Dayn Perry is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Dayn Perry: Hello, all. Technical difficulties out of the way, so let's get this started ...
Buck (Arlington): Hank Blalock. Overrated or underrated right now?
Dayn Perry: Hey, Buck-
Overrated. In fact, way overrated. Blalock has an impressive minor league dossier, but at the highest level he's almost entirely a product of his environment. His career batting line on the road, if you can believe this, is .238 AVG/.296 OBP/.396 SLG. That's not what you want from any player, let alone a corner defender.
Walt J (A new stadium in Missouri): So what do I do about the Grudzielanek situation? There's not much out there in the free agents to replace him, nor is there much in the St. Louis farm system. Do I just bite the bullet and offer him a contract for longer than he'll be useful, or what?
Dayn Perry: At one point or another I've recommended that just about every team on the planet trade for the underrated Julio Lugo. It's vital that the Cards, who have a fairly pronounced groundball staff, get a capable defender at second. Re-signing Grudz isn't the worst idea ever, but a deal for someone like Lugo makes more sense. Failing that, biting the bullet on Grudz is about the only option.
iberarren (GOP): Should the Brewers try to contend next year or should they trade Lee and look forward to 2007?
Dayn Perry: Right now, I have the Brewers penciled in as the favorite for the NL Wild Card. Lee, while a flawed player in some regards, is an important part of that projection. Keep Lee becaust the Brewers need his power. Doug Melvin will need to play the Overbay market properly, and I fully expect him to do that. Two keys, I think, will be whether Ben Sheets can stay healthy and whether J.J. Hardy can approximate his second half numbers. If those things come to pass, I love Milwaukee's chances. They're one of the teams I'm most looking forward to watching in '06.
Jim (Illinois): You've written a couple articles on foxsports.com about Scott Podsednik. Most notably, you've stated that he is the most overrated player in MLB currently because of his low RBI and HR output for a corner OF. Scott Podsednik did exactly what he was brought in to do for the White Sox--hit for a decent average, stole bases, and played excellent defense. Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen did not ask him to hit HRs or drive in runs from the leadoff spot.
My question is, do you still consider him that overrated and who is your top 5 most overrated right now?
Dayn Perry: Hey, Jim-
Actually, I've never referred to RBI when making a case for or against any player. You're right about the power numbers, though. Scott Podsednik is a corner outfielder who slugged .349 (almost 100 points below the average AL left fielder) and only .315 (!) away from hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular. It'd be one thing if he were an elite-level on-base threat, but he's not (.351 OBP).
No amount of steals or torn uniform pants can make up for such a lack of power. I like Pod's glove in left, but let's be frank--to compensate for such a lack of power, he'd need to be Jesse Owens with a glove the size of a conference table.
Also, the "it's not his to job to hit homers" is a refrain I hear quite a bit in reference to Podsednik. However, a home run is ALWAYS the best possible outcome for a hitter. Always. In any event, I'm not saying Pod needs to hit 30, 20 or even 10 homers to be a useful player, but an SLG somewhere north of Enzo Hernandez levels would be nice.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): You stated recently in an article about Ichiro that the most vital skill for a corner outfielder was hitting for power. By that reasoning, wasn't Rickey Henderson an inadequate corner outfielder because he didn't really hit for power (career SLG .419)? Doesn't that just make the whole argument look silly?
Dayn Perry: My buddy Dave Cameron over at USSMariner thinks I'm completely off my rocker when it comes to Ichiro. And, heck, maybe I am. But comparisons to Rickey Henderson aren't the way to make the argument. Keep in mind that Henderson's career numbers include his substantial and lengthy decline phase. Let's compare age to age ...
From Ichiro's age 27 through age 31 seasons (his entire career to this point), he authored a batting line of .332 AVG/.377 OBP/.442 SLG. In Henderson's age 27 through age 31 seasons, he hit .290/.402/.464. Also keep in mind that those numbers of Henderson's came in an era when runs were harder to come by and that Safeco actually helps left-handed batters.
It's mostly a matter of semantics. Many people (including guys smarter than I am, like Dave and Derek Zumsteg) regard Ichiro as a great player. I regard him as a very good one whose skills are being mis-deployed anywhere other than center field.
Diane (Brooklyn): Hi Dayn ...
Based on the B.J. Ryan contract, and the rumored 5-year, $55M offer to Brian Giles, do you think J.P. Ricciardi has lost his mind?
Dayn Perry: One of the great difficulties in evaluating contract decisions is that we can't definitely know what the competing offers were. On the surface, the Ryan deal looks borderline disastrous. However, if I'm going to grossly overpay any reliever this winter, it's Ryan.
As for going five years with Giles, I love Giles as a player (.333/.463/.545 on the road last season), but I'm very skeptical that he can maintain a "value on the dollar" level of production for more than three more seasons.
Still, keep in mind that Toronto many times has to do more than narrowly exceed the existing best offer in order to lure players to Canada. I don't like the Ryan deal and the rumored Giles offer, but I don't hate them as much as some do.
kgballs (nyc): In whose world is Loaiza worth 7 mill?
Dayn Perry: He's a reasonably durable pitcher who figures to post a league-average RA. The A's don't need him to be a force in the front of the rotation, so I think it's a sensible deal.
Johnny (Urbana, IL): The big Cubs rumor on the radio stations right now is Todd Walker for Milton Bradley. It seems like a decent enough trade, although I suspect you could get Milton for considerably less. Anyway, if the Cubs made this move and then picked up a reasonable right fielder, they're back to being a reasonable contender, right?
Dayn Perry: Considering Bradley figures to be a bit of a pariah in the Colletti administration, I think that's overpaying. I think it's entirely possible that the Dodgers will non-tender him. Jim Hendry is right to target an outfielder (or two), but at a cost of Walker? That would mean lethal doses of Neifi Perez, who, in a just universe, would start only when Carlos Zambrano is on the bump. My outsider take is that the Cubs could get Bradley for less.
Bryan (MD): Better career: Mark Teixeira or David Wright?
Dayn Perry: David Wright without much hesitation. Teixeira has less defensive value, and he's failed to truly impress on the road. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think calling Wright "the next Scott Rolen" is underselling his promise. Shea's a brutal park for right-handed batters, and as a 22-year-old Wright hit .306/.388/.523. That's an least an order of magnitude more impressive than anything Teixeira's done to date.
wetty11 (Anaheim): While I'm glad to see Erstad might _FINALLY_ be crow barred off first base isn't 15 mill per a bit much for Konerko? Or do we think he last two years are indicative of where he will be?
Dayn Perry: Yes, $15m is drastically overpaying for Konerko. By first base standards, he's really nothing special away from U.S. Cellular. If I'm the Angels, I'm treating Finley as a sunk cost, moving Erstad to center, installing Kotchman at first, religiously platooning Juan Rivera with Garret Anderson and signing Frank Thomas to be my DH.
Keith (Cary): Couldn't picking up D'Angelo Jimenez solve the Grudz situation?
Dayn Perry: Jimenez just doesn't have the glove to pass muster on a groundball-heavy staff like the Cards'.
Megan (Kansas City, KS): Does Mark Teahen figure anywhere in the race with Teixeira and Wright? Thanks!
Dayn Perry: Sorry Megan, but Teahen's not even close to being in the disucssion. The only thing Teahen has in his favor, besides prominent placement in Moneyball, is a 53-game hot streak at AA-Midland in 2004. Otherwise, he's been a fairly vanilla former. His upside is probably somewhere in Joe Randa territory--useful but far from "franchise cornerstone" status.
Amanda (Boulder, CO): Hi! What do you expect to see from the Cards Anthony Reyes next year? Thanks :)
Dayn Perry: Reyes had beaucoup health problems at USC, but he's been reasonably healthy in the pros. So there's always that major caveat in any discussion of Reyes. If healthy, I think he has ace potential. His numbers have been tremendous at every level, and his fastball-slider combo is tremendous. Again, he needs to avoid injury, but he's frontline material.
Denny (Chicago): Does Zach Greinke have a rebound season in 2006? Could his struggles have been prevented with at least an average team fielding behind him? Thank you.
Dayn Perry: I'm very bearish in Greinke. I think he can emerge as an adequate back-of-the-rotation guy, but fly-ball tendencies in tandem with low strikeout rates are a dangerous mix at the highest level. His ceiling's much lower than most people realize.
Mike (Wichita, KS): Brian Giles seems to be exactly what the Cubs need. A power lefty RF who gets on base with a great deal of frequency. Yet on the surface Hendry does not seem interested. Why??
Dayn Perry: Because Dusty Baker would probably platoon him with Marvin Benard.
Milt (Aurora): Dayn, looking at the DT Card for Jacque Jones he's put up good fielding numbers when he's had the chance to play in CF. Why aren't teams that need a CF looking at him, like say the Yankees?
Dayn Perry: I think a couple of things may be working against Jones. One, he hasn't seen meaningful duty in center since 2000, and, two, he's a no-brainer platoon player. That said, as long as you pair him with a lefty-masher, he'd be a nice fit in the Bronx.
Omar Minaya (Flushing, NY): Pretty good offseason so far for me...I still need a C, maybe a 2B and I really, really want Manny. What should I do?
Dayn Perry: I disagree, Omar. I think the Delgado pick-up was nifty, but you blew it on the Cameron trade. Shea (and before that, Safeco) has obscured what a good hitter Cameron is, and his defense was vital to a staff that shows fairly strong fly-ball proclivities. As for Manny, the price is too high, his numbers will tumble going from Fenway (great park for RHBs) to Shea (horrid park for RHBs), he's in his decline phase, and he's a vile defender. In fact, Fenway, with it's improbably cozy dimensions in left, is probably the only park in which Manny can get by.
Joe Morgan (inside your television): Should I unlock the Hall of Fame gates for anyone this year (seriously, it's slim pickings)?
Dayn Perry: Bert Blyleven. Period, paragraph. That he's not already in the Hall is a joke that's not particularly funny.
Ryan (Toronto): What do you think is going to happen with the this Collective Bargaining Agreement expires?
Dayn Perry: Lightning round ...
This is what no one's really talking about just yet. It expires on Dec. 19 of next year, and it could get ugly. The owners will be emboldened by what they saw unfold in the NHL (hard cap and a uniform salary reduction), and the luxury tax will have expired. It's not going to be '94 ugly, but I expect a work stoppage of some length. Let's hope not. The owners, I think, know they'll never get a cap, but they will push for a stiffer luxury tax and perhaps for the pseudo-threat of contraction to be returned to their bag o' tricks.
ChuckR (Addison, IL): Where would you fit Kendry Morales into the Angels' future? Trade bait?
Dayn Perry: I don't think so. My guess is that he eventually passes Kotchman in the first-base queue and that Kotchman is the one traded. I like Morales' ceiling better long-term.
cal (boston): Would the Red Sox be in good hands with someone like Jim Beattie or Jim Bowden? In my opinion Beattie didn't do a very good job in Baltimore, but that might be because he shared the position with Flanagan. And any word on a Red Sox 1B?
Dayn Perry: Why Jim Bowden continues to be a coveted front-office property is beyond my ken. He's done very little to distinguish himself. Unless Larry Lucchino is merely looking for someone to don the marionette strings, I'm not sure why Bowden's even in the mix. Most of the time, he's displayed a "you're doing a great job, Brownie!" level of competence.
As for first base, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Konerko wind up in Boston.
nicopad (Brooklyn): I was a little disappointed that Delgado backed off not standing for 'God Bless America.' #1- Free speech if he opposes the war. #2- Why do we in this country have to have our sports game integrated with patriotic tunes like its scripture? I hate standing for that stuff. Foreign friends of mine think it borders on lunacy. I tend to agree.
Dayn Perry: I think the thrust of his opposition was regarding nuclear testing in his native Puerto Rico (although I'm sure the war played a secondary role in his act of dissent). It's his own decision, and if Delgado thinks it's too much of a distraction then I won't fault him for that.
On another level, can we PLEASE go back to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"? Please? Or at least to a non-crappy gratuitous patriotic hymn like "America the Beautiful"?
Jeff (LA): What will Jonny Gomes be doing 5 years from now?
Dayn Perry: 35 homers and a .370-plus OBP
Albert (Boston, MA): Worst team to root for right now?
Dayn Perry: Marlins. Anyone soiled by the hands of Jeffrey Loria, professional saboteur, deserves nothing but your scorn. Then again, that's probably exactly what he wants to happen ...
ChuckR (Addison, IL): Do you think Brian Anderson is ready to step into CF for the Sox?
Dayn Perry: Sure, but I like Chris Young much better long-term.
Jeremy (NC): Frank Thomas. Where does he end up?
Dayn Perry: WAG - Oakland.
John (Baltimore): Best episode of the simpsons is...?
Dayn Perry: The one where Homer finds his image in a Japanese TV commercial. While the Simpsons has more career value, I'm starting to think Family Guy has had the better peak.
Bill (NJ): Piazza's 2006 team is.....
Dayn Perry: Angels.
randolph3030 (NJ): Tom Verducci suggested the Yanks sign Nomar and play him in CF. I think that is a great idea, not necessarily to make the team better, but simply for the story and it would interesting to see a guy attempt the Yount Switch. Plus, its so Steinbrenner it hurts.
Dayn Perry: It's an interesting idea, but I don't know that Nomar has the wheels for it. Jeter, who's speedy and great at tracking balls in the air, seems a much better bet. But that's Sheehan's battle to fight ...
Ben (NYC): I'd like to point out that Woody Guthrie wrote This Land is Your Land in response to God Bless America, which he hated. Why dont we play This Land instead. Much more patriotic song.
Dayn Perry: Yeah, "This Land" is a much better song, but I'm guessing the Lords of baseball would find something vaguely seditious about it. Like I said, "Take Me Out" beats all comers. It's what the people want.
christina (ny): is it possible that playing in texas has ruined blalock? you mentioned texeira's mediocre numbers on the road -- you get the feeling that blalock, who was a great minor league hitter, changed his approach in the hitter friendly confines of texas
Dayn Perry: That's possible, but I've talked to some scouts who say Blalock won't hit for power until he stops opening up his stride foot so much.
Basil (NYC): What happens to Zito? Does he stay in Oakland? What's his value on the trade market?
Dayn Perry: I think Zito stays. He's overrated but still useful, and Oakland's aiming for the post-season next year.
Dayn Perry: Okay, folks. That's all for me today. Sorry for the late kickoff, and apologies for not getting to all the questions.
Texas 41, USC 35.