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Chat: Joe Sheehan

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday July 31, 2009 2:00 PM ET chat session with Joe Sheehan.


With the trading deadline upon us, Joe Sheehan rides it out with all of you, taking your questions and sharing his evaluations.

Joe Sheehan: Scheduling note before we get started: I have to be on ESPNews at 5:15 ET, so I'm going to chat for a bit now, stop before 3:00, head to the studio and pick it up from there through the 4 p.m. deadline and beyond. Thanks for your patience.

Hawkeye (Grafton, ND): I realize we are dealing with small samples, but if you were to say one of these two will not match the hype who would it be and why? Trevor Cahill David Price

Joe Sheehan: David Price, because the hype surrounding him was much, much greater than that around Cahill. I think both will be fine--Price just hasn't had enough innings since turning pro. I think workload management works at odds with the reps needed to develop.

Matt A (Raleigh): Can anyone catch the Phils in the NL East? Is there any way to handicap the NL Wild Card other than "toss-up"?

Joe Sheehan: The Braves have the best team of the other three at the moment, and I'm not sure it's good enough given the addition of Lee. I was still bullish on the Mets at the All-Star break, but it's taking too long for them to get healthy. The only thing I'm pretty sure of is that the wild-card will come from the East or Central, not the West, and I say that with some appreciation for the Rockies.

Shane Leavitt (St. Stephen, NB.): Yo Joe! For you, is Ricciardi pushing for too much from Texas, asking for Holland, Smoak, plus 1 or 2 more prospects? If rumours are true, do you think he's asking for too much in general from all clubs? I guess this team is going to be left cobbled together just long enough to get no further next year and get draftpicks or lesser returns than that. Thanks.

Joe Sheehan: The worst thing Ricciardi can do isn't to ask for too much. It's to get too little. He's better off not trading Halladay now and taking a run at it in the offseason, getting the right package, then reprising the Twins' Johan Santana deal.

Bill (Toronto): I just missed you on the Fan 590, touch on anything important?

Joe Sheehan: The "contract year" phenomenon is perception and not reality; context is incredibly important in evaluation player performance and potential. Both of these were spinning off of Jarrod Washburn.

EricSamuelsen (Provo, UT): Was that seriously the best Sabes could get for Tim Alderson? Really?

Joe Sheehan: I was surprised as well. Keith Law, in his ESPN.com chat, noted that recent reports on Alderson haven't been very good. Nevertheless, it's not a deal I would have made--Sanchez doesn't make enough of an impact on the Giants chances.

John (Cincinnati): How do you view sites like hardball times and fangraphs? Are they competitors or do you view them with only moderate overlap?

Joe Sheehan: It's a great time to be a baseball fan, with so many smart people doing great things in the area of baseball content. The more cogent analysis being done, the smarter fans get, the more demand there is for better thinking and that's how you improve the experience for everyone.

George (Kansas): Do you think being able to force GIDP is a consistent skill like K's for guys like Joel Pineiro and John Lannan?

Joe Sheehan: I think it's more a function of groundball rates and runners on first base, one of which is a skill and the other an effect. I suppose you could check GB rate in DP situations versus others to see if there's an uptick, but you do have sample-size issues.

strupp (Madison): For a team that can't add payroll right now, Grabow and Gorz are good pickups for only Kevin Hart, right?

Joe Sheehan: I think Grabow was a nice pull, given the Cubs' time horizon and needs, and there's not much in that system they can trade and feel bad about losing.

Bill (Pittsburgh): Did you like the three Pirates trades this week? Also, what are the chances that Capps, Duke and Maholm are dealt today?

Joe Sheehan: I did, I thought they converted players who had no real value to the franchise--as opposed to the team on the field--and picked up players who have a better chance of doing so. I loved the Alderson deal.

john (ct): Matt Wieters, Gordan Beckham, are you surprised Beckham's off to the better start?

Joe Sheehan: A little.

This gives me a chance to follow up on something I wrote the other day, about using Beckham to get Halladay. I really like Gordon Beckham as a player, but if the White Sox are locked into Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, they won't maximize Beckham's value. It is in that case, and that case only, that trading him makes sense. If he's a third baseman, he's good, not great.

Sean (Andover, NJ): Why haven't we heard much trade talk regarding Garrett Atkins? He's fallen out of favor in Colorado and can probably net a prospect or two from a contender looking for a corner IF.

Joe Sheehan: Because he's sucked for a while now, doesn't play defense that well and has never really hit on the road. If Dayton Moore ran a contender, I might agree with you, but in this season, no, Garret Atkins cannot net a prospect or two.

Tim (DC): Joe, regarding the Indians trade: do you really like Donald (24) more than Valbuena (23)? Both you and Christina have mentioned a MI of Cabrera and Donald moving forward, whereas I see Valbuena staying at 2B.

Joe Sheehan: I actually like Valbuena, but Donald will outhit him by a lot, maybe 120 points of slugging over their careers, and that makes up for the speed difference.

James (N.Y. ): What made you think that the Mets would finish in 1st place as recently as a few weeks ago? They are a terrible team with no hope of getting better this season. They are a lot more likely to finish 4th than 1st.

Joe Sheehan: At the time, I expected them to get two of the top 15 or so players in baseball back much sooner than they have, with Carlos Delgado returning as well. I was pretty wrong about that, and therefore, my confidence in the Mets was misplaced.

Leroy (Cleveland): How do you rate Shapiro's moves? Is it the right decision to punt on 2010 and build for the longer term?

Joe Sheehan: I don't know. I thought last year was a fluke and they could bounce back this year, and we saw how that turned out. You could make a pretty good argument that the 2010 Indians, as comprised Monday, would be a co-favorite in the Central. On the other hand, the players you're dealing are close to a peak in their trade value, and if you do this correctly, you're better served for 2011 and beyond. Fully committing to a plan, even an imperfect one, is much better than not having a plan at all.

ODo26132002 (MPLS): Thoughts on Ladendorf and the O. Cabrera deal?

Joe Sheehan: Cabrera is Twins type of player, hitting for average and playing defense. This makes them maybe a win better down the stretch. Ladendorf--the Twins' #2 last year--is 21 and struggling in low-A ball, and is probably a utility infielder in the long run, perhaps even in the major leagues.

Steve (DC): Should the Orioles be trading away guys like Sherrill? At what point do they start to add to their core instead of trading away from it?

Joe Sheehan: Oh, god yes. Their only problem is that guys like Huff and Mora tanked their trade value this year. Their core can't win this year, probably not next. You worry about the supplemental parts then.

Goose (Chicago): How do you think Twitter has changed the hot stove? I feel as if a lot more false rumors are out this year compared to any other. Whether that has to do with Twitter, I do not know.

Joe Sheehan: It's not Twitter. It's that the ratio of people gathering news to people creating it is higher than at any point in history.

Having some tech issues on my end. Going to break here and pick it up again by 3:15. Thanks.

Will (D.C.): What is Nyjer Morgan's true value? WAR has him as the 2nd most valuable CF and easily the best defensive OF. What is his ceiling?

Joe Sheehan: Gary Pettis, with a late start? Morgan was a latecomer to baseball, which conceivably gives him growth, although at 29 I'm hard-pressed to see that. I also suspect the defensive numbers are a small-sample blip, and they're driving all of his value. He's a plus defensive CF, clearly, and if he hits .340/.380, that plays. I'd still prefer Milledge's upside.

Jack (LA): I know this is premature...but who cares? Derek Holland or Jon lester longterm because Holland looked downright nasty last night. If that is a sign of things to come, watch out.

Joe Sheehan: Holland, but it's close. And boy, was that a good start. The Mariners, yeah, but still.

John (Kentucky): John Lannan: Future #2 starter or Future #5 starter?

Joe Sheehan: 3.5

Johnny Tuttle (Battle Creek, Michigan): I could trade Porcello & Volquez for CC in a keeper. I'm moderately in it for this year, and this would free up a keeper slot for Ubaldo, too. Still, it's two potential aces for one, one who's giving me some Zambrano level fears. Is this too much of a boost for this year to pass up? Is it too much future loss to do? Thank you.

Joe Sheehan: I make that deal, and only because it lets me keep Jimenez, who I like a lot. He's better than Volquez by a lot, and Porcello won't be better than Sabathia for a couple of years.

Clonod (St. Louis): Thoughts on the new Cards lineup?

Joe Sheehan: Very right-handed, and I'm not a fan of how Rasmus is being used. At that, improved, good enough to make them the WC favorite, a little ahead of the Braves and Rockies.

Delmon Young's Mom (Minny): Is it too early to call my son a bust? Do you still feel like he will develop into a franchise player?

Joe Sheehan: He's so very young that you can't write him off. He does need to become a more selective hitter, a smarter hitter, but with so much raw talent and youth, you have to acknowledge the potential for development.

Hawkeye (Grafton, ND): Which prospect does JP have to get if he deals Halladay?

Joe Sheehan: The shortstop for the 2014 division champs.

Richard (RTP): If Myers and Pedro make it back, what do the Phillies do with their sudden wealth of pitching?

Joe Sheehan: The overlap there would likely come close enough to September that it wouldn't be a problem for long. Myers goes to the bullpen. Might be interesting to do something in October like tandem-start the two in a Game Four.

nhcohen (Astrodome): Whither Houston? Dropping 3 or 4 to the Cubs didn't help, but does the go-for-broke-because-you-got-nuthin-else idea still stand? What value do they have to trade away?

Joe Sheehan: They don't have enough in the system to warrant an Indians-style process, where you target 2011. They might as well keep squeezing it out in the Berkman/Oswalt era. When it does end, it'll be ugly for a while.

Jeff (San Diego): Should the Padres be able to get a better package for Adrian Gonzalez than the Blue Jays could get for Roy Halladay in part given Gonzalez's favorable contract?

Joe Sheehan: I think that is canceled out by the gap between being an ace starter and a first baseman, but it is a good point. The Padres, like the Jays, have to make the RIGHT call, not just the immediate one.

Mike (Niles, IL): I keep reading that Grabow will be a Type A free agent next year, but would a team really give up a pick to sign him? Sounds like Juan Cruz all over again.

Joe Sheehan: After last season, the equation is going to shift--do teams want to risk offering arbitration to mid-level Type As who might accept? Very interesting story this winter.

R. A. Inday (Waynesburg, PA): What are your thoughts on the Pirates deadline deals? I know we won't know for several years, but initial thoughts on whether they good decent returns for their useful parts?

Joe Sheehan: The Pirates, as an organization, are infinitely better off than they were 14 months ago. Maybe you can chip away at the return on this player or that player, but the talent base is improved and the organization is now building something.

shamah (NYC): If you were Cashman would you trade one of Hughes and Joba plus one of Montero and Jackson for Halladay?

Joe Sheehan: Nah. This team's rotation isn't a real problem, and the single-digit percentage bump you get from Halladay isn't worth making that deal.

Steve (DC): Do you think the Nationals are doing the right thing by being so inactive at the deadline?

Joe Sheehan: No. No. A thousand times no. It's organizational.

Bill (Toronto): Is today the day Brandon Wood is finally freed from Anaheim?

Joe Sheehan: I don't think that's going to happen.

akachazz (DC): What are the sox are going to do about the following conundrum: 4 positions for 6 players: Varitek Martinez Ortiz Lowell Youkilis Kotchman

Joe Sheehan: I keep getting asked about this deal, but I'm trying to stick to trades that have been confirmed, and I think this may still be in process. If it goes down, I'll take a look at it.

brian (Brooklyn NY): How does the arbitration process work for free agency? Does the arbitrator look at the current marketplace? The past marketplace? Future marketplace?

Joe Sheehan: Players can be compared to players in their class of service time and one year ahead, as I recall. I'm pretty sure that applies to the rare FA that goes to arb as well.

Yinka Double Dare (Chicago): Joe -- does your answer on Beckham change if the Sox moved him to second base?

Joe Sheehan: A little. It changes a lot if they move him to SHORTSTOP, which is where he should be playing. Ramirez to CF. They're playing the best guy out of position. I'm honestly not sure he's not the best position player on that team--Dye is probably better, I guess.

Tim (DC): Joe, if Shapiro cannot get back Buchholz, Bard or Bowden, can it still be a "win"?

Joe Sheehan: It's harder. The Sox have a deep enough farm system that you can get guys down the list and do quite well for yourself. You can't get caught up in where players on within a system--you have to just make the best deal.

beta461 (SF): Is Cain a legit Cy contender?

Joe Sheehan: Not the best pitcher in his own rotation, which doesn't mean the voting pool won't find a way to land on him if the support breaks a certain way. Cain is having a worthy season, but the idea is to honor the best guy.

beta461 (SF): Is Cain a legit Cy contender?

Joe Sheehan: Not the best pitcher in his own rotation, which doesn't mean the voting pool won't find a way to land on him if the support breaks a certain way. Cain is having a worthy season, but the idea is to honor the best guy.

P Bu (St. Louis): How do you think Rasmus should be used?

Joe Sheehan: As the everyday CF and usual #2 hitter, come hell or high water.

mattymatty2000 (Philly): I understand you aren't commenting on trades until they are finalized, so answer me this instead. The Reds are said to be trying to trade for Scott Rolen. I just checked the standings and they're 9.5 games back and in 4th place. Forget whether they trade happens or not and tell me why would they do that?

Joe Sheehan: I honestly have no idea. The Jays have to be pretty happy to find someone to take Rolen, and presumably a bunch of money, off their hands, but I fail to see why the Reds would make a this-year trade at this point. He makes them better, to be sure, but it's peculiar. Not quite the Pirates dealing for Matt Morris, but there are similarities.

ndubby (sfo): You're going up against Neyer. Smack talk in 10 words or less?

Joe Sheehan: Can't do it. You won't find a nicer guy.

dedelman (Durham, NC): Masterson, Hagadone, and Brian Price for V-Mart. No Buchholz... is Hagadone that good, or did Shapiro sell low? From the Sox side, is this really all that good if they don't catch V-Mart at least 4 days a week?

Joe Sheehan: OK, this is done. I think the Indians, having traded for Donald and Marson, wanted to maximize pitching talent in this deal, and did so. Masterson can step into the rotation and be a #3 right now (although I would love to see him in the fictional 120-inning-reliever role). Kevin had Hagadone at #8 and Price at #10, and Masterson ahead of Bowden in the "under 25 talent" list. Nothing has changed to make those ratings look weird. With that in mind, I think this is a pretty good haul for the Tribe, a mix of current value and upside. They've added a lot of talent this week.

tommybones (brooklyn): Who sees the most bench from V-Mart entering the Sox lineup? Simply Varitek? Or is Ortiz/LaRoche taking more of a hit?

Joe Sheehan: Well, if they were Strat cards, you'd sit Ortiz and play everyone else. They traded LaRoche for Kotchman, so I'm guess we see Martinez at first base about 2/3 of the time, behind the plate the rest, and Kotchman's here to play defense. The LaRoche trade really feels like running away from the problem of having so many guys better than Ortiz--they still do, now, but it's less obvious. I can't understand why the team with Kevin Youkilis trades for a d-rep at first base, when there are other ways to use the roster spot. Odd deal.

Overall, this makes the Sox better. It would have looked better a year ago, when Jason Varitek looked done, than it does now with him playing well. It would also look better if they played all their best players, and benched the 740 OPS DH.

Fred (NJ): What makes a deal "official" in terms of getting it done before the deadline? Does something need to be signed and sent to the commissioner's office or does a verbal with commissioner's office knowledge count?

Joe Sheehan: I'm not sure. I think you have to have the paperwork in, though, because it seems like the potential for "messy" would be awfully high otherwise.

sunpar (New York): Looks like LaRoche is headed to Atlanta for Kotchman. As a Braves fan, I don't especially like this deal-- mostly for cost reasons. Thoughts?

Joe Sheehan: They seem to have evaluated the two based entirely on HR and RBI. I think they got more expensive, lost some defense and made a lateral move, maybe not even that, offensively. Not a good trade.

zmooney (Seattle): What do you think of the Washburn deal for the Mariners?

Joe Sheehan: The right play, even if they didn't get very much back. Whatever French and the arm become will be worth more to them than Washburn's next 12 starts would have been.

nghunter (Austin, TX): Don't you get the feeling that the Indians could have gotten more for Lee and Martinez. Do you have any hypothetical trades that they might have been able to get done that would have put them in stronger stead going forward? And, how far are they setback? When will they contend again?

Joe Sheehan: I don't know...setting aside Price and Knapp, I see five guys who could comprise 20% of the 2011 roster and total something like 18-20 WARP, for $2.2 million. That works for me. They'll contend in 2011--they might even be the favorite depending on what the White Sox do over the next 18 months.

Tim (MA): Hey Joe. Nomar has apparently asserted that some players wanted their anonymous '03 tests to be submitted as positive, to help ensure future testing. Therefore we can't just assume that positive results indicate ped usage. What do you think about this?

Joe Sheehan: This was the story back then when some White Sox were going to skip their tests, creating a "positive" result to push the total over 5% and force testing.

So my question is this: if the PLAYERS thought that they needed to resort to that tactic to ensure that at least 60 positive tests would result, what does that say about their view of the prevalence of PEDs in baseball that spring?

Eli (Brooklyn): Why do you think the Yankees' didn't make a move for Washburn? I'm sure they could've topped the tigers' move without giving up any of the big 4. This is Cashman's worst deadline in a while.

Joe Sheehan: Jarrod Washburn - Safeco - Mariners' ridiculous outfield defense + Yankee Stadium + Yankees' outfield defense = .7 Alfredo Aceves.

tbraxton34 (NYC): Seems the common theme today is that teams are willing to give up their second tier of prospects but that nobody is willing to give up their best prospects. That is forcing teams like the Indians, Pirates and etc. to take quantity over quality. Are prospects now overvalued after many years of being undervalued?

Joe Sheehan: The very best prospects in the game seem to be accurately valued. There are only two paths to superstars: sign/draft them, or sign them as FAs. You cannot trade for them, for the most part. So you hold on to the players who can get there, and deal the rest.

The real lesson is that the value of player development isn't just in getting guys to the majors, but in having a deep stable of quality prospects who can be used in just this manner. To some extent, Victor Martinez is a "product" of Red Sox player development.

Chris (Austin, MN): Agree that Papi is not what he used to be, but he's roughly .280/.350/.575 since the start of June. Don't you think you're being a little tough on him to say he's a bench only guy now?

Joe Sheehan: I'm saying that the production standard for DH is awfully high, and he may not meet it. And by the way, I'd be happy to have you evaluate my performance by throwing out the bottom half of my work product. Are you hiring?

JOESAV (ny): Tigers top 3 look alot better\-Your take on this trade.thx

Joe Sheehan: Washburn more or less replaces Porcello, who seems to have become exhausted. The fit in Detroit isn't bad, and he's a reasonable #3 starter for a team that needed the help. They didn't give up anything of high value. Good deal for both teams. Not sure it makes the Tigers favorites or anything--no one's a favorite in that division.

Eli (Brooklyn): Jerry Hairston? Did they miss Angel Berrora??

Joe Sheehan: Actually, he's a very good bench player, a nice addition for a team that usually has lousy benches.

Since we're here, it's interesting to note that what we start with isn't always what we end up with, which is why I wait for final confirmation before discussing these deals. The Hairston deal was first reported as Austin Jackson for him. Yonder Alonso was initially mentioned in the Rolen deal--he's not.

I really, truly hate analyzing rumors. It's a half-step up, maybe not that, from writing fiction.

jgalt73 (Portland, OR): Per FoxSports - Halladay stays. Mistake by Toronto?

Joe Sheehan: Without knowledge of what deals were offered, I can't say. From here, it's like folding in a poker tournament rather than calling all-in. Maybe it was a mistake, but it's not a fatal one, and you have chips left to play with. Ricciardi will have a nice piece in December in Indianapolis--and the Rolen deal is a feather in his cap.

Clint (Chicago): Looks like the White Sox got Peavy for Poreda, Richard, and a couple of other guys. That sounds about right to me; what do you think?

Joe Sheehan: Huge risk by Kenny Williams, who I knew was going to do something but I thought it would be Halladay. Carter's had a big season to move up the lists...Richard is a guy who could have some numbers at PETCO. The Padres get out from under at least some of the money, maybe a lot (that's still TBD, apparently). Even if Peavy doesn't pitch this year, I don't hate this trade for the Sox, but you could drive a planet through the range of possible outcomes here.

Shawn (Winnipeg): Zach Stewart, Josh Roenicke, and Edwin Encarnacion...what is your opinion of the trio?

Joe Sheehan: I have no idea what to make of Encarnacion any longer, but he's worth taking a flyer on. Stewart might be a high-leverage reliever pretty soon, but he has some command issues. The main gain here is whatever financial savings occur.

joe lefko (nj): how happy are you with the timing of the trade deadline? too early, too late, or just right?

Joe Sheehan: It seems just right, about 2/3 of the way through the season, enough time for teams to know where they're headed, early enough to create a bit of a balance between punters and players, and not too late--like the NHL used to have--where guys play a week with their new team then end up in the playoffs.

I kind of liked when it was at midnight, though.

Hal (LA): The Angels just called up Sean Rodriguez and Bobby Wilson...no corresponding moves otherwise..mean anything?

Joe Sheehan: Don't they do something with Sean Rodriguez every fourth day? I wouldn't read into it.

stately (bhm): So the white sox bet the farm. But do you think it will have any real impact on their 2009 playoff odds?

Joe Sheehan: I think I'm not entirely sure how they get calculated. They've added Jake Peavy, but it's not clear how many starts of Jake Peavy, so the impact on the numbers may not reflect the real-world change.

In other words, I don't know. Glad I could help.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Do you see Wieters first 150 at bats as disappointing, or a gradual adjustment to the major leagues?

Joe Sheehan: Both. He'll be fine.

Beau (San Francisco): If the Giants make the playoffs will they have the worst offense of any playoff team in the Wild Card Era?

Joe Sheehan: I think that the only way they make the playoffs is if their offense improves past that point.

Mike (NJ): Rolen to the Reds? Please explain.

Joe Sheehan: Didn't deal with this side of it, I don't think. I can't explain it, unless Walt Jocketty is thinking, "The last time I traded for Scott Rolen my team eventually won the World Series." I find it to be a strange decision.

strupp (Madison): Getting cocky and looking ahead... is this Cubs team built better for a short series (Very good starters in Z and Lilly, and at least push in the other to SP spots, good-very good bullpen, deep bench with hitters and boppers, good lineup makeup right now, only hole at 2B/#8 hitter)... not the best team, but solid for a short series, right?

Joe Sheehan: I'm not sold on the bullpen at all, and it's not a very good defensive team, so if you buy into the Secret Sauce, no, the Cubs are not a good short-series team.

Shawn (Winnipeg): Albert Pujols vs Ted Williams. Who will end up having the better career? Love Pujols but is he better than the splendid splinter?

Joe Sheehan: No.

Getting pulled out for ESPNews and some radio. Will jump back and answer a few more questions when I'm done. Thank you so much for following the trade deadline deals at BP today.

Bill (New Mexico): So with the deadline past, who helped themselves the most for this season? For 2011?

Joe Sheehan: The Phillies, Red Sox and Marlins for this year. The Pirates and Indians for the future.

Matt (Whippleville, NY): Peavy, Danks, Buehrle, Floyd, Beckham, Ramirez, Quentin, Jenks The ChiSox are the next AL powerhouse, are they not?

Joe Sheehan: Some of those things are not like the others. Q has had one big year and doesn't look like he'll age well. Ramirez is .8 Soriano. Jenks? With that said, it's a strong core and you have Flowers coming up behind, and a good management team in place.

Mike (Chicago): I agree that the cubs don't look like a very good defensive team, but they are 2nd in team defensive efficiency. They've been in the top third the last few years too. I don't think there's anything you can really do to be a good short series team except get lucky anyways, I just hope they get another lottery ticket so I can say there's a chance?

Joe Sheehan: My first reaction was to check their PADE, since Wrigley has that small outfield and generally slow infield, but it's also very strong. So let's call that E-Sheehan (N+1). If the Cubs get to the postseason, they'll have the same 9-11% chance every NL team does.

Scott (Chicago): Don't hold a chat on the day of the trade deadline if you're going to whine about getting a bunch of questions re: trades.

Joe Sheehan: Hey, Sparky, the issue isn't questions about trades. It's about trade rumors, or incomplete trades. If you waste breath analyzing things that aren't actually happening, you're wasting everyone's time.

This is actually an important point, which is why I'm responding to this. Analysis of things that haven't actually happened is a waste of time.

JayStellmach (Sacramento): Regarding Adam LaRoche to the Braves: does your assessment change knowing that the Sox evened out this year's salaries, and that LaRoche is an FA after the year, while Kotchman is arbitration eligible? Seems like the Braves got a bit more offensive potential this year, and maybe they'll wise up and cut LaRoche loose and move Chipper to first next year?

Joe Sheehan: I'm not sure how any of that makes the deal better for Atlanta. OK, the money, but they still are at best even on the field and now have a hole to fill next year, and they're already a team that's done a horrific job filling hitting positions.

Still a bad trade.

Farber (my couch): Look, I know my Mets aren't going to make the playoffs. I'm okay with that. All I want is a somewhat interesting September...that's all I ask.

Joe Sheehan: Really? Because you had interesting Septembers the last two years. Be careful what you wish for.

Tom (Arvada, CO): With the acquisitions of Betancourt and Beimel, to go with good performances (if not better) from Street, Morales and Daley, are the Rockies now well positioned for their playoff run?

Joe Sheehan: They shored up their biggest weakness, although it's funny to hear the acquisition of Rafael Betancourt, so frustrating his entire career, be cited as help. In any case, I think the Rockies will fall a bit short to the Braves or NLC loser.

jgalt73 (Portland, OR): RE: the Cubs, defense and secret sauce - the Cubs are currently 5th in MLB in Secret Sauce and 2nd in MLB in Defensive Efficiency? Where do these numbers not match your thoughts?

Joe Sheehan: I mentioned the defense...the bigger thing is not believing the bullpen is real. Marmol has all kinds of control issues and I'll believe in Kabbalah before I buy Kevin Gregg.

jromero, there's no way I'm running that.

Patrick (MPLS): First thought that enters your head when you hear the phrase "2009 AL Central Champion?"

Joe Sheehan: Three-way playoff.

pford68 (Austin): Were the Rangers smart not to trade Holland and Smoak for Halladay? The highest I would have gone was Feliz, Borbon, Teagarden, and Font. That may not have been enough, but anything more would have been too risky for the Rangers.

Joe Sheehan: Yeah, I think that would have been too much. I liked the idea of them using their organizational depth to make a deal, but not by trading that package to do it. There was almost certainly a match between those teams.

Prince Caspian (Narnia): How much did the Fish help themselves with the Nick Johnson deal?

Joe Sheehan: Tons. Bonifacio is hideous, and the upgrade to Johnson, with Cantu presumably to third base, is something like 25-30 runs over the next nine weeks.

bo9anderson (Amsterdam (the Netherlands)): Rob Neyer and Keith Law loved the George Sherill for Josh Bell and Steve Johnson deal. Could you please tell me your opinion?

Joe Sheehan: Same. Orioles moved an asset that had basically no value to them for a possible third-base solution. There's some question about Bell's glove, but I could see him as Kevin Seitzer, maybe...OK, that's his upside...for a while.

Lightning round.

Clonod (St. Louis): How do you think Obama fared in his second term?

Joe Sheehan: Once the meteor hit in the spring of 2014, there was nothing he could do. You can't blame the famine on him.

Round ((Lightning)): Ryan Howard's next 3 years (age 30-32) or Lance Berkman's (age 34-36)?

Joe Sheehan: Brutal call.

Berkman, who has further to fall.

Joe Sheehan: Folks, I apologize, but I've spent 15 minutes trying to answer one question--I think my wireless had failed. I'll have a column up Saturday with all the deadline analysis. Thanks again for your great questions today, and for all your support of BP, today, this season and for 14 years.

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