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Chat: Dan Evans

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday August 01, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with Dan Evans.

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Former Los Angeles Dodgers GM and current Baseball Prospectus contributor Dan Evans stops by for his inaugural BP chat.

Dan Evans: Thanks to everyone who has joined this chat and I have received a lot of great questions which I look forward to answering. Don't hesitate to ad another. Let's go!

Asinwreck (Oak Park, IL): Dan, as a longtime White Sox fan, I am delighted to see you here at BP. Since you started working in MLB in the early 1980s, how have front office structures changed? Also, as you worked your way up to become Dodger GM, how did your methods of evaluating players evolve? Did you begin to value or devalue particular metrics? In what ways does the Dan Evans of 2012 see baseball differently than the Dan Evans of 1982 did?

Dan Evans: Good to hear from a longtime White Sox fan, and thanks for the kind words. Great question! Technology has made baseball front offices better able to analyze their teams. Video use, computer technology like PITCHf/x found on our webste, Cot's Contracts were great adds. I was lucky to be with a progressive organization in Chicago and we were pioneers in using computers. My methods evolved thru years of being in the game, and learning from successful people. I learned that many myths were not true, and that challenging them was fun. I see things from an experienced standpoint now, and realize that many issues and situations are similar to something I did in the past. My view point on things is different because of the many roles I have had, and have immense respect for those in the sport, particularly the scouts.

edwardarthur (Illinois): In the Moneyball movie, trade calls seem to last about 10 seconds. In reality, how often are calls that short and to-the-point? How often do GMs have lengthy calls where there really discuss the merits of players or trades in depth with another GM?

Dan Evans: Good question edwardarthur...there is no real answer to this as calls vary in length, some merit more discussion because it includes a player with a complicated contract. Shorter calls occur when the other party is very direct on a particular player or game plan. Your relationships vary from GM to GM and their personality makes a difference too.

Aidan (Pennsylvania): As someone who has high aspirations of someday becoming a front office executive in professional baseball, what sort of steps are needed for my dream to become a reality? Thanks

Dan Evans: My wife is a Pennsylvanie native, Aidan! First off, I hope that you get to work in professional baseball, as if you have high aspirations, absolutely go for it. I would suggest contacting each of the MLB orgnizations and entities within the sport, and display to them that you are more than a fan, that you can make a contribution to their club. If there is a certain skill set that you have/are passionate about make sure that you have a concrete presentation or examples of your work that you can show to an organization and it will certainly set you apart for the back. Wishing you the best of luck.

Starlin Rizzo (California): Dan- Thanks for the chat. The Cubs major league team and farm is heavily weighted towards position players. The farm system seemingly has few, if any, starting pitchers that offer any upside beyond middle relief or a 5th starter. Samardzjia is the only young arm that seems like a long term top to middle of the rotation option. How do Theo & Jed bridge this gap and construct a quality rotation in the next 2-3 years? With a pretty thin free agent market the next few years (after guys like Hamels & Cain got locked up) and nothing on the farm, seems like it will take some creativity to find some top to middle of the rotation guys. I suppose moving Garza in the offseason could net at least one such arm but I don't know if they'll have to rely on free agency ultimately since the position players will be so far ahead of the arms in 2-3 years. Thanks!

Dan Evans: A Cub fan living in California? You must be looking forward to the upcoming West Coast trip for the Cubbies! Theo and Jed, along with their staff, are really talented people. Pitching is the toughest asset to acquire in the game, and I am sure their game plan includes that fact. It takes time to develop pitching throughout your system and even the best organizations don't think they have enough. I will refrain from answering the player-specific questions as I am not in the middle of the Cubs' daily internal conversations.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Jeff Luhnow added top-shelf talent in the draft and good depth during July. Do the Astros have a Top 10 farm system at this point?

Dan Evans: Only 93 today in Houston, Ashitaka1110? Jeff is a really talented guy, and Kevin Goldstein rated the Astros' system #26 earlier in the year. His deals and the recent amateur draft definitely bolstered the organization, and their farm system will be in the upper half of clubs by the off-season.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Astros pushed Nolan Fontana fast and he's doing well in A-ball Lexington already. ETA to the Majors for him? Is he or Jonathan Villar the shortstop of the future at this point?

Dan Evans: For the next question, Ashitaka1110, I have seen both players, but not recently. Fontana has great bloodlines, as his grandfather is former Milwaukee Brave RHP Lew Burdette, which might help him get there a little sooner. Villar was a good get in the Pence deal, and the Astros will have a couple of talented kids to evaluate.

billd1 (Chicago): Dan, no question. Just wanted to tell you that your missive of yesterday was one of the best and most enlightening I have ever read at Baseball Prospectus. Many thanks. WLD

Dan Evans: Thanks, billd1, wondering what part of my hometown you live? I appreciate the comment, and am thankful for Baseball Prospectus for the opportunity to express my thoughts.

R.A.Wagman (Toronto): Glad to have you aboard the BP community. Having been deeply involved in the game at the innermost levels for nearly 30 years (I think) do decisions/moves/advances still have the capacity to surprise you? If so, can you provide a recent example or two and why that surprised you?

Dan Evans: Toronto is one of my favorite cities, R.A.Wagman. Yes, I still get surprised, but not as often as when I first started at 20 and a junior in college. There are 30 very different organizations, and countless ways of doing things. The day I am not surprised would be a day that I have to reconsider being in the game. The Futures Game is one of the great advances - I love that game and like how MLB have given them a great stage to display their talent. It's funny that no one ever thought of having that game before and now it has become a can't miss aspect of the All Star Game.

R.A.Wagman (Toronto): Dan, do you think there are still areas that the mainstream analysis community - of which I include BP - have not yet deeply explored that have potential use in baseball decisions? Thanks for answering.

Dan Evans: There is always something being considered somewhere around the world that will make our analysis of this great game better. I never would have anticipated mainsteam analysis in a chat room years ago. I'm amazed at how some websites like BP have become go-to sites, because who could have expected that in the past?

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Jarred Cosart went on a nice run after a blister problem and was promoted to AAA. Chances of him sticking as a starter, and how dominant of a closer could he be if the rotation doesn't work out?

Dan Evans: Thanks for all of your fantastic questions, Ashitaka1110! Cosart is already at AAA at age 20, a remarkable feat in itself. I saw him in the 2011 Futures. Regarding his role, a great arm like his will positively impact the Astros in whatever situation they feel works best.

Tim (Seattle): Is it a surreal experience for one team to trade a player to a team they are playing a series against? For example, the Seattle Mariners traded Ichiro to the Yankees and then a relief pitcher to the Blue Jays while each team was in town. Is this done solely to save money on travel expenses? Has a GM ever called in sick on the day of the trading deadline?

Dan Evans: Thanks, Tim, I love Seattle and was lucky to work for the M's for four years. It is weird for a guy to go from one clubhouse to another, but teams don't worry about the timing as much as completing the deal. Expenses would not come into play. I doubt that a GM has ever called in sick, but I would suggest that most GM's and their staff wouldn't mind coming in a little later today.

mbarr4 (Dallas): Hi, Dan. Loved your first article. I was hoping you could give some insight into the valuation of prospects with respects to the trade market. How has the value of prospects changed since your time as a GM? Do you think prospects are over, under or properly valued at this time?

Dan Evans: Hey mbarr4, thank you for the compliment and it is a pleasure to work with the talented people at Baseball Prospectus. Good question. Prospect value has significantly increased throughout my career, especially in the last 15 years or so as the game's economics have escalated. I think MLB staffs wisely place value on young, talented players making at or near the minimum.

sharky (Chi-town): Dan, can you offer your thoughts on the impact of the new CBA? Specifically how do you think GMs/clubs are reacting to the new world order? Seems to be a more level playing field for (U.S.) amateur talent. So clubs are getting less in return for late season rentals, etc. Where do you see this taking MLB short-term and longer-term? Thanks!

Dan Evans: Hello sharky from Chi-town! Cub or Sox fan? This is the first year of the CBA and it has been fun to watch teams start to implement their game plan accordingly. Drafting seniors in the first 10 rounds was a great example of clubs figuring out away to maximize their options. I have concerns about the multi-sport athlete being able to get drafted with the new changes, but the jury is still out. The CBA definitely has affected trades in that the loss of compensation for a traded player has altered the landscape. In response to your question of long or short term effects - the best players will still be drafted high regardless of the CBA. Thank you for the question.

Jacob Hopkins (Kansas City): Dan, it was great to meet you at the BP event here in KC. I was wondering do you think the new CBA with the draft and Int FA changes will hurt baseball these next few years?

Dan Evans: Thanks for attending the BP event in Kansas City, and I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. I am thankful to have such a unique perspective on your question, as I have been involved with both areas on both sides of the table. The new CBA will likely alter the international signings, but we are only in the first 30 days of the new period. Any time you have a finite amount of money to spend it will affect your choices.

Jacob Hopkins (Kansas City): What is the biggest challenge for an agent when it comes to becoming an advisor for a HS or college player?

Dan Evans: Thanks again, Jacob! Nice job by your hometown Royals with all the ASG festivities. I have experience in advising both college and high school players and I believe the biggest point is managing expectations. Families need to realize where their player's strengths and weaknesses rate among their peers.

Jacob Hopkins (Kansas City): What is the biggest challenge for an agent when it comes to becoming an advisor for a HS or college player?

Dan Evans: Thanks again, Jacob! Nice job by your hometown Royals with all the ASG festivities. I have experience in advising both college and high school players and I believe the biggest point is managing expectations. Families need to realize where their player's strengths and weaknesses rate among their peers.

Alex (Anaheim): Obviously itís no longer something like OBP, but is there anything that you believe is still undervalued in MLB at this moment?

Dan Evans: Thanks, Alex. I think a stat on Baseball Prospectus' website, RBI Opportunities, is actually huge in value and unknown by many. I find it to be a great indicator of converting chances to score runs and displays the guys who get the job done. I have used it for over a decade and love it.

IShouldaBeenLeftHanded (Los Angeles, CA): Hello Dan, happy you're here chatting with us! It appears there are some teams who have stockpiled an impressive stable of minor league prospects. Some of these players will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft in December. Can you tell us the mindset of putting some of these players on the 40 man roster and leaving others off? Also, I see many players are returned to their orginal team. What tought process goes into selecting a player who you think you can keep? Thanks for taking my question.

Dan Evans: Hey IShouldaBeenLeftHanded, I am left-handed! I'm enjoying the chat, hope that you are too. Really good question about the 40-man and the Rule 5 Draft. Over 75% of the players selected in the draft come back to their former club, and often that is the reason that teams leave players on a Triple A roster, as they realize the risk of being selected but figure the player will return. I left Shane Victorino on a Triple-A roster in 2002, but he had just started to switch-hit and we thought we'd get him back if selected and we did after the Padres took him. When you select a player you have to weigh whether he can stick with the club the entire season and not compromise your field staff too much with a 24-man roster, and also need to compare him to your existing guys. Roberto Clemente is the Rule 5 pick ever.

mpenny55 (Houston): Dan: Thanks for chatting. When a GM is seeking to trade a guy with 10/5 rights, is the GM speaking directly with the player regarding approval of the trade, or is all communication through the player's agent?

Dan Evans: mpenny55, usually the conversation is between a high-ranking official of the team, either the GM or a top asisstant, and the player's agent, but the player always has a relationship with the team at that point because of his longevity with the club.

Josh (The deep, blue sea): During the trade deadline, we hear lots of talk about trades being "close" or teams "making progress" on moving certain players. What do these terms actually mean? They've agreed on one part of the swap, but not the other? Team A likes Team B's list of prospects?

Dan Evans: "Close" or "making progress" are nice vague terms that you need to use sometimes. The usual hang up is the players who are coming back in return and in some cases it is the combination of players in more complicated deals. Sometimes it is the amount of money being included, and occasionally it is something that one of the teams just doesn't feel comfortable about.Clubs are prohibited from discussing names on other teams directly due to the tampering rule.

Jim (Seattle): How much do you look into turn your players around and maximize the value if possible? To be more specific, I thought White Sox were brilliant as they were able to turn controllable RPs to closers then sell it, with the next waves of prospects coming up.

Dan Evans: Thanks Jim, hoping it's a good day in the Northwest. Very few players remain with your club for an extended period, so as a GM you are always looking an incremental improvement at every position. Your staff and scouts have to always look at ways of maximizing a player's value, sometimes moving a starter to a closer like we did in Chicago with Roberto Hernandez. Switching positions is another way, like we did with Russell Martin in Los Angeles, as we drafted him as a 3B and moved him to catcher.

John Carter (Toronto (Tigers fan originally from the New York a): Big welcome, Dan. Will you, please, tell us some of those myths you've seen dis-proven?

Dan Evans: Thanks, John. When I first started in baseball, there was a myth that using defensive shifts could be harmful. We were really advanced with the White Sox, using computer analysis a decade before most other teams, and had a progressive field staff led by Tony LaRussa. We found that hitters with a history against our pitchers were good risks and set up accordingly and it worked. In addition, Buddy Bell, one of the greatest minds I have ever met, convinced me that a 3B playing the line is not as good an idea as I had heard over the years, and he was right.

Mikeleelop (Toronto): How does AA go through the process with a young catcher - Arencibia and top prospect D'Arnaud? Would you anticipate D'Arnaud splitting time in the majors next season with Arencibia, or AA trying to deal Arencibia or D'Arnaud starting the year in AAA?

Dan Evans: Mikeleelop, catchers are tricky, especially because nearly every catcher who gets into pro ball has never been allowed to call any pitches at the amateur level because the coach wants control. That is a big element of development that needs to be addressed when a guy signs and continues for years. Plus, nearly every catcher who signs has one aspect of his game ahead of the other, either offense or defense. The Jays' development staff is really good, and they are the only ones who could really specifically answer your question since they interact with the players on a daily basis. That was a really good question.

Matt (San Diego): I am curious about how information is acquired and distributed throughout an organization. Between statistics, scouting reports, evaluations, memos, decisions, etc., it seems to be quite a challenge to make sure everybody is informed and on the same page. I am also curious because I am a software developer, and I imagine good systems and software can help solve this problem. How do you see teams solving this problem? And will solving that problem give a competitive edge? When new management comes in, do they try to replace old systems and protocols, or can they? Thanks, and glad to have you at BP.

Dan Evans: Good question, Matt. Every club has its own way of distributing information, using in-house systems. When Kim Ng joined the White Sox as an intern, she changed some of the ways we did things just by adding some technology. There are so many people involved on a daily basis with a ball club, and games are played every day, with some teams having as many as eight farm clubs and many personnel on the road. It is tricky. I am sure that every club has what they think is the best method and frequently when people change organizations, they bring some ways of doing things that they have learned from a previous employer. New department heads bring their own way of doing things and rightfully so, as they need things set up to match their ways of getting things done. When I first started as an intern, I made a ton of copies every day and distributed it accordingly. Now most clubs are paperless. Your background as a software developer would enable you to have more options and suggestions, I am sure. Thanks for your support of BP.

Justin (Chicago): Thanks for your time, Dan! What is your favorite moment with the White Sox or a story you enjoy the most?

Dan Evans: Justin from Chicago...my favorite White Sox moment was the night we clinched the American League West Division title in 1983. The city had not had post-season baseball since 1959, and I grew up on the city's North Side and knew what it meant to the town. It was an exciting club that caught fire in the second half, and scored a then team-record 800 runs after we altered the park's dimensions. There was jubilation that night, and the respect for Roland Hemond being carried thru the clubhouse by his players is something I will never forget. I was exceptionally lucky to work with such a great bunch of people in my very early years there: among them Tony La Russa, Roland Hemond, Jerry Reinsdorf, Charley Lau, Dave Dombrowski, Bill Smith, Dave Duncan, George Bradley, Bob Fontaine, John Boles, Eddie Brinkman, and Jack Gould. It was an absolute great place to work and I could not wait to get to the ball park every day.

Aaron (Long Beach): Great to have you at BP, Dan!! I've heard the expression "bloodlines" thrown around baseball circles for a while (including today's chat). What benefits/advantages do you ascribe to that particular trait in a player? Also, as a Dodger fan, thank you for the 2002 and 2003 drafts!!

Dan Evans: Aaron, your city has such a great history of talented baseball players! Bloodlines are really a great advantage, because a young player with parents or family with a history in the game have an advantage since they know a little bit better what to expect and how difficult it is. Having a Dad who played professionally is such a huge plus for a young player struggling at some stage of his career. As for the 2002-2003 drafts, thank you as they were among the most productive drafts in MLB history, but it was as a result of some extremely talented people who I was lucky to work with. Great scouts and talented player development people made it all work, and our goal was to turn around a farm system that had been rated 28th when I started. We were 2nd two years later.

Sharky (Chi-town): Appreciated your answer to the question about the CBA. Sadly I'm a Mets fan. Two more quick questions for you: 1) TV revenues have exploded. Smart teams with money will now spend more on _____ (fill in the blank) than they have in past. Locking up stars? Training academies in the Dominican? Signing free agents? Acquiring cost-controlled players? (answering "all of the above" counts as a cop-out!) 2) Will the new CBA result in prospects being promoted more slowly? Thanks!

Dan Evans: Thanks again, Sharky, don't be ashamed about being a Mets fan, it's okay, and the new ballpark is outstanding. I am not going to cop out, but every club will place a different emphasis on the four categories you mentioned, because you got it right as they are the major avenues of player acquisition. Personally, I think player development and scouting is the way to go, especially on the international side since nearly 30% of the players are not domestic drafts. Smart clubs will invest more of their resources in academies to maximize their buying power and staff their scouts as well as they can. Area scouts have more impact than ever because they need to know signability with the new CBA. I believe the new CBA has made clubs focus on building from within more than ever before, and consider tying up their stars early to have some cost certainty. Cost control players have more value than ever before, but you have to them and develop them first. I don't think the CBA will necessarily quicken prospects' flow to the majors, as I was given good advice many years ago by a wise sage: "They aren't ready when you want them to be, they are ready when their game comes together and not until."

John (Pittsburgh): I really enjoyed your article about the trade deadline. I'm curious as to how often trades happen without one or both clubs engaging in the sort of due diligence that you described. How often do trades happen with minimal (or no) advance scouting or analysis? Certainly there have been plenty of trades over the years (plenty involving prior Pittsburgh regimes) that were real head-scratchers at the time. Thanks, and great to have you at BP.

Dan Evans: Thanks for the question, John, and it is so good to see the Pirates emerging as a contender under Neal's direction. I would doubt that many deals have been made in the last 25 years without a scouting report being an element of the process. If two GM's have a good relationship and are comfortable with the players involved, there could be a quick decision. As I got more experience I began trusting my gut more and more. I know when I negotiated part of the Paul Konerko/Mike Cameron deal when I was with the White Sox, it was done in two conversations and both sides were ready to go in about 45 minutes. An advantage is knowing players from their amateur days because you have a better feel for the guy, including knowing his character.

Ida (Pasadena, CA): What's your favorite baseball memory?

Dan Evans: Thanks for your questions Ida, I live in the same town! Easily my greatest baseball memory is August 4, 1985, when Tom Seaver won his 300th game at a sold-out Yankee Stadium. It was Tom's first attempt at winning 300, and it could not have been scripted any better. I was traveling with the club during that period of my career, and had developed a great relationship with Seaver, so it meant even more to me. We got off the bus and a fan screamed out, "Hey Seaver, I hope you break your arm out there today" and Tom was right next to me. It broke the ice for him, as he let out his signature laugh and yelled back "Thanks for all your support." It was Old Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium and all the great Yankees were in attendance like DiMaggio. New York baseball fans, who loved him during all those years with the Mets, were incredibly supportive throughout the game, and the old Stadium was electric due to his quest and the great Yankee oldtimers in pre-game. Pitching coach Dave Duncan came out to the mound in the later innings, and was greeted with boos from the crowd, but Tony La Russa was never going to take out Seaver unless he had to, it was his game to lose. Tom threw a complete game at age 40, which was amazing in itself, and it was such a perfect moment. We had a closed clubhouse afterwards for a few minutes after the game as Tom composed himself, and his class came out as he had a game-used baseball from #300 for every member of the traveling party. The players had such immense respect for him as he was such a great mind and had such an amazing career. I'll likely never be able to duplicate that afternoon.

Scrapper (Northbrook, IL): Do GMs ever test the markets using e-mail or is mostly by phone? Do teams ever put players "out there" or otherwise advise their fellow GMs generally what they are looking for or what they may be looking to deal in an e-mail?

Dan Evans: Hello Scrapper from Northbrook, not too far from where I lived in Evanston. Most of interaction is via text messages today, and some are done by email, but there always phone calls in the end if things get close. If you direct with the other side of the equation, it usually brings direct answers back.

JWR (USA!, USA!): What can you tell us about Sox GM Kenny Williams that we might not know?

Dan Evans: Thanks, JWR. Kenny is one of the most resourceful people that I have ever met, and I have known him for more than 20 years. Something you may not know about him...both of us had fathers who were firemen.

IShouldaBeenLeftHanded (Los Angeles, CA): So if a Rule 5 player is returned to his orginal team and that club doesn't want to keep him on the 40 man roster he has to be outrighted correct? This being the case the club would have burned one outright assignment on the Rule 5 guy correct? So I guess the club would be a bit limited what they can do with the player, right? How many more outrights would that player have?

Dan Evans: Another good question, IShouldaBeenLeftHanded. Once a club wants to return a Rule 5 selection, they first have to pass the player through irrevocable outright waivers, and every club gets a chance to claim him. Then the team has to offer him back to his former team for $25,000. He's either on your big league 25-man or you lose control of him, but for the low cost of the risk, $50,000, it's a great play. If he clears, is offered back, and the former club accepts him, he is outrighted to that team and its an outright assignment. The next time he is outrighted, he can reject the assignment and become a free agent.

Lincoln (Nebraska): Hi Dan! Can you offer your perspective on two politically-charged issues? 1) The "blackouts" of MLB broadcasts. For example, on Saturday afternoons, it's Fox and game of the week --- but only if you live in the right market. If there's no game locally, there's no baseball to be seen. This is frustrating to a fan, and seems a bad long-term call for MLB (fans can't see anything on a weekend afternoon!). Will it change ever? 2) Bud Selig's changes. The days of Kennesaw Mountain Landis and independent commissioners are long gone. The commissioner represents the owners. But are recent changes good or bad for the game long-term? Wild card play, unbalanced schedule, All Star Game "counts" -- I'm looking at you. Thoughts? Thanks!!!

Dan Evans: Thanks Lincoln from Nebraska, should I capitolize everything? Sorry, my daughters would moan about that joke. The blackout rules frustrate me sometimes too, but I don't have as good a feel for the rules as I do everyday personnel situations. It can be difficult when you want to see a game in a market outside yours for whatever reason or you're traveling. I get it, but just don't know enough to give you a solution to the problem. Regarding Bud Selig's changes while Commissioner, I think the addition of an extra division in each league along with both stages of the wild card were brilliant. More teams have a chance to get into the post-season, and that is so good for the sport. I remember being with a great White Sox during the Athletics' incredible run 20 years ago, and the wild card would have been outstanding for us since we had no chance to catch them despite winning over 90 games one year. It keeps baseball relevant in some markets where football would take over if the home club had no chance. I also like how the All Star Game has evolved into a three-day event, bringing in the Futures Game and the Home Run Hitting contest, which are so much fun to attend or watch on TV. The Arizona Fall League is also a big addition during his time, as it has been a huge success.

JWR (USA): You stated earlier that GMs have been increasingly protective of their prospects over the last 10 years. However, has the pendulum swung too far? Are GMs now TOO protective of their prospects?

Dan Evans: There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as no one really knows how they are valued except for the participants of trade discussions. You always like your own players more than most other teams, because you have invested time and energy into their careers. I am sure that from time to time, every GM overvalues his own players. The problem is that to fully evaluate a trade it takes years and people always want to judge a deal when it is made.

Scrapper (Northbrook, IL): Are pitchers getting injured at a greater rate than in the past? If so, what do you attribute this to?

Dan Evans: I don't think they are being injured more often, but I think improvements in medical evaluation give team doctors and trainers more evidence of issues that were perhaps undetected in the past.

Aidan (Pennsylvania): Not a question Dan but thanks so much for your insightful responses and feedback today.

Dan Evans: Thanks Aidan, much appreciated.

Scrapper (Northbrook): What percentage of ML players are put on waivers in August after the trade deadline? What percentage of the players on waivers are claimed at some point by another team (although most of those players are then pulled back by the first team)?

Dan Evans: Nearly every Major League player is placed on waivers over the next few days of this new waiver period. I wouldn't know the exact percentage of claims, as only the central office would have an idea of that, but players who can help a team in the race and have a contract that can be assumed get a lot of attention. It is an interesting process in the first 10 days of August.

edwardarthur (Illinois): I was at the Seaver game and, if I recall correctly, it was Phil Rizzuto too and they brought a cow onto the field. My clearest memory is Don Baylor coming up in the ninth and hitting the ball to the warning track to end the game on what was almost a tying or winning home run.

Dan Evans: You have a good memory, edwardarthur! Baylor just missed a sinker and hit one of the tallest fly balls I have ever seen, but it was caught by Reid Nichols in LF. I spoke with Don about this years later, and he knew he was on it, just enough off the barrel to stay in the park. And yes, I think there might have been a cow on the field pre-game!

boards (San Antonio): Landis was only independent by today's standards. He became commissioner because partly due to his collusion with MLB in their court battle with the Federal League. Dan, you should know that the Arizona Fall League was the brainchild of Roland Hemond! Shame! :)

Dan Evans: boards from San Antonio....yes, indeed, Roland Hemond was the guy who came up with the idea of the Arizona Fall League, and Roland also had a lot to do with the pension plan that all MLB employees have now. In addition, Roland had a lot to do with minor league players having free agency in the minors after seven years. He has also been instrumental in bringing in the University of Phoenix to aid players in obtaining a college education while they are playing. He was the first GM I ever worked for, and has had a dramatic impact on the game. I love that guy.

JWR (USA): What do you think is the ideal split for a 25 man roster between hitters and pitchers? It seems that teams in recent years have been using more and more pitchers but I don't know whether that is a good or bad idea.

Dan Evans: Good questions, JWR! The game as really migrated to 11 and 12-man pitching staffs, which might protect the arms but makes it tough on the bench players especially in the NL. It is a balancing act for GMs and their field staffs. Clubs should promote versatility in the minors, grooming players to be multi-position guys early in their career. In my perfect world, you would have 14 position players, 11 pitchers and in the AL, a flexible DH spot.

Scrapper (Northbrook): People like to argue about what makes a good manager but it seems that there are just so many traits that a good manager must possess. What do you think are the two or three traits that a good manager should possess?

Dan Evans: Scrapper, I think today's manager has a more difficult task than they did 25 years ago. They are the public face of the organization, constantly having to interact with the media prior to and after the game, delegating responsibilities to their field staff. I think a successful manager first and foremost has to be able to communicate with his players, and be able to handle difficult situations that come up. I also think his personality needs to be consistent, particularly with the length of the season and the fact that games are played nearly every day. He has to be able to effectively communicate the organization's daily game plan and be able to spin things as best possible after difficult situations occur and without prompting. Last, he needs to be able to handle the game duties, but I don't think you can be successful today without being good at the items I discussed earlier.

David (San Francisco (formerly Sonoma State)): Awesome first article, Dan. Excited for you to join BP. Did KG and the crew warn you about BP readers? I get the feeling that we're an odd bunch..........

Dan Evans: David from San Francisco...when I was discussing joining BP with some key people like Joe Hamrahi and Kevin Goldstein, they had so much respect for their readers. But I have been on the website every day for more than a decade, so I have already been one of you! Thanks for the nice words, it was fun to write that one.

Jason (Midwest): All of the sabr-sites now include a form of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and even ESPN is now posting a player's offensive WAR. WAR was completely unknown to most baseball fans 5-10 years ago. Is WAR regularly considered by front offices when considering players or do most front offices use more traditional stats or other advanced metrics?

Dan Evans: Jason from the Midwest (like it, as I am a Midwesterner myself)....I wish I knew how every club considers various stats, and what is or is not important. I like WAR, check it a lot, and really enjoy comparing players of the past using it. I would use it if I were running a club, but it would not be the only measure. Since it is in its infancy, I am sure there needs to be some tweaking.

Jason (Illinois): What is the biggest impediment to teams making trades? Ownership, potential fan reaction, money constraints, or something else?

Dan Evans: I don't think there is any one impediment, but I would guess that payroll flexibility is likely one of the major reasons that trades fail to occur. Every situation has different dynamics.

hotstatrat (Canada): Dan, with great respect, I confess that I though ill of the White Sox in 1997. They had spent a fortune on bringing Albert Belle to the team - a guy who's behaviour made him hard to cheer for no matter how well he hit, then traded two of their star pitchers at the trading deadline (Wilson Alvarez and Roberto Hernandez) when they seemingly still had a chance at the division. Can you give us some explanatory background to these doings?

Dan Evans: That was an organizational decision, and it paid dividends in 2000 when the team, bolstered by the trade you mentioned (six or seven players in return from the Giants), won the Central Division title, as Foulke and Howry got a lot of our key outs in the final stages of games.

JWR (USA): Have you ever seen a more impressive rookie season than the one that Mike Trout is now having?

Dan Evans: The only two players who I remember having as great an impact as rookies are Fred Lynn and Mark Fidrych, and now I am going before my career. Lynn impacted the '75 Red Sox and was my favorite player at the time and added so much with the glove and his bat in his ROY season. Fidrych was incredible, bringing an energy to the ballpark with is exceptional season. Trout has been incredible, and living in Southern California I am lucky to see him play a lot.

Jason (Prospectus Nation): Most baseball experts and talking heads are now on all of the social media sites, especially Twitter, and this seems to be dramatically changing the way baseball fans are getting information. The trade deadline, for example, is just crazy, with the experts jumping over themselves to report trades, near-trades, and rumors. Is this a problem or issue for ML front offices?

Dan Evans: Thanks, Jason. I find myself on Twitter (follow me @DanEvans108) a lot to keep up with what's going on in the sport. National media people are usually pretty darn good, and the info flow has been great for fans at a critical time. I don't know if it is a problem or an issue for some front offices but it is important for everybody to get things right.

Jason (Midwest): Can you identify a big trade that you were involved in that almost happened that fell apart at the last minute? Or are those just too numerous to mention?

Dan Evans: About 90% of the deals you work on don't happen, so there are so many to pick from. There are some that looking back, I am happy they fell apart.

Scrapper (Northbrook, IL ): If you were given another chance in the future to GM, what if anything would you do differently?

Dan Evans: First off, I would be extremely thankful for the opportunity. I have learned some great lessons and have been also experienced new situations over the last few years that would be invaluable, as having been a Special Assistant with the Mariners along with being an agent impacted me. Experience has so much value in decision-making. If anything, I think I would go with my gut a little more because of the experience I have gained since my days with the Dodgers.

Dan Evans: Thanks for all your thoughtful questions, and I hope that everyone has enjoyed this as much as I have. I look forward to doing this again. Follow me on Twitter @DanEvans108


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