Shawn Hoffman makes the business of baseball your business, answering your questions on franchise values, new apps, and all other dollar-related dealings.
Thomas (Madison): What did the Indians do to piss off the fans? Most hated franchise?
Shawn Hoffman: I'm stumped on this one, except that Cleveland obviously just isn't that great a sports town in all but the best of times. I don't think they'll end up last in attendance (they're at a disadvantage in April with the cold weather), but still, the Pirates are a pretty good apples to apples, except that the Pirates are losing games by 20....
mo (las vegas): Seems to me like the phillies target guys they like and overpay them in ways beyond... (Ibanez, Polanco and Howard) This I think may have cost them Lee this year and possibly Werth. I mean I didnt see anybody give Ibanez more than a 2x16, Polanco a 2x9 and Howard a 5x100. Not to penny pinch but if the phillies dont win the WS again during this group, this would be something they have to look back and regret, since they traded a lot of mlb ready prospects. Your thoughts?
Shawn Hoffman: You're dead on. With all of those deals, they've jumped in early and set the market. In a seller's market, that's not a bad idea. In THIS market, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and as you said, it's already bitten them in the butt -- had they waited on Ibanez and Polanco and got them a little cheaper, they may have been able to afford Cliff Lee.
Matt (Chicago ): As the Cubs slowly unwind some of their long-term deals, do you see them making a big splash(Agon, Pujols, Fielder) in the FA market over the next couple of offseasons? I would think the new regime would like a big name to build around.
Shawn Hoffman: Well, they're gonna have to do something at first base at some point, so Gonzalez or Prince could make some sense if Lee is gone. I wonder if all these awful deals they've signed recently will make them a little gunshy, although they definitely don't seem to be the type.
woodruff11 (nyc): Could teams track the level of fan interest through a sort of index that is comprised of attendance, tv ratings, merchandise sales, media mentions/coverage or is some of that stuff too hard to track or weight in an index?
Shawn Hoffman: Sure, and most teams probably do this in a not-so-official way internally. If we had all the data, we'd do it too...
Hit (FX): Heard anything more about hit f/x? Is the data available online? Is it at all reliable?
Shawn Hoffman: We're still stuck with just last April's data. Whether more is coming.... I'm probably the wrong guy to ask, but I would hope so.
I don't think it'll be any more or less reliable than pitch f/x. Regarding its value, a lot of people are split, since it doesn't actually show the ball's ultimate landing spot, just the speed and trajectory off the bat. But considering we have none of that right now, I'd say it's definitely a positive.
Ruben (Philly): What is your best estimate as to the attendance gain the Phillies will receive because they locked up Howard? Asked another way: if they had let him walk after 2011, what percentage of their fans would not buy a ticket in 2012?
Shawn Hoffman: I don't think it would have made any added difference, aside from the impact it has on the team itself. If the Phillies are good, people will come regardless of who is playing first base. Howard doesn't have that Craig Biggio franchise value where it's almost sorta kinda worth having him around, even if you have to pay him or play him more than you'd normally want.
Neal (Pitt): Who are your favorite and least favorite current Pirates? Why?
Shawn Hoffman: Andrew McCutchen and Daniel McCutchen. I'll let you figure out why.
Shawn Hoffman (BP Headquarters): Why am I so cool?
Shawn Hoffman: Hours and hours and hours of chatroulette.
Street Magician (Philly): What happened to Kiley McDaniel and Britt Ghiroli? Power couple I thought would take BPro back to the top.
Shawn Hoffman: They're reunited in Baltimore to take the Orioles to the top.
I don't think it's working.
dianagramr (NYC): Who replaced Grady Sizemore with Grady from "Sanford and Son"? His walk rate collapsed and his K rate has skyrocketed. Have his eyes gone bad too?
Shawn Hoffman: Maybe he saw the damn pictures the rest of us saw.
His strikeout rate isn't abnormally high -- he was about this level in '06 and '07. And his walk rate has been low, but not so low that you'd think there's gotta be something wrong. Remember, it's 20 games, there's a lot of season left, and the last 80 PAs are a very very small portion of what we actually know about Grady.
Pete (Tampa): Why does Adam Rosales sprint around the bases when he hits a home run?
Shawn Hoffman: I don't know. But whoever he was racing against, he won.
Marlon Byrd (Chicago): Did you see my play last night?
Shawn Hoffman: I did. It was insane.
Ben (Milledgeville Bathroom): What is my problem?
Shawn Hoffman: A lot.
Now if we can just pull a 3-3 out of our...
Kelly Johnson (AZ): Am I the new Babe Ruth?
Shawn Hoffman: No. You might be the new Kelly Johnson though.
Not really buying KJ putting up a 40% HR/FB rate the entire year. He's been my favorite fantasy sleeper the last few years, so needless to say he's very popular in certain circles right now, and I do think he could be pretty good over the course of an entire season, but this tear isn't gonna last much longer.
Bryce Harper (NM): Am I the new Babe Ruth of taunting?
Shawn Hoffman: Kevin's article had a LOT of people talking last week. My take is this: short of being a violent criminal, you can't really be a worse makeup guy than Barry Bonds. Now how many of you wouldn't want Barry on your team?
Shawn Hoffman: Time to take off, thanks for the chat guys. Go Pens, and remember: Crosby > Ovechkin.