Get the latest on September call-ups and an early look at postseason rosters with Christina.
Christina Kahrl: Hi gang, most of the day's slate is up, so I can dive in now and have fun with all of you while Assistant Editor Rick Lopez wraps up Jay Jaffe's incomparable Hit List. For everyone on the Gulf Coast, here's hoping you're keeping safe--enduring flooding issues all my own make me even more sensitive to what you're faced with. So, let's pass the time and talk about happy stuff, like baseball...
tremont (LI, NY): Dan Murphy and Nick Evans, can they work as a platoon in 2009?
Christina Kahrl: I like the chances of it panning out. They're both doing solid work, it's a credit to the Mets' system that they've managed to squeeze this kind of value out of it, and the savings involved might make getting Mark Teixeira that much more affordable.
dianagramr (NYC): Hiya Christina ... happy Pennant Race to you!
Worst in-game manager:
a) Ned Yost
b) Clint Hurdle
Christina Kahrl: Hi Diana, happy pennant races to you too. I know Yost and Hurdle get banged on, but I saw Jim Essian, and skip(s), you're no Jim Essian. That said, I'd like to spend some more time looking at boxes from Maury Wills understandably similarly brief and bad tenure running the Mariners.
Michael (Detroit, MI): Here's an odd minor league transaction reported this morning:
SIOUX FALLS CANARIES-Traded RHP Pat Mahomes to Southern Maryland (Atlantic) for a player to be named.
First off, who would have thought that Mahomes was still pitching? Second, what is the point of minor league teams making a trade at this time of year? Could the Canaries possibly own Mahomes rights throughout the entire off-season? You would think he'd be a six-year minor league free agent. Third, can a player really be traded into the Atlantic League?
Christina Kahrl: Hey, the indy leagues can afford to play fast and loose--remember, this isn't the old (affiliated) American Association, but its latter-day indy incarnation. As for Mahomes, hey, that's what is so great about the indies, right? I loved seeing that Jeff Bittiger or Darryl Motley were still starring on a diamond somewhere, long after their big-league careers were over. Of course, I also liked the Senior League, so I might be a bit non-discriminating.
basicslop (Albuquerque): Roy Oswalt?? Seriously? Where's this been all year?
Christina Kahrl: Hey, people go through bad patches. As Marc noted in yesterday's edition of Preview, he's throwing harder, which perhaps understandably means fewer pitches are being clocked as "changeups" by PitchF/X.
Roy Oswalt (Bulldozer): Which is scarier, Ike or me in a one game playoff?
Christina Kahrl: Ike, followed by Josh Beckett in a one-game anything.
Chadale (Toronto): Nick Johnson to Toronto? I think he'd benefit from DH'ing and lord knows, Toronto could use a bat.
Christina Kahrl: It makes sense in terms of Nick Johnson, but not so much for the Jays, because they've already got a somewhat crowded collection of options at the slugging slots of the outfield corners, first base, and DH. They've got Wells, Rios, and Lind in the outfield, Snider close to ready, and two more years to Lyle Overbay to live down. If they could get Johnson an make Overbay a Yankee or something, it would be great to take their chances on a (fragile) upgrade at first base, but that would make for the difficult dance of trying to get somebody to eat some of Overbay's contract (fools they), and then perhaps trying to get the Nats to absorb some of Johnson's. Basically, it isn't impossible, just difficult, and it would probably be best served by first finding a way to make Lyle Overbay somebody else's problem.
Elliot (Brooklyn): If the Yanks start off slow in 2009, how long till Girardi ends up on the hot seat?
Christina Kahrl: Probably pretty quickly, especially if Brian Cashman's departed the organization. Should the Steinbrennerlings run rampant, I'm given to understand that irresponsibility in response to failure is a heritable trait.
Drew W (NoVa): I know Gio Gonzalez is only 22, but shouldn't we see something from him?? He hasn't looked very good.
Christina Kahrl: Bumpy starts to a career--especially on a team with some pretty significant defensive issues--should come as a surprise. I don't think he's going to be the new Dana Allison.
glyons (vancouver, bc): Do you think the Pedro Alvarez mess will ultimately change the way the amateur draft is run? Or, to rephrase the question, is Scott Boras good for baseball?
Christina Kahrl: I think it will, because just look at Kevin Goldstein's excellent series on this issue and Boras' past history (and impact). Is that a positive thing? I think so, but that's because I think baseball should be run as a business, not as a semi-feudal confidence game where not all of the rules are enforced all of the time. It's amazing to me that the industry will, on the one hand, have a fashion czar running around shrieking at managers, but apparently can't follow their own rules on the draft. It would be easy to make a pat statement about how the owners didn't learn anything from arbitration, but that scandal involved a different generation of owners; this crowd, mostly corporate-bred, either really ought to know better, or they've been raised in a contemporary corporate culture where unions usually get beaten down, and/or where bending the rules might be an everyday thing.
stan (oak park): Can anyone top Terry Bevington as the worst in-game manager ever?
Christina Kahrl: Terry Bevington's gifts in this regard were remarkable, and he remains perhaps a personal favorite in the sense that he was a White Sox manager who in his own way was as much a distraction as the current one, except where Ozzie's brand of post-game... jocularity is sort of latter-day Stengel-riffic bit of media distraction, Bevington's active malice rated him with the Mouth of Sauron when it came to being an ambassador of the game. Add in his ham-fisted in-game tactics, and Bevington's sort of a South Side Ditka caricature, an interesting legend of sorts, but not really someone I'd rank as low as someone like the unfortunate Essian or the ill-fated Wills.
Shane (Miami): Christina, do you think the Rockies will deal Holliday in the off-season or is it more likely they deal Atkins seeing as how they won't be able to move Helton and they have Ian Stewart? If it's Holliday, who do you see being the main contenders for his services?
Christina Kahrl: I think they'll entertain offers, because that's just sound business practice, but if there's a guy I'd rather move if money and Holliday's service time clock weren't motivating factors, it would be Atkins. I don't think anybody's going to take on Helton's contract, because between that stumbling block and the persistent back issues, I think he'd be immovable, but saying that, it's important to remember there was a time I thought Mike Hampton's contract made him immovable.
TheRedSon (Texas): So has Cecil Cooper found the silver bullet for Pythagorus?
Take a blowout once a week and keep the pen (the part that matters anyway) fresh.
Christina Kahrl: It's this sort of thing that I think makes for a lot of fun in terms of challenging some of our own preconceptions as analysts, because as I've argued with some of my colleagues, it doesn't matter if you lose 5-8 or 5-18, a loss is a loss, and using a mop-up man to take the hit is probably as smart now (in the era of the seven-man pen) as it was 30 or 50 or 80 years ago.
Andrew (Washington, D.C.): What is going on with Joe Koshansky? Will Colorado ever find a use for him?
Christina Kahrl: Organizational player as Helton insurance? Keeping people happy in Colorado Springs? He's better than Ryan Shealy, certainly, but it's important to recognize how much this year's campaign is about being a 26-year-old putting up big numbers in the big number-generating ballpark in Colorado Springs.
ashitaka (long beach, ca): Hey there CK. Do you think the A's will get in on any free agent action to address their craptastic offense? Their payroll doesn't project to be much more than $30M next year. Duke, Street, Cust and (I think) Murton and Bowen are hitting arbitration, but one or more might be trade fodder. Also, do you think Ellis's injury makes staying in Oakland more or less likely?
Christina Kahrl: I don't think they will, beyond some bargain-basement shopping and dumpster diving. Keep in mind that there's a good amount of waiting to see what happens with Cisco Field, so biding time, especially after last winter's mass acquisition of other people's prospects, makes sense.
Rob (Brighton): I missed Jay's chat yesterday, so I couldn't fire this at him. He roundly dismissed the idea of morale being a factor in baseball. Now it's not something we can measure or predict. And poor morale won't matter if the opposing pitcher is throwing batting practice. Still, you can't dismiss it, you can only acknowledge ignorance of that particular cause/effect relationship and move on. Honestly, Clausewitz would be rolling in his grave right now.
Christina Kahrl: I think morale is absolutely a factor, and I'm sort of at a loss as to why people would argue that it isn't. What did Napoleon call morale, a factor of two to one to manpower? I know that this isn't an apples to apples comparison, but we're talking about people, and just because something can't be measured systematically does not mean it doesn't have an impact--it just means we can't comment about it beyond what comes out of oral history (or direct reporting). It's the difference between taking a realistic (or historical) approach, as opposed to wishing it away because we can't measure it with sabermetric exactitude.
Elmo (Bay Area): What are you thoughts thus far on Pablo Sandoval and Travis Ishikawa in San Fran?
Christina Kahrl: I was pretty sunny on both of them a few weeks back in TA, and so far, they haven't been disappointments. I think it's safe to say neither one of them is the new Lance Niekro.
David (Montclair): What do you think of the phenomena of the last few years of the pitcher who averages a strikeout an inning and yet still has an era over 4.00, even 5.00 ala Aaron Heilman?
Christina Kahrl: It's incidental to the times, which involve more strikeouts in general than you'd find, say, decades back. Remember how worked up people were about Glendon Rusch after 2001, because of "all those strikeouts"? In the end, he was just Glendon Rusch, not some future ace in the making.
J.P. (Hartford): Ziegler is a great story, but he seems to be outperforming his periphreals by a bunch. Could he be a legit closer candidate for the As in 09, especially since he can pitch multiple innings?
Christina Kahrl: I think if any team's open to giving us the new Quisenberry, it's the A's. I think he can close, but that's also because I'm one of those people who thinks overmuch is made over who has closer makeup or moxie. I'll concede that there are some guys who don't have it, but a lot more guys can handle the job than gets acknowledged in the mainstream.
George W. (Mount Vernon, VA): It is correct to say that whether a loss is 5-8 or 5-18 it is still a loss, but it's not correct to say that you get to manage from an end of the game perspective. An 8-5 game in the 6th is something where a team comes back to win 15% of the time or thereabouts, but an 18-5 game in the 7th is a lost cause. One should manage for the purpose of maximizing the chances of winning until such time as there are diminishing returns from making such moves. In fact, in a 7+ run game, it seems like it would make more sense to let a position player pitch than waste a bullpen arm for an inning.
Christina Kahrl: Which is lovely in the abstract, and besides the point. Managers manage rosters over a season, and there are so many contributing factors to an in-game decision tree--is everyone available in the pen; if so, for how long; what do your guys do against the other guy's relievers, and much more--that this sort of petty abstract exercise is the sort of thing that highlights how sabermetrics misses the boat on baseball as a management challenge, operationally and strategically, and not simply tactically.
Steve (ND): I know a Mets fan, and he says that Carlos Delgado should be the NL MVP or thereabouts, what's your say in the matter?
Christina Kahrl: He's awfully parochial, but what would you expect from a New Yorker?
Tim (DC): To defend Jay a bit here: he did not dismiss the idea about morale. He said it was a "nebulous intangible" that, as has been pointed by many, is not quantifiable.
To quote from his chat: "Does clubhouse chemistry exist? Probably, but if I can't attach some semblance of a number to it, I'm not going to try to account for it in my analysis beyond digging up one of my favorite Earl Weaver pearls: "Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher." "
Christina Kahrl: Excellent point, but I'm not really in disagreement with Jay as much as I am with fellow travelers in the sabermetric community who prattle on about how "chemistry is BS." I don't know if it is or if it isn't, but stating that it is without evidence either way is a matter of delighting in controversy for its own sake.
Gary (KC): Christina, Have you heard whether or not MBL will allow Eric Hosmer to play in the Arizona Fall League?
Christina Kahrl: Checking quick with Kevin, it turns out he'd be eligible, but as Kevin notes, "there's no way he'd be ready for either league" and "as of right now, he would not be allowed".
glyons (vancouver, bc): Has Houston's success in the last few months changed the way you view the rebuilding process? If the Brewers have done things the "right way" (home grown talent, bullpen pickups on the cheap, unloading veterans at the trade deadline, etc), what do we do with old-schoolers like Wade throwing too much money at gritty yet mediocre veterans and *still* succeeding?
Christina Kahrl: Not at all, but that's because I wrote the Astros essay in this year's book, and I sort of delved into the "madness" of the kamikaze run concept. The farm system's dead, and rebuilding it is going to have to involve years and years of work. They're stuck with some huge financial commitments to veteran ballplayers. Getting into the mid-80s or so in the NL makes you a contender. Put those factors together, and you can see *why* they hired Ed Wade, and why they decided to play out the hand they have. They're screwed in the medium term and in the long term anyway, and they know they can't fix that now, all at once.
G-MOTA (Bumpus, MA): Hey Christina, can we declare a moratorium on "drink the kool-aid"? I feel like you say it all the time, and it seems to have spread to some other BP authors. First of all, it's in poor taste. Second of all, the people at Jonestown were more or less forced at gunpoint to poison themselves, rather than the "swallowing it unquestioningly" that the metaphor would evoke -- Heaven's Gate would be better ("eat the pudding"?). And finally, it wasn't Kool-Aid at Jonestown! It was Flavor-Aid! Flavor-Aid, darn it!
Thanks -- your fan, g-mo
Christina Kahrl: I think you're missing the point: Kool-Aid has a cool mascot--"Oh yeah!"--while Flavor-Aid does not. As for whether or not it's in poor taste, well, there again, it's... in the parlance of our times, you know, accepted.
Gary (KC): Sorry can you clarify, "it turns out he'd be eligible" but then "as of right now, he would not be allowed". I'm confused. thanks KG and CK!
Christina Kahrl: Per Kevin, "All Triple-A and Double-A players are eligible, provided the players are on at least a Double-A level roster no later than Aug. 1. One player below the Double-A level is allowed per Major League team." Which means he'd be eligible if his official status wasn't forced inaction; he's not even eligible at present to go to instructional league.
Rowen Bell (Chicago): CK -- Has BP given any thought to expanding the scope of its successful (IMHO) Internet Baseball Awards? The IBA award categories are derived from the traditional BBRAA categories. I think it would be interesting if the IBA took cues from other sources of baseball awards, and added a category for Minor League Player of the Year, and a category for Reliever of the Year. I think it would be very illuminating to see how the views of BP readers on those categories differ from conventional wisdom.
Christina Kahrl: We're definitely interested in expanding to do more of these. Will Carroll's giving out the Dick Martin Award of course, and there's in-house interest in resurrecting "The Golden Gun," and I think expanding to do more of that take on important questions--who's this year's best reliever, because we know it isn't K-Rod--that may well challenge some of the selections from the BBRAA. (Nicely employed stathead smack talk through acronyms, huzzah.)
jlebeck66 (WI): Can we still say someone faces their Waterloo though? Or heck, what about having a cross to bear?
Christina Kahrl: I'd think so, but I'm not really one to worry about offending Bonapartists or god-fearing folk through doing so. And believe me, the Bonapartists, those guys just don't let some things go.
abernethyj (Chapel Hill, NC): Who will be better next year: Erik Bedard or Yovani Gallardo?
Christina Kahrl: I'll take Gallardo in that challenge, but that's also me being the fangirl of the latest flavor.
Dep (NYC): Come on, say something nice about Luis Ayala, he's certainly had value to the mets outside of being a token latino, right?
Christina Kahrl: I don't know if anyone one on the Mets could be singled out as "a token latino," but what I do think he demonstrates is my original point, which is that most closers are made, not born.
Rob (Brighton): Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford are two of the biggest talents on the Rays roster. When they went down, I expected them to skid, but they didn't. That's a pretty neat trick. How'd they manage to do it?
Christina Kahrl: Well, to be sure, Crawford hasn't been one of the biggest parts of this season's success, and a lot of what made a big difference to the team this year was the decision to substantively address the areas that Nate talked about a couple of months back (here we go: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7743). Put that kind of management atop a long-term vision and exceptional drafting and scouting, and you've got a franchise that's proving that raising your game to the level of the Red Sox is doable. Pity most of the NL doesn't bother, but they don't have to play up to that level to make the playoffs, and it's as much a matter of adapting to your competitive environment as it is about being really smart.
kgoodson3 (Hurrican Alley): In your opinion is ANY closer worth $50 million or more? (Read, is K-Rod worth the money?)
Christina Kahrl: No, and I speak as somebody who counts Goose Gossage among my favoritest players ever.
Frank (Las Vegas): Were the Buc's trading of Bay, Nady, & Marte wise moves (they look pretty bad now), or is too early to tell?
Christina Kahrl: They look bad? What did they lose? Service time on a team that wasn't going to win anything. What did they get? A considerable amount of young talent the organization needed. I'm not sure how their deals could look badly right now, but I would say it's too early to tell how good these deals have turned out.
Joe (Tewksbury, MA): Hi Christina: If all of them were FA this offseason, who will command the best contract: Sabathia, Sheets, Lackey, Matt Holliday, Dunn, Burrell, Texeira or Ryan Howard?
Christina Kahrl: I don't think anybody on that list could command what Sabathia will get. I think the more interesting question is whether he gets Zito-level money or what.
Scott (Ann Arbor, Mi): Even though they aren't setting the world on fire, I like what Dunn has with the Snakes. Was trading for him a worthwhile gamble?
Christina Kahrl: Absolutely, between their OBP needs (as Jay noted on Wednesday) and his ability to deliver monster power in that park, it made sense at the time, and it makes sense now.
TheRedSon (Waco, TX): With regard to adapting to competitive environments wouldn't an NL team so inclined become THE dominant force in the NL?
Christina Kahrl: Yep, but the Braves went away, and nobody's really ready to take on that mantle. So we get an exciting muddle, and that's not a bad thing for baseball, not by any stretch.
bennoj (seattle): The phrase "Drinking the Kool-Aid" does not derive from the Jonestown incident, but from "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe. Get on the bus!
Christina Kahrl: Wow, I did not know that, so now I'm all curious and want to check that out. I've already been meaning to go back and read Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again" (he comes up in David Clay Large's history of the '36 Olympics, because Wolfe was there), and now it looks like I've got to add another book to the 'to get/read/absorb' stack.
Rick (Chicago): A worst in-game manager conversation without Dusty Baker?
Christina Kahrl: There are lots of people who can be brought into the discussion, but Essian was remarkable at the time. As one friend joked, "When Harry says 'the wheels are turning,' you can actually hear the gears and gaskets breaking and see the smoke coming out of Essian's ears."
Neal (Pitt, PA): The LaRoche brothers; which one will prove to be the better? And should the Bucs keep both, neither, or just the good one?
Christina Kahrl: I think Andy, but I don't mean to slight Adam in saying so. I think it's fine to keep both, because it doesn't look like Steven Pearce is necessarily the (alternative) answer at first base. OTOH, once somebody loses on the Teixeira sweepstakes this winter, it will make good sense to shop LaRoche around, because anybody who might want Nick Johnson might instead prefer to have someone more likely to play 150 games.
shamah (NYC): Read "The Web and the Rock" before "You Can't Go Home Again." Wolfe is so underrated!
PS--Who will be and who should be the Yankees CF next season?
Christina Kahrl: I remember reading "The Right Stuff" 25 years ago and being impressed, but "A Man in Full" and "Bonfire of the Vanities" didn't do much for me, and I skipped the latest one about coeds or whatever. As for the Yankees, somebody who isn't on the team now.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Christina, the Nats have 4 good young position players (Dukes, Milledge, Zimmerman and Flores) and some pitching prospects. What moves do they make next to get themselves closer to respectability?
Christina Kahrl: Health is going to make a big difference, to be sure, and I'll look forward to seeing what Will's take is on how much of the problem is systemic (if at all), a matter of training staff getting swamped, and how much it's management's fault for committing to both Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson. In terms of moves, I think the sad fact of the matter is that they're just going to have to be patient. Can Austin Kearns recapture any of his value? Either of the first basemen? Sorting that out is going to tell them how much bargaining power they have, and they won't have that over the winter. OTOH, does Ronnie Belliard's inexpensive contract make him a commodity? There's a lot to sort out, so I wouldn't bet on any instant solutions. After the teardown by Omar and the Lorians, there was a lot of work to be done; consider it a cautionary tale of the fate that probably awaits the Astros.
Bill (New Mexico): "using a mop-up man to take the hit is probably as smart now (in the era of the seven-man pen) as it was 30 or 50 or 80 years ago." Maybe, but is the NEED for a mop-up man the same as it used to be? Are blowouts any more or less common than back then? Surely the answer to that affects what's "smart" about bullpen composition and usage.
Christina Kahrl: Here, you're getting caught up in a chicken-egg issue, blowouts = mop-up men, when I think there's simply value to having a guy who can soak up innings to really let you use your situational starlets in the situations you really need to worry about micro-tactical in-game management. That's not as often as the La Russians would have you believe.
mike (oakland): am i too optimistic, if A's add 2 legit FA/trade bats they can contend again? they have a ton of budding young talent, just need more veteran influence to take off pressure. who would you go for?
Christina Kahrl: You're too optimistic, Mike. The Angels are being built to last (Little Sarge-sized mistakes aside), the Rangers are getting pretty interesting, and the A's need more than that to really mount a season-long bid.
dpv (tn): Dear Christina:
I am big fan of BP and think that they've changed the way the game is viewed and how players are valued. Having said that, are you concerned that sometimes the articles on the site (owing to this being a daily) are just analyzing noise?
Christina Kahrl: There's a danger of that, certainly, and I think I'm especially sensitive to it, to the point that I'm usually carping to various writers about the right and wrong way to use data to inform or illustrate. Now, nobody likes to be mistaken for a garbage fish, but it's part of the challenge, both in doing daily content, and in making that content substantive. I think my teammates do really well at not "just analyzing noise," but that's the benefit of working with a great team.
john (cleveland): where does street get traded this offseason? cleveland? mets? brewers?
Christina Kahrl: Oooh, I rather like the idea of getting something tasty from the Brewers, and it would certainly fill the bill for Milwaukee.
erghammer (DC): Do you think we will ever see real two-way players in baseball? Especially in the NL, I see real value in having a guy on the bench you can pitch mop up innings and pinch hit reasonably well. Whatever happened to Brooks Kieschnick? As a side note, as someone who has lived in England for a while, I am struck by the similarities between baseball and cricket. Cricket has "all-rounders", guys who can both bowl (ie pitch) and bat OK. Why don't we?
Christina Kahrl: Well, Kieschnick wasn't a really good pitcher, so he was an odd sort of utility player, very useful, but also very rare. Generally speaking, I guess I share the skepticism of the scouting community at large when it comes to how often this can be done, because I think the learning curves involved (mastering pitching to advanced competition, *and* mastering hitting advanced pitching) is really very hard. I think we have players who are close to it in Micah Owings or Carlos Zambrano, except that in either instance, the question is what they'd do beyond pitching and pinch-hitting; in Owings' case, I think there's some college-level experience playing in the field, but where on the diamond would you put the Big Z? And what would you do when you wound up getting killed because he got hurt in a rundown or running into an outfield wall? Most teams don't want to deal with that kind of media firestorm, even if they were afforded the rare opportunity.
Dees (Jersey): I know you didn't just confuse Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) with Thomas Wolfe (You Can't Go Home Again).
Christina Kahrl: Actually, I did, but American fiction's one of my weaker points, hence my interest.
Andy (Texas): Astros' fate = Nationals' fate
The Astros sill have two commodities the Nationals couldn't hope to match. What keeps Drayton from continuing to overspend around Oswalt and Berkman or Wade from trading them to avoid becoming the Nationals?
Christina Kahrl: The fact that they'll have to spend on baseball's middle class to notionally provide the stars with an adequate enough supporting cast; spending top dollar on the Matsuis or the Woody Williams types adds up fast, and they're not going to give you all that many guarantees in terms of good work.
Bill (Chicago): Is this the offseason in which the Twins realize they have a promising core and act to keep & add to it, rather than letting pieces slip away and signing inept, decades-older replacement pieces? What would be the one best move for them to make this winter?
Also, Wikipedia argues pretty convincingly that it IS the Jonestown incident, and not the Wolfe book, from whence the saying comes.
Christina Kahrl: If they do, it'll be a credit to Bill Smith that he does so, because the Twins do have a good group of premium talent that they're going to be able to control for several seasons into the future, and ideally they do a better job of leveraging that opportunity into some more meaningful October glory than they managed in the Terry Ryan years (and losing out on winning with Johan Santana and Brad Radke). The one best move? Adding a top-shelf hitter at a position where they have need, either at an outfield corner or perhaps third base.
krgrecw (cola sc): what player do you think will turn into the carlos quinten of 2009? a player stuck between AAA and the majors and never gets a chance to prove himself but when he finally does he goes off
Christina Kahrl: I think it's a bit of a misconception that Quentin was never given an opportunity in Phoenix--he did, and he blew it. The Snakes then made the overlapping decisions to bring up Justin Upton and (unfortunately) to commit to Eric Byrnes on a multi-year deal. The former made sense, and the latter was something a few of us here panned pretty vociferously at the time. The upshot was that Quentin became available, and while dealing from a surplus is fine in principle, the Snakes didn't have a surplus, they had an affectation for Eric Byrnes. That's a gift that's going to keep on giving.
As a result, I don't have an answer per se, in that Quentin's situation was unfortunate, but then his explosion, to this extent, was also very much unanticipated, both inside and outside the game. A year ago, some people might have said Steven Pearce was that guy; it's fun to say that Dallas McPherson could be, but he's not that good either. If you're looking for guys who had bumpy rookie years who should blossom as sophomores, I'd suggest Carlos Gonzalez in Oakland, or Jeff Clement in Seattle.
mattidell (SF, CA): Am I the only one glad to see Dan Johnson getting some action?
Christina Kahrl: Not at all. Baseball needs more redheads, although technically I guess he's more reddish-blonde. Seriously, though, his bat can play in the right place in the right role, and like guys like Hinske or even Russell Branyan, it's about finding the right spot.
mhixpgh (Pittsburgh, PA): Do you ever watch the NFL, the NBA, or the NHL? Me neither.
Christina Kahrl: The Raiders ran me off of watching the NFL, the officiating got me to stop following the Sacramento Kings, and isn't the NHL opening for Tiffany at a mall or something? Baseball remains the only dependable choice.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): What do you think of DeJesus going to the Yankees? He's probably relatively cheap, they can play Nady in RF, Damon in LF, Matsui at DH, and let Austin Jackson spend more time in the minors. Seems like a great stopgap solution to me.
Christina Kahrl: Just judging from the number of calls to draft/steal/acquire David DeJesus, there seems to be a lot of sentiment in favor of getting him in this chat room, but I guess like you I wonder if this doesn't just reproduce the problem with getting Damon in the first place--if the guy can't really help you as a center fielder, he's going to have to do some extraordinary hitting to help you otherwise. The talk of moving Damon to first is interesting, however... with DeJesus, sure, it would be a patch, but I think Jackson's the eventual answer, and if they stick with Melky and Brett Turner in the meantime, that beats doing something like repeating the exercise of giving Terrence Long a last stop.
Christina Kahrl: With that, I'm going to have to bring things to an early conclusion. Thanks again for all of the questions, and thanks also for the time spent together, it's been fun. Here's hoping the stretch drives give us some extra excitement, and for everyone down by the Gulf, here's my hope that you all stay dry and safe.