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 3 p.m. ET!
David Schoenfield (3:06 PM)
Happy Tuesday! Let's go ...
Hopeful Nats fan (Eternal hopespring)
David, thanks for the chat. Michael Morse is batting .309 with 34 homers and a .904 OPS in 688 plate appearances dating back to last season and has a 1.057 since the All-Star Break; can we declare him the real deal yet?
David Schoenfield (3:08 PM)
Well, I'll take the under on next season. Why are pitchers still throwing him so many strikes? FYI, I'm having some weird computer issues right now. Chat may be slow.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
The Brewers and Cardinals look like they are engaged in a two horse race to win the NL Central. I am obviously picking the Brewers, who do you think will win the NL Central?
David Schoenfield (3:10 PM)
I was looking at this a bit today and I'd go with the Brewers as well. A major reason: Remember that they went 2-7 against the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays, while the Cards only had to play one three-game series against the Rays. So the Brewers have arguably had the tougher schedule so far.
Wrede Smith (Washington DC)
A comment for your post on Reyes from today. You forgot Braun on list of largest contracts ever. He is in the $140 million range ( I believe $142 million. It hasn't kicked in yet - but as you note neither has Howard's.
David Schoenfield (3:13 PM)
Oops, missed that. I was probably going off a list from before the season. But Braun has obviously been a very durable player. Anyway, I do think some team will give Reyes $100 million.
Dennis Schoch (Cary, NC)
What are your predictions for Div Winners, Wild Card, 1st round, finals & WS Champ?
David Schoenfield (3:18 PM)
Right now, I'll go Red Sox/Tigers/Rangers/Yankees (WC) and Phillies/Brewers/Diamondbacks/Braves (WC). Playoffs: Red Sox over Tigers, Rangers over Yankees. Phillies over D-backs, Brewers over Braves. Red Sox over Rangers. Phillies over Brewers. Phillies over Red Sox.
David Schoenfield (3:19 PM)
Hey, I'm going to have reboot. Hold on and apologies.
David Schoenfield (3:29 PM)
OK, I think I'm back. Minor computer meltdown. Hopefully some of you are still with me!
Matt (New Jersey)
David, thanks for the blog. Read it every day (and participated in your chats) and I want you to know, I was considering leaving this space because I thought the content would dwindle with Neyer's departure....it hasn't. The first article had me hooked. Anyway, now that I've given you a giant man hug for your excellent work...my question: If B.J. Upton is traded this off-season, which team do you think would be the best FIT for him, not who is most likely to actually land him. Based on his personality, work ethic, in-game behaviors, etc. is there any team that you think could at least turn him around a little?
David Schoenfield (3:32 PM)
Thanks for the nice words, Matt. Good question. The interesting thing: Isn't Joe Maddon the PERFECT manager for Upton? If he can't get the most out of him, I don't know if any other manager can. I think he would need to go to a low-pressure environment to start with. A team that knows he's still a decent player despite his low batting average. The White Sox? Alex Rios can't really play center. Kenny Williams likes to take chances. How about Cleveland? They could move Sizemore to a corner OF spot.
What in the world has happened to the Braves starting pitching since the break? Seems like other than Tim Hudson and maybe Beachy that they have just fallen apart?
David Schoenfield (3:35 PM)
Braves are 11th in the NL in ERA since the ASB, and that includes the bullpen. Beachy was somewhat predictable -- a flyball pitcher who didn't give up home runs early on, but the league seems to have caught up to him a bit. Tommy Hanson is the one I'm disappointed in. 24 runs his past five starts, four HRs his last start. I've heard any reports of anything bothering him, so not sure what's going on there.
It sure looks like Greinke is starting to pitch like that ace that the Brewers gave up so much talent for right?
David Schoenfield (3:36 PM)
Greinke was probably the "unluckiest" pitcher in the first half. He had a great K rate but was still giving up a lot of hits. Some of that is the bad Brewer defense, but the bloopers and bleeders were just falling. Not they're not. He's a very good pitcher.
Does Jim Hendry send Marlon Byrd somewhere to make room for Brett Jackson or will he have to wait until the rosters expand in Sept and then get limited ABs?
David Schoenfield (3:37 PM)
Good question. Cubs are playing well right now, and to a certain extent Hendry and Quade may be playing to keep their jobs for next year, so may be inclined to keep playing the vets. Personally, I'd play Jackson, give him 150-175 at-bats and see what he can do.
I keep hearing about how the Giants are still dangerous in a short series because of their pitching and theory they are. But at what point do we have to take notice of the fact that they have arguably the worst lineup in baseball? Their pitching is good but I don't see how they can support against elite pitching in October.
David Schoenfield (3:39 PM)
Right, it's still a two-way game. Giants are averaging 2.3 runs per game in August, have been shut out three times in their past nine games. The offense isn't getting better; it's getting worse. Jim Bowden made a great point on our podcast today: As well as Bruce Bochy pulled all the strings last year, he's not doing it this year. They HAVE to play Belt and give him a chance. Orlando Cabrera is NOT a major league shortstop defensively. I think it's time to start believing in Arizona.
DN (Orange County)
Of all the Mariners options for left field next year--Carp, Robinson, Wells, Peguero, Hallman--who do you like?
David Schoenfield (3:40 PM)
Right now, I'd go with a Wells/Robinson platoon, with Carp maybe getting the DH at-bats. Peguero and Halman have intriguing tools, but they K/BB ratios are just off-the-charts bad. I don't think either will ever produce enough to play regularly.
Jim Hendry is the worst GM in baseball. How do you deem Bryd and Baker untouchable. Pretty funny. Realistic fan speaking we just need to clean house and have a fresh start...
David - humor me if you will. My buds and I have been tossing around possible winter trades to clear up a logjam in Cincy. Would a trade centered on Votto to TOR for Romero/Lawrie ever be considered by TOR?
David Schoenfield (3:42 PM)
Wow, that's an interesting one ... I think Toronto likes the salaries attached to Romero and Lawrie, they seemed determined to turn Lind into a first baseman. As great as Votto is, I'm not sure the Jays' top priority would be first base.
Sarah (Dallas, TX)
What do you think about the Giants moving Schierholtz to centerfield, and calling up Belt to play left since Bochy/Sabean insists on keeping Huff on the field? Also helps address the Rowand/Torres center problem maybe?
David Schoenfield (3:45 PM)
I like it! Schierholtz is very good in the OF corner and I think could handle center. He's certainly better out there than Cody Ross, who plays a little in CF. I just don't understand keeping Huff in the lineup. I know Huff was great last year, and Bochy has shown great patience, but it's August. There is no more time for patience.
Corey (Greenwich, Ct)
Hey David. What do the Yankees do with their current rotation structure? To me, it seems that Hughes is the odd man out. Hard to work through issues in a pennant race, right?
David Schoenfield (3:46 PM)
Here's another example of loyalty: Girardi COULD put Hughes back in the rotation, because he was good last year. But Girardi seems to realize Hughes is sixth on the depth chart right now. He's the odd man out and Girardi appears to have made the right move.
Where do you think Drew Stubbs ranks among Center Fielders in the league? Sure he strikes out a lot, but he has good power and speed, and plays good defense.
David Schoenfield (3:51 PM)
I like Stubbs but he's been one of the more disappointing players for me this season. Keep in mind that when evaluating Cincy hitters that they play in a cozy park. Stubbs is hitting .225/.296/.331 on the road. His OPS was also 100 points higher at home last year, although at least adequate on the road. As far as where he ranks, let's see: he's behind (in no particular order McCutchen, Kemp, Victorino, Bourn, Chris Young, maybe Maybin. That makes him middle of the pack in the NL, which sounds about right.
Mike Scioscia is a commanding figure unlike most (or any) managers in baseball. It seems as though he has more power over personnel moves than other managers do. Is there a voice in the Halos management who is trying to convince him that playing Mathis/Wilson over Conger is detrimental to their chances of making the post-season?
David Schoenfield (3:53 PM)
The Angels are arguably the least "sabermetric" team in the majors. Which is sort of ironic, since Scioscia was undervalued as a player because he walked a lot. Anyway, I don't have an inside info, but to be fair, very few teams are comfortable handling over a playoff contender to a rookie catcher. But if they miss the playoffs by a game or two ...
To say the Angels offense has been struggling would be an understatement, but with Pineiro going on the DL, what waiver wire deals might make sense for the Angels to sure up the rotation for the stretch run? And relating to a comment I made a few chats ago saying Trumbo has been their MVP, when do you stop looking at metrics do determine who a team's best player is and just look at the raw production? I mean, sure Abreu (per your example) is producing more runs per 27 outs, but he doesn't have the 63 RBI Trumbo does. Isn't that what matters at the end of the day?
David Schoenfield (3:56 PM)
No, RBIs are not what matter at the end of the day. I'm not dismissing what Trumbo has done, but my point is that OUTS need to be factored in "production." Trumbo may have a lot of RBIs, but he also creates a lot of outs in doing so. RBIs good, outs bad. When you run it through the mixer, Trumbo's production is OK, but hardly great.
Thoughts on why everyone in the dbacks lineup has slumped since the break (save for Upton, who's struggling lately, and Ryan Roberts)?
David Schoenfield (3:58 PM)
Well, since the break they've played the Dodgers in three series, the Giants, Brewers and Rockies. Mostly teams with good pitching.
For Heath in Dallas, Scioscia wouldn't play Napoli over Mathis, why would he choose Conger over him? He's like a leopard, he doesn't change his spots.
Neil (DC )
Forget who "should" win the MVP in the AL. When awards are announced, who is the winner? Adrian Gonzalez seems the easy answer now, but what if Ellsbury finishes the year with more home runs than him? It is tough to argue for a "slugging" 1B if his leadoff hitting, 40 steal having, centerfield playing, lineup mate hits more homers than him.
David Schoenfield (4:00 PM)
I don't think Gonzalez is the easy answer any longer. I think Ellsbury is probably the leading candidate as to who "will" win, no? A leadoff hitter who may drive in 100 runs, has 30+ steals, may end up with more homers than Gonzalez. A-Gone can't sniff that all-around production. Plus voters will love the comeback angle for a good storyline.
Who do you like in the League Championship this year? A lot of people have West Ham and Leicester finishing one-two. I hope they're right, but I'm still worried.
David Schoenfield (4:02 PM)
West Ham? Well, they did get rid of Jonathan Spector!
How mad would Fox be if we got a Rangers vs Brewers WS? I would love to see that... I think it would be a 7 game series were the home team won every game! 1991 all over again!
Jeff (Winnipeg, Man)
Dustin McGowan looks like he's close to making a return to the majors after 2 and a half years of surgeries and rehabs. Before he got hurt, he looked like he was on his way to becoming a dominant pitcher in the AL East. It's a pretty cool story, Schoenfield.
David Schoenfield (4:02 PM)
Didn't realize he was close to coming back. Let's hope he makes it.
Hope you're right, this is supposed to be the easy part of our schedule before a 10 game road trip that includes Philly and ATL.
Another Giants question. SORRY! Who is the most likely person to be moved via the waiver situation? Any offensive prospects out there for the anemic Giants?
David Schoenfield (4:05 PM)
Josh Willingham? Remember that Ross made it to the Giants mostly because nobody wanted to pick up his salary. So think of a guy making $5-6 million who isn't THAT great that another team would want him. Not sure Willingham would make it through the AL.
Just FYI there have been reports that Tommy Hanson's shoulder is bothering him, but he brushed those off and now won't even answer questions about it so clearly something is wrong there. Now there is talk he will miss a start.
David Schoenfield (4:05 PM)
OK, thanks for the update. That makes sense.
Is Eric Hosmer going to be able to put up Votto-like numbers in the near future? Is that a reasonable comp?
David Schoenfield (4:07 PM)
I like the comp. Hosmer is actually a little more advanced -- Votto's first full season didn't come until he was 24 and Hosmer reached the majors at 21. But it think everyone agrees that he has Votto-like potential.
I don't think either should win, but when discussing NL MVP choices, Berkman is thrown into the debate as maybe a 3rd place finisher. Meanwhile, it seems to me that Holliday is having the better season for the Cardinals. Is this because of a lack of one gaudy offensive number, or are the scribes too excited by Berkman's huge bounceback season?
David Schoenfield (4:08 PM)
Voters like: 1. RBIs; 2. Storyline. Berkman has more RBIs and the "better" story than Holliday, even though I agree that Holliday is the better player since Berkman's defense is, shall we say, not very good.
With Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla on fire in the 3 and 4 holes where do you bat McCann when he comes back?
David Schoenfield (4:09 PM)
McCann third, Uggla fourth, Freeman fifth (so you go lefty-righty-lefty).
MoPETE (N Hollywood, CA)
Re: Scioscia. Leopards don't really have spots - they have rosettes. (Cheetahs do have spots.)
Why would the Jays consider a trade like that? Votto is going to get reeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaally expensive in 2 years. In that case, why not just pay Prince Fielder now and keep Lawrie and Romero?
David Schoenfield (4:11 PM)
Right, that was the point I was trying to make. In this day and age, a guy with a big contract or is about to get really expensive doesn't really have all that much trade value. Votto for Lawrie/Romero works in a fantasy league, but not real baseball.
Sarah (Dallas, TX)
FYI: Girardi has decided to give Hughes a start on Saturday, so I guess he's not done with the 6 man rotation yet.
David Schoenfield (4:12 PM)
Ha! Well, the Yankees have some cushion to play with. But if the Angels sweep them this week and get to within a couple games of the wild card? THEN things start to get a little more interesting ...
Mike (San Diego)
It's also "cute" to throw votes Berkman's way because he wasn't expected to do this well and the element of surprise is always a draw to some voters.
David Schoenfield (4:13 PM)
Exactly. The guy who puts up the same numbers year after year doesn't stand out. For example, Pedroia has been as valuable as Ellsbury in my book, but Ellsbury stands out more because he hasn't been this good before.
Apparently there is a $16 million team option on Aramis Ramirez. I know the Cubs stink and I know that this is no way to rebuild but should the Cubs pick up the option anyway? Ramirez is still probably the best hitter on the team and at least they would only be committed for one year.
David Schoenfield (4:15 PM)
Good question. I wouldn't pick it up, because I don't see the Cubs as contenders next year, but I'm guessing they WILL pick it up, because they seem to be afraid to face the facts and begin rebuilding.
Re spots vs. rosettes, I wasn't going to change an old axiom that I think most people understand.
David Schoenfield (4:15 PM)
Our first-ever leopard debate!
Joey (West Palm Beach)
Brighter future: Justin Upton or Jason Heyward?
David Schoenfield (4:16 PM)
I'll throw out to the readers (chatters?) ...
Joey (West Palm Beach)
If he was to fulfill his potential hitting-wise, who might Jesus Montero be compared to?
David Schoenfield (4:18 PM)
Hmm, scouts see him as a power guy who doesn't strike out a ton. How about Paul Konerko?
Any idea what percentage of MLB players are placed on waivers after the trade deadline for any team to pick up?
David Schoenfield (4:19 PM)
Good question. Some teams will put half their roster on waivers (you can pull them back) if only to confuse other teams which guy you are actually trying to trade.
Kevin (Tacoma) [via mobile]
Who is the front runner for NL MVP? CY Young?
David Schoenfield (4:20 PM)
NL MVP race is completely wide open right now, with 6-7 good candidates. Cy Young race also somewhat wide open, although it seems to be shaping up as Halladay/Hamels showdown, with Kershaw lurking.
David Schoenfield (4:21 PM)
Check back on the blog on Friday for more on the MVP and Cy races!
Current production- UptonReality- Heyward
J Upton (but heyward won't be far behind)
Heyward. once hes no longer injured
Upton has the shorter, quick swing that scouts love. He has all the tools in the outfield and is third in the NL in UZR this year amont outfielders (Parra in 1st, by the way). Upton has everything to be the best player in the NL some day.
Saw Olney and Kurkjain both pick Weaver to win the AL CY if they voted today. Who would you take: Weaver, Verlander, or Sabathia?
David Schoenfield (4:22 PM)
Interesting. I thought everybody was on the Verlander bandwagon. I'd go Weaver as well. Dude hasn't allowed more than four runs in a game all season. 1.87 ERA? Unreal. Or close to it!
@Joey In Atlanta we're just hoping Jason Heyward gets to start, we'll worry about what he can accomplish in the future after Fredi Gonzalez stops benching him for Constanza.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Barring injury will Michael Young get to 3,000 hits? Will he be considered one of the best right handed hitters of all time? Will his numbers be HOF worthy? Your opinion please!
David Schoenfield (4:24 PM)
Best of all time? Meaning one of the top 300 right-handed hitters of all time? Then, yes. Hmm, I hadn't thought of him as a 3000-hit candidate. Let's see ... he has 2,001 ... he's 34 ... seems a long shot. He'll have to age REALLY well to have a shot.
Jason Heyward's Injury Bugs (Turner Field)
Oh it's definitely Heyward, but since he's already turning out to be injury prone before he can even rent a car, I'll go with Upton.
Constanza is the man. Have you seen him since hes started playing? Its like Martin Prado/Omar Infante Part 2
David Schoenfield (4:26 PM)
He's a 27-year-old journeyman who has six career homers in the minor leagues. The go has no business playing an OF corner in a major league pennant race.
Mike (San Diego)
Why don't we throw Mike Stanton into this Upton/Hewyard debate? Is he close to those guys in your eyes?
David Schoenfield (4:27 PM)
Definitely belongs. I still the debates among those three guys similar to the Jeter/A-Rod/Nomar debate in the late '90s.
Why is it so in to bash Ryan Howard and his production even on a blog entry about health?
David Schoenfield (4:28 PM)
You've impressed me, David. You went from not even knowing the Diamondbacks existed to giving them respect all in one season. I like it.
David Schoenfield (4:29 PM)
Hey, I wrote about Josh Collmenter after his FIRST major league appearances! I was on the bandwagon early on!
Will Aroldis Chapman get a chance to close for the Reds this season? Or is he being projected as a starter? Seems like a waste of time to keep him as a setup guy on a team out of contention.
David Schoenfield (4:31 PM)
For what they're paying him, they *should* try him once more as a starter, but that would have to wait until next spring. But I'm guessing they'll settle on him a reliever, because teams usually play it safe and that's the safe thing to do.
I have had many discussion with my friends about the divisions in the MLB and we can not get to a common point of interest while discussing the toughest division in baseball. I say the AL East should be the toughest with the Nl East being a close second. What do you think?
David Schoenfield (4:32 PM)
This is from last week, but our Stats & Info blog had the AL East still slightly ahead of the NL East based on various factors. http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/24095/nl-east-narrows-gap-in-power-rankings
Mike (San Diego)
Just so you know, Karabell bailed on his chat a half hour ago. You can talk trash to him next time you are on the podcast about your superior chatting stamina.
David Schoenfield (4:33 PM)
He's soft. Too many cheesesteaks.
You could throw Jay Bruce in with those guys. He is only 24.
Starlin Castro has all of these guys beat in talent and potential
Is ERA then end all be all? Yes weaver has Verlander beat in era, But JV has Weaver beaten in almost every other major category...
David Schoenfield (4:35 PM)
Weaver has allowed 18 fewer runs in one less start. Pretty big difference there. Now, Verlander has pitched 12 more innings and Weaver probably has the better defense behind him, but 18 runs is 18 runs.
Also, back to Upton vs Heyward: Upton entered the league a whole year younger than Heyward and has pretty much played full-time since. Heyward has already caught the injury bug and will be behind a year in terms of experience.
Cant imagine the redsox would let Willingham get by them (or the yanks to block the sox). Can you see Lackey turning it around a bit in the playoffs, sort of like Lowe in 2004?
David Schoenfield (4:37 PM)
Right, that's why I don't think Willingham makes it to the Giants, if the A's even want to trade him. Lackey ... well, you never know. He's been a little better lately -- 3.58 ERA last six starts with a 31/5 SO/BB ratio. So, yes, it's possible he can still help them in the postseason.
David Schoenfield (4:38 PM)
OK, a few more!
Will the Astros ever be contenders again?
David Schoenfield (4:44 PM)
How old are you?
Yu (Yes YU)
What do you see as Yu Darvish's potential?
David Schoenfield (4:44 PM)
He's the Roy Halladay of Japan!
what do the M' do with their surplus of AAAA outfielders?
David Schoenfield (4:45 PM)
Keep them in AAAA?
Can Doug Fister be a good dominant #2 starter behind Justin Verlander
David Schoenfield (4:46 PM)
He's solid, although I wouldn't use the word dominant. he had a good defense behind him in Seattle, so we'll see how much that hurts him in Detroit.
The Boss (Hovering over Yankee Stadium)
As for Costanza, his success is all about his new wool uniform. Wool breathes, you know...now get me my calzone!And why are people more shocked by A_Rod's reported gambling than they are by his past PED usage?
Mike (San Diego)
Castro better than Upton? Was that Jim Hendry posting while having dillusions about his team's talent again?
David Schoenfield (4:47 PM)
OK, that's it for today. Thanks, everyone! Good games tonight -- Fister vs. Masterson, St. Louis-Milwaukee, Bedard pitching for Boston, Dan Haren (underrated!) against the Yankees. Enjoy the action!