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 (1:05 PM)
Good afternoon, baseball chatters. Anything exciting going? This will be a short one, since I have a meeting at 1:30 ET.
Bill (Iowa City)
Isn't it a ridiculous notion that Matt Kemp would get more support for MVP if he won the triple crown? As if a few more points in BA negates the whole "MVP must come from a playoff team" idea. (Which I disagree with).
David Schoenfield (1:06 PM)
Of course it is. I would hope the voters are smarter than that, but they do pay attention to things like that or a few extra RBIs, etc.
Gut feeling, Red Sox or Rays...settled in game 162 or 163?
David Schoenfield (1:07 PM)
I'd go Game 163. Both teams go 1-1 over the next two, setting up a tiebreaker matchup of ... Jeff Niemann (or Matt Moore) versus Wakefield or Lackey, both of whom would be on three days' rest.
If the Rays make the playoffs without a one game playoff who starts game 1 of the ALDS? Moore or Davis?
David Schoenfield (1:08 PM)
With no one-game playoff, hmm ... I wouldn't be surprised to see James Shields on three days' rest. I would certainly do that over Wade Davis. Although Jeff Niemann would also be ready. Moore is an interesting option, but I can't see Maddon starting a rookie with one major league start in the first game of a series.
Has there ever been a worse trade than Vernon Wells? Even the historic bad trades (Bagwell, Smoltz, etc), you really didn't know the prospect you were trading. Here, we all knew he was an over 30 middling player with a humongous contract. And now we don't have the money or the space to sign Prince Fielder. How does Reagins still have a job?
David Schoenfield (1:11 PM)
I agree with your premise. It's one thing to get burned on a prospect that pans out better than you think. Vernon Wells was a guy who one of the WORST contracts in the game ... and somehow the Blue Jays managed to trade. I think of the contending teams, the worst offseason/personnel decision (and I don't excuse Mike Scioscia for this) belong to the Angels. The love affair with Wells and Jeff Mathis may have cost them a playoff spot.
Aside from the ~$50 mil, what's to stop the Sox from just releasing Lackey due to both his poor performance as well as the circumstances surrounding his divorce? If that hypothetical were to happen, when would be the earliest someone could sign him and who then owns his contract? I know it's almost 100% not going to happen, but there is a history of Sox management parting ways with players who's off the field behavior doesn't live up to expectations (Lowe, Cabrera), and I can think of no one better to be shown the door than that mouth-breathing neanderthal.
David Schoenfield (1:13 PM)
Nothing would prevent them from releasing him. Now, no team would claim him on waivers, which would then make him a free agent. A team could then sign him for the league minimum, with the Red Sox paying the balance of the contract. Knowing that, I would expect Boston to give him another chance in the rotation next season.
David, I agree that traditional baseball fans tend to overrate the importance of batting average and RBIs. But let's not demean the almost impossible task of hitting for the Triple Crown. It would be a monumental feat. There's a reason no hitter has done it in decades.
David Schoenfield (1:15 PM)
Oh, I would agree. The point of the question and response was Kemp's MVP case shouldn't be any better (or worse) simply because he hits .328 and wins a batting crown instead of hitting .325 and finishing third. It would absolutely be a monumental feat. Unfortunately, next to impossible at this point to catch Braun.
Your fan (New York)
Your thoughts on Moneyball?
David Schoenfield (1:16 PM)
Saw it this weekend and thought it was tremendous. A lot of my diehard baseball friends were bothered by the fact that Zito and Mulder weren't even mentioned in the movie and that the Jeremy Giambi timeline was off, but that didn't bother me in the least. I viewed it as a character study of Billy Beane, and a guy who tried to think outside the box and question the conventional wisdom. Viewed under that prism -- and not as a documentary of the 2002 A's -- it was terrific, probably one of my top five baseball movies.
I might be in the minority here but why is Fredi Gonzalez been playing Brian McCann the past mnoth when David Ross is a better hitter and much better fielder. Every game McCann is having a past ball and can not hit a ball past 2nd base.
David Schoenfield (1:18 PM)
He hasn't been the same since he strained an oblique in late July. He hit .146 in August, I think .192 in September. I know McCann is the guy, but he's clearly not 100 percent. Chalk it up as another mistake from Fredi.
Dave, thanks for your time... all this nonsense talk about Trumbo or Nova for ROY is just that, nonsense right? It clearly is either Hellickson or Hosmer isn't it?
David Schoenfield (1:19 PM)
In my book, absolutely agree with you. But wins and RBIs still count for a lot of voters. I do suspect Hellickson will pull it out, but it will be close. (And that doesn't even mention Pineda, Ackley ... great year for AL rookies.)
How do you explain Doug Fisters huge increase in strike outs since coming to Detroit? In his last 55 innings he has 52 K's (with only 2 BB's!)
David Schoenfield (1:21 PM)
Good question. As a Mariners fan, I saw him a lot and would never have expected this kind of dominance. Not sure where this is coming from, but I'll look into it. Does Fister's recent dominance help make Detroit the AL favorite right now?
General thoughts on Don Mattinglty (the player)?
David Schoenfield (1:21 PM)
Would have been a Hall of Famer if he hadn't hurt his back, but in the end was really only a great player for 5-6 years.
Les (East Windsor, NJ)
Heard that (MLB won't admit it) the reason the wild card doesn't play the team from the same division is that, when it was set up, MLB wanted to hold out until the AL & NL CS's for more dramatic matchups, like Red Sox/Yanks, Mets/Braves, Orioles/Yanks, Dodgers/Giants. Seems to be a stupid way of determining seedings. What are your thoughts?
David Schoenfield (1:24 PM)
I go back and forth on this. On a certain level, it's dumb, especially in a scenario where the Braves make it this year. They would clearly be the No. 4 team in the NL, yet you're penalizing the Phillies simply because both teams are from the same division. Personally, I would say put all four teams in and just seed them 1 to 4 based on record (which isn't perfect either, but I don't think there is a perfect playoff scenario). Anyway, as to your premise ... I guess it makes sense.
Gut feeling (as of now) -- who makes it out of the AL and into the World Series.
David Schoenfield (1:26 PM)
I guess I would still lean to the Yankees, although I really want to jump on the Doug Fister bandwagon. But I have less confidence in Scherzer and Porcello, and while New York's rotation is a bit of a mess, their bullpen is outstanding.
Charles (San Jose)
.328 is a better case than .325.
David Schoenfield (1:26 PM)
But it doesn't change the value of the player, or the quality of season he had. (Well, except by one or two hits.)
Jason (St Louis)
If the Red Sox or Braves don't make the playoffs, will either collapse compare to the Mets back in 2007?
David Schoenfield (1:28 PM)
Mets were up 7 with 17 games left, I believe. I think Boston was up 8 with 21 left. I have to put Boston's as a bigger collapse ... this is a team of All-Stars and MVP candidates and a monster payroll.
Speaking of bad contracts... Hafner's was way up there. No one knew he would be hurt that much when they signed him of course.
So what type of pitcher do you see Doug Fister being over the next couple years? He's improved every year in the big leagues and has been striking out almost a batter per inning since coming to Detroit.
David Schoenfield (1:34 PM)
He doesn't throw hard, but he throws strikes, he's durable, he knows how to pitch. You need a good outfield defense behind since he throws a lot of flyballs, but Austin Jackson is a good as anybody. This strikeout rate seems a little unrealistic, but I think he can be a guy who keeps his ERA around 3.00 for a few years.
Seeing Fister pitch several times against the Rangers this year, I can say that he was just with a bad team in Seattle. His era was sub- 3.50 before the trade and he was something like 3-13. His whip went down .3 since the trade. He always threw strikes, but its safe to say Detroit's d is a bit better than Seattle's.
David Schoenfield (1:36 PM)
Well, Seattle actually had a pretty good defense, they just never scored runs. It's the sudden increase in strikeout rate that is a bit confusing, but remember, odd things can happen in September and he's faced a lot of bad offenses -- Cleveland twice, Minnesota, Oakland.
Does Ellsbury being the only Red Sox player worth anything in September enhance his MVP credentials or not help because he couldn't "carry the team"?
David Schoenfield (1:37 PM)
I think it helps. Even if they team didn't do well, voters at least know he wasn't the reason Boston missed the playoffs (if that happens).
Boston's is definitely the bigger collapse. The Phillies went 13-4 to the Mets's 5-12 down the stretch. The Rays are only playing 15-10 (good, but hardly extraordinary) to the BoSox 6-19. If the Mets played another week and went 1-7, then they'd be at the Red Sox's collapse.
Simple answer to the Fister K question. He can go after hitters and be more aggressive with the Tiger lineup behind him. In Seattle, he got zero run support and nibbled the corners to death because he couldnt make any mistakes.
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
Yeah, that could be it. His walk rate is down from 2.0 with Seattle to 0.6 with Detroit. Maybe his stuff is just better than HE believed (less nibbling). Or it could be the weak September lineups he's faced. Either way, I'd have a lot of confidence in him heading into the playoffs.
If the Red Sox don't make the playoffs, is Francona back next year?
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
Heard MLB Radio talking about this. I think he's one of the best in the game and I don't sense the Red Sox management would blame him for this collapse. I think he's back.
Robert (Oshawa, ON)
Did you read the article in Baseball Prospectus about framing pitches? (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15093) Is Avila hugely underrated?
David Schoenfield (1:40 PM)
Yes. I recommend people check it out.
Schoenfield, I got a bone to pick with you with your AL All Stars, I agree with all except for one. How can you have CJ Wilson over Ricky Romero?
David Schoenfield (1:41 PM)
Romero was my final cut. Lot of good starters in both leagues this year, but in the end Wilson's road ERA put him over the top for me. He pitches in the toughest park in the league and his overall numbers match Romero's.
Any chance Colon doesn't get hammered tonite?? there's always a chance, BUT??
I asked this on yesterday's chat: If the Braves miss the playoffs, is anyone in management going to be held accountable? The pitching injuries have been overblown. The team doesn't hit with runners in scoring position, and the bullpen has been overused. There's no excuse for how they're finishing.
David Schoenfield (1:43 PM)
They traded for Bourn, Heyward hasn't hit, McCann got hurt and stopped hitting ... not sure you can blame management for all the injuries. Sometimes it just happens, no? (That said, Fredi has definitely taken his share of abuse for some of his decisions.)
Does any team really have a chance to beat the Phillies in a 7 game series? I'm thinking no.
The Red Sox collapse is much worse than the Mets. A team filled with all-Stars that many pundits picked to win the World Series is not just losing but losing badly.
here's a fun trade - Lackey for Wells. Who blinks?
David Schoenfield (1:44 PM)
Good one. Who has more left on their deal?
A few weeks ago, people were discussing whether we need to add a second wild card in order to make things more interesting because at that point, the wild card race was essentially decided. I even read articles where a second WC was a done deal.Here we are with 2 games left, and neither race has been decided. If we had another WC, all 4 teams (Tampa, Boston, Atlanta, St Louis) would be in the playoffs and theya??d be aligning their rotations. Funny how that happens, isna??t it?
Dusty (FTW, TX)
do you put any stock in the "who's hot and not" going into post season play? Rangers and Detroit being those teams
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
Jayson Stark wrote on this last week, and the historic evidence is that it means nothing.
your world series prediction is....
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
Right now ... I'll go Phillies over Yankees. I know, boring.
David Schoenfield (1:46 PM)
OK, have to run ... thanks for the questions!