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 (12:58 PM)
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you've recovered from football glut (wait ... I think Baylor just scored again) and are ready to talk some baseball.
We all know the PED issue: (i) is it fair to conjecture without "proof", (ii) even if there is "proof", is it fair to single out someone when there were lots of guys who cheated, and (iii) where do you put in group culpability - why didn't the clean guys say anything? I'm in the "keep them all out" group. Having said that, Bagwell should get in. But there's nothing wrong with making him sweat a few years.
David Schoenfield (1:03 PM)
You nailed the issues, although is it fair to describe it as cheating, when (a) there weren't rules against it; (b) there wasn't testing; (c) the group culpability aspect that you mention. Was it cheating when players took greenies? Was it cheating when Gaylord Perry threw spitballs and Don Sutton scuffed the ball and Whitey Ford sharpened his belt buckle? I'm obviously in the other camp (although I think guys like Palmeiro and Manny, who tested positive after rules were instituted, probably deserve to be considered differently).
Bennett (Chand Town)
Can you (or the readers) recommend any resources for someone looking to dive into sabermetrics, including their calculation and development?
David Schoenfield (1:05 PM)
There is a book called "The Book: Playing the Percentages," although it is fairly involved. There are some good primers out there in the Internet. I'll try and dig some up at the end of the chat (or maybe users can send some good links).
Will Mike Trout be on the opening day roster for the Angels, or will he be jerked around again?
David Schoenfield (1:08 PM)
That's a good question. I think it's pretty obvious that Trout is a better player right now than either Vernon Wells or Bobby Abreu. His defense and speed alone are big plusses, even if his bat isn't quite star-level yet (but it will be). Who knows, maybe he'll come to spring training and leave Mike Scioscia with no solution BUT to start him in left field, but I have a feeling he'll be Triple-A for a couple months.
Hi David- What do you think of the Mariners pitching prospects.. I would think a lineup of King Felix, Pineda, Paxton, Hultzen and Taijuan Walker should make any M's fan salivate.
David Schoenfield (1:09 PM)
All highly regarded. Mariners may be the only team with three A or A- pitching prospects right now, and I feel Walker, Hultzen and Paxton all fit that grade. Unfortunately ... well, you know the unfortunate part and it concerns the ability to hit a round ball with a round bat.
Matt Moore....under/over 3.00 ERA?
David Schoenfield (1:11 PM)
I think I answered this last chat -- I believe only two rookie starters have posted an ERA under 3.00 in the past 20-something seasons (Jeremy Hellickson being one of them). I may have the exact numbers wrong, but it's a very small total. So if I were to bet, I'd take the over on 3.00.
Projections for Desmond Jennings in 2012?
David Schoenfield (1:14 PM)
I'll say something along the lines of .260/.340/.425 ... a very good player with his speed and defense added in, but maybe not quite the huge star some have projected him to be.
Mike (San Diego)
Would you say Oakland is a safe bet to finish 2012 with the most losses in baseball? I think Seattle is going to be tough with how good their pitching should be and I think we all know about the other two teams in that division. 110 losses might be in play.
David Schoenfield (1:16 PM)
Happy New Year, Mike ... good question, one I haven't studied too much yet. As you know, 110 is hard to achieve. Enough the Astros lost "only" 106 last year.
David Schoenfield (1:20 PM)
OK, quick look at Oakland's roster: C Suzuki, 1B Barton/Allen/Carter, 2B Weeks, SS Pennington, 3B Sizemore, OF Reddick, Taylor, Cowgill. Rotation: Anderson, McCarthy, Braden (healthy?), Parker, Peacock, Outman. Bullpen: Balfour, Fuentes, Cook, Blevins ... I don't think that's a 110-loss team, especially if they get 50 starts from Anderson and Braden.
Felske Files (Washington, DC)
Do you think the voting for the Hall of Fame needs to be changed? I think the BBWA should get 40%, fans online voting should get 40% and MLB players, executives and HOF inductees should get 20%. I think that would make the voting more democratic, allow more voices to be heard (saber-folks) and generate more interest among the general public.
David Schoenfield (1:23 PM)
Personally, I would like to see a change. Isn't odd that 500-something sportswriters (many of whom haven't covered a baseball game in years or decades) get to vote, but Vin Scully doesn't? Or somebody like Bill James doesn't get a vote? As long as the writers keep electing at least one or two players a year, I don't think things will change. But I could see a time where the Hall of Fame board will eventually realize ... wait a minute, a Hall of Fame with Barney Dreyfuss and Bowie Kuhn and Pat Gillick and Whitey Herzog but no Jeff Bagwell or Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens is a bit ridiculous, no?
What's the latest Fielder rumors?
David Schoenfield (1:24 PM)
Who knows ... with Scott Boras, you can't read the tea leaves. At this point, I'd say Washington makes the most sense as his likely landing spot.
Oscar ((Santo Domingo))
Now that we are talking HOF, is Vlad Guerrero in already or he is bordeline?
David Schoenfield (1:27 PM)
I think he's in. .318 career average, 449 HRs, 1496 RBIs, an MVP ... by historical standards, that's close to a lock. And he hasn't been tainted by steroids rumors, which seems to be the most important criteria these days.
Projections for REDS Latos in 2012???
David Schoenfield (1:29 PM)
I'm working on a piece on Latos. Love him, although moving to Cincy won't help, of course. His career home ERA is 3.11, 3.57 on the road, so he hasn't had the huge home splits like some San Diego pitchers. I think he can be terrific, with an ERA around 3.25 and 200 strikeouts as he tops 200 innings for the first time. Just be careful with him, Dusty.
Andrew (New Jersey)
What are the odds the Mets finish last in the NL East this year? I was thinking 3-1.
David Schoenfield (1:30 PM)
I do think people are underestimating the Mets a little, but that division could be brutally tough this year. 3-1 sounds about right.
I've been reading that the O's and Braves are talking trade again with Jones and Jiar at the center. Do you see it happening this time? Will the prospect be Hoover?
David Schoenfield (1:33 PM)
I still fail to see why the Orioles would trade a good player in Jones for a pitcher with bad knees. Jurrjens is also a bit overrated due to his low strikeout rate. Jones isn't a great player, but I see a lot of risk in Jurrjens unless you're confident he's healthy.
Marty (Fairfield, CT)
Hi David. Happy New Year. What do you think is the Red Sox plan for filling the back-end of the rotation?
David Schoenfield (1:35 PM)
Well, they seem committed to trying Daniel Bard out there. Felix Doubront will get a shot at the fifth spot and maybe with Bailey and Melancon in the pen, they give Aceves a shot in the rotation as well. Certainly one of the big spring training questions.
Vlad's numbers are close to Bagwell's though - and technically he wasn't tainted by Steroids either. Don't you think Vlad could be lumped in Steroid talk just as easily (unfairly just the same)?
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
That's the problem with the whole question: Why do some guys get the rumors while others (Vlad, Thome, Griffey) get the percepetion as being clean? Vlad's career had a pretty normal career arc, but as I wrote today, so did Bagwell's. And it's certainly possible that EVERY big hitter from the mid-'90s to mid-'00s will get the steroids taint and the only guys to get elected will be Omar Vizquel and guys who pitched for the Braves.
Where do you see Oswalt going?
David Schoenfield (1:41 PM)
Maybe he's the answer to the back of the Red Sox rotation? I really like him as a one-year bet for a contender (he's apparently willing to sign for one year, prove he's healthy, and hit the market again). I still wouldn't be surprised to see the Yankees swoop in and maybe Detroit is a possibility. Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, Oswalt, Porcello ... that's a rotation that can compete with the big guns in the East and West.
Stephen (Twin Cities)
Random curiosity - is it Shane-field or Show-en-field?
David Schoenfield (1:42 PM)
The latter. Funny story. Family name was originally Schoenfeld, but grandfather added an "i" to make it sound less German.
Where do you think Ryan Madson will sign?
David Schoenfield (1:43 PM)
Let's open this one up. Chatters?
Gut feeling: do you think Matt Garza will still be with the Cubs on opening day? I'd say yes. It seems they're asking for more than they are likely to get.
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
Why not just keep him? Isn't he the kind of pitcher you WANT to build a rotation around? These are the Cubs. They can afford to keep him long-term when he becomes a free agent. Why the need to trade him?
Mike (San Diego)
The Padres did well with the Latos deal and look to have some good prospects going forward, but the Quentin deal left me scratching my head. What do you think the thought process was there?
David Schoenfield (1:47 PM)
Maybe the Padres fancy themselves potential contenders in the NL West? Right-handed pull hitters aren't hurt as much in Petco as other hitters, right? So maybe he can punch out 25 home runs if he stays healthy? (OK, that's a lot of ifs ...)
Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)
Homer Bailey has been less than mediocre as a starter, why not see what he can do in the pen?
David Schoenfield (1:49 PM)
The ERA didn't reflect, but he did show improvement last season. His SO/BB ratio improved from 1.65 to 2.50 to 3.21, which is pretty good. I think he deserves another chance in the rotation. Bullpen should only be a last-gasp move for a guy with his stuff.
Jason (St Louis)
Madsen will sign with......Toyko Yakult Swallows!!
Madson goes to the Angels.. its a good fit to a team going all in.
Madson to Chi Sox. Got some salary room with Quentin move and they tend to make illogical moves anyways (Danks to a team that needs to rebuild)
David Schoenfield (1:50 PM)
While the illogical part is true, it does seem the White Sox are committed to cutting payroll under $100 million.
I'm thinking there's a chance he returns to Philly on a one-year deal to set up for Papelbon. Still a high-leverage situation, lots of light on him, and it wouldn't cost the Phils more than, what, $6.5 million?
Marty (Fairfield, CT)
Do you really see Oswalt going to an AL team? This is a guy who's spent a majority of his career in a weak NL Central, and then moved to an NL powerhouse as a middle of the rotation guy.
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
As much as I love Oswalt, I think that's a fair point. His stuff has obviously lost a tick from his Houston heyday, and I'm sure AL teams wonder about that transition. Still, he throws strikes and knows how to pitch and last year was his first year since 2003 he didn't make 30 starts. Put it this way: He's better than Freddy Garcia.
Butler to Rays for SP and prospect? Any chance or does TB say no because of defense?
David Schoenfield (1:54 PM)
Interesting, but I think you're right: With the emphasis Tampa put on defense, they'd view him as DH only and they're not going to give up a good prospect for a DH.
Mike (San Diego)
I could see Quentin doing what you said. I guess I feel that if they wanted a potential 25-30 HR guy who can't play the outfield, why not just use Kyle Blanks there and use the $8M on something else?
David Schoenfield (1:54 PM)
Has there ever been a a good 270-pound outfielder? :-)
Pete (Wilmington, DE)
Dave - please explain to me the logic behind the position that using steroids was not cheating because there was not a rule to say so? Does the fact that it was ILLEGAL not carry any weight whatsoever?
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
Amphetamines (another performance enhancer) are illegal as well. Cocaine is illegal. If legality is a factor, we'll have to kick out several current Hall of Famers, including more than a few very big names.
Omar Vizquel a Hall of Famer? Really? How many seasons was he one of the best shortstops in the league -- one? How about even an average overall shortstop? He would lower the hall's standards, not that that hasn't been done before.
David Schoenfield (2:01 PM)
That was meant to be a bit of a joke ... that writers won't elect any big sluggers, leaving them only with light-hitting defensive whizzes. (By the way, I do think Vizquel will make it some day ... not saying I advocate the selection, but he has an easy banner to carry -- "one of the best fielding shortstops ever" -- that helps guys like him.
Middle of the rotation was just thrown out there for Oswalt as if it's a legit label. Sabathia would be middle of the rotation on that team.
Why not Oswalt to the REDS on a one year deal??
If not the Rays, what about Texas. They could make Young the primary guy at first, and rotate all of their other oft injured players in at DH. Butler can play 1st on days when Young is needed elsewhere and Beltre/hamilton/Cruz need a day off but want to keep bats in lineup? Or because of the defense do I need to reverse my thinking and just ride Butler until his offensive numbers cause him to be over valued and let him walk?
David Schoenfield (2:04 PM)
I just don't think there's a big demand for a guy like Butler ... a good hitter but not an elite one in my book. Hasn't slugged .500, grounds into a lot of DPs, no real defensive value. He's a good hitter and a valuable contributor, but not the type of player teams like to give up a prospect for. So probably just makes sense for KC to keep him.
What if the Orioles get Tommy Hanson in a deal involving Adam Jones? Do you see that possibly happening?
David Schoenfield (2:06 PM)
Same situation: Is he healthy? Do you want to take the risk in acquiring him if you're not sure? On the other hand, if he IS healthy, why would the Braves trade him? I see Hanson staying put.
We get it the Phillies are getting older. My question is do you really see much of their core sticking around long term? I don't think Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz will be Phillies in 5 years.
David Schoenfield (2:07 PM)
Well, Howard has five more years on his contract at $25 million per year, so I'm pretty sure he'll still be around.
Pete (Wilmington, DE)
Understand your point. My question is more geared toward the idea that it wasn't "against the rules". I just hate seeing that used as a reason to excuse it. I'm quite certain that pulling a knife out of your sock and stabbing the 2B on a SB attempt isn't written into the rules either, but I doubt anyone would use that logic to excuse it. Thanks for the answer!
David Schoenfield (2:10 PM)
I'm not necessarily excusing it, but when the culture of the sport allows it to happen, I'm not sure you can blame the players. (Much like steroid usage in the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s and early '90s.) It was an acceptable part of the game that unfortunately was allowed to develop untethered. (Oh ... I think Ty Cobb may have tried that technique once or twice!)
What I don't get is why it's assumed that the "steroid era" started in the early 1990s. Every other sport seemed to have scandals in the 80s, and we know people at least experimented with them in other sports all the way back to the 50s. Don't be fooled...this isn't really about steroids, it's about protecting writers' childhood heroes at the expense of current players.
David Schoenfield (2:12 PM)
Exactly. We know the '70s Steelers were massively abusing steroids, for example. Fans were chanting "ster-oids" at Jose Canseco in the '80s. Somehow, I doubt he was the first baseball player to ever use them. Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell has written that he's been told there is already at least one Hall of Famer who used steroids.
Nasty Nate (Eagle Hut, AK)
I think it is unbelievably naive to think that the NFL is now clean of steroids.
David Schoenfield (2:13 PM)
Yes, I agree. It's the biggest joke in sports that people believe the NFL is "clean." Didn't mean to suggest otherwise. (And that goes for baseball as well ... the chemists are always a step ahead of the testers.)
Do you agree with KLaw that there is no proof that PED's help?
David Schoenfield (2:17 PM)
Well, I'm not sure of Keith's exact point on this. There certainly is not scientific evidence/study/proof that shows how much performance improves with PED usage. On the other hand, we know they can make you stronger (and strength can increase bat speed). We know steroids can help improve eyesight (which would seemingly help). Most importantly, if they didn't help (even a little), why would players take them? How much do they help? We don't know. Do they help every player? Probably not. Do they probably help at least a little? I believe so.
Come on, Bagwell retires due to an 'arthritic' shoulder at 35. Taking steroids IS cheating, if there wasn't any testing. Go to Cooperstown, see Ted Williams, Babe, Hank, Cy Young...all those guys in the Hall and ask yourself: is it RIGHT to put these steroid users in the same Hall as these legends? My answer: absolutely NOT
Do you see the Cardinals trying to pick up some more speed at the top of the order? Say, an everyday CF who can fly? Who would be potential candidates?
David Schoenfield (2:20 PM)
I think they stick with Jon Jay for now, maybe try and find a right-handed platoon partner for him.
Steroids improve eyesight!?!? Citation?
I don't think steroids helps a player hit the ball farther. But I do believe they help an athlete work out harder, for longer, and decrease the slumps that a player would typically go through during a grueling season. That's what you notice about the admitted steroid users. Absolutely no slumps during their career years.
David, one of the problems in addressing the effects of PEDs, and assessing PED-using players, is the simply saying that a player either used or didn't use. Different PEDs have different effects, and some players no doubt used more than others and for longer. Unfortunately for science and award/Hall of Fame voting, we will never know who used what how often and for how long.
David Schoenfield (CT)
OK, I may have mispoken. Some HGH users have reportedly said their eyesight has improved. From Game of Shadows, page 75: a??There was an added benefit to the new drug regimen [which included HGH]: Bonds stopped complaining about his eyes. Although medical experts say therea??s no scientific basis to the claim, some growth hormone users have reported improved vision.a?ý
Clearly, there is this guy named Barry Bonds who was helped. He became better than Babe Ruth at the advanced age of 37, no? If that man isn't proof that it can help...I do understand than can is a key word inthat sentance, BTW.
@John. Isn't that what a "Career year" is? Presumably when a player would have no/very few slumps; this allows him to achieve the best stats of his career in a single season.I find a great deal of the evidence that steroids enhance performance to be anecdotal, like John's statement.
While steroids seem likely to help some, there are many reasons to believe their impact has been hugely overstated. There are just too many other factors that would've had an impact to credit it all to steroids (for example, the fact that home run power is mainly generated from the legs but steroids mainly help the upper body; an explosion of smaller ballparks; 2 rounds of expansion; a change in the baseball manufacturing process around 1993-94)
Brett Anderson had TJ surgery... so he will be out all year, no?
David Schoenfield (2:32 PM)
David Schoenfield (2:34 PM)
OK, was having issues posting there. Yes, Anderson had TJ surgery ... and, yes, appears like he may miss the entire season. Good catch.
David Schoenfield (2:34 PM)
FYI, here's a great piece on steroids that Patrick Hruby for Page 2 back in 2006: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hruby/060512
barry larking might get the HOF call and yet Alan Trammell will get what 25% of the vote? What gives or just more mainstream media bias against any and everything Detroit (sans Verlander)
David Schoenfield (2:35 PM)
It doesn't make sense. Larkin and Trammell are about as close as two players can get in similarity. I don't think you can call this one bias, considering Larkin played in a small market. Just another weird Hall of Fame voting trend that is hard to explain.
Wouldn't the HOF voting problem be solved in the HOF itself just clarified the voting criteria? The issue is that the voters are allowed to determine their own definitions of very vague guidelines.
David Schoenfield (2:37 PM)
Right. The biggest issue I have is the writers are becoming the moral arbiters of the Hall of Fame. Shouldn't the Hall of Fame board set its OWN guidelines? After all, it's THEIR museum, not the BBWAA's museum.
It makes all the sense in the world to trade Garza if you're able to get more value in return than he's currently worth. You could say that about any player. Certainly there's no reason the Cubs HAVE to trade him, but if they do, I hope they get a king's ransom.
Okay, so we'll kick out all pitchers before the mound was lowered, all batters after the "live ball", no one between the years of 1995 and 2005 get in...that should make the HoF fair, right?
John Brown (LA of Anaheim of LA)
Why is Olney picking the Angels so low? They gotta be top 5 come on...
David Schoenfield (2:39 PM)
Which list are you referring to?
beef producer (montana)
anybody that ever ate my beef knows you can hit the ball 20% farther.
Yes, Al, everyone else on the planet hates Detroit. That's exactly why a defensive shortstop who had 3-4 good hitting years isn't in yet.
David Schoenfield (2:41 PM)
Unfair characterization of Trammell. He had seven seasons with an OPS+ of 120 or higher, including six of 130 or higher. That's as many 130 OPS seasons as Jim Rice.
That's the point, it isn't small market vs. large market..it's purely anti-Detroit.... newest example, Matt Stafford no pro bowl??
David Schoenfield (2:43 PM)
So Justin Verlander becomes the first starter pitcher to win the MVP since 1986 and you're crying a Detroit bias?
if you see my original post (sans Verlander)
David Schoenfield (2:45 PM)
So you can pick and choose your biases? Nicklas Lidstrom wins Norris Trophy at age 41 (really, the best defenseman in hockey was 41?), but there's a bias against Detroit? C'mon, Al ... you can do better than that!
Jason (St Louis)
Who said Jim Rice should be in there?
David Schoenfield (2:46 PM)
75 percent of the voters did
Mike (chicago also)
I just can't see taking my grandkid to Cooperstown in 2050 and having to explain to him why so many top players aren't there when Rabbit Maranville and all of Frankie Frisch's cronies are. The Hall is a museum of baseball history, the plaques tell a story and leaving out a bunch of great players because of ex post facto morality is just the wrong way to approach the issue. We are collectively smart enough to put the tainted player's accomplishments in context without being hamhanded and excluding every great player over 15 years. You'll honor them more by their exclusion.
David Schoenfield (2:48 PM)
Excellent post, Mike. Good one to finish with. Thanks for a great everyone. We'll be back next week ... the day after Hall of Fame announcements are made. And maybe Prince will have a new team by then. Until then ... pitchers and catchers in our dreams.