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February 19, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (1:31 PM)

Let's interrupt bunting practice to field a few baseball questions ...

Rick (Virginia Piedmont)

Dave, is it likely that, if Bruce Rondon starts the year with a struggle, he goes back to Toledo for some seasoning, with a later call up? if so, do you think the Tigers will looke to sign a FA, or go with the committee approach?

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

I'm a little surprised the Tigers are pushing him as hard as they are considering he only has 20 innings or whatever above Class A. Certainly, Dombrowski and Leyland believe in the kid. Anyway, if he struggles, I think they go with a Coke/Benoit committee and determine at the trade deadline if they need to make a deal. In that division, the probably can afford to wait.

Andrew (Toronto)

What do you expect out of Colby Rasmus this year? Do you think he'll have a better year since he'll be flying under the radar, or do you think he is what he is at this point?

David Schoenfield
  (1:34 PM)

Read yesterday that he said he's looking for more consistency this year. Well, no kidding. I had high hopes heading into last season, but I've lost my optimism. I think he is what he is; he has enough PAs now in the majors where big improvement isn't likely.

Brandon (RI)

What should Kyle Lohse be doing right now?

David Schoenfield
  (1:34 PM)

Golfing. Oh, you didn't ask WHAT he's doing right now.

Alex (Anaheim)

Do you think we will see an improved year at the plate from Jesus Montero?

David Schoenfield
  (1:36 PM)

He'll be better, yes, but how much? I was pretty disappointed in his approach and until he learns to lay off that outside pitch against righties, he doesn't have star potential. .228/.262/.356 against righties last year. Still very young, so we'll cut him a little slack.

Brian (Michigan)

Do you think the Cubs rotation has a chance to be top 10 or 15 in the MLB? No ace (obviously), but if Garza is healthy (admittedly.....) you can do worse than Garza, Samardzjia, and Jackson followed by some combination of Baker, Feldman, Wood and Villanueva.

David Schoenfield
  (1:38 PM)

Hmm ... without going through every team, maybe top 15, yes. I like their moves, as Baker and Feldman were decent buy-low candidates. Baker has been good, Feldman gets out of Texas, and I do believe Samardzija is for real.

David Schoenfield
  (1:38 PM)

What does everyone think? Cubs rotation top 15?

Jake (Glendale,Az)

Is Jason Kipnis the real deal?He seemed to wear down or fade late in the season.

David Schoenfield
  (1:39 PM)

Yep, pretty bad second half. By real deal, if you mean slightly above average regular, I'm buying.

Mike (Misison Viejo, CA)

Can you please help settle a bet for me? Who is more likely to win the World Series this year and in the next five years between the Angels and Dodgers? I say the Dodgers due to their excellent pitching and unlimited money stream. My friend Charlie says the Angels because of their line-up. My argument is the Angels pitching is bad, horrible minor league system, and Pujols and Hamilton are probably past their prime already. Thank you!

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

I'd go with the Dodgers for all the reasons you listed. Kershaw + Greinke in the postseason. And I'm worried about Weaver's ability to remain healthy.

Brian (Fishers, IN)

Do you see anyone on the horizon who might have a shot at batting .400 in a season, or have we (for a variety of reasons) seen the last .400 hitter in Ted Williams?

David Schoenfield
  (1:41 PM)

Too tough. Pitching is so much better, every team has three relievers coming in through 95+. I won't say NEVER but nobody on the horizon.

Ron (Steele, ND)

HI David-Best case scenario for the Twins- Mastrioanni starts in center. In June Hicks and Arcia promoted and Hicks in center and Arcia in right. I don't believe that Parmelee can handle right. Morneau is fine and Parmelee traded after that? Maybe Benson is a stopgap for awhile? what are your thoughts? Thanks!!

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

Parmelee isn't a right fielder in glove or bat. No trade value. Anyway, I'm with you: Hicks has a history of starting slow at each level, so I think they need to start him in Triple-A, maybe even spend most of the year there. But I'll be excited to see those guys in the majors. Saw them a couple times in New Britain last year.

Ryan (Alabama)

What kind of season do you expect Kris Medlen to have?

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

Projections have him around 2.80 to 3.00 ERA, which sounds right. Only question is if he can handle 200 innings.

Greg (Toronto)

Gibbons has stated he plans on batting Adam Lind 5th.why?

David Schoenfield
  (1:44 PM)

Why even make that statement now? And, no, I don't get it either. 2009 is a long way back in that rear-view mirror.

Mitch (NC)

Why is Hamilton antagonizing Texas fans? I know they boo'd him, but it seemed like he was already mad at them before the playoffs even started. When did he start hating Texas so much?

David Schoenfield
  (1:45 PM)

I mean ... he wasn't exactly wrong, was he? When I was at the World Series in 2011, local sports radio was talking about the Cowboys' THIRD-string fullback instead of the World Series.

Lyle (NM)

Have you gotten a chance to see Nick Franklin? Will he be able to stay at SS in the majors?

David Schoenfield
  (1:46 PM)

Have not seen him. Reports are mixed, although most seem to think he'll end up second. I guess he's put on a bunch of weight this offseason, so that could affect his range even more.

Hekl (Wilmington, DE)

Dave, what are your thoughts on Ike Davis? Considering Valley Fever and Missing the whole prior year - he finished pretty decent (32 Hrs - lousy Average). Can he be a Bigtime 1B? 40 HRs a possibility?

David Schoenfield
  (1:47 PM)

Like him a lot. Very good numbers in the second half. I believe he had the third-lowest BABIP in the majors last year as well, so I think we'll see his average climb higher. Could see him hitting .270/.370/.540, something like that, with an outside shot at 40 homers.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

In another chat the question was asked what record is harder to break: Vander Meer back to back No Hitters, or Fernando Tatis 2 Grand Slams in 1 innings. I say Vander Meer, what say you?

David Schoenfield
  (1:49 PM)

Well, I can't see hitting three grand slams in one inning since you need opportunity to do that, but maybe some guy with a robotic tendon throws 110 mph in the future.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

I don't get the Martin Perez hype. Sure he has been young for the levels he has been in, but he also has not got people out. Do you think he makes Rangers rotation? Grimm or Ross beat him out?

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

Don't see it either. Had a good year once in Class A. So have lots of pitchers. I'd say Grimm is the favorite right now with Ross heading back to the pen.

Amy (Seattle)

Can you think of a similar situation to Kyle Lohse? This is crazy. He's at least an average player and he has no job. He's not old. He's not in trouble. I find the whole thing pretty fascinating. Any predictions on when/how it's resolved?

David Schoenfield
  (1:51 PM)

Other than the collusion years back in the 1980s, no. (Tim Raines didn't sign with the Expos until May one year.) Still can't believe a team like the Angels or Rangers haven't signed him. At this point, my guess he waits until somebody gets hurt in spring training and a desperate team ponies up the money.

Charles (San Jose)

Gotta go with Tatis. Every time a pitcher throws a no-hitter he has a chance to do the same 5 days later. When was the last time anyone batted three times in an inning?

David Schoenfield
  (1:51 PM)

Exactly. Let alone with the bases loaded.

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

In fact, didn't Dave Stieb once come close? I believe he took no-hitters into the ninth in back-to-back starts back one year.

thomas (texas)

2011 is a long way back in the rearview mirror to be talking about Dallas radio isnt it?

David Schoenfield
  (1:53 PM)

But what was so bad about what Hamilton said? Dallas IS a football town, the franchise was in the dumps until he came aboard and then he drops one flyball (OK, a big one) and the fans treat him like he gave them an STD.

Brandon (RI)

Similar situation to Lohse may be Jermiane Dye... who never saw another AB.

Jason (St Louis)

The only thing the Cubs have a chance of being in the top 15 of anything is attendence.

Sean (Unknown)

Thoughts on a Jon Lester bounceback? Seems like a really good candidate to do so.

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

I was looking at his heat maps the other and it's hard to say what went wrong. But he has to get more K's with his fastball. His velocity is still fine but it's no longer a knockout pitch. It appeared he used to pitch up in the zone more (which can get more K's), so I'm not sure if his fastball just flattened out or what. But the stuff appears to be there, so good chance of a bounce-back year.

Josh (Atl)

Dave, hypothetically speaking; if Lohse went unsigned deep into the summer, past this year's draft, could a contending team one pitcher away sign him and not have to give up this year's pick? Or would they have to give up the 2014 pick?

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

Great question. Don't see that happening, but you never know. And I'm not sure of the answer.

Mitch (NC)

Texas was third in attendance last year and ESPN just now stopped talking about the Jets' second string QB. And even if he wasn't wrong, move on.

David Schoenfield
  (1:57 PM)

I agree with that. Then again, at least he said something interesting. We criticize guys for being boring and then criticize them for saying something mildly critical.

Geoff (DC)

Lots of talk about the Braves & strikeouts. Is this a real conern or do they have a shot at the NL East and beyond?

David Schoenfield
  (1:57 PM)

As long as they hit home runs and get on base, they'll score plenty of runs. A's set the all-time strikeout record last year and made the playoffs.

Greg (Toronto)

Jim Traber and Roberto Kelly got to Stieb in the 9th inning - in b2b starts - while flirting with a no-no.

David Schoenfield
  (1:57 PM)

Thanks, Greg. If Randy Johnson had pitched in Dodger Stadium in the 1960s he would have had back-to-back no-hitters at some point.

Joe (Chicago )

Why have you not written anything about Michael Jordan's 50th birthday?

David Schoenfield
  (1:58 PM)

Because I just want to know the truth! Did Stern make him play baseball or not?

Charlie (Irvine)

Re: Mike- Our pitching isn't bad, it's mediocre. Minor league system has very little to do with making the playoffs. We have depth on our 40-man if injuries occur. Pujols and Hamilton may be past their prime, but they'll still produce. Want to talk about past their prime? Let's talk A-Gonz and Crawford.See what you started here Dave?!

David Schoenfield
  (1:59 PM)

Love it. Going to be a fun year in L.A.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

Pro sports is weird to me, because decision makers are paid far less than the talent. GM is far more important to an organization than a set up reliever. Wouldn't teams be better served to invest in management over guys 10-25 on the roster?

David Schoenfield
  (2:00 PM)

Don't necessarily disagree. It's hard to quantify that, however. But I would argue that a good pitching coach or good trainer is vastly underpaid relative to importance.

Jim (Canada)

Lohse should just start showing up at random games throughout the season if he's not signed. Each day we can guess where he'll be next. ESPN can do a daily Lohse sighting. It'll keep him relevant and fresh in the minds of GMs who will look to sign him once injury strikes.

Charlie (Irvine)

Re: Lohse past the draft- the team would not have to forfeit a draft pick. I think Rosenthal did a piece on that.

David Schoenfield
  (2:00 PM)

Thanks, Charlie.

Luke (Baltimore)

Thoughts on Justin Smoak - is he going to finally put it together this year or is he pretty much finished? He's only 25 or 26 years old, right...

David Schoenfield
  (2:01 PM)

Can't hit offspeed stuff.

Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)

If Blanton and Hanson are mediocre I would hate to see what Angels' fans considered bad......

Bob (Springfield, MO)

I don't consider what either Tatis or Vander Meer did to be records in the same class as most HRs or highest BA. Those are the isn't-that-interesting stats/records of which Jayson Stark is so fond.

David Schoenfield
  (2:01 PM)

Right, they are more achievements or accomplishments than records.

Josh (Atl)

Dave, is Teheran really 5th starter quality yet? He definitely has the stuff, but has looked so raw in the past year. Will the Braves regret trading Vizcaino and Delgado instead of him? Thanks.

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

He was terrible in Triple-A, so I have hard time seeing him being successful right now. I wrote about the Braves yesterday and I love their potential, but rotation depth is definitely the big concern, especially if Beachy has any setbacks in his return. Braves can get buy with Teheran for half a season, but what if Hudson or somebody else goes down?

Jason (St Louis)

In other words Justin Smoak is a younger version of Wily Mo Pena that plays first base?

David Schoenfield
  (2:04 PM)

Wily Mo had one good year, didn't he?

Steve (Chicago)

Lets talk about the ONLY Chicago baseball team that matters...the White Sox. What do you think they'll do this year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

Supposed to write on them for Friday, but Dave Cameron beat me to it with a piece yesterday at FanGraphs. His premise, which I was going to write as well: We always underestimate the White Sox. So, I'll say they look like a 76-win team to me but I'm probably wrong.

Jason (St Louis)

I don't like people knocking Tatis' 'record'. Not many guys produce a HR with the bases loaded so to do it twice in one inning is an amazing accomplishment.

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

And both slams came off Chan Ho Park. Beat that!

Alex (OH)

Dickey threw back to back one hitters last year right? Pretty close..

Bob (Seattle)

Extend Clint Hurdle? The guy who presided over consecutive years of collapses during the second half of the season? They'll probably fire him in September when the Pirates go 3 for 3.

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

Yeah, don't get that one at all.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

For the Cubs, I think you're probably looking at a Top 15 rotation, maybe better, but likely only for the first half of the season. The offense probably isn't going to score enough runs to really keep them in it with the Cardinals and Reds, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs trade at least Garza and one of Baker/Feldman. At which point one injury means the Cubs are giving starts to the Chris Rusins and Brook Raleys of the world.

Daniel (San Diego)

Is rotational depth really a huge priority for a team? With all the randomness concerning who gets injured and for how long, how many teams are even equipped to replace a starter effectively?

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

I think rotation depth is *hugely* important. Since nobody keeps all five starters healthy (although the Reds did last year), you need 6-7-8 capable starters. That's one reason to like teams like the Cardinals, Yankees, Rays.

Jason (St Louis)

Speaking of Wily Mo, he's only 29 years old. Is that amazing or what?

Ron (Seattle)

Mike Morse 30 HR's this year - you got the over or under?

David Schoenfield
  (2:09 PM)

Under. He's done it once. Unlikely to stay healthy for 150 games to do it again. But I don't hate the acquisition.

Matt (Steinway)

If the Mets still had Reyes and Dickey, would they be wc contenders? Sad how bad ownsership has tanked the franchise.

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

Hey, it's a small-market franchise now. They can't afford more than one big contract!

gregg (dc)

This may be like a needle in the haystack, but can you think of any outfield defenses faster than Bourn/Stubbs/Brantley? The indians' outfield is where fly balls go to die

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

Trout/Bourjos/Hamilton?

Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)

Have you seen the study - Jack Z has said the M's did one - that tells us how many homers the Mariners and their opponents would have hit in, say, the last three years with the new dimensions?

David Schoenfield
  (2:11 PM)

No, missed that. Was it made public?

Andy (GA)

After his perfect game in '09, Buehrle got the first 17 batters out in his next start before giving up a baserunner (and eventually taking the loss). Back to back perfectos would be something...

Jason (St Louis)

lol I don't think either Reyes or Dickey play outfield. Right now the Mets are fielding a Frontier league level OF.

Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)

If the Mariners still had Dickey, Morrow, Choo and Adam Jones would they be contenders?

Tarek (NYC)

How awesome would it be if Bill Hamilton can turn into Vince Coleman before the trap monster got him.

David Schoenfield
  (2:12 PM)

I think he'll be better than Coleman, who was never that great due to low/mediocre OBPs. I compared him to Willie Wilson in his upside in my piece today.

Dick (Florida)

So Morse won't be healthy, Smoak can't hit offspeed stuff, Carp just got DFA'd and Morales can't move anymore - who is the M's 1b come the end of the year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:13 PM)

It's kind of a sick joke -- the Mariners have four first basemen and none of them are suited for the job. Maybe Mike Morse, with Casper Wells/Ibanez platooning in left?

BassmanUW (Chicago)

Here's my hypothetical scenario: at the All Star Break the Cubs are somewhere within 1 game of .500 either way, and 5 games back from the second wildcard spot. Do you think Theo/Jed stand pat, buy, or sell? I bet they still sell hard in that scenario.

David Schoenfield
  (2:14 PM)

I think so. They've made it pretty clear that they're not "going for it" this year.

Chris (Washington )

I don't think Jack Z takes enough flak for the League-Morrow deal. Just brutal, even with Morrow's injury concerns.

Jason (St Louis)

Now you're ripping Vince Coleman? He's the only player in the 20th century to post three consecutive seasons of 100 or more steals and the first player in Major League history to steal 100 bases in the first three seasons of their career

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

And he still wasn't that good! OK, he was OK for a few seasons, but overrated at the time.

thomas (texas)

Hamilton quit is about the equivalent as giving someone a std. In perspective, if you or myself did a subpar job, failed to show up to work, etc, we shouldnt expect the accolades to rain down on us in a performance review. Josh is a bit out of touch with reality.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

Lots of guys mentioning back to back games pitchers came close to no hitters. Find me the guy that came close to 3 straight no hitters!

Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)

Amen to Chris in Washington. Trading League for Morrow was grounds for Z's firing.

Tarek (NYC)

Didn't see that, Willie 2.0 would be even better. Better chance of happening this year, a player stealing 80 bases or a batter hitting 50 Homeruns?

David Schoenfield
  (2:17 PM)

Gotta be 50 home runs -- Stanton being the guy I'd pick. Haven't had an 80-steal guy since 1988 -- our man Vince and Rickey Henderson.

Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)

Good news for Cubs fans is that both wild cards will be taken by two of the Giants, Dodgers, Braves and Nats (with the other two winningtheir divisions) so they won't have to worry about selling or not.

Jason (St Louis)

I will admit Vince was a little pudgy and he was nothing special after those three seasons. However he personified 'Whitey ball'.

Tarek (NYC)

I was watching MLB Season's 1985. That has to be my favorite baseball season of all time. Yanks and Mets in division race at the same time. Mattingly and Rickey at there peak, Gooden at his peak.And drunk Bill Martin getting into fights, with his team, Mets playing July 4th till 3 am in ATL, Two Yankees being thrown out at home plate and me crying my eyes out in game 160 when the Jays were gonna clinch the division until Butch Wynnger's gaming tying homerun off Tom Henke. Plus i was at the stadium for Seaver's 300 win that year.What's your fav overall baseball season?

David Schoenfield
  (2:21 PM)

Well, 2001 was pretty good: Mariners win 116, Bonds sets home run record, A's go 42-11 down the stretch, Jeter flip game in the playoffs, great World Series.

Charlie (Irvine)

Trout's put on some weight over the winter. Looks a little chubby coming into spring. He claims 9% body fat. Have you seen his face?! Not buying it. Cause for concern?

David Schoenfield
  (2:24 PM)

Nothing like spring training weight stories! I know said he usually loses 10 pounds during spring training. But doesn't 241 pounds seem, well, BIG? He weighed five more pounds than Pujols. It may not be a big deal yet, but I will predict that Trout will be one of those guys that loses some speed by his mid-20s. Guys who weigh 240 don't steal 40-50 bases a year.

Lou (Texas)

Seager, Walker, Franklin, Ramirez for Stanton right now - who hangs up?

David Schoenfield
  (2:25 PM)

Hmm ... probably the Marlins, but I wouldn't do that trade if I were the Mariners, especially if you believe in Ramirez many do.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

Depressing fact about being a Cubs fan: my favorite season is 2003.

Chris (Washington )

How can anyone argue with the 2011 season? The end was insanely entertaining.

Jason (St Louis)

2004 was the last great baseball season if you ask me. It was after that when stubhub entered the market and you had to start buying tickets online instead of at the stadium. I miss the days when you could camp out in front of the stadium to get the best available seats. Now your only option is paying through the nose to the legal scalpers.

Mike (WV)

What are the chances that the Rockie's Rosario sets the all time record for most passed balls (no knuckleball pitcher on the staff)? Looks pretty promising to me!

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

Is he that bad behind the plate? Didn't realize that.

David Schoenfield
  (2:29 PM)

So he had 21 passed balls last year. That is a lot. From what I can tell, most by a guy not catching a knuckleballer since ... Benito Santiago of the Padres in 1987 (22).

Alex (NY)

Will Hanley go 30-30?

David Schoenfield
  (2:29 PM)

No

Eric (IA)

I think you need to take a look at Chris Parmelee's AAA stats before you say he doesn't have a bat...338/457/645/1.102

David Schoenfield
  (2:31 PM)

Maybe. We'll see. Struggled mightily in the majors, but he's only 25, so maybe he did improve and just needs more ABs in the majors.

Tarek (NYC)

Pirates or KC. Which long suffering team has the best shot of making the playoffs this year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:32 PM)

Royals have more upside.

Charles (Seattle)

Is there anyway to explain to the rest of the baseball world why Jack Z doesn't have any REAL pressure to make the M's better? Mariners fans do the WAVE in Safeco in the 6th inning, down by 3 runs. Think about that. Their announcers get excited WHEN THE OTHER TEAM scores or hits homeruns. Love my M's, but they are what we think they are.

David Schoenfield
  (2:33 PM)

I think they have to have a winning season for him to keep his job. You can argue that he's DONE his job: Improve the farm system. But his big league moves -- League/Morrow, Figgins, Bradley, etc. -- haven't been as successful.

Xander (Philly)

Local Philly media reporting the Phillies are "aggressively pursuing Giancarlo Stanton." Any insight?

Matt (Boise)

To Thomas in Texas: What part of Hamilton's career in Texas was "subpar"? He was a five time All Star and won an MVP as a Ranger....

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

Good one. Phillies don't have the young talent to get Stanton.

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

Good one. Phillies don't have the young talent to get Stanton.

Jane (Washington)

Wow, someone to give Miguel Olivo and Rob Johnson for most passed balls-brutal M's catchers.

Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)

For a guy who made his reputation with the Braun and Fielder (pretty obvious considering the lineage) draft picks, Jack Z sure has a problem eyeing offensive talent. What gives?

David Schoenfield
  (2:36 PM)

I think the problem/issue is that no scout has a "special" eye for talent. Not saying some aren't better than others, but there is a certain amount of randomness and luck in draft selections.

David Schoenfield
  (2:36 PM)

I think the problem/issue is that no scout has a "special" eye for talent. Not saying some aren't better than others, but there is a certain amount of randomness and luck in draft selections.

Matt (Boise)

The Phillies could probably offer thier entire minor league system and not get Stanton.

Tarek (NYC)

Are you looking forward to seeing the Phils play defense this year? I am.

Jason (Nashville, TN)

Assuming there's a reasonable chance the Braves finish second to the Nats in the East, with the second-best record in the NL, do they have an Ace you'd want pitching in the one-game WC? Or could they get someone at the trade deadline?

David Schoenfield
  (2:37 PM)

I think Medlen will have an ace-caliber year. Maybe I'm buying high on those 12 starts, but they were 12 spectacular starts.

Jason (St Louis)

Maybe David Montgomery will offer 200 million dollars for Stanton. They sure don't have any players to trade for him.

Matt (Philly)

If Utley/Howard/Halladay are healthy, and Mike Adams handles the 8th inning, why wouldn't the Phillies go from 81 wins to 95?

David Schoenfield
  (2:40 PM)

I think it's possible, but you probably need some good results from more than just those four to do it. Michael Young, Domonic Brown, Delmon the Magnificent, Kyle Kendrick. Not sure those four are worth 14 wins by themselves.

Jay (Perth, Australia)

Dave, With Chris Carpenter out for the year who do you see being in the rotation? Miller, Kelly, or Rosenthal ? Personally i think it will be miller with Rosenthal sent to AAA to stay stretched out and maybe Kelly as Long relief.

Dan (Miami)

stat line for Manny Machado?

David Schoenfield
  (2:41 PM)

That's my guess as well. Kelly's stuff just doesn't match up with the other two and you have to keep developing Rosenthal as a starter. My question: Is Rosenthal better than Westbrook right now?

Charles (San Jose)

Depending on several post-30 players with injury histories to all stay healthy doesn't seem very realistic.

David Schoenfield
  (2:41 PM)

That's my guess as well. Kelly's stuff just doesn't match up with the other two and you have to keep developing Rosenthal as a starter. My question: Is Rosenthal better than Westbrook right now?

Dan (Miami)

do you see Wieters taking another leg up offensively or is it "he is what he is"?

David Schoenfield
  (2:43 PM)

Catchers sometimes develop late with the bat. I'm still holding out for a .280/.365/.500 season.

Matt (Boise)

I think Hamilton just told the truth. If you were to list off the best baseball cities who have a major league team Dallas would be in the 20s.

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

Although like somebody said, the Rangers were third in attendance last year, so I think it's a little unfair to say they're only in the 20s. But it's also fair to say Dallas is a football town first.

Matt (Boise)

Why can't Trout steal 40-50 bases will weighing in at 240lbs? The NFL has TEs and LBs who can weigh more than that who can run sub 4.4 40yd dash times. Why is it unrealistic for a MLB player to have similiar freakish athletic abilities?

David Schoenfield
  (2:47 PM)

Hey, I love Trout as much as anyone. My thought was nobody that big has done that (Canseco had that 40-40 year in 1988 but then stopped stealing as much, for example), but you're right: Trout is different.

ken (Palo Alto)

I know the Indians have a questionable rotation. But I if Dice-K and Kazmir can return to something close to their former selves that would give them a chance to bring their young guns -- Bauer, Carrasco, and McAllister along more slowly. Suddenly they'd be deep in pitching.

David Schoenfield
  (2:50 PM)

Sorry, chat software is hanging up on me. Anyway, how many years since Dice-K and Kazmir were any good? Seems like hopeful thinking to me.

Jason (St Louis)

The gross attendance for the Rangers last year was 3rd but their capacity was a little below 87% to rank seventh, .1% ahead of the Twins.

David Schoenfield
  (2:51 PM)

Then maybe the Twins should have built a bigger ballpark!

Kent (NYC)

Trout has the Freshman weight gain. We all did that in college. No biggie. Besides - didn't he live at home in offseason? You can't say no to momma's cooking!

Johnson (Helsinki)

What do you think of Phil Hughes prospects for this year? He's been really inconsistent in his career, so do you see him stepping up in his contract year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:52 PM)

I think the Yankees ride him out. He's in their rotation for this year. If he can curb his home runs a bit -- 35 last year -- he can be a quality No. 3 instead of a 4/5.

Matt (Philly)

WAR is a great stat... How does it work with pitchers? Because wouldn't a great closer be worth 10 or 12 wins over a series of average closers? Just because he controls the 9th inning of close games.

David Schoenfield
  (2:55 PM)

Well, WAR is arguably imperfect for relievers since it doesn't factor in game situation (although there are stats out there that do that). But even then, no, the best closers aren't worth that much more than even mediocre ones. Most teams only lose 4-5 games a year they lead heading into the ninth. I once did a study comparing Mariano Rivera to every Pirates closer. Rivera was worth something like two extra wins over all the guys that Pirates had used.

Chris (Alaska)

Triple slash line expectations for Dustin Ackley this year - is 270/350/475 way too optimistic?

David Schoenfield
  (2:57 PM)

I think the .475 slugging is a little high. He did apparently play through a bad ankle last year. Said it affected him in getting loose for games and limited his BP time, but didn't think it hurt him during games. But he definitely didn't drive the ball much last year.

BEN (MEXICO)

Is Crawford in the lead off spot for LAD?

David Schoenfield
  (2:57 PM)

I think that's the plan.

Jay (Perth, Australia)

Westbrook will probably retain his position due to experience over Rosenthal but yeah it would be a tough call as to who is better.

Alex (OH)

I am still mad the Reds gave Broxton 3yrs/21m. Why do teams overpay for closers when the last two WS Champs have had closers by committee? Don't you think closers are overrated

David Schoenfield
  (2:58 PM)

Generally, yes. That deal didn't make a lot of sense for the Reds. They had plenty of bullpen depth even with Chapman moving to the rotation.

Jon Daniels (Dallas)

Matt in Boise, this is according to ESPN too, Texas has been in the top 20 in attendance for 10 out of the last 11 years.

Matt (Boise)

How about an article ranking the major league cities with regards to how much of a baseball city it has historically been? Might be a bit difficult to quantify but I bet you find Dallas closer to 20 than 10.

Jay (Chicago)

The next biggest stastical impact seems like it is going to be the ability to judge balls in play (speed, plane, area, etc.). Will this have a bigger impact on the evaluation of hitters (for BABIP purposes), pitchers (same), or fielders (for defensive rating purposes)?

David Schoenfield
  (2:59 PM)

Probably more impact on fielding than anything. My understanding is that Field f/x data will not be made public, however.

Tarek (NYC)

Chances of Trout scoring 140+ runs this year. I know runs scored by a player isn't a saber friendly stat but i think he can put up some historic numbers at the top of the LAA lineup.

David Schoenfield
  (3:01 PM)

If Hamilton stays healthy and hits 30+ bombs, I'd say 50/50. Not sure anyone outside of that '90s/'00s "steroids era" has done it since Rickey with the Yankees in '86.

Mike (Long Island)

What do people mean when they call City X a "baseball city?" looking at attendance alone is a very imprecise measurement, sort of like fielding percentage for determining defensive prowess. That having been said, anyone who has spent 10 minutes in Dallas -- or any Texas city, for that matter -- knows that football is number one, and all other sports are tied for last.

David Schoenfield
  (3:04 PM)

Exactly. For most teams, attendances rises and falls with the success of the team. Seattle was a lousy baseball and then it was a great one (led the league in attendance) and now it's bad one again. Cleveland was a bad baseball city, than a great one, now a bad one again. Heck, even won the Yankees won 114 games in 1998 there were only EIGHTH in the majors in attendance. So maybe New York is a lousy baseball city as well.

Gabe (Seattle)

Where do you rank Opening Day on the best sports days of the year? To me it's right behind first days of the NCAA tourney and the first Sunday of the NFL.

David Schoenfield
  (3:04 PM)

I'm a baseball guy, so what do you expect me to say?

Ben (Charlotte)

is there something about vets and reclamation projects the Indians/Francona love? Swisher, Bourn, Dice-K, Kazmir, Giambi ... what's going on here?

David Schoenfield
  (3:05 PM)

Well, Swisher and Bourn are good players signed to reasonable deals. The other guys didn't cost anything. If they look bad in camp, they just get cut. No harm, no foul.

Johnson (Helsinki)

Trout probably gained the weight because he spent the offseason, crying on the couch with a tub of ice cream because he didn't win the MVP or a gold glove

Jason (St Louis)

Someone in DFW wronged Matt in Boise somehow. I don't know what it was but it had to be bad.

Mike (Long Island)

As big a fan as I am of Mariano Rivera, it's clear by now that "closer by committee" can work -- almost as well as having a single stud closer. But there's a very important caveat: You'd better have a hell of a committee, not just three guys named Moe.

David Schoenfield
  (3:06 PM)

And a bad bullpen can wreck a season -- see the Brewers last year, or all those early season leads the Phillies gave up.

Jeff (Boulder)

How do you feel about Tulo's prospects this year? Buying a monster, MVP type of season?

David Schoenfield
  (3:08 PM)

Well, I think the Rockies will be bad, so he may have MVP numbers if not MVP support. He's only 28, so if he's healthy, no reason he can't do what he did from 2009-11.

Tarek (NYC)

Some of us Yankee fans liked it better when it was a "lousy" baseball town. Only fans at the games who went to watch the game, not at the game so they can tell friends they were at a game like it's a club/bar etc..

Alex (OH)

How about a surprise team in each league?

David Schoenfield
  (3:10 PM)

I was asked this last week and had trouble coming up with an answer. If we don't include the Blue Jays or Red Sox, whom most people expect to be competitive, I'd go with the Mariners or Indians in the AL and ... well, I guess the Padres in the NL. Not really an obvious NL team that was under .500 last year.

mikebk (brooklyn)

David, do you think the Nats should sign Lohse, and put Detwiller in the bullpen? Mainly for depth.

David Schoenfield
  (3:11 PM)

Well, I think Detwiler is too good to bury in the bullpen, but I understand the idea of adding another starter since the Nats don't have much after those top five. But there's something about keeping guys in roles if they've earn them, so I don't think demoting Detwiler would go over well in the clubhouse.

Brian (Fremont)

With no more hamate bones to break, does the Panda have a monster year?

David Schoenfield
  (3:13 PM)

I just read that he's ... overweight! Man, that line he had in 2009 was pretty awesome, wasn't it? .330/.387/.556? I guess he still has that ability, but them are some big numbers. I'll take the over on last year, but under on that line.

Ron (Little Rock)

Gun-to-your-head - Mariners over or under 81 wins?

David Schoenfield
  (3:14 PM)

Well, if you put it that way, I'll take the under.

zack (stl)

Is the NL central a two team race or do the Pirates/Brewers make it a little interesting?

David Schoenfield
  (3:15 PM)

Don't count out the Brewers. Bullpen was a disaster last year, rotation is underrated. And they only finished, what, five games behind St. Louis?

Lenny (Portland)

Which team improved there bullpen the most in the off-season?

David Schoenfield
  (3:16 PM)

Red Sox. Added Hanrahan and Uehera. Get Bailey back. Full seasons from Breslow and Tazawa (check his numbers) and maybe Bard.

Charles (Seattle)

Thanks for the response earlier. Doesn't it just feel like a pennant race could be impacted this year by a PED scandal we don't know about yet? The Giants managed to escape what could've been a huge setback last year -- but how likely is that to be repeated by another team?

Dan (Miami)

Orioles over/under 81 wins?

David Schoenfield
  (3:17 PM)

I'm going just under. But hope I'm wrong and that the Orioles prove all us skeptics wrong.

Alex (OH)

I know you are high on Mat Latos, what do you make of his bad April/May stats in his first few years? Is that something they would try to address in spring training?

David Schoenfield
  (3:19 PM)

He's been good in May overall in his career, so it looks mostly like an April thing. I believe there is a history of power pitchers struggling in April, maybe something to do with cold weather more than figuring out a new way to approach spring training?

mikebk (brooklyn)

Thanks for the answer David. I need the season to start so I can stop asking myself "what if Storen threw one more strike". #worldserieschamps

Marc (Ottawa)

Who are your expected ROY candidates in the AL & NL

David Schoenfield
  (3:20 PM)

Chatters?

David Schoenfield
  (3:21 PM)

I'd probably go with Wil Myers in the AL -- although the Rays may hold him back to save on his service time (which I think would be a mistake). And Adam Eaton in the NL. Should be the everyday center fielder for Arizona.

Johnson (Helsinki)

Surprise pick for AL ROY: Austin Romine!

Sean (Phoenix)

ROY in the NL is Adam Eaton's to lose.

Jason (St Louis)

Edinson Volquez for NL RoY

David Schoenfield
  (3:22 PM)

Nice one.

Matt (Boise)

Over/Under 15 home runs for Ichiro this year?

David Schoenfield
  (3:22 PM)

Under.

zack (stl)

I just read the Jonah Keri's Grantland piece on worst contracts so I ask who would you rather have on the books: AROD or Ryan Howards deal?

David Schoenfield
  (3:22 PM)

At this point, I'd take Howard.

Jason (St Louis)

The ace for the Brewers, Yovanni Gallardo, would barely crack the rotation for the Natinals, to use them as an example. I don't see them sniffing the playoffs.

David Schoenfield
  (3:23 PM)

Brewers rotation had the best strikeout percentage in the NL last year. And the Nationals aren't in the NL Central.

Dave (Buffalo)

Kyle Zimmer AL, Shelby Miller NL

Dad (Baltimore)

Thoughts on Jarrod Parker? sneaky good pick?

David Schoenfield
  (3:24 PM)

Fantasy? Sure.

Matt (St. Paul)

True or False: By the end of the year, Justin Morneau will be wearing a Twins uniform.

David Schoenfield
  (3:24 PM)

True.

Sean (Phoenix)

Do the Diamondbacks secretly have the best bullpen in the MLB? Hernandez and Putz have been dominant the last two, Ziegler is a groundball machine, now they have Bell (one season removed from being very good) and two solid lefties (Reynolds, Sipp) that are more than just lefty specialists. And a lot of velocity in that pen.

David Schoenfield
  (3:24 PM)

Maybe. I do love that pen, although Putz had a few too many blown saves last year.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

Shelby Miller NL, Carter Capps AL

zack (stl)

Shelby Miller in the NL

Andrew (Bellevue)

What's your stance on comparing Ichiro's total hits (from Japan) with other MLBers, like Pete Rose?

David Schoenfield
  (3:26 PM)

If he got close to Rose, I think it would get a lot of attention, which seems reasonable to me.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

Even if the A-Rod deal is worse right now, though, the Howard deal is more unforgivable at the time it was made. He was still under contract for a couple of years and anyone with eyes could see he was already into his decline.

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

Wil Myers and Adam Eaton

Dan (Miami)

What is Joe Maddon's WAR(M)?

David Schoenfield
  (3:26 PM)

Has to be the highest in the majors. Best manager in the game in my book.

Oaktoon (Madison)

Since the abbreviated season of 1995, only twice have as few as two teams failed to win 95+ games and the average has been 4. And yet the first over-unders have no team ABOVE 90 wins!! Care to name two or three teams that will go well over 90??

David Schoenfield
  (3:29 PM)

Yeah, the over/unders are (understandably) very conservative. My picks would be the Nationals and Tigers. Although everyone thought the Tigers would be great last year and they only won 88. No. 3: Hmm, probably the Braves. NL East and AL West are too tough. I like the Reds, but they lose all those games against the Astros and the Cubs will be better.

zack (stl)

I'll take Oscar Taveras if there is a Carlos Beltran knee injury in spring training though.

Jason (St Louis)

So on the 20-80 scale, Maddon is 80 and Jim Tracy is a 20.

ben (los angeles)

one more time......Hanley Rameriz at short.....can't field (no range) and subpar arm........and somewhat of a prima donna......the Dogs an do better........your thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (3:30 PM)

Are you calling the Dodgers dogs already? And, yes, Ramirez should be a third baseman these days. 50/50 that Ramirez stays at short all year.

Dan (Miami)

Go-to snack while ESPN chatting?

David Schoenfield
  (3:32 PM)

OK, looks like we've run out of baseball questions. But today it was salt-and-vinegar chips. See everyone next week! Hey, we'll have games to talk about! Spring training, but games nonetheless.