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Chat: Eric Seidman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday September 02, 2009 1:00 PM ET chat session with Eric Seidman.

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When Eric Seidman isn't Checking the Numbers, he's ready and willing to take your questions about the races in the standings or on the leaderboards.

Eric Seidman: Hey everybody. My white pizza with chicken and broccoli just got here which means one thing - it's chatting time.

Tim (Queens): Tim Hudson- Should we prepare for a big comeback in 2010?

Eric Seidman: Relative to current Braves pitchers, I'd expect he'll be worse than Vazquez has been but better than Lowe. Not a #1 per se but a front four of Vazquez, Hudson, Lowe, Hanson sure is intimidating.

Terry (Bloomington): Matt Kemp: MVP candidate if Albert Pujols were not in the league?

Eric Seidman: I know you're really just trying to ask if I think whether or not a) Matt Kemp has gone unnoticed or b) if anyone on the Dodgers deserves the MVP, but I am not a fan of such hypotheticals. I mean, this isn't exactly akin to "Albert Pujols: MVP candidate if Barry Bonds were not in the league?" circa 2001-04. Say Pujols isn't in baseball. The Cardinals aren't going to be nearly as effective, making them one of those easy-to-beat-up-on teams, which could mean the Brewers and Cubs vault to the top of the standings, and then Braun/Fielder/Lee might be in line for MVP consideration.

max (DC): Why didnt the Brews send Hoffman to a contender for a prospect or two? Coffee looks ready to me and at Hoffman's age and cost he doesnt seem to make sense for BrewCrew

Eric Seidman: He's not making that much money and with one month remaining the cost isn't really prohibitive. Plus, he's having a very good season. The Brewers likely just figured they can get more in compensation than what was offered elsewhere.

blahblah (kc): How many wins do you think Zack Grienke needs to win the Cy Young vote (not that it should matter much, but it does)? 16? 18? He's at 13 with 6 starts remaining.

Eric Seidman: (Insert generic comment about wins). In all honesty, I think it's more important Greinke continues to pitch well. If he has 6 more starts of 6+ IP, 2 or fewer runs, and only wins one of them, it won't matter. Greinke is the best pitcher in the AL this season. Then again, does Cliff Lee, who seemed far ahead of everyone else last year, win the award if he wins 17 and not 22 with the same ERA? Maybe not.

Jay (Madison): Felix Pie has been on fire lately. He was once highly regarded. Has he figured it out and ready to be a significant asset?

Eric Seidman: .270/.332/.466 is a nice line. Not OMG he's awesome, but definitely useable. He's only 24 and his plate discipline data is trending nicely, so he could be real, but if the Orioles are planning on platooning him, perhaps they can extract a great return in a deal for him.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Mariano Rivera is easily one of the best _(#?)_ players in history at any position. When all is said and done he'll probably be considered one of the _(#?)_ best and may be the _(#?)_ best ever (motivated to ask by all the hagiographies going around this past season). Thanks!

Eric Seidman: He is the best closer in history, best reliever, too, but let's not confuse 45-50 IP/yr with 700 PAs and defense to boot, regardless of the importance of the 9th inning.

Roy Halladay (Skydome): What was that about Cliff Lee last year, Eric?

Eric Seidman: Wow, Roy, you're a fan!? That's awesome. Guys, Roy Halladay is here in this chat!? We should all ask HIM questions, not me.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Assuming the voters give the MVP to Mauer, doesn't the runner-up have to be Jeter? All the Teixiera talk is silly with the second-best candidate on the same team.

Eric Seidman: Who cares? As long as Mauer wins, especially given how nobody should even be close, who cares if Jeter or Tex finishes 2nd? If Pujols wins the award do you think people will lose sleep if Utley finishes behind Howard?

paulbellows (Calgary): Who do you like for the last month? Flowers, Soto, or Barajas?

Eric Seidman: Soto apparently isn't going to play much. I'll go out on a limb and say Barajas.

MikeM. (Cleveland, OH): Because the statistics are not easily available, is analyzing amateur talent from high school and junior college more of an art or a science? Are there efforts being made to quantify amateur talent in general better?

Eric Seidman: Just like when dealing with certain splits at the major league level, I would much rather listen to qualitative and scouting information. Not sure if more quantification efforts are being made but it's so variable that it would likely be futile.

BigMetsFan (New York): Is Jeff Francoeur really going to be the full time right fielder for the Mets next year? Can't Omar trade him to the Royals for something?

Eric Seidman: As a fan of the Mets arch-rivals, I will issue the following answers to your two questions: I hope so and I hope not.

jbuofm (Peoria): What are your thoughts on a potential Cardinals-Phillies series? Seems like each lineup is built to handle the best pitchers the other team has to offer because the Phillies lean left and the Cardinals lean right

Eric Seidman: Sorry everyone! Had a problem with my Interweb for some reason, back now. I think this would be a fantastic series. Lee-Carpenter and Hamels-Wainwright, with a hint of Blanton-Pineiro thrown in. They played each other right when Holliday joined the Cards, and yeah, each team has strengths and weaknesses seemingly neutralized or brought out by the other.

Terry (Bloomington): No, I was giving you the cue to talk about how good Matt Kemp is. You talked about the NL Central.

Eric Seidman: Well, Kemp is having a great year. In fact, I'm working on an Unfiltered post for later this week in which I update the triple crown article I wrote, using a simulation as opposed to the straight probabilities for anyone within any semblance of a reach in a category and, while doing so, I was shocked at how good of a year Kemp is having. At such a young age too, he's certainly a guy to covet.

Wendy (Madrid): "white pizza with chicken and broccoli" what's with the sissy pizza?

Eric Seidman: Try it. You'll thank me.

Bill (New Mexico): Haven't seen much discussion of Manager of the Year "races" yet, so who are your choices? La Russa looks like a no-brainer to me in the NL -- even the most fanatical Cardinals fan couldn't see this year coming -- but the AL looks wide open. Or am I missing something?

Eric Seidman: Manager and Coaching awards always confuzzle me. Perhaps it's different in MLB than NBA, but I always find it weird when the Coach of the Year is on the same team as the MVP. Like how did Mike Brown win the coach of the year? Because he didn't bench MVP Lebron? Tony LaRussa, to me, is the best manager in baseball, and just like I think Gregg Popovich should have an annual coaching award, I feel the same way about LaRussa.

WilliamWilde (Watertown, MA): Please give us your honest reaction to the Dayton Moore extension. WTF?

Eric Seidman: It makes very little sense to me. He has done a decent job with the draft but not an overwhelmingly awesome job, and his major league transactions have been atrocious at worst and horrendous at best. Unless the extension came on the heels of a meeting or series of meetings in which he outlined the "process" and assured the owners that he will actually practice what he preaches in valuing defense and not making outs, it is an unwise decision.

Frug (UIUC): Did you just forgot about Jair Jurrjens when you talked about the Braves rotation for 2010 or you anticipating a trade? Related, do you think the Braves will pick up Hudson's option? They already have to deal with fact that their two closers, set up man and first baseman are all eligible for free agency.

Eric Seidman: I love Jurrjens, but in that rotation, he's the #5 even though he'd be a #3 in most other rotations. I just don't see him repeating the performance this season, and I own him in a strat league.

biglou115 (AR): .302 .325 .492 .817 since the trade deadline and nobody is willing to give Frenchy props? Or is this more an argument that his range has decreased so much that he's a left fielder?

Eric Seidman: Just because a player who performed poorly suddenly has a good stretch doesn't mean he has turned a corner, just like a player performing at a high level isn't worse just because he has a poor stretch. Francouer is what he is - I can't see him really improving at this point. He needed more time in the minors.

Rob (Alaska): Are you as shocked as I am that Mark Reynolds is a 40 homer guy? What do you see for the next few years?

Eric Seidman: Yeah. I figured he would be a high strikeout guy who would hit 28-34 per season in his prime. I don't know if he'll be a consistent 40-HR threat like Adam Dunn (who literally hits 40 per year.. c'mon Adam, only hit 5 more this yr!) or Ryan Howard, but I think the Dbacks would be perfectly fine with 33-36.

Bill (New Mexico): OK, if Manager of the Year awards "confuzzle" you, how about front-office awards? I'd argue for a St. Louis guy there too in the NL; Mozeliak's lever-pulling in July transformed a marginal post-season team into a real force. But Philadelphia has to be in the discussion, and in the AL, I have no idea at all who might win a "GM of the Year." Do you?

Eric Seidman: I think the one thing we would have to first clarify is what you consider to be good, well, general managing. For instance, do you consider Cashman to be a good GM, having brought in Swisher, Teixeria, Burnett, Sabathia, Hairston, etc, or do you think it's just a product of the money they have, not indicative of his value. Jack Zduriencik has done a great job of setting the Ms up for the future.

ct tiger (ct): can we get your MVP and CY Young predictions AND who is most deserving

Eric Seidman: Mauer, Pujols, Greinke, Lincecum.... AND... Mauer, Pujols, Greinke, Lincecum. However, as my brother and I were discussing yesterday, I can see Wainwright winning the award if he wins 20-21 games this year and Lincecum fails to get any more run support.

ct tiger (CT): agree that Grienke has been the best pitcher in the AL, but doubt he wins it due to lack of wins...would it be such a crime for verlander to take it down?

Eric Seidman: Verlander has had a great season and will probably win another weird award - Comeback Player of the Year - but Zack Greinke is the best pitcher in the AL this season. If he doesn't win, the only reasoning will be due to Wins, meaning yes it is a crime for anyone else to win.

Frank (Vegas): Andy LaRoche - still too early to tell, or another "free Eurubiel Durazo" - type bust?

Eric Seidman: Too early to tell but I'm leaning to your second clause more and more each day.

DS (California): Hi Eric, thanks for the chat. I play in a fantasy league where the only pitching categories that matter are innings pitched and runs allowed. I can keep either Chris Volstad or Johnny Cueto for the next four years. Both have been inconsistent, Cueto seems to have the better arm but he pitches in a bandbox for Dusty Baker. Which one is the better bet?

Eric Seidman: Volstad is a groundball guy with meh defenders behind him. Cueto is a young flamethrower with the worst manager for handling young flamethrowers. I'd think Volstad will be able to stay off the DL more and therefore log more frames.

dianagramr (NYC): Even if every last injured Met came back 100% healthy come Spring Training, they'd win no more than 85 games . . . right?

Eric Seidman: Oh I don't know about that. I mean entering this year I had them ahead of the Phillies and if their stars didn't get hurt I'd have to imagine we would be right where we were in 2007 and 2008 with both of these teams. Losing Alex Cora and Tim Redding isn't a big deal. Losing Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, Johan, and Wright for extended periods is a massive deal. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose Utley, Howard, Rollins, Victorino and Hamels for half of a season.

Justin (Normal, IL): Speaking of Soto, is this year just a "sophomore slump" or is really just a kind of fat, one year wonder?

Eric Seidman: It's really perplexing. When Koyie Hill is a better alternative than anyone you know you have a problem. A lot of people immediately point to his .245 BABIP, but I'm not willing to simply assume that regresses to .330 anything like that. He might be hitting the ball with less force given that his plate discipline data actually portends positive results with a lower swing rate and higher contact rate. That tells me the contact just isn't solid at all.

Rob (Alaska): As a Phillies fan, what do you think of the Pirates re-building (building?) efforts?

Eric Seidman: I think Neal has done a great job. Like he said, they weren't breaking up the '27 Yankees, and moving the higher salaried guys while not necessarily suffering a drastic decline in team performance is a good sign. Moving Sanchez and Wilson isn't exactly akin to moving Rollins and Utley to rebuild, and they got decent returns on those players.

ubrnoodle (nyc): A big fan of the chats. Would it be possible for the Braves to get rid of Lowe? They are on the hook for 3years and 45M, can they get rid of him in a Rios type dump? Jair is certainly better than Lowe, even with regression, and Kawakami can be a decent fifth. Seems like the braves could really use that $15M elsewhere, considering Chipper appears to be done. Btw, who is the arch rival of the Mets, the Braves, Phils - Madoff?

Eric Seidman: I've actually thought of this quite a bit and am glad you brought it up. Jurrjens, Hanson and Vazquez realistically aren't going anywhere - unless the Braves decide to sell high on Vazquez and his owed $11 mil in the hopes that Lowe's inevitable regression next year can cover some of the loss. Going with Lowe, Jurrjens, Hanson, Hudson, Kawakami is still a solid rotation, as would Vazquez, Jurrjens, Hanson, Hudson, Kawakami. I'm just not sure there would be any serious takers to pay Lowe $15 mil/year. If the Braves take some of the salary, I can see it happening. Archrival = Phillies.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): K, let's try the inverse. Probably _(#?)_ starters in MLB history could have replicated the career success that Mariano Rivera has in his role. Pedro, Clemens, Randy Johnson, et al are all good examples (?).

Eric Seidman: Again, this is an apples to oranges comparison wrapped inside a hypothetical impossible to answer. If you really want an inverse, how about this - if Rivera was a starter, whose career would his replicate? It's much harder to do what Pedro, Clemens and Johnson have done than it is to log 50 high pressure innings a season. Rivera is the best closer and reliever of all time, but he is not better than the most valuable starters.

akachazz (DC): Please explain why the LA Angels are one of the most successful teams in baseball. They sure don't seem to give a damn about sabermetrics...

Eric Seidman: You don't have to give a damn about sabermetrics to be successful. The Angels clearly have a solid scouting department, and just because the numbers lie about fewer performance aspects, scouting is still a very real and important part of the evaluation game. They have also rectified mistakes, IE, signing Torii Hunter a year after signing Gary Matthews Jr. I find them fascinating - not one player really stands out (aside from Morales this year) but they consistently top the division.

ct lion (ct): playoff prections and sleeper team that could steal the whole thing that nobody is thinking about

Eric Seidman: NL: Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, Rockies
AL: Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Red Sox

I'll say Phillies get HFA (look at their remaining schedule), and play the Rockies, Cards play Dodgers. Phillies beat Rockies, Cards beat Dodgers. Cards beat Phillies in 6.

Yankees over Tigers, Angels over Red Sox, Yankees over Angels.

Yankees over Cardinals.

jromero (seattle): Thoughts on Homer Bailey? Seems to be finding something of late.

Eric Seidman: The generic response with Bailey has always been that he needed a change of scenery. I always felt he needed a longer leash in the big leagues. You cannot bring someone up for 3 starts and then get rid of him if he struggles. Anything can happen in brief spurts. It might not be that hes finding something of late as much as that he actually has some job security.

Eli (Brooklyn): how afraid should I be of AJ Burnett pitching twice a series?

Eric Seidman: I really, honestly, truly think the Yankees are just going to roll through the playoffs, so this might not even happen.

Quentin (LA): So if you love Jurrjens, does that mean you're really high on Hudson? Is Hudson worth keeping in a strat league, or should the spot be used on better choices?

Eric Seidman: It actually means that as I was answering that question my Internet started to go out and I just wasn't concentrating :-). I'm medium-high on Hudson. I can see him being a 165 IP-3.60 ERA guy next year, a perfect #2.

glenihan (nyc): Has there been work done that demonstrates that X% strike out rate is just too high to succeed in the majors? Plenty of players succeed greatly while striking out a fair amount, but I imagine there must be a line

Eric Seidman: Off the top of my head I cannot think of any, but as I learned when I initially got into this line of work, literally EVERY idea anyone ever thinks of has been done in some form before. With your query, the K% would have to get in the way of doing other things productively. For instance, Howard, Dunn and Reynolds all whiff a ton but in their non-whiff PAs, they walk a good deal and absolutely rake, so we would want to break the larger group up into smaller portions based on, perhaps Contact, Average, Power, and find the breakeven point for each group. Power guys may be able to still succeed with a 28% K-rate while contact guys may need to be no higher than 12% to remain successful.

rdierkers ('nati): Better 2010 Fantasy season: Snider or Laporta?

Eric Seidman: Snider. Laporta might not have a ton of weapons around him.

ct tiger (ct): better pitcher now and better pitcher in 3 years...joba or porcello

Eric Seidman: Joba, Joba. Porcello has a nice ERA but he walks too many, strikes out too few, and as a groundballer needs to have solid defense. Joba is more overpowering with great stuff. Porcello will have a decent major league career whereas Joba will be an eventual Cy Young contender.

Dave D (Brooklyn): Five keepers from: Wieters, Morales, Cano, Bartlett, Drew, Lind, Fowler, Pence, Feliz. Salary capped at $80m.

Eric Seidman: Do those guys added together even equal $80 mil? And is that Neftali Feliz or Pedro Feliz? Without further clarification, Wieters, Morales, Cano. Clarify the rest and I can give the other 2.

ramjam36 (Fort Worth, TX): Neftali Feliz...starter or closer?

Eric Seidman: Starter. I like how the Rangers are bringing these guys in as relievers, getting them acclimated to the major leagues before thrusting them into the rotation. Starters generally lose about 1.3-1.5 runs as compared to when they were relievers, so if we think Neftali is a true talent 1.40 ERA reliever, we're talking about the potential for a 2.75-3.25 ERA starter. Over 150+ IP/season I'll gladly take that in my rotation.

Jake H (Kansas City): Do you think Dayton Moore should trade Soria for a big time bat? Also what do you think KC could get for him?

Eric Seidman: I love Soria as much as the next guy but what kind of big time bat are you talking about? Given the fickle nature of closers and how very few actually remain dominant for a long period of time, as well as the fact that a big bat will get 600-700 PAs a year, I don't see this working out. Maybe they can trade Soria for a few good, not great, pieces capable of immediately filling holes, but we're not going to see a Soria for Ryan Howard or Soria for Adam Dunn or Soria for Teixeira deal. The big-time bats likely cannot be afforded by the Royals anyway.

Dave D (Brooklyn): Sorry, Neftali. 80m just relevant in the sense that cheap has value as well.

Eric Seidman: Okay, so Wieters, Morales, Cano, Feliz, Fowler.

Brandon (SF): Buster Posey was just called up. What, if any impact, does he play on the Wild Card race? Is it too much to expect him to be an improvement over a banged up Molina?

Eric Seidman: I can certainly seeing him have an impact if he posts an EqA above, say, .270. The Giants are just an awful offensive team to the point that 2009 Geovany Soto might actually improve them, let alone a top-tier prospect everyone raves about.

rowenbell (somewhere near Tulsa): Yes, I would lose sleep if Utley finishes behind Howard in the BBWAA vote. Downballot outcomes like that impugn the entire MVP voting process. On a more constructive note -- how can our community persuade the mainstream press to give better coverage to the IBA voting?

Eric Seidman: You're talking about convincing a long-standing organization that takes pride in deciding very important outcomes to suddenly give more credence to the opinions of people who "don't go to enough games" and "live in their mom's basement?" What we can hope for, honestly, is that some of the more high-powered and viewed shows/radio stations bring us onboard. If MLB Network had me on as a regular guest, for instance, and more people could learn about sabermetrics and the value of digging deeper, I think we might cause our audience to grow and gain even more credibility.

ct tiger (ct): porcello walks too many? and joba doesn't? you can really make a straight faced arguement that joba is a better pitcher right now? just looked at the numbers, and the 20 year old kid looks better

Eric Seidman: Rick Porcello is currently striking out 4.97 batter per nine innings, a rate that Paul Byrd would even laugh at. Walking 2.94 per nine is nice, but not by comparison to the strikeout rates. He has a 56% GB rate meaning he is very dependent on the team's defense. Joba is not in the same boat, and I feel that it is more likely Joba decreases his walks than Porcello increases the whiffs.

Tex Premium Lager (NJ): Eric, what team do you root for and who was your favorite player as a kid?

Eric Seidman: Phillies. Greg Maddux is and always will be my favorite baseball player.

TGisriel (Baltimore): In light of Pie's suprisingly strong closing kick, and Reimold's steady performance, if you're the O's, do you keep them both and work them both with platooning, giving Reimold some DH at bats,and using Pie to spell Jones in center,or do you use one as a trading chip?

Eric Seidman: I sort of answered this already but it seems to be a very popular topic. Pie is hitting .270/.332/.466, which is nice but not OMG break out the checkbook nice. If, however, they can convince some team that he has turned a corner and this is the start of something real, they could potentially extract a decent return. Keeping both Reimold and Pie shouldn't hurt, but neither have the "feel" of long-term solutions or guys to be counted on as big contributors when the Orioles get back into contention.

Ryan (NY): I'm watching the White Sox now and they are just.. well what happened to them? Did they just get old?

Eric Seidman: They got tired of Hawk Harrelson saying "put it on the booooooooard..... yes! yes!" Thanks to Hawk, whenever I see a grounder hit to any shortstop in any game, inside my head I hear "Alexeiiiiii!"

Yes, they are old, and they are an odd mix of aging/declining players and young/not peaking players.

Jake H (Kansas City): I was thinking of a prospect with a big bat who is close to the majors.

Eric Seidman: I think the problem you would run into with such a proposal is how teams are seemingly starting to realize that, while perhaps not ANYONE could be a closer, turning a setup guy into one or a 7th inning guy into one might be more wise than shelling out $10-12 mil for someone with a 4-yr track record of success. I'm thinking specifically about the Braves in this case... like I wouldn't trade Heyward for Soria even if Rafael Soriano/Mike Gonzalez aren't traditional closers. I still think Soria could be traded for 2-3 good, not great pieces better than the likes of guys like Mark Teahen, but not one big guy that will just transform the franchise.

bradmotl (chicago): What do you like better, writing about baseball or running your strat team? Do you hope both lead to a job in the industry?

Eric Seidman: My favorite part about anything involving what I do, either strat, writing, consulting, etc, is learning new things. Two years ago, I had no idea what MySQL was... now, while I might not be advanced enough to be an administrator for a company, I feel confident I could teach a class on the ins and outs. I'm getting involved with learning simulations right now, as well as Visual Basic and C#. Being versatile is what intrigues me the most as it affords opportunities to improve my knowledge and therefore the knowledge of readers through various new and exciting avenues.

Tex Premium Lager (NJ): How about some 2010 FA questions? Will the Twins pursue Figgins or Beltre for 3B in the offseason? Who's a better bet on a 2 year deal between Bedard and Harden?

Eric Seidman: Figgins and Harden.

ct lion (ct): so in a perfect world, who does porcello become? brandon webb? kevin brown? and in my biggest nightmare he becomes chien ming wang?

Eric Seidman: A couple of chats ago, I was asked who I thought was better for the future between Kershaw and Porcello. I went with Kershaw as I see him becoming a legit #1 pitcher in the future. With Porcello, I simply don't see that. Now, there's nothing WRONG with being a #2 or #3 starter. People pay lots of money for those guys. But Brandon Webb and Kevin Brown each struck out a ton of guys in their first few years. Porcello is still young and if I'm wrong on this I'll buy you a Porcello jersey (save this web URL and hold me to that), but I cannot see him becoming a a 7-8 K/9 guy.

akachazz (DC): Make me feel better about how unstoppable the Yankees look. Why won't they win the WS this year?

Eric Seidman: Read several questions up when I said I picked the Yanks over Cards in the World Series and how the guy worrying about AJ Burnett in 2 starts/series might not have to worry about it because I think they'll steamroll through.

bchak (NM): There is precedent for the closer for big bat trade, i.e. Huston Street for Holliday

Eric Seidman: Except Street is not Soria and it wasn't a straight 1-1 deal, at all, so it's not a real precedent at all.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): If a BP writer offered to write free articles for say, the NY Daily New and/or Post for a year, would they publish them? Would it work out for both sides?

Eric Seidman: I don't see why not. I also don't see that happening. As much as this is going to sound like a call for a cult, what we really need to do to get changes made is get the youngins like myself onboard. A lot of people simply don't read newspapers for analysis anymore and so the real targets should be the avenues young people use, like MLB Network, Baseball Tonight, ESPN.com.

jbuofm (peoria): Regarding the Joba v. Porcello question: You don't buy into the idea that the Tigers are forcing Porcello to pitch to contact (to limit his innings) and that when he matures he will start striking out more batters?

Eric Seidman: No I don't buy into that. If it's true, I'm extremely impressed that the Tigers were able to implement it and that Porcello was able to magically not miss bats at all. In all honesty, I can see Porcello becoming a better version of Aaron Cook, who has made a fine career for himself.

don (lansing): "I feel that it is more likely Joba decreases his walks than Porcello increases the whiffs." Why? Look at Halladay's first few seasons. Plus: HE'S 20 YEARS OLD! When Joba was 20 he was still in nebraska.

Eric Seidman: Halladay learned a cutter and it changed everything. If Porcello can learn and successfully implement a new pitch, sure, but it wasn't as if Halladay kept the same stuff and magically started missing bats.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): How much of an impact will Thome have with LA? Seems minuscule with him coming off the bench.

Eric Seidman: I just read Joe Sheehan's article today and I agree 100% - it is the equivalent of the Rockies getting Jason Giambi.

RJDaley (Bridgeport): Do you think that the recent Sox slide will hurt Podsednik's MVP chances?

Eric Seidman: I don't think anything can hurt his MVP chances. Maybe it might hurt because he said he "wouldn't mind" coming back to the White Sox next season. Yeah, Scott, barely above replacement level players get to pick and choose their major league stints.

ct tiger (ct): friend and i were debating worst trades of all time, WITH the benefit of hindsight. i said the tex for salty, feliz, andrus and holland will replace kazmir for the other zambrano or the aj pierz for nathan, liriano, bonser or the doyle for hall of famer john smoltz trades. especially since the braves turned tex into one of the laroche boys. agree, disagree? another trade i'm missing?

Eric Seidman: Disagree. At the time, the Braves were in contention and were getting 1.5 years of Tex as well as a solid at the time lefty reliever in Mahay, guys that were going to benefit them then and not in the future. The trade certainly seems to be helping the Rangers more than not but that was because they were in the position of needing a solid starting SS and really solid starting pitchers.

bchak (NM): Eric, you're a bit ornery today (especially considering the pizza). I'm just saying that it's almost as ridiculous to rule out any potential trade out of hand as it is to propose ridiculous trades (like Soria for Howard, for example). Could Soria be packaged with someone like Gordon for a "big bat"? Of course it's possible, but unlikely given KC's history and finances.

Eric Seidman: Not trying to be ornery, apologies if the tone came off that way. It just seemed you were suggesting that because Huston Street was part of a multi-player deal for Holliday that Soria could be traded for a big bat, in sort of a 1-1 fashion as the original question asked.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Earlier you said you chose Snyder or LaPorta because you weren't sure Matt would have anything around him. The Indians offense has been pretty darn good this year without a breakout performance from anyone. Sizemore, Choo, Cabrera, Laporta, Valbuena/Brown, and a late arrival of Santana isn't a bad offense is it?

Eric Seidman: I guess I'm just not convinced about either LaPorta himself or how Santana will adjust, how Valbuena/Brown will perform, how Sizemore's surgery will affect him, or how Cabrera will perform moving forward.

don (lansing): A part of me died when you compared rick porcello to aaron cook. thanks for that. and all those comparisons are apples to oranges: none of the guys you mentioned were full time MLB starters when they were 20. And kevin brown's first 3 full season he struck out less than 4.5 guys per 9. have you ever even seen porcello pitch?

Eric Seidman: Yes, several times, because I was thinking of trading for him in the strat league I play in. Look, I could certainly be wrong on this one, but based on what I've seen and read, I haven't been wow'ed as much as someone like Kershaw has wow'ed me. Porcello may become the next Webb or Kevin Brown, but I think he has some definite adjustments to make. You really shouldn't be taking it this personal. It's not an attack on Porcello. I was asked my opinion and I supplied it. For the sake of the Tigers, I hope he turns out to be a perennial all-star, but if he keeps his current approach and skillset I don't see it happening. However baseball is a game of adjustments and he very well may make several adjustments that push him into that more elite status.

Christopher (Nashville): I have trouble when people talk about #3 or #4 starters. What exactly does that mean, practically speaking? Not the rotation spot, exactly, but the abstract label as applied to an average guy with ups and downs like everybody else? Is there really that much difference between slots 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, and so on?

Eric Seidman: When I use the terms it's more to describe a guy who isn't going to be a perennial Cy Young Award contender or all star, but who does more than provide below average production in a lot of innings (see: Suppan, Garland). So someone like Jair Jurrjens I would say I can see him being a #3, or middle of the rotation starter. I'm not saying his numbers fit predetermined criteria for being slotted in a certain spot, but rather that he'll be middle of the pack, not an ace, not filler.

mattymatty (Philly): Just how good is Jon Lester?

Eric Seidman: As odd as this may sound, Lester has done so well that he is no longer thought of as a cancer-survivor pitching in the big leagues. As I wrote in our Player Profile of him last year, reputations are hard to shake in the big league level, and Lester has performed so well that he has transformed his rep from "he survived a debilitating illness to become an MLB pitcher" to "he's one of the best lefties in the game."

ssjames (Orange, CA ): How many players would take over the next 10 years ahead of Matt Kemp? Would there be any other outfielders on that list?

Eric Seidman: Justin Upton would be an outfielder ahead of him on my list for sure.

Eric Seidman: Alright everybody, this was fun, and I look forward to doing it again soon. And for anyone in the Pittsburgh area, be sure to come to the PNC Park Event this weekend so we can meet!


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