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Chat: Eric Seidman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday June 18, 2010 2:00 PM ET chat session with Eric Seidman.

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You can check the numbers, but Eric Seidman wants to talk about baseball with you at exactly this time on exactly this date.

Eric Seidman: Hey everyone, just got to DC, seeing Strasburg tonight, but until then I'm going to take your questions!

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Hi Eric I have some questions about pitching. Does Medlin or Kawakami stay in the rotation when Jurrjens returns? Does Dickey stay when Maine returns? Fianlly, will Demel be closing before the year is out? Thanks

Eric Seidman: Medlen has been a surprise for the Braves, but don't let that fool you into thinking he's anything more than rotation filler in their minds. When Jurrjens comes back, I'd expect Medlen to return to the bullpen. That doesn't mean he won't start for them in the future, but I can't see them bouncing Kawakami for Medlen, even if Kawakami is wildly overrated by many for some unbeknownst reason. For the Mets -- why bring Maine back? He just isn't that good, and Dickey's knuckleballer actually gives them a better chance of winning on that day.

Mike (SLC, Utah): On August 1st Cliff Lee will be playing for the...

Eric Seidman: My brother and I were discussing this the other day -- it's a very weird situation and truly depends on what the Mariners are thinking about as a return. Why would the Yankees part ways with Montero if their starting pitching is pretty good and they can sign Lee in the offseason without losing much? On the other hand, what would teams like the Mets or Dodgers even give up to get Lee? The "can't-miss" prospects on some of the teams linked to Lee are not necessarily of the Alvarez-Strasburg-Price ilk, and the picks they would receive when Lee walks next year honestly might become more valuable. While I personally don't feel Jack Z has lived up to all of this hype, I believe he is smart and savvy enough to realize that those picks could be more valuable than a return highlighted by a mid-level prospect.

dandaman (Sea Cliff): Eric, thanks for the chat. Any thoughts on why Matt Garza has not pitched well lately?

Eric Seidman: Well, what were your expectations entering the season? I pegged Garza for a very good year, and by taking the balance sheet approach and looking at his statement of performance as of the current date, I see a guy with a 3.50 ERA in the toughest division in baseball, a 2.3 K/BB and a walk rate slightly lower than before. Then again, he had a 2.37 ERA as of May 21, and since then has a 6.75 ERA with a 17/11 K/BB and nary a game score above 43. He hasn't been missing many bats and the walks have been coming with more regularity. The standard answer applies here -- he's neither as good as he was earlier nor as bad as he is now. Garza is probably a perennial 3.40-3.70 ERA pitcher in the AL East with the potential to be way below or above in a given year.

Jquinton82 (NY): Whats up with Nolasco? Wasn't everyone touting him with a bounce back year? ...looks more like a dead cat bounce

Eric Seidman: You know how sometimes you recommend a movie to a friend and the friend doesn't like it as much as you hyped it? And then it sort of reflects poorly on you? That's how I feel with Nolasco right now. It isn't as easy as it looks to be an analyst and situations like these are incredibly frustrating. Once again, Nolasco isn't walking anyone, but this year the punchouts are way down, too, which is a cause for concern that didn't come into play last season. He won't continue to give up homers at this rate and the strikeouts should return, but this is one of those head-scratchers.

patrickclark (the letters): Can Pitch f/x reliably tell us if the strike zone is bigger this year than in previous seasons? Assuming it can ... somebody has published something about this, right? Can you point the way? Thanks!

Eric Seidman: PITCHf/x records the vertical and horizontal location of every pitch as well as the result of the pitch, so yes, the system can definitely tell us if a strike zone is bigger this year than in years past. However, I have not seen any study run on it. Perhaps that's a blog post/Unfiltered I can work on next week or the week after. It wouldn't be too difficult, I would just have to fine-tune the methodology, but it would essentially involve using a static strike zone for 2008-10, and taking only the pitches resulting in balls or called strikes. From there, we could do something like calculate the % of balls called in the zone; if it's much lower this year, then there 'ya go.

Jquinton82 (NY): Trade Andres Torres for Brett Gardner? pretty similar numbers except Gardner has twice as many steals, solid move or not as good as I think?

Eric Seidman: Torres now has about 400 PA in the last two seasons with a .282/.373/.503 line. Gardner has been getting on base a ton but even now still isn't showing any power. If you need steals, Gardner is a better bet (and I've been looking at him as a potential pickup for me). The one thing I would be wary of with Torres is that it feels like an emptier .282/.373/.503 line, if that makes sense. The rates are fantastic, but he isn't hitting a ton of doubles, isn't hitting a ton of tripes, nor a ton of homers, and isn't a frantic base-stealer. He'll help with OPS, no doubt, but might not put you over the top in a certain category.

Julio Borbon (Texas): 8 stolen bases so far this season such a disappointment after the promise of last year. How have I failed to put one foot in front of the other so miserably?

Eric Seidman: To steal a base, my friend, one must reach base. Doing so at a clip of 30% of the time you come to the plate just isn't going to allow much in the way of swiping opportunities, and even the greatest burst of speed isn't always going to make up for a bad jump. You weren't an OBP god in the minors either, so this isn't exactly a surprise. It's ugly now but things will improve. Stay the course.

Mike (SLC, Utah): Can we all just agree that Cano is good but not really THIS good? His BABIP is way higher than his career marks, and his defense and base running are mediocre. He is still very valuable (especially at 2nd base), but let's not get carried a way. A co-worker of mine thinks he should be an MVP candidate...

Eric Seidman: Isn't that sort of like saying Bonds wasn't 73 home runs powerful after hitting 73 home runs? I mean, is Cano going to hit .370 year in and year out? Heck no. But over the last four years he looks like an average defender statistically, and if he goes into the red in that category it's only by a couple of runs which is more than made up for by his offense. Even if Cano puts up numbers like last year's .320/.352/.520 he's incredibly valuable, and that's actually an area I could see him settling into for a few years. Why shouldn't he be an MVP candidate? Seriously, name me another MVP candidate in the AL right now.

Bryan (Los Angeles, CA): Lincecum's 95 mph fastball is a thing of the past, obviously. The pre-draft stuff about his size leading to breakdowns seems mostly wrong, but perhaps his size is the reason why his velo has already dropped at age 26? Or do his recent pitch command struggles factor into all this and we're witnessing the end of a dominant pitcher?

Eric Seidman: I distinctly recall reading at least two articles earlier in the year where Lincecum outright said he was going to focus more on offspeed pitches and locating his fastball than blowing it by people. And the result? He has a 10.3 K/9, which is right in line with the last two years. His BB/9 is about where it was in 2008, which is up from 2009, but he still has a ratio of about 3.0, and an ERA in the very low 3s. No way is this the end of a dominant pitcher, and I'd be willing to bet that come year end we're going to be talking about how, if it weren't for Ubaldo, this could be his third straight Cy.

MJ (E-town): Do you think Kosuke Fukudome is actually underrated because people focus on what he isn't (a power hitter), instead of focusing on what he is (good defensive RF who gets on base)?

Eric Seidman: In a word, yes. But to an extent. I mean, if he can consistently be in the .370/.450 range, that's one thing, but I'm not a huge fan of LF or RF who get on base, but show no power and who aren't absolutely excellent defensively or on the base paths. Fukudome seems to be a solid defender and an adequate baserunner, but I'd like to see his SLG in the .440-.470 range for another year before I officially opine on the matter.

Ted (the cubicle): Following up on "what is Brett Gardner worth", would you consider trading him for Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko or Nick Swisher? I have OF depth...

Eric Seidman: I'd unload Konerko for Gardner. I mean, is Konerko really going to hit 46 HR this year? He has that Bautista-esque feel of a guy who will fall off in the second half. I think the benefit Konerko would have provided is for those who drafted him and got the brunt of his torrid start, but acquiring him at this juncture -- or keeping him -- isn't likely to add much. And given that Swisher and Dunn are better players than he anyway, yeah get Gardner's steals for the surplus power.

Teraxx (Strong Island, NY): Personally, I think Cano is the AL MVP right now, but Morneau and Cabrera also have a legit claim...don't they?

Eric Seidman: And those are the two I immediately thought of after I said it. If the Twins win the division I can't see Cabrera winning the award even with his numbers. And I have a feeling Mauer's power will come back a bit while Morneau comes back to Earth, making it tougher to choose. I guess my point is I have more confidence in Morenau coming back down than Cano.

tmcghan (Bay Area, CA): Who can and should the O's be looking to unload? Who should be able to fetch the most value? Who should be completely off limits?

Eric Seidman: Who do they even have to unload? The goal for rebuilding teams is to trade valuable vets for prospects. Right now they have a bunch of prospects in the majors already. Millwood could probably net some mid-level prospect. Tejada won't get anything. Markakis is someone to hold onto. Maybe Guthrie could net something from a contending team like the Phillies looking to sure up a rotation, but it's not a good situation there. Not much on the team that is worth a whole lot that could realistically be moved.

Ted (the cubicle): Gardner owner here. So the flip side is try to receive Dunn or Swisher in trade, but not Konerko?

Eric Seidman: Yeah -- if defense isn't counted in fantasy leagues, Dunn is very, very valuable. And Swisher is always a high OBP guy. Konerko is older and is likely to be a .270/.340/.475 player the rest of the way, which isn't that attractive.

Dennis (LA): Do you think the Angels are better off acquiring a 1b, 3b, or SS? I suppose a lot depends on how bad Aybar's knee injury is - if he's going to miss more than a couple weeks, maybe trade for Lowell, put Brandon Wood at SS (or sign Adam Everett) and go with Napoli at 1b?

Eric Seidman: Wood has no business in their lineup right now. He just is not going to be a productive major league player. They'd be better suited employing whichever of Wilson Valdes/Juan Castro is DFAd when Jimmy Rollins comes back than giving Wood more and more ABs. Yes, maybe that's hyperbolic, but moving Wood anywhere other than out of the lineup is already a bad start. Love the idea of getting Lowell, but not sure why Napoli would have to go to 1B. Try and trade for Branyan for the rest of the year. I'd also avoid Adam Everett -- he only ever did one thing well and he no longer does it that well.

Teraxx (Strong Island, NY): What's Teixeira's value in a keeper league right now? Same as before the season began or has it dipped? Is the expected second half surge right around the corner?

Eric Seidman: Second half surge is of course around the corner; guys with his track record just don't suddenly hit like Brett Gardner. But first baseman are interesting to discuss in keeper leagues. Given how fungible most of them are, it seems that keeper spots would be better utilized on more scarce positions in terms of value.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): So what is Seattle really expecting to get for a half season of Lee? Between his effectiveness and the potential draft picks coming to whoever sets him free next winter could anyone afford him? Do they really think they're out of it?

Eric Seidman: Last question first: if they don't think they're out of it, they should become better self-evaluators. As far as what they could get, I eluded earlier to the idea that the draft picks they would get might end up being worth more than the package in return for Lee. Unless the Mariners are going to get a can't miss prospect like Jesus Montero, or are fine with a medley of upside, I see Lee staying.

Rick (Chicago): It looks like the Reds are at least real enough to stay in the race with the Cards. Who should they target to bolster the roster for the 2nd half? Is Fausto Carmona enough? Lee/Haren too much? It seems the Reds have as much near-ready talent as anybody, if not uber-elite types.

Eric Seidman: The Reds are actually my sleeper team to potentially nab Lee. I also wouldn't be surprised if they go after Jake Westbrook or someone like that to stabilize the rotation. Can't see them getting Haren, or thinking that Carmona would be enough.

cubfan131 (IA): How much of a boost can the Reds expect from getting Edinson Volquez back? Do they put him in the pen or the rotation?

Eric Seidman: Big boost, and rotation. No reason to put him in the bullpen if he's had success in the rotation previously. Give him a shot in the rotation; if it isn't working, shift him to the 'pen, but definitely start with the rotation.

Joe (Altoona): Does Ryan Doumit of Zach Duke bring any kind of return worth getting excited about? Could both get Martin Perez?

Eric Seidman: Zach Duke is the type of guy I see as maybe 4th or 5th prize for an acquiring team. He doesn't have too solid of an established track record to make anyone excited, and most teams have a viable 4th or 5th starter with equal potential or upside. Doumit is interesting, but I cannot see the Rangers giving anything remotely valuable up for him. I don't think Duke+Doumit gets Perez.

Teraxx (Strong Island, NY): Do you feel the next three series (At Yankees, home to Tigers, Twins) will somewhat determine if the Mets are buyers or sellers in the trade market? They've been getting fat off the weak sisters of MLB recently.

Eric Seidman: Well, the Phillies had Red Sox and Yankees, now have Twins and also have the Blue Jays who are no slouch so the Mets aren't alone in tough interleague schedules. I don't expect the Mets to do that well against these teams, but I also don't expect them to get swept in each series, so I think their record will still be good enough after the series to consider themselves buyers. In fact, given their front office, I bet they will be in buying mode even if they go into a slump.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Can you explain to me the rule on check swings? It seems to be applied differently by just about everyone, umpires and announcers alike. Thanks.

Eric Seidman: As far as I know, there is nothing officially in the MLB rulebook regarding checked swings, however many have different takes on what constitutes a successful check. Some umps look for whether or not the bat crosses the front of the plate, or if there was enough intent. Honestly, I'd bet a lot of it is just guessing... and those silly batters don't help matters by bringing the bat all the way back as if to suggest they didn't even move it off of their shoulders, which is perhaps the most ridiculous part of it all.

tommybones (brooklyn): So, Buster or Santana?

Eric Seidman: Santana -- as he's actually catching.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Right now the top three teams in baseball in terms of record all reside in the AL East. One of these teams will be left out of the playoffs. Any insight into who it will be?

Eric Seidman: As odd as it might sound, I don't see the Rays making the playoffs. Yankees will get in somehow, and I just see the Red Sox ending the year a game or two ahead of the Rays. That won't be a popular response to many, but I'm just not sold on them. Then again, to be where they are right now with such poor performances from key guys has to be a plus in their favor. So I'll say Yanks 100%, Red Sox 55%, Rays 45%.

tommybones (brooklyn): Please tell me Jason Bartlett will right the ship enough to at least put up a 2008-style line from here on out.

Eric Seidman: I mean, realistically he isn't that far off of the .286/.329/.361 from 2008, so I see no reason why this isn't attainable.

TGisriel (Baltimore): If you were a major league manager between positions (such as Valentine, Wedge or Showalter) would you take on the Orioles?

Eric Seidman: If someone offered me 2-3 million dollars per year to write a lineup on a card and understand the insane complexities of a double-switch, I think I'd say yes.

Zooey (LA): Who would you rather have for the next 5 seasons, Jimenez or Strasburg?

Eric Seidman: Strasburg, partly because Ubaldo has one of the most scary windups I've ever seen. It seriously looks like his arm is going to fall off when he pitches.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Have you been to a game in DC yet? How is the new park down there?

Eric Seidman: I went last year to a Phils-Nats game and loved the park. I'm not the kind of guy to go gaga over parks as I really only care about baseball, but it was a very pleasant experience.

Bobby (Iraq): Combined career MLB All-Star selections for Starsburg and Harper, 10.5, Over or Under?

Eric Seidman: Strasburg should be able to make at least 5 if he is remotely as successful as people anticipate, but it's still tough to make the ASG in the OF. I'll say under.

tommybones (brooklyn): Okay, are you ready to say Strasburg, right now, is a top 5 starter in the majors? Where would you rank him?

Eric Seidman: No. Right now he's unranked for me because he's made a whopping two starts. I technically still consider him a prospect. I think he definitely can be Top 5, and could be at season's end, but let's see more than like 13-14 innings.

Stevie (New York): Give me a good reason why MLB doesn't allow videos on youtube? Do they even care about getting fans under 25 years old?

Eric Seidman: Because it feels like one of those things people should be mad at/frown upon. Little do they realize the added exposure could greatly help things.

raiforever (Lansing): What do you think of Gordon Beckham's chances of turning it around for the rest of the season? He has shown very little this season to believe he can be a star like people predicted.

Eric Seidman: There is no way he is this bad, but I'd be more inclined to think he'll be demoted before even being given a chance to turn things around.

TGisriel (Baltimore): How discouraged should O's fans be by Wieters' batting performance this season? Defensively he looks pretty good, but he just looks lost batting. Will he develop into a good middle of the order hitter?

Eric Seidman: No way every scout and analyst was wrong on him, but I don't know if I can see him being that .320/.380/.530 force. If he combines solid defense with a 275/.345/.470, which should be in the realm of possibilities. It would forever make him a disappointment, but it wouldn't mean he isn't productive.

Gracie Glam (LA): We all know there's a 3 headed monster in the AL East. If you were the GM of the Blue Jays, what would be your plan to get the team back into the playoffs?

Eric Seidman: I'd do exactly what AA is currently doing -- scout like crazy, utilize analysts in the proper fashion, attempt to bring in as many top-tier guys via the draft or Rule V, or internationally as possible, and until said prospects pan out, employ cheap guys like Bautista and Buck at the MLB level.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): How many more awful calls are we going to have to withstand before MLB does the right thing and institutes replay? Or, maybe I should ask, are you in favor of replay?

Eric Seidman: I share the same sentiment as many others -- add an umpire, have him constantly watch a video monitor, and use some type of headset system for quick and accurate results. These replays would take 7 seconds in most cases. Most of those against it envision replays taking 15 minutes, yet most of that time is due to managers arguing. I mean, how hard was it to explain to Charlie Manuel that a ball hit Raul Ibanez last night? The explanation is, it hit him, end of story. I understand protecting players and such, but most of the problems are with managers themselves and not replay. It STILL makes me angry that Galarraga didn't get a perfect game, regardless of how nice Jim Joyce might be. There is NO excuse for that.

Bill Simmons (LA): On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the Dice-K signing?

Eric Seidman: If he can put together a decent rest of this year, I'll say a 6.5.

Matt (London): Is it too early to call Brandon Wood a bust? Any chance he lives up to the hype and becomes at least a solid starter?

Eric Seidman: No... and no.

Oden (Motown): Who would you rather have for the next five years: Austin Jackson or Brennan Boesch?

Eric Seidman: Jackson -- even when the BABIP gods smite him, he still has speed and looks to have solid range in CF. Boesch has never been a high OBP guy and even this year's mark is infused by the .340+ BA. I'd love to have both in some capacity but Jackson was rated higher for specific reasons.

Matt (London): Career All-Star selections for Alex Gordon, 1.5, Over or Under?

Eric Seidman: Under. His best chance would be with the Royals but it doesn't seem likely he will ever get the true chance he deserves there. And then he'll probably be shipped to a team that gives him a chance but who will have many other candidates for the mandatory spot.

Andy (Chicago): Is Rasmus' performance sustainable? He's been a tearing the cover off the ball, with a huge improvement over last year in regards to hitting lefties.

Eric Seidman: I never thought of him as a .550+ SLG guy, but I certainly thought him to be capable of a .290+ BA and .380+ OBP. The power should probably come down a bit but he's still a 30 HR threat who reaches base a ton. AKA - the real deal.

Stephen Strasburg (Washington): I will go down as one of the top 50 pitchers of all-time, True or False?

Eric Seidman: Show me a really food performance tonight when I'm in the stands and yes... or get me to meet and take a picture with Adam Dunn and yes.

frank (vegas): is the "play andy laroche" experiment over? and what happened?

Eric Seidman: Probably. What happened is that not every young player, regardless of how analysts rate them, is going to pan out. I hate phrasing it as bluntly as that, but it's about time people start realizing these guys tend to flame out more than they make serious impacts, and that it shouldn't be an automatic expectation that young prospects perform in the majors.

TGisriel (Baltimore): What wuld the Orioles need to offer to get Gordon from the Royals, and if they get him where should they play him?

Eric Seidman: Third Base, and I can't imagine it would take a whole heck of a lot. Dayton Moore's comments and actions seem to indicate he doesn't think Gordon has the goods, and I don't know if I'd call him savvy enough to not conflate his own opinions with those of others on the matter; as in, he could probably get more in a deal given Gordon's reputation but won't ask for it.

mattymatty2000 (Re: Gordon): I'm not sure its fair to say Gordon never got a chance with the Royals. Gordon had 1,171 plate appearances with KC in '07 and '08. Granted, he was 23 and 24 at the time, and his play in AAA ball now obviously deserves another chance, but I think two years as the starting third baseman qualifies as a true chance, don't you?

Eric Seidman: I guess my real point is similar to what I wrote about the Royals last month -- for a team in their position it makes no sense at all to not play guys that will help the future, or who have a chance to help the future. Does Podsednik really attract fans to the point that letting Gordon play OF in the MLB would be so detrimental?

Pinky (Seattle): Tell me we will finally have draft sloting after the next CBA

Eric Seidman: If it were up to me we would. And we would also incorporate a clause that allows both teams and players mutual out clauses in contracts IE the Oswalt situation. But then again, I'd also make it mandatory that Sinbad perform comedy shows at every Phillies game so I'm probably not the best person to ask.

tommybones (brooklyn): Next five seasons, Strasburg or Lincecum?

Eric Seidman: Bonser.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Who wins their division first: Houston, Baltimore, Toronto, or Pittsburgh?

Eric Seidman: This is the toughest question I may have ever gotten. I'll say Houston, because I foresee McLane being out of there before any of the other three make any headway.

Bobby (Philly): When it's all said and done, Roy Halladay will be in the Hall Of Fame, True or False?

Eric Seidman: True. He will go down as one of the 2-3 best, if not the best, pitcher of the post-Maddux/Clemens/Glavine/Smoltz/Schilling/Mussina/Martinez/Johnson/Brown era.

john (ct): Desmond Jennings has righted his game but Jesus Montereo hasn't. Are scouts concerned about Montero? Have expectations been reduced?

Eric Seidman: I don't think scouts are as concerned about Montero's current numbers as they are about where the heck the dude will play in the majors. If he can't catch, his value drops, and even if he posts gaudy numbers at first, the measuring stick there is so much higher. Right now it's a conundrum.

frank (vegas): so does Laroche = Gordon??

Eric Seidman: I still think Gordon could be a .280/.350/.440 player, whereas LaRoche can't.

Chris (NY): P{lease rank who do you think will be better over the next 2 yrs: Hanson, Kershaw, Pelfrey.

Eric Seidman: Computer troubles... I'm back -- Hanson, Kershaw, Pelfrey. That exact order.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Peralta can fetch what at the deadline?

Eric Seidman: Are any teams seeking a SS? He isn't going to bring back much but I could see a team like maybe the Cardinals wanting him.

David (CT): Given Dan Warthen's diagnosis of Johan Santana's strikeout struggles--that the problem is a bad-but-correctable mechanical habit he developed while pitching injured--can we expect Johan's K rate to improve over the rest of the season, at least back to where it was in '08-'09?

Eric Seidman: At least to 08-09 for sure -- he'll never be a 10+ K/9 guy again, but he is still a very, very, very good pitcher. But he's not a 6 K/9 guy. Maybe 7.5-8.0 if Warthen's diagnosis is valid.

Kyle Bradway (LA): How big would a bird have to be for you to be scared of it?

Eric Seidman: I don't know, 100 feet? That's a very good question, I'm just so distressed right now.

OTSgamer (Dallas, TX): Exactly what do you think of James Shields and Wade Davis? Both started off well enough, the past month has been rough.

Eric Seidman: Was never really high on Davis but I still think Shields is one of the most valuable SPs in the game, especially with that contract. I don't see him as a true #1 pitcher in the traditional sense of like a 2.80 ERA or anything, but as more of a 3.50-3.70 guy with 220 IP and a good K/BB ratio. Let's give Davis some more time though. It's really tough to gauge a player after only a month or two.

Rob (Alaska): I'm completely confused by B.J. Upton. He seems better than last year, but not so much that you could envision a return to 2008 - much less the progression from 2008 that seemed so logical given his age and tools base at the time. Care to make any proclamations?

Eric Seidman: Given that he's on my Strat team and I expected a bounce back and now it's not here I'm more than confused. I'm angry! What's worse is he doesn't appear to be improving at all mechanically, and it's tough to pinpoint what he's doing wrong. He's not even on the status of a bust that is still performing well -- he's just not performing period.

FalcoT (Buffalo, NY): In fantasy, what caliber of player would you look for in return for Colby Lewis?

Eric Seidman: Lewis is, what, back-end starter in an 8-team league or so? So in that case you'd probably want to go out and get someone who specializes in something, like steals, in which case a Brett Gardner would be a good pickup. But is Lewis really that valuable? If his ERA creeps into the upper 3s/low 4s, are the strikeouts enough to get anything worthwhile in return?

Dennis (LA): Thank you for answering my earlier question. Who do you like better long-term as a hitter: Justin Smoak or Jesus Montero? Do you think Montero will stay in the Yankees organization or eventually become trade bait?

Eric Seidman: No problem! I like what I've seen with Smoak even though the numbers aren't much right now, but I haven't seen Montero really. Where is Montero going to play, though? The only opening is catcher, and they seem to think he can't play there. Tex is signed for another 113 seasons so he isn't going to play there. I guess they could call him up and use him as a DH, but I'd like to have that question answered first, and to see Montero in the bigs before being confident in the answer.

CrisE (St Paul, MN): Eric? Are you OK? Hello...

Eric Seidman: Haha, yes, I'm in DC and the Internet was a bit spotty, but I'm back!

Dennis (LA): How do you see Justin Masterson long-term? Solid starter, mediocre starter, maybe a good multiple inning reliever, or something else?

Eric Seidman: Mediocre starter, but that is very valuable if he can do that over 175-200 innings per year. I guess I see him as being closer to what Joe Blanton did last season than anything above that.

Tom (twin cities): It's slowly dawning on me that Michael Cuddyer's .520 slugging in 2009 was a mirage. Any reason to think otherwise?

Eric Seidman: Well, entering 2009 his career OBP/SLG was .344/.441. And then he went out and got up to .356/.520. I don't know if he's ever going to get back to .500+ but it's weird... I suppose I anchored him with regards to last year because I could have sworn he was always powerful. What's really interesting is this: career up to 2009: .344/.441. 2010: .341/.444.

krissbeth (watertown, ma): Say what you will about blown calls in perfect games, but at least baseball umps explain why they made the call to players and managers and the league says why the call was made later on. FIFA could learn a thing or two from MLB.

Eric Seidman: If I cared about soccer or wrote for a soccer site I'm sure I'd agree with you. To me, simply admitting a mistake in a situation like that when it would have taken 1 minute or so to review and make the correct call is inexcusable. I don't dislike Jim Joyce, but rather the system. The situation reminds me of the end of Quiz Show, one of my favorite movies. Ralph Fiennes' character admits to cheating on the game show 21, and suddenly all these people congratulate him on being honest. Finally, someone stands up and says regardless of the honesty, it was wrong and shouldn't just go away because of an admission. I'm that last guy.

Eric Seidman: Alright, everyone, time to go watch Stephen Strasburg. This was a blast. As always, feel free to email me ejseidman@gmail.com or get at me on that twitter thingie @ericseidman.


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