Chat with Jim Caple
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com senior writer Jim Caple stops by to chat about his MLB team of the decade, as ESPN.com continues its "Best of the 2000s" series.
During the baseball season, Caple writes his weekly baseball column "Off Base" for Page 2 among his other contributions. Before coming to ESPN, Jim worked in Minneapolis and Seattle. His first book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," can also be ordered through his Web site, jimcaple.net.
Send your questions now and join Caple Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jim Caple (2:03 PM)
OK, all you fans of really bad teams. I'm taking a break from crashing my bike to listen to all your counter arguments about which team was the worst of the decade. Oh, and you can try to argue that the Yankees weren't the best team, but then we would all laugh at you.
If not for 2008 and 2009, the Rays are the worst team, right? Assuming that they performed up to their "capabilities" those two years. It's a no brainer.
Jim Caple (2:04 PM)
Frank--Yes, if it weren't for 2008 and 2009, the RAys would be the worst team. But if it weren't for 2008 and 2009, my 401k would look a lot better. You gotta play the whole 10 years.
Fine Jim...If I have to accept it, I'll agree and say that the Yanks are the best team of hte decade. But let's throw that money hungry team out of the running. Which team is next?
Jim Caple (2:07 PM)
I'd probably have to go with the Red Sox, who won two World Series and changed the entire storyline of the team, from the good team that always lost heart-breakingly in the end to Evil Empire II. But then I'd go with the Angels, who were competitive the entire decade in the better league.
What are your thoughts on what seems to a a swap of Figgens for Beltre and what do you think the batting order will be since the Mariners already have a good lead off hitter in Ichiro?
Jim Caple (2:09 PM)
I think Figgins is an upgrade over Beltre but the Mariners still might re-sign Beltre in which case they could move Figgins to second and maybe move Lopez to first. That's the beauty of Figgins - he can play so many places, even LF if that would help. Figgins will bat second, which should be no problem. The more runners on base, the better.
Andrei (Hoboken, NJ)
Not only were the Yankees the best team of the decade, they were also the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best.
Jim Caple (2:10 PM)
Well, theys pend enough for four teams.
come on, this isn't even a contest - the Pittsburg Pirates.
Jim Caple (2:11 PM)
The Pirates, while bad still exist (sort of) in Pittsburgh. The Expos moved from Montreal -- and got worse. To me, the move trumps everything.
Josh (Dallas, TX)
Care to take a guess on who will be the best team of the next decade? Please say Rangers...please say Rangers....
Jim Caple (2:13 PM)
OK, I'll say Rangers. But I won't mean it. Though I do think they'll be much, much better. Which won't be hard. I nearly included them in my list of worst teams of the 2000s.
worst team ever, 2004 yanks. Can't choke away a 3-0 lead to a team of idiots. Babe Ruth's curse is eating in it's grave.
Jim Caple (2:15 PM)
I think some fans in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Montreal and Washington would beg to differ. If taking a 3-0 lead in the ALCS is your definition of worst team, can we have some of that in Seattle?
Do the Mariners have a chance at signing Cliff Lee to a long term deal? It's possible that he falls in love with the Mariner defense and Safeco with its pitcher-friendly dimensions.
Jim Caple (2:19 PM)
Possible, yes. But the Mariners will have to score some runs for him in addition to giving him some major bucks. Heck, they scored fewer runs than the Giants! But the beauty of the trade is Seattle gave up little for him -- the M's were wastig first-rounder Phillippe Aumont by switching him to relief -- and they'll have several options. keep him, try to re-sign him, trade him at the deadline. Seattle fans get used to it: You have a GM that fleeces the other team.
If you could pick out the players to make up the best team of the decade who do you have at each position???? I would go LF - Bonds, CF - Edmonds RF - Vlad 3B - Rolen SS - Jeter 2B - Luis Castillo??? 1B - Helton C - Mauer P - Pedro Martinez or Johan Santana....Thoughts and/or substitutions?
Jim Caple (2:23 PM)
I think you could win some games with that team. Let's see ... I might go with A-Rod at third (six seasons there). Santana or Randy Johnson over Pedro. Definitely Pujols over Helton.
If you are the Giants GM then what 2 moves would you make to improve the offense. I assume they need a 1b/3b and outfielder. Bay, Beltre, Johnson, Uggla, Atkins, other?
Jim Caple (2:24 PM)
Depends on my budget. If I've got the money, I sign Bay, get Uggla and hire a personal trainer for Pablo.
where do the Braves lineup in your Best of the 2000's List?
Jim Caple (2:27 PM)
Seventh, and a very distant seventh. They went from a team that lost in the postseason all the time to a team that didn't reach the postseason anymore. Team GBYankees --Red Sox 10Cardinals 12Angels 13Twins 16Phillies 17Atlanta 23
Jim Caple (2:28 PM)
ehhh, those numbers looked good when I wrote them in my space here but no so good when they got posted. They're supposed to represent how many hypothetical games back each team finished behind the Yankees
Hi Jim - I know this is off topic, but I was wondering if you have reconsidered your stance on Fred McGriff's HOF candidacy after reading Jayson Stark's recent article concerning the Crime Dog?
Jim Caple (2:30 PM)
I haven't read it yet, but I need to. If Jayson says something, I usually go along with it (though not about Mariano Rivera). I'm still on the fence about McGriff, though tempted to vote for him. Look at his numbers -- pretty good and incredibly consistent, and he was putting them up before the inflated offense era.
Mike (Troy, VA)
Mauer over Posada for the decade? Doesn't 2000-2005 count?
Jim Caple (2:33 PM)
Yes, but so do 2006 through 2009. And Joe has been about as good as any catcher ever has been these past couple year. What can I say? I lived in Minnesota for a decade. Otherwise, yeah, you're right about Posada. And he should have been MVP in 2007.
How do you define "best team"? Should you compare success compared to money spent? The Twins have had the best success when comparing money spent!
Jim Caple (2:36 PM)
Best team is simple. The best team. The team that won the most games, that won the most consistently and won big. Which (unfortunately) was the Yankees.The most efficient team? That would be your small market Twins, who paid their players in post-dated checks and IOUs yet still won several titles.
The Pittsburgh "Under New Management" Pirates won't be among the worst of the next decade, will they?
Jim Caple (2:39 PM)
I wish I could see reason for improvement for the next couple years but I don't. Constantly turning over your team when the better players get close to making more money will not get it done. But the main problem is they haven't produced players who would have turned around the club even had they kept them. Still, they have to get better in the next decade. Don't they?
Phil (Rockford IL)
Jim, I know that the Cubs are hampered by a lack of funds (which seems wierd since they raised prices again), but are they going to do anything this offseason that legitamitley helps their chances in 2010?
Jim Caple (2:41 PM)
A good friend of mine is a HUGE Cubs fan -- he proposed to his wife in front of the Wrigley marquee on opening day one year -- and he was just complaining about how little the Cubs are doing this winter. I think the approach will be to write off 2009 as a bad year and hope players will return to form in 2010. It may be dull, it may be cheap, it may be lazy, but it also may be right.
I still play MLB The Show 08 and in the 2012 season the Pirates still have Bay, Nady, Sanchez, Wilson, Morgan and Ryan Doumit. Guess what? They still stink.
Jim Caple (2:43 PM)
Exactly. Now, MLB The Show 92? They aren't so bad. And man that Bonds guy is great at Pong in that game.
Derek (Spring, TX)
Why do we always go back to the Yankees franchise being the big bad guy? What about the Player's Association? Is that not the biggest hurdle in getting to a salary cap?
Jim Caple (2:46 PM)
The Yanks are the big bad guy because they are the big bad guy who ruins the season for everyone else. And they've been that way for about 90 years. I fact, they were even bigger and badder before free agency. The Players Association -- and I applaud your use of that term, rather than union -- is not the big bad guy. A salary cap is not needed -- how short are people's memories that we have already forgotten the Rays in the 2008 World Series? Although it would be in the players interest to negotiate for a salary floor.
Is Johnny Damon this year's Bobby Abreu?
Jim Caple (2:48 PM)
No, he has a better rep than Abreu and will get a better contract. But like Abreu, he might be a bit of a bargain (relatively speaking). We'll see. I'm never surprised by how much money players get. Although that LaTroy Hawkins deal is hard to figure.
Worst team, has to have had no postseason apperances. So that's KC, Bal, Tor, Tex, Was, Pitt, Cinn.I would say that Pitt was the worst because they never even sniffed the WC while Was was at least moved so they have a excuse.
Jim Caple (2:49 PM)
An excuse? The league tried to kill them, then stole them away from their home? That's not an excuse, that's a tragedy.
Sorry Caple- But Pedro is the pick for pitcher of the decade. His 2000 season alone makes him such - 1.74 ERA, 284 K's, 32 Walks, .737 WHIP. In the AL East, During the Height of the Roids Era. Greatest season ever by a pitcher
Jim Caple (2:51 PM)
It WAS a great season. And he is a great pitcher. But you have to look at the whole decade and he won only 22 games the last four seasons.
Jim Caple (2:51 PM)
OK, just got a couple more minutes left
Jon (Des Moines)
Do the Twins get Mauer extended before the start of spring training? I just can't imagine both sides not working something out. Seems pretty pointless to build the new stadium if Mauer isn't going to be around more than 1 season.
Jim Caple (2:54 PM)
Sorry about the delay -- my laptop just wet nuts.Anyway, I'm not sure when it will get done but i fully expect Joe to re-sign with the Twins. He's as much a part of Minnesota as 40-foot high snowpiles in the cul-de-sac. In May.
Do you think Randy Johnson retires this year?
Jim Caple (2:56 PM)
Based on his agent's comments, yes. He made it sound like RJ had lost his passion for the game and didn't want to go through all the rehab again. But letting go, as we've seen time and again is very difficult.And speaking of letting go, I need to dash. Thanks for the chat. Go Pirates.