Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (1:01 PM)

Phillies vs. the Dominican Republic. Sure, I'll watch and chat at the same time. Let's go ...

Jack (Toronto)

David, thanks for the follow up last week regarding defensive WAR. I appreciate it, but to me it still sounds like dWAR is being judged too much by opportunity and would be similar to rating hitters by RBIs and Runs. Unless I'm missing something.

David Schoenfield
  (1:03 PM)

I understand the hesitation, but it's the same reason starting pitchers are more valuable than relievers -- they pitch more innings. Or a guy with 500 at-bats is more valuable than a guy with 300 at-bats with the same numbers.

David Schoenfield
  (1:03 PM)

And from talking with Ben Jedlovec of Baseball Info Solutions and our own defensive whiz, Mark Simon, I don't think the actual opportunities are THAT extreme to create huge differences in value.

K (philly)

My parlay on the Nats, Reds, and Tigers to win their divisions was foolish or not a bad bet?

David Schoenfield
  (1:04 PM)

Not exactly going out on the limb there.

Eddie (Fresno)

Spring stats don't mean much, but isn't it encouraging that Brandon Belt is not only hitting, but hitting for some pretty impressive power right now?

David Schoenfield
  (1:05 PM)

Carlos Peguero looks awesome as well. Doesn't mean anything, especially with the way the ball flies in those Arizona spring training parks. (That said, I DO like Belt as a breakout guy this year.)

Greg (LA)

how much will Trout's WAR suffer due to the move from CF to LF?

David Schoenfield
  (1:06 PM)

Good question. I assume the replacement level batting line for left fielders is a little higher (although I don't think left fielders have outhit center fielders in recent seasons), and he'll lose positional adjustment value. But his defense will now be compared to other left fielders instead of center fielder, so he could make up ground there. Just estimating here, but shouldn't affect too much. Maybe half a win or so.

dc (dc)

Spring stats don't mean much, but isn't it encouraging that Brian Roberts is not only apparently healthy, but hitting really well right now?

K (philly)

Even taking those favorites pays out 4/1 in a parlay

David Schoenfield
  (1:07 PM)

I may have to ... uhh, nothing. Nothing. No, those are my picks in those divisions as well.

Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)

Hey David, what is your prediction for the AL East final standings?

David Schoenfield
  (1:08 PM)

Rays, Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles. I think. Who does everyone else have?

Jack (Toronto)

No doubt I didn't mean opportunity as in playing time. I meant defensive chances. Imagine 2 CF with the exact same range. One of them might very well end up with a lot chances withing their range but outside of replacement range. dWAR would substantially credit one over the other claiming they are better defensively, when really they just had more chances to show their defensive prowess.

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

Right. That is the way it works. But I don't see the flaw. Defensive Runs Saved is still attempting to measure value added, not providing a scouting report on a player's skills, if that makes sense. For example, the Rays love to shift and align their defenses more than most teams. That helps give their players better defensive ratings. Maybe players from other teams would derive the same benefits if they played for the Rays.

Sean (Phoenix)

If you don't rate based on defensive opportunities, it turns into a 'scoring' system akin to a Madden rating. And that would be hated by the fans even more.

John (Los Angeles)

On behalf of both of the remaining Cleveland Indians fans, I'd like to thank your SweetSpot colleague Ms. Liscio for her excellent recent article on the 1948 pennant. In the spirit of One-Year Wonders, as well as on general principle, it might be worth remembering that a key pitcher on that team was 27 year-old rookie Gene Bearden, a lefthanded knuckleballer who won 20 games, despite his having been severely wounded in WW II.

David Schoenfield
  (1:12 PM)

Stephanie did a great job on that piece. Would love to see the pennant magically re-appear some day!

casey (bay area)

Would the ability to trade draft picks destroy all the intricate rewards and penalties or offseason moves?

David Schoenfield
  (1:14 PM)

I don't see why. I'd have to have a rule, for example, that you could only sign a free agent given a qualifying offer (Hamilton, Greinke, etc.) as long as you haven't traded your pick, since the penalty for signing one of those guys is your first-round pick. I think we'll see the ability to trade draft picks approved within a decade.

Jay (CT)

No question. Just want to say that the Mariners are the best. I don't think they can be stopped.

David Schoenfield
  (1:14 PM)

I'm ordering my playoff tickets later today.

Kevin (Orlando/Tampa Bay)

Rays all-day baby!!! Going to run away with the AL East!!!

GDR (T.O.)

AL East will be Jays, Yanks, Rays, O's, Sox. John Farrell can't manage a big league club, Sox will implode by Independence Day. Do the Jays re-sign JJ during the season?

David Schoenfield
  (1:16 PM)

All depends on his health, of course. But if he's healthy and pitches well, he'll have a lot of suitors. I could see a couple teams in Southern California being very interested. Or a team in Texas.

casey (bay area)

I have Rays, Yanks, BJs, Sox, O's. Yankees always find a way, and I never buy into a team HUGE over-hall the 1st year

Brian (Fort Wayne)

Is Leyland in the hot seat this year if he doesn't win it all?

David Schoenfield
  (1:16 PM)

Win the World Series? That's a tall order, no? I don't think so, unless the Tigers somehow don't win the division.

Frank (Detroit)

What do you do if you're Dave Dombrowski? Sign K-Rod or Brian Wilson? Or try and trade Porcello for a closer?

David Schoenfield
  (1:17 PM)

K-Rod is awful. Who knows with Wilson. I'd trade Porcello -- not that good and I like Smyly better. But they can wait and see who is available at midseason as well.

Ben (UK)

Jays, Rays, Yanks, Sox, O's for me. Jays have too much firepower to ignore, but I'd love to see the Rays win it.

Larry (Cleveland)

Why is Trout moving out of CF anyways? Hamilton boots routine fly balls in important games

David Schoenfield
  (1:18 PM)

Peter Bourjos will be in center, Hamilton in right.

Cas (Orlando)

What do you expect from the Phillies and their aging IF this year?

David Schoenfield
  (1:19 PM)

Tough one. Definitely one of the 10 most important questions of the year. Prediction: Utley still a good player (if below his peak, of course), Rollins does about what he did last year, Howard hits .240 with 30 bombs (not great) and Michael Young hits an empty .260 with bad D. Which means: (A) The three aces better all remain healthy; (B) Dom Brown better hit.

Jason (Orlando)

Love the Jays. Take a 73 win team, trade for the core of a 69 win team, then trade for a 40 year old one year wonder. How can you not love that?

Cas (Orlando)

While we're talking Phillies, why is nobody at the game vs. DR?

Larry (Cleveland)

Why is Jim Thome looked at as a slam dunk Hall of Famer? He was a HR/BB/K guy his whole career. Mediocre to bad on defense. Yah he smiles, but he is a 1 dimensional player.. And if he goes in he better not have Cheif Wahoo on his hat.. The way he ditched us..

David Schoenfield
  (1:21 PM)

Well, home runs and walks are very valuable "one dimension" to have. And he didn't really ditch Cleveland. The way I remember it is they basically let him walk; didn't want to pay him.

Marc (Sacramento, CA)

Just got back from my trip to Scottsdale, AZ, and got to see your Mariners play. Really liked what I saw out of Nick Franklin. Had a chance to ask him what position he would be playing, 2B or SS, and he kind of shrugged his shoulders and said wherever. Where do you see him playing in the Majors and will it be this year?

David Schoenfield
  (1:23 PM)

With Ryan and Ackley, he'll start in Triple-A. I think he stays at shortstop until he definitely proves he can't play there and probably makes an appearance at some point this year (September call-up, at least). Long-term, Ryan probably only has a year or two left (as soon as he loses a step on defense, he's done). I saw Franklin added a bunch of weight. You may have read about his 6,500-calories-a-day diet in the offseason since he said he was down to 162 pounds at the end of last season.

David Schoenfield
  (1:24 PM)

I guess I didn't answer: If I had to bet, I think Franklin is the team's shortstop in 2014.

Larry (Larry)

You remember wrong, David. Thome preached for years that his 1st love was Cleveland. He said he would retire in Cleveland and claimed play here for free.. They renamed part of their stadium for him. Offered him a huge contract over 5 years. He took basically the same money over 6 years in PHI.

David Schoenfield
  (1:25 PM)

Well, I'd have to check the reports from the time. But the Indians were letting everyone walk back then --- Manny, Thome, Alomar. I think Dolan had purchased the team by then and didn't want to pay the big salaries, no?

Candy (Slippery Rock)

Hi Dave, Rangers more likely to trade for someone like Porcello or sign Lohse?

David Schoenfield
  (1:26 PM)

Well, you'd think if they really wanted Lohse they would have signed him by now. Of course, maybe Perez's injury changes their mind-set, but seems like a Porcello trade is more likely.

Roger (OH)

To add to Larry's point Thome was quoted as saying someone "would have to rip the jersey off (his) back" to get him to leave the Tribe. He played the good-guy routine, but in reality was no different than Manny and Belle. At least they were man enough to make their intentions clear from the beginning.

David Schoenfield
  (1:27 PM)

OK, maybe my memory has failed me. But I don't think anyone of us really know what the Indians did or didn't off Thome in private.

Jim C (Houston)

I thought the reason the Indians let Thome go was because they couldn't afford both him and Roger Dorn on the same payroll.

Marc (Sacramento, CA)

I know Brandon Belt's Spring Training numbers don't matter and to not read too much into them, but in general, if it's a big-league starter facing big-league pitcher, something can taken away from that right?

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

As Keith Law wrote today, Gabe Gross once hit eight home runs in spring training for the Blue Jays. Just not a fan of reading too much into spring stats, especially early on when starters may be throwing all fastballs or working on a new pitch.

Tarek (NYC)

Rays, Jays, Yanks, Bal and Sox. With only the Rays making the playoffs.

Cas (Orlando)

Wow, didn't know Thome could produce such anger and hatred...

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

I thought everyone loved Thome!

Dave (Novato)

David, with Furcal going down would the Cardinals and Rangers be able to work something out for Andrus with Taveras as the centerpiece?

David Schoenfield
  (1:31 PM)

What, you don't believe in Pete Kozma? Hmm .. I don't see that trade happening, especially considering the ages of Holliday and Beltran. I love Andrus but Taveras has a chance to be really special. And from the other side ... well, yes, I could see Texas maybe doing that. But I think Cards could go with a stopgap, either Kozma or somebody else. How about getting Ryan back from the Mariners?

Mike Ho (Hong Kong)

Do you think that Bumgarner's struggles down the stretch last year were just a blip or something significant?

David Schoenfield
  (1:32 PM)

Just a blip. No accounts of arm soreness or anything that I recall. I haven't checked his velocity in spring training yet, Anybody know?

Chuck (NY)

Working off Dave's proposed Tex/StL deal, why not Profar for Tavares. One unproven rook for another.

Larry (Cleveland)

RE: Cas - Orlando.The fact that "everyone loved Thome" is what brings out the anger. He slapped us in the face, but did it with that big smile

Spiegel (Stevenson Ranch,CA)

Roger Dorn was a player/GM of the Indians at the time Thome was a free agent. Dorn didn't want to give up his spot on the 25 man roster for Thome.

Taylor (Iowa)

Dave, the Cardinals are not trading Taveras, period. The guy is going to be a monster.

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

Yeah, that's my feeling. With so few elite hitting prospects right now in the minors, you're not going to trade one who is.

Brian (Fremont)

Is health pretty much the only thing you can take from ST performances?

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

It's really difficult to take much else. OK, Justin Smoak (insert player of your choice) is working on a new stance and putting up big numbers. But what does that mean? I just don't want to put much stock into it. Remember, Eric Hosmer had a monster spring last year and then was terrible. Some guy named Matt Hague for the Pirates was second in home runs.

Ted (Ok)

re: Brian.. Dont forget the ability to throw strikes

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

I disagree with not trading an elite hitting prospect as the Royals just did (thank you from a Rays fan!)

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

The Kansas City Royals, everyone!

Mitch (NC)

The CBA made the modest increase to Trout's salary completely legal, Trout has taken the high road and not complained, so is it just the media/fans that are making a big deal out of it?

David Schoenfield
  (1:36 PM)

Well, they're only making a big deal out of it because Trout's agent made a big deal out of it. If I was Trout, I'd tell the agent to shut his trap and remind him that they'll both get a ginormous payday soon enough.

Jeff S (Seattle)

Last week I asked for a reason to be excited for the Marines. Now they've won 10 in a row... Should I start getting exciting, or are the wheels going to fall off this victory bus once the real season rolls around?

David Schoenfield
  (1:38 PM)

My dad tell me the other day that every time the Mariners have a winning record in spring training they have a losing record in the regular season and vice versa. I don't know if that's actually true or just grumpy old man talk. BUT ... it certainly will make the start of the season more intriguing. But, again, let's see how they do the final 10 games of spring training rather than the first 10.

Justin (Mexico)

Can we have a team down here? or 2?

Taylor (Iowa )

In my opinion the Cardinals will go with Kozma for now, but If the Rockies struggle. clap clap clap clap clp, TULO!

Roger (OH)

In fairness though David, I believe Thome did get slightly more money annually from Philly than he would have from the Tribe's offer, but like Larry said, the two contracts were definitely pretty comparable.

Cas (Orlando)

What's the coolest single game feat you've witnessed in person?

David Schoenfield
  (1:39 PM)

Hmm ... once Jay Buhner hit for the cycle. Never seen a no-hitter in person.

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

Best game I ever saw in person was 2011 World Series Game 6 or any of the games from the 2001 World Series.

David Schoenfield
  (1:41 PM)

Craziest thing ever was the time Phil Bradley destroyed Buck Martinez at home plate (broke his collarbone) and then, with Martinez unable to get up, George Bell picked up a ball in left field (Martinez had to throw out Gorman Thomas at third base) and threw a one-hopper to Buck (still on the ground, mind you) and he tagged out Thomas for the double play. I think the video is out there somewhere.

Ross (MN)

Re: coolest single game feat: was in MN for Johan's 18-K game against the Rangers. Every time, he would throw 2 fastballs for strikes, then wipe out the hitters with either his unhittable changeup or his unhittable slider. Every 2-strike count from the 4th inning on, every fan there was on their feet. It was an awesome atmosphere, to say the least.

Ben (UK)

A game over here would be cool, never mind a team!

Jeff (Ann Arbor)

Mega-Upton is like Bruce Lee and the Mariners are like Beverly Hills Ninja. That is to say, it's ok to admit that you're scared.

Rich (Ithaca, NY)

David, what are your thoughts on SP Jacob Turner long term? Thanks.

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

I'm only going by the numbers, but he certainly pitched well with the Marlins after the trade. No. 2 upside? Lots of positives there.

Rick (Virginia Piedmont)

What are the chances Brian Roberts can stay healthy and boost the Birds this season?

David Schoenfield
  (1:44 PM)

I could be wrong, but good luck finding a guy who has played barely 100 games over three years because of injuries and then returned healthy and played well. Very unlikely.

Joseph (Miami)

Which OF would you take for THIS YEAR ALONE: Angels or Braves?

David Schoenfield
  (1:44 PM)

Angels

Matt (Steinway)

Have you ever considered giving up writing and instead being an Independent Business Owner? I hear there's a storefront at Citi Field that can help you out! (Seriously, how tone deaf is Mets PR these days to shack up with a pyramid scheme like Amway?!?)

Casey (bay area)

in 97 I got to see a world series game played in the snow. In Cleveland of course. the following morning headline read "Win-chill factor"

Marc (Sacramento, CA)

Saw Bumgarner pitched last Friday against the A's. Looks about right for this point in Spring Training. No radar gun posted at the stadium but pitched 1.2 innings, allowing 3 hits and 1 run. K'd 2 and BB 2 but many felt he was getting squizzed by the home plate ump.

John (Detroit)

Tom Wilhelmsen & Casper Wells for Rick Porcello

David Schoenfield
  (1:46 PM)

Can the Tigers toss back Doug Fister? Actually, your idea makes some sense. Back of Seattle's rotation is weak and they have a deep bullpen.

Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)

All of the Thome hate makes me laugh. All of these people complaining would have done the exact same. If another company offered thm more money and a chance to leave Ohio they would take the job also. I know these people are emotional but baseball is a job to Thome.

Tarek (NYC)

Lucky enough to be at Righetti's no hitter in 1983 and Tom Seaver's 300 win in 1985.

bebopdeluxe (philly)

Howard hitting .240 with only 30HR's? M Young with an "empty" .260 and bad D? Where did you come up with that? NONE of the preseason stats servides that saber guys like you swear by (James, PECOTA, etc...) have those guys at numbers like that - NONE of them. So where did you come up with that? Simple, straight-line declines from last season? How they look this spring? (It sure ain't from THAT) Doesn't it make sense that Howard playing on TWO healthy legs and Young having ONE position to focus on for 140 games should lead to...you know...actual IMPROVEMENTS from last season - right? I guess that taking a position like that (that the Phillies might actually see MATERIAL IMPROVEMENT from a .500 team that was ravaged by injuries and a horrifically bad 8th inning ) is anathema for you. You have been projecting their decline for the past couple of years, which is fine...but when you throw out projections like that - projections that the almightly-blessed saber-guys aren't even putting out there - just make you look silly.

David Schoenfield
  (1:49 PM)

Michael Young has been a lousy defender for years. No range, poor first step and he's getting older. There's a reason the Rangers moved him off the infield. Young hit .284 in 2010 and .277 in 2012, in the best hitting park in the AL. So, yes, .260 with little power seems reasonable. Maybe the .338 mark in 2011 wasn't a fluke, but I think it was.

David Schoenfield
  (1:51 PM)

As for Howard, you're right, nobody predicts him to hit .240 with 30 homers. ZiPS has him at .242 with 23 homers. Oliver has him at .242 with 22 homers. Steamer has him at .248 with 26 homers.

CC (Atlanta)

Howard and Young are old and in decline. How's that for a reason? Sheesh, Philly fans are unbearable.

Tarek (NYC)

Yeah David, what the guy from Philly said! Add Philly fans to the Yankees fans, Giants Fans who all think for some reason you and every other writer hates them. lol!

Steve (NJ)

The Indians offered Thome $60M/5, the Phillies signed him for $85M/6. The Indians did not make an offer that was competitive. Asking the guy to turn down $25M is absurd. Let it go.

Larry (Cleveland)

RE: Mike (CA) we, in cleveland, know baseball is a business better than you. We have seen our players leave for more money or more sun or glory for decades. We have been Lebroned over and over. The difference with Thome is that he claimed Baseball was more than a job. He acted like Cleveland was his home and he would be a part of it all. Instead he left for an extra year on the contract.

Jimmy (Chicago)

If you are Detroit do you really want to trade Porcello right now for bullpen help? I know the rotation looks great now but if Smyly struggles or someone gets hurt, there are no SP prospects who would be remotely ready to start. Why not keep porcello in the rotation, smyly in the pen then have the insurance?

David Schoenfield
  (1:53 PM)

That's my take. Look, the Tigers *should* win the division easily. There's no need to panic now because Bruce Rondon can't throw strikes in spring training. Now, if Coke or Benoit has blown six saves by June, then maybe you start looking for a closer. But you don't have to do it now when you can probably get one much cheaper at the trade deadline. And don't sleep on Al Alburquerque and his nasty slider!

Larry (Cleveland)

And THAT is why indians fans are pumped about Nick Swisher and Terry Francona. They wanted to come and play in Cleveland and that is rare. Similar to Bernie Kozar

Spiegel (Stevenson Ranch,CA)

Shouldn't Cleveland fans be more upset with ownership for letting so many stars walk over the years? Why would the players want to stay on a team with a limited budget that has trouble staying competitive?

Robert (New York)

Dickey a 40 year old one year wonder? Check out his stats from mid 2011 on. P.S. He's 38.

Kirk (The TC)

Game 7, 1987 World Series. My ears rang for 3 days afterward.

Matt (Boise)

Do you think it would make more sense for the Angels to trade Bourjous? That would open up CF for Trout and they could move Trumbo back out to LF.

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

I think they got it right. Trumbo needs to play first or DH. Not an outfielder. And Bourjos is *really* good out there -- and that staff will need help from its defense.

Marc (Sacramento, CA)

Why don't the Tigers trade Porcello for bullpen help and then sign Loshe? As long as they are in a win-now mode, why the need for the draft pick?

Jason (Orlando)

Sorry. 38 year old one-and-a-half year wonder.

Ben (Charlotte)

Porcello for Andrus?

David Schoenfield
  (1:56 PM)

No. Andrus is much more valuable.

GDR (T.O.)

The 2012 Marlins were 7 games above .500 at the end of May. Then injuries killed their momentum. The Jays were hovering around .500 when injuries devastated their entire team. The 2013 Jays will win 88+ games this year, guaranteed.

Greg (LA)

nothing wrong with Trout's agent making the point. Yankees paid Jeter 3x minimum for year 2; same with Cards and Pujols. Make the point that they should have compensated Trout for his historic year, and then move on.

David Schoenfield
  (1:57 PM)

Well, I do agree that the Angels should have given him a big raise. It's few extra hundred thousand if it may build goodwill down the road. By the way, considering Trout is from New Jersey ... how much do the Yankees offer him when he becomes a free agent in 2018?

Sean (Phoenix)

Also for bebopdeluxe, the "models/projections" like ZiPS, James, Steamer, etc. aren't subjective. It's not some guy looking at numbers and predicting numbers. They are computer programs compiling an obscene amount of data. The models can never be perfect, but they are generally very reasonable. That being said, expecting Howard to do much of anything is wishful thinking at best.

Andrew (CA)

Andrus is much more valuable = understatement of the day. JD would hang up the phone laughing his head off if that deal was proposed

Chris (Marana (Arizona))

David, who are your "sleeper" teams who will surprise and contend for (or even grab) playoff spots like Baltimore did last year?

David Schoenfield
  (1:59 PM)

I'll be honest: I'm having trouble coming up with sleeper teams. I'm biased, but maybe the Mariners? They'll need one of the A's/Rangers/Angels to collapse a bit, but they did win 75 games lat year, added more offense and get 19 games against the Astros.

Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)

Acutally Nick Swisher wawnted to play for the Yankees or Dodgers. He went to Cleveland because no one else wanted to pay him.

Cas (Orlando)

What pitchers benefit most from the defense behind them?

David Schoenfield
  (2:00 PM)

Jered Weaver is an extreme fly ball guy with Trout and Bourjos behind him. He'd likely be worse with just about any other team. Anybody on the Rays, with all their shifting. Matt Harrison -- groundball guy with Beltre, Andrus and Kinsler behind him.

Larry (Cleveland)

the indians had a payroll bordering on 100$ mil during the late 90s. Their players left for Bos and Phi. Teams whose payrolls were much on the rise. 12$/5 compared to 14$/6 seems pretty competitive to me, btw. However, yah the Dolans have been pretty cleap over the last decade

Alex (OH)

Re: GDR in TO so they are going to stay healthy all year? Give me a break.

Tarek (NYC)

The Yankees will offer Trout, Jeter's locker. His little black book (updated to that year) and a one of Trump's Hotels after it goes bankrupt again.

John (Cincinnati, OH)

Aren't Arrieta and Britton lower priced options that have equalish skills to Porcello?

David Schoenfield
  (2:02 PM)

Sure. Porcello has been healthier, but I'm not sure he's any better.

David Schoenfield
  (2:02 PM)

Did see he's working on a curveball this spring. He certainly needs to develop a strikeout pitch.

Robert (New York)

Dickey 2010 174 INN 2.84 ERA 1.187 WHIP 2011 208 INN 3.28 1.227 WHIP So does that make him a 3 year wonder?

Matt (CA)

Weaver was plenty good when the Angels OF featured Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera.

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

Fair enough, although he also had Torii Hunter in center, then Bourjos. Check his BABIP through the years: .312, .298, .278. .276, .250, .241. Pretty amazing. In fact ... it's so amazing I wonder if he's due for some bad luck this year.

Roger (OH)

I love the wannabe online tough guys (I'm looking at Mike in Cali) who spew criticism about a city they've likely never been to, and add their completely ill-informed opinions on a topic they know absolutely nothing about! If you have something to say that's relevant, say it. If you're just here to run your mouth about Cleveland fans, find some friends or a better hobby, kid!

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

Can't we go back to making fun of Phillies and Yankees fans? (Just kidding. I love you guys!)

Ben (UK)

Mike Trout might have more range, but Bobby was way more gritty.

Jason (Orlando)

Re: Robert (New York) That's quite a WHIP Dickey's got. You realize he'll now be pitching in a hitter's park, right?

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

Who are you Cy Young picks this season: I'm going with Mat Latos in the NL and Josh Johson in the AL...

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

I'm going out on a limb: Kershaw and Verlander.

Ben (UK)

Since 2010, R.A. Dickey is 4-0 against AL East opponents with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP in six total starts.

c (longwood)

re: josh johnson in AL... may need to see his split stats AWAY from the huge fields of Miami the past 3 years

Matt (Boise)

I saw in your article you had Cano is one of the players with the highest amount of pressure on him for the year. He comes across as a player who largely ignores outside pressure. Do you see him having another MVP caliber year? Also, do you think the Yankees ultimately give him the contract he's looking for?

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

He is certainly pretty low-key. He does have a poor postseason record, however: .222/.267/.419 in 51 games. (For whatever that's worth). I'd say 50/50 on a contract. If he DOES get to free agency, you know the Dodgers are out there salivating to sign him.

Larry (Cleveland)

NL: strasburg over 220 innings AL: CC cus he carries the Yankees to the wild card

Bob (Seattle)

Most amazing game I saw in person. Bos/Cle 1999 playoffs. Lofton dives into 1B on a groundball and separates his shoulder. Thome and O'Leary both hit 2 bombs. But Pedro comes in and pitches 6 innings of no hit relief to get the win.

Jason (Orlando)

re: Ben (UK) Small sample size, or are you suggesting 21-0 with a 1.71 ERA and .74 WHIP in 32 starts?

Hoss (Austin)

I saw Butch Hobson's MLB debut at Fenway - he hit an inside the park homer off Jim Palmer that Paul Blair missed by a couple of inches, ricocheting into RF, with Hobson ultimately knocking out Rick Dempsey at the plate, who had to reach for a high throw and got blasted.

David Schoenfield
  (2:11 PM)

Excellent.

David Schoenfield
  (2:12 PM)

Here's that Buck Martinez play. He broke his ankle, not his collarbone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGksb1YOFC8

Jay (Chicago)

I know prying Andrus away would be very unlikely, but would a package built around Porcello, Avisail Garcia, and a couple other higher-level prospects not named Nick Castellanos be at least in the ballpark?

David Schoenfield
  (2:14 PM)

I don't think so. I'm not actually sure why everyone is so high on Garcia. No plate discipline, not much speed. Built like Miguel Cabrera but hits more like Orlando Cabrera. He is young though.

Ian (OK)

Enjoyed your five year peak article. One name I wish you had added was Brad Radke, the guy you bashed, who's 5 year peak was 1.5 WAR HIGHER than King Felix. Really, really underrated player.

David Schoenfield
  (2:14 PM)

When did I bash Radke? Don't remember that. Was always a big fan of his.

Jason (Seattle)

Best thing I ever saw...watching Luis Sojo run home in the M's 1995 one game playoff vs. the Angles...Now that was entertaining...

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

I was out that game. (Technically, not a home run, but who's counting?) Have a picture of Sojo screaming over Mark Langston at my desk at work from that play.

Tarek (NYC)

Also was lucky enough to see the Griffey SR Catch at Yankee Stadium vs Redsox and Marty Barrett. I think it was a better catch than the one JR made vs Barfield.

Sugar (LV)

fake 3rd to 1st pick off move is gone! good riddance. Yet, its still allowed in High School.. That seems backwards

Mitch (NC)

My boss and half of our team was at Matt Cain's perfect game. There are supersized cellphone pictures in our office now to remind me that I was not there.

Doug (Los Angeles)

Saw Dennis Eckersley's no-hitter in Cleveland in 1977. My 9-year old sister didn't understand what was going on and started crying when everyone was cheering so loud.

Andrew (Toronto)

Best thing I've ever seen live was just this past season - consecutive games that ended with an out made at the plate.And while Joe Carter's home run was pure joy, I call Buck's play the greatest in Blue Jay history. Must have been something to see it live!

David Schoenfield
  (2:16 PM)

Glad somebody else remembers that play. Still not sure why Stormin' Gorman just didn't run over him, haha.

Cas (Orlando)

Which Royals hitter has the best season this year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:17 PM)

Alex Gordon is the team's best hitter. Salvador Perez may have the highest average.

David Schoenfield
  (2:17 PM)

I should have said "Wil Myers" on that last question.

Jason (Orlando)

I once saw Nick Blackburn make it through the 6th with only three earned run allowed.

Steve (LV)

Am I the only person left in America who LOVES LOVES LOVES Oakland stadium?

Scrapper (Chicago)

I'm a big believer in WAR as a tool but I think its biggest problem right now is that there are too many formulas for calculating WAR, and no one seems to understand why WAR varies so much, sometimes substantially, between sites. Thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (2:19 PM)

It would help if the various sites agree. I've heard there is at least some movement on agreeing on the definition of replacement level. If that happens, it would at least help alleviate some of the differences.

Ben (UK)

Why is LF considered easier to play than RF?

David Schoenfield
  (2:21 PM)

Mostly just because you want a stronger arm in right field to help prevent runners going first to third. But both positions get about the same number of chances.

Brian (Fort Wayne)

Best thing I ever saw...in 1999 at the end of the last game in Tiger's Stadium, they announced old Tigers and it was awesome to hear an entire stadium saying "Louuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu"

Andrew (Toronto)

Oakland's stadium is good, but I felt too distant from the field. Also, I don't love that neighbourhood at night.

Brian (Fremont)

Re Steve: yet you neglect to call it by it's true name: the O.co!

Jay (Chicago)

I think a lot of the appeal around Garcia revolves around how well he handled a big-club role with so little experience down the stretch and in the postseason. The fact that many are so high on him is why I wouldn't mind selling on him now. I hope he plays a lot of this season in AAA and tries to develop some power.

Mike (Atl)

Best game I've been to b far was Sid's slide vs Pittsburgh. Even better than the '95 clinching game. Never had a rush like that before or since. That guy was so slow running the bases.

Ben (UK)

Ok, thanks. Surprised LF doesn't get more chances purely because there are more right-handed than left-handed hitters.

David Schoenfield
  (2:23 PM)

I believe hitters actually hit more fly balls to the opposite field, so that evens out the opportunities.

John (Cincinnati, OH)

Astros have their payroll at a shockingly low level. Assuming 2013 and 2014 are rebuild years. Who do they start spending that savings on Winter 2014?

David Schoenfield
  (2:24 PM)

Yeah, that's a good question. Because at some point you're going to need some reinforcements, even if 3-4 of these guys actually develop. Even guys with a "plan" want to start winning at some point. And considering the size of Houston's market and their local TV contract, there's no reason they CAN'T spend some money by then.

Steve (LV)

the o.co is in a scary neighborhood! but its just baseball. no giant coke bottles or hot tubs

Zachary (Sacramento) [via mobile]

Oakland's stadium? Do you mean the Coliseum? It was regularly regarded as one of the better places to watch a game until the Raiders moved back at Mt Davis was erected and ruined the OF.

Spiegel (Stevenson Ranch,CA)

The Oakland Coliseum is great.......to watch a Raiders game. The tailgate scene is kind of like a prison yard with a lot of barbwire and chain link fences corralling the fans inside the parking lot.

Matt (Boise)

How may games do you make at Sacefo each year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:25 PM)

I live in Connecticut, so unless I'm on vacation, I don't get out there.

Cas (Orlando)

Cubs fans can hold onto the hope of knowing___________________

David Schoenfield
  (2:26 PM)

Anthony Rizzo will be a stud.

Sean (Colorado)

At least Thome didn't have a primetime TV show letting fans know he was leaving Cleveland. But who can possibly blame him for taking the extra year and $25 million. And let's not forget, for every incident of a player willfully leaving there's an incident of Team X showing him the door with little gratitude. The sword cuts both ways in the world of sports.

Tarek (NYC)

What are the chances Travis Snider or Justin Smoak turn around there career, like Alex Gordon did.

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

I should have mentioned Gordon in that article. Good example of a one-time hot prospect everyone had written off and then he finally gets it. I don't expect Snider or Smoak to do it, but you never know.

c (longwood)

Sox @ Rays. Vmart hits homer to put sox ahead... all sox fans around me giving high fives to each other. Half inning later BJ ties it. I turn to give high fives to Sox fans..... "Anybody?! Anybody?!" Dan the man Johnson then wins it in extra innings. Incredible.

David Schoenfield
  (2:28 PM)

That night was amazing, no doubt. Didn't Johnson tie it? Longo won it.

Rick (Pittsburgh)

Worst game I ever saw was Sid Bream sliding in against the Pirates!

David Schoenfield
  (2:28 PM)

I feel your pain.

Mike (MD)

Best game I saw in person was game 4, 2004 ALCS

Sean (Colorado)

First to win a World Series, Cubs, Brewers or Pirates?

David Schoenfield
  (2:28 PM)

Ouch.

Jeremy (DFW)

Whats your opinion on the power play arlington with Jon Daniels getting more power and Nolan Ryan basically being shoved out the door. Ridiculous. Daniels will ruin this organization.

David Schoenfield
  (2:29 PM)

Because he's done such a terrible job the past few years?

Sean (NJ)

The best game I ever saw wasn't a game but at the 2008 Parade and Celebration where Chase Utley said "World F*&^ing Champions!" And I saw Terry Mulholland's no hitter.

Eddie (Fresno)

Saw Joe Morgan's homer off of Terry Forster at the Stick in 1982. Back then, knocking the Dodgers out of the playoffs was like winning the pennant for a Giants fan. Oh, and Forster definitely was a fat tub of goo.

Eric (Mpls)

Best game in person? Easy... 1991 World Series, game 7. Next best? Game 6!

David Schoenfield
  (2:30 PM)

Game 6 is an underrated all-time great game. Kirby to teammates before the game: "I'll get us to Game 7." And he did.

Jay (Chicago)

Best game seen in person: Verlander vs. Weaver 2011. Head-and-shoulders the top two Cy Young Candidates facing off. Verlander takes a no-no to the 8th where Aybar tries to break it up with a bunt and Verlander cusses him out. The inning before, Weaver was ejected for throwing at Avila after Guillen flexed at Weaver and stared down his own HR as a response to Weaver cussing Magglio Ordonez out for waiting too long in the box to see if his HR was fair or foul. Verlander hit 101MPH in the 8th to strike out Hunter and get out of the inning.

Corinne (Delaware)

Best moment I've witnessed live: Eric Bruntlett's game ending unassisted triple play at Citi Field.

Stros Fan (Hell)

Why doesn't WAR just use "Average MLBer" instead of replacement player as their benchmark?

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

The old "Total Baseball" book used to do this. The problem is if your starting point is 0, you end up giving decent players negative value. Baseball doesn't quite work that way. A team that wins 75 games doesn't really have negative value. You also ended up with situations where guys who had long careers ended up with negative value (if I remember, Steve Garvey was one) while guys who had very short careers ended up with a higher rating, but clearly weren't as valuable. So starting with replacement level helps alleviate those issues.

c (longwood)

http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=300828130

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

Oh, different game. I thought you were talking about the final day of 2011.

Marc (Sacramento, CA)

Best game I ever saw in person: Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. Pablo mashes 3 HR's but the loudest cheer of the game went to the Tigers' pitching coach as he walked to the mound to visit with Verlander. Next pitch, Pablo sends it oppo to left for his 2nd HR.

Eric (Chi)

Easily best Moment Ive seen is Scotty Pods Game 2 World Series homer

Sean (Colorado)

Who's your anti-sleeper team, or most hyped that will fail to make the playoffs?

David Schoenfield
  (2:36 PM)

The more I think about, I think I might go with the Rangers. Or Yankees. But I think the Yankees have too much pitching to collapse completely. But I could see the Rangers falling apart -- Harrison declines a bit, somebody gets hurt, Beltre ages overnight, etc.

Delusional Rich Godhard Becker (Mpls)

The best game I've ever seen is the one where I hit a walk off grand slam to win the World Series.

Tim (st. louis)

so given everything i have been reading, it sounds like it will be the cards and reds battling atop the nl central for years to come. why no love for the brew crew pitt and cubbies

David Schoenfield
  (2:37 PM)

I'm on the record as saying don't count out the Brewers. Wish they would have signed Dempster (or Lohse), but if the bullpen bounces back, they could be right there for a wild card.

Oden (Motown)

First game at Shea post 9/11, Piazza's homer bottom of the 8th to give Mets the lead. That can never be topped.

Corinne (Delaware)

I contend that the Braves are seriously over valued right now because they lack game-changing starting pitching. Agree?

David Schoenfield
  (2:39 PM)

Not really. I think Medlen is for real. I mean, not THAT real like last year, but a guy who can post an ERA under 3.00. I like the improvement Mike Minor made in the second half and Hudson is always reliable. If Beachy comes back at midseason, rotation could be very good.

Matt (Boise)

The Rangers are destined to fail because they gave up the heart and soul of thier team in M. Young.

David Schoenfield
  (2:39 PM)

Exactly!

tweezer (park city, ut)

Porcello and Dirks for Elvis Andrus. Possible?

David Schoenfield
  (2:40 PM)

Here's the deal: Elvis Andrus is a really good player. Porcello and Dirks are role players. So ... no, don't see it.

Sam (NY)

Best Game, Game 4 2001 World Series. NY crowd was electric from the start. Bush throwing out first pitch. Chants of U-S-A throughout the whole game. Lee Greenwood sings "Proud to Be An American" during 7th inning stretch. Tino ties it up with two outs in the 9th. Jeter wins it in the 10th. No one left the stadium and everyone was hugging and singing New York, New York together. Still gives me chills to think about.

David Schoenfield
  (2:41 PM)

I was at that one. Will never forget the crowd hanging out after the game for, what, 30 minutes after the game singing New York, New York over and over and over.

Sean (Colorado)

To Tim (St. Louis)...that was kind of my point in my previous World Series post. But really, the Cards are the only yearly contenders from that division and the Reds have potential but haven't done it on the field yet. Brewers fan but, yeesh, it's depressing merely chasing .500 each season in baseball's grouping.

Marc (Sacramento, CA)

Tigers trade Porcello to the Nats for either Tyler Clippard, or Drew Storne? Porcello can be a sixth starter / long reliever for Strasburg.

David Schoenfield
  (2:42 PM)

That makes more sense. Nats could use some rotation insurance and they have more arms than they know what to do with in the pen. (Although I saw Christian Garcia just got hurt.)

JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)

I was at Busch Stadium for McGwire's 500th homer (it was meaningful at the time). My buddy Russ had to have a kosher hot dog right before McGwire came up, so he hiked past three or four concession stands that didn't sell them, and ended up missing the home run entirely. Good times!

Greg (Toronto)

Best game ever...watched Carlos Delgado hit 4 HR's in one game. Plus, caught my only ever foul ball that game too!

Tim (st. louis)

espn article, cardinals have the best offense in the NL. I would argue the cardinals have the best offense in the MLB (of course im biased if you figure for the designated hitter rule. Agree or disagree, cardinals have a top 3 offense? where would you rank them and who do you have ahead of them. (best world series game in person 2011 game 6)

David Schoenfield
  (2:44 PM)

Considering the likely decline of the Yankees' offense, I think you have to put the Cardinals No. 1 right now.

Matt (Boise)

Would you rather have Kershaw or Strasburg for the long term?

David Schoenfield
  (2:44 PM)

I'll take the guy who hasn't been injured. Russell Carleton had a great study recently on Baseball Prospectus showing the pitchers most likely to be injured are ... those who have been injured in the past.

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

Porcello to the Rocks for Betancourt.

Cas (Orlando)

How about Porcello for Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton? Maybe make it a three team deal where Porcello spends half the year with Texas and the other half w/ Angels and the Tigers get Trout, Profar, and Andrus...

Andrew (Toronto)

Why do the hypothetical trade scenarios fans offer up always imagine the other team would send a star player over for their team's castoffs? I mean, to get Dickey the Jays offered D'Arnaud and Syndegaard, not Arencibia and Happ.

Steve (NY)

Cano has played in 11 postseason series. He's raked in about half of them. Isn't that just noise when you are dealing with tiny samples? Seems like if the pressure gets to him, he'd NEVER hit in the postseason, and that isn't what happened.

David Schoenfield
  (2:47 PM)

It's still a small sample size, so PROBABLY noise, yes. (Like Bonds in his first few series with the Pirates and Giants). But when Cano has been bad he's been really bad. His overall line is still awful -- .267 OBP? That's awful. Not saying the pressure has affected him; we don't really know the answer to that.

tweezer (park city, ut)

you're underestamating the value of both Porcello and DirksPorcello is a ground ball pitcher who's going to get better and still has 2 years of team controlDirks hit .322 last year and can handle lefthanders

David Schoenfield
  (2:49 PM)

But why will Porcello get better? He has 120 major league starts and isn't any better than he was as a rookie. I like Dirks, but he was probably a little over his head. I mean, he can handle left-handers. Can he? Jim Leyland was still playing Quintin Berry -- Quintin Berry! -- over him in the postseason. Clearly, Leyland doesn't really think he can handle left-handers.

Greg (Toronto)

Is ESPN sending a correspondent to Toronto for the 1st time the Red Sox come to town (2nd series of the yr)? At the very least David, I hope you catch the game. The vitriol, venom, hatred etc, for one John Farrell is unlike anything I've seen in this normally reserved and stoic fan base. It's going to get ugly.JF went so far as to say last week, when asked why he left "If I recall correctly, I was traded". Kind of said that the man has no intellectual integrity. He will be greeted accordingly.

David Schoenfield
  (2:50 PM)

Didn't realize that, but it makes sense. I'll be sure to watch that one.

Tommy (Cincinnati)

Back in '91, I went to Busch stadium on a college dorm outing to see the Expos. Cold April night, and the game went sixteen innings. Everyone but me and my roommate bailed, but the bus couldn't leave without us, so they sat in the bus for an extra couple of hours. We moved down to the front row, and I heckled the Expos' backup catcher with "Hey, Cerone! Why don't you retire, you old man?" There were only a couple thousand fans left in the stadium at that point, and my voice really carried. He looked up, pointed directly at me, and gave me the bird. It was awesome.

David Schoenfield
  (2:52 PM)

Nice. When I was a kid (teenager), Reggie Jackson was running wind sprints in the outfield wearing his batting helmet. My friend yelled at him about wearing the helmet and Reggie flipped him the bird. Didn't break stride though.

Hoss (Austin)

After retreating to the RF fence, saw the Louisville Colonel outfielder throw out (on the fly) runner tagging from second base to third, in 1972 International League Playoffs (Rochester). Talk about a stunned runner - say hello to Dwight Evans

John (Cincinnati, OH)

How can Orioles best leverage their pitching surplus? #1 need?

David Schoenfield
  (2:54 PM)

How much surplus do they have? I think there are still questions about Matusz and Arrieta ever making it as starters, so maybe the O's just sit tight. Plus, it's not like any of those guys would bring a big return right now. They could use a second baseman, but look around the majors: Second base is very weak right now.

Roger (OH)

As a Tribe fan, I hate to even throw this team in the mix, but wouldn't Detroit have to be right up there for best offense in the MLB? Also, the trio of Trout/Hamilton/Pujols looks to be pretty scary, although I haven't seen projections yet for how the rest of the Halo's lineup will likely shape out.

David Schoenfield
  (2:56 PM)

I don't know. Tigers were only sixth in AL in runs last year. Yes, they get Victor Martinez back and he should help some, but I don't think they're a top three offense. (And remember, they were only sixth despite facing all that bad pitching from KC, Cleveland and Minnesota.)

Mike (Sacramento)

My best friend, who shall remain unnamed but played in the majors for a long time, yelled at Palmeiro to get a haircut during his rookie year with the Cubs before a game at Candlestick. Palmeiro looked over and Rick Sutcliffe nearly fell over laughing.

vk (md)

Do the Orioles actually have a pitching surplus? I keep hearing that, but their best pitchers is a 25 year old with 1/2 of a good season under his belt...

Don (Mke)

It's no world series or anything, but at game 162 for the Brewers in 2008, they went in tied with the Mets that day for the Wild Card. Brewers win, then they put on the end of the Mets loss on the jumbotron (Uggla and former Brewer West Helms hit home runs in the 8th to win it). Everybody stuck around for the party. Hadn't been to the playoffs in 26 years, so it was quite the party. Sadly, playoff appearances are what do it for Milwaukee fans...

Sean (Phoenix)

I was at a Dbacks day game against the Royals (In AZ). There was no one there - we had front row seats in RF. Shawn Green was the starter in right. He caught a ball at the track, right in front of us to end the inning. As he trots off the field, my friend and I yell at him to hit us a ball. The very next inning, on his very first pitch, he cranks a ball well over our heads.

Joe (Canada)

I witnessed the "Shot heard round the world" I win.

David Schoenfield
  (2:57 PM)

No doubt, Joe. OK, two hours. Time to wrap up the chat. Thanks, everyone, for all your favorite great game memories. See you next week.