and been absolved of and even befriended by the offended party. Seriously, if John Hirschbeck doesn't have a problem with it than why should they?

collins (greenville nc): I'd call this good news for Bert. I was worried he'd stagnate around 62%. do you have the % of the vote for Edgar, Raines and Barry? They don't have it on espn.com. Thanks.

Jay Jaffe: 539 ballots, five blanks, Andre Dawson 420 (77.9%), Bert Blyleven 400 (74.2%), Roberto Alomar 397 (73.7%), Jack Morris 282 (52.3%), Barry Larkin 278 (51.6%), Lee Smith 255 (47.3%), Edgar Martinez 195 (36.2%), Tim Raines 164 (30.4%), Mark McGwire 128 (23.7%), Alan Trammell 121 (22.4%), Fred McGriff 116 (21.5%), Don Mattingly 87 (16.1%), Dave Parker 82 (15.2%), Dale Murphy 63 (11.7%), Harold Baines 33 (6.1%), Andres Galarraga 22 (4.1%), Robin Ventura 7 (1.3%), Ellis Burks 2 (0.4%), Eric Karros 2 (0.4%), Kevin Appier 1 (0.2%), Pat Hentgen 1 (0.2%), David Segui 1 (0.2%), Mike Jackson 0, Ray Lankford 0, Shane Reynolds 0, Todd Zeile 0.

Segui gets his vote. Baines remains on life support thanks to the persistence of a stubborn few. Karros receives more votes than he had All-Star appearances.

J.P. (Hartford): As an older Mets fan who fondly remembers Ventura for his grand slam single, and a young baseball fan who fondly remembers Ventura for charging Nolan Ryan. He deserved better than being one and done, right?

Jay Jaffe: Absolutely. I'm not convinced yet that he belongs, but as with Will Clark, Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich and several others, I certainly feel the debate should have gone on a whole lot longer before anyone made up their minds.

David (Huntersville NC): Jay, who are the pitchers coming onto the ballot next year? I've heard that there's going to be a wave which will cut into Blyleven's vote count. Is that true? Also, do you see the Vets Committee enshrining Lou and Tram after Tram drops off the ballot (this seems, rather unfortunately, inevitible).

Jay Jaffe: Pitchers eligible for next year's ballot include Kevin Brown, John Franco, Al Leiter, Wilson Alvarez, Ugueth Urbina, Ismael Valdez, Paul Quantrill, Cal Eldred, Kirk Rueter and Steve Reed. I don't see any of them cutting into anybody's support, and other than the first three, I don't see any of them even getting through the nomination stage. Though if Mike Jackson can...

Mike (Hoboken): Just a comment: If Juan Marichal can be in the Hall of Fame, I don't see how the voters can justify continuing to punish Alomar.

Jay Jaffe: THIS.

Grant (Chicago): Off the top of your head, who are two or three very credible options for the Hall that few casual fans or even BP readers would see as such? Will Clark? Trammell? In other words, in your extensive research on the topic, who's really surprised you with good candidancies?

Jay Jaffe: Bobby Grich is one. Will Clark another. Bill Dahlen and Rick Reuschel are two guys whose JAWS scores are near the line that nobody ever thinks of. Dahlen I can see, Reuschel I'm not even convinced of.

kgballs (NYC): Hey Jay. It seems as though Dwight Evans fell off the ballot a few years ago without much notice. Thoughts on Dewey?

Jay Jaffe: There were years where Evans had JAWS numbers that were above the bar, but the rising replacement level and changes in our defensive assessment now leave him pretty short (59.5/37.7/48.6 at a position where 75.7/46.6/61.2 is the standard). A damn sight better than Rice, but not enough for anyone to declare a gross miscarriage of justice.

Ron (Vancouver): Ichiro Suzuki, Hall Of Famer or not?

Jay Jaffe: I think he gets in when his time comes, though I'm a bit less sold on his JAWS merits with the latest round of numbers than I was this summer: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9416

KerryFam4 (Atlanta, GA): With Larkin getting just over 50% on his first ballot, is he a lock to get in eventually? What's the over/under on how many years? Thanks.

Jay Jaffe: Aside from guys currently on the ballot, everybody who's gotten 50% of the vote from the writers has gone in eventually except for Gil Hodges. Which thus bodes well not only for Larkin but also Jack Morris, who gained about 8 percent this year - a big jump. Without thinking too hard about the coming attractions on the ballot, I'd guess Larkin is in within five or six years.

Tim (Tampa): Along the same lines of the Alomar spitting incident, does Raines cocaine habits have something to do with his (relatively) low vote total, as well? I wasn't aware of him being as villified as others were in that era.

Jay Jaffe: I'm sure there are voters who hold it against him, but I don't think there are enough of them to explain the fact that 70 percent are convinced he DOESN'T belong.

I Got Ripped in 4 Weeks (I'm Crazy Ripped): Let's say Albert Pujols retires tomorrow. Does he make The Hall?

Jay Jaffe: If he retired tomorrow he'd be ineligible. He needs to play at least one game to qualify as having 10 seasons in the majors from the Hall's way of counting (1 game = 1 season).

Ron (Vancouver): Give me one good reason why Scott Boras doesn't belong in the HoF?

Jay Jaffe: Without the enshrinement of Marvin Miller, there's no precedent for somebody without connection to a team or MLB's central office to gain election.

Without Marvin Miller, you'd never even have heard of Scott Boras, because his singular talents - whatever you make of them - would have no place in the game.

Mariano Rivera (Panama): I'm going to be the first player to get 100% of the votes 5 years after I retire right?

Jay Jaffe: No, because somewhere out there is a tiny little man who won't vote for anybody associated with an era in which somebody might have used some foreign substance to gain an advantage.

Michael (Detroit, MI): Is Lee Smith the big loser of the day? He slid back under 50% and is on the ballot long enough that one would think he's got to making progress toward 75%.

Jay Jaffe: Smith's never been over 50 percent. From Baseball-Reference.com:

2003 BBWAA (42.3%)
2004 BBWAA (36.6%)
2005 BBWAA (38.8%)
2006 BBWAA (45.0%)
2007 BBWAA (39.8%)
2008 BBWAA (43.3%)
2009 BBWAA (44.5%)

adfeit (NYC): Hi Jay, what do you think we can expect from BJ Upton this year? Is he still getting over his shouler injury? Will the BJ who tore up the 2008 playoffs ever return?

Jay Jaffe: Taking a breather from the Hall of Fame to hit a few non-HOF question...

I do think an extra offseason to heal and rebuild strength will help Upton, since he conceded that he wasn't 100 percent when he tried to return. But I think the odds against him becoming the superstar that so many foresaw are growing longer.

The first-blush PECOTA I saw this past weekend had his weighted mean at .275 EqA with 20 homers. Not thrilling, but nice.

Cambridge (BP Q&A Headquarters): Yankee Stadium has a big left field. Stealing an extra road win against a division rival can have a real impact on a close race. Theo knows those things. Your thoughts?

Jay Jaffe: That won't have nearly so big an impact as putting Cameron, an excellent center fielder, in place of Ellsbury, a lousy one, on a regular basis.

Matt (Chicago): Are the Cubs best off choosing from internal bullpen options and spending their remaining dollars on a starter? If so, who could you see in play?

Jay Jaffe: With Zambrano, Demptster, Lilly, and Randy Wells as the front four, and guys like Gorzelanny, Marshall and maybe Samardzija and - ooh, Carlos Silva - as candidates for the fifth, the Cubs' rotation is well stocked. Given the fact that they've got so much money already spent, any additional dollars are better spent elsewhere.

Grant (Nashville): So if the pitchers are an underwhelming lot, which interesting position players will we be talking about in one year?

Jay Jaffe: The top new position playing candidates are Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, John Olerud and Larry Walker.

Nick Stone (New York, NY): Jay, since I'll be under a pile of work when the HoF announcement is made, I've tried to come up with a question that will cover every conceivable issue raised by the results: What does the (election/stagnant support/dropping off the ballot) of (Andre Dawson/Bert Blyleven/David Segui) say about the BBWAA's general attitude towards (impatient mustache aficionados/Dutch Old Masters/ill-considered bleach jobs)? Does the dramatic falling off of the ballot of (Karros/Raines/McGwire) mean baseball will change the composition of the Veterans Committee in order to better represent (the undead/people with a basic understanding of baseball/chicks who dig the long ball)?

Jay Jaffe: Too funny! I definitely think that the disappearance of Segui from the ballot is a shot across the bow at those ill-considered bleach jobs, and that the road to the Hall just got considerably longer for Mike Piazza, Alex Rodriguez, and Bret Boone. The disappearance of Karros from the ballot means that the VC will be changed to better accommodate the undead.

collins (greenville nc): What player do you think most increased his HOF chances in 2009? Pettitte, maybe? Thanks.

Jay Jaffe: Roy Halladay is one that comes to mind, particularly given all the scrutiny his eventual trade provoked and the fact that he winds up with a bigger-market team. Also Gary Sheffield, because in his strong comeback he topped the 500 homer club and probably bought himself another year, or at the very least erased the memory of an ignominious end in Detroit.

BostonU Yankee Fan (CT): Just out of curiosity, do you know of a place that lists all of the voters with their votes? I know Baseball Think Factory has a bunch of them in the comments to the HOF thread.

Jay Jaffe: I don't know anywhere that does a more detailed job than BTF. Maybe somebody should start a website soley devoted to chasing down such ballots and even trying to ask BBWAAers whom they voted for.

Bern Wang (bernwang@hotmail.com): I doubt Bernie Williams will ever get in to the HOF since he was usually overlooked on those Yankee teams (never finished high in MVP voting) and so he won't "seem" like a HOF to many of these voters...but do you think he has a decent case? He had maybe 8 great years in a row and was quite possibly the most valuable player on those Yankee teams from 1994 through 2002. At the very least, I guess with Jim Rice being in, Bernie definitely has a legit case for being in as well since he was clearly better than Jim Rice.

Jay Jaffe: Bernie's got four more World Series rings than Jim Rice, and the rest of his candidacy is hardly anything to be ashamed of. You'd be surprised what hitting .300 and playing center field for the World Champion Yankees can do for a guy's Cooperstown credentials. Not that it helped Mickey Rivers...

Audhumla (Woodland Hills, CA): I think I asked this before, but just in case... if Edgar doesn't make it, who becomes the first Hall of Famer to play the majority of his games at DH? Big Hurt?

Jay Jaffe: Yes, Frank Thomas. A two-time MVP with 521 homers and The Fear won't have to sweat much in order to get his plaque.

Phil S. (NJ): What do you think of the baseball writer tactic of noting a lack of awards that *they voted on* to invalidate a player's Hall candidacy?

Jay Jaffe: Nine letter word associated with equine detritus.

Mike (Chicago): Seeing how there's very little chance the writers ever induct him, is it likely that Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker eventually make it in to the Hall on a veteran's committee twin killing?

Jay Jaffe: Given their resistance to electing ANYBODY, you're going to have to kill more than just the Twins who are on the Veterans Committee to get Trammell and Whitaker in.

TheBunk (Toronto): Hey Jay, do you like the Jays as serious contenders for Chapman?

Jay Jaffe: If it were Ricciardi saying that the Jays were interested in Chapman I'd say it's a cynical ploy to appease a beaten-down fan base. It may still be that, but I'm willing to give Alex Anthopoulos a clean slate, so yes, I think it's possible. Probable that they land him? I don't think so.

Capt_Science (New York): Jay, I have a Red Sox friend who insists they are not a large market team. As a Brewers fan, I find this a bit offensive, given the amount of revenue that Forbes (and others) estimate for them. Your take?

Jay Jaffe: The only thing small about the Red Sox is the seating capacity of Fenway Park and... well, let's just leave it at that for the sake of decorum.

Tim (DC): "Nine letter word associated with equine detritus." Shaugnhessy has 11-letters

Jay Jaffe: Touché.

Jim (Brooklyn): I'd like to make an argument for aesthetically pleasing baseball (for lack of a better term) being just as good reason to elect someone to the Hall Of Fame. The reason we love baseball is because it's amazing, exciting, and beautiful. There are some players who win ugly, and there are some players who don't help the team win as much as some would think, but are certainly fun to watch (Rice, Dawson, Nolan Ryan). Shouldn't there be room in the Hall for both?

Jay Jaffe: I have no beef with Ryan being there. If your idea of aesthetics includes exciting long home runs salted among lots and lots of outs, where's Dave Kingman on your ballot?

Eusebio (Houston): Blyleven not on. Should I go forward with my plans to burn down the HOF (in my imagination, that is)?

Jay Jaffe: Whatever gets you through the year as an Astros fan, man. Ain't a jury in America that's gonna convict you.

El Angelo (elangelo@gmail.com): FYI, next couple of HOF classes are thin. Best candidates for 2011 are Bagwell, Raffy Palmeiro (zero shot), Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Larry Walker. Best candidates for 2012 are Bernie Williams, Tim Salmon and....I dunno, Carl Everett? Rick Helling?

Jay Jaffe: The 2012 class is thinner than prison gruel. Honestly there aren't five guys among this lot who would get more than a single paragraph out of me in the JAWS series:

Edgardo Alfonzo, Pedro Astacio, David Bell, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Scott Erickson, Carl Everett, Jeff Fassero, Alex S. Gonzalez, Danny Graves, Rick Helling, Dustin Hermanson, Jose Hernandez, Brian Jordan, Matt Lawton, Javy Lopez, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Jeff Nelson, Phil Nevin, Brad Radke, Joe Randa, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Jose Vizcaino, Bernie Williams, Eric Young

DisbandBBWAA (Underground): Would you like to join my protest group march on D.C.?

Jay Jaffe: Not before I get my card and have a chance to go to a few ballgames.

Tim (DC): But does Ellsbury bring enough to the table, offensively, to be an above-average LF?

Jay Jaffe: Well, he's got a .274 EqA for his career, which is right about the MLB average at that position during his time. So is there a chance? Yes, but I don't think he really advances the cause of the Boston offense.

Ron (Vancouver): Do you stil consider Billy Beane and Mark Shapiro to be Top 5 GM's, or have the past couple of seasons changed the way you view both GMs's?

Jay Jaffe: I've never been as high on either of them as certain readers would like to believe, and I'm certainly not very sold on the job that either of them has done in recent years. Beane wasted a whole lot of time and money on Bobby Crosby, and the Indians' talent pipeline on Shapiro's watch hasn't impressed me, though I think he's done well in some of his trades.

Jim (Brooklyn): I was too young to have seen Kingman play, but he hit .240 and made 3 All-Star games. It doesn't really seem like people were really excited to watch him play or have very fond memories of him. That's not really the case with Rice and Dawson. More to the point: do you think career value is the only factor for enshrinement? 95%? 90%?

Jay Jaffe: Not at all, I consider peak value to be as important as career value. The problem with both of the guys you mention is that their peaks really didn't last as long or were as high as most Hall of Famers at their positions.

Clearly Better Than Jim Rice (New Meme): Seriously, could the practical implications of this phrase almost double the number of OFers in the hall?

Jay Jaffe: They would at least triple it.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Blyleven's 74.2% and Alomar's 73.7% make me wonder what is the closest vote of a HOF condidate who did not get in that year? I assume that anyone this close got in during subsequent years.

Jay Jaffe: Nellie Fox got 74.7 percent in his 15th and final year on the ballot, 1985. He had to wait until the VC elected him in 1997 to get in.

Actually, he was already dead, but you get the point.

dcoonce (bloomington, indiana): Do you think some of the older, Murray Chass-style writer/voters have decided that since they don't understand statistics, they're also going to ignore the candidates the stats community support? Is that a legitimate concern?

Jay Jaffe: Certainly, if you read some of the old guard, there's a backlash at hand. Hell, last year Peter Gammons even attacked Rob Neyer publicly over his Jim Rice anti-advocacy, which I find particularly appalling.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Do you have any thoughts on who would be on a team of the best players who both have not been voted into the HOF, and who are no longer eligible to be voted on by the writers?

Jay Jaffe: Consider this an article idea filed away for a rainy day.

Three more questions...

tommybones (brooklyn): What do you do with Montero for 2010? Is he the first call-up for the inevitable Nick Johnson DL stint? Is he the full time DH by September?

Jay Jaffe: I think this is his make-or-break year to see if he can actually catch, and I'd take great pains to keep him on the farm until September.

Phil S. (NJ): Over/under on "Cap'n Intangibles" getting 94.5% of HoF votes. What side ya got?

Jay Jaffe: Over. I think he's got a chance to top Seaver (98.8%) as the all-time vote percentage king.

stewbies (Rochester): What's your best guess for where Joe lands?

Jay Jaffe: I have absolutely no information towards this possibility, but I'd love to see him sitting between Peter Gammons and Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network.

Will (Fredericton): If the HoF came to you to objectively correct its membership and you could automatically elect any player you wished (eligible based on years played and retired but not limited to guys who haven't fallen off the ballot), how many would you put in? If they gave you the power to remove members, would you exercise it? (If I've learned much about you from your writing, I think you'd consider it a card played.)

Jay Jaffe: I'd start by adding 5 to 10 and bumping a similar number, taking great pains not to get very carried away on the latter. Not being able to bump any wouldn't be a dealbreaker, though.

Jay Jaffe: Folks, it's been a genuine pleasure chatting with you today. I think we've all got something to be a bit disappointed in when it comes to the voting results, but there are silver linings to be had, such as the inevitability of Blyleven and Alomar making it, and besides, misery loves company. Stay warm, and look for more of me on the BP website real soon.

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