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Chat: Eric Seidman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday November 02, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Eric Seidman.

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Someone might still be morose over the Phillies' phailure to defend their pennant, but Eric Seidman's here to take your questions and provide just as many answers.

Eric Seidman: Alrighty everyone, it's chat-time! You know how you know you're a baseball analyst? When you watch Saw 6 over the weekend and connect Jigsaw's discussion about the insurance formula vs. the will to live to stats vs. scouts. I need a hobby.

Matt (Chicago): Provided he is reasonably healthy, I think we can see a bit of a statistical rebound from Berkman next yr. What type of slash line do you think we can expect from him?

Eric Seidman: Not to be all cryptic but your answer lies in the first sentence of your question. Yes, I agree that if Lance Berkman is reasonably healthy, his numbers will be better than they were last year. I think that much is obvious. If we rephrase the question to be whether or not I think Lance Berkman will be reasonably healthy next year, then I would say no, no I do not think that will happen. I can see Berkman signing with the Cubs or the Tigers, and breaking down towards the end of the season, while being fairly banged up before that point. He'll hit around .275/.345/.445, which is about what he did this season, with slightly more pop.

Randy K (Kansas): What can the Rangers reasonably expect to get in return for Chris Davis assuming they will try to move him this offseason. Where is he most likely to end up?

Eric Seidman: Davis has shown flashes of what could be possible before, but he has also shown exactly why he cannot hold down a major league job. He doesn't walk, strikes out a ton, and while his fielding isn't bad, it's not on the same level of Adam Everett circa-2007, when a sub-.230 TAv was okay. Flipping the question around, what teams would seek Davis? Maybe the Pirates? Maybe the Royals or As? Unfortunately I think the return on a trade for Davis would be more laden with depth than upside or talent given that first base isn't exactly a tough position to fill.

Brian (New Athens, IL): Hi Eric. Last summer, you wrote up the Sportvision '09 summit for ESPN and talked alot about the fielding part. How do you see work like Jeremy Greenhouse, Greg Rybarczyk, and stuff like this (http://whowins.com/wherefieldersfield201007.pdf) from Sportvision '10 fitting in with Field f/x, if and when Sportvision ever releases Field fx? Thanx!

Eric Seidman: At last year's summit, Rybarczyk and Matt Thomas gave tremendous presentations on ways to improve the accuracy of fielding data. Rybarczyk's presentation dealt with thinking of the field as a compass, and how each outfielder, for instance, will need to move differently to field the same ball. A flyball hit to right-center will require the centerfielder to move southwest while the leftfielder moves northeast. The idea was that the fielders should be evaluated on what they had to do to get to the ball, not whether or not they got to the ball.

Similarly, Thomas's work deals a lot with how far the fielder had to move to field a ball, and is equally important. Knowing this information will help us get past many of the biases our eyes have when watching a game. For instance, Shane Victorino will scurry his little legs to the same flyball Carlos Beltran naturally glides to. Our eyes tell us Victorino made the better play, when in reality Beltran is better to the point that it looks easy. Being able to compare those two plays and then see that they both had to travel the same distance and had the same amount of time to do so will help erase something like that.

William Coleman (Salt Lake City, Utah ): Most relevant storyline to you in this World Series: The Rangers bullpen struggles or the Rangers failure to hit in the clutch ?

Eric Seidman: Chris Rose's continued awkward post-game interviews. That and, how about how good the Giants pitching staff is. Their lineup played out of its mind and is due to come back to earth at some point, but sheesh is that a good staff if Bumgarner is the 4th starter and Zito is 5th. They might not score many runs next year, but it is going to be tough to score ON them.

Michael (NYC): There is nothing better than high-end homegrown pitching. Why is anyone surprised when this team was the 1969 Mets reincarnate? Has any WS winner every started 4 former WS champions in their line-up Rowand, Burrell, Uribe & Renteria?

Eric Seidman: I'm not sure off the top of my head, but that isn't exactly an impressive "feat" to me. Rowand was merely there, it's not like he contributed all that much. That's like if Bill Wennington, BJ Armstrong, and Tyronn Lue went onto win a title somewhere else and we wondered if any other team ever had 3 NBA champions on it. But as to your first point, yep, the Giants are not going to have a very good offense next season, but their pitching is going to keep them in contention all year. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner, Zito is the best 5-man rotation in the major leagues.

John Locke (The Island): Do you foresee the Phils making a move with the eminent Werth departure, or do you think they are content with a platoon of Franciso/Brown?

Eric Seidman: Content. It'll be an interesting offseason because most fans think more about runs added on offense than runs suppressed with pitching. Losing Werth will hurt, without question, but you also have to remember that they will have a full season of Oswalt instead of just 10-11 starts, and most likely a healthy Joe Blanton going into spring training, which is certainly better than relying on both Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick entering the year. Brown should be solid with regular playing time, and Francisco handles lefties very well. Their platoon won't replace Werth, but the upgrade of having a full year of Oswalt and a healthy Blanton really cuts into that deficit. Plus, it is hard to imagine the offense will be as unhealthy next year as they were this year, so the Phils are bound to get more runs back on that front as well. It is very easy to come up with reasons why they WON'T be as good next year, but I still hold they will win the division again.

chris (MN): Why would the Royals be interested in Chris Davis? They have a logjam at first base / DH as it is, Eric Hosmer is waiting in the wings, and third base will belong to Mike Moustakas starting some time in 2011.

Eric Seidman: They wouldn't be. I used them to illustrate how there aren't going to be many takers for Davis, and even then, a usual suspect in similar situations like the Royals wouldn't give anything up to get him. Then again -- why do the Royals do anything they do?

Dennis (LA): How would you rank the top 4 available free agent relievers? Soriano, Downs, Uehara, and Benoit?

Eric Seidman: In terms of sexiness, I'd go Downs, Benoit, Uehara, Soriano. If we're talking about who I would want my team to spend money on next year, I'd go Benoit, Soriano, Downs, Uehara. Downs gets hurt a lot, I'm not very high on Uehara and have never been, and Soriano will probably cost too much money. Nothing I hate more than paying a lot of money for 55 innings of a reliever. Benoit seems to have the least I don't like, and won't be too expensive.

Dennis (LA): Hi Eric, thanks for the chat. Do you think the Angels would be better off signing Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth? Crawford is obviously younger, more versatile offensively, and pretty extraordinary defensively, but Werth has better power, OBP, and will presumably cost less. Thanks!

Eric Seidman: I would go for Werth, simply because the thought of putting a bopper like him in a lineup like theirs could really go a long way towards helping them compete for the division. I like Crawford and consider him deserving of whatever deal he is going to get, but I feel like the Angels need a little more thump in their lineup, which Werth is much more suited to provide. Then again, a Bourjos-Crawford-Hunter outfield could be a three-headed defensive monster. If the money is in the same range for both, I'd lean towards Werth.

thomas (Columbus): What will Jocketty do to keep Baker from inserting Gomes in the everyday lineup in 2011?

Eric Seidman: I wonder if the Reds would sign Manny Ramirez. I don't know why that thought came to me the other day, but it did. No, Ramirez doesn't provide a defensive upgrade or anything, but short of Jocketty naming himself manager and forcing a platoon with Nix, there would have to be some type of big splash to prevent Gomes from playing very frequently.

Michael Scoffield (Sona): Where did Ryan Howard's power go this year? It's not like he was turning those former long balls into hits considering he finished the year 3 points lower in average than in 2009. Do you believe he can get back to the 45 hr 140 rbi days of old or is that a pipe dream?

Eric Seidman: He did lose a few weeks to that crazy old injury bug, but even with those games back it is hard to imagine he would have hit more than 37 home runs this year, a far cry from his totals in years past. I can see him hitting 40 again next year, but he has very real holes in his swing and really needs to work on correcting them. You would think that a guy who sees a ton of junk-sliders would be able to determine they are junk-sliders, but his pitch recognition has eroded, and his bat speed is slowing. When Ryan Howard, who can't lay off of down and away sliders, suddenly cannot catch up to 90 mph fastballs, there is a major problem. And that's before even getting into a discussion of that contract.

Steve (Chicago): Any response to the Siegle Moneyball line?

Eric Seidman: Yes -- I feel very, very sorry for someone who, in celebration of winning a freaking World Series, would get off on criticizing something that has nothing to do with their winning a freaking World Series. If anybody who hates Moneyball actually read Moneyball, we wouldn't have these problems. Instead, we get people like Siegle, who hates what he thinks Moneyball represents. The Giants paid like $40 million this year to DeRosa, Zito, and Rowand, who were either left off of their playoff roster, or who didn't contribute a lick. So yes, maybe they proved Moneyball wrong in that they won a World Series while wasting money.

What the Giants actually proved was that having a super-duper-awesome starting rotation and an incredibly strong bullpen goes a very long way, before even considering that pickups like Burrell, Huff, and Ross -- which are very "Moneyball" type moves, if we're to continue to mangle the meaning of that book -- were big parts of the offense's life force.

Steve (New Jersey): For all the right decisions that Bochy made in the World Series, wasn't it a gross error to allow Burrell to bat in the 7th with runners on second and third, score tied and one out? Surely there had to be someone on the bench more capable of making contact than Pat the Bat-less. If Renteria doesn't hit that HR to bail him out, wouldn't Bochy have a lot to answer for that decision?

Eric Seidman: That's a very tough call, and I'm not sure there is a right answer. Burrell may have been struggling, but he is a big reason why the Giants got there to begin with, and it isn't really in the manager's code to remove a guy on offense, who usually gets replaced on defense. Plus, who would you have brought in to provide a guarantee of making contact? Schierholtz? Ishikawa? Fontenot? It's not like any of them are so markedly better than Burrell that this was even a questionable call. I definitely appreciate the idea of questioning a move based on the merits of the decision at the time, but I don't see why this was a big deal.

mwball75 (Cincy, OH): True or False. Cleveland is going to be better in '11 than they were in '10. Really? Why?

Eric Seidman: False. Who knows how Santana will recover? Carrasco looked good at the end of the season but I'm skeptical -- I don't like how the confirmation bias is winning out on that one. Just because he was a good prospect and had four good starts to end the season doesn't mean he is going to be a legit #2 or #3 next year. There isn't much to like offensively, even IF Sizemore returns and produces. I expect the Indians to finish in last place barring significant moves in the off-season.

Matt (Chicago): In light of your answer about Berkman, are the Cubs better off offering Dunn 3yrs/35-40 than signing the Big Puma, given their decided lack of pop?

Eric Seidman: Even without the light of my answer they would be better off giving Dunn a deal than Berkman. Dunn's a liability on defense but if he plays first base he is not as dreadfully terrible as in the outfield. He is also younger, has not experienced injury problems, and is still producing at a very high level with the bat.

Kenneth (30 Rockefeller Center): Seriously Jose Bautista? Eric, have you ever seen a more surprising number than 54 hrs for bautista this season? Any chance he even can even hit 40 next year?

Eric Seidman: Well, Luiz Gonzalez's 57 home runs were very surprising but his seasonal tallies prior to that year were at least in the 23-30 range. Brady Anderson was a big surprise, but this feels differently, perhaps because I really believe Bautista was not on steroids. Maybe that's foolhardy on my part but I buy into the idea of a completely changed swing. I don't get why we're so quick to believe Ben Zobrist had an awesome 2009 because of a new swing but not Bautista. Zobrist's approach translated to a higher BA and SLG, Bautista's to more home runs. There is a difference, but people are so damn protective of home runs that it skews our perspective on a lot of things.

As for next year, I'll say 36 home runs for Bautista.

GBSimons (Boise, ID): No chats in over a week? What have you guys been doing, watching the World Series or something? Get back in your basements and crank out some new acronyms!

Eric Seidman: To be honest, I didn't even watch a lot of the World Series. For some reason, maybe Halloween, I got into a phase of watching a ton of horror movies, especially the ones from those After Dark Horrorfests. I also got hooked on Season 1 of Archer, and have been spending a lot of time moderating debates in my fantasy basketball league over the idea of an add/drop cap and how many to have.

Jim Hendry (Chicago): Wait, you are telling me that Sabean's 'sign as many outfielders as possible and see what happens' strategy wasn't key to their winning the series? Crap, I'm gonna have to go back to the drawing board...

Eric Seidman: I really wanted to see all of those outfielders somehow get into a game. Play Burrell at first, move Huff to third. Then put Ross/Rowand/Schierholtz in the outfield, and use Jose Guillen as DH. Would've been magical.

asstarr1 (Madison): What can the Brewers reasonably expect to get for Prince Fielder?

Eric Seidman: This, hyperbole aside, might be the most interesting off-season area to follow. Fielder has a body type that doesn't age well, is seeking a ton of money and a lot of years, and very clearly won't continue to play for the Brewers. And yet, to acquire Fielder and earn the right to pay him a metric &^&*-ton over a period of time in which he might not be healthy given his frame, they will have to surrender a lot of their minor league talent? Something is going to have to give here. There will not a happy solution for all parties involved. Either Fielder is going to have to accept a lesser deal with his new team -- or even with the Brewers -- or the Brewers are going to have to realize that Fielder's actual value is much lower than his perceived value.

Chad (Cleveland): I'm not going to disagree too much on the Indians, but I'm not sure what you didn't like in Carrasco. No, he's not an ace, but what happened this year that prevents him from being a 2 or 3? And while I agree that it comes down to how well Santana and Sizemore recover (there could be about a 10 win swing right there for this team), doesn't that mean we can't flat out say false?

Eric Seidman: I didn't say that I DIDN'T like Carrasco. I simply said that seeing 7 good starts from him should not somehow confirm the belief that he is a good pitcher given that he was a good prospect. The year before he had terrible numbers in five starts. I really hope Carrasco works out and settles into that #3 role, but what I'm saying is that you cannot learn anything about someone in such a small time-frame. I need to see a full season.

As far as the second question, how would you have rather I answered that? By saying false-ish? Or finding a medium? I wholeheartedly agree that if Santana and Sizemore recover well, the Indians could be a better team, but I don't like their pitching at all, and outside of both Santana and Sizemore I don't see much to like on offense.

mattgabby (NYC): Is Lee really worth $25 million for 6-7 years? Could he wind up being Barry Zito in 3 years? Wouldn't Texas be better off trading for Zach Grienke?

Eric Seidman: Zito never had the control or "stuff" of Lee, and as my main man Matt Swartz always writes, most of the time free agent deals are frontloaded with production. This means that if Lee signs for $25 mil/yr for 6 years, he might exceed that value with production in the first few years and fall short of it at the tail-end, ultimately evening out or coming close to that. Lee is the premiere pitcher in a not-so-otherwise-impressive crop and there will definitely be a bidding war. The discussion of signing Lee vs. trading for Greinke is interesting, and I think this gives me an article idea for next week. I don't know whether the would be better off doing one or the other, as both would represent a big "get". If signing Lee prohibits making improvements in a bunch of other areas, looking for Greinke would be good, but if they can sign him and still upgrade areas in need of improvements, why the heck not?

John Doggit (Washington D.C.): Can you name the top 3 free agents you feel the Phils are most interested in and the percentage chance that we will see them in red pinstripes come April?

Eric Seidman: I really, truly, do not see the Phillies making any big acquisitions. If they had the money to make a big move, they would re-sign Jayson Werth or make a push for Cliff Lee, neither of which I expect to happen. They have a lot of money committed to 16 players and need another nine to field a team. I can see them pushing hard to re-sign Jose Contreras, and given his friendship with Danys Baez and his experience this season, I can see Contreras staying put.

But they are set at every position in the starting lineup and their bench is essentially set as well. It would be interesting to go for a better starter than Kyle Kendrick to round out the rotation, like a Jake Westbrook-type, but they seem content on letting Kendrick and Vance Worley compete for that last spot.

I think this is going to be the first year in what seems like a while where the Phillies don't make any significant moves.

Michael (Manhattan): Would Texas be better off signing Soriano and just making Feliz a starter? For the price of Cliff Lee they can pay CJ Wilson and a closer.

Eric Seidman: I don't know if they would be "better off" doing this or trading for Greinke than signing Cliff Lee. Both of those options are more than viable, and regardless of anything I think Feliz needs to be a starter. If the Rangers have the money to sign Lee and make improvements elsewhere, I don't see why they shouldn't follow that course of action. But if signing Lee prohibits improvements elsewhere, your reasoning of signing a closer, converting Feliz back to starter, and inking Wilson long-term definitely has substance.

Chad (Cleveland): So good prospect + solid minor league season at AAA at 23 + solid end to the season in 7 starts = I don't like how the confirmation bias is winning out on that one? Yes, TINSTAAPP, but are you really using just his first 5 ML starts, at 22, to knock him at the same time you say you can't use a small time-frame? And yes, false-ish, or a medium would probably be appropriate.

Eric Seidman: You're not reading what I'm writing. I am not knocking Carlos Carrasco in any way. I am simply saying that just like his 5 bad starts last year didn't tell us much, his 7 good starts this season don't tell us much. I need to see a full season from him to really form an opinion. This is not negative. I just don't know what to think of him yet and refuse to just assume that 7 good starts last year, coupled with a solid minor league pedigree, means he is legit. That's literally all I am saying. I hope he is good next year, but I cannot say with confidence that he will be, because he has not done enough at the major league level to convince me.

Chad (Cleveland): Probably because what you're writing is incredibly vague, including the "I don't like how the confirmation bias is winning out on that one." I will now await your analysis on all prospects - "they might be good, they might not, let me see how they play before I tell you how well they will play"

Eric Seidman: I don't analyze prospects for this very reason. I need to see a decent sample of information before forming an opinion. I'm not a scout either, and I don't watch minor leaguers on a daily basis. As for the confirmation bias, I am referring to when someone holds a belief, and uses any information to confirm that belief, even if it is insufficient. From my point-of-view, Carrasco has not done enough for me to really believe he is going to be a very solid mid-rotation starting pitcher in the major leagues, and I don't like how a mere 7 starts in the big leagues suddenly confirms that he is the pitcher everyone thought he would be based on his minor league numbers. This in no way means I do not think he is good, or will be good, but it means that I have not seen enough yet. If this offends you, well, I have no idea how to respond.

Keith (Naugatuck (CT)): Not so much of a question as a quick comment, but i felt your explanation of the Carrasco answer, as well as the original answert itself was quite clear in intent and meaning, it would appear that Chads offsnse would be more an example of a fan "raging" whilst dwellings amidst ignorance than an actual basis with which to argue.

Eric Seidman: I agree. But in case I wasn't being clear, I hope my explanation cleared everything up. Now, for the love of god, can I get no more Carlos Carrasco-related questions this chat? It would be like having an NBA chat and only being able to talk about Beno Udrih.

Hassel (NYC): Eric, if you could choose between being a Hollywood screenwriter and the Phillies's GM, which would you choose? Why?

Eric Seidman: Screenwriter. Do you know how stress-free that job is? The worst part of the day is when Edward Norton rewrites what you did, but you still get paid six figures, still get your name credited, and still get more work in the future.

Paul (Pluto): Jets or Patriots?

Eric Seidman: I love the Jets defense, but as we saw on Sunday, their offense isn't exactly anything to write home about. I'll say both make the playoffs, but the Patriots go further.

maxfawcett (Edmonton, AB): Bumgarner was magnificent in Game 4, but will the long season and the innings he's piled up take a toll on him next year?

Eric Seidman: I think it will, but I also think the Giants can handle him appropriately next year to mitigate the effect. I'd say put a cap on his innings at around 160, maybe even 150, to be safe. That could mean skipping his spot once a month, or relegating him strictly to Sunday starts or something along those lines. Obviously, the worst thing would be if Bumgarner comes back, is overworked, and has to miss a year. Maybe it's just because I'm feeling optimistic today, but I'm thinking the Giants will handle this correctly and he will be fine.

PhilliesRed (Palo Alto, CA): So the Phils might have a lot of their muscle hitting from the left side next season, with Brown, Utley, and Howard. How do we measure the benefits of having that platoon advantage against the majority of right starters vs the vulnerability it leads to late in games against LOOGYs (esp w/ Howard and Utley back to back)? I'm really interested in the theoretical aspects of this issue (long-term advantage vs short-term vulnerability), not the Phils actual situation, though I do wonder if it will continue to be an issue for them.

Eric Seidman: The best way to attack a problem like this is to run a simulation with different configurations in order to see exactly what the effect would look like. It might seem like we could just do some type of linear weights calculation to show what the effect of 6 innings vs. an RHP SP would look like, the 7th with a LOOGY, and then the 8th and 9th with RHP setup and closer, but we would need a comparative basis, in other words something to actually compare the numbers we get to. The easiest way to accomplish that is through the simulation.

Jim Osterberg (Detroit Rock City): Rick Porcello -- can he become a third ace in the Tigers rotation, or does the last two years lower his ceiling somewhat?

Eric Seidman: I have to be careful here. I was once assaulted with a barrage of mean-spirited questions when I said that I thought Kershaw would become an ace and Porcello would disappoint about two years ago I think. In short, no, I don't think he will become a third ace. I think he could be a really good #4-type pitcher with his current repertoire and "stuff" but he doesn't strike anyone out, and I haven't seen enough to indicate that is going to change moving forward. This doesn't mean I think he is bad, or that he couldn't become better, but that I still just do not see it yet. The same thing happened with Gavin Floyd, though, who looked a bit lost before turning it on. Maybe Porcello follows a similar path.

Matt (Chicago): Do you feel Cashner is better utilized in pen or rotation for the Cubs?

Eric Seidman: Any pitcher who has value is better utilized in a starting rotation. I don't care if this is Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Neftali Feliz, etc, because my opinion stays the same. Getting 165-200 innings of quality production is much more valuable than 55 innings.

PhilliesRed (Palo Alto, CA): Interesting. Have you seen any analysis or simulations that have taken this approach? Are you aware of publicly available tools to run such a simulation? Thanks for the chat and taking my question!

Eric Seidman: I don't believe there is anything publicly available for this. I have my own simulation programs that I use for pre-season purposes as well as for my Triple Crown updates the last two years, but this would take on a whole other form. Without any anecdotal evidence, I think the issue is being a bit overblown, because it isn't as if the Phillies are completely inept against lefties. The real issue is just not having a big right-handed thumper in the lineup to provide balance.

Ricky (Sunnyvale): If you're running the Cardinals, what are you willing to offer Pujols this winter, other than a signed affidavit by TLR and Rasmus that they'll make nice? Can St. Louis afford to fill out a roster while paying Pujols, say, $175 million over 6 years?

Eric Seidman: I know that fans tend to project their own beliefs on their sports idols, but I really, truly believe that Pujols is the guy that would take less money in order for the theoretical difference to be spent on other parts of the team. Now I'm not saying he takes 6 yrs and 120 million instead of 6 yrs and 160 million, but I can easily see him leaving 20-25 million on the table so long as that "saved" money is used to sure up other areas.

Ken (The Sconnie Office): Beno Udrih: great point guard, or the greatest point guard?

Eric Seidman: I don't know enough about Carlos Carrasco to answer this question.

PhilliesRed (Palo Alto, CA): Yes, I agree that it is likely overblown. But I kind of wonder what the numbers would say if you lined up all three lefties against a righty starter, guaranteeing 2-3 ABs with a platoon advantage. Death in the late innings against a LOOGY, sure, but maybe, on average, you score enough runs early to make it worth it. Notice how I avoided the terrible pun; take note national media.

Eric Seidman: If the lineup is structured in a way to avoid stacking them on top of one another I'd imagine the effect is mitigated as well. Perhaps they go with Rollins (S), Utley (L), Polanco (R), Howard (L), Victorino (S), Ibanez (L), Ruiz (R), Brown (L), or something like that.

R.A.Wagman (@RAWagman): Why do so many people complain about the WS winner because they weren't built to last? Why should that matter? They have a shiny new flag and you don't. Too many screeds are written with the downside of the Giants as the main points, instead of a great late-season and post-season run. The fact that we shouldn't expect a repeat next year should be a postscript at most, no? In other words, don't forget to celebrate the baseball before you skewer the managerial approach. Am I wrong?

Eric Seidman: I completely agree. If there was such a thing as Marlins fans I would pose the question of whether they cried over the fact that the team couldn't compete in 1998 after winning it all in 1997, or if they basked in the warm glowing warming glow of a world series title. I think a lot of this stems from the fact that people don't like certain teams to have the upper hand on theirs, or because certain people don't agree with the style of the Giants club. I know a lot of people like to make fun of Brian Sabean and so the initial reaction is to detract from him instead of giving the Giants credit. I also think people just have a hard time believing how a team with Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Freddy Sanchez, et al, managed to win a world series, so the kneejerk reaction is to say "But you won't do it again!"

As I said earlier, the story here should be how dominant that entire pitching staff looked. The Giants will not score a lot of runs over the next couple of years, but that is the best 5-man starting rotation in baseball.

Happy Feet (Felix, PA): I loved your attempt to profile the playoff games by calculating lineups based on updated PECOTA "true talent' estimates and pitching/platoon matchups. Any chance you'll get the programming down well enough to do this on a regular basis next season?

Eric Seidman: The issue is not with getting the programming down well enough but rather of the utility such an exercise would provide relative to what it takes to actually produce the information. It didn't take long to put together the PECOTAs but there is so much subject to change that Colin and I often stayed up all hours of the night until we got it right -- and then Bochy would go and put Rowand in the lineup or something like that. But this isn't the first suggestion to produce the results on a grander scale. Is this something others have interest in? In any event, I really appreciate the kind words. It really took a lot of work for Colin and I, and John Perrotto, to get those out in as timely a fashion as possible.

chewbalka (Toronto): Do you think Pablo starts at 3B next year and Brandon Belt gets a shot at 1B? Haven't forgotten about Huff but having all three in the lineup would surely help the offense!?!

Eric Seidman: My feeling is Sandoval stays at third, Huff goes to another team, and Burrell is re-signed to play 1B. Torres is going to play CF, they essentially have to re-sign Ross at this point, and I bet they feel more comfortable putting Rowand/Schierholtz in the OF than Burrell.

Bernie (Brewtown): Would you agree with this small change in wording, Senator? "Any pitcher who has value --and has not yet proven himself incapable of effective and healthy with a starter's workload-- is better utilized in a starting rotation." Feliz and Cashner would then be rotation candidates, but Jeremy Jeffress or Mark Rogers might not be.

Eric Seidman: Yes, I'm onboard with that, but since yours is sort of grammatically incorrect, let's once and for all change it to "Any pitcher who has value -- and has not yet proven himself incapable of remaining healthy or effective with a starter's workload -- is better utilized in a starting rotation." We can call this Seidman's Law of Swingmen.

jdouglass (Chicago): Eric, re the Pujols question, if he ends up at $25MM per and Holliday is being paid $17MM per, given the Cards have a $95-100MM or so payroll historically, and given the shallowness of their farm, are they not in for a long ride of down times if they keep Pujols and fail to up their overall payroll to something in the $135MM range? Otherwise, they're assuming a very high amount of risk on $2-3MM/year veterans or playing a lot of non-MLB-ready kids it seems. Thanks.

Eric Seidman: In my mind, signing Holliday long-term meant that Pujols will be re-signed long-term. And you don't sign both of those guys long-term without upping the payroll in order to field a more competitive team around them. They have turned trash into treasure before, but it would really help them to turn the 95 mil into 120 mil, as they ended up in the worst possible financial area this year by fielding a team with a record above .500, but that did not make the playoffs.

WIBL (WIBLDom): Ron Roenicke as Brewers manager -- thoughts?

Eric Seidman: This is another example of a team where the manager means very, very, very little relative to the names he will actually pencil into the lineup card.

edwardarthur (New York): How vulnerable do you think Cliff Lee's pitching style would be to a loss in velocity over the next, say, seven years?

Eric Seidman: Lee throws about 91-92 mph right now but from what I've heard, his perceived velocity is greater because of his quick windup, deceptive release point, and sequencing of pitches. Because those three attributes are likely to age well -- at least in my opinion -- I can't see him being as vulnerable as someone like Roy Oswalt, who isn't going to throw 95 mph as a 37 year old, and whose "stuff" is a bit less impressive without the velocity.

Happy Feet (Felix, PA): My words weren't nearly kind enough to match the coolness of what you were trying to do. Perhaps you could put together a "matchup generator" in the Stats section that would allow the reader to select a team and an opposing pitcher to see how the various hitters match up, allowing us to second guess the managers while we watch games?

Eric Seidman: That would be interesting. I'll discuss with Colin and the team and see how feasible that would be.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): You don't like Choo or Cabrera in that Tribe offense?

Eric Seidman: Choo, yeah, but not Cabrera. In three full seasons, Cabrera has one very good year with the bat and two years with average or slightly below TAv's. I'm not saying he couldn't explode, but just that there isn't much there for me to think he is going to, without question, be a stud on offense.

Matt (Chicago): What type of offensive performer do you see Starlin Castro evolving into and how soon?

Eric Seidman: Maybe a Furcal-type, starting as soon as next season. I really like Castro.

Rob (Alaska): Given his unusual career path, how do you analyze/project Zack Greinke moving forward? At some level, the numbers are the numbers, but given his 2009 and his medical history, do statements about him being bored or distracted at the end of 2010 deserve weight? More weight than another player making a similar statement?

Eric Seidman: If you want to see something eerie, go compare Greinke's 2008 to his 2010. Heck, I'll do it here. Innings: 202 vs 220. K/9: 8.1 vs 7.4. BB/9: 2.5 vs 2.3. WHIP: 1.28 vs 1.25. HR/9: 0.9 vs. 0.7. Even if we go to raw totals they are very similar. Last year was likely a mirage. He isn't going to have a 2.16 ERA or anything around that each year, but I see no reason why he cannot be a 3.40 ERA pitcher, which is very valuable in the AL and certainly worthy of ace-status.

chewbalka (Toronto): A whole lot of people jumped off the Bumbarner bandwagon a year ago when his velocity went down. What do you think they're saying now?

Eric Seidman: I don't know, but how can you feel vindictive towards a group of people who had very rational concerns that a pitching prospect losing velocity might not work out? And plus, Bumgarner's velocity has pretty much returned. So those same people who jumped off the bandwagon are probably relieved the velo is somewhat back as opposed to anything else.

Matt (Chicago): Is it me or is Soto under-appreciated as a standout offensive performer at a defense-first position?

Eric Seidman: 2008=good year. 2009=bad year. 2010=good year. It's not that he is underappreciated but rather that people aren't sure what to expect from him. If his 2011=good year and people still don't notice, then it's not just you, but right now it's more curiosity than a lack of appreciation.

jdouglass (Chicago): Quick follow-up on the Pujols/Holliday ?. You said you don't think STL signs Holliday wo/ plans to extend Pujols and up the payroll to $120MM. But, given the cost Swartz has given us of buying a free-market win, and what STL will have tied up in the two of them, $120MM would still be kind of a let's-hope-we-get-lucky team payroll point if the farm doesn't start churning out a higher level of talent, would it not? Even at $120MM you have 40% of your payroll in two guys who are combined giving you 12-13 WARP, and that leaves you a good 27-30 wins from playoff contention.

Eric Seidman: The $120 figure was just a placeholder for my point, which was that you don't give Holliday a huge deal without intending to give Pujols a huge deal, and you don't give BOTH huge deals without realizing that the payroll needs to be increased. I suspect, especially with Carpenter getting up there in years, they will go through a "one-last-push" phase, up the payroll, put together a team capable of winning a championship, and then do some unloading to rebuild.

Eric Seidman: Well, three and a half hours of chat-tastic fun. I always enjoy these, and remember, feel free to email me or hit me up on Twitter!


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