Good afternoon/morning, everyone ... will have to make this a quick chat today, so let's get going.
When will Harper come up? If they can make it to June and still be towards the top of the standings that would be huge for the team!
Dave Cameron had a good piece yesterday on ESPN Insider, suggesting the Nationals should wait until July 1 or so -- that would save them long-term in arbitration ($10 million or so). Of course, if Ankiel/Bernadina are awful and Harper is ripping up Triple-A, they'll call him up.
David, Everyone talks about Juan Nicasio because of the horrific injury he sustained last season. But, above and beyond that, he was flat out dominating AA before he was promoted to the majors last season. He was holding his own before the injury. What kind of season do you see Nicasio having? I feel like he's a breakout candidate that's flying under the radar. Do you feel the same?
A 58/18 SO/BB ratio as a rookie in Colorado was very impressive indeed. And, yes, good breakout candidate and reports from spring training have been positive. Could be a guy who posted an ERA in the 3.80 range ... which is excellent for that park.
Miguel Cabrera comes to mind as an example of a player who was/is required to switch positions later in his career. Do you believe the extra effort and focus that undoubtedly goes into learning a new position comes at the expense of their performance at the dish? Even slightly?
I don't think so. Only position where that really applies is catcher, where you may have to devote more time to scouting reports/talking with your pitchers and less time watching video of opposing pitchers.
Is Kyle Seager going to be the Mariners opening day 3B?
The team seems committed to giving Figgins one last chance with Seager coming off the bench. Seager has had an interesting spring -- 3 HRs, but 8 SO and zero walks. That's a different approach then what he showed up coming up through the minors.
Do you expect a significant dropout for AraRam, Melky, or Peralta? I've offered AraRam and Peralta for Melky and Bumgarner and the owner is on the fence... Cancel before he can accept?
I'd say yes for Peralta, probably for Melky, and a small decline for Ramirez. But if you need pitching, Bumgarner is a sleeper Cy Young pick.
Ugh the Mets the Mets the Mets. My brain can't handle it anymore Dave. What should I do? I can't financially support the Wilpons because even disregarding money they have only made bad decisions. But I'm loyal and I can't just pick a new team. How am I gonna make it through the summer?
I was stuck with crappy owners for years in Seattle but went to the games anyway. Do it for the love of the game. No matter who owns the teams, you would be supporting some rich dude.
Do the you believe the Phils move Blanton for a solid infielder with the bad news on Chase Utley. If so, what you think they could get.
Joe Blanton isn't going to bring much of anything. Coming off a bad year and injury and makes too much money.
Don't you think it would have been a better move to keep Harper in AA considering he hit .250 there last season? Slugging .400 in AA isn't a good reason to bump somebody up to AAA.
I was kind of wondering the same thing. Certainly, young players can show tremendous growth in a short period of time, but why not let him master Double-A first?
What becomes of the closer situation for the Royals with Soria out? Could Aaron Crow be a dark horse candidate now that he is being shifted back to the bullpen?
I think Broxton and Greg Holland are better options than Crow. Check Mark Simon's piece today on Holland on the SweetSpot blog. Crow still has to prove he can get out lefties. Holland was dominant against them.
True or false? The Mets "really" lost $70M last year. We don't really know, despite what Sandy Alderson says, because no baseball reporter apparently knowns enough about financial reporting to ask a simple question to Alderson: "Was that an operating loss or a net loss? The difference is night and day; Paul Beeston once gave an interview in which he said he could take a $3 million profit and turn it into a $2 million loss, and every major accounting firm in the world would sign off on it because of arcane rules for depreciating baseball contracts. If the Mets "really" had $70 million more in expenses than they did in revenue (that's an operating loss), then the Mets will need a whole lot of Daddy Wilpon's money very, very soon.
I wouldn't believe any major league owner when he reports how much his team "lost."
Simmons, Sutton or Pastornicky, pure guess, who's the starting SS at the All-Star Break?
Pure guess? Pastornicky.
Do you like Travis Snider or Eric Thames for LF in Toronto?
Thames. He played well last year, which is more than Snider has ever done in the majors.
What would you put the Nats over/under at and what are the odds that they make the playoffs?
I believe their Vegas line is at 81, which seems a little low to me. I believe I projected them at 86-87 wins, so on the brink of contention. Maybe 25 percent? Not sure what some of the simulated projections have put their odds at.
Hi David, With Morneau struggling, how long before the Twins try working Sano at first? I don't know if Parmalee will be the long term answer there if Morneau is done. Thanks!
Agree with you on Parmalee. Twins don't intend to move Sano off 3B any time soon. (As they shouldn't; the move to 1B would be fairly easy.) And he's a couple years away at the minimum anyway.
As a guy who embraces advanced stats, I wanted to see if you shared my opinion that Fantasy Baseball is both good and bad for the advancement of understanding the game. I think it's good because it brings fans to the game that wouldn't normally care about baseball, but it's bad because it gives a perceived importance on outdated stats.
Completely agree. I do think fans that are really into it get smarter -- if they're reading guys like Eric Karabell and Tristan Cockcroft, much of their fantasy analysis does bring in advanced metrics, even if those metrics aren't specifically used in fantasy baseball.
Ichiro had his first home run of the spring yesterday, it seems to me his new batting stance is paying off as he's hitting the ball with authority and often. What do you think Dave?
I think we have a 10-year track record that suggests Ichiro isn't going to hit the ball with a lot of authority. It's not as simple as changing your stance.
Speaking of Aaron Crow, who is better off long terms, the Nats for not signing him and getting Drew Storen the next year, or Royals. Probably obvious of the short term gain for the Nats but how about long term....
Well, Storen is the better pitcher. Lefties hit .311 and slugged .538 off Crow. He walked 4.5 per nine. He kind of had a flukey first half. I don't see him as much more than middle guy.
I just feel like there's a difference between crappy owners and damaging owners. The Wilpons are damaging owners. They built a shiny new ball park for a different team. They refuse to overhaul the worst medical staff in the game, and still have a "rub dirt on it" mentality towards injuries. And now Fred says he wasnt to do everything in his power to "bring the mets back to prominence." The last time he tried that we ended up with Jason Bay. How can I willfully give these people my hard earned money?
I know, I know ... but at least he's not threatening to move the club like old Mariners owners George Argyros and then Jeff Smulyan tried to do all the time. Try rooting for an owner who tried to undermine the team so much that nobody would show up -- so he coud move the club. So you do have that going for you. (No, that's not meant to be a defense of the Wilpons.)
Is it just me or is the Cardinals bullpen significantly under rated. It is clear based on the success from the playoffs that the bullpen is talented. why is everyone believe the reds have the best bullpen in the division?
Cardinals bullpen was kind of mediocre until it got red hot in the playoffs. I like both pens, although I think it's fair to say Madson and Marshall are better than any Cardinals reliever, no?
What do you make of the news that Cespedes is going to start the season in the majors?
I believe Oakland and Seattle are allowed to carry 30 guys for those first two games. I may have missed it, but I'm not sure that means Cespedes will stick with the big league club once the A's return from Japan.
Cespedes is 3-for-20 in big league camp this spring, FYI.
Keep two of these 4 with rounds a consideration: Bumgarner (13th); J. Shields (15th; D. Jennings (18th); Matt Moore (19th)
Long-term? Moore, Jennings. 2012 only? Probably Bumgarner and Shields.
It seems like being a Seattle sports fan is a tortured existence.
I was 10 years old when the Sonics won the NBA title. That was 1979. Next to Cleveland, we're next on the list. Yes, ahead of Buffalo.
Matt from NY, I'll trade you 2+ McCourts for your 1 Wilpon. It's not easy to squander a team with a triple-crown pitcher and a near-triple-crown batter.
Over/Under on Pettitte winning 9 games this year?
I guess I'll take the over. Readers?
In your mind are the Phils still the Favorites to win the NL East. Without a healty infield I just don't see them winning the Division much less advancing out of the first round of the play. Unless Halladay, Lee, and Hamels all turn in the year of their carrers.
I wrote about this yesterday. I did some quick math and had their worst-case scenario at 88 wins. That's Utley/Howard missing half the seasons, declines from the Big Three and so on. But I'd still rate them the clear division favorite. That's how good those three are.
Let's see if Pettite breaks camp with the team first before we start guessing at win totals. Just sayin.
9, over on Andy wins under 9 on Jeter's HR's.
Angelos has to be atop your list of worst owners right? Above even Wilpon.
Bautista says that it IS as simple as changing your stance...
Haha. In his case, I suppose so. But don't expect Ichiro to suddenly hit 20 home runs.
I like the comment about no matter what you're giving your money to some rich guy. I wish more fans saw it that way also so they wouldn't call players greedy for trying to get paid fair market value.
Shouldn't there be a law against anyone getting giddy about their team/players based on anything that happens in spring training?
Of course. Spring training means very little other than injuries that may develop and players coming back from injuries and guys changing positions.
How much baseball do you actually watch? And do you just watch and look at results or do you analyze like a scout?
I watch a ton. During the season, I write four nights a week and I'm watching East Coast and West Coast games. Plus day baseball during the week when I'm in the office. I'm not a scout, so I don't really break down a guy's pitching mechanics or things like that. I guess I would say I try to watch like an informed fan, if that makes sense.
dodgerFan I will take that deal. If Wilpon wasn't so chummy with Selig we'd have been out of this mess by now. Also, like I alluded to earlier, I'd much rather have an owner with no interest in running a team then an owner who thinks they can run a team but always does the wrong thing.
How did your twitter fantasy team turn out?
The draft is still going on. I'm think Paul Goldschmidt for my next pick. Need a 1B. I think he should go 30/100. Could hit .250-.265 or so.
In our case it is giving money to some rich guy, but at least he's paying us back in spades (no matter how ridiculously above any other team the contract was).
Joey Bats is an outlier. Is there a small percentage of players who see a massive increase in production after changing their stance? Yes. Do the vast majority of players who change their stance see no measurable performance increase? Yes.
Right. Maybe a stance change helps you see a certain pitch better, or drive the ball to the opposite field. But it doesn't change your bat speed or strength.
listen Mike from LI, all O's, A's and Stros fans have to look forward to is in Spring training. Sorry, had to be said. :)
Can we get Fredi to turn into Bobby-lite? Just see how many games he can get thrown out of as early as possible? At least they won't be bunting when down by 4 in the 8th if Fredi isn't in the dugout.
Re: your response to Mike (Long Island), are you telling me that the Jays won't actually win 120+ games this year and that we won't have 4 starters with ERAs below 1.10? I refuse to accept your pessimism.
Also, the rich guy in Detroit gives you Pizza too! It doesn't get much better than that.
With an offense continuing to decline, are the Phillies doomed to that just good enough to make the playoffs status until they bottom out? I was hoping for Domonick Brown to inject some youth, but it seems like they've soured on him.
You can win it all with Halladay, Lee and Hamels, no matter how mediocre the offense. But in a year or two the lineup may not be mediocre, but terrible. In which case the playoffs aren't a sure thing -- see 2011 San Francisco Giants.
What about an ownership group that doesn't care about winning, just making a profit? You know...like that Braves...I mean, crazy collapse in September and you brought in...nobody?
Good point. Braves had a higher payroll 10 years ago.
For the record, i do not support spending money to spend money and I don't think that makes a good owner. The reason Stu Sternberg is the best owner in baseball is because he knows he has to trust his baseball people and the process, not because he spends money. He makes the right decisions, and knows when to delegate decisions to people who can make them. I just don't believe Alderson will ever get kind of autonomy.
Good point, Matt. I do wonder how long Alderson will stick around without that autonomy.
Who do you believe will have the best season of the following three? The worst?Yu Darvish, Matt Moore, Josh Johnson
Johnson, Darvish, Moore. But Johnson obviously has the most risk, Darvish the least.
Do you think Bard holds up in Boston's rotation or is he destined to go back to the bullpen at some point this year?
I'm laughing at the Olive Garden reference. I'll say Bard sticks in the rotation. I'd compare him stuff-wise to Alexi Ogando.
Interesting that you say Darvish the least. I would think Moore is the most guaranteed, but that is personal perference. To me, all three have the ability to carry their teams this year, if healthy.
Moore is still a rookie. No matter how well he's regarded, I think that makes him a risk -- both in performance and health.
More on Joey Bats: somehow he and the people working on his swing realized this was a guy with a good batting eye who was VERY good to his pull field. Essentially he's been told to wait for a pitch he can pull unless/until he has two strikes on him. This would be really good advice for everyone, but Bautista clearly has the batting eye to make this work. Not everyone does.
Just ask me how unimportant batting stances are. I only used about 20 different ones throughout my career with little to no effect on the way I performed.
Carl Yastrzemski was another guy who tinkered all the time. He also had ups and downs in his career.
RE: Pettitte, hopefully under because I want CC/Kuroda/Pineda/Nova/Hughes to do well.....
Assuming he's healthy (which is hard to do) do you see Tommy Hanson taking a step forward and becoming an elite, Cy Young level pitcher? Or do you think he'll always be more of a second-teir starter?
He does have Cy Young potential IF healthy. Big IF, of course.
OK, I have to cut this a few minutes short. Thanks, everyone!!! A's-Mariners next week!