Chat with David Schoenfield
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com's SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield stops by to chat some baseball.
Schoenfield is a senior writer for ESPN.com and he's been with ESPN.com since 1995 and has served in a variety of roles, including baseball editor, Page 2 senior editor and writer, and even interim soccer editor. He grew up in Seattle rooting for the Mariners, believes Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame and had no issues with Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young Award despite a 13-12 record.
Send your questions now and join Schoenfield Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
Happy Wednesday, everyone. The Mariners are just 2 games out of first place even though they bunted last night in the eighth inning with their cleanup hitter. And it worked! Miguel Olivo beat it out and the M's rallied to win 4-3. And our man Michael Pineda goes today. Let's start ...
With the improvement as of late with the Mariners, and the guys coming up in the farm system, would the Mariners be crazy if they traded Felix? Especially with a Felix - Pineda 1-2 punch?
David Schoenfield (2:02 PM)
I think they'd be crazy to trade him. He's signed through 2014, but most importantly: How do you replace a guy like that? Most of the trades for superstar pitchers don't seem to work out: Phillies didn't get anything for Cliff Lee, neither did the Indians, Matt LaPorta hasn't really worked for the Indians (CC trade) and so on. (I'll do a longer post on this). M's have Ackley coming up, the second pick in this year's draft, probably a top pick next year ... IF they nail those picks and Ackley develops like Smoak has, I think they can be better by 2013/2014.
I have seen people attribute the resurgence of pitching to a lack of PEDs in baseball. However, doesn't this assume that pitchers were not equally taking PEDs? Has anyone looked at how velocity across baseball has changed since testing was implemented?
David Schoenfield (2:06 PM)
Steve Berthiaume addressed this a bit today: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/10090/year-of-the-pitcher-ii-domination-on-the-hill and pointed out that there are more guys throwing 95 than just a few years ago in 2007. I believe the Pitch F/X data only goes back to 2002 so it's hard to read any hard data on this.
David Schoenfield (2:08 PM)
I will say this: If you watch old games from even 30 years ago, I'm convinced you don't see anywhere near the number of hard-throwers that we see now. For example, a couple years ago I was watching the 1978 All-Star Game and a pitcher named Lary Sorenson was brought in, throwing 92-94. And announcer Drysdale was raving about his fastball, saying the major league average was 87. That average fastball is not 87 anymore.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
In my opinion, baseball gives too much compensation for losing players via free agency. Do you think baseball will address that in the next CBA?
David Schoenfield (2:10 PM)
I lot of people believe the compensation system may go away altogether in the new CBA. I still like it in that it helps the small-market teams recoup free agency losses with extra draft picks. Tampa Bay has 12 of the first 90 picks or so this year, for example. It would be a double whammy to clubs like the Rays who can't afford Crawford AND don't get a draft pick when he leaves.
Scott (South Dakota)
Is all of this talk about the Giants and Jose Reyes real? Giants fan here, and I'd do that in a heartbeat. Any chance that actually happens?
David Schoenfield (2:12 PM)
Buster Olney threw out this the other day as well -- he didn't have inside info, just suggested it's something that makes sense for both teams. I would agree, but I think it would cost a lot to get him. Would you trade Bumgarner for him? That's a steep price unless you get a window to try and sign him to an extension.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Best & the Worst Major League Baseball Stadium that you have been to?
David Schoenfield (2:14 PM)
My favorites: Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Fenway. Worst: Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Man was that place bad (and I grew up going to the Kingdome). The roof was leaking onto the seat in front of me. The atmosphere was horrible. The food was bad.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
I have long thought the Brewers should move Corey Hart to center field or first base. With Prince Fielder likely playing somewhere else in 2011, the Brewers need to start planning for the future. As a result, I think the Brewers should groom Hart to play first base in 2011. Do you like that idea? If so, how do the Brewers do that without ruffling feathers?
David Schoenfield (2:16 PM)
He doesn't hit enough to play first base. And clearly they've never felt he has the range to play center field. I think he's stuck in right.
Where do you have Lind finishing the year in terms of overall line as well as 1B ranking?
David Schoenfield (2:18 PM)
I'd somewhere right around his current line: .292/.328/.469. Better than last year, not as good as 2009. Now, the Jays NEED him to hit closer to 2009, as teams are clearly pitching around Bautista. Lind has a chance to do a lot of damage. One huge positive: 11-for-31 against lefties already. 16-for-137 (.117) last year.
David- Once you again you miss the point- the M's wouldn't be crazy to trade King Felix; they'd be crazy to trade him if the return isn't enough. Is there a package of young players, short of KC's, that you'd be happy with?
David Schoenfield (2:22 PM)
But you can't offer up that suggestion. You think KC would offer Hosmer, Moustakas, Montgomery and somebody else? Why would KC do that? That just leaves them where Seattle is. I just think it's very difficult to extract equal value for a superstar player. Yes, maybe the Yankees would deal Montero, Banuelos and soemthing else ... but why would Seattle trade for a DH and an unproven pitcher? Seattle takes all the risk, the Yankees take none. Just my 2 cents.
Joe (New York)
OK, so we all know that Jeter is a one of the greatest Yankees, blah blah blah. But at what point does the detriment of him batting leadoff outweight his legacy as a player? 5 for his last 23 with 2 runs. And only 2 extra base hits. If the Yankees want to seriously contend down the stretch, do you think that replacing Jeter at leadoff is a must happen?
David Schoenfield (2:24 PM)
I wrote about this the other day. Very tough decision for the Yankees. I don't think Girardi has to act just yet since he has the comfort zone of having a first-place team right now. But Jeter has been SO bad ... both extra-base hits were groundballs, meaning he hasn't hit one line drive in the gap all season ... that at some point I think the decision becomes easy to make. And if Jeter is truly a team player, he'll understand the decision.
Baseball fan (NY)
What do you think the Mariners should do at DH? I love Cust but maybe he's done?
David Schoenfield (2:25 PM)
Cust has six RBIs ... five came on walks with the bases loaded and he had his first RBI hit last night. Maybe bring Edgar out of retirement?
When will the Twins move Mauer from behind the plate? Where should they move him?
David Schoenfield (2:27 PM)
The difficult thing is so much of Mauer's value is tied to him catching, but it appears that physically he just can't handle the position. It's amazing how few catchers have moved to positions other than 1B.
David Schoenfield (2:29 PM)
I actually have notes on this. Guys who played 200 games at catcher and other positions. C/3B: Surhoff, Torre, Inge. C/2B: Biggio. C/LF: Downing, Surhoff, Elston Howard, Ed Kirkpatrick. C/CF: Biggio, Bresnahan. C/RF: Charlie Moore, Kirkpatrick. Outside of first base or DH, not sure Mauer fits in anywhere else.
Isn't the issue of trading a star for prospects just a function of getting the right prospects? Sure, Lee to SEA didn't work for PHIL, but what about TEX trading Tex to ATL? That was a great trade for TEX.
David Schoenfield (2:31 PM)
Right, it can work out. The Rangers took a chance on two guys in A ball in Feliz and Andrus and it's paid off. But I think Felix has much more value than Teixeira had, making it even more difficult to get fair return. I'll look into these "superstar" trades at some point and so how many worked out for the team giving up the star.
Nick (NYC )
Hey dave,Wanted to know what you thought of Micheal Pineda going forward, do you expect him to slow down, crash and burn, be great?etc.. Thoughts?
David Schoenfield (2:33 PM)
He's not going to keep up a 2.01 ERA, of course (he's a flyball pitcher but has yet to give up a home run), but he throws 97, can locate it, and is offspeed stuff has been improving in just a few short weeks. He's going to be really good. Tristan Cockcroft had a good piece here on how rookie starters do the second time around the league. Worth checking out: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=60F6I110503
Not that I'm saying they should trade Felix (they shouldn't) but does it really make sense for the Mariners to keep him because other teams have failed at trading stud pitchers? If I was the owner of the Mariners I would want a GM that was confident (and competent) enough to do what was best for the team and not worry about other GMs that had failed.
Nick Markakis (Baltimore)
I am offically a bust? Every year I seem to have high expectations and never reach them. What's your take on my future?
David Schoenfield (2:35 PM)
Bust? That's harsh. You're still a very good player. Just not the great player everyone thought you'd be after hitting 23 home runs at 23. But you still hit 40+ doubles every and play good defense. You're just off to slow start this year.
I'm just curious what you think the odds are that Pujols gets into the HOF. I'm not saying he shouldn't (he's a no brainer) and I'm not saying it's fair (it's moronic), but how can any voter who refused to vote for Bagwell vote for Pujols? The only negative on Bagwell was the era that he played in, and Pujols also played during the "steroid era."
David Schoenfield (2:37 PM)
I agree (although Pujols is better than Bagwell). What about when Sosa comes up in a couple years? Like Bagwell, he has NO ties to PEDs -- no Mitchell Report, no positive tests. Just "rumors" and "beliefs."
Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee)
Hey, I saw that you answered Nick's question, and I've been having the same self doubt. What about me?
David Schoenfield (2:38 PM)
Seven bad starts. You'll be OK. Although I'm worried that your strikeout rate has dropped from over 9 per 9 to 6.5 this year. Your velocity isn't really down, so I'm just chalking it up to a temporary slump.
If you had to bet the house today, which AL Central team would you bet on making the playoffs?
David Schoenfield (2:40 PM)
I guess I have to go Indians. I've been sticking with preseason pick of White Sox, but they just keep playing worse and worse. I still have doubts about Cle's rotation holding up, but the lineup is legit.
As a fellow Mariners fan would you take a Yankee offer of both Betances and Banuelos along with Montero and Joba?
David Schoenfield (2:42 PM)
I wouldn't. If Montero could actually play catcher, MAYBE. Joba is a mediocre middle reliever who is very replaceable and what are the odds that Betances and Banuelos both become really good, let alone nearly as good as Felix?
Would you keep Jose Reyes no matter the cost? Any position other than SS and I'd say ship him out, but who in the next 5 years would the mets have to replace him? 5 win shortstops are so rare in this game, why would a team that would like to contend in the next few years let one get away?
David Schoenfield (2:44 PM)
Is Reyes still a 5-win SS? He was from 06-08, but I don't think he is anymore. Granted, if he keep playing he has -- 1.4 WAR through 29 games -- he could be a 5-win player this year. Do you want to bank on that? He's a tough one. I have no idea what to expect from him over the next five years.
Hi Dave, I love hearing you on the baseball today podcast. Anyway, what do you think is up with Magglio Ordonez? Is he still recovering from the anke injury, or should we stick a fork in him?
David Schoenfield (2:45 PM)
I touched on him the other night ... his line-drive is still the same as it's always been, so I guess you could argue that he's just been unlucky. I haven't seen the Tigers enough to know what's actually happening there, because line-drive doesn't tells us everything. Clearly he hasn't been driving the ball. Victor Martinez returns today, they called up Sizemore to play every day at 2B, so that leaves Mags, Boesch and Raburn for LF/RF. Not sure what Leyland will do.
Bob (Fort Lauderdale)
"Isn't the issue of trading a star for prospects just a function of getting the right prospects? "Not if you're Glenn Davis for Curt Shilling, Steve Finely and Pete Harnisch
David Schoenfield (2:47 PM)
Well, that was certainly a bad one. I think most GMs are a lot smarter now, so it's harder to pull off those kinds of deals. Plus, that's really just an example of a bad trade. Glenn Davis isn't comparable to Felix Hernandez in value.
Just wanted to say...The fact that Bagwell didn't get voted into the HOF is a travesty. And all these rumors that he took anything, (why, because he was a big guy?) are so off base it's ridiculous. True story. My father GM'ed the AA affiliate of the Red Sox when Bags played for us back in the day...he was ALWAYS a big, power hitting guy. He didn't go through some crazy muscle growth spurt in his 40's a la Bonds. Get in in the Hall, he deserves it.
David Schoenfield (2:48 PM)
I believe his Double-A park was 350 down the line or something crazy like that?
Just wanted to note that Gallardo is historically a 1st half pitcher. Not a great sign of things to come...
Cheese (San Francisco)
I would give up up Bumgarner if the Mets took Tejada and Huff. Owners need to stay out of FA negotiations. This is twice in recent memory. Zito and Huff. Both guys are dragging the team down. Belt could have put up the same numbers as Huff for a fraction of the cost.
Rickey Henderson (Hall of Fame)
David Schoenfield you are great, but Rickey is the greatest of all-time
David Schoenfield (2:50 PM)
Hey, this gives me a chance to plug something for Friday: We're celebrating Willie Mays' 80th birthday and we'll provide a list of the 25 greatest players of all time to vote on. And, yes, Rickey, you made the cut!
Re: Felix, there needs to be a distinction on trading a star player when he's at the end of a deal and fairly certain not to return. At that point, you would simply measure the return against the draft compensation (if it still exists). When you have a star locked up to a reasonable deal for the forseeable future and there doesn't seem to be payroll constraints, when would it ever make sense?
David Schoenfield (2:53 PM)
Right. Felix is signed through 2014. Estimate 6 WAR per year for 2011 and beyond. You're talking 24 WAR of value, plus the possible future compensation. If you really believe in Montero and Banuelos, could they generate 24 WAR? Sure. Maybe Montero is a 4 WAR player for six years and Banuelos is a 3 WAR player for six years. That gives you 42 WAR. But what if Montero is a 2.5 WAR and Banuelos a 1.5 WAR ... then you get 24. Not to mention if Banuelos gets injured, etc.
Dave - His AA park when he was still with the Red Sox was Beehive field. 325 to right, 400 to center, and 325 to left. The season he was traded to Houston he was leading the Eastern League in homeruns, and had previously won the HR title in the league.
David Schoenfield (2:55 PM)
Sorry, Joe, that's incorrect. He hit four HRs for New Britain. Two the year before in Class A. The Red Sox didn't think he'd hit for power. http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=bagwel001jef
Heck, even a 3 win SS is hard to find. Juan Uribe, Alex Gonzalez, Cliff Pennington, Alexei Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez, Stephen Drew, Troy Tulowitzki. That's it for 2010. Reyes, for all his injury woes still put up 2.8 fWAR. If you're afraid of giving away top pitchers for unproven prospects, wouldn't that be doubly true for Shortstops? 48 pitchers put up 3 fWAR. Including Jason Hammel and Randy Wells.
Dale (Calvert City)
Any chance the Cubs and Yankees could get together on Zambrano and Montero/Banuelos?
David Schoenfield (2:56 PM)
Big Z has next to no value right now. Big contract and he's not really very good anymore.
RE: Free agent compensation....What do you think of putting the luxury tax money into a pool from which small market teams can draw from to offset the costs of keeping their own free agents? Maybe allow them to draw up to 25% of the annual salary from the pool. Picks are fine, but the biggest beef small market fans have is that they can't hold onto the star players they develop without crippling their team.
David Schoenfield (2:58 PM)
In theory, I suppose that's what the small-market teams are *supposed* to be doing now with their luxury tax money. Of course, we're seeing teams like the Pirates and Marlins instead just keeping their payrolls down and making nice profits. With the Yankees and Red Sox beefing a bit about this lately, I wonder how contentious some of the CBA negotiations will be this winter.
Dave, I apologize. I was going off of information my father had clearly exaggerated about. I wasn't actually alive when Bagwell played for us. My fault on the misinformation.
David Schoenfield (3:00 PM)
No problem. Feel free to correct your father. Doesn't mean the Sox still didn't make a bad deal. :-)
Beehive was a hitters' graveyard. I grew up there and saw many games. No one hit HR's there. The team record was 12 until Ellis Birks showed up.
I appreciate you posting my follow-up, but do you have a response?
David Schoenfield (3:04 PM)
48 pitchers had 3 WAR, but out of how many? 30 teams x 5 rotation slots = 150 starters. So about one in every three "slots" is a 3 WAR pitcher. You said 7 SS had 3 WAR last year, so 7 out 30. A little more difficult perhaps to find a good SS (although 2010 may have just been a bad year). I think my issue with Reyes is contract years/salary, because his health and value are very hard to predict.
Isn't Markakis esentially Mike Greenwell reincarnated? Similar start to his career followed by similar disappointment that he didn't become somthing more.
David Schoenfield (3:06 PM)
Good comparison. Both were very polished hitters when they arrived, and also sort of had "old player" skills in that they weren't necessarily fast runners but already had good strike zone judgment. I believe Greenwell had some injuries that led to his career being shortened?
The problem with trading King Felix is (i) he's great, not just good, (ii) he's got a lot of years left on his contract, and (iii) SEA isn't under any financial compunction to get rid of him. Tex only had a year and a half left, and even though he was good, he wasn't King Felix. I can't imagine that you could even put together a deal which could entire SEA (but here's one - TB sending Longoria, Price and Jennings).
David Schoenfield (3:07 PM)
Well, I'd take that one. :-)
I love how the tables are so easily flipped when it comes to Yankees trade offers. NY fans want to spin Joba, Montero, and Banuelos for Felix. Cubs Fans think that's a good offer for Big Z.
Any thoughts on Josh Reddick? He looks to have much improved patience (previously the biggest knock against him) and already has 8 home runs on the season in AAA. It's obviously early in the season, but what do you think is the most likely scenario this winter with JD Drew and Cameron both going to free agency. Do the Red Sox bank on Reddick (or maybe Kalish) filling in in right field or are they going to go outside the organization to fill the position?
David Schoenfield (3:10 PM)
Kalish is a year younger, which can be a huge thing. I liked him better at the start of the season but see that he's off to a slow start at Triple-A. (No HRs.) Pure speculation here: With so much money tied into Gonzalez, Crawford, etc., they let those guys battle it out next spring.
I have to disagree with your assessment of Zambrano. Sure, he isn't as good as he was 5 or 6 years ago but the dude just ended a streak of 10 wins without a loss. He's obviously still a valuable pitcher whose value isn't "next to nothing".
David Schoenfield (3:12 PM)
Next to nothing in that no team will trade for him unless the Cubs pick up a big chunk of his contract. He's had three quality starts this year: Pirates, Padres (on a 32-degree day at Wrigley) and Diamondbacks. I don't see that translating to the American League.
If the Mariners wouldn't take Montero and others for Cliff Lee they aren't going to take it for Felix. The Yankees would need to send some MLB talent as well. Big time talent. A trade will never happen until he has one year left on his contract and he makes it clear that he doesn't want to resign. That's my opinion anyway.
David Schoenfield (3:15 PM)
Good summation. Anyway, that's a good way to end. Some good games tonight: Angels-Red Sox on ESPN, Josh Tomlin vs. Trevor Cahill (both 4-0), Zack Greinke makes his season debut for Brewers ... and, of course, Michael Pineda. Enjoy.