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Chat: Steven Goldman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday January 12, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with Steven Goldman.


Climbing out from under his annual burden, Steven Goldman pops in to chat about other Hot Stove activities.

Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, pilgrims. Steven Goldman, BP editor and columnist, Pinstriped Bible host, and gourmet wordsmith here to take you through an alabaster afternoon. It's a chat cliche, but one I enjoy: I've got a super-sized mug of chai at hand, a mix of pretty much everything the Who ever did on the speakers, and a lot of baseball on my mind. Also: women, but that's par for the course, has been since I was a kid. I'm game for anything, so let's let fly with your questions, comments, and observations. BP 2011 is awaiting my return!

HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): Those willing to cut the Nationals a break opined that at least their efforts improved how they are perceived in the industry. However, given how many times they failed to get their man, can one honestly say that is true?

Steven Goldman: Always good to hear from burgeoning Fairfax, where a blond pixie of a close friend resides. The Nats' investment in free agent PR is one of those things that will pay off down the road if it does indeed pay off. They should probably be happy they didn't get their Pavano anyway, but if agents do believe that the Lerners are sincere in opening the wallets, if current players say that DC is a good place to play, if they show anything like an uptake in winning, then it might be true and it might matter. That last will tell most of all, because if you have competing offers from, say, the Rangers and the Nationals, then the Rangers can say, hey, we're a 90-win team without you and a 95-win team with you, so come go to the playoffs! The Nats can only say, well, if you come, we might not lose 95 games. If they go 81-81, then their pitch is, "Come carry us over the hump." That seems more enticing, doesn't it?

Jon E (Iowa): What is the first new thing or big change that readers of the Annual will notice this year?

Steven Goldman: We changed the layout of the stats a bit. Over the years, we had accumulated some things that were redundant or that had become outdated and we decided we didn't need them. In addition, when the book began, the internet wasn't this omnipresent repository of stats where you could call up a player's complete history at your desk, on your laptop at Starbucks, on your phone, and pretty soon your bloody belt buckle. Thus we felt that we could let a few things go because we didn't have to think of ourselves as a soup-to-nuts stats reference. As a result, we've gained statistical clarity and even more room for us to talk about the players without the book becoming so heavy you can't lift it.

kcboomer (kc): Has Andy Pettitte become the Yankees version of Brett Favre??

Steven Goldman: Well, not yet. Maybe in his (to use my favorite verb for this situation) Hamleting on about coming back or not, but if he can perform none of that will matter. You become a True Favre when you go back to the well one too many times.

Tony (Albuquerque): Industry paradigm shifting signings are dangerous. See: Guillen, Jose. meche, Gil

Steven Goldman: Right. Exactly what I meant when I said that they should be happy that Pavano didn't take their offer. The gesture is valuable, but having someone accept it can be disastrous.

Eurbiel Durazo (America): Steven, As our thoughts are with those lost in the Tuscon assassination (including Dallas Green's granddaughter), do you have any thoughts on where we as a society go from here?

Steven Goldman: A tough question to answer in a chat, or for that matter in a 500-page dissertation. I'm cynical enough to believe that our society has been so debauched that we don't go anywhere that we weren't headed before Saturday. As I wrote over at the PB (http://bit.ly/hDfOt2), we tend to frame all of our disagreements in binary terms-my rights OR yours, like it's a Hall of Fame debate. Either Jack Morris is in the Hall of Fame or he's not, either I get my way or you get yours, and there is no middle ground. When you do that, a republic stops dead in the water, because compromise is lost. The whole idea is that it's my rights AND yours, and I give a little and you give a little and we have a better society as a result. We've forgotten that, and as a result, we have that kind of inflammatory rhetoric that is fun for sane people to watch on TV or listen to on the radio but is catnip for deranged f--kheads like that guy in Arizona.

Paul (DC): Its 1:07pm and the chat hasn't started yet. With Strat-o-matic offices closed due to snow today on what was supposed to be the first day of ordering the new baseball season, I am already walking on ragged nerves. Please, please help!!

Steven Goldman: Your clock is faster than mine. Hit refresh! I wish I had time for a historic strat league, but I don't. I've been saying that for years, but I never do it.

Bill (New York): I have the 1st overall pick in this years draft out of a 16 team, H2H, 7 holdover league. I'm debating over which minors prospect might be the best one to select. I'm currently looking at: Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Mike Moustakas, Dustin Ackley, Julio Teheran. I also realize that some of these are obviously closer to the Majors than others, or should that not be my only requirement?

Steven Goldman: I'm far from the fantasy expert here, having given that up years ago (too much of a good thing), and you don't need Kevin Goldstein to tell you those are all great prospects. Harper is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent, but obviously he has no real track record as of yet. I love Trout because of his range of skills and would probably go for him just on that basis even if you won't see him for awhile, and I figure Ackley to be the most speculative of the bunch. Moustakas is probably the safest short-term play, even though I'm certain that the Royals will delay/screw up/botch his promotion in some way. They'll probably block him by luring Ruben Sierra out of retirement, or something like that.

hotstatrat (Toronto): So, only Barrow, Weiss, Rickey, and Gillick are in the Hall as "team architects". Who else should be in your opinion? I would nominate Bob Howsam, certainly.

Steven Goldman: Larry MacPhail is too, although he did other things as well, like bringing in radio and lights. Howsam is a good choice. Paul Richards, maybe. I wrote an article here at BP awhile back about John Quinn (http://bit.ly/dHlQNZ) which wasn't intended to argue for enshrinement, but he built three pennant winners for the Braves and got the Phillies very close (the infamous '64 team).

Adam (NY): Steven, I'm really enjoying the New Testament of the Bible you guys have configured. What do you think the best case scenario is for the Yankees this season? I feel like the answers will come once the season starts, when there is an actual move to make--rather than forcing the issue now.

Steven Goldman: Thank you, Adam. I've enjoyed having Jay, Cliff, and Stephani along for the ride at the PB and making the site less of a column and more of a magazine--and hopefully, we've just begun. The Yankees have a solid lineup, and aside from Derek Jeter, they have good alternatives if some of the shakier pieces falter. The rotation is a scarier place, but they have SO many good pitching prospects ready or nearly ready that you'd think that if they would just open their minds to them, they would find ONE. As such, far better to explore every internal option than to just throw away prospects on someone else's fifth/sixth starter. They can always blow out the farm at the trade deadline if they need to, assuming they aren't dealing with Jack Zduriencik again.

Jon E (Iowa): The shooter's "friends" are saying on ABC that he didn't watch much TV or listen to talk radio. Instead of worrying about inflammatory rhetoric, shouldn't we just try to do a better job of trying to identify people who are quite likely insane?

Steven Goldman: I assume that most of you will object if we delve too much into this topic today, but I'm willing to follow you guys wherever you want to go... From what I've seen, the content of the shooter's internet screed dovetails with some fairly well-known fringe-right thought. His ideas, his madness, didn't come out of a vacuum--he clearly had a fixation on the Congresswoman, and that had to come from SOMEWHERE. It seems pretty unlikely to have been some weird Mark David Chapman thing, though maybe it was. But to take what you said, we SHOULD try to identify nut jobs, but why bother if they can always get guns? The Virgina Tech bastard did. The Columbine shooters (who weren't insane in the same sense) did. Now, some will say, AHA! You have made an argument for GUN CONTROL! You have identified yourself as a LIBERAL. I might be that, but it's beside the point. I am not arguing for gun control. I'm arguing for common sense. When something isn't working you fix it. You can't hold on to a principle if it's going to get you killed one day. It's all about compromise.

And now, back to baseball.

Tony (Albuquerque): To be fair, Moustakas really represents the first prospect the Royals have really have had a chance to bring up under Dayton. So give him a chance.

Steven Goldman: Alex Gordon doesn't count?

mafrth77 (Boston): How do you Think WARP stands up to fWAR and sWAR? I feel a particular strength of WARP is that it doesn't seem to "punish" groundball pitchers for pitching in pitchers parks.

Steven Goldman: Shocked no one has given me an opportunity to make fun of Kyle Farnsworth so far...

This is more a question for Colin Wyers, who better understands what's going on under the hood in each case. Colin has revised our definition of WARP somewhat, and you'll see that new definition at work in the annual and subsequently on the site. I expect plenty of healthy debate about that, a good thing. I was remarking to Cliff Corcoran last night that we really need to have a grand unified theory of WARP, because there are too many versions out there, and they differ widely enough to throw the whole concept into question. What I try to remember is that in each case WARP is an estimate, not a literal thing. I do hope, though, that with this new iteration we're coming out with, we will have gotten closer.

DunnDunnDunnDunn (Chicago): A BP writer with a pixie in every port? Who knew. Ignore *if* it would happen, would John Danks for Montero and Nova be a win-win trade that would make sense? Or is Montero's ability to catch too big of a question mark? (And how bad could his defense possibly be as compared to AJ?)

Steven Goldman: Not EVERY port. That's Marc Normandin. Even were I not married, I just didn't have that level of skill. I courted women like Derek Jeter goes after a grounder to his left. My missus and I were so perfectly compatible that, to continue this metaphor, she was hit right at me. Announcers never say "in his tracks" anymore when a player makes a catch on a ball hit right at them, do they? I caught my wife in my tracks. If not, I would probably be doing this same chat, but saying, "Hey, while I'm answering the next question, any of you out there actual chicks? Do you KNOW any? Would you be willing to introduce me?" It would be kind of pathetic, wouldn't it?

Were I the Yankees, I would make that deal, throwing out a great-hitting but positionless prospect along with a seeming fifth starter/middle guy for a 26-year-old lefty with a 3.67 ERA away from the Cell who is also two years away from free agency. It's a bad risk for the White Sox for all kinds of reasons -- if Montero can't catch, he's blocked at first base and DH, and so you've acquired a player you can't use at the risk of blowing a huge hole in your rotation. I don't see the White Sox going there.

mafrth77 (Boston): Kevin Brown got a raw deal. Agreed?

Steven Goldman: Yes, but it's easy to see why. He was a better pitcher than any number of HOFers. There was probably THIS much difference between Brown and Sandy Koufax. Sanford, of course, was beloved and Brown... was not.

Danny (Columbia, SC): OK. I'll bite. Kyle Farnsworth, The Rays, ....go.

Steven Goldman: Do you think he knows any single women? I mean, ones that haven't hit home runs off of him.

thenamestsam (Brooklyn): What did you think of the Matt Garza deal? People seem fairly torn about which side got the better deal, which probably means it was fair right?

Steven Goldman: I thought that the package given up by the Cubs was VASTLY overrated by those who wanted to make a facile point about the Cubs overpaying compared to the Zack Greinke deal. Lee and Archer are good prospects, but not coming stars by any means. As for the rest, Guyer had a huge 102 games as a 24-year-old Double-A repeater, but let's seen an encore before we get excited; Fuld is a nice fourth guy who is close to 30, and Chirinos is intriguing as heck but is about to be 27. So the Rays got two potential long-term pieces for a pitcher with a record of success, albeit one who came off of a year which was only superficially strong--league average ERA, declining strikeout rate, a lot of reliance on the defense (although he's had low BABIPs for three straight seasons). It seems like a fair deal to me.

bumphadley (NJ): Hi Steve, What are your estimates of the ERAs needed from the Yankees' 4th and 5th starters so that the team can win a post-season berth?

Steven Goldman: I love the reference to Bump Hadley, noted headhunter. If the offense is as solid as it should be, the Yankees should have some flexibility with the RA of their back-end starters, and don't forget the bullpen should be pretty reliable as well, so it's not like they have to go seven every time out. I'm not sure why we should get crazy if they pitch to a 5.00 ERA. Phil Hughes did it from May 15 on and nearly won 20 games. Not every pitcher on the Yankees has to be Steve Carlton '72.

Bill (NYC): The difference with Pettitte is he says "I dont know if I'm retiring" whereas Farve says "I'm done" but comes back anyway b/c he's a diva.

Steven Goldman: Or it's a negotiating tactic, which is fair.

dianagramr (NYC): I've read that Farnsworth's batting average with women in scoring position is due for a severe regression. If it lasts more than 4 batters, see a doctor immediately.

Steven Goldman: Win! Now we follow up with a real Q from Diana, who earned about 42 acknowledgments in the back of BP 2011.

dianagramr (NYC): Andruw Jones on the Yankees short list??? Really? On a separate note, can Gardner finally buy a house (i.e. by signing a long-term deal)?

Steven Goldman: And by Diana, I meant Diane, of course. Darn my pudgy fingers.

I don't think Jones is a bad idea at all. It's just a Marcus Thames who can play defense. That's not a bad thing, especially if you are skeptical about Curtis Granderson being reborn as a non-platoon guy. As for Gardner, he was quite valuable last year, up to, and perhaps past the point he got hurt. We need to see him do what he can do over a full season, but maybe he's also a guy who needs to be protected from his own fragility. He's also not so productive that you wouldn't mind seeing him skip a few PAs against lefties.

Matt (Whippleville, NY ): If you were the Mets GM, would you put Reyes on the block this summer, and if so what would you want in return?

Steven Goldman: Not if I could extend him. I realize that Reyes had disappointed by getting hurt and not being consistent at the level of 2006 and 2008, but in a world short of shortstops, he's really too valuable to punt. Given that he's only 28 this year, you could sign him to a five-year contract and not risk too much in terms of decay. One thing that might make me change my mind: Reyes really went selfish last year, hacking away and dropping his walk rate by more than half. Job one for Terry Collins should be correcting that.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): If Brown pitches well in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, the Yankees make the WS that year, and everyone's memory of him isn't the Damon GS, is he getting quite a few more votes? That's not even an alternate universe, that's an alternate block.

Steven Goldman: There's still the steroids thing, alas, not that anyone making judgments on that basis really knows what the hell they're talking about. You change two of his 18-win seasons into 20s and give him a Cy Young award, and he gets in. I sometimes think the same way about Willie Randolph, a favorite of mine. Willie was an excellent fielder and a very good, albeit subtle hitter, and he tended to miss 20-30 games a year to injury. He scored 90-plus runs four times. Change those to 100s and the voters might have had a different perception of him.

Jason Bay (Citi Canyon): Tell me they're moving the fences in a bit before my contract is up . . .

Steven Goldman: I hope they don't. What I hope they do is engage Whitey Herzog as a consultant and start building with the park in mind.

Paul (Ryebrook): When will the PECOTAs be available?

Steven Goldman: That's a good question. They're all set up for the book now, as well as our book app, which will allow you to put the whole mighty tome on your iPhone. I don't have an iPhone, so y'all will have to tell me how that works for you. I have a Windows phone. Commence making fun of me.

A 120-second pause here so I can refill my cup.

Bill (New Mexico): "Bump Hadley, noted headhunter"? What's the reference here? The real-life version of Hadley hit a batter about once in every 200 plate appearances. There are guys playing with a rate four times that. Can you elaborate?

Steven Goldman: I grabbed some guacamole. Appropriately, the Who are singing, "A Quick One (While He's Away)." ...Hadley instigated a number ' brawls with close pitching, and was the guy who ended Mickey Cochrane's career when he (intentionally or not) skulled him.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): When I was a kid a had a "Nobody Beats the Wiz" poster with Willie Randolph, Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson and Don Mattingly on it. I loved that poster. No question, just wanted to share.

Steven Goldman: Their commercials weren't quite as annoying at Crazy Eddie's were.

dianagram (NYC): "They're all set up for the book now, as well as our book app, which will allow you to put the whole mighty tome on your iPhone." ================== That's not saying the Annual will be available as a PDF or Kindle, is it?

Steven Goldman: No... But this is a good interim step as we get closer.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Hi Steven. What is the book tour situation? Is that out the door? I have to say, I always enjoyed and looked forward to your book events. Thanks for your time today.

Steven Goldman: Thank you! We love them, too. I've said many times that those appearances are the reward for all the craziness that goes into putting together that behemoth of a tome. We WILL have a tour. At minimum, we will be going to the usual places--New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): The team with Randolph, Winfield, Rickey, and Mattingly would have won ____ WS titles with average pitching.

Steven Goldman: That team could have had two-three division titles at least in a division that wasn't exactly brimming with all-time great teams. But it wasn't just the pitching that was the problem, it was the inability to find a decent shortstop and ownership's constant screwing around.

dianagramr (NYC): hope my last ? wasn't perceived as a nag .... more as a request for clarification/edification ....

Steven Goldman: Not at all. We know what our readers want and we would be foolish not to try to accommodate you. And if you think we don't know, you should tell us.

Walking Wounded (Trainer's Room): How will the injury news be disseminated this season now that Will is gone?

Steven Goldman: Stay tuned!

jav39 (MI): What's your feeling of the 2B situation in COL. Does Eric Young have a 50/50 shot of starting at 2B, or is the signing of Lopez pretty much mean Young's delegated to the bench?

Steven Goldman: Bench, but I think that's his best usage anyway.

JayT (San Francisco): While quite sad, the AZ shooting wasn't exactly a first-time thing. Leon Czolgosz was an anarchist too when he killed McKinley, and while he wasn't influenced by talk radio, he was influenced by anarchist books and newspapers. The country still managed to live on and prosper, even though they didn't shut down those anarchist writers. As far as gun control goes, murders have been decreasing in the US pretty steadily for the last 30 years, so is there really something here that “isn’t working”? There will always be wacko's out there, and it seems to me the better use of time and effort would be towards better security at high risk areas, like political events and schools.

Steven Goldman: Seems to me, JayT, that we can dismiss this event as the work of a whackjob and maybe we'll be correct on the technical merits, but if we fail to take the discussion where it WANTS to go, to use it as a way to reexamine what's going on, then we'll have failed to wring what good we can from this horrible tragedy, regardless if doing so might be a kind of non-sequitur. I will also point out that when Czolgosz shot McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt DID go out of his way to point the finger at those whose words would seem to have condoled such a thing, NOT fringe anarchist writers, but the mainstream press, specifically Hearst's newspapers, which had been suggesting that capping the president wouldn't have been a bad thing.

Rob (Alaska): Where in the world does Rafael Soriano end up? Setting up for Mo? Or is mystery team about to get busy again?

Steven Goldman: I wish I knew. It seems as if he's being heavily punished for being a Type A. Otherwise he would have landed about five times by now.

thenamestsam (Brooklyn): Steve, over/under 8 starts for Sergio Mitre next year? Please say under.

Steven Goldman: If the Yankees are serious about winning, under, but they distrust their own young pitchers so much that anything is possible. That said, I would remind you (and me) that pitchers are random enough that they can do the unexpected in 15 or 20 starts and put together a good year. All it takes is good defensive support.

TOny (Albuquerque): Is weiters A)close to breaking out B)going to breakout C) no where near D) He is who he is?

Steven Goldman: I could tell you what PECOTA says... but I probably shouldn't. I think he will be better this year than he has shown. There are some good things in his record, like selectivity and the occasional hot streak where he looks like exactly who we all thought he was. Not much of a switch-hitter, apparently, he would look superficially better if he sat against more left-handers... One thing I look forward to is if the change in hitting coaches to Jim Presley will make a big difference. As a lineup, the Orioles were all out for themselves last year.

Sean (NJ): Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect from the SABR Day festivities in NYC on January 29?

Steven Goldman: Nope... I haven't seen an agenda yet. I just know I'm really looking forward to it.

Larry (Long Island): What are the chances Alfredo Aceves is back with the Yankees? Also, what about a spring training invite to El Duque to try for a relief job?

Steven Goldman: If Aceves is healthy, it will make a big difference this year, and there's definitely room for him on the staff. As for Orlando Hernandez, yeesh... He is, at minimum, 45. He was great fun while he lasted, but despite his 15 good innings in the lower minors last year, the Yankees should be looking to the future, not the past. That might be my favorite question of the day.

Richie (Washington): How were the Orioles hitters "all out for themselves last year"?? I thought we SABR types pooh-poohed all the sacrificial hitting stuff.

Steven Goldman: Not in terms of bunting or hitting to the right or whatever. They drew the fest walks in the AL, saw the fewest pitches per PA in the AL.

Chris (wild blue yonder): You gave your opinion on the Garza deal...did you ever weigh in on the Greinke deal? Your thoughts?

Steven Goldman: It's almost a trick question, because Greinke is good enough, or if he rebounds is good enough, that unless you trade something very special for him, you're not going to get anything like fair value. Dropping Betancourt in the deal is addition by subtraction, but the Royals might actually have traded down by acquiring Alcides Escobar, probably the most disappointing rookie of the year and a player whose peripherals doom him to hit .300 or contribute nothing. I don't think Cain hits enough to be a real contributor, Jeffress could be good in the pen, but that only gets you so far. That leaves Odorizzi (who I insist on thinking of--here's another Who reference for you--as "Odorono"), and what are the chances he turns into another Greinke? The Royals probably did as well as they could have given how they were being leveraged, but the deal just isn't that good. All win for the Brewers.

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Hi Steve Who gets more saves in Pittsburgh this year - Meek or Hanrahan?

Steven Goldman: Cranford... An exit on the Parkway that tells me I'm still a good distance from home. Tempted to answer, "Does it matter?" Who ate the most blintzes the morning the Titanic sank? I expect it will be Hanrahan.

carligula (Oakland): Steven - the "Odorono" reference reminds me, have you heard Petra Haden's a cappella cover album of all of "Who Sell Out"? Great stuff.

Steven Goldman: Heard about it, haven't listened to it. I bet our Colonel Ben Lindbergh numbers it in his vasty collection.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): What is your feeling on Cano? Is he as good as he was last season or was that the high water mark?

Steven Goldman: I have a whole bunch of questions on Robbie and if he will, as the Beach Boys sang, do it again. I think he's due for some regression, and we saw it begin in the second half, when he hit "only" .299/.371/.507. If that's what he does this year, I'll take it.

By the way, I should mention that if you're not yet one of my Twitter pals, I can be found at @PB_Steve.

Eli (Brooklyn): Over than making a move for Andruw, are there any other available FA's the Yankees have been linked to (e.g., Francis, Duchscherer, Fuentes) that you think the Yankees should target? If they are still unable to trust/develop young pitchers post-Joba, should they be more aggressive in trading some of them? Or does Hank/Hal care how many wins Charleston or Trenton has?

Steven Goldman: With Feliciano and Logan, the Yankees have collected enough lefties, don't you think? I have a bunch of questions about Francis... While he's worth a flier for somebody, it had better be the right place, and that ain't Yankee Stadium. He's a 30-year-old non-grounder guy with mediocre strikeout rates in the NL. His ERA away from Colorado is 4.98. What are we really expecting to get? ...I have a soft spot for the Duchscherer of Death, but really have no idea what to expect there.

...Just a couple more; there's still annual stuff for me to do.

Jon E (Iowa): Do you think Konerko and Dunn want to re-think their deals? The State of Illinios just raised personal state income taxes by 67%. That's gotta be a decent amount of money off the top. Do you think something like this hurts the Cubs and Sox a little in future off-seasons?

Steven Goldman: Things like that have been seen to have an impact on free-agent moves in the past, so it's not crazy to wonder. What an odd place we've gotten to economically. This seems like a good place to thank you all for subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. I (we) are truly appreciative that in tough times like these you've stuck with us. Group hug, everybody!

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): I should've asked you this a long time ago, but do you prefer Steven or Steve?

Steven Goldman: Just about everyone calls me Steve. I think Kevin Goldstein and my parents go with Steven, and even my parents mix it up a little bit. I have one aunt who insists on calling me Stevie no matter what I do. She says it's a holdover from when I was little, but she was the only one who called me Stevie then either. Really, I'm just happy anyone cares to hear from me.

RMR (Chicago): True or False: Walt Jocketty was smart to avoid the inefficient middle of the FA market and add complimentary pieces at budget friendly prices? Was it enough?

Steven Goldman: I kind of buy that. I guess there was no reality in which they were going to bid on Carl Crawford, someone who would have been a nice fit in place of the Jonny Gomes/Chris Heisey/Fred Lewish mash-up that is now slated for left field. Edgar Renteria makes me nervous, the kind of guy Dusty Baker could lead off/give far too much playing time to. Not that I thought Paul Janish was the answer, but I was very curious what Zack Cozart might do at some point this year.

Colin Jaffe (Cranford, NJ): Whoa, another Cranford baseball dork? Anyway, which AL East contender is being more severely underrated, the Rays or the Yanks? People are mourning/celebrating their demises despite their winning in the mid-90s last year and only losing one significant player each.

Steven Goldman: Cranford, NJ: hotbed of baseball love, and IIRC there's a Trader Joe's not too many exits away, so dudes, move on in! The Yankees are going to be right there, and the Rays will, too: folks don't seem to realize that swapping out Garza makes room for Hellickson and possibly makes them better. The outfield will be mixed grill, but a good mixed grill. The real question is they can rebuild the bullpen from scratch, and if they can't how Joe Maddon compensates. That's the big mystery for the spring.

Tom (Madison): Does Adrian Beltre make the Rangers the clear favorite in the AL West, or do you see them and the A's as pretty even?

Steven Goldman: I think the Rangers are still the team to beat. Even with their additions, I have doubts about the A's offense.

Steven Goldman: Pilgrims, it's time for me to get back to babysitting BP 2011, my seventh annual and one which I hope you have all pre-ordered. We have a great deal of exciting BP news to discuss in the coming weeks, not just the book but other things, and I know I'll be back soon to talk about them with you. As always, thank you for spending part of your day of snow with Baseball Prospectus and myself. Stay warm!

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