Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Christina Kahrl: Happy Opening Night! Hi gang, hope you'll bear with me, as I keep one eye on the tube, and another on the keyboard.
lyricalkiller (orange county): I'm so excited! Can I give a shout out to baseball?
Christina Kahrl: This seems the right note to start off on, so absolutely, lyrical.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Hi Chris
You're back chatting quickly - making up for all the off-season Transaction Analyses you didn't do?
Two Oriole themed questions: 1.How do you support your prediction that the Blue Jays will finish ahead of the O's?
2.Do you think the Riley trade is as bad as I do? Admittedly, he hasn't earned the 5th starter job yet. But with that kind of potential, I think you hang onto him as a long reliever and work on him. He reminds me of a young Curt Schilling (another young pitcher the O's let get away)lots of potential, but slow to get it together.
Christina Kahrl: Hi Tom,
Well, to give my own inadequacies their due, beyond this year's messy production schedule for BP, I was also distracted by my contributions to our forthcoming extra book about the Red Sox winning the World Series, and how they did it. Bandwidth was a bit short this winter, and I simply couldn't keep up with all of that, the column, plus the day job. Something had to suffer, and I picked my column.
Now, happily, Joe Sheehan and the PTP crew did a great job of shedding some light on a lot of this winter's moves. They may not have done it in the same idiosyncratic way, but we did cover transactions.
As for the Orioles, I have little use for their choices in the rotation, and I'm not sure Lee Mazzilli has the gumption to start sitting players like Raffy Palmeiro. I expect Miguel Tejada to get older, and Sammy's already in the old portion of his professional life. As for Riley... I like him still, but I can be stubborn. Could he haunt the O's? Absolutely. But I can't blame them for giving up on him, except for giving up on him because they believe in Rick Bauer. Which sort of brings me back to my first point.
Bryan (Maryland): Out of the following group, who do you like best for this year? Jeff Francis, Zach Day, Tomo Ohka, Tim Redding, or Chris Capuano?
Christina Kahrl: In terms of reality? Francis, but that's because I think he'd be an easy choice for the Rookie of the Year if not for his venue. Even that high up altitude-wise, I'd take him over the others. But if this is a roto-minded question, I'd pick Ohka for ratio and IP, Redding for wins.
TheDumbSmartGuy (Lewiston, ME): Chris,
Do you feel there's a market inefficiency for defensively-challenged sluggers? It seems many AL teams could house the likes of Josh Willingham, Jason Dubois, Jon Knott, Ryan Howard etc. perfectly at DH.
Christina Kahrl: I do think there's a bit of inefficiency, but with so few actors in this particular field, it's hard to call it a market inefficiency, since the problem isn't market-wide. It's really more specific to the Orioles giving Raffy Palmeiro a far too polite sendoff, the Jays wasting time on Hillenbrand, or the Twins remaining confident that Jacque Jones is a better hitter than guys like Howard or Willingham. Other teams are using the DH slot as a space to get their outfielders at-bats. The Angels want to have playing time available for Quinlan or DaVanon or Rivera; the Yankees, for Tino and Ruben Sierra. I don't think the Rangers have chosen wisely, but they want to get Dellucci playing time, and the Rays are taking their chances with Josh Phelps. There aren't that many flat-out bad ideas among the AL's 14 teams.
thomas (secret place near Judea): Which statistical analyst currently employed by an MLB team will have the most impact this season?
Christina Kahrl: Paul DePodesta, because the man can do his own homework, and won't have to worry about making a case to his boss.
stlcardinals08 (St. Louis): Who do you think was more productive last season, Jim Edmonds or Albert Pujols. As an Edmonds fan, I think he was the more productive of the two. He led Pujols in RC/27, IsoP, SEcA, OBP, and tied Pujols in EqA. Edmonds is also better defensively. So,who was more productive?
Christina Kahrl: Well, kick around this sort of data: by Clay Davenport's Equivalent Average, they were tied at .342; by RAP, Edmonds was ahead, 57.7 to 56.1, and by RARP, Pujols comes out ahead, 78.6 to 74.1. By Keith Woolner's VORP, Pujols was more valuable, 103.5 to 88.9. By VORP's rate stat, MLVr, Pujols was ahead, .535 to .480.
All of which leaves plenty of room for hair-splitting. I think if the question is offense-only, it's Pujols, with the added considerations that he doesn't have the same sort of platoon history that Edmonds has had now and again. If you ask who I'd rather have in a Strat league or something, I'd rather have had Edmonds, but it's clearly a tough choice within last season alone.
For this year, I'd rather have Pujols, but that seems pretty obvious given their relative reported ages.
Mike (Hershey, PA): Hi Chris. Phillies question here. How do you see Phillies GM Ed Wade's protegee Ruben Amaro, Jr's chances of being a top-flight GM in the near future? Thanks.
Christina Kahrl: Honestly, I don't have a good read on Amaro, but in an industry that lets Chuck LaMar work without having to worry about results, I think Amaro will deserve his eventual opportunity.
Frankly, I think that opportunity comes in Philly. It's an organization given to cronyism, so if, for some strange reason like a continued failure to win the division, they fire Wade, I suspect that they won't go outside the organization.
ND (Oregon): What's up with my Padres? Not too long ago they were overflowing with top prospects and now I didn't see any on the BP prospect list this year. What happened?
There seems to be this general trend for getting 'disappointed' with certain young players and trading them. Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, Jake Gartreau, Dennis Tankersly. All of these guys were once heralded Padres prospects.
I'm worried that maybe the GMs office isn't showing enough patience with the young players or the organization in general has a problem coaching promising young ball players up to the next level. Do similar things happen in other organizations? Any thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: To be fair to Kevin Towers, he's managed to field a team with a lot of good homegrown stuff on the field: Greene and Burroughs, for example. This year, we can look forward to Xavier Nady showing whether or not he can stick.
Bay and Perez were dealt to bring Giles; if the Pads win this year's division title, Giles should be a big part of the reason.
I never signed onto the Gautreau bandwagon, and Tankersley... well, if he can do as Mike Bielecki did, and overcome a rough intro to the majors, that's all to the good; he could just as easily wind up like John Davis or Scott Ruffcorn or Ed Yarnall, and never quite live up to the billing he got after failing to shine in his few spots. In this, he's sort of like Ben Howard, who I also think can make it... if you're patient. But did the Pads have the time for that patience?
Going forward, I think the Pad people still have prospects worth noticing... Freddy Guzman relatively soon, George Kottaras looks good at the plate, and I'm one of the few people who argued that Josh Barfield's got a future. It's a bit early to write off their system. The real issue is whether or not the Pads keep treating this as their year; if they're close in July, I expect Towers to make further moves to do what he can to win now.
chadmichael03 (Huntsville, Alabama): Given his slow start this spring, how much do you expect the A's to use Nick Swisher at the beginning of this season?
Do you think Thomas and Kielty will significantly limit his PA's this season?
Christina Kahrl: A great question, because in the games I was at in Phoenix, Swisher looked terrible in just about every phase of the game, at the plate and especially in the field, while Thomas did the sorts of things he can do well, showing good leather and a live bat.
Now, I like Swisher's future, and I wouldn't give up on him. But if Scott Hatteberg hits well and Swisher starts slow, he's going to go from somebody on the short list for AL Rookie of the Year to someone splitting time with Thomas, Kielty, and Hatteberg in two lineup slots.
From the A's perspective, I don't see this as a problem: depth is strength. The more troubling problem would be if they left Hatteberg in the lineup while he hits like he did in 2003. Frankly, they can't afford something too much like 2004 to start off with. Macha is going to have to be willing to play everybody, by merit and performance, instead of giving Hatteberg too much consideration because he was once a story and is now a well-compensated former story.
cottic (Wisconsin): What have you heard the status of Dallas McPherson? And do you know if Dan Johnson from Oakland will see any time this year?
Christina Kahrl: A quick check with our own incomparable Will Carroll notes that while the Angels are optimistic about his recovery and his recovery time, "McPherson's back concerns me because it's structural and because he puts so much torque on it to generate his power. If he takes something off and loses some power, he loses a lot of value." Which is where Robb Quinlan and (after Adam Kennedy's recovery) Chone Figgins wind up becoming that much more likely to claim a lot of the playing time at third.
As for Dan Johnson, I've already lamented the lamentable Hatteberg contract, so I really don't see Johnson up before late August unless there's an injury to Hatteberg or Erubiel Durazo, or if the A's fall so far out that they deal Durazo at the deadline. And besides, Johnson has to contribute to Sacramento's shot at winning the PCL for the sixth time by an A's affiliate in the last ten years, and as a native Sacramentan... well, actually, I'm pretty indifferent. I'd rather see Johnson up if Hatteberg gives Oakland a bad April or April and May.
GT (Virginia): As a DC-area resident who who filled my roto team with Expos last year (thanks loads, PECOTA!), I'm doubly curious about expectations for RFK's park factor. Any guesses about how the Nats' home will play?
Christina Kahrl: I'd give PECOTA, and by extension, Nate Silver a break. Dealing with the nonsense of playing in Puerto Rico made things sort of hard to project. At the time, thought the system was unusually optimistic, but Nate made several good arguments in defense of the projections, and let's face it, he's pretty sharp.
Projections might seem like an inexact science, but when supplied with more certain inputs than the mayhem of multiple home stadia, PECOTA's both delightfully informative with its more rigorous reliance on comparable players and for its spelling out ranges of possibility.
I expect RFK to be pitcher-friendly, given that it was pretty neutral at the end of the 2.0 Senators era, and there are a lot more bandboxes to change league-wide standards for what gets done on the road.
Jeff ((Houston)): You predict the Pirates to finish ahead of the Astros. I know the Astros will be bad this season, but you don't seriously believe that prediction, do you? Are you just trying to offer a creative, contrary opinion? If you were forced to bet your house on it one way or another, would you ACTUALLY pick the Pirates over the Astros?
Christina Kahrl: First, let's keep in mid that I don't bet, and not just because I have problems with state governments getting into the business of preying upon a certain type of addict.
But yes, I picked the Bucs because I think they can finish out of the cellar, in the same way that I see things getting slightly better in Milwaukee. I think a full season's worth of Kip Wells, a rotation without a plain old bad pitcher they're over-committed to in it, a lineup that doesn't have players who flat-out suck the way Brad Ausmus or Adam Everett suck... by contrast, the Astros are extremely dependent on a very few players, and most of them are already in decline or already damaged goods.
I don't see there being five games of difference between the Pirates, Astros, and Brewers in the standings at the end of the year, and that's if everything works out about the way it should in Houston. I think the odds of a real crash-and-burn for the Astros make them the best choice for the basement.
Anthony (Long Island): How about the first steroid suspension? Does it get any funnier than Alex Sanchez?
Christina Kahrl: There are a lot of Sanchez questions, so let me simply state my disinterest in them. Is it amusing? Sure, on some level, in a Manny Alexander sort of way. I guess my focus is so much more on the product on the field that I see this as a lucky stroke for the Devil Fishies, because now they might play somebody who might someday be part of the first D-Rays team that can avoid losing 90 out of 162 games. More power--metaphorical, not chemical--to them.
jonlewallen (Washington, DC): I have three questions, hopefully quick. First, why do teams so often keep mediocre (or worse) players on their roster simply because others have more minor-league options? Isn't the idea to put the best team on the field? Second, about the Nationals, this year's book says "Jim Bowden is there to be fired." Obviously this depends on the new ownership, but there have been rumblings that Bowden is happy working for the team. What are the odds of him staying on? And third, somewhat related, would new ownership want to renegotiate the TV deal?
Christina Kahrl: To your first question, the answers lies in that not every roster spot is equally valuable. There's an advantage to playing people every day, and not every manager knows how to manage a bench in a way that keeps everybody fresh. The question isn't just to put the best team on the field, it's to manage the careers of everyone in your organization in such a way that they're all able to provide the best possible value to you. Not every rookie can adapt to a role on the bench, pinch-hitting and getting a start every other week. Not every good arm can be employed effectively in bullpens that reflect an obsession with LaRussian small-mindedness.
To your second question, let's face it, Jim Bowden is happy to be employed, so of course he's happy working for the Nats. And while I think everybody should be happy that Endy Chavez will have to settle for terrorizing the International League, there's not a whole lot of reason to invest much confidence in Bowden's ability to manage an organization-wide rebuilding program. It certainly wasn't something he could achieve in Cincy.
Finally, I suspect that, whatever agreements MLB has struck with the petty chieftain up in Baltimore, the new guys are going to want to renegotiate everything as soon as they can. Not that they should say so publicly beforehand, of course.
Jeff Gambino (Philadelphia): Love the site, but... why wouldn't you have PECOTA prominently linked on both your main page (besides a link that takes you to fantasy) and on the statistics page? PECOTA should be incredibly easy to get to on your site and it's not.
Christina Kahrl: If you're a subscriber, you shouldn't have a problem finding people if you enter a player's name. I'm not sure what the issue is, but when in doubt, I'd suggest making suggestions to email@example.com.
pjfsks (morristown nj): Maybe I'm nit picking, but why would the Mets give away Ginter, who had some use, to the Tigers for someone with zero potential? I understand Ginter had no options, but isn't he better than Heredia, Matthews or Hernandez? Better to have just gotten the $25K waiver claim money for Ginter?
Christina Kahrl: Heredia and Hernandez still impress people for the wrong reasons, Hernandez for his former effectiveness, and Heredia for his fastball. Matthews... ugh, but c'mon, they're happy they have Mike DeJean, and they dealt for Kaz Ishii.
What I don't get is why they want to have Colyer as well as Heredia *and* Matthews. No amount of attempting will achieving a cornering of the market on dubious lefties. I'd chalk this up as another indicator that Omar Minaya might do well spending the big bills, but really needs to do a better job of putting together the bottom half of a roster.
jeff4sf (philadelphia): As a Phils phan, I'm irritated that Polanco has whined is way into the opening day lineup against an RHP. Please make me feel better.
Christina Kahrl: I guess I just don't have that much of a problem with it. It's one game, and the guy is clearly aggrieved over his agent's screwup this winter. I'd tip my cap to Charlie Manuel for trying to do something to make him feel better, because a semi-happy Polanco can be an important part of a contending Phillies team.
Josh (Atlanta): Who's going to be the better pick-up over the course of the season fantasy-wise: Houston Street or Yhency Brazoban? Will Gagne stay hurt long enough to make Yhency worth it over the risk of Dotel getting traded? Thanks!
Christina Kahrl: I don't really like either choice all that much. Brazoban's more likely to provide in-season value, but Gagne will be back. To pick Street, you're basically risking that some combination of events will get Dotel dealt while still generating save opportunities plentiful enough that Street--should he even stick this season--provides you with value.
I'd consider asking someone who has an actual liking for fantasy baseball, though, like our own Jonah Keri, or perhaps Jeff Erickson and the Rotowire crew when they pop in on BP.com.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Since you're an A's fan, when I head to Camden yards for the O's opening game tomorrow against the A's, is there something on the A's I should be watching with interest?
Christina Kahrl: Yes, I'd watch whether manager Ken Macha uses his bench and his pen, since both could be strong points.
And that said, I'm completely jealous, but I know you'll have a great time, Tom. I hope that you and the rest of the Gisriel gang has a great time at the ballpark, it would be hard to imagine that they wouldn't.
(Fair disclosure: Tom catch a game now and again, sometimes with his wife or his son Joe in tow, and it has always been good fun. Ideally, he's going to come down and join me and perhaps my brothers in watching... well, whoever happens to be brutalizing the Nats that particular day.)
goiter6 (MN): Does Restovich figure to get much playing time in Tampa Bay?
Christina Kahrl: I figure the odds are in his favor, if only because Josh Phelps might not resurrect his career, and Chris Singleton is a terrible bet to hold a job that involves regular playing time. The challenge is to see if Lou Piniella will discount his bias against players with Restovich's skills set: young, slow, strikeout-prone sluggers have seen their career sacrificed on the slopes of Mt. Piniella.
Southcoast (Texas): Is Dan Kolb going to be able to retain his closer role for the year. Who besides Kolb is the best bet to have saves in the Atl bullpen.
What's your take on Langerhans? He's had a terrible spring. Can he turn it around or will the braves look elsewhere.
Christina Kahrl: Although I think the odds of Kolb going pumpkin on us are good, I think it's more likely that John Schuerholz will go out and get a replacement than that he'll let Chris Reitsma or Kevin Gryboski get more than a half-dozen saves.
mattymatty2000 (Philadelphia, PA): Hi Chris. Just wanted to say thanks for coming to Philly for the book signing. It was great for the BP crew to make an appearance. Any plans for a Philly Pizza Feed sometime during the season?
Christina Kahrl: Matty, thanks for the thank you, because it's definitely been all sorts of fun to hit the road and talk to our readers in person. Which is a segue for me to encourage people to show up on Tuesday night at Politics & Prose in DC, as Clay Davenport, Steven Goldman, and I all answer questions for a few hours, starting at 7 PM. Plus, same as last year, Politics & Prose is providing pizza and beer, so if this year's event is anything like last year's, it'll run three hours.
As for a Philly feed (I refuse to abuse the ph-, it's so overdone), if we haven't planned one, we should.
Shame on me, I didn't answer the previous question about Ryan Langerhans... I suspect he won't catch a break, and that it's more likely that Schuerholz will go out and get a corner outfielder by June, along with a veteran reliever. In the same way that I don't see them trusting in Kolb for too long, I can't see season-long commitments to Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi working out.
metsRok (NYC): Why do ppl feel Wells and Clement will pitch better than Pavano and Wright? Simple Yankee hating? Oh and S. Colyer's player comparable- PEDRo Martinez... whoo-hoo...
Christina Kahrl: I think Clement's the best of the lot, but don't count me among those who invest any faith in Jumbo Wells and what he's going to do for the Red Sox.
The core issues, as I see it, are that people are fretting over the value the Yankees will get for the paychecks they'll be printing for Pavano and Wright. And that's pretty reasonable. Pavano pitched into a lot of luck last year, and that low K-rate is a source of concern. Nevertheless, PECOTA sees a good shot at his improving on last year's performance. Wright... last year was so atypical, that it depends on how much you think that's Wright finally being healthy, or how much he owed to Leo Mazzone, and how little he's likely to get, by contrast, out of Mel Stottlemyre. I wouldn't have bet on Wright's doing anything this year like he did last, and that's without wondering if he's primed to go all Ed Whitson on us.
And yes, Colyer can count Pedro Martinez among his comparables... but that's Pedro A. Martinez, the lefty reliever who came up with the Pads in 1993.
AtsamRif (NYC): Everyone says the Red Sox bench is better than the Yankees, while i also think so, I also don't think much of Jay Payton, Blaine Neal, John Halama, and Dace Mccarty. While at the same time, the Yankees aren't bereft of guys who can help, with Andy Phillips, Colter Bean, And Chin Wang. Is the only reason people think the Red Sox have a huge advantage is the deployment of these players, and the difference in front offices?
Christina Kahrl: It's a massive distinction between the organizations, as you're right to point out. The Yankees ought to have a wee bit of courage, and trust an Andy Phillips to do for them what a Homer Bush comeback was never going to deliver. Having Phillips as an alternative to Rey Sanchez and the two rotting hulks at first base would have been especially nifty.
But at the end of the day, Joe Torre doesn't trust anybody he hasn't heard of. And while you could say the same thing about a Casey Stengel, Torre's real problem is that Torre doesn't invest much time in hearing about too many people.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Optimist that I am, I think this is the year that the Yankees' age and lack of depth begin to catch up on them. Am I simply indulging in wishful thinking, or is this a realistic possibility?
Christina Kahrl: Not to worry, I'm indulging in similar wishful thinking. In terms of the decline of a dynasty, I'm not sure if this is 1981 or 1982, 1965 or 1964, but I really think this is the year the Red Sox win the division, and the Yankees take the wild-card, as opposed to vice versa.
Margo Adams (Fenway): Thanks for the chats, Chris. Care to venture a breakout candidate beyond the usual suspects?
Christina Kahrl: Well, who are the usual suspects? For myself, I think this might be a very good year for Milton Bradley and Jason Lane, and despite watching Danny Haren struggle in camp, I think he's going to open eyes this summer. I think a full year out of Kip Wells will remind people that Oliver Perez isn't the only guy the Bucs can beat people with. Rany tabbed Orlando Hudson if I remember correctly, and that's a very interesting (and through his arguments, compelling) choice.
I think this is the year John Patterson finally sticks, but that's in the lowered expectations segment of the field.
Mike K (Athens, GA): As a Yankee fan living near Atlanta, I go to a lot of games where I don't even have a team to root against, let alone for (I've gotten tired of booing the Braves). Being a poor Yankees fan etc, etc, I mostly watch sed games from far, far away from home plate. Any tips on what to watch when you're too far away to really follow pitches, and not emotionally invested in the teams on the field? Mound ball can only help so much...
Christina Kahrl: When I'm in "bad" seats, I like to focus on fielders and fielding. I love a seat in the upper deck around first or third base for that exact reason, you can spend more time watching fielders working as a unit. These seats usually have the added benefit of being remote from the things that I despise, like in-game entertainment and speakers cranked up to 11.
I'm a bit bigoted, though, because to my mind, it's almost impossible to have a bad time at the ballpark. I've been willing to sit through an hour's worth of rainout to see if they'll squeeze in the second game of a double-header against the White Sox in Old Comiskey, just because I wanted to see Chuck Cary pitch. And I'm not a Yankees fan.
Jeremy (NC): When will Dan O'Dowd get fired? He seems to have no idea how to assemble a winning team.
Christina Kahrl: I don't think he will be. The man's slick, and he's politically savvy. He knows how to associate failure with other people, and that's a valuable skill where corporate Darwinism is concerned.
Okay, lightning round, Sheehan-style, a few quick questions which I can hopefully answer quickly...
Shaun (Medway, MA): Thanks for doing the chat, Chris!
The Red Sox announcers just pointed out that tonight's game features 2 guys who've pitched perfect games facing each other. Any idea when that last happened - if ever? I'm thinking its possible that Kenny Rogers faced Wells or Cone in the last few years . . . ?
Christina Kahrl: It's a great question, and I have no idea what the answer might be. I'm just taking this opportunity to plug two excellent organizations through which you might find the answer: David Smith and his research crew at RetroSheet (www.retrosheet.org), or through the original grand-daddy or baseball research, the Society of American Baseball Research (www.sabr.org). Both are great outfits that provide tremendous value, to fans, to the industry, and to their members.
In-house, for a question like this, I generally ask our own James Click, because nobody makes a database sing the way he does.
Jeremy (NC): Most disappointing team this year?
Christina Kahrl: Perhaps predictably, given my past answers, the Astros, although the White Sox are also going to break several hearts this year. I think the Giants will also upset a few people. The media will probably be surprised by the Snakes and Mets.
CLWong (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA): Any thoughts on Japanese League stars who might be headed stateside next year? We have a deep, keeper league reserve squad and believe it or not, this could actually help (someone drafted Kaz Matsui two years ago).
Christina Kahrl: It's a good question, but one I really can't answer with anything like my usual certainty, or even with any particularly snappy comeback. For a question like this, I defer to Clay Davenport, because he's really our global-minded data cruncher, and a guy who follows what's going on in every professional baseball league everywhere.
So I recognize answering the question here, I haven't exactly answered the question. I'm encouraging you to write to Clay, in the hope that he might follow up on the essay that he wrote in the 2004 edition of the Prospectus, when he talked about the difficulties in evaluating Japanese and Mexican League players.
Mike K (Athens, GA): Is there a worse defensive combo in the ML up the middle than Williams and Jeter?
Christina Kahrl: I think the Giants DP combo of Ray Durham and Omar Vizquel might disappoint some people, because Vizquel's clearly seen better days.
The Cardinals combo of Eckstein and Grudzielanek won't be up to the standards the nation's best fans are used to, so I'm sure that, Midwestern style, they'll make some very polite complaints.
jdelavalle (Pembroke Pines, FL): Chris, Im still waiting for you guys to come to South Florida? When is that going to happen?
Christina Kahrl: I'm probably not the one to ask I just spent a week in Phoenix wearing SPF 45 sunscreen, and I don't care for the beach. Figuring out who's going to Florida anytime soon, I think it might be sometime this year, because rumor has it one major BP contributor's moving to Florida, but my memory's not what it was. Needless to say, we want to hang with our fans wherever they may be, and wherever baseball gets played.
GW (Boulder, CO): Best uniform?
Christina Kahrl: I'm biased in favor of Oakland, not just because I'm a fan, but because green's my favorite color. I'll leave it to Monday morning Freudians to sort out the cause and effect there.
Heck, I even like when they used kelly instead of forest green, and matching kelly green with anything else in your wardrobe is rough.
lentzner (Oakland): A popular what-if here in A's-ville is how awesome the team would be if they just had the budget to keep all the stars that they have developed - Tejeda, Giambi.
I wonder if they would really be all that better though. Tejeda continues to impress of course, but then he would be blocking Crosby. Giambi is a headache with only one good year after he left the A's.
Christina Kahrl: Speaking of Big Green... I suspect the solutions would have come more on the pitching side of the equation, where perhaps Billy Beane would not have dealt both Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. Looking back, I wouldn't have minded taking my chances on re-signing Durham, and you can always wonder if they'd be better off with Ramon Hernandez and Johnny Damon now (by committing to them long-term back then) than they are with Jason Kendall and Mark Kotsay.
Frankly, I think the money supply issue serves as a convenient cover for some pretty sensible baseball talent decisions, like letting Tejada and Giambi walk. More money would make for more flexibility, certainly, but I wouldn't see it tied up in multiyear commitments to players in the decline phases of their careers. There's a huge difference between investing in Eric Chavez long-term at the point in time that Billy Beane did so, versus letting Giambi walk at the point in time he felt he had to.
Jeremy (NC): May 6, 2001. Wells v. Rogers
Christina Kahrl: Cool, thanks for digging this up, Jeremy
HardballJunkie (Port Angeles, WA): What are your thoughts on Felix Hernandez? Can he make an impact this season? Is he destined to be a star?
Christina Kahrl: Yes, and yes. He's that good. I'm less certain that Mike Hargrove is the guy I'd want managing the front end of his career, but Bryan Price is appropriately well-regarded within the pitching coach fraternity.
Christina Kahrl: Okay, things have slowed down, and I think we all want to catch the end of the game at this point. Thanks to everyone for the questions, and I hope you're as excited about this season as I am, and as we all are here at Baseball Prospectus. If you're in the DC region, don't be a stranger, come on down to the booksigning on Tuesday at Politics & Prose, I'm happy to gab about the game with all of you for several more hours, plus you'll get to partake of Steven Goldman's sharp wit and Clay Davenport's cogent insight. Have a great night and a better season ...