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 (1:06 PM)
Let's go straight to the questions ...
Beardo Lewis (Denver, Colorado)
Do you think the excessive amount of veteran additions (Scutaro, Blake, Cuddyer, Hernandez, Giambi, Moyer) will help the Rockies in 2012?
David Schoenfield (1:08 PM)
I'm working on a post on the Rockies for later today or tomorrow. I think the problem is pretty obvious: That's A LOT of old guys (and you forgot Todd Helton). I don't think Blake has much left. Cuddyer is OK but nothing great. Scutaro makes sense considering the other options at second base. I think the premise of my piece will be that the Rockies will be the hardest team to predict in 2012. Could all come together or could be pretty ugly again.
Will (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)
Beardo Lewis (Denver, Colorado)
The Houston Lone Stars or The Houston Locos
David, Bobby Abreu to the Detroit Tigers to replace Victor Martinez OBP makes perfect sense... How much of Abreu salary would you ask the Angels to pay? Can the Angels get a good player in return?
David Schoenfield (1:13 PM)
Abreu is making $9 million this year. He was a 1.3 WAR player last year. One win on the free agent market is worth about $4.5 million to $5 million, so if Abreu is worth one win that would seem to suggest the Angels should pick up half the contract. And that's without the Tigers giving up a prospect of note (I don't the Angels can anything much in return). Abreu not the worst option for Detroit, since the Tigers should fill that void with a LH bat.
I know it's a fantasy question, but with real baseball relevance! Mike Trout worth keeping this year?
David Schoenfield (1:15 PM)
I think this one you have to monitor throughout spring training. Angels have Abreu, Wells, Trumbo and Morales for LF/DH, so unless Trout tears it up, he's *probably* headed for at least a couple months of Triple-A.
Kevin (Orlando/Tampa Bay)
PLEASE ANSWER A RAYS FAN QUESTION!!!!!! Any chance we trade one of our starting pitchers for a bat? Also, what impact, if any, do you think Carlos Pena will have in our line-up? Lastly, any chance Jonny Damon sticks around?
David Schoenfield (1:17 PM)
I wrote about Pena last week. I like the fit, although I think they need to platoon him. (Maybe with Ruzz Canzler.) With Luke Scott signed to DH, Damon is gone. As for starting pitchers, Rays do have six guys plus Alex Cobb, so really seven pretty options. I thought they might trade Wade Davis, but the Pena signing pretty much completes their lineup, so I think they're set for now. Nothing wrong with having depth in reserve in the rotation.
Dmitry (Polo Grounds Field)
Hey David, Less worried about who actually gets the Yanks 5th rotation spot, but more about who makes the decision? Does Cashman get to make the call (preferable, he's way more rational), or Joe "Follow My Gut" Girardi?
David Schoenfield (1:19 PM)
Good question. Usually, it comes down to the manager making the final call and who plays/starts. So, yes, expect more "gut." Or maybe they'll just trade Burnett so Girardi doesn't have to think about it.
What the h*ll are the Red Sox doing? Salary dumps? stocking up on bench players? Do you see them signing Oswalt or trading for someone like Floyd os is this it?
David Schoenfield (1:21 PM)
I think if they are going to contend with the Yankees and Rays they'll need another starter. Buchholz is a question mark with his health. We don't know how Bard will transition to the rotation. Guys like Mortensen, Miller and Doubront are questions marks. So it would *seem* as if the Scutaro trade was a step to clear some space for an Oswalt signing.
Any word on Braun? What are your thoughts on Rome saying he is innocent?
David Schoenfield (1:22 PM)
I think only one person knows the truth.
Ross a starter in RF for the Red Sox?
David Schoenfield (1:23 PM)
It would appear so, although he's really just a platoon guy in my mind. So maybe he shares time with Ryan Sweeney (solid defensive outfielder). It actually wouldn't be a terrible platoon.
Brent (Bakersfield, CA)
The Giants are doing the right thing with Lincecum, aren't they? I know they reportedly offered five years, but that seems high. I definitely wouldn't give him 7 or 8-- you never know what can happen. If you sign him for 2 years, and he does great, you'll have to shell out top dollar to keep him, but if he starts to decline, you have flexibility with payroll. Look what happened with Zito. (Not that I am comparing the two, Lincecum's track record is much, much better). And you have to keep Cain too...
David Schoenfield (1:27 PM)
Look at the $100 million contracts handed out to pitchers. How many have worked out? Zito, Johan, Kevin Brown, Hampton ... not well. Sabathia and Lee are looking good so far. So that's two out of six. It's a risky investment no matter how you slice it, so, yes, I think the Giants are playing it correctly. What's wrong with using him for two years and then seeing where things are at? Why is there an urgency to sign a high-risk pitcher to a huge deal two years before you have to?
Many agree the Reds need to pick up RHP Jackson from free agency to be the dominate force in the NL Central. I'm asking if Chapman becomes a real starter, and can consistently throw good strikes, do the Reds need another starter?
David Schoenfield (1:29 PM)
I think Reds have actually CUT their payroll from last year and they seem to have no indications that they're going to raise it now. Most analysts don't seems to believe in Chapman as a starter, so that leaves them with Latos, Cueto, Bailey, Leake and Arroyo. And Sam LeCure. I think he may make a better starting option than Chapman.
Mike D (Edina, MN)
Hi David,Regarding your Jack Morris analysis...the only problem I initially had with your comparisons to Dennis Martinez, et. al. was that Morris completed 30 to 40+ more games than any of them. Could it be that because Morris was in games longer his peripheral numbers suffered? I thought I was on to something but a quick check of Morris' peripheral numbers were not that much different in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. So, I'm back where I started, though I do think there is something to be said for all of those complete games in the era during the rise of the closer.
David Schoenfield (1:30 PM)
Right, not much to add here. Interesting Morris note, however: His Baseball-Reference WAR is 39.3 and his FanGraphs WAR is 56.3. Why such a big difference? FanGraphs WAR at least puts into borderline HOF area by a pure statistical measure.
The Houston Street
How's this for a "Unique" Contract. Fielder to Detroit. 3 years at 20, 15, 15 million.... With a player opt out each year.Essentially a 1 year deal expecting Fielder to walk and look for money again.... But also offering Fielder more insurance in case of injury impacting his long term production
David Schoenfield (1:33 PM)
Dave Cameron proposed a similar type of deal for Seattle on the USS Mariner site, although I believe his suggestion was a 7-year deal with a player opt out after 3 years, with the contract back-loaded. Basically, if Prince plays well, he opts out. If he doesn't play well or gets hurt, he stays. The team gets him at (relative) discount for three years and more than likely Prince opts out after three years. The risk for the team is if he gets out. Something like that is probably more likely than a one-year opt-out.
Nice little piece on Morse. We here in Natstown love out Beast Mode; however, the player moire crucial to WSH's success is Ryan Zimmerman.
David Schoenfield (1:34 PM)
Would you sign Zimmerman to a big long-term extension? Or worried about his ability to stay healthy?
Jorge to the Hall? Seriously?
David Schoenfield (1:36 PM)
I did a post last spring where I believe I argued that Posada is the best non-Hall catcher other than Ted Simmmons. So I think that makes him borderline. Probably no shot by the writers (not enough career "counting" stats), but a possible Veterans Committee guy in 2038.
Mike (San Diego)
How close did Edwin Jackson come to cracking the top 5 in your "Most Frustrating Players" article? Teams constantly drool over his skills and he shows flashes of brilliance, but the consistency doesn't ever seem to be there.
David Schoenfield (1:37 PM)
Indeed. Unfortunately, teams thus equate inconsistency with other failings -- not mentally tough, etc. Some guys just never quite put it all together, but it doesn't mean they don't care or aren't TRYING to improve.
Hi David- Great stuff and I enjoy reading your columns.. My question is do you see the Mariners being a legitimate contender by 2014? I think their farm system has grown leaps and bounds since Jack Z took over and they have some really nice pieces on the way (not to mention the #3 pick in this year's draft).
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
I was thinking about this: What about a lineup with Ackley, Montero (C), Prince, Smoak, Nick Franklin ... rotation with Felix, Hultzen, Paxton, Noesi, Walker ... that could be a good team in 2014, no? I'll probalby do a Mariners post in the next day or two as well. Not sure if they're necessarily out of the Fielder sweepstakes.
Jim (Polkton, NC)
Sweeney Boston's best defensive right fielder since Dwight Evans?
David Schoenfield (1:40 PM)
I actually thought J.D. Drew was a very good right fielder. At least better than Kevin Millar. And I love the Dewey Evans mention. One of the most underrated players of the past 35 years.
Mike (San Diego)
Let's have fun with another over/under: Total dollars of Prince Fielder's contract. I'm putting the over/under at $140M. What say you?
David Schoenfield (1:41 PM)
I'll make that tomorrow's question. I'll take the under. Barely.
When you say Posada is the best non-Hall catcher, are you assuming Piazza/Rodriguez are getting in? Hopefully you're not suggesting that he's better than those two!
David Schoenfield (1:41 PM)
Right, good clarification. Those guys should be automatics in a world where voters don't care about PED rumors.
Another thing on the Power of Complete Games and total pitched. When ESPN ran on a poll on what current players are likely HOFers. For a few of the pitchers they listed CGs among thier accompishments. The irony here is some of thier career totals would have been passed by Morris in 1-3 years of pitching.
David Schoenfield (1:43 PM)
Yes, different era. Morris wasn't necessarily unique for his era on a season-to-season basis. He was unique in that he lasted longer than most his contemporaries like Fernando, Dave Stieb, Bret Saberhagen, etc.
Personally I would sign him because he's a tremendous value defensively who can definitely hit with some protection (see his year batting in front of Adam Dunn) and I think not resigning him, our first ever draft pick, would be a bad harbinger when we eventually have to re-up Strasburg and Harper, etc.
David, you lampooned a couple writers for giving Radke two HOF votes before you edited it out. I think you owe them an apology. In his 12 year career, Radke had more 5 WAR seasons than Johan Santana or Josh Beckett and he also had more seasons in the top 10. Over the years of his career, he amassed more WAR than Glavine, among many others. His avg WAR/season was the best of any new HOF candidate (and higher than many you supported). His career WAR was basically the same as Bernie Williams in four fewer seasons. He wasn't a HOFer but he was a very good pitcher who deserved some consideration instead of ignoring and then attacking two voters who actually did review his career.
David Schoenfield (1:48 PM)
You guys don't miss anything. Yes, Radke was a very good and underrated pitcher. I still have an issue with people voting for him over more qualified candidates like Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez and so on. But it was an unnecessary comment and a few votes for guys like that are essentially harmless in the big picture. Finally -- not sure where you're getting the Glavine numbers from, however. Glavine's WAR is 20 wins higher on both FanGraphs and B-R.
Chuck (Durango, CO)
Omar Vizquel is going to spring training at age 45. Dude is the man. Total defensive whiz at SS, and I think a HOF candidate
Franklin (Santa Cruz)
David, Are you concerned at all about Mat Latos moving from a "pitchers park" to a "hitters park"? I personally think his stuff plays anywhere, do you feel the same?
David Schoenfield (1:49 PM)
His home/road splits haven't been as extreme as other Padres pitchers, so I think he'll be fine and post solid numbers in Cincy. Just has to stay healthy.
Follow up on the 1 year Fielder idea. You never see 1 year Opt Outs in Baseball, but arent the Tigers well suited for bucking that trend. Get Victor Martinez back, and not pay both = you want Fielder to opt out in 1 year
David Schoenfield (1:50 PM)
Sure, it's a great idea for Detroit. I just don't see Prince doing that kind of deal.
If the Phillies have decided having 3 pitchers make more than $20 million a season is out of the question, would it make sense for them to test the trade market for Halladay or Lee? Clearly, Hamels, at just 28, is the one they should keep no matter what, right?
David Schoenfield (1:51 PM)
Umm ... how about trying to win the World Series this year with Halladay, Lee and Hamels? What's wrong with that idea?
The Houston Titans (so they won't have to change their name when they move)
David Schoenfield (1:51 PM)
Eric (Grand Rapids)
So we were all raised on the traditional, back of the baseball card stats, and many of us have gone on to learn, and love these new things like FIP, WAR, and BABIP. But now I've got a nephew with a budding interest in baseball numbers, and I'm wondering if I should steer him one way or another. What's your opinion on the best way to learn about statistics?
David Schoenfield (1:55 PM)
Good question. Depending on his age, I think you can still start with the most basic and essential idea: Getting on base is the most important skill a batter can have. Tell him why a guy with a high OBP can be more valuable than guys with a better batting average or more RBIs. I don't think you ignore the traditional stats: I still like them and they do record what has happened. They're just not always the best means to evaluate the player. If he wants to learn more, than you start explaining the advanced metrics.
Drew Stubbs for most frustrating player.
David Schoenfield (1:55 PM)
Yes, good one.
That's what makes Morris such a wierd HOF Debate.He had longevity unmatched by his peers He had Workloads unmatched by modern contemporiesBut didn't have standout seasons vs eitherSo you have to mix and match your Morris arguement depending on who you are comparing him to
Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)
My goodness, what is with people and Jack Morris? Grabbing at straws. Bob Tewksbury might have given a career 20 free passes and had the greatest control, so should we be debating his HOF candidacy? I think not!!
David What do you think about the deal the Blue Jays gace Brandon Morrow (3 years 20 Million) Too much? Club friendly?
David Schoenfield (1:57 PM)
Just writing something up on that before the chat started. I like it from the Jays' perspective. They also have an option year at $10 million, so for four/$30 they get two years of his free agency. I still think Morrow can improve. (Namely: I believe his numbers with runners on base are terrible, which is why his ERA doesn't seem to correspond to his high K rates.)
Al Holland (Philly)
Howard is out. Are the Phils actually better with a Wiggy/Thome/Mayberry platoon than they were the the awful 2011 version of Ryan Howard?
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
I don't think so. Howard isn't the Howard of old, but he still put up a .253/.346/.488 line. I wouldn't call that "awful." Ty Wigginton had a .731 OPS in 2011. In Colorado. It could ugly in Philly if he gets 200 ABs.
Tony (South Tampa)
I am a Twins fan, why , if I should, buy the MLB Package next year?
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
Because you still love baseball.
Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)
What's the worst move made by Jack Z? Trading Morrow for a reliever comes to mind ... and unless Smoak turns it around, missing out on Lee/Montero does too ...
David Schoenfield (2:01 PM)
Yeah, I didn't like that trade at the time. The only argument is that Mariners had messed around with Morrow so much (starting, relieving, starting) that I'm not sure he ever would have made it in Seattle.
Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)
Roy Oswalt reportedly reached out to the Reds. Seems like a no-brainer for them to sign him for a one year deal. Hard to have much faith in Arroyo, Bailey and Leake. Jocketty already burned 2010 by doing nothing. If they're going to go all in, then really go all in. Your thoughts, please.
David Schoenfield (2:03 PM)
Completely agree. I actually like Bailey, who had excellent peripherals in 2011. Leake is fine for the back of the rotation. But under no circumstances should they go into 2012 expecting to win by giving 30 starts to Arroyo. I'm just not sure Chapman is the answer. So, yes, I HOPE they sign Oswalt, but I just don't think the Reds are going to do it.
Bossman Jr is pretty frustrating as well but he still a very productive player.
Jayson Werth is quite a frustrating player.
David Schoenfield (2:04 PM)
I predict a nice season for Mr. Werth ... in center field. Hitting leadoff. With Prince Fielder hitting cleanup and driving him in ...
In regards to Braun, I think it is more accurate to say no more than one person knows the truth. Call me crazy, but I think there is a very real, sincere possibility that Braun is not innocent but he thinks he is. And while that's hard to prove, and I wouldn't hold it against MLB for suspending him either way, intent is important for how we view Braun going forward.
David Schoenfield (2:05 PM)
Well said, Jeff. And we don't yet know what his appeal argument was (and may never know). I just hope it isn't that he ate tainted meat.
as a twins fan and someone with complete respect for brad radke i just want to point out that this is the problem with advanced stats absent context. no one who saw radke on a regular basis thinks he was anything more than an above avg pitcher. for that matter if not for his ability to get wins (a dirty word, i know) on days that he was seemingly getting shelled i'm not convinced he would even be above avg. the guy got hit hard. a lot. a lot.
David Schoenfield (2:07 PM)
Hey, pretty much every pitcher got hit hard back then. He had a 3.75 ERA in 1999 -- but that was FOURTH-best in the AL. He had a 3.48 ERA in 2004. Again, fourth in the league. Jack Morris never ranked higher than fifth in ERA.
Okay so there are a few rumors of Oswalt talking to Cincy. Current projections show the Reds have 2.5 million available. The win now Jocketty can make moves, trade/ let go of Masset, (+2.5 million), as well as another trade (possibly Baily or Champman or LeCure). Do you think the Reds have the payroll to land Oswalt? If they could is he a good fit, with past injuries or should they push for Jackson?
David Schoenfield (2:10 PM)
Is Oswalt any better than Sam LeCure? Factor in age, Oswalt's bad back ... true, maybe LeCure's mediocre stuff won't play out as a starter, but I don't think there's a huge difference between the two right now. Do the Reds want to gamble like that? Oswalt is probably more of sure thing to at least be mediocre, but I think there's a 60-70 percent chance that LeCure is just as good.
Reading the simultaneous fantasy rankings summit, people still seem to believe in David Wright. I see a ton of downside there. Not only do his skills seem in decline, but he has no line-up and will be affected by the constant trade rumors all summer. Do you think he'll have a good year? As a Mets fan I want all the prospects we can get for him.
David Schoenfield (2:12 PM)
Mets lineup could be decent if Ike Davis is healthy (he was great until he got hurt) and Lucas Duda hits like he did last year. The big question is if moving in the fences will restore Wright's confidence. He's only 29 and a good athlete, so I don't *think* there's any reason is skills should be deteriorating.
Steve (Plantation, FL)
Pitcher WAR seems highly debatable to me. Why is it based on FIP, whereas hitter WAR is based on OPS ? FIP treats all balls in play as a random event. Why is a hitter given credit for singles, doubles, and triples, i.e., balls in play, but a pitcher is given no credit for groundouts and flyouts ? This suggests a hitter has control over what happens to his balls in play, but a pitcher does not. Seems highly contradictory. I prefer not to base a pitcher's value on the make-believe.
David Schoenfield (2:14 PM)
Hitter's WAR isn't based on OPS. It's based on the sum of his offensive production -- singles, doubles, home runs, walks, outs made -- and compared to others at this position, plus factoring in defense and baserunning.
Domes (Employee Lunch Room)
Who ends up the Mariners Opening Day Rotation?
David Schoenfield (2:14 PM)
Hernandez, Vargas, Noesi, Iwakuma ... Millwood.
bc (Portland OR)
With word the Pirates are having trouble signing McCutcheon and the Red Sox leery of signing Ellsbury, any chance for a swap of center fielders? Would you do the deal from either side? Both?
David Schoenfield (2:15 PM)
I don't think that would solve Pittsburgh's problem. They'd still have to sign Ellsbury, right?
David, what do you think of the Scutaro trade? I'm not a fan so far, but I suppose if they acquire Oswalt or Floyd it's a decent swap.
David Schoenfield (2:16 PM)
I believe that's the key. Mortenson is organization fodder, so it was basically a salary dump by the Red Sox.
Speaking of Seattle, how about the Houston Pilots!
David Schoenfield (2:17 PM)
Only if they have wings on the caps! http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1869700&010=SKU-1697048
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Is Nolan Arenado a higher-celing prospect for the Rockies than their catcher prospect?
David Schoenfield (2:17 PM)
Yes. We may see him in June when Casey Blake is hitting .207.
Over/Under 70 wins for the Mets this year?
David Schoenfield (2:18 PM)
I'll take the over. I think Mets are getting unfairly ripped as a team that could lose 100 games. Not saying they'll break .500, but I can 73-75 wins in a tough division.
Rob Neyer recently had an interesting post where he ranked last year's playoff teams in order of least likely to make it back this year to most likely. I don't think his most and least were all that interesting (Yankees most/Brewers least), pretty much agreeing with what I would expect to be the consensus. But his second most likely was the Tigers and second least likely, the Phillies. The Phillies? Really? Are their chances really that overstated in most places?
David Schoenfield (2:22 PM)
I was looking at Las Vegas odds today. Phillies were No. 1 on the odds to win the World Series and the NL team in the top seven. So at least according to Vegas, Phillies are big NL favorites again.
Is there a hitter out there that the Jays can sign on the cheap to offer protection for Joey Bats in the 4th spot... miggy Ordoniez maybe?
David Schoenfield (2:22 PM)
You mean Magglio Ordonez? He looks done to me.
What odds would you need to be given to bet against Albert P in All Star Game. 20 to 1 entice you? Keep in mind all the good 1b in AL and possibility of vote push by say Red Sox Nation!
David Schoenfield (2:24 PM)
In the game or starting? I say he starts. Angels have a lot of fans and Pujols is still the biggest name in the sport (him or Jeter, I guess). He'll get the country-wide vote that Gonzalez won't. But, man, first base IS loaded. I should do a blog on that!
Dave,Those aren't wings; they're supposed to evoke the "scrambled eggs" on Navy caps!
I think Aroldis Chapman starts in AAA as a starter to begin the season. Reds already have two lefties in the bullpen. Your thoughts?
David Schoenfield (2:25 PM)
Hmm, interesting idea. I think the Reds need some courage in their convictions: Either Chapman is a starter and begins the year in the rotation. Or he's not and goes to the pen.
Is it fair to look at BABIP without also looking at line drive % and GB/FB ratio? Heck, some players even consistently hit harder grounders than others.
David Schoenfield (2:27 PM)
Right, I think we can be too reliant on *just* BABIP. Have to consider the whole picture and we have the data now to do that.
Mike (San Diego)
Did I just see "Red Sox" and "salary dump" in the same sentence? Maybe the the world IS ending in 2012...
David Schoenfield (2:28 PM)
I think you're right. And probably time to end this chat as well. Thanks, everyone. Check out the crazy Game Changers package on the baseball page and tomorrow I'll be doing AL East position rankings. That will surely stir things up!