Steven Goldman is the editor and co-author of Baseball Prospectus 2008, in stores now.
Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, friends. Hillary and I will be taking your questions in this town hall-style... Wait! Hold everything! I'm not Barack Obama! I'm Steven Goldman, Baseball Prospectus 2008 co-editor, You Can Look It Up author, and host of the long-running Pinstriped Bible. I guess I got confused because I'm so excited. The book is here and so is baseball. As John Fogerty sang, "We're born again; there's new grass on the field (and there's a bathroom on the right). I'm not embarrassed to say that today I love everyone. So let's get underway, starting with what is apparently now an inevitable first question...
Matt (St. Paul): Hey Kevin. I am in a very deep mixed keeper league based on a $500 auction-day salary cap. Keepers are due tomorrow and I am trying to make a trade. I want Zimmerman who is signed pretty cheap ($16). Is Justin Upton ($1) and Clay Buchholz ($1) too much to give up? Also, who do you think will be better this year-Gallardo or Buchholz? Thanks!
Steven Goldman: See, I do not have the honor of being Kevin Goldstein. I am Steven Goldman. People call me "Steve." They call him "Kevin," or sometimes "Bucky." His name ends in Stein. Mine ends in Man. Otherwise, we have whole syllables that aren't in common. He gets respect, I get funny-looking sweaters at Christmas. He's the prospect genius, I'm more of a general practitioner and all-around pundit type. He used to be with Baseball America. I live in America. There are important but subtle differences here. And while I'm flattered to be mistaken for him, the converse is that you have just caused him to gain roughly 100 pounds. Oh, and he's not into fantasy questions. But since you've got Steve and not Kevin (or Bucky), I will say that if I had J. Upton and Buccholz at a buck each I wouldn't let them go.
djswinger (London): Steven,
You addressed the concerns of Amazon.com customers in an Unfiltered post, but I wonder if you could do the same for us internationals that use different iterations of Amazon (.co.uk/.de etc). I've gotten an outrageous notification that BP2K8 wont ship until late April. Good heavens, I need my BP2K8 before the season starts man! Do international customers have longer waits for their beloved book?
Steven Goldman: Let's answer a couple of BP08-related questions here at the outset. First, after all the Amazon weirdness, dozens of you have been nice enough to write me and say, "Steve! Stop worrying! I got my book! Step back off the ledge, man!" What you don't get is that it's not so much a ledge but a plank, so once you've stepped on, you can't step off. But that's a question of philosophy, not shipping... The best answer I can give is that (1) those delay emails are not valid, were really never valid, and (2) Amazon has the goods to fulfill all orders. I'm not familiar with how they ship to international customers, but my best guess is that things will proceed along whatever is your normal timetable when dealing with them.
Bill (New Mexico): I haven't seen this year's annual yet, but last year's was badly compromised by typos -- as you acknowledged. What did you do differently this year to fix the problems? Different publisher, editor, whatever? (Let me be clear that typos or no typos, I'm anxious for Amazon to get me the thing, and await it eagerly.)
Steven Goldman: Did I acknowledge that? I don't recall either Christina or myself saying that, and I'm pretty sure neither of us would have put it quite that way. Here's the thing to be aware of when it comes to typos. The BP annual is produced on a very tight schedule. This is for one reason: so that we can deliver the most up-to-date picture of the coming season. As you know, most pre-season publications head to the printer before the winter meetings, which means a good many moves aren't included. This is a hugely important thing for us and we hold off until the very last minute, which for us is sometime in January, so that the GMs can get their game on. Once, just speaking hypothetically, I suggested to Joe Sheehan that we shave two weeks off the schedule. It took Nate Silver and two strapping bystanders to pry his hands off of my neck.
Going to the publisher that late means that we have to work with speed and efficiency. When you combine that with the sheer scope of the book -- each BP annual is longer than Moby Dick -- typos sometimes slip through. Mind you, they slip through on every book, and given the size of the project I'm not sure our average is that bad if you divide errors by total chances.
Now, that being said, we hate the little buggers as much as you do, more probably, and we implemented some extra layers of review this year, and I'm confident that we've reduced the problem to the point of imperceptibility. The other day, Nate told me he thought this was our best edition ever, and you know it's never wise to disagree with the boss...
Your Dad Oscar? (CIA): If you had to go over/under on just one team's pecota projected record, who would it be? I think I'd go over for seattle.
Steven Goldman: Nah, my dad's name isn't Oscar, but you don't know how many times I got asked that back when the show was running and I was a kid in grade school. I loved that show, but the Oscar stuff, it got old fast. Not that I'm criticizing you for trying it. I'll take any term of endearment I can get, given that "Bucky" is already taken.
Looking at the PECOTA records, I'm actually a little skeptical of both Mets and Yankees and might take the under there. Over...Well, the rest of them look about right to me. How about the Red Sox doing a little better than predicted? Not hugely, probably not outside of the reasonable MOE. Just a few games.
oira61 (San Francisco): If you could go back in time to watch one game, what would it be? I often think it might be the Merkle boner game, though I don't like being jostled by crowds and would thus spend 8 innings seeking high ground. Second choice for me: the game where Satchel Paige called in the outfield and infield in pitching to Josh Gibson, though that might be apocryphal and could break my time machine. How about you?
Steven Goldman: That's a really tough call. I saw the Reggie 3-HR World Series game on TV when I was a tyke. That might be cool. Any game where Ted Williams had a couple of hits... The game where Casey Stengel let a bird fly out from under his cap... Any game Walter Johnson or Christy Mathewson pitched... Satchel Paige in his prime would be VERY cool to see. Great call there.
Jim Clancy (Rural Canada): My local bookseller informs me that the annual was likely shipped on Tuesday; they expect that I won't find it on the shelf until tomorrow at the earliest. Reasonable? Correct?
Doesn't it make you feel good we're all chomping at the bit for your work?
Steven Goldman: You know, it really, really does. The months from October to January are hard. I won't say working on the book compares to digging ditches, and no one should play violins for us, but it's a long, hard slog. This part, the part where you (and by "You" I mean both me and you) hold the book in your hands and have something tangible that people will care about, that's a great reward.
As for your local book guy, I know from when I used to be on the buying end of these things that getting the book into the store was only half the battle. Getting the help to un-crate the blasted thing on a timely basis was the other half, and many times I had the frustration of being told that the BJ Abstract or even the BP book was in the store but I couldn't have it yet because they hadn't gotten around to finding it.
Peter (Staten Island): There was some interesting centerfielder talk on the Max Kellerman radio show today. They argued for Jim Edmonds' HOF case and were also discussing Ichiro, at one point even comparing him to Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb. Is Ichiro really at their level?
Steven Goldman: No, I don't think he is. He's got the speed and batting averages of their games, but he doesn't have the power. If you look at Clay's translated stats on the DT pages for these players, you'll see that Cobb works out to .355/.423/.617, and Speaker to .324/.410/.580, but Ichiro to "only" .348/.398/.462. If Speaker and Cobb had had the heart of their career in the lively ball era, they likely would have been huge power hitters, with some of those doubles and triples heading over the fences... As for Edmonds, I think he compares very well with the great CFs. How many of them were both great gloves and slugged .500? Very few. I think Edmonds is deserving, but he's going to have problems because he's short in the counting stats department due to not becoming a regular until 25 and subsequent injuries.
WillieMays Haze (Earth): Can you tell us a little about this NEXT BP book that's been hinted about?
Steven Goldman: When Nate tells me I can out the book, I will. It's just a little early to do much more than drop hints. In the meantime, how about trying the paperback edition of IT AIN'T OVER, featuring a new chapter by Christina Kahrl?
Joe (Tewksbury, MA): More likely scenario;
Joba Chamberlain never starts a game in the Majors
Joba Chamberlain moves into the rotation around the All Star break
Personally, I've got the former.
Steven Goldman: You might be right. I worry about a Dave Righetti scenario here. It's very easy to imagine Chamberlain pitching well in the pen and the Yankees saying, "We don't want to mess with success." To invoke Nate for about the umpteenth time this chat, last year he did a good bit of analysis (on Unfiltered, I think) trying to find the break-even point for Jon Papelbon-as-starter vs. as-reliever. We need to ask him to do that again for Chamberlain. My guess is that the threshold for the reliever argument has got to be pretty high -- Joba has to be spectacularly good in the pen, not just really good -- to justify giving up the high-side expectations of what he can do in the rotation.
Yu-Hsing Chen (Taiwan): Ichiro's record breaking rate is most likely going to get him in though... at this point i don't see how the voters would not vote for him .... Sisler's record... consecutive 200 hit season records.. plus being a Japanese and a nutty charactor helps too
Steven Goldman: I wasn't addressing whether he WOULD get in... I expect he will, and he'll probably deserve it, too. I was just getting at that specific question about Speaker and Cobb. Speaking of which, we should ding those two guys for playing in a segregated league with no relievers and no night games, etc. I think even doing that, though, there's no reason to discount ALL of their power.
Jim Leyritz (Florida): Melky Cabrera's got a pretty interesting set of comparables: Carlos Beltran, Coco Crisp, Pete Rose, and Hal McRae. Some good-looking players but (besides Beltran) nobody with too much power. What's the outlook on him? Is he the Yankee CFer of the future?
Steven Goldman: It's confusing, isn't it? This is what I meant about the occasional inscrutability of the comps. If I recall correctly, at Cabrera's age, Beltran had the one bad year of his career... If Coco Crisp is your worst-case scenario, that's not bad, but the Yankees don't have a Jacoby Ellsbury to come along and rescue them... My suspicion is that Crisp is closer to the mark than Beltran or even McRae. The power just isn't there right now, might not ever be there. That leaves us with what... A player who might peak at something pretty decent without rising to the level of the All-Star game. That's not bad, you enjoy it... And then you trade Roberto Kelly for Paul O'Neill.
jlewando (DC): My BP08 arrived while I was reading this chat. It looks great--thanks for a great product, as usual.
Stephen Drew--after noting that his walk rate was among the top shortstops last year, I thought BP would like him for 2008. The book blurb is kind of down on him. What do you think about Drew?
Steven Goldman: Glad you got the book, sir or madam. On Drew, the walk rate is certainly better than not having it, but the other aspects of his season were pretty forgettable. A .236 EqA is, to borrow a popular congressional phrase, what it is, and as the comment details, there are reasons to think that it's not totally out of line with what our expectations should have been. Add in that the fellow turns 25 in just a couple of weeks, and we have a pretty good chance at being disappointed here. Let's hope we're wrong on that one.
sbiel2 (Washington, DC): You should take the over on the Nationals. You have them at 72, one down from last year's 73. With the upgrades in the OF (Nook/Langerhans for Lastings, Church/Snelling for Wily Mo/Dukes), Nick Johnson coming back, and an improved rotation (giving the innings that went to Jerome Williams, Joel Hanrahan, and Mike Bascik to Odalis Perez, John Patterson, John Lannan, Tyler Clippard, etc.) this team will be better.
Steven Goldman: You could be right there. One thing that PECOTA doesn't know, can't know yet, is just how all those playing time decisions will be made. Right now we have a best guess. As we see how the team sorts itself out, that prediction will be open to revision.
lnodolf (Fillmore, CA): High maintenance guys like callaspo and dukes, which one has best chance of breaking out this year?
Steven Goldman: Dukes has the much, much, much higher upside in terms of offensive production, but that's not the same as saying he has the best chance of breaking out, because his problems are pretty severe.
Rob Gee (Philly): When and where do the Yanks move Jeter? 2009 to 1B? 2010 to LF?
Steven Goldman: First, he needs to be pressed by someone who is going to field better (anyone) and give them at least something like above-average production there (not anyone). The more interesting question will be whether his bat still supports a move by the time they get around to it.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Stop linking your yesnetwork.com articles to subscriber-only pages at BP. It's maddening. Just tease us with limited projections if you must.
Steven Goldman: Tony, I have a real conflict when it comes to that. I want to share with my readers over at YES the work I'm doing elsewhere, the work my colleagues are doing, and, of course, the statistical underpinnings of my work there, which often comes from here. At the same time, these materials are BP's bread and butter. It's how the company stays in business. I don't think it would be fair if I removed a reader's incentive to visit BP by re-posting more of their content than fair use would allow, even if in many cases I am the author. You see what I'm trying to say?
Ron (Vancouver): Outside of the team esssays, what other articles are in the book?
Steven Goldman: In reaching for my copy, just to make sure that I didn't leave anything out, I knocked over approximately 100 CDs, 25 books, a ream of loose notes for various projects, three empty cans of Pepsi One, more DVDs than I can easily count, a Justice League Unlimited action figure blister pack (Batman, Black Canary, and the Joker), and a picture of my daughter, severely startling the cat in the process. When I'm done here, I'm going to be cleaning for an hour...
We have two studies by the vulpine Dan Fox, one quantifying baserunning (who is good, who ain't) and the other throwing arms. We have Clay Davenport on when throwing strike one is a bad idea. We have Kevin Goldstein's top 100 prospects in all their tasty goodness. We also, as a brand new feature, have created PECOTA leaderboards so that you can see at a glance which players the system predicts to have the most improvement and the biggest declines in a number of categories.
Mike (DC): Mr. Goldman, which movie are you more pumped for this summer, Indy or the Dark Knight?
Steven Goldman: Speaking of Batman... I'm pretty excited for both in a way I don't usually get for movies anymore, so many big tentpole movies being corporatized into blandness. The trailers for both look terrific. I'm a bit nervous about Indy for a few reasons - Harrison Ford's age, that Speilberg's work tends to swing between great and, um, not, especially when he tries to be cute, and finally that the Area 51 angle seems played out to me. I'm hoping that's not a big aspect of the film. As for the Dark Knight, the guys making the film seem to really understand how to treat the character of Batman with dignity. I worry about the film being over-packed, what with the Joker, Two-Face, an extended merchandising cameo for the Bat-cycle, the usual love interest... and Deathstroke the Terminator in all his George Perez-y chainmail and orange glory? Annnyway, I'm more a home video guy than a theater guy these days, but I'll make a point of getting out for those.
Jeff (NJ): Alou goes down in April and is put on the DL. Barry Bonds is still a FA. Any chance the Mets see a relationship between these two situations?
Steven Goldman: By the way, was that last questioner Mike IN DC or Mike AT DC?
...See, here's the reason I was taking the under on the Mets before. I don't think they have the depth to survive any injury, including the inevitable half-season timeout for Moises. Could the scenario you describe take place? Sure. Maybe it should have taken place already. I just suspect a New York team wouldn't want to deal with the inevitable media crush. If we're talking about Tampa or (just sayin') KC, how crushed can they get for how long?
pondertex (NYC): How much VORM (value over replacement manager)will Girardi provide vs. Torre?
Steven Goldman: Don't give Jon Heyman any ideas for new acronyms. Girardi's impact has yet to be seen. Joe Torre could be frustrating in his habits, especially with the bullpen and his devotion to failing veterans, but at least he didn't bunt himself to death or lead off with Tony Womack... Wait, he did. Well, only for a little while. I want to see how Girardi is in this regard. Also, I still haven't gotten over the Josh Johnson thing and his lack of explanation thereof. Girardi is obviously intelligent, but that's such a serious error of judgment as to possibly disqualify him from future employment.
Mike (Upstate NY): Which outfielder has the most upside, Curtis Granderson or Chris B. Young. Thanks!!
Steven Goldman: As good as Granderson is, and he's great, he really needs to be platooned and I don't think that's going to change. Young is, ahem, younger, and maybe won't have that handicap. He might not have the walks either, but time will tell.
dogtothedog (Toronto): how do i find the projected jays record for 08 can you send me a link
Steven Goldman: http://baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/
Will Brown (Dolores, Colo.): Did Jonathan Niese's mother calculate this year's PECOTAs?
Steven Goldman: His mom would be happy for her boy to have a 5.55 ERA? I have friends whose moms are like that, rooting for rather than against. It's strange.
Stan (Cicero): Are you comfortable with PECOTA's estimate for Kosuke Fukudome? Will his inevitable stardom (I can dream)lead to sushi in the stands at wrigley?
Steven Goldman: I'm a little skeptical, but we've gotten pretty good on these things. I think it would be great for baseball for the Cubs to be trying to break their slide at 100, so I'm rooting for him.
Jay (Philly): So Joe seems to think picking up Abreu's option made sense, Nate does not. Cast your vote in decision 2008.
Steven Goldman: Given the alternatives, I think it made sense. Someday the Yankees will grow a few position player prospects and have more options than what is available on the free agent market (restricted by what will keep the payroll under $300 million).
Billy (Iowa City, IA): Do you think Joey Votto has any shot at winning the starting job in Cincinatti this year?
Steven Goldman: There are a lot of questions here about the Reds and how their roster will shake out, all of which, I think, stems from insecurity over Dusty Baker making the right decision. We were talking about Tris Speaker before -- if he were available, Dusty would be trying to sign him. Look, I don't think any of us can say what Dusty and the Reds will do, because we don't know to what degree rationality really holds sway there. If it were up to us we would go with the high upside of guys like Votto and Bruce, but that's now how Dusty thinks about things. One thing that will give us a clue is, obviously, spring training performance, not because 50 PAs in March will prove more to US about a player than all of last year's minor league numbers did, but because if the youngsters don't play well, Dusty won't give them the benefit of the doubt. He'll have an excuse to go Hatteberg and Lofton and Dead Ted Kluzewski.
RollingWave (Taoyuan): the over and under on CC Sabathia and Mark Teixiera in pinstripes by ST 09 is.....
Steven Goldman: The chances are very good. The Yankees have a lot of money coming off the payroll in the next couple of years, with Damon, Matsui, Giambi, Mussina, and others vanishing in a puff of depreciated currency. While Brian Cashman talks a lot about reducing payroll, and I think he is sincere in that, I don't think he wants to do so to such an extent that the Yankees fail to bid on no-brainer possibilities like the two players you cite.
Brian H (Toledo): Heh heh. Nate told ME what the next book, or maybe series of books, is likely to be about.
But I ain't tellin' nobody.
Catch me if you can.
Steven Goldman: Nate's got some 'splainin' to do. That said, since he's the boss he can declassify what he wants, when he wants, which is why he outed Valerie Plame. Appropriately, Brian H is writing to us from Nate's secure holding facility in Cuba.
Peter (Staten Island): Non-baseball book question: ever read (or try to read) Finnegan's Wake? I've been reading Joseph Campbell's "Skeleton Key to FW" and I'm amazed by Joyce's creation, but I couldn't imagine actually trying to read the book itself alone.
Steven Goldman: I haven't. I'm embarrassed to say that I couldn't quite make it through Joyce's Ulysses, though I aim that try that again someday. Right now, I'm reading "In the Court of the Red Tsar," and about 50 pages in I'm beginning to get the sense that Stalin, though a great singer, just wasn't a very nice guy. I also just received two items in the mail I'm looking forward to getting to: Alex Belth was nice enough to send me a copy of his new "Best Sportswriting of Pat Jordan," which looks great, and mystery writer Jeff Cohen just sent his "Some Like It Hot-Buttered," about a guy who is poisoned during a showing of "Young Frankenstein."
Free books: I love my life.
jesmont (Charlottesville, Virginia): Is Nate for or against doubling his secure holding facility in Cuba? America needs to know!
Steven Goldman: How many people is Nate planning on telling about the new book?
Will (NJ): Is Jim Bowden the perfect GM to be zipping around his ST complex on a Segway? Can you think of one who this would "work" even better for?
Steven Goldman: I'm trying to imagine Branch Rickey doing that. It's actually a very cool image. Anyone know if Rickey was an early-adopter of new technologies OUTSIDE of baseball? When did he get a TV?
makewayhomer (Boston): Can you give me your best guess playing time estimates for the following guys:
Steven Goldman: Again, I don't think those guesses would be particularly valuable. You're asking me to anticipate Dusty Baker and Joe Torre etc. I know what we would like those answers to be, but it takes a lot for a vet-lovin' manager to overcome his prejudices... Soto, I think, is clear to get the bulk of ABs in Chi. It seems impossible that the Astros would finally let someone dislodge Ausmus, and I think that PECOTA is right when it speculates that Towles will be held under 400 ABs. The rest of them... stand by.
jesmont (Charlottesville, Virginia): However many it takes to get reelected.
Steven Goldman: Yeah, no kidding.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Thoughts on Yankees not signing Wang long-term? What are the odds that such a contract would not be a tradeable asset, at a minimum? Are they scared by low Ks or maybe their own infield defensive outlook?
Steven Goldman: I suspect it's the low Ks. There's also an institutional bias at the Yankees against doing that kind of thing, one they only recently overcame with the Cano contract. It wouldn't surprise me if there's still some hesitation when it comes to pulling the trigger on pitchers, particularly one whose longterm outlook is as unclear as Wang's.
Domina Editrix (Dark Corners of the Mind): The Yankees still need a first baseman. When do we get news of a Jim Spencer comeback? Where have you gone, Danny Cater?
Steven Goldman: My money is on Babe Dahlgren. Anyway, this is something they can play with for a couple of months and then try a patch in season. If Giambi can't do it (and I'm skeptical), platooning Betemit and Duncan or Ensberg should at least be league average.
Dusty (Not Chicago!!!): I was listening to the radio yesterday and Stephen A. Smith was on... hey it was the only station I could get in my apartment. He's of the opinion that Dusty Baker got a raw deal and was ridden out of Chicago. For some reason Chicago gets stuck with alot of stubborn coaches/managers, and he was one of them. If Stephen A. had been hear to listen to many of Dusty's thoughts, he's know why the Cubs wanted a new manager. Dusty didn't want to be accountable for anything.
Steven Goldman: Well, lack of accountability among Americans today isn't anything new. Dusty though... most overrated manager in recent history? I think so. You can't really separate his record from that of Barry Bonds. Take that away, and what's left isn't all that impressive.
ackbar (supermarket): Pepsi One: Great diet soda or the greatest diet soda?
Steven Goldman: I really like that stuff, and it allows me to drink diet soda as I hate the taste of Nutrasweet. I'm more a Coke guy than a Pepsi guy, but somehow the equivalent Coke product doesn't have the same near-caloric -soda taste that Pepsi One does.
Bill (NYC): Don't forget about Jason Lane!
Steven Goldman: I keep forgetting about him, actually. It's my brain trying to dispense with what should be unnecessary information.
Matt (SF, CA): Just got my 2008 guide. Thanks a bunch. It's bigger than my phonebook.
Steven Goldman: Save the trees! Keep getting your BP annuals, but opt out of your phone book!
G-MOTA (Bumpus, MA): I had never heard of Jim Spencer and just looked him up... dang, where did that 1979 come from? Was it the only time he was platooned or something?
Steven Goldman: It was just one of those amazing fluke seasons that players have sometimes. I love those. Kevin G. and I were just talking about one of our mutual favorites, Miguel Dilone's 1980. That may be the greatest fluke season of all time.
strupp (Madison ): Steve, Barry Bonds can clearly still play, and would be a huge benefit to a great number of teams as a full or part time player (see: Cubs, Rays, Padres, A's, etc...)... does the fact that he has had, seemingly, zero interest lead you to think, possibly, that there is a collusive element among the owners? And if so, isn't this, in reality, more damaging to baseball than any PED action or non-action that has happened in the last 25 years?
Steven Goldman: Meant to answer this one awhile back. I think that so many people who don't know any better (but should) are so eager to cast the first stone at Bonds that if he's kept out of the game it will actually be celebrated. Many columnists are already trying to lay the ground for this narrative, and I GUARANTEE YOU that if Bonds doesn't play you will see columns headlined, "BARRY WHO?" I don't think anything collusive is happening here, more like a combination of factors probably led by a wariness of reaping a lot of noise (as I wrote earlier today at YES, if you're the Rays, noise might not be such a bad thing), but I've been fooled before.
Fidel (Cuba): Just saw that my CIA buddy William F. Buckley died... so sad. How do you think he will be received by historians of the American century? Anyway, keep up the good work -- I finally have some time to follow baseball again! Is El Duque still pitching?
Steven Goldman: When healthy, Fidel, when healthy, but then, as you now know, we're all just pitching between injuries. Condolences to Buckley's family, especially son Christopher, whose writing I greatly enjoy... I suspect that 50 years from now, Buckley's brand of conservatism will be looked at as a fringe that arose in the postwar period in response to a specific set of circumstances, moved slowly to the mainstream, had its shot peaking with Reagan, had a kind of extremist offshoot in the Bush II regime, which cast a bad light on the whole idea, and slowly faded to join the Whig party in the dinosaur's graveyard of American politics.
Scott (NJ): I just got BP 2008 yesterday and can't put it down. Great job. You are coming to New Jersey in a few weeks to talk at a bookstore. What can expect to learn there?
Steven Goldman: That I need to drink more diet soda? That I don't dress myself very well? In seriousness, our appearances are much like what you've come to expect from BP's writing in print - humor, controversy, and cutting edge analysis.
We're actually coming to New Jersey TWICE. First, Nate, Jay, Derek, and I are coming to the awesome Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair this Sunday at 2. Please come out -- it's a great location, and they'll have copies of the book on hand. On March 15, I (and I'm not yet sure who else) will be at the Borders in Rockaway, NJ at 2 PM for more of the same. And maybe we'll know what the Reds are doing by then.
For more on all our appearances, see the events page: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/events/.
hippoes (London): Heads up to whoever mentioned this earlier: BP2K8 is actually cheaper if bought from amazon.com rather tham .co.uk, and will be delivered about a month earlier (mine should arrive next week)!
Steven Goldman: All hail the falling dollar! Thanks for the public service announcement.
...I'm going to have to retire shortly, so just a few more.
Giants Fan (Section 135): Dusty was the perfect manager for the Barry Bonds era Giants. He had a veteran team and he was good at keeping everyone sharp and massaging egos. He didn't waste a lot of outs and he managed his pen well. Is he adaptable? Hasn't been so far. Does he like young players? Doesn't appear so, but let's not say that the Giants won in spite of him.
Steven Goldman: Fair enough, and I think it's a credit to a manager who knows when to stay out of the way. But that strategy is only adaptable to a peculiar, unusual set of circumstances. If you have Bonds, you let 'em play. If you have the 1998 Yankees, you pretty much let 'em play. Teams like the Cubs and the Reds were/are looking for someone who could sort out their problems and possibilities, and that requires a whole different skill set. Heck, most teams are. I think most managers could do what Baker did in SF - not mess up when he had the horses. Fewer can take a mixed set and organize it into a team. He plainly cannot.
Mike (DC): AT DC. I work for the comic company. Just doing the usual trolling of baseball chats for market research.
If I can steal a second question here....what's your favorite line from any of the three original Star Wars? And do you think that any of the prequels surpassed ROTJ? Warts and all, I still can't concede that they do.
Steven Goldman: I have some friends there in the building with you... Favorite line (here is where Mr. GoldSTEIN, a non-Star Wars guy, gets his excuse to make fun of me for the rest of the week)... "Don't get cocky." "A more wretched hive of scum and villainy." "He doesn't like you... I don't like you either." "That's the real trick, isn't it?" "This fully armed and operational battlestation." "Who is the greater fool?" "When you left, I was but the learner." "Boring conversation anyway." "Strike me down, and I shall only become more powerful." And everytime a fly ball is caught at the wall: "Did it go in? No, it just impacted on the surface." ...I could go on (and on). Not a ROTJ fan for many of the same reasons that I wasn't a fan of the prequels... ROTJ is probably the best of the weaker films.
mattymatty2000 (Philly, PA): Have you guys at BP ever thought about having some sort of get together during the season that isn't (necessarily) based around book selling? I ask because I'll be in Ft. Myers (go Sox!) when you all show up here in Philly.
Steven Goldman: Sorry to miss you there, mattymatty. Yes, we do non-book events, like pizza feeds, and that's something that we'll try to do more of this year. For starters, everyone on the west coast can head out to one of Gary Huckabay's pizza feed for cystic fibrosis (see the events page again) this March. Not only will it be baseball talk with one of the best, but you'll be contributing to a good cause.
sfbennett1 (Stillwater): Do you think the Indians will make a move for a corner OF/3B or will they be content with Blake/Gutierrez/Michaels/Dellucci? Anybody you think would be a good fit?
Steven Goldman: If things are at all close, I think they'll have to, but I'm not sure they have the right parts to make a deal, especially since they're going to need their best pitching prospects in the very near future - either because someone breaks down in the rotation this year, or because Sabathia flees for bigger dollars.
Pinstriper 7 (New York): Hi Steve,
I have heard a lot of talk about Miranda playing firstbase. I don't understand why the Yanks didn't invite him to camp this spring. They also have a log jam at first. He is laying in wait with the Tampa team.
He supposedly has all the tools, what are your thoughts on him?
Steven Goldman: As you'll see in this year's book, I really don't think that Miranda has much upside beyond, MAYBE, some platoon work at first base. Between his age and his less than spectacular production I just don't think there's anything there, or very little at any rate.
Sam (Anderson, SC): Boy, I can't wait to get my hands on that new Baseball Prospectus in the next week. Happy day!
In all of baseball history, Steve, is there a particular team uniform that you have a soft spot for, despite how ugly, gaudy or tacky it is? The 1970s Astros' rainbow uniforms and 1981-86 Atlanta Braves' powder blues for the road come to mind with me.
Steven Goldman: The waffle pattern unis the Dodgers wore around 1914?
Bill (MT): Loved the Fun with Comparables column... can you work at this backwards, and give me a good current comp for some of my all-time favorites - how about Amos Otis, Sam Crawford, and Earl Averill?
Steven Goldman: See my most recent unfiltered post and some comments earlier in this chat... Something like this is coming over time.
Steven Goldman: Friends, it's been a pleasure as always. I've enjoyed our three hours together and I hope you did as well. As more of you get your hands on this year's annual I know we all look forward to your feedback and very much hope that you enjoy it. Finally, I look forward to seeing you all along the campaign -- er -- tour trail, starting this Sunday at the Yogi. As always, thank you for spending part of your day with me and Baseball Prospectus.