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January 15, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (12:59 PM)

After that Seahawks loss, I'm done with football. Let's start spring training a month early this year.

esteban (miami)

MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IN THIS CHAT: who leads spring training in wins? rbis?

Studebaker (NJ)

Upton to Yanks? D-Backs acquired a young SS, so that's no longer a stumbling block. Without a healthy Banuelos, does NY have the prospects to make something happen?

David Schoenfield
  (1:00 PM)

Yankees don't have the upper level prospects the Diamondbacks would want. Don't think guys like Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez and Tyler Austin get the trade done.

Mitch (Mahwah, NJ)

Does Billy Hamilton get significant playing time in the majors this season? When do you see him coming up and what kind of numbers can we expect?

David Schoenfield
  (1:01 PM)

Good question. I would say no since he still has to learn to play center field. But two things *could* happen: Ludwick could regress and Choo could be a disaster defensively, perhaps paving the way for Hamilton if he shows enough bat/defense in the minors.

Shawn (Dallas)

What's your take on Kinsler saying he won't move from 2nd base? Is he the new M.Young? What happens to Profar? What would you do if you were the Rangers?

David Schoenfield
  (1:03 PM)

Well, in the end, it doesn't really matter what Kinsler thinks. If Jon Daniels and Ron Washington want to move him, they'll move him. Of course, you want to keep your veterans happy. Jeter didn't move for A-Rod. It took forever to move Ripken off shortstop. MOST veterans are reluctant to move from their position, so I don't view it as a negative. At least not yet.

Matt T (Boston)

Dave, where do you think King Felix ranks to other pitchers in baseball currently? I still think he's one of the best, even with his declined velocity. If he stays in Seattle his whole career, do you think he could ever eclipse Randy Johnson as the best pitcher in the team's history?

David Schoenfield
  (1:04 PM)

Still one of the best. I think Verlander and Kershaw are 1-2, and Felix slots in that big group with Price, Hamels and others behind those two. He's gotta be close to Johnson already, no?

David Schoenfield
  (1:06 PM)

Felix has 31.5 WAR, Johnson had 36.5 with Seattle. So one big season from tying, two from surpassing. He has two years left on his current contract ...

Shawn McDonald (Dallas)

I am puzzled by your assertion that Taveras is "not a top 10 prospect". It appears very likely that most, if not all, respected publications will list him as a Top FIVE prospect. Callis recently said he is the "biggest impact bat in the minors". Where is the disconnect? And yes, he has gained traction since the end of the season w/his strong Domincan play, so I am not talking about where he was mid-season or even towards the end of last, but now.

David Schoenfield
  (1:08 PM)

I said CONSENSUS top 10. The only list I've seen so far was Jonathan Mayo's at MLB.com, published at the end of the season. He had Tavares 12th, I believe. I'm sure he'll have an updated list in the spring and maybe he revises that. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Tavares and would certainly put him in my top 10.

Kyle (Missouri)

Why is everyone so high on Bryce Harper he is ranked 2nd on Keith Law's MLB 25 Under 25 Rankings.

David Schoenfield
  (1:09 PM)

He just had a terrific season at age 19. The last guy to be that good at that age was Ken Griffey Jr. Harper is rare, rare talent.

Bryan (PHX)

Would Javier Baez from the Cubs be a good starting point for a J-Up trade to the Cubs?

David Schoenfield
  (1:10 PM)

No. The starting point would have to be much better than that. Not a knock on Baez, but he hasn't played above Class A. Too much risk still involved with him.

Tarek (NYC)

Did Justin Upton give a reason on why he vetoed the trade to Seattle? Its his right but just curious if he said why.

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

I don't recall seeing anything. Somebody tell him the Mariners are moving in the fences!

Mike (San Diego)

In your pitcher rankings, I think you're missing Strasburg. He belongs in that top tier.

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

Let's see him pitch 200 innings first.

Andrew (CA)

When is the next time that the CBA can be tweaked? The draft pick compensation rule is definitely backfiring for the players, and teams seem to be exploiting it (read: Yankees w/ Soriano)

David Schoenfield
  (1:13 PM)

The current one runs through 2016. The players certainly missed the boat on this one, that's for sure. But I'm not sure (all) the clubs like it all that much either. It's there to hold down salaries and that's what it's doing.

Neil (Pgh, PA)

Johnson leads Hernandez in fWAR 53.4 - 38.3

David Schoenfield
  (1:15 PM)

17-win difference for Johnson? That seems pretty extreme. Hmm.

Wes (Memphis)

Are you confident Greg Maddux will be elected to the HOF on his first try next year? And if not, what kind of mutiny will MLB have on its hands?

David Schoenfield
  (1:15 PM)

Yes, I think even the stingy old bats in the BBWAA will elect Maddux.

Studebaker (NJ)

RE: The Felix question you just received...where would you slot Greinke in that group? You'd have to think that the happiest people after Greinke and his agent were #1 starters coming up on FA, no? He set the bar awfully high contract-wise.

David Schoenfield
  (1:16 PM)

No doubt. Imagine the price tag now for Felix and Kershaw in a few years ... Greinke just isn't on their level.

Jon (NYC)

Hypothetically, if the Mets could acquire Justin Upton for Zach Wheeler, straight up, would they be crazy not to accept that trade?

David Schoenfield
  (1:17 PM)

Sure, but Arizona would be even crazier for offering it.

Austin (NY)

Of all the ridiculous things about the HOF voting results, this is my favorite. Kenny Lofton: eighteen votes. Too bad, but not that surprising. But Sandy Alomar: SIXTEEN votes! How does Sandy Alomar get two fewer votes than Kenny Lofton! Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013 BBWAA!

David Schoenfield
  (1:18 PM)

Very disappointing that Lofton and Bernie Williams fell off the ballot. Maybe they're borderline cases, but they deserved to at least have the cases debated through the years.

Josh (Altavista, Virginia)

What are the Nats going to ask for in return for Michael Morse?

David Schoenfield
  (1:20 PM)

Bullpen help? Not sure he would bring much more than that. Not much range in left field, bat not great for first base, starting to get expensive. Nice player, but I think his 2011 was an outlier.

Jason (St Louis)

So with Upton declining to go to Seattle, are the Mariners officially working with confederate money? They can't sign hitters or trade for them. You should always go bpa in the draft but don't they have to target offense early and often there?

David Schoenfield
  (1:21 PM)

I'm with you. Considering their system is loaded with good arms anyway -- besides Walker, Hultzen and Paxton they have others in the low minors -- I think they have to go bats the next couple of drafts.

Doug (Santa Barbara)

I like King Felix and all, but doesn't he seem a bit overrated? He's had more seasons with an ERA over 3 and a whip over 1.10 than under. I think he's a great pitcher, and an ace? But is he better than someone like Jered Weaver?

David Schoenfield
  (1:24 PM)

There is an argument to be made that he's benefited from pitching in Safeco, no doubt. On the other hand, I would love to see him in a good team where I think his motivation and focus would improve a bit. The big advantage he has have a guy like Weaver; Durability. He has 954 innings over the past four years, Weaver has 859.

David Schoenfield
  (1:25 PM)

I would say Felix is top 10 starter, but not he's a top five guy right now. What do you all think?

John (Chicago)

Odds of Taijuan Walker pitching in Seattle this year before September?

David Schoenfield
  (1:25 PM)

Slim. No need to rush him or burn up a 40-man roster spot yet.

Brandon (RI)

I think you are correct David, but he is closer to 5 than 10.

Wes (Memphis)

It's at least a small knock on King Felix that he pitches so many games each year in pitcher-friendly parks....he's still really good, but still....

Andrew (CA)

Doug - Yes. Every single day of the week the King is better than Weaver

Eric (Chicago)

Chris Sale for Giancarlo Stanton straight up?

David Schoenfield
  (1:26 PM)

No way.

Geoff (Huntington Beach)

What do you think Tommy Hanson wins 13 games next season?

David Schoenfield
  (1:26 PM)

Doubtful. Too many health questions.

Jason (St Louis)

Speaking of Weaver, did you know that Jeff Weaver is the only pitcher to ever be traded midseason and win a game in the World Series? Amazing.

David Schoenfield
  (1:27 PM)

Is that true? Sure?

David Schoenfield
  (1:28 PM)

Not true. Cliff Lee won twice for the Phillies in the 2009 World Series. Have to be others.

Wes (Memphis)

Since it's (almost) his 33rd birthday, what are your thoughts on Pujols this season? Do you really see that rebound to .300/.375/.525 or better that some are projecting or do you see further stagnation/regression?

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

I know some say, "Well, ignore April and his numbers are lot better." I still a hitter in decline, with declining walk rates (he's swinging at more pitches outside the zone). He may repeat last year's, but I don't predict any big improvement.

Andrew (CA)

Why hasn't Frank Thomas come under more scrutiny for PED suspicion? I think he's clean and am not trying to suggest anything at all, but with his size and power in the 90s, it sounds like more writers believe he was clean than Bagwell, even though neither ever tested positive.

David Schoenfield
  (1:31 PM)

I believe when Congress showed off with its steroids debate that Thomas was the only who volunteered to attend the session. That seems to give him a free pass in everyone's eyes.

Jimmy (Chicago)

Do you think all this trade talk will motivate J Upton to come into camp in better shape this year? Dude was a bit on the plumper side when we saw him in the spring last year.

David Schoenfield
  (1:32 PM)

If that's the case, I would certainly hope so. But who knows. Clearly, the D-backs have issues with his makeup/motivation/leadership.

Turner (Boise, ID)

That 'Hawks loss hurt. Not only did it end the season, but it's on to baseball and as an M's fan, that isn't too inviting. Seattle seems to be out of significant trade options now (and credit to them for trying) so with the roster they have now (plus or minus a few ST moves) which group of kids do they have to fill some of their holes?

David Schoenfield
  (1:34 PM)

The main guy to watch in spring training is Danny Hultzen. He struggled in Triple-A but there is a rotation slot for the taking. Carter Capps got called late last year and could be a huge weapon in the bullpen. Mike Zunino, last year's No. 1 pick, is a catcher with advanced skills. He could be ready by midseason. The other top guys are probably a year away -- Walker, Nick Franklin, Stefan Romero, etc.

Dave (Seattle)

Why aren't there more prospect for prospect trades. Twins have a bunch of OF prospects - Sano, Buxton, Arcia and Hicks - that we should be able to get for a pitcher like Paxton.

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

Good question. I think because nobody wants to screw up. If you get burned on a trade like that you'll never live it down. And maybe teams overrate their own guys.

David Schoenfield
  (1:36 PM)

If you play fantasy or sim baseball, you know what I mean. Owners ALWAYS overrate their own prospects. I suspect real-life GMs can't help but have the same issue.

Jose (SF)

As a Giants fan, I am ready to be pleasantly surprised by the improvements of Belt and Pence this year. I am also ready to be disappointed by the regressions of Pagan and Scutaro. Sound about right?

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

I do think Pagan has one more good season in him. I'm still on board the Belt bandwagon and just hope Bochy runs him out there every day. Scutaro is definitely a "best bet" to disappoint this season.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Pineda for Montero isn't helping the prospect/prospect trade market at this pt. in time.

Sean (Colorado)

Joe Blanton, 2008, won a game in WS for Phils. Bogus trivia.

Jason (St Louis)

Prospects are by definition unproven at the big league level. Better to go with the guy you know and have developed.

Neil (Pgh, PA)

To be fair, Frank Thomas has been screaming about steroids and demanding testing in baseball since the mid-1990s.

James (Atlanta)

Isn't the eye test what sparks the steroid debate? Frank Thomas was always big and didn't start looking like a bodybuilder halfway through his career. Bagwell was skinny then got big. It's not fair, but that's the bias we have.

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

Was Bagwell skinny? I wrote a piece on him last year and found an old newspaper article from his first spring training with the Astros. (I think it was the Boston Globe.) Anyway, in that article it talks about Bagwell's size and weightlifting. I think it's a revision of facts to say Bagwell was skinny and then got big. Not that either one is evidence for or against. Hank Aaron was a lot bigger in his 30s than his 20s.

Nerns (Bmore)

Will Ryan Cook become the closer in Oakland? Or does Balfour keep the job?

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

Balfour certainly didn't anything down the stretch to lose it. Cook eventually, but still Balfour in 2013.

Alex (Denver)

Scott Boras has always found that mystery team in Jan for his high profile free agents but it seems unlikely that anyone is going to give up big money and draft picks for his 3 free agents. Isnt the likely outcome that they all sign 1 year deals with their current teams at below market rates with the agreement that they are not tendered a contract and tied to a draft pick for next season?

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

I think Soriano is destined to return to the Yankees. I can still see a team signing Lohse, especially a team drafting in the late 20s where the picks pan out far less often than a top-15 pick. Bourn ... man, who knows. There just doesn't seem a contending team in desperate need of a center fielder right now.

Jason (St Louis)

Pujols has started with the notorious 'starting the bat early' in his swing. It's all downhill from there. Pujols will probably have a more gradual decline than most due to his talent but he's definitely declining.

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

Exactly. To his credit, he was able to adjust after that awful April. But as you say, he's had to adjust by starting the swing early, which has led to a much higher rate of swings at pitches outside the zone and thus a declining walk rate. The numbers don't lie.

Tarek (NYC)

Felix is top ten but closer to 5. maybe 6th or 7th.

Ron (Steele, ND)

Hi David- Do you think that Mastrionni starts in center for the Twins until June or so and then Hicks or Arcia move up? I think Arcia will hit and provide adequate defense in right. What are your thoughts? Thanks!!

David Schoenfield
  (1:45 PM)

Sounds like it. I think Hicks needs more time in the minors. Arcia only has 300 PAs above Class A, so no need to rush him either.

Andrew (Toronto)

Turner, think positively. The Mariners will, at the very least, get to beat on the Astros like a rented mule.

Jason (St Louis)

Come on Seattle fans, you might have basketball again soon. Focus on that.

zack (stl)

However you feel about PEDs, Cooperstown is a museum of baseball history and a museum of baseball history without Bonds or Clemens in kind of a joke.

Mike D (Lunch Room)

What is Vernon Welss' role this year?

David Schoenfield
  (1:46 PM)

Disgruntled backup outfielder.

Alan (Portland)

I could probably look this up as easy as you could tell me but you might know off the top of your head, are they WBC innings limits for pitchers?

David Schoenfield
  (1:47 PM)

There are pitch limits for each round, yes. Don't know off hand, although I believe it goes up to 100 for the championship game.

Matt (Steinway)

Can any baseball writer looka t themselves and say that they did not glorify the home-run chase? That they didn't glow about the increase in offense in the 90s? Hell, many of them actively pushed the "juiced ball" theory. Not to mention that Bud Selig and the team owners were clearly complicit by not doing anything at all to curb PED use until the public outcry became deafening. It was damn-near promoted. So it's clear to me that the BBWAA is just using a fake moral high ground that is completely hypocritical. Barry Bonda and Roger Clemens were the best players of their era. Period. The End.

Sean (Colorado)

To back up Neil, I believe when testing was first implemented, the entire White Sox team refused to test (resulting in positives) as they wanted the league-wide positive levels to be high enough to guarantee in-season testing.

Jason (St Louis)

Cards have nowhere to put Lohse. Yanks have no interest in Soriano. I believe they both want the draft pool bonus.

David Schoenfield
  (1:48 PM)

Sure, but what happens if neither gets a deal? Then they have to head back.

David (Ottawa)

Pretty sure David Cone won a game in the '92 Series after being traded to the Jays midseason.

David Schoenfield
  (1:49 PM)

Won a game in the ALCS, but not the World Series.

Tarek (NYC)

The pressure on the dodgers this year will be insane. With the Lakers stinking so bad after huge expectations, i can see poor Donnie baseball getting fired if his team has a 10-17 April.

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

He probably does have the hottest seat in the majors. But I think they'll be fine and get off to a good start.

Nerns (Bmore)

Zunino is that good?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

Third overall pick, tore up the minors -- although an advanced college player should tear up sort-season ball. Did well in 15 games in Double-A. The bat is probably more advanced than the defense, but the D is OK from reports I've read.

Mitch (NC)

Are you outraged at Lance Armstrong?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

Not really.

Andrew (CA)

With Elvis Andrus closing in on free agency after 2014, do you think the Rangers will trade him before then? Potentially losing him with just a compensatory pick to show for it would be pretty lousy.

David Schoenfield
  (1:53 PM)

I think the Rangers try to win the World Series with him.

Robert (Chicago)

A few writers have come out with "heart-felt apologies" about how they ignored steroids in the 90s so they could focus on the more sensationalist home run chases. I find it kind of ironic they're doing the same thing now--they're following the easy, sensationalist steroids story with little to no evidence to back up their assumptions about their effects or usage. And they're ignoring the more boring stories like the impact of two rounds of expansion and ball juicing (where there is documented evidence that there were structural changes to the ball around 1993).

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

Completely agree. Don't forget all the smaller parks that were being built as well.

Drew (Mpls)

Just heard a rumor that Nick Blackburn hit 73 at the Six Flags pitching game so the Twins are starting him on Opening Day.

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

I have no comeback that wouldn't just be piling on.

Steve (Groton)

I really think Ellsbury would be perfect for Seattle. Maybe he would only net one prospect because he only has one year left and Seattle can tender the conditional offer. But he is from Washington and might enjoy playing there.

David Schoenfield
  (1:56 PM)

Oregon, not Washington ... not the same state, Steve! I think the Red Sox ride him out, see if they contend. They can always trade him during the season; his trade value doesn't really change between now and then.

Fred (NYC)

By the end of the year, the Red Sox ace will be ______.

David Schoenfield
  (1:57 PM)

Nobody? OK, I'll say Lester bounces back.

Jason (St Louis)

Ok, I think I figured it out. Weaver was the only pitcher to be traded between leagues and win a game in the World Series. If he isn't the only one than it's just one other person. I think I saw something about it when Dumpster went to the Rangers last year.

David Schoenfield
  (1:58 PM)

Maybe he was the only one at the time? Blanton and Lee also changed leagues but they came after 2006.

David (Minneapolis)

Assuming the traditional fourth-place finish, does Terry Collins get a new contract from the Mets? My feeling is that he's earned an extension, if only for suffering.

David Schoenfield
  (1:59 PM)

I like Collins. He did pretty well last year with the talent and injuries. Lots of energy and enthusiasm, which is good for the New York market. He's far from the Mets' biggest problem.

Charles (San Jose)

If Upton isn't moved then Kubel will be, right? There has to be a point to the Ross signing (I hope).

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

Has any team ever had a stranger offseason? Trade Chris Young for a shortstop ... and then trade Trevor Bauer for another shortstop. Then sign an outfielder when you already have four of them. To answer your question ... yes, ONE of them has to go. I think.

Tarek (NYC)

Are you looking forward to a Angry Stanton this year? Maybe he can hit a 550 Ft homer like the Mick did and we can all say it went 700 feet!

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

Exactly!

Alex (Chicago)

Outside of opening day, any reason to go to either side of town this year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:04 PM)

Are you a fan or not? There's always reasons to go to a game.

Pdaddy (Sacramento)

What's your opinion of Donavan Tate? Is he progressing the way a 1st round pick should progress?

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

Not even close. Looks like a blown pick. How bad is that 2009 draft looking, by the way? Well, OK, the 25th pick turned out pretty good. http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?year_ID=2009&draft_round=1

Sean (Colorado)

Are the Brewers going into the season with their current starter pool? Nice lineup, great bullpen adds but can that rotation possibly keep them in the playoff hunt without the doormats/Astros adding double-digit wins to their total? Lohse?

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

I'm with you -- Brewers have some nice elements. You can win with Braun/Aramis/LuCroy/Hart/Aoki ... sign Lohse, give up the pick, try and win.

Mitch (NC)

What about the money PED users made? No one is asking them to give all that money back that they made boosting their performance by PEDs. At least I don't know of anyone asking. They're just saying their name can't go into the room where the greatest baseball players' names are. Armstrong can't even run a triathalon, I don't see anyone stopping Bonds from playing church softball.

David Schoenfield
  (2:07 PM)

You could argue there is a difference: Cycling had rules (and testing) in place. Baseball had neither.

Jim (Madison)

The Brewers have overhauled their putrid bullpen, but Doug Melvin has steered clear of the overpriced FA pitching market. What's your opinion on the strategy of going with Gallardo + 5 or 6 prospects/AAA late bloomers? Doomed? Prescient?

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

You never know. That's basically what the A's did last year and it worked out.

Jason (St Louis)

I think the Brewers are having visions of Jeff Suppan in their heads when they consider bringing in Lohse. I for one can't blame them for being gun shy.

Robert (Vancouver)

Hank Borowy: Not only was he the first pitcher to win 20 games in a season in which he was traded (in 1945 from Yanks to Cubs), but he won 2 games AND lost 2 games in that season's WS (1945 Cubs vs. Tigers).

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

Excellent. Pitched a shutout in Game 1. Lost Game 5 (pitched 5 innings). Won Game 6 with four scoreless innings. This being the Cubs, they started him in Game 7 ... he lasted three batters, gave up three hits, all three scored and the Cubs lost 9-3.

Mike (Mission Viejo)

I have the 2013 World Series favorites as: Washington, Tigers, Dodgers, Angels, Toronto in that order. Agree or disagree?

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

Readers?

Tim (Miami)

With what has happened to players tied to draft picks this offseason, do you see that making teams looking to trade players in the last year of a contract wanting even more in the terms of prospects than they otherwise would, knowing that the players options are limited if they are tendered a contract?

David Schoenfield
  (2:13 PM)

Hmm ... would it work that way? I don't think Anibal Sanchez's trade value goes up just because if he's traded he wouldn't be tied to a draft pick. Have to think this one through more.

bob (Boston)

if you are a player who turned down $13.5 million guaranteed...I find it hard to feel sorry for you. Fans / Readers?

Alex (OH)

Toronto gets hyped more and more each year and wins 75-80 games. I can't take them seriously until they stay healthy. Nats, Reds, Tigers, Angels, Braves

Steve (Illinois)

This is a link to Bagwell's rookie cardhttp://www.sportsmemorabilia.com//sports-products/jeff-bagwell-baseball-card-fleer-rookie-card-u-87-houston-astros-mint-condition.html?scpid=14&scid=scsho1704658

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

Well, you can't tell anything from that. And even if you could, what would it mean?

Tarek (NYC)

Washington, Reds, Tigers, Jays and Dodgers.

Jason (St Louis)

Can we at least see some spring training games before calling the Jays and Doyers WS favorites?

Rick (Virginia Piedmont)

Tigers, Nationals, Reds, Angels, Toronto.

David Schoenfield
  (2:16 PM)

I'm not as high on the Angels as most. Still see the AL West as a three-way brawl.

Ethan (DC)

I struggle to make up my mind on voting PED users into the Hall, but think if I were a voter, as of now I'd say confirmed users out (whatever that means), others in. Because it seems to be the "All-In" group that is more vocal, though, I'll defend the "All-Outs" against one common critique: "You can't have a museum that ignores that era of Baseball." Anyone who's been to Cooperstown knows that the Hall of Fame is only one wing of the Museum. You can keep Barry and Clemens out of the room with all of the plaques -- the Hall of Fame -- and still acknowledge their contributions (good and bad) in the actual museum. That is one argument I'd hope to never see again.

Mitch (NC)

BRAVES! ...to get past the WC game.

Tim (Fresno)

How about the team that has won 2 of the last 3 world series? When are they going to get any respect? The Marlins won the offseason last year and we saw how that worked out for them.

Tom (Buffalo NY)

The Orioles made big strides last year making the playoffs for the first game since I was in middle school. But they have been very quiet this off season. Do you see them making a play for a corner OF or a SP? Or are they hoping to fill those holes from within?

David Schoenfield
  (2:19 PM)

Looks like they're staying from within, hope Markakis comes back strong and turning left field into a job share with McLouth/Reimold. Seems to me that left field and DH are still black holes, spots where you're supposed to get some offense from.

mike (To)

Raffi Soriano 24/2 with nationals with a 120 games finished vesting option. Mr. Boras strikes again.

David Schoenfield
  (2:20 PM)

Wow ... indeed. Jeff Passan of Yahoo reporting. Man, is that an overreaction to one blown save or what? (Granted, a BIG blown save ...)

Drew (Mpls)

Forget the World Series, who will finish 4th in the AL Central? I'll give you a hint : They're not very good.

Tarek (NYC)

Have you notice that the media has stopped talking about parity in football compared to baseball any more! We have 3 of the same 4 teams from last year's championship games in this years championship game. If that happened in baseball it would be called a travesty.

David Schoenfield
  (2:21 PM)

One of my pet peeves. Do people still believe that?

Mike (Mission Viejo)

On MLB Network they ranked the Angels as the 5th best pitching staff. Am I misign soemthing? They have one great pitcher, one ok pitcher adn three horrible ones. On top of that they have zero pitching depth in the minors to call up when they have injuries....

David Schoenfield
  (2:24 PM)

I'm with you: No way. Blanton is junk, a guy who was a No. 5 starter in the NL, Hanson may or may not be damaged goods, Vargas is OK and Wilson had minor offseason elbow surgery. Madson has to prove he's healthy as well. Looks, it could be a good staff, but there A LOT of issues there.

Tarek (NYC)

Wow, i guess that helps make the Nats .000001% more the favorites in 2013.

Andrew (Toronto)

NEVER DOUBT THE BORAS

Andrew (Toronto)

Stop raining on the parade of us Jays fans. All of us are well aware there are no guarantees and there are a lot of legit contenders in the AL, but it's nice to come into a season with some optimism for the first time in two decades.

Roger (OH)

I think we just might see an all-LA World Series this fall.

Charles (San Jose)

Is there any reliever (non-Rivera division) you'd give over $10 million/year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:25 PM)

Kimbrel just may be worth it. Chapman (if you keep him there). That's about it. I'd rather spend my money elsewhere.

James Bogart (PA)

David, what do you expect out of Tyler Skaggs this season? His brieft stint in the majors last year wasn't great, but his talent level is really high. It seems the trade of Bauer opened the door for Skaggs to be in the rotation. Are you a Skaggs fan?

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

Saw him a couple times. Like him quite a bit and think he'll be OK if he wins a rotation job. Minor league numbers suggest he can hold his own right now.

Mitch (Chicago)

What would you do if you were the cubs brass? Give 3B to Vitters or Valbuena?

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

Is there another option?

David Schoenfield
  (2:28 PM)

Not a big Vitters fan, but I guess it's about time to roll him out there and see what he can do.

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

David, I think that excluding players from the PED era from the HOF would be like removing references and artifacts about slavery and segregation from museums. It happened, whether we like it or not.

Jeff (Chicago)

RE: Ellsbury and trade value. Doesn't it change a little during the season? If he's traded mid-season, the acquiring team isn't eligible for draft pick compensation. If he's traded now and spends the whole year with the acquiring team, they are. Correct? Not Ellsbury specific so much as a question on trade dynamics under the new CBA.

David Schoenfield
  (2:32 PM)

OK, that's a good example related to the earlier question. You are correct. If he's traded now, the acquiring team would only be eligible for compensation if they give him a qualifying offer at the end of the season. If he plays like 2011, that's a no-brainer, of course. So I do believe you're right in that his value is a little higher now. Anyway, I still believe the Red Sox think they're contenders and will try and win with him.

Mike (Mission Viejo)

Re: Tim in Fresno: when your teams gives Scutro a 3 year deal and Pagan 4 years you don't really get to complain about a lack of respect.

Paul (Midwest)

If Detroit started a conversation for J-Upton around Castellanos and Porcello how much more would they have to give up to really get into the conversation?

David Schoenfield
  (2:33 PM)

Drew Smyly? Not sure Porcello has much value right now. Hasn't produced and his service time means he's no longer dirt cheap. I'd like to see Castellanos hit at higher levels before proclaiming him a sure thing.

Darrell (Illinois)

With Profar waiting in the wings, I just don't get why the Rangers wouldn't deal Andrus for J-Up. What am I missing here?

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

Maybe they think Andrus is more valuable. Which may be the case.

Ryan (OH)

David - real quickly - what do people mean when they say baseball had "no rules" about steroids back in the day? To me that seems like saying baseball had "no rules" about poisoning the other team's water, thus it would have been fair game to poison the other team's water. Against the law should mean "against the rules of baseball" regardless of what's explicitly written into a CBA.

David Schoenfield
  (2:37 PM)

If there is no testing, then it is implied that nobody considered it a problem or an issue worthy of dealing with. I think you're making an extreme example there; by that logic, should everyone who does something "against the law" be penalized?

David Schoenfield
  (2:39 PM)

Compare it to Pete Rose: Baseball has (and had) explicit rules against betting on baseball. Pete broke the rules of baseball. Or cycling. The cycling federation was TRYING to keep a clean sport. Baseball didn't act until the anonymous testing began in 2003, followed by full-scale testing in 2004. Before then, in my book, everything was fair game and sports drugs were part of the culture.

Jon KK (Elkhart, Ind.)

Cubs give Ian Stewart one more chance. Just about anything is better than Vitters now or Valbuena ever.

Chris (KC)

Andrew, we're not trying to rain on your parade. It's just that, outside of Dickey, this is much the same group as the ones that flunked out in Miami last year, after "winning" the offseason.

Dave (Buffalo)

Do the Royals have any in their org that will be better than Frenchy? OF scares me, Cain has done nothing to really show me he is going to be a productive OF, and honestly I am not convinced that Dyson wouldn't more productive than either of them. What about a deal for Sizemore once he is "healthy" to play some right field?

David Schoenfield
  (2:43 PM)

Well, if Frenchy plays like he did in 2011, he's at least serviceable. I don't think they have any other good options in the high minors right now (which is why everyone hated the Myers trade). Sizemore is a guy a team like KC should take a chance on. Look, it's probably less than 3 percent chance it would work out, but at this point he wouldn't cost anything and maybe you strike gold.

James (Atlanta)

Why can't the Braves and Twins work out a deal for Josh Willingham and Tehran/Delgado? I mean, I think we all just thought about who is really starting opening day for them with the Blackburn joke. Their pitching is terrible, they're not winning this year and they have their outfielders of the future. Do they just want to keep Willingham so they're not historically bad?

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

Well, Teheran was awful last year, so the Twins wouldn't trade Willingham for him. And the Braves probably value Delgado more than Willingham. I've said: I think the Braves would wait to make a move on their pitchers -- see when Beachy can return, if Teheran improves, etc.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Have you seen Chris Archer? Kinda flying under the radar. #2 potential?

David Schoenfield
  (2:46 PM)

Saw him at the end of the season with the Rays. Pretty awesome stuff. Definite No. 2 potential, although the command may always hold him back.

Drew (Mpls)

Can Kyle Gibson make Twins fans forget about Kevin Tapani?

David Schoenfield
  (2:46 PM)

Hey, Kevin Tapani was pretty good!

Andrew (Toronto)

Chris - I hardly think three players, who all had decent to very good seasons in Miami, constitute "the same group" as what the Marlins fielded. Yeah, anything could happen (and often does), but the Jays have got other pieces already in place the Marlins just didn't have. Add Dickey and Cabrera to the mix and the potential is there. And the odds of having the injury cavalcade Toronto had last year two years in a row...let's just say we're anxious for catchers and pitchers to report!

Jason (St Louis)

That comment made me think, why not Bourn to the Royals? Other than their owner is David Glass.

David Schoenfield
  (2:48 PM)

And since the Royals have a protected (top 10) pick, it wouldn't cost them a first-rounder!

Jay (Cincy)

Do you think the reds are making a smart move by making chapman a starter?

David Schoenfield
  (2:49 PM)

That's a tough one. Normally, I would say yes, but Chapman was SO dominant out of the pen ... I guess you have to try him as a starter but I would also love the idea of turning him into a 100-inning, high-leverage reliever (use him in tie games, two innings when needed, etc.).

Joe (Bronx, NY)

Is it me or does Justin Upton have some interesting names on his no trade clause list? I don't remember exactly but there were some good teams. Any insight? Thanks.

David Schoenfield
  (2:51 PM)

He had the Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs. I believe last season he had the Yankees and Indians. Give credit to his agent for reading the tea leaves on which teams may try and acquire him.

Brian (PDX)

Weren't the Mariners way overpaying for Upton? Wouldn't Stanton be the better return?

David Schoenfield
  (2:52 PM)

Well, sure, I'd rather have Stanton, but he would cost a lot more. Seems like the opinions were split on the Upton deal. Jerry Crasnick quotes one front office guy saying the Mariners were giving up too much. But others I respect -- Joe Sheehan, Dave Cameron -- thought it was a fair deal. Both of those guys like Upton a little more than I do, so I wasn't quite as sold. And I'm usually one to say prospects are overrated.

James (NY)

What's your take on Heyward? Do you see him continuing to improve and be in the top 10 players in the game?

David Schoenfield
  (2:55 PM)

More improvement, yes. Top 10 position player? Maybe he's already there. FanGraphs WAR had him ninth-best last year -- thanks to a great defensive rating. I'm not sure he was quite top 10 -- the FanGraphs defensive metrics also helped Bourn rate as the 13th-best player and Martin Prado 15th, and while all three are good outfielders, there seems something a little fishy going on there.

Sean (Colorado)

Problem with the Jays is they have a bunch of guys that won't likely come close to 2012 (Dickey, Encarnacion, Melky, even Buehrle), are against the tide to take the next step (Rasmus, Lind, Romero) or just weren't that good last year (Bautista, Izturis, most of the bullpen). Plenty of upside but the comp to the Marlins wasn't that far off base.

David Schoenfield
  (2:57 PM)

I think the big issue is the rotation: Can you really expect 200 innings from Johnson and Morrow? Look, if everything comes together, it would be a dynamite, 100-win team. And Jays fans SHOULD be optimistic right now. I just hope they actually turn out and turn SkyDome back into the early '90s again.

Nick (DC)

Do you think the Nationals signing Soriano sets them up to make a big trade? A Morse/Storen (and possibly more) trade package?

David Schoenfield
  (2:59 PM)

Not necessarily. I think they wanted more bullpen depth anyway with the loss of Burnett. And considering Clippard tired out down the stretch, this allows them to back off on his usage a little bit.

Tarek (NYC)

Don't give David any ideas of Stanton in Seattle. If they get him, David may move back to seattle!

David Schoenfield
  (3:00 PM)

Mariners fans can't even remember what it's like to have a real cleanup on the team.

Jason (St Louis)

Now you really have me thinking. How about Bourn and Lohse to the Royals on one year deals, say ten mil each? They lose their 2nd and 3rd round picks but also fill two holes for the next year on the cheap. They could even agree to not offer arbitration after next season in return for one year deals.

David Schoenfield
  (3:00 PM)

Make it happen, David Glass! You're all-in with the Shields trade anyway.

Jason (St Louis)

If anyone is getting shipped out it is Clippard. Costs more and has more value.

Kellin (Redding)

Dave, I don't understand why folks think that the Pagan deal was so bad. He was the only CF that didn't cost the Giants a draft pick (which seems to be important to quite a few teams, judging by the Lohse, Bourn, Soriano talks). Cost of 1 win is about $5 million, 3 WAR doesn't seem like that big of a stretch to me and would still provide surplus value. His 2011 was awful, really really awful, but 2010 was even better than 2012. Do you really think that he can't provide at minimum 2 WAR a season?

David Schoenfield
  (3:02 PM)

I think he's fine for a couple years. Although I wrote this when he signed: But what are the odds he sticks in center field for the next four seasons? Next year is technically his age-31 season (he turns 32 on July 2), so this deal takes him through his age-34 season. Here are the number of full-time center fielders (500 plate appearances, at least half their games played in center) by age over the past five seasons: Age 31: 8 Age 32: 5 Age 33: 1 (Torii Hunter in 2009) Age 34: 1 (Hunter in 2010)

David Schoenfield
  (3:04 PM)

Oops, that didn't format right. But the point is this: The only full-time CF the past five seasons who was 33 or older was Torii Hunter. So you're likely to be paying Pagan $10 million to be a mediocre corner guy or fourth outfielder by 2015/16.

BK (LK)

About that 2009 draft the Angels had 3 of their 4 picks turn out LEGIT (Trout, Skaggs, G. Richards) I mean Girchuk is yet to be seen. I still dont understand how they fired Eddie Bane.

Bob (Seattle)

Could the Soriano signing be another gift offering to Boras so that Strasberg is more likely to sign with the Nats? I doubt it'll work if that's the case.

Drew (Mpls)

I agree, Tapani was great. Better than Morris in 1991 (suck on that Verducci). I guess that's about what I expect out of Gibson.

Sean (Colorado)

Thanks for the reference....was there an outfield anywhere near as dangerous as Barfield, Bell and Moseby in Strat-o-matic?

David Schoenfield
  (3:05 PM)

No doubt. Great outfield for a couple years there.

Steve (Groton)

One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that teams in the new CBA can't agree as part of the contract to not offer the qualifying offer. I guess they could have a gentlemens agreement, but it is against the rules.

Wes (Memphis)

Alex Rodriguez finishes his career with _____ home runs?

David Schoenfield
  (3:06 PM)

OK, let's end with this. What does everyone think? A-Rod has 647 right now.

David Schoenfield
  (3:07 PM)

I'll say he gets to 700. Maybe passes Ruth and finishes with 720. Don't think he gets Bonds.

Tarek (NYC)

694 and that's because i'm being kind.

Charles (San Jose)

705

Mark (Lyme, CT)

720

Drew (Mpls)

Hopefully - 647.

Bob (Lowell)

647

Sean (Colorado)

15, 20, 15, 10 for Arod, then adios....704.

Charles (San Jose)

That's just mean Drew.

David Schoenfield
  (3:08 PM)

Ouch. First Nick Blackburn and now A-Rod.

David Schoenfield
  (3:09 PM)

OK, time to run. The puppy just woke up so time for a potty break. See you next week!