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 (1:17 PM)
Apologies for the delay. The line at the local sub shop, Grinders Keepers, was long today!
What did you think of the A-Rod plunking incident?
David Schoenfield (1:18 PM)
Just listening to John Farrell on MLB Network. Still sticking by his belief that Dempster was just trying to establish his fastball inside. Now ... it seemed pretty obvious that Dempster was trying to hit him, which means two things: (1) Either you're trying to hurt or a guy, or (2) You're purposely hurting your team's chances of trying to win. I thought it was a dumb decision on Dempster's part.
David (San Diego, CA)
I am not sure what I am supposed to believe anymore - Pujols was accused of taking PEDs and now he is shut down with an injury at the same time Mike Trout is out. Both have put out the typical anti-PED statements. Am I supposed to jump to conspiracy theories and make assumptions and offer a sanctimonious diatribe?
David Schoenfield (1:20 PM)
Umm ... he was "accused" of taking PEDs in 2000 (according to Jack Clark's story). Did you see Pujols hobbling around this year? He was clearly injured. I think you on some Princess Diana-like conspiracy hunt here.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
If Reds blow out in WC or even first round, how big of disappointment have the last 4 years been? Especially as the payroll requirements push the Reds out of their window.
David Schoenfield (1:21 PM)
It's tough. As a Mariners fan who went World Series-less with Griffey, A-Rod, Johnson, Edgar and Buhner and then again in 2001 with the 116-win team, I feel your pain. But let's see what happens first!
this just in, the Tigers have the best record in the AL ...
yankee fan (NYC)
Ignoring the more popular topic, do you think the Yankees have a realistic chance of making the playoffs? They have to hop over a bunch of other teams and are 6 games out of the last WC spot. Also do you have any inside info on when Jeter might be back and how effective do you will think he can be once he does return? Thanks for chatting.
David Schoenfield (1:22 PM)
I just don't see them making a run, especially with the way CC is pitching. No inside dope (oops, probably the wrong word these days) on Jeter and I wouldn't expect a high level of play when he returns considering all his missed time.
Brian (Fishers, IN)
Do the Royals stand a realistic chance of resigning Ervin Santana after the season, or will the lack of quality free agent pitching pretty much price them out of the market?
David Schoenfield (1:24 PM)
You nailed. Few pitchers out there so a lot of attention will go Santana. Compare him to, say, Edwin Jackson, who got 4/$52M. Santana could get a little more, coming off a better than Jackson had, so 4/$60 or even 5/$75. Probably too steep for the Royals.
What other high-profile guys are shopped this winter? Everyone knows about Price and Stanton, but I'm curious who else might be moved. Lee, Ethier, and Andrus come to mind as possibilities.
David Schoenfield (1:25 PM)
How about a change of scenery for Starlin Castro?
Will B (Livingston, MT)
Hey DS! long time no talk, read your NL central article, and props for sticking with the team you picked to win the division at the beginning of the year BUT......you are dead wrong, pirates or cards take the division, you conveniently forgot to mention that the cards OWN cincy this year, and any cincy pitcher not named mat latos has looked like they are pitching BP to the cards
David Schoenfield (1:27 PM)
I do love the way that Cincy rotation is going right now. Cards have owned them -- 8-4, outscored them 79 to 42. Not sure that's really predictive of the next two series, however.
Mike (Long Island)
I guess it's fair to assume that the Steinbrothers not only are OK with their president and GM calling A-Rod a liar, but actually are encouraging them to do so, right?
David Schoenfield (1:29 PM)
Look at the family history. I hope MLB gives A-Rod a fair shake here.
In this October madness day and age, I don't think fans should be devastated by lack of an October run. It's simply too random. Were the Moneyball A's a disappointment? As a Reds fan I would be proud of 3 division titles in 4 years regardless of what happens afterwards.
David Schoenfield (1:30 PM)
That's my feeling and why the regular season is more enjoyable in many ways than the crapshoot of the postseason.
What's wrong with Yoenis Cespedes this year? A's won't go far without him hitting well....
David Schoenfield (1:31 PM)
I've been meaning to look into that. Most of it is a very low BABIP -- .256 -- but that doesn't mean he's just been unlucky. Could be he's hitting too many fly balls going for home runs. Strikeouts are up a bit, but walk rate has held steady. A's fans?
Of the teams still in the hunt, what would your dream divisional series match-up be for storylines?
David Schoenfield (1:33 PM)
Let's see ... how about Dodgers-Reds (old NL West rivals) and Pirates-Braves. AL ... Tigers-Orioles and A's-Rays.
Does Detroit have a strong enough bullpen to win a World Series this year? It seems reckless not investing more there when they invested so much everywhere else
David Schoenfield (1:34 PM)
Sure, they have enough talent. It's all about getting on a roll at the right time. Cardinals bullpen struggled most of 2011 but got hot in September. It's not a GREAT pen and that St. Louis had a lot of young, sort of unproven arms, but you can win with Benoit, Smyly and Veras.
Martin (New York, NY)
Does Ryan Dempster deserve to be suspended? What did you make of Girardi's reaction?
David Schoenfield (1:35 PM)
Yes, I think he should be suspended. Girardi went a little overboard but he was protecting his player, so kudos to him for defending A-Rod.
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
David, I think that it's a foregone conclusion that Price gets traded this winter. Who will be interested that has the right combination of prospects?
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
Good question, although I don't necessarily think the Rays will trade him this offseason. Have to think on that one ... he has two years of club control, so you're looking at the same situation James Shields was in ... he got a Grade A prospect back in Wil Myers. So think of the top 15 prospects in baseball and go from there.
Who would have thought that A-Rod could be made to look almost classy for an evening. And by Red Sox "Nation" no less.
Did you cheer when A-Rod hit the homer.
David Schoenfield (1:40 PM)
I admit .. I did a little.
David, I saw your post this week about trying to look statistically at whether PED use was effective. The analysis misses so much -- that both pitchers and hitters were using PEDs, that different PEDs will have different effects, that some players used maybe once or twice, others used for years, that some things (like strength) don't disappear right away, and that some known users (Ortiz, Giambi) saw bigger drop-offs in their batting average than power after using. Looking at isolated power (which did show a noted decline of about 10%) over the years tells you nothing.
David Schoenfield (1:42 PM)
Well said. That's kind of my point -- the whole issue is so complicated and full of unknown variables that it's impossible to study the impact of PEDs with any degree of accuracy. And yet everyone wants to draw conclusions based (primarily) on home runs.
Scott (Ann Arbor, MI)
Do you see the Tigers shopping Scherzer this winter since they may not be able to afford him and as a Boras client there is good chance he hits the market? I would think they could get a good package for him if they put him out there, even though I would love it he stayed.
David Schoenfield (1:44 PM)
Don't see that happening. Sanchez's shoulder could be a concern, Verlander's decline may be real, Porcello is a back of the rotation guy ... the rotation is great now but it doesn't take much for it fall apart in a hurry.
Mike Trout is my favorite player, and I love the WAR stat as much as anyone. But a Miguel Cabrera who can barely walk going deep in back to back at bats against Mariano Rivera sure makes a strong MVP statement- not to mention his being the best hitter on the planet.
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
Didn't the Tigers lose both those games?
Mike (Long Island)
I've generally had a high opinion of the Rays' ownership/management because of their ability to put together a very competitive team with very low revenue coming from their stadium operations and TV contract. But they're also nicely profitable, due to revenue sharing. So I don't want to hear them crying about not being able to retain their young stars like David Price when they become free agents. They do have the money to invest, but they don't want to do so until they move to a new stadium, which doesn't seem likely in this millenium.
David Schoenfield (1:48 PM)
Well, Stuart Sternberg said last week that the team is surviving *because* of revenue sharing. Even if he's stretching the truth a bit they need a new stadium. But I do believe they need a new stadium, not that that is a sure answering to fixing things. Tampa-St. Pete just may not be a good baseball city. In part they need a new stadium becaues the other MLB owners are tired of propping up the Rays. Maybe the current revenue-sharing formula changes in the future. Then what?
James (Providence, RI)
If you managed the Pirates what your lineup be 1-5? I would like to see Cutch bat 2nd.
David Schoenfield (1:49 PM)
I wouldn't be opposed to that. A lot of studies say you should bat your best hitter second not third.
Does anything Ruben Amaro does make any sense? Why would they fire Manuel and not let him finish his contract the rest of the year?
David Schoenfield (1:50 PM)
I may write a "In defense of the Phillies" piece later this week ... which will undoubtedly be a test. Anyway, reading between the lines, I assume Charlie went to Amaro and asked, "Am I getting a contract next year?" When told no, Charlie stepped down. (Why put up with the losing if you're not going to be back?)
Zachary D Manprin (Palo Alto (CA))
Cespedes issues are a little all over the map. Last year he got more than a few infield singles. Those are not as frequent this season. He has had injury issues with his wrist(s). He's getting under the ball more and pitchers have figured out that he'll chase on just about any count. His walk rate is down a tad and he's getting a lot more breaking balls. Pitchers have stopped throwing him first pitch fastballs. In 2012 he hit .439/.448/.702 with 3 HR in 57 ABs swinging at the first pitch - 25 of his 142 hits came on the first pitch of an AB. In 2013 he is hitting .333/.333/.697 on the fist pitch with 3 HR in 33 ABs - 11 of his 90+ hits have come on the first pitch. He has had more opportunities with runners on base than last season and possibly is pressing .238/.308/.470 this season compared to .318/.385/.534 last season. But then his numbers are down across the board.
David Schoenfield (1:51 PM)
Great stuff. The wrist could be a bigger problem then the A's have let on.
Free_AEC (South Jersey)
Charlie Manuel begged last September for big bats to be added to the Phillies outfield before this season began. He got toothpick bat Ben Revere instead and Delmon Young. Revere can't even throw the ball. He's a minus at the plate. He's a pinch runner at best. SHIN-SOO CHOO .860 OPS BEN REVERE .691 OPS It's not close but Ruben Amaro has ruled out upgrading the outfield this winter. He picked up Casper Wells off waivers. This is one of MLB richest teams. What is going on?
David Schoenfield (1:52 PM)
OK, it will be VERY hard to defense Ruben Amaro.
Doesn't Bud seem more than just a bit hypocritical with his anguish about the Tampa stadium situation when he has denied Oakland the opportunity to move to san Jose?
David Schoenfield (1:55 PM)
Not to defend Bud, but they are different situations. In the Bay Area, the Giants have rights to San Jose and MLB is going to always protect territorial rights. In Tampa, they're basically try to strong arm St. Pete city officials into giving up lease terms so the Rays can look into a new ballpark elsewhere in the region. So, the problem with the A's is another team, the problem with the Rays is a city. Easier to attack city officials than another franchise.
Sure did- but they wouldn't have had a chance to win them if not for Cabrera's two shots...isn't that what a most valuable player does- improve your chances to win more than than other players do?
David Schoenfield (1:57 PM)
Oh ... so you're saying we should ignore the quality of your teammates? If that's case, then there's a good argument to be made that Mike Trout has helped the chances of his team winning as much as Miggy has.
On the Trout/Cabrera WAR thing, I think one thing that isn't looked at enough is that the A's internal WAR calculation last year rated Cabrera ahead of Trout. WAR is great but calculations for defense and baserunning are far behind (and inaccurate) and smart teams, like the A's, valued Cabrera more. That should be part of the story instead of saying fangraphs has Trout with more WAR.
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
Without knowing exactly how the A's calculated that, it's difficult to analyze. It could be that they were simply saying Cabrera would have helped THEIR team more (A's had terrible production from third base). Maybe they value park effects differently or fielding.
David Schoenfield (2:01 PM)
Also, the gap in WAR on FanGraphs or Baseball-Reference was so large that it would be difficult to construct a WAR-like argument that rated Cabrera better.
John (Cincinnati, OH)
So effects of PED's are complicated. So is racism or poverty. So the argument is to just let them continue? Pretend they aren't real? Players risk being outcasts to take them, that tells me something real is happening. Protect Arod? Who protected Hank Aaron?
David Schoenfield (2:04 PM)
Not my argument at all. I'm merely saying we have no idea what benefits A-Rod or others derived from PEDs. When we're labeling all these guys as "cheaters" it *should* be important to understand what they gained by cheating. I do believe they gain *something*, but probably nowhere near as large an edge as most people think. That was the point of running that Isolated Power chart (via Joe Sheehan). When making contact, players basically hit for just as much power now as they did 15 years ago.
What would it take to get Starlin Castro? Mets could use a SS!
David Schoenfield (2:05 PM)
A good player. A good prospect package. As miserable as he's been this year, Cubs won't give him away. In other words ... would you give up Zack Wheeler to get him?
David -- Maybe the Tigers lost both the Cabrera-Rivera games, but if winning is your criteria, doesn't Cabrera beat Trout in a landslide?
David Schoenfield (2:08 PM)
I think you have it flipped. The reader suggested those games were good examples of Cabrera as an MVP candidate. But the Tigers lost both games (because Cabrera's teammates didn't perform). Trout's had a lot more of those games where his teammates didn't perform.
Did the Dodgers' run basically kock Freddy Freeman out of the MVP race? Seems like his short lived attention was all but squashed by Kirshaw.
David Schoenfield (2:09 PM)
He's a down-ballot MVP candidate. Nice season, good young player, but he's still a first baseman with a sub-.500 slugging percentage.
TJ is from Detroit, loves Mike Trout and WAR, but wants Miggy to be MVP? I believe one of those.
Didn't the Angels lose a ton of the games this year Trout played in?
David Schoenfield (2:10 PM)
Right, they've lost a lot of those games because his teammates were bad. Just like Cabrera's teammates were bad in those Yankees losses. Cabrera's just had a lot more games where his teammates were better than Trout's teammates.
David Schoenfield (2:11 PM)
Hey, I'd vote for Cabrera today as MVP. It's close enough (and Cabrera HAS been great with runners on base), however, that there SHOULD be a debate. But there won't really be one.
David Schoenfield (2:12 PM)
In part ... Cabrera won easily last year and he's clearly having a better season this year, so don't the voters, in order to justify how they voted last year, have to vote again for Miggy?
Forget Miggy and Mike Trout. Davis for MVP!!!
Do we really know how much Lance Armstrong gained by doping? No... yet we don't hear that same argument. Fact is A-Rod and others knowingly cheated. There should be no asterick applied since we can't quantify the benefits gained. That is irrelevant. By taking the stance you do, you're basically saying "yeah they cheated but...". There should be no "but".
David Schoenfield (2:13 PM)
I'm all for A-Rod being suspended. There are rules against PEDs that the players have agreed to and he got caught. Just don't agree with the 211-game aspect of it.
Shaemus(Seattle [via mobile]
Is Seattle poised for a run in a few years?
David Schoenfield (2:15 PM)
Well ... sad to say, but I don't think so. No outfield, no pitching behind Felix and Iwakuma, Hultzen got hurt and Walker is a little overrated. Infield could be OK but Miller is shaky defensively at shortstop and Franklin has really struggled of late. Zunino is an unknown and the bullpen has been awful. Otherwise ...
With regards to revenue sharing and the teams that "depend" on it, how much will they be affected if the Yankees get their payroll below $189M and only pay 17% instead of 50%?
Julio (Dominican Republic)
I've been a die hard Braves fan since 1992 and I'm excited that they have almost wrapped up the NL East. But I can't help to avoid the bad memories of great Braves teams in the past that failed big time in the playoffs. Do you think this Braves team has what it takes to win it all, or is there a glaring hole in them to prevent this (Uggla, BJ Upton, lack of SP experience)?
David Schoenfield (2:18 PM)
Sure, they can win it all. Maybe Minor and Teheran aren't quite No. 1s, but you can win with them at the top. I do worry about all the strikeouts on offense but none of the other NL teams exactly have powerhouse offenses, so I think we'll see a lot of low-scoring games in the NL playoffs. In which case, anything can happen. Could be all about which bullpen gets hot in October and Atlanta's has been great all year, the Dodgers' have been great since June, the Pirates' pen should be strong if Grilli returns healthy and Rosenthal/Siegrist (95-mph lefty) and Mujica have been great.
Matt (Dayton) [via mobile]
With Cueto's inability to stay off the DL, how do the Reid's handle the Arroyo situation after the season? It was thought by many that he was the odd man out before Cueto's issues
David Schoenfield (2:20 PM)
I think they still let him go. They have some pitching prospect who are close plus LeCure could always start. Assuming they also lose Choo, may need to spend Arroyo's money on an outfielder.
Morris (Pgh, PA)
Winning wasn't the criterion last year, when Cabrera beat Trout even though the Angels had a better record against a tougher schedule.
David Schoenfield (2:21 PM)
Well, I agree with you, but I think some voters did use the argument that the Tigers made the playoffs and the Angels didn't. It was a ridiculous argument but it was made.
Tom (Boulder, CO)
David -- I think your position on PEDs is very sensible (but misunderstood by some). The rules are the rules are the rules. If you get caught once, you lose 50 games. The only place I differ with you is that while we agree that quantifying effects is difficult, I don't see any need to try. (In any case, I could see with my own eyes what happened with guys like Sosa, McGwire, Caminnitti, Bonds, Manny, Ortiz, Giambi, ARod. I don't need numbers to tell me that cheating helped them.)
David Schoenfield (2:26 PM)
I should have been more clear in that piece about saying I'm OK with suspending guys who get caught. As far as they guys listed -- A-Rod and Manny actually had fairly normal aging patters. Of course, we know both have used, so what does that tell us? Both were so good at such a young age (yes, they could have been using then as well) that you would have predicted both would become all-time greats. Bonds of course basically broke the game and his late 30s numbers stand out. McGwire hit 49 home runs as a rookie. Ortiz never played regularly in Minnesota and the Twins stressed contact hitting at the time over power. My point is none of these guys were chumps. They weren't Ken Caminiti or Luis Gonzalez who suddenly turned from OK players to MVP candidates.
Minor, Teheran, Heyward, Freeman, Kimbrel, Beachy, Simmons, Wood. Good news: Braves have young talent. Bad news: they will not be able to sign all to long-term deals in the coming years with their middle-of-the-MLB payroll. Say you can pick 2 or 3, who do you keep?
David Schoenfield (2:28 PM)
Simmons, Heyward, Freeman ... I'd build around the hitters if you're putting me on the spot. Safer, less risk, and it seems fewer top-shelf hitters these days than pitchers.
$65M less in the pot? Wow. ($195M x .50) - ($189M x .17)
John (Cincinnati, OH)
I view MLB playoffs and Majors in golf same way. To be "great", you need to do it on biggest stage. Playoffs are the biggest stage, separates the good from the great. Similar to back 9 at a Major. Even if you are Todd Hamilton or 1987 Twins, better to be great once than to never be at all.
David Schoenfield (2:30 PM)
Is it more about being remembered than being great? The 1987 Twins weren't great and nobody thinks Todd Hamilton is an all-time great golfer, right?
One other thing, is we don't know when these guys started using PED's, well everyone but Bonds. But Mac could have been using since 87 with Canseco and a bunch of other A's. We just don't know.
Morris (Pgh, PA)
It's hard to separate the effects of PEDs from normal variation. What do we say about a guy like Jeremy Giambi, who was a big prospect, got on PEDs, and never did much (except not slide)? Should we use Giambi, FP Santangelo and all the other terrible players to decide that PEDs make baseball players worse?
I wonder if Dempster Plunks Ortiz during batting practice
I wonder how anyone can depefend WAR? if your position has a down year you look like a superstar, didnt another ESPN writer just write something on this whole WAR thing and even oWAR? WAR is a useful tool IMO but using that to measure a players worth and that alone is a joke.
David Schoenfield (2:33 PM)
The positional comparison is created on historical trends, not just one-year numbers. (Which, for example, is why a lot of AL third basemen rate high in WAR this year.)
Mike's post just made me sad.
Cabrera beat Trout because Trout missed April and had only a good September. Prior to September he was hitting as well as Cabrera. Cabrera had an outstanding September, while Trout's was only good.
David Schoenfield (2:34 PM)
That was a factor. But I think the reasoning went (1) Triple Crown!!!; (2) Tigers in the playoffs, Angels out; (3) Miggy's hot September.
To your point about ARods ISO over the years, I tweeted this to you as well. The whole exercise is based on the premise that at some point in his professional career he wasn't using PEDs. It may be a good assumption, but certainly people have suggested his PED use goes back even to HS or at least early career. If so, the entire aging curve is skewed in an un-quantifiable way.
David Schoenfield (2:36 PM)
Correct. I ran the A-Rod chart to show that there was no obvious spike that would point to "Hey, he must have started using THAT year!" And that his ISO has gone down in recent years.
If the Yankees somehow manage to make the playoffs does Cano get any love for MVP? 3-run jack in the early going today to get Nova off the hook a bit.
David Schoenfield (2:38 PM)
Well, nobody is going to beat out Cabrera, who I predict will be a unanimous selection, unless the Orioles beat guys vote for Davis. I predict Davis finishes second and Trout and Cano probably go 3-4 in some order.
Morris (Pgh, PA)
BTW when Ryan Howard beat Albert Pujols for MVP in 2006, one of the arguments was "Sure, St. Louis made the playoffs and Philadelphia didn't, but Philly still had the better record, so Howard helped them win more." The narrative changes ...
David Schoenfield (2:39 PM)
Howard is one of the few guys in the past two decades to win while playing on a non-playoff team. You pretty much have to make the playoffs now to win the MVP.
Guy (Enfield )
Hmmmm...hope you're not going to let Tom the Rockies fan put Ortiz in the PED user category there buddy........And you wonder why big Papi gets pissed about the subject....Thanks...
David -- comparing players to anticipated curves (or pointing out unsuccessful PED users) misses the point that different players used different amounts of different PEDs for different lengths of time. There is no mathematical model that can account for this.
David Schoenfield (2:42 PM)
I agree! But when players are called cheaters or don't receive Hall of Fame votes, the implied belief is that they DO know what happened. Right? I'm on your side, Lisa. (I think.)
Mike (Long Island)
As a Yankees fan, I can't say that Cano is having the kind of year deserving of an MVP. Very good, certainly, and exceptional at times. but I can't say he's even the primary reason the Yankees are somehow still in the hunt.
i don't think this gets mentioned, but isn't it pretty incredible that in year 10 Miggy was able to move back to a tougher defensive position. you look at the typical career arc for a slugger, and you see 3B or corner OF -> 1B -> DH (in the AL). yet Miggy moved off the easier position defensively as he got older. are there any other players you can think of that have done this? could you imagine how bad Pujols would be if he tried to play 3B?
David Schoenfield (2:45 PM)
It's rare. I remember looking at that before the 2012 season ... in fact, I'm not sure if it had ever been done where a player moved from first base to third base after being established for years at first base. Disagree on Pujols, however: Not now, but if he had moved to 3B at age 29 he would have held his own like Miggy has.
If Pujols had tried to play 3B at Miggy's age, he probably would have been at least comparable defensively. Let's not pretend Cabrera is anything better than bad at the hot corner.
Kevin (Los Angeles)
I wish we would just change the MVP award to a "best player award." Isn't that the real point of the award? The "Most Valuable" component just seems to be a platform for manipulating the narrative in whatever result a particular writer wants to vote for, not should vote for.
Matt (St. Paul, MN)
David -- hope you're not going to let Guy in Enfield pretend that Ortiz is not a known user because he is. He got cut from the Twins because he couldn't hit for contact OR power, which makes him the definition of a baseball chump until he met up with Manny and later admittedly failed a test.
David Schoenfield (2:48 PM)
Ortiz hit 20 home runs in 2002 in 412 at-bats. I would suggest that showed some ability to hit for power. Is ISO in 2001 was .242 ... from 2008 to 2013 it's been .251. So, yes, he had power with the Twins. You're trying re-write history there.
Momentum matters in MVP like debates. Truth is Cabrera got hot in September when his team was making a playoff push, and Trout fell apart (relatively). If Trout played in Aug/Sept like he did in June, Angels make playoffs and he's got a fair chance at MVP. It comes down to whether you believe a game in April = one in Sept or whether you believe the pressure in September matters more.
Hey Dave, love the chats/columns. About PED's: Why do you think we slam this generation for using PED's, but not guys from the 50's, 60's etc for using amphetamines? Why do we slam Bonds, Rodriguez (no longer AROD to me) McGwire, etc, but not Mantle, Aaron, etc? Amphetamine enhance performance too. Thanks!!!
David Schoenfield (2:51 PM)
I think we're just focused more on it now -- going back to Ben Johnson in the Olympics. He shattered the then-record in the 100 to such a large degree to make the results ridiculous. Bonds was SO good that we could no longer ignore what was going on.
Matt (Washington DC)
Also, someone should show Matt from St Paul this video: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/16/ken-griffey-jr-and-a-rod-met-a-young-david-ortiz-and-got-killed-in-an-impromptu-home-run-derby/ Griffey and AROD being wowed by David Ortiz's power as a 20 year old
Hope you're not going to let Matt in St Paul, MN say Ortiz is a know---oh wait, you did refute that. I just wanted to keep the chain of chatters calling out other chatters going.
My other main gripe with WAR in MVP debates is that its set against a mythical replacement player rather than the Value that player has to replacements in its team. For example: If the team has a hot prospect at the position or what other players team has. Take last year Miggy actually was a higher percentage of Detroits Positional Player WAR than Trout was of LAs. ((Detroit had better pitching WAR by FAR)) Value to the team, is simply different than value vs generic replacements.
Not sure if it exactly addresses Ben's point about Cabrera, but Harmon Killebrew returned to 3rd base after a few years playing exclusively the outfield.
David Schoenfield (2:53 PM)
Pete Rose also moved from outfield to third base. But I'm not sure they were any first to third transplants. That article is out there somewhere!
David Schoenfield (2:55 PM)
Actually, I remembered wrong. The article was tied to Mark Trumbo, when the Angels tried to convert him to third base last spring. I found only one guy who became a full-time third baseman after never really playing there (minors or majors): Enos Cabell. Not surprising, the Trumbo thing didn't take.
David Schoenfield (2:56 PM)
Here's the link. 24 players have played 300 games at first AND third in their MLB career since 1950. I'm guessing most of those went third to first and never returned. http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/22081/odds-slim-trumbo-becomes-full-time-3b
My transaction from LF to P in softball is way more impressive. :)
Does ESPN have an edict requiring you to defend Red Sox guys? Cripes, Ortiz cheated. He failed a test. Why are you defending him?
David Schoenfield (2:57 PM)
What am I defending? I just pointed that he had, indeed, hit for some power with the Twins. Did he get better after joining the Red Sox? Of course he did. But you can't say it was just due to whatever PEDs he did or didn't do. Better ballpark, better lineup, a team that let him swing for power no matter the strikeouts.
Jeff (St. Louis)
Can we agree on two facts -- Ortiz's ISO went from .228 in Minnesota to over .300 for years with the Red Sox (more than a 30% jump) and he failed a drug test. He's a known user, no matter how much more likeable he is to some than the other people who failed tests and lied about it.
David Schoenfield (3:00 PM)
George Brett went from .129 ISO (in his third year in the league) to as high as .274. That's more than a 100 percent jump.
John (Cincinnati, OH)
In the Rose example. His move to 3b allowed the Reds to get George Foster in the lineup. The difference between Foster and previous 3b (Dan Driessen) really was a testament to Rose. Same argument would apply to Cabrera and Fielder/Martinez. Sure Rose was a sub par 3b, but it made the Reds better. Same applies to Cabrera.
For heaven's sakes David - ARod and Bonds also had great power as 20-year olds. They also used PEDs and lied about it. Why does Ortiz get a pass?
David Schoenfield (3:03 PM)
I'm NOT giving him a pass. I'm arguing that we have no idea what advantages he gained or how much better they made him. And that his sudden career spike wasn't necessarily that unusual. Unique? Sure. Unprecedented? No.
Mike (Long Island)
Dave, isn't it true that you hate (fill in the blank team)?
I know an article "niche" that's missing. Players you'd want for the next 3 year ranking. Most of the ranking players articles seem to overvalue the younger talent with no idea of whether you will resign them far into the future.
Jeff (St. Louis)
David -- you've got to be joking. 4 years after hitting a statistical low of .192 ISO, Brett had a career year at .274. That's not comparable to the leap Ortiz made. And Ortiz FAILED A DRUG TEST. Why do you persist in defending him? Didn't you just agree in this chat that if you cheat you should pay the price, no less no more?
David Schoenfield (3:10 PM)
Brett through age 25: .150 ISO. Brett from 26 to 31: .227 ISO. About a 51 percent increase. Ortiz through age 26: .195 ISO. Ortiz from 27 to 31: .310 ISO. About 58 percent increase. Just saying you can't say there's a direct "cause" for Ortiz's improvement that pins it on PEDs only.
JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)
Ortiz never cheated under the current collective bargaining agreement. There was no punishment for failing a drug test in 2003. There was no price to be paid.
I'm afraid you're losing your base by refusing to admit that Ortiz failed a drug test.
David Schoenfield (3:13 PM)
I never said he didn't fail a drug test. As the previous poster said, if he did it in 2003 (the year of anonymous testing with no punishment attached), then there was no penalty to pay. Under the era of testing with punishment, he's never tested positive. So, yes, if everyone is mad because I'm not calling him cheater, then I guess you can be mad.
Ortiz failed a test! Forget about his power/lack or power in Boston vs Minnesota. He failed a test! He denied using anything, but since when do we believe players who test positive and deny it? Ortiz said he didn't do anything and would get back to us with the facts and then ignored it. Now he gets indignant when its suggested he might not be clean. How does this happen? Is it just because he is more likeable than A-Rod, Bonds, Clemens?
If you're strictly talking 1B to 3B I think your right but what about C to 3B i.e. Donaldson.
David Schoenfield (3:14 PM)
There have been a few of those, not many -- Todd Zeile and Joe Torre, to name two.
Dempster has been suspended 5 games and fined.
David Schoenfield (3:14 PM)
No surprise. MLB had to do it. Again, dumb move by Dempster.
Tim (San Diego, CA)
Lisa hit the nail on the head. No one is arguing that Ortiz is only good because of PED use. Everyone is disappointed that you won't admit that Ortiz failed a drug test.
David Schoenfield (3:15 PM)
OK, OK ... didn't realize that was the question.
We're mad, David. It shouldn't take an hour and a half of you pretending Ortiz is not a known PED user and letting people comment that you've "refuted" his drug use with statistics (which you've admitted are inconclusive) when he failed a test and made up a lie about it. That's the bottom line.
David Schoenfield (3:19 PM)
Serious question: Why does it bother everyone so much that Ortiz tested positive? Especially a guy who did it 10 years ago (when tests were supposed to be anonymous) and then had his name leaked to the media? We'll wrap up the chat with your responses.
This is the problem. I honestly don't trust any of them anymore. And really, not sure it matters at this point. The sanctity of baseball stats has forever been tarnished. I mean, really, would it surprise anyone if Nolan Ryan or Cal Ripken were found to have been users?
I really had no idea that there are still so many fans who would like to see a scarlet "S" on the uniforms of players who are thought or known to have used PEDS.... I guess I should not be surprised....
I disliked what ARod did and want an asterisk by his records but I also want one next to Mays numbers because of the amphetamines he used, cheating is cheating dont matter how you do it right guys?
I'm saying that the only reason Ortiz is any good is because of PEDs! I'm also saying that Miguel Cabrera should not only win the MVP this year, but should be retroactively presented every MVP award dating back to the day of his birth, and the only; reason anyone thinks Mike Trout is better because of WAR is lying and support Trout only because they love players named after fish! There- can I now claim the title of the most outlandish comment of the day?
glad to see a witch hunt against someone other than A-Rod. was getting tired of that one.
David, I may be in the minority, but I really do not care if guys were on PEDs during the "Steroid Era." Tom House, the Atlanta Braves pitcher, later pitching coach, who worked with Nolan Ryan, and was one of the first pitchers to lift weights, played with Hank Aaron. House admitted to using steroids in the 70's as a pitcher. Do we know for sure he never shared them with Hank Aaron?
David Schoenfield (3:22 PM)
Here's the link to the Tom House story: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2005-05-03-steroids-house_x.htm
Bonds, McGwire, Sosa took PEDs before there was testing. It's not just against the rules -- it's against the law. And for some reason only Ortiz gets a pass.
David Schoenfield (3:23 PM)
Bonds, McGwire and Sosa have gotten a pass? Tell that to Hall of Fame voters.
Julio (Dominican Republic)
I hope BJ drinks a ton of PED, help the Braves win the World Series and then get suspended!
David Schoenfield (3:24 PM)
Ha. OK, that's it for today. New rule for next week: NO PED TALK! Enjoy your baseball!
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