Join the Colonel's regiment and charge some baseball!
Ben Lindbergh: Hi, folks--you may have had enough of me during the All-Star Game roundtable last night, but I'm back for more chatting today. Let's get this started.
Greg (Baltimore, MD): Living in Maryland, it isn't exactly kosher to question Cal Ripken, Jr., but why do you think he was essentially done as even an average player after the age of 30?
Ben Lindbergh: I wouldn't say he was done as an average player after the age of 30, but he was done as a significantly above-average one (and yet, his age-30 season was his best ever). Why? Who knows. It's tempting to tie his decline to his consecutive games played link, but that would probably be oversimplifying things. Some players don't age well. It could've been worse, and given that he came up at age 20, he crammed in a Cooperstown-caliber career before he went south anyway.
David DeJesus (Oakland): Why oh why did I get traded to Oakland in my contract year?
Ben Lindbergh: It's not really the Coliseum that hasn't been kind to DeJesus this year--he has a 708 OPS at home and a 575 OPS on the road. Neither of those numbers would prevent me from buying low on him for a contending tea.
DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Ben- haven't heard much on David Wright lately. How soon is he expected back and what do you expect from him in the 2nd half? Thanks,
Ben Lindbergh: Near as I can tell, Wright will start a rehab assignment this Friday. Terry Collins said he'd need 30 or 40 bush-league at-bats before he's ready to return, so you do the math. I'd expect the usual good things from Wright in the second half, but the Mets should heed Corey Dawkins' warning that the inflammation could return and force another trip to the disabled list, and give him plenty of rest.
ttt (work...): Any update on Reyes?
Ben Lindbergh: Last I heard, the 18th was looking for the target for Reyes. When he and Wright get back to the clubhouse, they'll both wonder where the closer went.
Richie (Washington): So will the Roundtable go up in written form on the site? I read much faster than I listen.
Ben Lindbergh: It was a written Roundtable, actually, so you're in luck. You can catch up on my ramblings about David Robertson, Steven Goldman's reflections on Abraham Lincoln, Kevin Goldstein's stopwatch stylings, and more, right here.
Landon (CA): Jose Bautista is on pace for an absolute monster year, with 2 years of elite production, what kind of Free Agent deal would he be have been in store for at the end of the year?
Ben Lindbergh: The Blue Jays took a gamble by extending Bautista on the basis of one breakout year, but it's safe to say that they saved themselves some cash. Five years, $65 million looks like a real bargain when you consider that Bautista on the free-agent market might be looking at Jayson Werth money.
Greg27 (Atlanta): Looking into your crystal ball, do you think Heyward is an All-star this time next year?
Ben Lindbergh: I do--he just has to stay healthy. Well, that and play well, but in his case, at least, those two things are closely related. It's not clear that staying healthy is one of his skills, but now that I've qualified my original statement sufficiently, yes, I still think we'll be watching Heyward while writing next year's Roundtable.
Tom (Madison): With the A's season is over, what offensive players should be brought back? The only ones I definitely bring back are Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore.
Ben Lindbergh: Well, Kurt Suzuki isn't going anywhere, Chris Carter will be worth playing, and maybe Daric Barton will have hit his way back to the majors by then. Other than that--I was going to say Cliff Pennington (who was actually Oakland's most valuable player last season, according to WARP), though it would be better if the A's could arrange to bring back his glove and substitute someone else's bat. However, I've just noticed that FRAA seems to hate him this season as much as it loved him in 2010. Anyone noticed any big change in Pennington's play in the field?
Liam (Chicago): Ben - We know KG is the guru, and Jason's knowledge, when it comes to prospects but hopefully some others can answer questions on the prospect front. What's your familiarity with prospects outside the mainstream in the top 100?
Ben Lindbergh: You can try me, but chances are any major insights I might have would be regurgitated from Kevin or Jason, since in most cases I haven't actually seen these guys play or talked to anyone else who has. In many cases, these guys are a face and a stat line to me, which is something, but far from everything.
Honestly, I have my hands full keeping track of the 750 prospects who've already made it to the majors. How Kevin finds time to know something about every player playing professional baseball and still sleep eight hours or so a night (according to last night's Roundtable), I'll never know. But I'd love to learn his secret.
Ian (New York): When it's all said and done, how many hits does Derek Jeter have in his career? Rose, Yaz, Ripken, etc. all got to pad their stats long after their days as productive players were passed. How many more years will the Yankees allow Jeter to do the same?
Ben Lindbergh: Well, Jeter is already padding his stats after his days as a productive player are passed, and given that he's signed for two more seasons (plus a player option), he could continue to do that for some time, if he wants to (and yes, if the Yankees allow him to). Off the top of my head--I don't know, 3300?
Richie (Washington): Don't know about anybody else, but when I click "right here" it don't take me to no "written" Roundtable.
Ben Lindbergh: It should have. Just click "Replay" on the little CoveritLive applet embedded on the page.
Adam Lind (Toronto Blue Jays): How wasn't I an All-Star? I missed a month with injury!
Ben Lindbergh: I think you may have just answered your own question, you silly first baseman, you.
Dylan B (Boston,MA): How do Matt Kemp and Dread Pirate compare RoS? I got some interesting trade offers include McCutchen + an injured Josh Johnson or Beckett for Kemp?
Ben Lindbergh: Well, they compare pretty closely in actual baseball, but in fantasy (which--disclaimer--I haven't played in some time now), Kemp is easily the superior player. I don't think I'd give up an awful lot for Josh Johnson right now.
CarsonVreck (Oakland): Sizemore's been a pleasant surprise so far, what kind of offensive upside do you see from him moving forward? Enough pop for 15-20hrs .290avg?
Ben Lindbergh: That sounds like a fairly reasonable expectation.
I'm trying to order food online while chatting, which sounds easier than it is, especially when you have a million Firefox tabs open.
Marc (In Your Internets): I don't want to say that I kind of want to quit life for a week and just shoot gigantic ants in Earth Defense Force, but, well, I do. And I might.
Ben Lindbergh: When a beloved former BP author makes an appearance in a chat, does he get a standing ovation like a popular player returns to his old park after leaving via free agency? (Unless he's A-Rod or something, in which case he gets booed mercilessly for years?) If so, please rise and recognize Marc Normandin!
Marc and I have been trying to fit in the rest of our lives around the embarrassingly-titled video game Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon for the last several days. If you haven't heard of it--and even the guy at Gamestop who sold it to me hadn't--do yourself a favor and check it out. It's cheap, and yes, there are a lot of giant ants.
Marc (In Your Internets): Give me your credit card info and I'll order the food for you.
Ben Lindbergh: Too late. The deed is done.
dianagramr (NYC): I'd watch Fox Saturday baseball more often if they had Justin Timberlake announcing instead of Buck and McCarver ... how about you?
Ben Lindbergh: If he would either A) sing the play-by-play, B) keep saying "Aaaand...that happened" like John Mayer did when he was in the booth, C) bring Jessica Biel with him, or D) remain completely silent, then yes, probably.
dianagramr (NYC): Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon .... It's cheap, and yes, there are a lot of giant ants.
But unlike the similarly-themed "Starship Troopers" movie, your video game doesn't include the wonderful Michael Ironside, does it?
Ben Lindbergh: No. But there are also giant wasps, and giant evil robots and alien mother ships. And awful, awful dialogue.
KevinReynolds24 (Minnesota): Does sound like very good news on Josh Johnson, presume the Marlins shut him down for the season if no progress by August?
Ben Lindbergh: If he's made no progress by then, would seem like a fairly safe bet. I can give you more details when Corey Dawkins and I combine to form Voltron and then sit down to write Collateral Damage.
Vince (Milwaukee): Thoughts on the K-rod trade for the Brew Crew?
Ben Lindbergh: The Brewers are right to go all-in, given that their competitive window won't be open for that long. The Mets are forking over plenty of cash, Rodriguez's Option of Doom is unlikely to vest, and the Brewers don't really have any prospects worth getting worked up over anyway, so why not roll the dice? Rodriguez has been a high-BABIP guy this season--he's still effective.
squirrelmasterz (Seattle): What would the return package look like in a trade for Carlos Marmol?
Ben Lindbergh: Marmol is signed for two more seasons, but like a lot of Cubs players, he'll be making a pretty penny in both of them (especially the second one: $9.8 million). That'll cut down on the caliber of the prospects coming back, unless the Cubs include cash, but given that he signed his extension before this season, the Cubs might not be looking to trade him.
Bob (New York): I was just thinking about some of the players on the trade market and imagining up deals in my head. What would you think about the Yankees trading Brett Gardner and a Grade B prospect to the Astros for Hunter Pence. Would that make sense for both teams?
Ben Lindbergh: Gardner is younger, cheaper, and roughly as good as Pence, so I certainly wouldn't want to see the Yankees do that. Then again, I've been known to become violent at the mere thought of anyone displacing Brett Gardner in either A) the outfield or B) my heart.
Dennis (LA): Do you see the Angels trying to acquire Heath Bell? They seem unlikely to be able to acquire a decent 3B with power, so would their best bet to make (and advance in) the post-season be to ride Weaver and Haren and a shut-down bullpen?
Ben Lindbergh: That's not the worst idea, though the Angels have already committed quite a few bucks to their bullpen and Jordan Walden hasn't disappointed.
Yikes, Tyler Chatwood has a 4.7 BB/9, a 4.7 K/9, and a 3.62 ERA. I know he's a groundballer, but something's gotta give.
Paul (DC): Mike Stanton. With a .255 avg, .326 obp, .517 slg, 18 HRs, and 128 OPS+ in 302 ABs, is he meeting, exceeding, or failing expectations so far for his age 21 season?
Ben Lindbergh: I'd say he's meeting them almost exactly--lots of strikeouts and lots of power is exactly what was forecasted for him. Maybe he's exceeding expectations, once you factor in the fact that he can't see. At this rate, I'd say he surpasses the WARP accumulated by the other Mike Stanton (in a 19-year career) by the end of 2013.
Trevor (Queens, NY): Based on what you've seen or hear, think Bobby Parnell takes the closer's job and runs with it?
Ben Lindbergh: Yes and yes.
ttt (Stupid work): If Axford gets hurt, does Rodriguez become the closer or will the Brewers do anything to avoid that option?
Ben Lindbergh: If he gets hurt tomorrow, every single person in the Brewers' pen, and possibly some position players on the bench, might be ahead of Rodriguez in the closer hierarchy, but if he gets hurt a month from now, or in September, sure. As R.J. Anderson (who wrote the TA entry on the Rodriguez deal) notes, they have 31 finishes to play with in 70 games, so a little K-Rod closing wouldn't kill them.
Dennis (LA): How much more do you think the Padres will want for Mike Adams and the extra year of team control compared to the price for Heath Bell?
Ben Lindbergh: Adams is awesome and not an impending free agent, so it might take a real prospect to get him, but enough relievers seem to be on the market this summer to depress the asking price for any one of them.
MJ (Work): I would hate to see Prince leave Milwaukee and, even as a Cubs fan, I do not want to see the Cubs sign him because it is another reminder of their need to cherry pick and overspend on FA's to make up for their inability to develop from within. For me, there is a lot to like about a guy staying with the team that drafted and developed him, and Milwaukee has done a great job of building its team organically. I know there are economic challenges for the Brewers in signing Prince, but what do you feel the odds are that he stays, even if it means giving them a hometown discount?
Ben Lindbergh: I'd say they're pretty low, but we might have to wait for the Pujols saga to conclude before we get any closure with Prince. And hey, Mat Gamel is every bit as exciting as Prince Fielder, right?
Paul (DC): Does Leland pitch Verlander till his arm falls off?
Ben Lindbergh: Evidently--Verlander has the second-most Pitcher Abuse points in the majors, and he's averaging 119 pitches per game, with a high of 134--but at least he's doing it in pursuit of a pennant. What's Eric Wedge's excuse for overworking Felix Hernandez?
MJ (Work): To continue the discussion on the K-Rod trade:
1. How are "finishes" defined? Recording the last out of the game? Recording a save (or blown save)? Other?
2. Any chance Beato closes for the Mets?
Ben Lindbergh: I believe it's recording the last out, yes. As for Beato, I think that's a long shot--if Parnell bombs, Isringhausen is probably next in line (which isn't something I thought I'd ever be saying again).
stately (atl): who is ben lindbergh?
Ben Lindbergh: He's an unknown actor who had a minor role in "Talk to Her," according to his IMDB page.
JeremyStenson (Washington): Any update on Strasburg? I thought I heard that me might be heading out for rehab assignment in August!?
Ben Lindbergh: You heard right--he's throwing breaking balls, and rehab starts next month are a possibility. You'd think the Nats would take it slow, though, as nice a story as it would be if he could make a major-league appearance before the end of the season. Just in case, though, by the first light of the third day, look to the East!
MJ (Work): Favorite MLB stadium you have been to?
Ben Lindbergh: For sentimental reasons, the previous incarnation of Yankee Stadium, but otherwise...Fenway? PNC? Safeco? I'm also quite partial to Citi Field.
Ben Lindbergh: Traffic is a little light this aft--perhaps you're all chatted-out after sitting in on last night's roundtable--so I'm going to call a semi-early halt to the proceedings. As always, I've enjoyed the questions, and thank you for giving Baseball Prospectus a chunk of your afternoon.