Chat with David Schoenfield
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
David Schoenfield (12:57 PM)
I think we need national legislation that requires at least two day baseball games to be played every day. Let's get started ...
Schoenfield -- you are killing me with the new playoff seedings! I think you have the top correct for the most point, but son't you agree pitching is central to making the playoffs? After answering that question, please compare the pitching staffs of St. Louis vs. Milwaukee and explain to me how you can possibly rank the Cardinals ahead of the Brewers. I know Weeks is out for a bit, but it hasn't seemed to hurt them too much so far -- still handling the Cardinals this season...
David Schoenfield (1:00 PM)
Figuring out where to rank the Brewers was the most difficult team on my list. Did you know St. Louis has the better rotation ERA on the season than Milwaukee? (3.84 to 3.87.) I'm NOT saying St. Louis has the better rotation and a guy like Lohse started off hot, but I think it's fairly close and I like St. Louis' lineup depth better.
I loved the article on Utley by Bill Baer... it seems like the Phillies offense was already surging even before the arrival of Pence. How much of that can be directly attributed to Utley's return to the line-up? It seemed like he needed a few extra weeks to get back into it... but boy has he been on fire since then!
David Schoenfield (1:02 PM)
Utley has been huge, especially when remembering most people didn't expect him to return until the All-Star break. Great player and unlike Howard he can hit lefties. Add in Pence, and suddenly the lineup has a lot more balance than it had.
Hi David, Have you ever seen anything like what the Rockies did by starting Jimenez? I think the Tribe should call up Pomeranz to start his arbitration clock to return the favor.
David Schoenfield (1:03 PM)
Good question. I seem to remember guys leaving in the middle of games, but starting Jimenez didn't make any sense. For one thing, why risk the injury? Does anybody remember a guy getting yanked like that?
Settle a debate between a friend and I: Would you rather have John Lackey in his prime or Jered Weaver in his prime?
David Schoenfield (1:05 PM)
Well, Weaver 2010-2011 has been better than Lackey at his best. Lackey was very good in 2007 (3.01 ERA), but I don't think his peripherals match Weaver's.
Michael (Charlotte, NC)
Are I wrong to think that the NL RoY is basically down to Freeman and Kimbrel at this point? Does it hurt them that they are on the same team?
David Schoenfield (1:06 PM)
I'd throw in Washington's Danny Espinosa. 17 HRs, 55 RBIs, very good glove at 2B. He won't win but his value is pretty similar to Freeman or Kimbrel. Am I missing anybody else?
what do you think Jimmy Rollins is worth on the open market?
David Schoenfield (1:08 PM)
I'd compare him to J.J. Hardy, who got 3 years, $22 million, I believe. Rollins is older, both have battled some injuries. Rollins is having his best season since 2008, so I do think he's a bit of a risk at that price, but they seem similar.
How bad did the Nats blow it by not pulling the trigger on Storen-Span? A quality everyday player, especially a centerfielder, is more valuable than a reliever for a team still in the building phase.
David Schoenfield (1:09 PM)
I thought it made sense for both teams. But the Nats may be able to get more for Storen in the offseason, when more teams would enter the bidding. Plus, I'm not sure how much they like Span's defense. If you like it, he's a solid center fielder.
What about Worley for NL RoY. I agree it should be Freeman, but Worley has been pretty good.
David Schoenfield (1:10 PM)
Yes, Worley should be considered. I think Kimbrel will end up winning pretty easily since he should top 40 saves.
And what about Antonio Bastardo?
David Schoenfield (1:12 PM)
Is he still a rookie? 41 innings entering the season, so he may be. As dominant as he's been, you could certainly make the case if he keeps pitching this well, but again Kimbrel has the big edge in saves and isn't too shabby either.
Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)
IF I was in charge of the MLB scheduling, I would have a 1,4,7,10 on every single day of the entire season. with little competition for ratings MLB would make $$, grow in popularity, and be THEY sport of about 8 months out of year. Sounds like you agree, yes?
David Schoenfield (1:15 PM)
I guess the issue is: Most teams will get higher local rating at night than 1 in the afternoon. I like the idea, but it probably doesn't make the best financial sense from an individual team standpoint.
David, why were so many people (Bowden, Law. etc) critical of Ed Wade on the Pence Trade? Is it not a good move when you get 2 Top 50 prospects (plus another 2 prospects) for a slightly above average RF whose about to start making big money?
David Schoenfield (1:18 PM)
I thought they were more critical of the Bourn deal? It seemed like everybody thought he did OK on the Pence deal, although I guess there was hope/belief that he'd manage to pry Domonic Brown from the Phillies. I thought the Pence deal was fine. Like you say, slightly above average player, not as good as Phillies fans think he has, and he'll help. I'm always wary of trading a solid player for two guys in Class A (no matter how high they rate), so maybe that's where the criticism came in.
Corey (Greenwich, CT)
Hey David. I heard that Banuelos is moving up to AAA with the possibility of finishing the season with the big club and that Montero is being called up any day now, being held back by the Jeter injury. Any info on either of them making the move to the Bronx?
David Schoenfield (1:19 PM)
No info, but our Yankees blog had a good piece the other day on Banuelos, suggesting he hasn't even mastered Double-A yet. They compared to some other top prospects and his numbers are not that dominant. I think it's unlikely he appears in the majors this year.
Did you have a chance to see Jacob Turner pitch Saturday. He looked very calm for only being 20. I love that the Tigers kept him?
David Schoenfield (1:21 PM)
I did see a couple innings of his game. VERY impressive. I can see what all the hype was about. As you say, very calm, very confident, and of course big-time fastball. They sent him back down but I'm pretty sure he's one of their top five starters right now. And, yes, the Tigers were not going to trade him. Verlander and Turner for the next five years? I think Tigers fans will like that.
Michael (Cypress, CA)
Speaking of RoY, in the AL, where do you see Mark Trumbo at? He leads them all in almost every offensive category and I think he's been the Angels MVP, OFFENSIVELY. Without his surge, the Angels are nowhere right now.
David Schoenfield (1:25 PM)
Well, nobody with a .298 OBP is a team's offensive MVP. Yes, he has 19 HRs, 55 RBIs, but he's creating a lot of outs to generate that offense. Howie Kendrick has been the team's best hitter and Abreu has been more valuable as well since he has a .380 OBP. Outs, outs, outs ... the good hitters avoid them.
Wilson Ramos, Dillon Gee, and Brandon Beachy will gets some ROY votes as well.
Speaking of the Pence trade... How does Amaro do it? I mean when he traded for Lee, he didn't give up Drabek or Happ, and I felt at least 1 of them needed to be included. Then, he gets Pence without losing Brown or Worley.
David Schoenfield (1:27 PM)
Great point. (Of course, he also didn't GET anything for Lee.) And got Halladay, only the best pitcher in baseball ... for, well, none of those guys have provided any value yet for Toronto either, with Drabek being very disappointing. But you're right, Amaro's trade ledger is looking pretty good.
David Schoenfield (1:29 PM)
I think there is a slight overvaluation of prospects going on in the game. Everybody thinks they can hit the Mark Teixeira lottery (Felix, Andrus, Harrison) but that's rare. Odds are only one of Cossart and Singleton will be a star, which means you're treading water if you're Houston. If one becomes a superstar, you have a net gain. And if they're lucky, both will become stars and it becomes a good trade for Houston. But that's a high-risk game with only a few winners.
Though the Tigers gave up some pretty good players and prospects, they did get a guy in Fister who is under contract until 2014 and will drastically improve the back end of the rotation (Tigers are 4-17 in games started by their no. 5 starter). Did they really give up so much to make this as bad a deal for them as experts are saying?
David Schoenfield (1:32 PM)
I liked the deal for Detroit. They HAD to upgrade that pitching (wow, didn't know about that stat) and they did it, without giving up Turner or Nick Castellanos, their other top prospect. The third baseman they gave up is young, but a long ways from being good and odds are he'll never develop the plate discipline to be a big asset the plate. Charlie Furbush? Ehh. I have big doubts. Mediocre stuff, high HR rate throughout his minor league career.
When exactly do Freddy Garcia/Bartolo Colon actually earn the right for people to say "Yeah, but it won't last." No one thought it would last this long, but here we are, in August, and they have a 3.30/3.22 ERA. It's pretty easy to say "Just wait" every week and then gloat if you're eventually proven right
David Schoenfield (1:35 PM)
Sure, that's a fair point. But I think you understand the doubt: Garcia hasn't pitched more than 157 innings since 2006. Colon since 2005. They fact that they already got 200 good innings out of these guys is amazing. And I do think if they stay healthy, they'll keep performing well, or close to this level.
What do you think the chances are that Bedard a) can stand the media-saturated Boston market and b) can stay healthy-ish for the duration? will he add anything to the sox?
David Schoenfield (1:37 PM)
I keep pointing out that he hasn't pitched in September since 2006. But his arm is apparently healthy and I'm pretty he'll handle the Boston media the way he handled the Seattle media: By not talking to them. He's a hard guy to figure and I have zero idea how he'll pitch in Boston.
Alan (Champaign, IL)
Relievers winning major awards (that aren't designated for relievers specifically) drives me nuts. I'd argue that a pitcher who throws 60 dominant innings isn't nearly as valuable as an above average everyday player (which many of these RoY candidates are).
David Schoenfield (1:38 PM)
I agree. Personally, I'd vote for Freeman or Espinosa or Worley (if he keeps it up) over Kimbrel or Bastardo But the voters love them some saves.
In 1982 I went to a Cubs/Mets game at Wrigley in which Joel Youngblood got a base hit, was pulled around the 5th inning, traded to Montreal, caught up with his new team in Philly and got a base hit there. Closest thing I can remember to Jimenez' "start".
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
Good one. That was a really big deal at the time for some reason.
Do you think the Rockies traded Jimenez because they feel he won't ever be the pitcher he was at the beginning of 2010 and his value is at it's peak? I'm not sure what players and mangers think, but watching a ton of Rockies games, I can tell you that Jimenez is NOT an elite pitcher. He is an elite talent, but his pitching skills have declined. Were there teams that completely shied away from Ubaldo because they felt his career was already trending downward? Thanks.
David Schoenfield (1:41 PM)
That was the big concern -- that his fastball velocity that had been 96 in 2009-2010 was down to 93 this year. He's never been a great command guy, so a decline in velocity was the big worry. Throwing in shaky mechanics (he had big problems at the start of the year) and clearly the Rockies had concerns about his longterm future.
David Schoenfield (1:42 PM)
That said ... the guy has been one of the few starters(only?) in Rockies history to show he can consistently pitch well in Coors Field year after year. (Although that wasn't the case this year.) His road ERA was 3.38 with just one HR allowed. I think there's a very good chance he IS an elite pitcher.
Do you know what is expected of J Sanchez of Firday when he has his first start since his "injury"? Still a head case who's going to walk 6-7 over 5-6 IP? Regardless, at least it's not Zito
David Schoenfield (1:43 PM)
C'mon, he's only averaging 6 walks per 9 innings this year!
Who would your vote go to for NL MVP? Kemp is clearly the best player but plays on a bad team. Could Halladay actually get a lot of consideration for this?
David Schoenfield (1:46 PM)
I think Kemp is the leader right now, but it's going to be a wide-open race since guys on playoff teams always have the edge. Braun and Fielder have great chances if the Brewers win the Central. As for Halladay, pitchers have done so poorly in the MVP for quite awhile now that I don't seem him factoring. As for me, right now I'd probably 1. Kemp. 2. Braun. 3. McCutchen. That's spending 3.2 seconds thinking about it.
How come you question old fashion stats (i.e RBI) but then use the gold glove to defend defense?
David Schoenfield (1:48 PM)
Both have their flaws. I'll cite Gold Glove if it backs up a defensive reputation. It's easier and more clear to the average reader to say "Michael Bourn has won two Gold Gloves" than to try and explain that he rates really well in advanced defensive metrics.
Lets not forget Jose Reyes in that MVP discussion...
David Schoenfield (1:49 PM)
Right, the injury set him back and he'll face the same issues as Kemp (and Kemp has probably jumped ahead of him anyway).
Admit it, you're going to keep writing off the Diamondbacks until the end of the season.
David Schoenfield (1:50 PM)
I thought I wrote last night that I had a good feeling about them! If I didn't, I meant to! Hey, how about Justin Upton for MVP? He's hot now and starting put up big numbers overall.
Paul Goldschmidt: more like Mike Stanton or Kila Ka-aihue?
David Schoenfield (1:51 PM)
Ha ... somewhere in-between? He's interesting, that's for sure. Power and walks, bat speed is apparently a little slow, but if he has a good eye he can learn to wait for his pitch. I like that they're giving him a chance though. Go with the young guys!
Can you compare the Beltran and Pence deal in terms of what each team gave up versus what they got? Which deal do you like better?
David Schoenfield (1:52 PM)
I like Houston's end better than the Mets. Zack Wheeler had allowed a .409 OBP to lefties (something like that) in Class A. Great arm, but I think he's quite a way from being a decent major league pitcher.
David Schoenfield (1:54 PM)
In fact, let me find the link ... Clay Davenport did a study of Class A pitchers statistically similar to Wheeler. Not good if you're a Mets fan. Basically, only one on the list turned into anything -- Ubaldo Jimenez. Here's the link: http://claydavenport.com/?p=28
Surprised that Wren didn't trade for RH reliever or do you think that just getting Bourn without touching the top 4 prospects was a win?
David Schoenfield (1:56 PM)
Definite win, according to all the prospect mavens. Bourn is a good player, fit what the Braves needed. I still worry about their ability to hit left-handed pitching -- I believe they're last in NL in OPS against lefties. And Braves could still pick up a RH reliever in August or if they make the playoffs use one of the starters in the bullpen.
Nick (Baltimore MD)
How can you vote for Freeman over Espinosa? Espinosa has almost twice Freeman's WAR (3.1 versus 1.7). Unless something changes drastically, it is really no contest.
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
Did I say I'd vote for Freeman? Maybe I did. I thought I was projecting the voter mind-set, in which case Freeman and Kimbrel will have a big edge due to Espinosa's low BA. But Espinosa HAS been more valuable, especially if you believe in his glove like the metrics do.
Corey (SLC, UT)
Why didn't the Red Sox land a big name player like Pence or Beltran?
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
Umm .. because they already had the best offense in the majors?
Do you think Eduardo Nunez can be an everday SS? He can hit a little, and with a little work with the glove he can be average defensively
David Schoenfield (2:01 PM)
I like Nunez. I say without absolute certainly that he would be one of the 30 best shortstops in baseball. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out like that for a player.
Neil (DC )
Can't the odyssey of Cliff Lee serve as a microcosm for the general over-valuation of prospects? When one of the top pitchers in MLB is traded 3x in a 12 month span it seems like the sellers should have been able to make out at least once? Instead it was the buyer's (except for SEA of course...sorry) wreaping huge rewards while giving up a pittance.
David Schoenfield (2:03 PM)
The list of names traded for Cliff Lee is amazing. Brantley is OK and Smoak may be OK. But that's like a 2-for-14 effort or whatever.
Michael (Cypress, CA)
You mentioned that Abreu was more valuable to the Angels, then why is his WAR only .5 versus Trumbo's 1.6? Is it just because he doesn't play any defense? Would that make up the difference?
David Schoenfield (2:04 PM)
I was just looking at hitting. He's produced 10 runs above an average hitter, Trumbo 7. I think Trumbo rates as a pretty good first baseman.
David Schoenfield (2:05 PM)
As you can see, the Angels don't really have much in the way of hitting. :-)
Season ends today, what do the awards look like? CY - Verlander, Halladay. MVP - Gonzalez, Kemp. ROY - Pineda, Kimbrel?
David Schoenfield (2:05 PM)
Espinosa's WAR is higher due to position scarcity, should that be factored in to Rookie of the Year? I know Espinosa is more valuable, but that does mean he's the best?
David Schoenfield (2:06 PM)
This sounds like something my professor asked in philosophy class in college. If you're more valuable, doesn't that you make you better?
Just a random thought... Konerko maybe more valuable than we thought after seeing Dunn @ 1B last night.
If Kemp can be the MVP from a team that's not going to the playoffs, then Bautista should win it over Gonzalez, too.
Brantley was from the CC deal... Carrasco, Marson, Knapp and Donald came for Lee
David Schoenfield (2:08 PM)
Oops, of course. Anyway, there you go. As Simmons would say, that looks a big poo-poo platter.
CY probably CC, MVP A Cabrarra
Look, Verlander's amazing but we can't just ignore what Jered Weaver has done this season. He's been unreal.
I might put Granderson above A-Gon for the AL MVP.
Carlos Quintana (boston)
game 3 starter for the sox in the alds? bedard, wakefield, or (please no) Lackey
David Schoenfield (2:10 PM)
If you ignore his last start (made after a month on the DL), Bedard has otherwise been very good in Seattle. Lackey just isn't showing any signs of turning it around. On paper, Bedard has to be the No. 3 starter right now.
Was Cashman right to hold onto Montero, Banuelos, and Betances if he didn't feel Ubaldo was a clear difference maker in the long term? We know how prospects don't always pan out, but what do you think of these 3?
David Schoenfield (2:12 PM)
I don't know what offers may have been on the table, but in this case I think Cashman may have made the right move. At SOME point the Yankees will need to get younger and if they had real doubts about Ubaldo, then you stick with the youngsters unless you're getting a Cliff Lee, CC-type.
I'm tired of people equating "Most Valuable" with "Best Player." The best player on an overachieving team is more valuable to his team than the best player in the league on a loaded team. If the award is supposed to go to the best player, rename it and describe it as such.
Mike (Long Island)
I can't imagine how the Yankees would possibly do a deal for Jimenez involving 3-4 top-tier prospects without the Rockies letting him take a physical? What would the Rockies be afraid of?
MVP- bautista or ellsbury, mccutcheon or reyes
Neil (DC )
As another follow up to the trading for prospects angle, wouldn't people eventually realize that every year when sites put up the inevitable "best deals in deadline history!!" lists, the same star for prospects deals appear year after year? In other words, every year a bunch of those deals are made, and **maybe** every five years the selling team hits the jackpot enough to make the deal a resounding win.
Weaver's had a great year but if you look at Olney's metrics of the candidates and what happened when the two went head-to-head (Verlander a no-no into an 8th inning that should have been over when it was broken up, Weaver thrown out in the 7th), it's gotta be Verlander over Weaver for CY.
David Schoenfield (2:13 PM)
You're basing the Cy Young winner on one game?
James (Toronto) [via mobile]
The next player to get their number retired will be? Maybe a good future sweetspot article
David Schoenfield (2:14 PM)
Gonzalez is barely a top-5 MVP candidate in the AL. Bats, both Red Sox, Curtis all are ahead of him
David Schoenfield (2:15 PM)
Completely agree. I watch the Red Sox every day and I think most Red Sox fans will agree -- Ellsbury and Pedroia have better/more valuable/more superlicious/whatever term you want to use to say "better." Not that A-Gone has been Lyle Overbay or anything.
I think Ed Wade gets the MVP...he's been the best player on the Phillies so far.
David Schoenfield (2:16 PM)
Mark D. (Yonkers, NY)
MVP top 3 AL: Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Curtis GrandersonNL: Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Lance BerkmanNL would have been Brian McCann but he got injured (best catcher in baseball offensively, best hitter on the Braves who are playing for the playoffs).
How can anybody take Ellsbury over Granderson for MVP? They play the same position (Granderson likely better) and in nearly all stats but BA Granderson is either approzimately equal to or clearly better than Ellsbury.
David Schoenfield (2:18 PM)
Well ... that's 48 points of batting average you're talking about. Not easily dismissed. Ellsbury rates far better on most of the defensive metrics, if you like that kind of stuff.
Read somewhere that Kempimus Prime (Matt Kemp) has like 8 fewer RBI than Gonzalez, but the Dodgers have scored like 200 fewer runs than the Red Sox.
David Schoenfield (2:18 PM)
Baseball Prospectus keeps track of RBI opportunites .. hold on ...
David Schoenfield (2:21 PM)
Gonzalez has more runners on base than anybody in baseball. ...
David Schoenfield (2:21 PM)
Hey, have to run. Sorry about abrupt ending. Hit a deer the other night and insurance company just called. Enjoy the games tonight!