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 (3:01 PM)
And we're off ...
Why do Sabermetricians hate the Orioles so much?
David Schoenfield (3:02 PM)
Sabermetricians don't have emotions so how can they "hate"?
David Schoenfield (3:03 PM)
OK, you meant the numbers ... I assume it mostly has to do with projecting their rotation to be mediocre and not believing in the bullpen. I assume their playoff odds have changed quite a bit in the past week, however.
So how scared should I be as an Orioles fan today? Everything is going so well, and then, GASP, last night happens. No, not the anticipated 11-3 romp of the Yankees, but my man crush Manny Machado? They can still win the division, but I don't expect anything in the playoffs without him. Thoughts?
David Schoenfield (3:04 PM)
Sounds like a knee sprain, so maybe as serious as it looked last night. Playoffs? As we always say, just get there, baby, and anything can happen.
Brian Sabean (AT)
David... I probably should have made a move at the deadline for some offense, huh? I know you can't predict injuries, but... WOW is the back end of our lineup just a black hole, or what? Yuck.
David Schoenfield (3:06 PM)
Yep, was surprised you didn't get a second baseman.
Brian (Fishers, IN)
So what will the Royals do with Hosmer when he comes off the DL in a few weeks? They acquired Willingham from the Twins to DH, and do they really want to shift Billy Butler from 1st base, now that he has finally started to hit?
David Schoenfield (3:07 PM)
I think a lot of mixing and matching, no? I'm sure Ned Yost will get the right combinations out there ... so, if the Royals win the division, does this change anyone's opinion of Yost?
Morris (Pgh, PA)
I am a man of color with a serious question about a sticky topic, and I apologize in advance for any offense my question causes. Francoeur was DFAed, and most articles on the topic talk about what a great guy he is and how wonderful he is in the clubhouse. This may be true - I don't know him, but then again most of the writers/bloggers don't either. All I know is that he complained when the Braves sent him to the minors, he complained when he lost his starting job in New York, and everyone knows his famous OBP whine to Jerry Crasnick. So why is his reputation golden while a guy like Lastings Milledge is considered a cancer for high-fiving fans during a game? If Frenchy were Cuban, would the sizzling 23-game start in 2005 be enough to crank out a 10 year career? Again, I don't mean any offense, but I hope you can see why Frenchy's rep bothers me as a colored man and a baseball fan.
David Schoenfield (3:11 PM)
I think your points are fair. Let's face it -- most of the beat writers and bloggers are white men (and front offices), so I do think you're always going to see the baseball world viewed primarily through that lens and that's going to help a guy like Francoeur. He IS well-liked by teammates and he's a good interview and that helps his "good-guy" image. But you're right, imagine if a similar player of color complained about same of these same issues.
Verlander injury a bit of a blessing in disguise? No way they were sitting him even though he's been ineffective most of the year. And if they make it to a playoff series they don't have to start JV over Porcello.
David Schoenfield (3:12 PM)
Could be, at least if Sanchez gets back in time. He was certainly wasn't helping them much this year. Not all that better than a replacement-level pitcher, although I guess the other question is if Robbie Ray and/or Buck Farmer are replacement-level quality.
how do you think Matt Kemp looks these days? Is he a decent rf according to metrics?
David Schoenfield (3:13 PM)
Looks much better at the plate. Haven't checked his metrics in right field, but I think the same issues apply no matter where he plays -- he gets a lot of bad reads/routes in the outfield.
Kirk (Las Vegas)
Do you think AJ Preller will keep Bud Black around after this year? As a Padres fan, even though they have remained very mediocre over the past three seasons, I still feel that he is the right man for the job.
David Schoenfield (3:14 PM)
No insight there. Black is very highly regarded, he's been great at building good bullpens year after year. I don't see any knocks against him, but I'm not watching the Padres either.
Any chance the Pirates resign Martin?
Johnny (Long Beach,CA)
Catcher is a black hole on offense for the Dodgers this year. Is a Russell Martin to LA deal possible or was he put off by being let go earlier in his career
David Schoenfield (3:15 PM)
He's going to be a little expensive if he continues posting a .400 OBP. How many catchers can get on base and play solid defense? Unfortunately, he may be out of the Pirates' price range -- especially, if as Johnny suggested, the Dodgers have interest.
Ed (El Paso, TX)
I don't understand why the Mariners have such an inept offense year after year. Is it Safeco? The GM's? Scouting?
David Schoenfield (3:18 PM)
Minor league system just hasn't produced hitters. Safeco is a little bit to blame, but Seager is proving you can hit there (it's pretty fair for left-handed hitters). Jack Z loves power so the system has a penchant for producing free-swinging power hitters who have poor plate discipline (Carlos Peguero, Alex Liddi, etc). Those guys don't succeed in the majors.
David V. (Fla.)
David which callup prospect you think will have the most impact in 2014: A.Lambo,J.Lamb,Rymer Liriano or J.Soler?
David Schoenfield (3:19 PM)
Hmm, this sounds suspiciously like a fantasy question ... Lamb is already up, so you'd have to go with him, right?
Am I the only one enjoying the Yankees and Red Sox getting fat and old all of a sudden?
David Schoenfield (3:19 PM)
Don't call Jeter fat!
Any Robin Williams thoughts? I'm much more profoundly impacted by this than I imagined.
David Schoenfield (3:21 PM)
I think we learned were some of his comic genius came from unfortunately. He was in more good movies than I realized once you start seeing the list (and more than a few clunkers). But Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society are two of my favorites -- as Jim Caple wrote on the blog today, the "baseball" scene from Good Will Hunting was a classic.
Bryan (Montclair, NJ)
Settle a bet: If you were the Mets GM and had an abundance of young, high ceiling arms in the organization (Wheeler, deGrom, Syndergaard), would you trade one of them now while the value is high (risking one of them becoming an ace), or hang onto it to see what you have first (risking one of them getting hurt and/or failing)?
David Schoenfield (3:23 PM)
I'd try and trade at least one of them. Building around a pitching staff is much harder than building around a lineup. Pitchers get hurt and are generally a little more inconsistent. Plus, it's easier to come with the Chris Young/Bartolo Colon version of a pitcher than an older hitter who can contribute (like the Chris Young position player).
I heard several rumors of the Braves trying to trade Bj and a pitcher before the deadline but the braves backed out why would they back out of a deal that would get rid of probably the worst every day player in league?
David Schoenfield (3:25 PM)
Didn't hear that. Doubt they were getting much in return. And if they did trade him -- who would play the outfield? Doumit? Shafer? They're worse than Upton.
Jesse (LA, CA.)
Can the Dodgers make it to the World Series with a catcher hitting under .200
David Schoenfield (3:25 PM)
Sure. They won in 1988 with a shortstop who hit .199 and an outfielder who hit .196!
Heather S. (Atlanta)
You believe K.Corriea can win that LAD's 5 th starter role for rest of 2014?
David Schoenfield (3:26 PM)
I think so. Us stat nerds aren't big fans of his since he doesn't miss many bats, but he's pretty solid since early June. Considering the circumstances, not the worst pickup for L.A.
Brandon (Towson MD)
Name one move the Orioles could make now that could shift them from 'smoke in mirrors'(your words not mine!) to legitimate contenders to win the ALCS vs the A's?
David Schoenfield (3:27 PM)
Did I write that? I don't think there's a move they can make, as much as if Chris Davis gets hot -- I think he has four homers in the past week? -- watch out.
If Oakland, Baltimore, Kansas City and Seattle all make the playoffs, will Fox move the games to FX? How big of an anyeursm would the suits get?
David Schoenfield (3:28 PM)
And Pittsburgh/Milwaukee in the NL.
Do I have Greg Oden Knees? I'm young and yet just everyday ordinary moves and my knees just give out.
I love your chats David and your stories. But do you even follow baseball? Schafer was waived and is with the Twins now.
David Schoenfield (3:30 PM)
Then I guess he's not a possible solution in the Braves' outfield.
Beg to differ with you David.....even Shaq Thompson would be an upgrade over BJ.
The one player that no one should want on his team is Soria. Look at his track record. When he was with the Royals they never made the playoffs, when he was with the Rangers they imploded last year and then cratered this year, and now that he is with the Tigers 2/5 of their starting rotation has gone down. Rant officially over.
Is their a fielding independent batting average stat, that better indicates how well a batter is actually hitting based on line drive rate vs. balls finding holes in defensest that don't have much range? Or is wOBA the best indicator of how well a batter produces offensively?
David Schoenfield (3:34 PM)
wOBA is a good cumulative stat that tells us how a batter has done -- although not necessarily how lucky or unlucky he's been. There are couple stats out there that get at what you're looking at. Line drive rate is a good one. If a guy has a good line drive rate but a poor BABIP (average on balls in play) he's probably had some bad luck. This fits Anthony Rizzo last year. At ESPN, we have a stat called hard-hit average, which is subjective but somewhat useful. Not that stat is on any of the public websites, however.
David (New York)
The mets are only 6 out of the WC!
Hi Dave, If you were running the Mets would you try to get an established hitter like Tulo or Cargo, etc or would you try and make a move for a prospect like Profar or Taveras?
David Schoenfield (3:36 PM)
Sure, if you can find a way to get Tulo, he's the most attractive since he's signed through 2021 and one of the best players in the game. I'm not a huge CarGo fan -- he seems more brittle than Tulo these days and he's just not as valuable. So I'd go Tulo, the prospects, and then CarGo.
David Schoenfield (3:37 PM)
I just think the certainty is important. Consider if the Rangers or Cardinals WERE to trade Profar or Taveras, I'd be asking: Why? Because young position players with high-end potential just aren't traded that often.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
Are you staying with your Dodgers vs. Rays World Series predictions? If not , who do you have playing/winning the WS?
David Schoenfield (3:38 PM)
Can't do Rays now. I had A's-Dodgers at the trade deadline, so that would be my choice right now. A's to win it all, but that's a little bit of choosing with the heart more than anything.
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
Wouldn't a "challenge trade" between the Cubs and Mets make sense? Mets have young pitching/no young hitting, Cubs have young hitting/no young pitching.
David Schoenfield (3:39 PM)
Yep, seems to line up perfectly for an offseason trade. But the Mets will have to give up something plus -- meaning, on a one-for-one basis, I'd take the Cubs' position players over the Mets' pitching.
Can you explain why Ryan Flaherty is still playing in the Major Leagues? He is one of the worst hitters I have ever seen, and isn't particularly special on defense either. Is he dating Buck's daughter or something? What gives?
David Schoenfield (3:40 PM)
Buck loves his defense and versatility.
The thing with BJ is we would rather player Doumit in RF than continue running BJ out there at $15 per year for the next 3 1/2 years.
David Schoenfield (3:41 PM)
But nobody is going to take that contract off your hands at this point. Braves would have to pay a large chunk of it move him.
Best Fans in Baseball (St. Louis)
Got to love that Cub fan switching baseballs when throwing back the HR ball. So classless. Certainly not the Cardinal Way of conducting oneself.
David Schoenfield (3:41 PM)
Not to beat up on the guy because it was a great catch, but ... why is a 65-year-old man bridging a glove to the park?
Steve (Plantation, FL)
I was talking to my brother about outfielders, and I said "I want my left fielder to have a .350 OBP, 30 doubles, 20 homers, play solid D, and be a good base runner". Then I asked "how many players actually do this ?" I then concluded that there just aren't very many well-rounded players anymore. Andy Van Slyke, where are you now ?
David Schoenfield (3:44 PM)
You know ... I did a quick search on this for 2013. Only five outfielders (any position) did that: Trout. Holliday, McCutchen, Choo and Cuddyer. And Cuddyer is a below-average defender. Sounds like a blog post!
Brewers doing anything regarding bullpen? A strong right-handed arm could be the difference in the division race down the stretch.
David Schoenfield (3:44 PM)
Going to be difficult know to get a good reliever through waivers.
Dave, how do teams negotiate PTBNLs? Are there any good examples where leaving that unspecified led to major problems down the line? I'm surprised at how rarely you hear about this kind of re-negotiation breaking down (especially since there must have been some reason they couldn't seal the deal to begin with, right?)
David Schoenfield (3:47 PM)
Usually they've agreed on a pool of players to choose from (if not the specific players). PTBNLs can come in handy since you don't have to use a spot on the 40-man roster if necessary, if those are the types of players being discussed. Or, sometimes, the players can be contingent on how well the traded guy performs. Sort of a gentleman's agreement.
How about some occasional creativity from MLB decision makers? The Giants have a black hole at 2B. Panda, as has been written, has above average range for a guy his size. Posey hits much better when not behind the plate and played SS in college. How about moving Panda to 2B and Posey to 3B for a week or two with Susac catching. If it doesn't work you can go back to playing the garbage you've been living with at 2B. If it works, you look like a genius.
David Schoenfield (3:47 PM)
Playing good D at third base is one thing, but can you see Panda trying to turn a double play?
Early thoughts on Javy Baez?
David Schoenfield (3:48 PM)
Boom or bust? Well, maybe that's unfair. I think he's enough raw power to have a nice career, could be a 30-35 homer guy. But more likely to be a Soriano type -- power but low OBPs than the next Gary Sheffield (sick bat speed, power, high OBPs).
Jason Heyward, Where does he finish in the MVP vote?
David Schoenfield (3:49 PM)
Probably out of the top 10. History says voters don't do well with defense-first players. I think Ozzie only had one top-10 MVP finish, the year he finished second.
Gabe (Boulder, CO)
What are your moves to fix to Rockies?
David Schoenfield (3:52 PM)
Man ... I wouldn't even know where to begin. Certainly start with seeing what you can get for CarGo. Then I'd *maybe* consider Tulo, but I don't see how any team can afford him. Find a second baseman who can actually contribute. Overpay for some veteran starters if you have to. Their lack of rotation depth has killed them the past couple years once guys got injured. Settle on three or four outfielders instead of six or seven and trade the others for pitching depth (even mediocre pitching depth).
David Schoenfield (3:52 PM)
Oh ... and get rid of the front office. Seems pretty clear this whole split GM thing isn't going to work out.
Ron (North Dakota)
David- I think Ryan did as good as he possibly could with the trades of Fuld, Hammer and Morales. Whom do you think is the PTBNL in the Corriea deal? Kershaw or Puig? Ha! They are at least getting a little younger and could be relevant by 2016. What do you think?
David Schoenfield (3:54 PM)
Milone was a nice pickup, a serviceable No. 5 kind of starter. Good pickup for a backup outfielder. Anyway, 2016 ... sure. Especially in the AL Central.
Andrew (Los Angeles)
Any reason the Angels couldn't beat the A's and Tigers in the playoffs? Nobody seems to talk about them
David Schoenfield (3:54 PM)
Sure. Angels are good. Why not?
That Heyward MVP question had to be a joke. The guy can't hit a lick. He's not *that* much better of a hitter than BJ. Seriously.
David Schoenfield (3:56 PM)
He's been about 22 runs batter with the bat. That's about two wins' worth of runs created, which is pretty significant.
Esteban (Key West)
David, as an aspiring baseball columnist getting my degree in journalism from ucf this year, I look up to baseball writers such as yourself, klaw and callis. Who influenced your writing?
David Schoenfield (3:58 PM)
Bill James more than anybody -- starting reading him when I was 12 or 13. When I was kid, you had your local newspaper, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and books, so you were much more limited. I loved Roger Angell's books. Tom Boswell's collections were great. Peter Gammons in SI and TSN.
OMG - I read the other day and again to day you compare Baez to Sorryano - one of the worst Cubs ever (don't give me any Sabermetric crap and watch Sorryano play for five years at Wrigley - awful) how bout a comparison to Sosa then you will make me happy and excited
David Schoenfield (3:59 PM)
Hey, he had a couple nice seasons with the Cubs!
frank Madras or. [via mobile]
Why can't mlb go to a 28 man roster , but only activate 25 a game could protect your last night starter, and protect a couple of players that really need a day off.
David Schoenfield (4:01 PM)
I've been meaning to write a column on this. Maybe a good offseason piece. Why not? Makes too much sense. You can easily trim $1.5 million off other salaries. Help prevent injuries. Give managers more players to work with. Of course, the fear is teams would just carry 15 pitchers and we'd seen even more meaningless pitching changes.
Why doesn't anybody talk about Carlos Gonzalez' home/away splits? The guy barely bats .200 on the road. Scary.
David Schoenfield (4:02 PM)
He was great on the road last year (.330, .606 slugging) but that's been the only year he's really hit on the road. That's exactly my concern.
How many DPs do teams have a chance to turn every game? One or two on average? What's more painful, watching Panda trying to turn a DP, or watching a collection of nobodies hitting below .200 with no power?
David Schoenfield (4:03 PM)
But is the difference between Susac at the plate and the second basemen worth BIG defensive downgrades at second and third? No.
Reference 28 man roster, put a limit on the # of pitchers.
David Schoenfield (4:04 PM)
You'd have to create a rule where the previous two starting pitchers or something have to be active, just so you can stack the bullpen with 10 relievers.
That's why they were throwing a young pitcher (Minor, Wood, etc..) in with the deal so as to not pay most if any of it. I think the plan would be to move Perraza from 2B to CF (much like Billy Hamilton) and see if he is ready to take over next year. I think the O's are the team to beat in the AL as they are the most balanced (SP RP Offense). The A's were my pick but they gutted their offense to get a 4th starter. He is an ace but one of their top starters will only pitch once maybe twice in the postseason and their main offensive threat is now bashing balls off the Monster.
Is Jose Abreu the next Juan Gonzalez?
David Schoenfield (4:06 PM)
Sure, pretty good comp. Won't draw a lot of walks but still hits for a high average with great power. BTW, Abreu has a 166 OPS+. Gonzalez's career high was 169 (only time he was over 150). So Abreu may end up being better at his peak.
So what did the Rockies have at the beginning of the year if not mediocre pitching depth? (De La Rosa 3.0 WAR, Chacin 4.3 WAR, Chatwood 2.0 WAR, and Nicasio 2.3 WAR) Added Anderson and Lyles (6 deep) Gray & Butler were expected to contribute in September (8 deep) And it wasn't one SP injury, it was 8. At once. Show me a team adequately prepared at the start of the season to go 13 deep in the rotation.
David Schoenfield (4:07 PM)
OK, that sounds fair. Good point.
Let's assume YOUR Brewers make the playoffs. Lohse, Gallardo, Peralta, (healthy) Garza, Nelson. How do you line up your playoff rotation?
David Schoenfield (4:09 PM)
I'd go Lohse, Garza, Gallardo, Peralta. Only because it seems Lohse is the most consistent guy. Not sure that's exactly true. Really, they're all about the same and three of the four have postseason experience, so that isn't really a deciding factor (not that it should be).
Jim Bowden suggested the Rockies trade Charlie Blackmon (and parts) for Mat Latos this offseason. Seems like an awfully low return for a pitcher of Latos' caliber, doesn't it?
David Schoenfield (4:10 PM)
Well, you're only getting him for one year, but I hear you: Not sure Blackmon is more than a fourth outfielder in a non-Coors park.
David Schoenfield (4:11 PM)
Hey, I have to get running. Thanks for all the questions. I'll be off next week so check back in two weeks for the next chat. Enjoy your baseball!