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Chat: Joe Sheehan

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 29, 2009 3:00 PM ET chat session with Joe Sheehan.

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Join Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus for a chat you won\'t soon forget. Joe's chat has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

Joe Sheehan: I think this is the last BP chat of '09. That makes me a closer! Whoo-hoo!

ssimon (Pelham, NY): Joe, can I trade Omar Minaya for Jack Zduriencik? I will throw in an order of your choice at Shake Shack.

Joe Sheehan: Mmmm....Shake Shack. Z has had a strong run since taking over the Mariners, and I think in a GM draft you'd snag him a round or so ahead of Minaya. With that said, I still think Minaya has some skills, and I'm curious to see where he goes from here with a team that could win anywhere from 75-93 games next year pending his decisions.

Scartore (The Queen City): Hey, Joe... say some discouraging things about the 2010 Redlegs. It seems every year you pick them to surprise and then they flop like a fish on the docks. Maybe some reverse psychology is in order.

Joe Sheehan: I'm not sure they will get their best players on the field, and there's a pretty large disconnect between where they spend their money and where they get their value. OBP remains a problem in a post-Dunn world and I can't see that changing soon.

workermonkey (hartford.ct): so.... did everyone forget about Vlad? it seems silly to think Nick Johnson looks better in the middle of the Yankees lineup than Vlad does. am i crazy?

Joe Sheehan: Neither player does anything outside the batters' box, although Johnson can play some first base while Guerrero can't really play anywhere but DH. Johnson has a big OBP edge and bats from the left side. I'd value him much more highly; Vlad, largely due to physical limitations, simply isn't a valuable roster piece any longer. The standard for DHs is awfully high.

Carlos (CA): Is there any hope that Angels can find a team willing to take on Matthews' contract? Half of it? Do you think he has any remaining uses as a bench player for his current team or as a starter for any other desperate team?

Joe Sheehan: Well, the White Sox relieved the Dodgers of a chunk of the obligation to Juan Pierre. Unfortunately, whereas Pierre has speed and might hit .290 with a .345 OBP, Matthews doesn't bring even that to the table. The only reason to roster him is his contract, because there are better versions of the player he is--fourth/fifth outfielder--available for free. I doubt he's tradeable, and I think there's a case for just releasing him.

braden23 (madison wi): Thanks for the chat, Joe. How do you see Milwaukee utilizing Carlos Gomez? We seem to have a few psuedo-leadoff guys including Weeks and Escobar, but the lineup looks a little hazy right now.

Joe Sheehan: I want to say bat him eighth and let him develop, but that pushes the catcher to seventh and Escobar to second, which may not work. There's no way you can bat him second, not until and unless he shows some kind of improvement in his OBP. I'd go Weeks/Escobar/Braun/Prince/concessionaire trip.

eolman (Jerusalem): Was it a waste of money for a team with no short-term hope of contention like the Orioles to spend 2/12M on Mike Gonzalez? He'll be gone before the O's are ready to compete.

Joe Sheehan: It's a very inexpensive contract, and the Orioles' bullpen has sucked for a while, so I don't hate the deal. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than signing Garret Atkins, who is 1) not very good and 2) redundant even at his potential skill set and role because of Ty Wigginton. Gonzalez can at least do something.

Bryan (MA): Which teams do feel could regress significantly this season? Are the Phillies a prime candidate?

Joe Sheehan: This could be a bad year in Orange County, where the Angels look to be much worse and the competition much better. The Phillies' floor is around 85 wins in non-degenerate cases; too much talent too close to its prime. I'll be curious to see how they handle the bullpen, however; it was a real problem all season long, and there's no telling if Brad Lidge will improve.

John (NH): J-Bay to the Mets! Four years with an "easy" vesting option for a fifth.

Joe Sheehan: Keep seeing this, keep hating it. Bay will need to be a DH by 2012, maybe sooner. Even before then, his glove will give back some runs, and at that, the shape of his offense is a little disconcerting, with an increased tendency to TTO that often heralds a decline. It's not that I wouldn't sign Bay, but if I'm an NL team with a big left field, I should be looking elsewhere.

jschmeagol (hyattsville, me): So who would be your Yankee Left Fielder in 2010? Gardner? Freeagent such as Johnson, Nady, or Gomes (please god say no!), Damon? DeRosa? holliday? It seems that with all of their moves they have a pretty gaping hole in their lineup.

Joe Sheehan: I like Gardner batting ninth, and then seeing where the season takes you. His SB/SB% and defense in left will carry a .270/.330/.350 line. Reed Johnson would be an excellent fit for the Yankees, assuming they're willing to treat Granderson like the platoon player he is. Of the available second- and third-tier options, he fits the best.

Steve (Brooklyn): Can you explain what's going through the head of anyone who doesn't vote for Blyleven for the HoF? I don't want any mocking of them. I'm really trying to understand. The best I can get is Jon Heyman making vague references to 'impact'.

Joe Sheehan: When he played, he wasn't thought of that way, because when he played, what mattered were wins and pitching for winning teams. He didn't have great run support or play for great teams. The fact that he would RAISE the standard of Hall of Fame pitchers, which is his case in a nutshell, has penetrated that, perhaps enough to get him in.

Tim Raines has the exact same problem: wasn't thought of that way, The flip side are guys like Puckett and Rice, who "looked" like eventual inductees, but in retrospect have body-of-work issues that make their inductions...controversial.

paulbellows (Calgary): When eligible Greg Maddux will receive ___% of the vote for the Hall of Fame.

Joe Sheehan: 99.3%. There's always someone.

Here's my problem: if you're a "no first ballot" guy, you've never gotten to vote for some of the greatest players in history. There's a guy out there who never voted for Rickey, Cal, et al, and to me, that's just sad. It would be an honor to vote for a player like that.

paulbellows (Calgary): What happens first. Mark Reynolds average craters into Kingman territory or he learns to make more contact.

Joe Sheehan: The former. His on-contact performance has nowhere to go but down.

mo (las vegas): july 13, 2010 noon: Bucholz, Ellsbury and Alex wilson (KG#13) for Adrian Gonzalez; I'll take your answer knowing you are a Yankee fan, thanks!

Joe Sheehan: The Padres need to have the value in a deal have less service time than those two players. It's reasonable on talent, but not on financial structure for their team.

Hawkeye (Grafton, ND): Brandon Morrow an SP in Toronto? What kind of season do you expect?

Joe Sheehan: The Jays seem to be able to make almost anyone a league-average starter. Imagine what they can do with talent like this. Morrow is better than anyone they got for Halladay, just a great trade for the Jays.

dawson950 (Boston): If the Mets should sign Bay would the Sox receive the Mets first round pick in the draft?

Joe Sheehan: I so rarely get asked a question of fact... no, because the Mets had one of the 15 worst records in baseball, they cannot forfeit their #1. The Sox will get the Mets' #2 and a supplementary pick.

John (NH): Do you think the Red Sox' lineup as currently constituted is too left-handed? (assuming Lowell gets unloaded one way or another)

Joe Sheehan: Nah. I count four RHBs, a switch-hitter, three lefties, and a Kotchman/Lowell platoon (which may not be real, but work with me. Plus Hermida. Seems balanced to me.

saddlebags (chicago): Cubs got real old, real fast. I say try to compete through the summer, and if you're falling out of the race deal everything. No one is untouchable... even if the Ricketts turn into the junior Steinbrenners, this team is not constructed to win in 2011-13... am I right??

Joe Sheehan: The main problem with that is that if the team is performing so badly as to fall out of the race, there won't be much trade value hanging around. If Z, Lee, Ramirez et al, play well, they'll contend, and if they don't, you won't get much for them. And nothing would make Sori tradeable.

tderrick17 (Wash, DC): GM Draft! Great idea. Who are your top 5, in no order.

Joe Sheehan: Epstein, Cashman, Beane, Zdur...OK, I have to learn to spell it, sorry.... Five is tough. Daniels or Williams, I guess. All six candidates run AL teams, for whatever that's worth. Best NL GM...there's a discussion.

Drew (NY NY): Do you see David Wright bouncing back to pre-'09 form? Could Citi have affected him to the point where he took his troubles on the road (5hr)?

Joe Sheehan: I'm open to the idea that this was an extreme case where the player was so much better than the team around him that it affected his performance. "Protection" is a myth, but there are extreme cases, and the '09 Mets lost all their good hitters save Wright. That may have had an impact on how he was pitched and how he handled the change, and spiraled from there. That's a guess, maybe one you won't like, but I'm open to the idea.

Jon (Bay Area, CA): What do you think of the DeRosa signing? When you factor in the hit they take on defense by sending Pablo to 1st and bumping Ishikawa to the bench, it seems like they don't gain many marginal runs.

Joe Sheehan: I'm stunned, just floored, that Brian Sabean thinks the answer is to sign a league-average player in his mid-thirties. In other news, a newspaper folded.

mwball75 (Cincinnati, OH): I appreciate your sentiment regarding "no first ballot" guys. That they haven't gotten to vote for some of the best ever to play the game. I'm sure we'll see BP's lists of who they'd vote for. But really who do you think will get in this year? I love Larkin, I hope he actually doesn't get in this time, he's our best kept secret and I want people to talk about him for the next 5 years, then he gets in.

Joe Sheehan: I'm working on a HoF piece, hoping to file this evening, and one more piece (look back at '09 predictions) before the year is out. Sorry for the delays, I'm a little under the weather. I think Alomar and Dawson go, with Blyleven above 65% and Larkin around half.

Teaser: I've flipped on Trammell.

Bill (NYC): I have heard that some voters wont vote for anyone who was part of the strike in 1994, and Maddux therefore wont be unanimous. Under this test, I imagine the first true test is Jeter.

Joe Sheehan: Well, Rivera before him, in all likelihood. I never thought Ripken wouldn't be unanimous, so all bets are off as far as I'm concerned.

SC (DC): Over/under on wins to take the AL Central?

Joe Sheehan: 85.5

Chris (Boston): So does Fernando Martinez get traded, or is he a RF?

Joe Sheehan: Trade value is so down I wouldn't consider moving him. Let him get reps in Triple-A, and if he's better than Francoeur by July, get him up. But he needs extended playing time at Triple-A, because he's stalled a bit due to the injuries.

ejohnson (commack): Does the glaus signing change your mind about the Vasquez trade? Still view it as a salary dump? Or a move to gain payroll flexibility?

Joe Sheehan: I may have lost it over the holiday, but isn't Glaus' contract for like $2 million? This couldn't possibly be related to the Vazquez deal. It's still horrible. And Glaus as a 1B isn't a great idea. Yay, .270/.350/.450 with no speed or defense.

Rob (Andover, CT): GM of the Marlins, maybe? It's not his fault ownership is what it is. Given the constraints, can't you make a Beane-like argument for him?

Joe Sheehan: If you could have named him, rather than saying "GM of the Marlins," your argument would have been stronger. (Don't feel bad...I talked about "Larry Beinfest" as recently as last season. Mike Hill didn't seem offended.)

KerryFam4 (Atlanta, GA): Thanks for the chat. Here's the order in which I rank the following young SPs in projected career value - Tommy Hanson, Rick Porcello, Brett Anderson, Neftali Feliz, Chris Tillman, Mat Latos, Madson Bumgarner. I realize that guessing at career value for young SPs is a crapshoot but do you violently disagree with any aspect of this order?

Joe Sheehan: I'd have Feliz higher, and I'm not totally convinced the last two belong in this discussion. Porcello might be best, too.

Matt (Bloomington): Follow up on the AL Central question...do you think the White Sox have what it takes to win those 85.5 games? I tend to believe if they don't bat Juan Pierre leadoff every day they'd be in pretty good shape with the pitching they have.

Joe Sheehan: Who hits leadoff if Pierre doesn't? Beckham isn't really that guy, I'm not sold on Ramirez and there's no one else on radar, that I can see. Pierre might actually be the best leadoff hitter they have. I think they'll struggle to score, but the pitching might get them to 86, anyway. High-variance team.

yanks2009 (DC): Hey Joe, Will Jesus Montero be the DH for the Yanks in 2011? Has there ever been a player to only DH (and never play teh field)? Will he ever play the field and where?

Joe Sheehan: Answering this just because I'm curious and want to put it out there...what player with significant starts (100? 200? higher?) had the highest % of DH starts. Sam Horn? Reggie Jefferson? Bob Hamelin? Travis Hafner?

Montero will be a first baseman down the road, although I truly wish the Yankees would just let him catch and live with -10 defense. He looks different than Posada does, but they suffered through Jorge's career, may as well do it with the high-impact hitter.

Will (MI): Was the move to Seattle a good one for Cliff Lee? He's going back to the AL, but also getting out of a bandbox.

Joe Sheehan: Every pitcher alive should want to pitch for the Mariners. He and Felix could go Koufax/Drysdale on the league next year.

sunpar (New York): Melky and Randall Delgado for Josh Vitters. Who says no? Braves get unload one of their several teenage arms for a more solid position prospect, Cubs get their CF. Braves clear $3M while dealing from their wealth of CFers.

Joe Sheehan: That would be funny, like regifting a coffee table book for a Secret Santa and receiving a Wii in exchange.

I Got Ripped in 4 Weeks (I'm Crazy Ripped): Over/under a .260/.350/.490 triple-slash for David Ortiz in 2010?

Joe Sheehan: Under. Fewer walks and ISO.

Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Pursuant to Carlos's question about Matthews, I would like to know if you think any deal from this year is just that headscratching bad. I mean, few are as terrible as Matthews's deal was, but does anything come close?

Joe Sheehan: Brandon Lyon, just because of the silliness of giving a middle reliever a three-year deal. Fernando Rodney,just because of the silliness of giving a Fernando Rodney a two-year deal. Garret Atkins, because the Orioles already had a fat, slow, pseudo-corner-guy with a huge platoon split who hits into lots of DPs.

Sy (Indianapolis): Not your sport but please opine, did you agree with taking out Peyton and others in the 3rd quarter and throwing in the towel on 16-0?

Joe Sheehan: No. 40-odd teams have won Super Bowls. One has won every game in doing so. Caldwell, essentially a blank slate through 15 weeks, has defined himself, and in unflattering terms. The Colts had better win it all now, because if they don't, they pissed away history for no good reason.

Phil S. (NJ): True or false - Shin Soo-Choo will earn at least one top 10 AL MVP vote in 2010.

Joe Sheehan: Yes.

That kicks off the lightning round.

SC (DC): "With the first pick in the 2011 draft the ________ select..."

Joe Sheehan: Washington Nationals.

Phil S. (NJ): How do you think Jake Peavy will fare in his first full year with the ChiSox?

Joe Sheehan: 205 IP, 4.10 ERA, 195 K, 66 BB, 28 HR.

Klaus (Berlin): You mentioned Blyleven as one of those guys who weren't considered HoF-worthy by the general public while they played but majority sees them that way now. Who do you see among currently active players as as a possible surprise HoF inductee some day (or at least a controversial also-ran)?

Joe Sheehan: Chase Utley.

Chip (Cleveland): Where does seemingly former sabermetric wunderkid Mark Shapiro fit among GMs?

Joe Sheehan: He's above average, but based on the recent track record you have to ding him a bit.

Nahman (New York): David Ortiz has 78.4% of his games at DH (1128/1451). That has to be near the top.

Joe Sheehan: I honestly thought he'd played more first base than that. OK, probably the winner.

xxx (yyy): Rangers in 2010 -- legit playoff contenders, or an also ran watching Seattle and the Angels duke it out?

Joe Sheehan: I had them arriving in '10. Let's see if they can fix the offens, which was, oddly, their biggest problem last year.

BL (Bozeman): Any new books under your tree this year? What's on your post-Holiday reading list?

Joe Sheehan: Ugh...so far behind. Simmons' hoops book, and finally diving into Kay Graham's biography.

Tex Premium Lager (NJ): How about the flip side to Klaus's question - which player that currently looks like a sure-thing HOFer has a high probability of flaming out and is overrated come enshrinement time?

Joe Sheehan: Vladimir Guerrero.

djhb20 (NYC): Except that Hafner has done 712 out of 823, for 86.5%. Someone needs to write a b-ref script...

Joe Sheehan: I get a little credit for naming two strong candidates, no?

ODo26132002 (MPLS): Are the Twins going to do anything about 2B and/or 3B? Seems like there should be an easy way to add a couple wins given what they've got there now.

Joe Sheehan: ...wait for it...

Angel Vill. (A Dark Cell): Where do you see Adrian Beltre landing and will he continue to play in pitchers parks?

Joe Sheehan: I mean...this is pretty obvious, right? Gardy loves defense, the Twins need power, and Beltre will be inexpensive.

Drew (NY NY): Of the Mets Big 4 (Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Santana), who do you see bouncing back? The Bay deal seems all the more head-scratching if we assume Beltran's time in CF is nearing an end.

Joe Sheehan: All of them, with the caveat that Beltran was pretty awesome in limited playing time; I think he'll play a little worse, but a lot more.

Tim (CA): I like the DeRosa signing, but who else could the Giants go after to fill out the line-up? Still a lot of flexibility there...

Joe Sheehan: Well, there's this left fielder...

When you dribble your money away on DeRosa and Renteria and such, there's none left for the guy you actually NEED.

brian (brooklyn): Do we get 4 UT-KU superbattles this year?

Joe Sheehan: Confession: I started answering this as if it were Tennessee/Kentucky. The other one, you mean? Well, I don't think they play twice in the regular season, so no. As far as three matchups...hard to say, just because the top teams in the country often quietly slip away in their conference tournaments, allowing mid-tier teams to get an important win and them to get a few days' rest.

I don't think Self or Barnes would be that excited about playing that game five days before the NCAAs.

Phil S. (NJ): Ben Zobrist 2009 - peak year, or does he have a couple more of those in store before the current Rays championship contention window closes?

Joe Sheehan: Peak year. .280/.350/.440 with plus defense at second, just not the crazy stuff his numbers indicate.

jonkk1 (Elkhart, IN): Who's the better batter the next four years, Jason Bay or Carlos Lee?

Joe Sheehan: Lee.

Joe Sheehan: I'm sorry to cut this fairly short, but I have to go. Thanks for all the great questions, and have a happy, healthy and safe 2010!


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