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August 30, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (1:03 PM)

Good afternoon, fellow baseball fans. Let's begin ...

Derek (Iowa City)

Hi Dave! As a life long Braves fan, and Chipper being my favorite player of the Braves since his rookie season, I love seeing him getting his due as one of the best. But I suspect his defense lets him down enough that at least Matthews should sneak by, and maybe Brett too. Is Chipper's longer stretch of offensive excellence enough to overcome that defense? Also, Chipper did spend most of 2 seasons in left as well (2003-2004 i think)..

David Schoenfield
  (1:04 PM)

I'm going to have a follow-up post on this later this week, but, really, you could arrange Chipper, Mathews and Brett in any order and made rational arguments for all three. Chipper did play LF, but I don't hold that against him the way I do Brett moving to 1B at 34 and then DH.

Jack (Toronto)

How much of Soriano's salary would the Cubs need to eat to move him in the off-season? 3 more years at $18 million.

Buddy (Peoria, IL)

If the money was even, would the Mets send Bay to the Cubs for Soriano? In other words, "my expensive crap for your expensive crap."

David Schoenfield
  (1:08 PM)

I guess I could see Bay-for-Soriano. Both are signed through 2014. Soriano's OBP is so lousy that despite the home runs he's still a pretty bad offensive player. I guess I'd take a chance on Bay, slim it as, staying healthy and having a couple decent seasons. And I think Soriano is untradeable, except in a situation like Bay where you're exchanging contracts. No team wants a guy with a .285 OBP.

Greg (LA)

Every time I think about Vernon Wells playing LF for the Angels for the next 3 1/2 years instead of Mike Trout it makes me want to puke. Any idea what medicine I can take?

David Schoenfield
  (1:10 PM)

Trout has hit well since his recall and yet he didn't play the past two days. Vernon Wells is even worse than Soriano. Whatever medicine you take, don't take the one Mike Scioscia is using.

Terrence (BK)

David, thanks for the chat. What, in your opinion, is the most exciting play in baseball? I say a close play at the plate.

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

I love a great catch by a center fielder. That one by Ben Revere was just spectacular.

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

OK, let's get into a little MVP discussion since we have great races in both leagues. Send in your best arguments for your guy!

Michael (Norfolk, NE)

Matt Kemp is a legitimate Triple Crown threat and has a good chance to become just the 5th 40/40 man in history. I don't care if he plays for a losing team. He might be the best hitter in the NL right now and deserves the MVP.

David Schoenfield
  (1:13 PM)

Certainly history is working against Kemp -- only five MVPs have come from a losing team: A-Rod with the Rangers, Ripken in 1991, Dawson in 1987, and Ernie Banks in 1958-59. So if Kemp's teammates suddenly start playing better, Kemp has a better chance of winning. No, of course that isn't logical, but that's the way it will work.

Andrew (SF)

Votto isn't an MVP candidate this season because the Reds' pitching isn't as good. I hate baseball awards.

David Schoenfield
  (1:15 PM)

Votto is going to end up with very similar numbers to last year ... and yet I predict he doesn't finish in the top seven in the voting.

Buddy (Peoria, IL)

Bautista is clearly the best player in the AL this season, which to me means he is the most valuable player in the league. I don't know how you can be more valuable than being the best player in the entire league.

Jack (Toronto)

I get the my crap for your crap Soriano trade situation. But I'm talking strictly from a money stand point. What is the most a team would pay for Soriano for 3 years? Ie no money or players going back, just a team willing to pay him $X for 3 years. $5 million a year. $2 million. Or would no one even want to take a chance on him?

David Schoenfield
  (1:17 PM)

One more comment on Soriano. I really don't think they'd go more than $2 or $3 million. Low-OBP, poor defense. Does he really have much value beyond being a platoon DH/fourth outfielder?

Norman (NY)

Don't you think WAR gives too much credit to defense? There's no way you can convince me that Cameron Maybin is really as valuable as Prince Fielder.

David Schoenfield
  (1:20 PM)

Some of that is ballpark effects (San Diego tough place to hit) and positional adjustment (harder to find a good CF who can hit than a 1B). Plus you're comparing a good CF with a lousy 1B, so I do think it makes them somewhat similar in value. But, no, I don't think I'd trade Prince Fielder for Cameron Maybin.

Buddy (Peoria, IL)

David. Do you have a copy of the MVP award voting criteria? If so, could you please share it? I may be wrong, but I don't think it says anything about the MVP coming from a contending team. Just "outstanding" player. Is that correct?

Buddy (Peoria, IL)

"No team wants a guy with a .285 OBP." Are you forgetting our friends in Kansas City?

David Schoenfield
  (1:24 PM)

It says nothing about coming from a contending team. That's MVP voters establishing their own, personal criteria. Here's a link with the following quote from Jack O'Connell, secretary of the BBWAA: "That award places 'value' on contributions to the team by a player. The only guidelines for the other awards is for voters to select the pitchers, players or managers they feel are most deserving of being honored. It's as simple as that. These are elections, not coronations."

David Schoenfield
  (1:24 PM)

Here's the link: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/the-mvp-voting-what-are-the-standards/

Paul (Newport Beach)

Speaking of Trout, did you hear that him and Bryce Harper are going to be on the same AFL team? That should be an amazing outfield!

David Schoenfield
  (1:24 PM)

Pretty cool.

Bryan (NYC)

Buddy is smoking what Scoscia gave him. Granderson is by far the MVP. Leader in the major offensive categories and he has been a better player post AS break. Give some love to a Yankee for once.

ASN (NY)

Granderson is the reason the Yankees are challenging for the division, despite all their injuries and questionable pitching.

David Schoenfield
  (1:26 PM)

Questionable pitching? They've allowed the third-fewest runs in the AL.

neil (dc )

Is the best argument for Bautista as MVP, the fact that every argument for somebody starts out with, "here is why this guy deserves it more than Bautista"? Not like Bautista supporters need to do that in regards to Ellsbury, Verlander, etc.

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

Here's one way to look at it. Every team starts out 0-0. Isn't the MVP the player who pushes his team from that starting point closest to the pennant, or creates the most wins for his team? And isn't that player Jose Bautista right now? But what happens is the voters work backwards in a way, taking a look at a pool of candidates and then looking that that team's final record.

Mike (Long Island)

Bautista is obviously having an excellent year, as measured by OPS and WAR, among others. And his team isn't performing terribly either. But for him to win over Granderson or one of the Sox, he'd have to be demonstrably better (especially since he doesn't play a premium defensive position), and that just isn't the case

Mike (Long Island)

As a Yankees fan, I'd love to say that the Yanks are thriving despite "questionable pitching." Alas, I don't believe it's true. We get so crazed over the worthless mess that is AJ Burnett that we lose sight of the fact that their other starters are quite solid, and their bullpen is excellent

Bryan (NYC)

+50% of Bautista's HRs have come via the Rodgers center (cough cough) can you say he is lucking out with them stealing signs??

David Schoenfield
  (1:31 PM)

He's hit 19 home runs at home ... and 19 on the road.

Alex (St. Paul)

Is Bryan really crying about the Yankees getting no love? Pretty funny.

Clay (Charlotte)

David, could you have a word with Fredi and let him know that under no circumstances should a 27 year old career minor leaguer be started over Heyward? "Hot hand" doesn't cut it. Thanks buddy.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Did Dusty Baker purposely set Yonder Alonso up to fail last night so he could justify benching him for the next week? Third base? Really? Against Cole Hamels, no less?

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

You're asking me to figure out Dusty Baker? Can't be done. No way. Funny that he didn't have a single ball hit to him though. (For those wondering: Dusty played Alonso at 3B.)

Neil (NYC)

Can a players defensive rating be adversely affected by the guy next to him (i.e. Granderson's by Gardner)?

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

Good question. I was actually at a meeting last week with some folks from Baseball Info Solutions. They track every batted ball and provide one of the defensive metrics found at FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference, etc. Anyway, this exact question came up and they said "Not really." And they actually had data showing Granderson's defensive rating is actually *better* on plays in left-center than right-center.

Charles (San Jose)

Justin Upton - great hitter, great baserunner, good fielder, many walkoffs, and most important of all (in the typical voter mind), his team is a great story.

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

Definitely a good candidate. I think the actual voting will come down to him, Braun, Fielder and Kemp.

Matt (Toronto)

I would just like to say that Yankees fans are hilarious... That is all

Jay (Baltimore)

Aren't half your HR's suppose to come at home?

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

He was trying to sign Bautista gets a big advantage from his park, which isn't the case this year.

Nick (PA)

Since August 11, you have taken at least five shots at Ryan Howard, including THREE FULL ARTICLES about his shortcomings. I know his salary is too high, but come on, what is up with this obsession you have with him?

David Schoenfield
  (1:39 PM)

Didn't I call him the 12th-best player in the NL since 2006? How is that a shot?

Buddy (Peoria, IL)

Tracking negative Ryan Howard posts for the month of August? Nick from PA needs a new hobby.

Bryan (Portland, ME)

I have to agree with Upton, who's close enough to Votto's and Tulo's production to invoke the mythical "contender" clause. And I think Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Granderson are jockeying for runner up to Bautista in the AL.

David Schoenfield
  (1:41 PM)

It will be interesting to see how the Bautista/Kemp debates mirror the Felix Hernandez for Cy Young debate last year. Writers finally realized the best pitchers don't always win a lot of games. But the MVP thing is different: It's more about philosphy than actually recognizing true value. And I don't the majority of the voters are quite ready to come around on "best player = most valuable player" just yet.

Justin (Redlands, CA)

Should Mike Scioscia get worst manager of the year for continuing to let Mike Trout and Hank Conger rot on the bench?

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

Hey, at least Jeff Mathis is really good throwing out runners ... oh, wait, he isn't.

Cryer (NYC)

This has been the best chat I have been on in a number of weeks. Nice work Dave!!

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

Thanks, mom!

Matt (SF)

Do you know the actual process for putting in a waiver claim, as well as putting someone on waivers? Do they have software shared by teams so they just click a mouse (like fantasy baseball)? Do they have to fill out paperwork and fax it in?

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

Good question, Matt. It's all tracked by the league office in New York, but whether they share software or the league sends out fax updates, I don't know. I'll try and look into it.

Bob (Denver)

What's your take on John Mayberry Jr? 4th outfielder who's playing above his head or a legit regular? Maybe a starter for a second tier club?

David Schoenfield
  (1:45 PM)

My pal Eric Karabell (and Phillies fan) says he's a fourth outfielder, good platoon bat against lefties, but won't ever hit righties enough to justify a regular position.

Jack (Texas)

David, do you think Vernon Wells struggles this season have to do with him being the main guy instead of being the number two guy like he was with Toronto when he played along side with Jose bautista?

David Schoenfield
  (1:45 PM)

I think he's struggled because he's not very good anymore.

DJ (PGH)

Tigers fan, and I suppose I should be confident, but they aren't exactly making me feel confident. The starting pitching outside of Verlander is a mess, and Leyland can't figure out the lineup. They are vulnerable no doubt, yet still can't come up with a scenario where somebody catches them. Can you?

David Schoenfield
  (1:47 PM)

Hey, may man Doug Fister has been OK! I don't see them blowing this lead. Indians are a bit of a mess right now -- Choo is now apparently out for a few weeks, Brantley is gone for the season. White Sox just have too many dead spots in the lineup. But Leyland -- man, between him and Scioscia, I don't know who has had the worse year.

Norman (NY)

Matt Kemp has had an amazing season and certainly deserves recognition when it comes to the MVP voting but don't you think Ryan Braun leading the NL in OPS and runs created puts him on the same level as Kemp?

David Schoenfield
  (1:48 PM)

Yes, I do think Bautista has a better case then Kemp for precisely the reason you stated. (Obviously, Kemp's edge is he's doing as a CFer compared to a LFer, although neither is viewed as a great defender.)

Matt (CA)

Thought the Twins post was right on. They keep drafting and trading for soft tossers with no upside. For teams to win in October, they need power arms. Will the Twins alter their drafting strategy.

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

Great point about October that I left out in the article. They are 3-19 in the playoffs since winning the 2002 Division Series. To my knowledge, they haven't changed the strategy in recent drafts.

Gerry (AZ)

Who do you see cracking the Dbacks Opening Rotation next season? Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker, or Tyler Skaggs?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

More a question for Keith Law. There's been talk of Bauer getting a September call, so I think he's most MLB-ready. Parker hasn't dominated Double-A, so I think he definitely needs more seasoning. And Skaggs has only a few starts above Class A. But what a group of pitching prospects to have!

Dave (Isla Vista, CA)

Any chance Scioscia is the one really calling the shots, which has led to him continuing to play Vernon Wells? I mean, if he's the one that pushed for the Wells acquisition, it makes perfect sense for him to continue to play Wells hoping for some vindication.

David Schoenfield
  (1:54 PM)

Not sure if he pushed for Wells or not. That's a good question. But there's a point where giving a long leash to a veteran turns into stubbornness which turns into stupidity. Mike Trout is the better player right now.

Kirk (The TC)

The Twins have drafted some hard throwers in the past (Matt Garza, Shooter Hunt and Billy Bullock to name a few), but they've either not panned out or been traded away. BUT- agreed- they are too focused on throwing strikes and putting the ball in play

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

Thanks, Kirk. I'm not sure how much of their philosophy is trying to draft pitchers they think will stay healthy as well.

Andrew (SF)

As a smart analyst/writer, are you even a little bit happy/satisfied that the Giants have regressed this year? That Aubrey Huff couldn't POSSIBLY repeat his 2010? This is not to call you a Giants-hater, but the amount of people who are legitimately SURPRISED by their struggles is disconcerting.

David Schoenfield
  (1:58 PM)

No, I don't view things that way since that comes across as rooting against an individual player, which I would never do. Fans have trouble digesting that fact. If I write why I think Ryan Howard is overrated, they view that as me hating or rooting against him. Absolutely not the case. Howard is one of the best guys in the sport, fun to watch. But my job is to provide interesting analysis, even if that means criticizing your team. (OK, I got a little of course there.)

Charley (South Bend)

I don't understand the argument that a pitcher can't win the MVP because they already have the CY Young. The MVP isn't the best hitter award, that's the Silver Slugger (per position). It's not the best defender award, that's the Gold Glove (per position). It's about whose really the best player, and if the best player is a pitcher, the award should go to the pitcher.

David Schoenfield
  (1:59 PM)

Pitchers should absolutely be considered. That's on the ballot. Unfortunately, many voters won't vote for a pitcher, no matter how great he was. Which is wrong and those voters shouldn't be allowed future MVP votes.

DJ (PGH)

David, one more Tigers question here. From the outside, the Tigers lineup doesn't seem so tough to figure out. Why does Leyland continue to butcher it? Santiago 2nd? Delmon 3rd? Avila and Peralta at the bottom of the lineup?

David Schoenfield
  (2:02 PM)

It confuses me as well. It's obviously a very slow team -- I mean, Miggy, V-Mart, Avila are VERY slow -- so I guess Leyland just wants "speed" up there. Except Jackson is really the only guy with speed anyway. It's like as he's getting order, Leyland is regressing into even more severe "old-school" thinking: fastest guy bats third, scrappy middle infielder who can bunt hits second, and ... well, I can't explain the Delmon Young hitting third thing.

Joe (RI)

The Blue Jays are in 4th place. If we remove Batista's 'value' they are what? A forth place team? a fifth place team? We have the Hank Aaron Award for players on garbage non-contending teams.

Andrew (SF)

But the point isn't that you are rooting against the Giants, or Huff, or Pat Burrell. You're rooting for regression, or, to be far too philsophical about it...justice. In the same way James Shields' success this season was a victory, against his bad luck last year.

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

Right, I understood your question. Sure, I like to be right, but I try not to "root" to be right, if that makes sense. For example, I picked the Phillies to miss the playoffs this year. I had perfectly good reasons. (I'll write a mea culpa at some point!) So, yes, I would have liked to have been right in that case. But then they got hot and had a shot at 108 wins, which only two NL teams have done since 1910, so I started hoping they'd do that, since it would be a great story.

Mike (Long Island)

Fair point about pitchers being considered for MVP. On one hand, they only influence 20% of a team's games. On the other hand, in the game where they do play they usually are the single most important factor in a team's performance. Ron Guidry in 1978 and Pedro Martinez in 1999 are two great examples of pitchers that had disproportionate impact on their teams' success.

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

Exactly. And I think Verlander has a similar argument this year. We'll see ... still a month to go! Should be fun.

Charles (San Jose)

How many RBIs would you get if you were in Ryan Howard's spot in the lineup?

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

Less than Howard. OK, time to go. We have a big postseason planning meeting. Thanks for the all questions and comments as always and we'll see you next week.

The Other Jack (Toronto)

Of course I'm pulling for Bautista, anyone who has watched this team all year knows that his value to the team goes far beyond mere stats. He's the definition of a team leader, bringing in all the young guys and helping them integrate into the team, acting as a go between for the latino and English players, serving in essence as a player-coach to several guys on the team. I can accept Granderson as a legit MVP candidate just so long as you don't use runs scored to prop up your argument. That stat is about as valueless as the RBI stat.