Dayn Perry is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Dayn Perry: Greetings from Chicago. Let's get this thing started ...
GBSimons (Seymour, IN): Dayn, where have you been? Will we be seeing more from you at BP some time soon?
And how about those Cardinals? Pretty good start, huh?
Dayn Perry: Hey, GB. Thanks for the opportunity to provide a self-serving reply. I've been on hiatus while finishing my book. "The Winners" will be a look at playoff teams since 1980 and what they've done to be successful. It'll be out in March of '06, and you can expect more shamless pimping of it by yours truly.
Yes, I'll soon resume my writing duties at BP. And, yes, I'm also envigorated by the Cards' hot start. Had a chance to see Matt Morris pitch while I was in Atlanta, and I (perhaps too optimistically) think he's back. He was touching 93 througout the game, and his changeup was filthy. In any event, they have no excuse for not winning the Central, what with the Cubs' injury problems.
bmc (Queens, NY): TV announcers love to rattle off meaningless statistics that fill dead airtime. One of their favorites is, player team matchups. e.g. "Livan Hernandez is very good against the Mets." This stat seems very suspect to me, with all the free agency these days, is there any validity to this thinking? I can understand player/ballpark matchups, or pitcher/batter matchups, but there seems like too many variables for a player to really thrive against a particular team.
Dayn Perry: Yeah, that's one of my most despised splits that seems to pop up. Given turnover and upheaval from team to team, "performance against the uniform" isn't all that informative. So, no, I don't any attention to those. Player vs. player matchups are better, but those are rife with sample size issues.
Brian Cashman (NY, NY): Quick! Give me 5 things I can do right now--right now!--that will both help the team and get approved by George.
Dayn Perry: 1. Master the space-time continuum and go back and sign Carlos Beltran.
2. Find an opposing GM dumb enough to trade you a legit second baseman for Eric Duncan plus farm system detritus.
3. Dig up your receipt on Jaret Wright and return him.
4. Kidnap Jon Lieber and, once again wielding your mastery of the space-time continuum, go back and pick up his option.
I'm stopping at four, Brian. Unfortunately for you, none of those is possible, and the Yankees are going to miss the post-season. This is a profoundly flawed team and a profoundly old team. The run was a great one, but it's over. It feels like 1982 again in the Bronx.
Jim Bowden (Washington, DC): Why do I suck as a baseball GM?
Dayn Perry: So many GMs seeking my counsel ...
I'll stop short of saying you suck, Jim. However, you've made some alarmingly poor decisions in your brief tenure as Nats boss. To wit, Cristian Guzman and Vinny Castilla (give it time). There are certainly worse GMs out there, but I don't think your body of work in Cincy justified exhuming you for the Nats job. Once an ownership group is in place, your recent contract extension notwithstanding, you might be gone. Honestly, that's probably best for the franchise. Lots of capable execs out there ... Ron Schueler, Pat Gillick, Gerry Hunsicker, Brian Cashman perhaps, a worthy understudy from another organization ... the Nats can do better.
Tony Tavares (Washington, DC): Regarding your New Year's wishes, I have a question about this one, "37. That things in D.C., generally speaking, go horribly wrong for the Nationals."
How's that one going, schmuck?
Dayn Perry: Nats fans are certainly a mobilized lot. I've received more email about that one sentence (to be pedantic, I suppose it's actually not a sentence) than anything else I've ever written. So let's talk about it ...
First, I don't begrudge Beltway fans joy in finally have baseball return to them. If I were in or around a city deprived of baseball for 30-plus years, I certainly wouldn't give a crap how a team got there. So long as it got there. That's fine.
For external observers, however, the move of the Expos to D.C. can be viewed only as a grave injustice and yet another example of MLB's lamentable corporatist ethic. The orchestrated failure of the Expos in MOntreal and the chicanery it took to make that happen is nothing new, but that doesn't make it acceptable. After all, D.C. lost two iterations of the Senators because of this sort of thing. Bob Short was greedy, and Calvin Griffith was a greedy racist. The whole relocation scheme is predicated on lies and avarice and wholly betrays the concepts of loyalty, history and tradition.
So to support what MLB has done to bring the Expos/Nats to Washington is to tacitly endorse this sort of behavior. Again, I don't hold this against Nats fans from the area, because I wouldn't care were I in their position. But we shouldn't propagate this dynamic by pretending all's glorious about baseball's return to D.C.
If it's any consolation, whatever I wish to happen makes no difference, and, no, I didn't really expect the Nats to fail. So get over it.
Vinny Castilla (Washington, DC): Will you publically admit you were way off-base if I finish with 25 HR and 100 RBI?
Dayn Perry: No, but if you finish with a .500 SLG and a tolerable OBP and RFK plays like I think it will play for the entire season, I will.
Greg (Boulder, CO): How nasty will the upcoming labor agreement negotiations get now that Bud is shooting first and asking questions later?
Dayn Perry: That's sort of the elephant in the room this baseball season. You're going to see more entrenched positions on both sides. The owners gained a rare beachhead during the last collective-bargaining negotiations, and they'll try to forge ahead toward their eventual goal--a hard salary cap. The Association, of course, won't bend further on matters of salary constraint, so we could be in for a nasty one. At this point, I expect a labor stoppage of some kind, I'm sad to say.
Tom (Oriole Country): After Erik Bedard's successful outing against the Jays yesterday, Lee Mazzilli described him as "our future." Is that a good thing?
More generally, how do you see the performance of the O's starters shaking out this year? Thanks!
Dayn Perry: I like Bedard quite a bit, and I think his performance this season is legit. His minor league numbers are excellent,and his command this season has been outstanding. My concern would be whether his arm will hold up. Presently, he's on pace for 230 innings, but he's never logged more than 137.1 frames in a season.
As for the rotation as a whole, much depends on Bruce Chen's ability to keep it up. Sidney Ponson can't possibly be this bad for the entire year ... can he? Another problem, of course, is that the O's really don't have the farm talent to make a notable deadline trade should they want to. Overall, however, I think they're better than every other team in the division save the Red Sox. They'll hang in there.
Oakland A's (On the way to the Bronx): Is our miserable offense going to come alive this weekend against the Yanks horrid pitching, or will we be the Yanks slumpbusters (just like last year)
Dayn Perry: I don't know if it's going to happen this weekend, but it's bound to get better at some point. The team is slugging .347 (!), and you're just not going to win with those kinds of numbers. Much of this has to do with Eric Chavez, who's hitting .202/.285/.303. If there's any vindication for Oakland, it's that the rotation isn't the problem. Still, this offense, even with anticipated improvement, stinks.
So Hungry ((Southern Hungary)): So what does a vegetarian eat at the ballpark?
Dayn Perry: Peanuts. Beer. Ibid.
RobDiesel (Boston): Is it time for the Mets to give up on Kaz Matsui yet? Any chance Victor Diaz could play 1B to keep Mietkewicz out of the lineup and let Diaz play once Cameron comes back? If not, who would be logical trading partners for Cameron? Or is Diaz just a flash in the pan?
Dayn Perry: Diaz has certainly earned playing time over Minky once Cameron comes off the DL; however, I'm not totally sold on his start. Diaz has power potential, but the sudden jump in plate discipline is a little curious. He's never shown anything resembling a strong walk rate before, but this season, he's logged 14 unintentional walks in 92 plate appearances. However, he's spent the entire season batting in the eight hole; in the NL, that means a fair number of "unintentional intentional" walks to get to the pitcher spot. I believe in the power, but I'm withholding judgment on his newfound patience.
Vinny Castilla (RFK): What's your problem with baseball in DC? It seems to be going pretty well to me.
Dayn Perry: See above. As for further Nats-related questions, I'll be glad to schedule a chat on any Nats fan site/blog out there. Just contact me through the site.
Anthony (Long Island): Please, please, please, please tell me that there is a possibility of Mike Cameron ending up in the Bronx. The Yankees' pitching staff needs him.
Dayn Perry: That's a fantasy, Anthony. The Yanks don't have the bargaining chits to get it done, the Mets still believe they're contenders and making a major, white-flag style trade with the crosstown rivals wouldn't play well. Wily Mo Pena's out of the question, too.
dk (nyc): For the lightning round:
List the final order of finish in the AL East - and whether or not the 2nd place team gets the Wild Card.
Dayn Perry: 1. Orioles
2. Red Sox (WC)
3. Blue Jays
Dayn Perry: Okay, that's it for me this time around. Thanks for participating, and I apologize for not being able to get to all the questions.