Chat with David Schoenfield
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com's SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield stops by to chat some baseball.
Schoenfield is a senior writer for ESPN.com and he's been with ESPN.com since 1995 and has served in a variety of roles, including baseball editor, Page 2 senior editor and writer, and even interim soccer editor. He grew up in Seattle rooting for the Mariners, believes Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame and had no issues with Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young Award despite a 13-12 record.
Send your questions now and join Schoenfield Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
David Schoenfield (1:04 PM)
OK, just back from hosting the Baseball Today podcast with Keith Law. Lots of good stuff on Pujols, the Dodgers, interleague play and the College World Series. Now ... on to the questions!
Do you keep Jose Reyes? If so, how much do you pay him?
David Schoenfield (1:06 PM)
I think if the Mets have any hope of building a future winner, they have to sign Reyes. Yes, there is risk involved with him, but there are so few top quality shortstops right now, he's enormously valuable. Six years at $16-18 million per? Something like that is probably what it will take.
How come whenever discussion of best young pitchers is discussed, Ricky Romero is never mentioned? He is having a better season than the much heralded David Price and he is only 1 year older and pitching in the same division
David Schoenfield (1:08 PM)
Canadian bias! Hey, Price is the No. 1 pick, he's pitched in the playoffs, he was a Cy Young contender last year. But I agree that Romero is one of the most underrated pitchers in the majors. Quality doesn't always equal attention.
David Schoenfield (1:09 PM)
By the way, I wrote this the other day: In many ways, Price is actually pitching better than last year. He has 4.7 SO/BB ratio this year, compared to 2.4 last year.
Jim (Polkton, NC)
Ricky Romero didn't really call out anyone, and in fact said he wasn't singling anyone out and that he knew the batters aren't trying to make outs. Sounded to me like he was just stating obvious facts. What's the big deal?
David Schoenfield (1:10 PM)
I agree. He was just frustrated ... hey, he's 6-7 despite an ERA under 3 ... shouldn't be a big deal, but the media loves to run with anything they can.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
It seems like situational side-arm relief pitchers are really hard to hit. I assume that pitching motion makes a pitcher much more injury prone so that is why we don't see more side-arm pitchers. Am I right or are there other reasons why we don't see more side-arm relief pitchers?
David Schoenfield (1:12 PM)
Actually, some believe that motion is easier on the arm. Think about if: Softball pitchers can pitch every day because there is less strain with an underhand motion, so a sidearm motion has (in theory) less strain than a more typical overhand motion. Guys like Dan Quisenberry and Kent Tekulve were some of the more durable relievers we've ever seen.
I was there yesterday to see the kid from NC deal against the Longhorns. They really didn't hit one ball hard against him. Is this kid a potential future prospect or just a good college arm?
David Schoenfield (1:13 PM)
Keith Law talked about him on the podcast today. Kent Emanuel is his name and he threw the first CG shutout in the CWS in five years. Keith does like him, especially his competitiveness.
You are right that there is no doubt the AL is better than the NL. How big of a gap do you think there is and what implications do you think this has for the present and future of the sport?
David Schoenfield (1:16 PM)
Good question. Not to reference the podcast again, but Keith made a point that I agree with: Baseball is better off when teams like the Dodgers, Mets and Cubs are competitive franchises. They bring more fans and more media attention. Baseball needs those teams to, umm, figure things out and that will help raise the quality of play in the NL. Right now, NL teams don't have to be as innovative or creative or spend as money because they can maybe win 87 games and make the playoffs.
David Schoenfield (1:17 PM)
As for implications, the worse thing would be if all the big free agents started signing with AL teams. That hasn't happened (Cliff Lee, Matt Holliday, Jayson Werth, etc.), but it wouldn't be good for the NL is Pujols, Fielder and Reyes all jumped to the AL next season.
Ned (Hamilton, OH)
The NL Central was awful before the Pujols injury and now the Cards are without their best hitter. Who is your favorite to win that division now?
David Schoenfield (1:19 PM)
Man, I think you have to pick straws for that one. I had the Reds at the start of the season, but their rotation has been inconsistent (Cueto and Leake much better lately). I'm worried about St. Louis' rotation and bullpen (both have been worse in June). So I guess I give the slight edge to the Brewers ... hard to bet against that rotation and that Weeks/Braun/Fielder trio. But not surprise if any of the three teams win it.
David (St Paul)
What kind of record do the Cardinals have to have sans Pujols to be keeping afloat? If the Cardinals go on a horrible losing terror, what do you think someone like Lance Berkman could fetch in the trade market?
David Schoenfield (1:21 PM)
They're not going to fall out of it. The impact of losing one guy -- even a Pujols -- for six weeks just isn't as big as people believe. If they start losing, it will be because of the pitching, not the offense.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Which is more entertaining - watching Jason Verlander hold a bat and swing, or watching Jason Giambi run the bases?
Moe ((On my way to the bottom of the earth))
If you were to put a net-dollar value on Pujols' injury what is it? Minus 50 million?
David Schoenfield (1:23 PM)
Does it really affect it that much? If he comes back and hits OK, I think it has no affect. A freak injury from a guy who has always been durable. Put it this way: if a team REALLY wants Albert Pujols, they will overpay to get him. And somebody will pay.
Turner (Boise, ID)
The M's are winning and developing young talent at the big league level. Should I be excited and a M's fan about the future and that are they turning the corner from being in the basement?
David Schoenfield (1:26 PM)
You have to be excited! A team with Brendan Ryan hitting second and Miguel Olivo hitting cleanup and no production at LF or DH is one game out of first place! Things are looking better than at any time since the early 2000s, that's for sure. Ackley has arrived and they have some other interesting prospects. Kyle Saeger is hitting very well at Double-A (he's a 2B), Kevin Goldstein just wrote about Taijuan Walker at Baseball Prospectus and raved that he may be the best pitching prospect in the Midwest League. They just drafted Danny Hultzen, who could be in the big leagues next year. Now they just need to get rid of Figgins!
Hi David, thanks for the chats. How is Dillon Gee doing it? His stuff does not look that good. He reminds me of Steve Trachsel :x
David Schoenfield (1:28 PM)
A great example of a guy who can beat NL lineups. I think he's a solid No. 4 or 5 guy. Check out who he's beat: Pirates twice, Cubs, Astros, Washington, Dodgers, did beat the Braves twice. But he even faced the good NL lineups (Cards, Reds, Brewers).
Asdrubal Cabrera= best SS in the MLB right?
David Schoenfield (1:29 PM)
I'm throwing this one out to all of you ...
Dan (Washington, DC)
We are taking pre-orders for the Nats bandwagon. Get on it before it fills up. 2 games under .500 missing LaRoache, Zimmerman and Strasburg for most/all of the season. Rendon and Harper on the horizon...Come on Schoenfield, you know you want to climb aboard!
You talk about getting rid of Figgins, but you don't respond to my question!?!?! You're killing me Schoenfield!
David Schoenfield (1:30 PM)
Let me find it ...
I asked you this on Twitter, but never heard back so here it is again - Aaron Rowand for Chone Figgins. Who says no? Seems like a perfect sunk cost for sunk cost that meets each teams' needs a bit better. Also a perfect change of scenery deal. Thoughts?
David Schoenfield (1:33 PM)
HAHA ... wow, that is one poo-poo platter for another, to steal a Simmons phrase. Man, Rowand STILL has more year. What a contract. Trouble is, Figgy has two more. Figgins may actually be able to hit .220 in the NL, however. I think the bottom line is neither is really a solution to anything right now. M's would be better off playing Greg Halman and Carlos Peguero than a washed-up Aaron Rowand.
If you owned a team, and told your GM always be in the top 5 in money spent in the draft and on 16 year old Dominicans, and never sign a FA who is older than 29 years old, how do you think you would do?
David Schoenfield (1:35 PM)
Could you re-sign your own players? I think you'd do pretty well. Isn't this basically what Tampa Bay has done? Check this list of the top 25 highest paid players. How many would you want at that salary? http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/baseball/mlb/salaries/player/top-25
Oh King of Baseball Stats and History and all that is the glory of the almighty powerful American League, could you please consult your magical sheet of data and tell me - since 2006, which league has won more World Series titles (you know, that big trophy-type thing you win if you are the last team standing at the end of the year)?
David Schoenfield (1:37 PM)
So you think it's better analysis to compare the results of a 7-game series and ignore the AL's 768-585 record? Congratulations, Fred Wilpon just hired you to run his investments.
You mentioned that Justin Verlander never had put it all together for one monster season but by Fangraphs WAR I can only find one pitcher(Greinke) with higher single-season WAR total than Verlander 09.
David Schoenfield (1:40 PM)
Good question. The issue is that FanGraphs' WAR is calculated based on FIP (fielding independent pitching) and not on his actually runs allowed. His FIP that year was 2.80 (based on walks, strikeouts and home runs), but HIS ACTUAL RUNS ALLOWED was higher. (His ERA was 3.45.) So in one sense, he was dominant, but in another sense, he didn't keep as many runs off the board as his numbers indicated he should have.
David Schoenfield (1:42 PM)
Verlander had a .323 BABIP that year. His overall BA allowed .236, but his BA with runners on base was .267. So he didn't pitch as well from the stretch. So you can argue that he pitched in bad luck (BABIP) or you can argue that maybe he didn't pitch as well from the stretch.
Nick (Dayton, OH)
Why is Dusty Baker still have a job after pitch hitting for Ryan Hanigan last night with Renteria? Gomes, Hernandez, and Cairo would have all been better choices. Dusty Baker has a man crush on old wore out veterans.
Didn't listen to the podcast, but -- the AL is an inferior brand of baseball. It is not the way the game was meant to be played historically. The DH takes a lot of thought and strategy out of the game, and was only brought in because scoring in the American league was down in the 1960s and 1970s. Try playing real baseball before you tell me that the American league is superior to the National League.
Looks like the NBA is going to limit the number of years on contracts. Is this something the MLB would consider?
David Schoenfield (1:44 PM)
MLB Players Union would never agree to this. Plus ... unlike the NBA where a lot of teams are losing money, most MLB teams are making money.
Billy Bob (Ross, Ohio)
Cueto hasn't been inconsistent, he's been hurt. Just sayin'
So in your opinion, did the Phillies Cliff Lee themselves out of keeping Hamels long term?
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
I think Berthiaume wrote that, but I don't necessarily agree. The Phillies are now the Red Sox/Yankees of the NL. They can afford several big contracts. Assuming they let Oswalt walk, I think they can afford Hamels.
People constantly rant about how much $ the Yankees spend, and despite that tonight they are giving a second start to a converted outfielder. Obviously it's not only about the $.
So you're trying to tell me that you would rather run Figgins who has been awful for Seattle out there for another 2+ years than Rowand for 1 ? Plus it would actually save the M's some money over the long haul. I thought it was a terrible idea until Sanchez got hurt, then it made some sense...
David Schoenfield (1:46 PM)
Why would the Giants take on more bad payroll? That's the part of the equation I don't understand. And Figgins was pretty bad defensively at 2B last year.
We are seeing the top payrolls rise to the top of divisions. When is it time to change the system. Im sure you will point out the one team to make it with the minimum and Ill point out the Yankees making it 9 of 10 years
David Schoenfield (1:48 PM)
The Cubs, Mets, Angels and White Sox have the highest payrolls in their divisions. Are any of those teams leading their divisions?
Tom (Atlanta, GA)
Is it really as simple as: Greinke has incredible K:BB with high ERA, therefore if Greinke continues to have incredible K:BB, he'll soon have low ERA? Or are there other factors at play?
David Schoenfield (1:52 PM)
That's what the sabermetricians would argue, but that's not ALWAYS the case (see: James Shields, 2009-10). His BABIP is .360 on FanGraphs, worst of any pitcher with 50 innings. That SHOULD come down as the season progress and his ERA will improve.
Regarding Cabrera as the best SS in MLB: Jose Reyes has the 2nd best WAR in baseball according to Fangraphs (4.2 WAR). Cabrera has the 28th best (2.6 WAR). Jose Reyes has about a 50 point lead in OBP and a higher SLG, as well as better defense. Reyes has had stellar seasons before, and Cabrera hasn't. I don't see how Cabrera can possibly be the best in MLB right now.
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
Thanks, Matt. I agree. Indians tell me Cabrera is a good defensive SS but the fielding metrics don't back that up.
Whats the over all record NL vs AL this season so far?
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
AL leads 56-37.
Dan (Washington, DC)
You missed my comment...do you not want to say you believed in the Nats way back when?! You're missing out!!
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
I'm on the bandwagon! (In 2012.)
I am staying with the Phillies...
Adam (Madison, WI)
Alfonso Soriano for Jake Peavy, who hangs up?
David Schoenfield (1:54 PM)
Fans of the NL always talk about how they play "real" baseball over there, acting like a double switch is brain surgery. You watch your pitchers it .176, I'll watch my guys hit 30 HRs. You can keep your "real" baseball; I'll be entertained.
For people who complain about big payrolls, look at the Phillies. They were abysmal for years and years and years, but built through the draft, won a World Series, and then used that newfound fan enthusiasm and capital to become one of the big spenders. If the Phillies can do it, ANYONE can do it. So please, stop complaining.
David Schoenfield (1:55 PM)
Looks at the Twins -- Selig wanted to contract them at one point. Now they have the ninth-highest payroll in the majors.
Brian (Drexel Hill, PA)
Love your writing, David! I've always enjoyed the influx of new talent keeping baseball fresh and evolving. That said, I appreciate the business side of baseball as well. Obviously, Lawrie is hurt and we've already seen debuts from Hosmer, Rizzo, Ackley Weeks & Moustakas, but when do you think we'll start to see some more of the hot names like Jennings
David Schoenfield (1:58 PM)
Good question. The Jennings situation continues to be the most perplexing to me. Of course, Ruggiano got hot so Maddon will stick with the hot hand for now. I keep saying any day and Jennings, but as lon as Ruggiano keeps producing, Jennings will remain in Triple-A. Lawrie was about to get recalled before his injury. I believe he's supposed to be back around the All-Star break, so he should be up soon after that.
I just went to that link you posted of the 25 highest paid players. Vernon Wells is really #2? That's disgusting!
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
$26 million! (Including prorated share of signing bonus.) And, Angels fans, you get him for three more years after this one!
Do you actually have a job as a baseball writer and then say the mets have the highest payroll in their division? you only have one thing to know, and you dont know it
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
Oops, my mistake. Sorry, John. Didn't mean to ruin your day.
Best SS in MLB? I believe Tulo would like to have a word.
Buddy (Peoria, IL)
I really don't understand all the complaining about payroll. There is more parity in baseball now than I can ever remember.
David Schoenfield (2:03 PM)
Agreed. I'm guessing Phillies fans were complaining about payroll disparity in 1999 when they had the 23rd-highest payroll and lost 85 games.
Is Paul Konerko one of the most underrated players in the MLB? I'll put his numbers up against ANYONE in the MLB this season.
Your thoughts on Mike Morse? He has about 900 plate appearances now and is a "career" .296 hitter. Plus, over his last 500 AB's he has demolished the ball? Fluke or getting real?
David Schoenfield (2:04 PM)
I saw him coming up with Seattle -- never thought he'd be this good. He was a good athlete, had some injuries, but a bad SO/BB ratio coming up. I don't know if he's THIS good ... that ratio is still bad (53/12), so you'd think pitchers would realize you don't have to really throw him many quality strikes, but maybe he's become a good bad-ball hitter so to speak.
Buddy (Peoria, IL)
You can have Konerko. I'll take Bautista.
Tulo has the best defense from what I've seen. Did anyone else see yesterday's play where he barehanded a slow dribbler off the mound and still got the out at first? I have my doubts whether Asdrubal could have done that.
Consider the Phillies though: Do they really seem like they can sustain this high payroll version of the team? They are arlready not debt compliant and paying huge luxury tax payments that will only go up if they have to sign another $100m+ pitcher (Hamels), and they still have major offensive needs and a rapidly aging, not that good first baseman. They seem to me like they're headed for Cubs alley by 2014 if you ask me. And their "loaded" farm system is all pitchers, too.
David Schoenfield (2:11 PM)
Good point. I agree. The other risk in dumping so much payroll into pitching, of course, is that pitchers get hurt. They do lose $12M after this year with Ibanez, $12M with Lidge, $10.5 after 2012 with Blanton. Rollins ($8.5) is a FA. Utley is signed through 2013 and Victorino through 2012. I think they'll have money to sign Hamels, but you're right, that won't really leave anything to build an offense.
Ooooh, I never noticed the Cubs/Phillies comp but now I do. I really, really do. Howard is their Soriano.
Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)
I'd say you're pretty blase about payroll disparity. Sure, some teams have spent their money foolishly (if not, idiotically - Yankees included), but I look at the Reds and their 75 million payroll and then look at the Cardinals and Cubs with their 100 million plus payrolls and think 30 million extra to spend would be pretty nice ...
David Schoenfield (2:13 PM)
What's preventing the Reds from spending $30 more million?
Buddy (Peoria, IL)
The Rays, Indians, Dbacks, Blue Jays, and Reds are all near the bottom of the league in payroll. Just saying.
If Cincinnati would go ahead and sell out 165 games in a row... perhaps that $30 million would become available. Fan support plays a role in how much your team spends, and there are still plenty of good seats at The Great American Ballpark!
David Schoenfield (2:15 PM)
OK, that's a good one to end on. St. Louis' metro market is bigger than Cincinnati's ... but Cincinnati is larger than Milwaukee by the same degree. Check out the Brewers' attendance compared to the Reds'.
David Schoenfield (2:16 PM)
Thanks, everyone. As always, appreciate the great questions and comments. See you next week!