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Chat: Joe Sheehan

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday November 02, 2009 3:00 PM ET chat session with Joe Sheehan.


With World Series action to talk about, you won't want to miss a chat with BP's Joe Sheehan.

Joe Sheehan: Last night in Philly.... "Are we getting too close, do we dare to get closer?"

dtwhite (Toronto): What's the biggest "unnoticed" story in this World Series?

Joe Sheehan: How much Jimmy Rollins means to the Phillies' offense, maybe? They don't seem to string anything together if he's not on base. Maybe the Phillies' raw range defensively. They get to a lot of balls.

phillipsburg74 (Tucson, AZ): Joe, is it inexplicable that Ken Rosenthal did not ask Johnny Damon about his incredible double-steal last night?

Joe Sheehan: On the road, I'm not rewatching the game at home, so anything specific to the telecast I'm missing, for the most part. In general, you can file that under "it's live and a bit chaotic." I really like Ken's role in their broadcasts.

brianpekrul (san francisco): What do you think about the Giants resigning Freddy Sanchez? Any chance he rebounds and becomes a solid player again?

Joe Sheehan: I'm not in the least bit surprised. He'll be an average, maybe a little below-average, player. A team that has to add OBP is basically hoping he has a big BA year in '10 or '11. Not a fan of management by wishcasting.

NL2003 (DC): What separates the mainstream media of today from, say, 1940 or 1950? (Periods containing "classic" sports writing.) Was it better quality then or did those periods merely lack resources that called out inaccuracies in the stories?

Joe Sheehan: The audience. In the timeframe you mention, people needed information about the baseball game. Now, they need anything and everything but that. Beat guys have a much, much harder job now as far as I can tell.

ashitaka (long beach, ca): You expect Burnett to throw at anyone tonight? My money's on Victorino.

Joe Sheehan: I don't know. The warning came awfully quickly last night, after just one HBP, no shot for Sabathia to take a shot. Then when Lidge had a quasi-intentional HBP off a FB, for which you'd think the warning meant an ejection, nothing. I feel like the Yankees have a free shot coming, and while I have no use for this part of the game, I would comfortably expect some Phillie to get hit by a pitch in the first five innings.

random user (random location): With the Yankees leading the series 3-1 and the Yankees bats performing well, do you believe Cliff Lee's pitch aresenal will have to become more expansive or will the Yankees need to adjust to working from behind the count?

Joe Sheehan: You execute your game plan. Cliff Lee has no reason to change until given some reason to do so. The Yankees did adjust the last two nights, going after both Hamels and Blanton early in counts. I imagine they may do that again tonight. Lee could then move to starting more hitters with changeups.

Jay (Madison): Was Damon's "double" steal really that big a deal? He had stolen 2nd base already and so was in scoring position with two outs. He's fast enough where he'd score on almost any base hit to the outfield. It was a good play and an unusual play. I'm not sure it was the difference in the game as is being suggested. Am I just a non-philly fan curmudgon?

Joe Sheehan: It was more cool to me, but I didn't see it as impactful. (I wasn't terribly sure I liked taking the bat out of Teixeira's hands.) The thought process is that the runner on third kept Lidge from throwing his slider, enabling Rodriguez to get fastballs. It's a notion.

Ted (Milwaukee): Would you put Lidge's abandonment of his slider last night among the all-time postseason brain cramps?

Joe Sheehan: Do I blame Brad Lidge, or the guy who doubled the ERA of the pitcher on the mound with an unnecessary pitching change? It's not like Lidge has had complete control of his slider, or that this was news.

bowie (Cal): did you think Utley's glove-flip to Rollins on that ball up the middle was a bad decision or was that his only chance to get the out at 2nd?

Joe Sheehan: At first blush, it looked like a risky move designed to get two. Each time I looked at it after, I came around to the idea that he couldn't have gotten his body around for a barehand flip to second even if he punted the DP. It's the kind of play where the ball was not playable, but maybe we bang Utley for something where we wouldn't go after the 2B who doesn't even get to it.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): What has been the biggest difference between how you saw the WS playing out (Phils in 7) and how it's actually played out?

Joe Sheehan: A.J. Burnett pitched fantastamatically, and Cliff Lee turned into Joe Blanton last night. I've actually gotten every single game wrong, based on my pre-Series pick. Don't try this at home!

Andrew (Fayetteville): Hey Joe, thanks for the chat! Have you enjoyed watching this postseason more than last years? Any reasons why that you would like to share?

Joe Sheehan: I think I have, with the excitement of the games--even in short series, we've had great games--making up for the scattershot scheduling. I would love to see a little more compression, mostly in the form of spiking that extra off-day in the LCS round.

Mike (Chicago): The yankees have to just win one out of three games. Why not start Gaudin tonight against Cliff Lee, and have Burnett on full rest +1 for game 6 in the Bronx?

Joe Sheehan: Because A.J. Burnett/3 and Andy Pettitte/3 are better than Chad Gaudin/32 and A.J. Burnett/5. And because you don't get cute in the World Series. Well, unless you're up one run in the eighth inning.

mike fenger (Alameda, CA): Joe, I know you're going to be in Phoenix this weekend (see you there) -- anything you're particularly interested in checking out at the games? The more obscure the better . . .

Joe Sheehan: I hope to get caught up on the league on my flight out, read some Goldstein, Law, Grey. All I really know is Grant Desme is laying waste. I wish I had more for you...that trip is a mix of work and play for me, and since IANAS, I try not to get too invested in what I see.

Brecken (Chicago): Today's Momentum: Doesn't seem to have carried through with Rivera either. Philly was hoping that extending Rivera in Game 2 might have some impact, but it almost seems more like that was Spring Training and now he's warmed up. What's happened to their approach? Or could it be as simple as the weather was warmer in Philly?

Joe Sheehan: Well, a day off really helps a lot, and what you're talking about isn't so much momentum as inducing fatigue. In any case, he's gotten five outs on 12 pitches in Philly, so whatever they had in mind last week is gone. (Could also be a function of the batters--the long inning in G2 was the top of the lineup.)

RJS (NY, NY): I disagree w/ u on Girardi's usage of Hughes. Hughes has not performed in high-leverage situations in the post-season so Girardi has demoted him to lower leverage situations. If Hughes had performed in Game 4 he might have pitched in Game 5. This is the flexibility that has allowed Girardi go to Marte in this series and remove Bruney from primary eight inning man earlier this season. Thoughts?

Joe Sheehan: Hughes hasn't been given enough chances to pitch. He's a converted starter who pitched well in full-inning and multi-inning outings, and in the postseason he's been a two-batter guy. And that happened very early, and created a feedback loop. Joba Chamberlain punted G3 in Anaheim and G4 last night, but he's still in the mix, so it's not just performance in high-leverage situations. It's probably too late now, but Hughes was a weapon three weeks ago, and he was turned into much less by Girardi.

ddanyc (nyc): I know it was late on a school night, but anyone watching the post-game interviews would notice that Mo has a bad cold, at best, or the flu, at worst, as he coughed, sneezed and wheezed through the interview. This might have had some influence on Girardi's choices.

Joe Sheehan: Let's grant your premise. Now, let's picture the reaction if Alex Rodriguez's postseason availability or performance were affected by a cold. Rivera is fighting something, but it's not a reason to not use him.

Eli (Brooklyn): Who would you sub for Melky? Do you see this having an impact on the series (other than Girardi "accidentally"giving Guzman at bats?)

Joe Sheehan: I think it has to be Guzman. If you're going to be playing Gardner, you'll want the PR back. I don't think Shelley Duncan has more roster value, and no infielder does. If it's Cervelli...I mean, you start to look around for Abe Rothstein, you know?

bowie (Cal): re: the Damon double steal Shouldn't Feliz have been more on the ball here? Of all people, he knows no one is at 3b. He looked oblivious the whole time.

Joe Sheehan: No. It's Lidge or Ruiz--both of whom can see 3B--who have to get there. Maybe Ibanez. I suspect this is one of those situations--an SB attempt with the overshift on--that doesn't come up enough to have registered a plan for. I was a little surprised Feliz didn't run harder after Damon--what was there to lose?

Mike W (Chicago): Talk in today's column about Damon on the FA market next year. What's the chance the Yanks re-sign him?

Joe Sheehan: He has more roster value than Matsui, who locks up the DH slot. But he's so bad defensively. I'd definitely re-sign Damon for two years before signing Bay or Holliday for twice that and three times the money. I hate this FA market. I'd give my GM a zero-dollar FA budget.

bowie (Cal): Best Tim McCarver pre-game "Key" to the game ever: Joe Blanton is "gutty." You can't make this stuff up.

Joe Sheehan: I'm "gutty," too, but I suspect it's a different definition of the word.

Fred (Pequannock, NJ): Joe: Can you share for the world what your reaction would have been if Phil Coke had entered the game in the bottom of the 9th (as he would have if the Yanks hadn't scored)?

Joe Sheehan: A shrug of the shoulders. Girardi could tap Hinske for an inning and it wouldn't surprise me at this point. He's shock-proofed me. The Rivera decision was the end.

Joe V. (Washington, DC): Hi Joe. How likely is the following scenario? Cliff Lee spins another gem, and then the Phillies beat up on an exhausted Pettitte/Sabathia in games six and seven and take this thing...

Joe Sheehan: You're 1/3 right. I think the Phillies will win tonight, but it would be asking a lot for this team to beat two good lefties on the road taking the worst of the pitching matchup in at least Game Seven.

Mike W (Chicago): Gutty = white guy who doesn't throw 95.

Joe Sheehan: Still me.

Rob (Andover, CT): Any chance Girardi reverses course and starts Posada tonight? The bottom of the lineup could be Gardner-Molina-Burnett, which is all kinds of ugly.

Joe Sheehan: Joe usually announces the lineup at his presser, which is in an hour. I'm missing Charlie Manuel for this. I'm more broken up about this than you'd think--Charlie's great.

MikeNeft (Boston): Thoughts on leaving Sabathia in the game to hit in the 7th? Leading off the inning and pitching on short rest (without his best stuff, it seemed) I thought it was the best time to take him out with the plan of going to Robertson for the first two hitters of the bottom of the inning and Marte for Utley and the lefties in the 8th.

Joe Sheehan: Who's Robertson? I think he's made more extra-inning appearances than regulation ones, so we can talk about this, but it's not something on Girardi's radar. Letting Sabathia hit set up the bullpen better than trying to start the bottom of the inning with anyone else, especially since Philip Hughes has been buried.

bowie (Cal): One aspect of the ARod/Choke Artist meme that really bugs me is that ARod himself goes along with it. Whenever he's asked about it, he seems to accept the premise that he has not played well in the postseason, and has let the pressure get to him. Why can't he just give a pat but straight answer, like: "I've had good postseasons and bad ones. If you play in enough of them, it'll happen to anyone. I just have to give it my best every time."

Joe Sheehan: As someone who is terminally insecure, I can relate. Rodriguez wants to be liked, and whether he believes what he's saying or not, I think he hopes that saying it will advance him towards that goal. I really, truly identify with the insecurity, and I'll probably be the last guy to ever go after him about some of the quirkiness that stems from it.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): You think the Phillies win tonight? That can only mean Yankees in five!

Joe Sheehan: I suspect that most of the country can get to Vegas by 4:55 PT if they leave now.

raygu1 (burlington, NJ): Joe-thanks for the chat. Reds question-do the Reds move Joey Votto to LF when Yonder Alonso is ready, or trade Alonso?

Joe Sheehan: Neither guy can play left field well enough. I think they'll trade Votto just because he'll have a lot more perceived value by the time a deal has to happen. I'm not completely sold on the idea that Alonso will force this issue.

Jonathan (New York): I was traveling over the weekend and so may have missed out discussion about the decision not to start Lee last night. What was the stated rationale for it? The fact that Blanton pitched pretty well doesn't really make the decision any more palatable in my opinion.

Joe Sheehan: Lee has never been used on short rest, and Charlie Manuel didn't think it was a good idea to introduce him to doing so in the World Series. Given that the other option is an above-average starting pitcher, it's perfectly rational.

Mike W (Chicago): Let's say the Burnett has nothing tonight and the Phils get a big lead. How long does Manuel let Lee go? Be nice to use him a lot in a Game 7, but you can't assume anything with the Philly bullpen. It'd be interesting.

Joe Sheehan: It was 4-0 with six outs left, 6-0 with three outs left, and Lee pitched. I think he's being sent out there with the idea that it's his last task of 2009, and he should expect to used that way.

Pittsburgh Sports Fan (Pittsburgh): I have money to spend but give me 3 reasons on why I should spend money for Pirates games next season.

Joe Sheehan: It's a beautiful ballpark, the front office is doing things that deserve your support even if the short term will suck, and Andrew McCutchen is a legitimate building block.

Bill (New York): Joe: How will the Yankees offseason be different if they win the WS vs. if they lose it?

Joe Sheehan: Not much. They're smarter than that now. As I put it last week, a bit more forcefully, any team that lets its postseason dictate its offseason priorities is making a massive error.

Mariano (Philly): How much longer can I be this amazingly dominant?

Joe Sheehan: You'll leave before you're asked to go. As a one-skill player, the upper bound in sports seems to be about 46-49. I strongly suspect you'll walk away by then.

I'd planned to do this for a while, but it's getting nasty here. If it's this cold at the moment, we're in for a rough night.

JC (Hoboken): Joe, imagine for a moment you're Jed Hoyer...your budget will climb from $40 mil to $70 mil in 2011...where will you aim these new resources or is it entirely too early to tell?

Joe Sheehan: I try to blow out the field for Joe Mauer. $30 million extra? "Joe, here's $30 million. Oh, and it's sunny 352 days a year. And Pacific Beach."

EricJ (SF): Do the Giants have any chance of creating a league average offense in '10?

Joe Sheehan: Yeah, but the decision to retain the current front office makes it a small one.

Joe V. (Washington, DC): Joe: What's the approach the Yankees should take vs. Cliff Lee tonight? I have a hunch that they're going to go up hacking...and I think that would be a huge mistake. Your thoughts?

Joe Sheehan: I'd stick with patience for at least one time through the lineup, and if he's 0-1 on the world, adjust. Try to get him to throw enough pitches early that he could fade a bit late. Also, make him stand out on the mound a lot. It'll be interesting to see if we get the shirt sleeves again tonight...

Ron (Vancouver): Will Derek Jeter be the first person to get 100% of the Hall Of Fame vote?

Joe Sheehan: We were talking about this the other day...I can't believe Ripken didn't, but he went on strike, and there are some guys who have said they'd never vote for a player who did that. Next up we have Maddux, same problem. Rivera, then Jeter, will be the first guys with a shot who debuted after 1994. The guys who don't vote for them...man, I mean...say you're one of these ""DiMaggio wasn't a first-ballot guy" people. It would be an honor, should be an honor, to vote for a Ripken or a River or whomever. Is there really someone out there who has missed voting on every first-ballot guy in the last 30 years? How would you sleep?

bowie (Cal): oh you're still here is anyone at these press conferences asking Manuel why he doesn't break up Utley and Howard? or is that issue so stale that it's not worth asking?

Joe Sheehan: He broke up Utley, Howard and Ibanez, and he did it very early in the season after being schooled. That's pretty good. I'd line 'em up differently, but they're all stat-generating robots to me.

Pedro Martinez's Daddy (Philly): Do you think my son will pitch in the Majors next season? Should he be considered as one of the 10 greatest pitchers of all-time?

Joe Sheehan: Yes on both counts.

Carl (Vancouver, WA): You're getting more and more shrill these days, Joe. Ever thought of getting a real job?

Joe Sheehan: Wait...

bowie (Cal): keep up the good work Joe!

Joe Sheehan: Can you guys swap e-mail addresses, argue it and let me know how it turns out?

brian (brooklyn): As of now, who is the WS MVP?

Joe Sheehan: I have no idea. Not being funny, but all the candidates I thought of are Phillies. If Burnett wins tonight, he's the guy. If he doesn't, we'll have two more games, at least, of information.

Dave (NJ): Is there cheering in the auxiliary press box?

Joe Sheehan: No, the rules are basically the same. I wrote some stuff last year about Yankee Stadium in that vein.

I'll tell this story, though...the aux box is just some sections, 235-237 at CBP, in the stands. They do pipe in the main box announcements, though, and after Rodriguez's double last night, the announcer did a bunch of stuff about his stats in the postseason. The fans up the first-base line and the ones below us can hear all this, and it's coming off a little like taunting, and they start yelling and cursing in our general direction. It was amusing.

brian (brooklyn): How did Cliff Lee go from bottom of the rotation fodder to Ace? Also I know you liked the return that the tribe got for Lee (and V-Mart). Has your opinion changed in the last 4 months?

Joe Sheehan: Well, Carrasco is probably not going to be that good, and Knapp is down to like 1.4 arms, so no, I think I may have missed on that evaluation.

shamah (NYC): Not Jeter for WS MVP? He's hitting over .400 with patience and slugging over .500. He's also been in the middle of a number of key rallies and was the only Yankee to get hits off Lee.

Joe Sheehan: He's the other choice, but I think we're not due to give him another award until tomorrow. Jeter has more awards in this series than the Phillies have wins.

Steve (NJ): Do you think the Mets are going to pay Holliday or Bay too much for too long? Which would you pursue, if either?

Joe Sheehan: Neither. Holliday, if I had to, since he's not a DH.

brian (brooklyn): Any chance that Phillie trades Ibanez this offseason? I would have to think that he will never come clsoe to matching his contract again and he certainly seems like he has become more famous this year

Joe Sheehan: They liked him a year ago, he came over, played well and they went to the World Series. So I'm going to say "no."

Ron (Vancouver): What year will the Yankees and Red Sox both finish under .500 in the same season? Will it be before 2020?

Joe Sheehan: Doesn't seem likely.

I think I'm losing answers to some slow wireless. Grrr...

Paul in Boston, I can't answer any of that in chat.

Matt (Chicago): Where do you see Milton Bradley ending up and will it be for another bad contract or the Cubs picking up a big chunk of salary? I'm guessing the Cubs will have to bargain hunt for his replacement.

Joe Sheehan: Anybody smart enough to trade for Milton Bradley is smart enough to stick the Cubs with paying the bill. The Cubs will fake the outfield spot with some Reed Johnson-flavored solution, I'm pretty sure.

philsfan (NYC): Joe, do you think Manuel should have left Madson in for the ninth last night? Even if Lidge doesn't give up a run in the top of the ninth, the pitchers' spot is due up first in the bottom of the inning, so at most Lidge was going to pitch one inning. After that, the Phillies would had to have relied on Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and company.

Joe Sheehan: Absolutely. He had no reason to take Madson out, and going to Lidge--whose "comeback" is fictional--actively damaged the Phillies' chances.

It would have been comical to see Phil Coke and Chad Durbin pitching in a tied World Series game.

Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Heart of hearts, can Mauer ever repeat the year he just posted?

Joe Sheehan: Yes. The power is real. He's always had that kind of upside.

Lightning round. I need warmth.

brianpekrul (San Francisco): Assuming the Giants don't sign Bay or Holliday, what hitter do you see them going after?

Joe Sheehan: He's so much not their guy, but Bobby Abreu would be a godsend for them. Maybe three wins better than Schierholtz.

Kevin (St. Pete): Do you think JP Howell is the closer for the Rays on Opening Day?

Joe Sheehan: I think Joe Maddon never again has a guy save 25 games.

Dan (Boston): For all the talk about re-signing Damon for a year, why not re-up Matsui for a year, too, to keep the seat warm for Jesus Montero in 2011?

Joe Sheehan: The roster glut that creates is problematic. I'd rather see them keep DH open as a slot for Rodriguez and Posada, while upgrading the bench players at those positions.

Jack (LA): Do you think Brandon Wood is freed from Mike Scioscia this offseason?

Joe Sheehan: Depends on how many of their FA hitters they lose. The Angels may need position players next year. Wood's future is tied to that of Chone Figgins.

Mark (CT): Joe, which statement about Game 3 do think carries more of the truth: (A) The Yankee hitters adjusted to Hamels, or (B) Hamels lost his focus? Thanks!

Joe Sheehan: The hitters adjusted.

They have short, short memories in this town, by the way. Hamels is approximately as popular as putting Swiss on a cheesesteak.

Paul (Miami): True or False - Dan Uggla is the Marlins Opening Day 2B.

Joe Sheehan: False. Bad trade coming, I suspect.

Joe Sheehan: Sorry, folks, but I have to get inside for a bit. Check out the roundtable tonight for more from Game Five!

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