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Chat: Steven Goldman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday May 05, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with Steven Goldman.


Prepare to be boarded after a Broadside from BP's E-i-C Steven Goldman.

Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, fellow seekers of wisdom and truth. Steven Goldman, BP editor-in-chief here to take you through part of the afternoon. I'll be following along with Yankees-Tigers game, so turn to page 32 in your hymnals, arise and sing.

mattstupp (NYC): Hi Steven, With all the buzz about the Mets trading/not trading Reyes, what are the chances that they trade him mid-season and then make a bonafide attempt to sign him in winter? Couldn't that be the best plan to contend from 2012 on? Could you see the Angels parting with Trout for Reyes?

Steven Goldman: That's the million-dollar question, mattstupp. Given the team's financial problems, that kind of circular deal seems unlikely, plus it would possibly cost them a draft choice if they're not protected. With the Angels having Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar, I don't see them prioritizing Reyes, nor trading the best or second-best prospect in baseball for a free agent to be.

BL (Bozeman, MT): Reading any good baseball books these days?

Steven Goldman: Been bouncing between the Wizard of Waxahachie, on manager Paul Richards, and Cardboard Gods, by recent ProGUESTus contributor Josh Wilker. Oh, and I should mention that I just reread our own Baseball Between the Numbers as we prepare a follow-up to that now-classic tome.

Jamey (LA of LA): Steven, I was wondering if and when BP will get 2011 stats updates on the site. Team Audit, player cards, and stats reports are all so last year still. Also, I feel as if the player cards have lost more than they've gained this year, especially in the graph department. Any plans to do a major upgrade on them?

Steven Goldman: You will note that nearly all of the stats reports have been updated as of this morning. On behal fof the organization, I apologize for the delay; we had a major server move earlier this season, and rebuilding the statistics took longer than anticipated. I hope, though, as we add functionality, new reports, and some additional wrinkles throughout the season, that it makes up for the inconvenience. Also, we're having the people responsible shot.

Keith7971 (ECSU): Did you catch the end of the Sox game last night, if so, how would you rate the Biz Marqee Youk chant and the Abreu razzing on the 20-80 scale, i think its clear, even coming from a yankees fan, that the sox fans chanting ability is a plus plus tool

Steven Goldman: I'm not sure how you'll feel about this, or I do, but while I did watch all of the post-rain delay action at Fenway, the chant meant less to me than to some others because I haven't the foggiest notion who Bris Markie or Blintz Margie or Fizz Corgi is.

nschaef (The Bottom of a Depression Well): How screwed are the White Sox at this point and why is it that they only have two players with an OPS above .700?

Steven Goldman: But is it a GREAT Depression well? They're pretty screwed, because 12 games in the loss column is a lot to make up even at this time of year. I've tried to reserve judgment on offensive problems around the league, because weather has been mild and the majors are down as a whole--maybe that affects everyone in different ways. Yet, the Sox have been especially poor. The problem is that while Adam Dunn will eventually straighten things out and Konerko and Trenton should carry on, the rest of them are kind of blah at the best of times. Man, is Beckham a disappointment.

goodwine10 (New York, NY): Nice start for A.J. - HBP on an 0-2 count and a wild pickoff throw to 1st to get Sizemore to 3rd. April is over ...

Steven Goldman: These things happen. What's more interesting to me is that for all the supposed wonderfulness of Burnett's April, his ERA was only about league average... YES just flashed the names Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, and Lou Whitaker. At least one of those guys should be in the Hall of Fame, and it's not Morris.

Ben (Springfield): So, what happens if Pujols ends the year at something like .280/335/450 (right now he's at .233/.309/.417). How would you approach a deal?

Steven Goldman: He pretends it's an aberration and asks for the moon, the purchasing team offers less while hoping that it's an aberration, and if the latter asked my opinion I would suggest shopping elsewhere, because first base is a relatively easy position to fill and while Hall of Fame-quality players usually have a soft landing, Pujols could always be the one that doesn't.

mmaurer016 (Florida): Hey what do u think of me trading Hanley and Carlos Pena for Lance Berkamn and Jose Reyes?

Steven Goldman: I think you're selling low/buying high.

dtisch30 (Ithaca): Steve, 2 questions. 1) What are the odds the Yanks trade Montero? (would you?) 2) Favorite flavor of Big League Chew (or any other bubblegum if you arent a BLC guy)?

Steven Goldman: The chances seem pretty good, because Russell Martin is playing very well and if you don't view Montero as a catcher either because he can't do it or the position is occupied, he's very tough to fit on the diamond for the Yankees, short of their reducing Jorge Posada's role--and maybe they do that as a trade showcase down the line if Posada doesn't heat up in a big way... I haven't been a big chewing gum guy in years, but one that I sort of miss--do they still make this?--is Gator Gum, the Gatorade flavored stuff. It was SO sour, putting a piece into your mouth was like biting into a lemon. My mouth is tingling in memory even as a I type this. I'm not sure if it was a pleasant sensation, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

dianagramr (NYC): Chances Girardi benches Jeter more and more rather than bat him 1st/2nd?

Steven Goldman: With the new contract and 3,000 hits (which shouldn't matter to anyone with the Yankees outside of the marketing department) I don't see him doing that anytime soon. Even if Jeter's current hip thing, which doesn't seem like anything, this is just a hypothetical, put him on the DL and Eduardo Nunez got hot and hit .310 while he was out and fielded well, Jeter would be right back in the lineup when he came back.

KPL (Vernon, CT): Steve...your thoughts on the Yankees offense? Through the off-season I always thought they were a bat short. Reasoning was the only realistic improvements could come from Teixeira and Granderson. Swisher had a career year, Gardner maxed out early, and it would be tough for Cano to increase his production from 2010. That leaves declines for Jeter, A-Rod (not as steep), and Posada. Am I missing something here or did the NYY not think the lineup would be an issue?

Steven Goldman: While I'm not as down on Gardner as you are, you're basically right. The Yankees' lineup is old, old, old. As I said earlier, while I'm trying to reserve judgment given that almost every team except the Indians hasn't hit much yet, lately I have frequently thought that there is something like the 2000 David Justice trade, a decisive move, coming. Or, as I said before, they could give Montero a try at DH.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Hey Steven! On the one hand, "Hall of Fame" is the perfect name. Short, sweet, rolls off the tongue. On the other hand, its a horrible name, because its not accurate. The Hall has inductees, exhibits, and memorabilia that are not famous/are about events that are not famous (at least to non-baseball fanatics). The "goal" of the Hall was supposedly to reward the "best" players (whatever that means) - not necessarily the most "famous" players. Of course there would be overlap . . . What would have been a more accurate, yet usable, name for the Hall of Fame? I've tried to come up with one, but all my suggestions are corny or too lengthy. Any thoughts?

Steven Goldman: The problem with "Hall of Fame" is that so many players of varying levels of performance have been inducted that it's impossible to make a coherent argument about what a Hall of Famer is. If you draw the line under the worst selections, then pretty much any ballplayer who has a couple of All-Star appearances to his name can make a bid. I don't have a better name. "Hall of Justice" is taken by the Super Friends and Batman is a litigious S.O.B. How about "The Pantheon?"

Dan (NY): Any concern about Cano's walk rate and Swishers power?

Steven Goldman: Not really. More about the former than the latter, because I'd hate to see Cano relapse into self-defeating behavior. Swisher's power will come around.

BL (Bozeman, MT): What do you think about the report a week or so ago alleging the Cubs may have thrown the '18 World Series? Is it possible to understate how strongly the undercurrent of gambling runs through baseball in its first half-century or so?

Steven Goldman: No, I don't think it is. It was just a huge part of the culture, in baseball and everywhere. I dont know if it is true, but it wouldn't surprise me at all, just like stories about the White Sox in '17 might be true, or various suspicions about other, earlier World Series, including a couple involving the A's. It was a time of great corruption, one which the progressive movement of the late 19th/early 20th century had yet to really touch.

joe sav (n.y.): Please let this be the last year of Inge at third--he like the last kid picked who bats last and u know will make 4 outs..

Steven Goldman: I resemble that remark. Also describes my teenage dating life.

Aceball (Reno): Do you think the majority of American Leauge teams mis-manage the DH position? I do. On a different note, what is Obama thinking by not releasing the Osama death photo? Doesn't he know people are going to hate him for whatever he does? He might as well try to manage the way people hate him.

Steven Goldman: You have to be a little more specific in what you mean by mismanage. It's true that teams don't always get as much offense out of the DH position as they should, but I would have to look thoroughly to see how much of that is by design and how much by circumstance. As for the photo, not going to get too much into that, but I imagine he thinks it would be more inflammatory than illuminating.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Ian Desmond has hit the ball well and looked very good in the field since the birth of his child. How possible do you think it is that players can play poorly due to external factors, and how often do you think it happens, without us noticing?

Steven Goldman: I've said this before, so forgive me. If you're watching the Tigers game, Kelly just dove for a ball and missed, allowing Eric Chavez a triple (Chavez was so unused to running that hard that he's apparently hurt himself--surprise!). One of my favorite Casey Stengel lines is something he said in praise of Joe DiMaggio, that DiMaggio never dove because he knew he wasn't going swimming. At first it might seem odd that a manager would praise a player for NOT diving, but if you think about it, it's better fundamental baseball not to, because if you don't dive you have a single, if you do dive and miss you have a triple, as we saw here.

As to your question, a good one, I think it happens all the time. Players are like us--they have off-field issues all the time that serve as distractions, and some are better at screening those out than others.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): 'The Pantheon' sounds like something Bill Simmons would create, complete with levels... oh wait...

Steven Goldman: I've never read Simmons much, but ever since my BP colleague Emma Span wrote about some of the misogynistic things he has written, including a "humorous" story about his wife that sounds an awful lot like a form of rape, I have mentally categorized him as a lower lifeform not worthy of my time. You can read Emma's story here: http://www.bronxbanterblog.com/2010/12/17/the-book-of-basketball-and-staggering-casual-sexism/

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): It's a shame, Eric Chavez was my favorite player in the early 2000s, despite having absolutely no allegiance to the A's, I just loved watching him play. But you can't predict injuries derailing a career. My favorite player before him was Don Mattingly. This does not bode well for my newest favorite, Ryan Zimmerman.

Steven Goldman: Indeed, Chavez is out of the game, and the Yankees will have to slum it with A-Rod entering in his place. I loved Mattingly as well, and his quick fall was an object lesson in the fragile nature of athletic success. It was a valuable thing, because it taught me that sports will make you choose between loving a player and loving a winning team. Quite often, the former is incompatible with the latter. Derek Jeter's many fans are confronting that dilemma now.

Stephen (Kansas): How good is the Royals bullpen and how rare is it to have that many rookies contributing?

Steven Goldman: I don't know the answer to that question, but I'm going to endeavor to find out, because if the youngest bullpens were as or more effective than the oldest ones, what would that teach us about how to build a staff of relievers? My guess is that a younger pen would be just as effective as an old one, because relievers are so variable that you can luck into a good young pen as easily ("easily" is said ironically in this context--nothing easy about bullpens) as you can a good old one.

...I apologize, but I unavoidably need to pause for about five minutes. I'll continue some extra on the other end. I appreciate your patience.

DanDaMan (SeaCliff): I'm sorry, but I guess I missed this- what happened to CK?

Steven Goldman: Apologies, fellow seekers. There are many things today that are happening on a schedule not quite of my choosing.

Nothing to be sorry for. Christina has joined ESPN.com, but she will be back here from time to time for special appearances. There will always be a place at BP for Grandmother Tree.

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Hi Steve What kind of playing time and production do you anticipate for Fred Lewis going forward? Thanks

Steven Goldman: With Jonny Gomes a-slumpin' and Dusty Baker apparently uninterested in giving Chris Heisey any more playing time, perhaps he can work himself into the left field picture with some hot hitting. I'm afraid that if he doesn't hit right away, he'll be just one more guy in a big outfield mix.

I have some openings in my queue for some new questions and questioners, as things are unusually quiet for a Steve chat. I hope you haven't lost that lovin' feeling. For me, I mean. If you're about to dump your significant other, I guess that's okay. But I feel for you. I really do.

ScottyB (Nyack, NY): Do y'all happen to know if KRod is on track for his vesting option? IIRC, he needs to finish 55 games this year to b guaranteed for next year at an outrageous $17.5M (thank, you Omar!). The union will be keeping tabs to be sure that the Mets don't monkey with his useage; however, I cannot believe that Alderson/Collins would allow him to opportunity to earn the option.

Steven Goldman: The magic number is indeed 55, and right now he's finished eight. The clause does indeed put the Mets in a tough spot, but perhaps they'll have some defense in holding him back--a lack of leads to protect. Or they could read one of our many arguments about how a team should use its best relievers in innings other than the ninth and claim that they've gone new age in their thinking.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): So when you do your Top 11 Prospect lists... Sorry, had to sneak in a time-honored BP tradition. Real question: Will the AL Central winner have more than 85 wins?

Steven Goldman: No top 11s for me, as you well know, but I will resume my series of the top 50 most disappointing prospects in the next week or so... If the Indians slow down and play .500 from now on, they would finish right in the area of 85 wins, so it seems to me that that's the number to beat.

Aceball (Reno): When Eguenio Velez played for the Giants I had an irrational fondness for the guy even though he made a lot of plays that weren't major league caliber. Reading about Fred Lewis took me back to that first summer. Should Velez have a MLB career?

Steven Goldman: Anyone know if Velez is hurt? He signed with the Dodgers over the winter, but he hasn't played this year and I confess I don't know what happened... Velez's versatility was a plus, but there just wasn't much bat there due to a refusal to shake hands with Mr. Strike Zone.

stately (atl): did you watch greinke pitch last night? i'm reading/hearing this morning that he didn't pitch very well, but i didn't get that impression. terrible fielding led to the first two runners getting on base, and he ended up throwing way too many pitches early in the game. also, they re-scored an error by weeks (he should have gotten there) as a hit, and that ended up earning him some runs. overall, he seemed pretty sharp, though. thoughts?

Steven Goldman: I didn't, being more focused on the Yankees and then the never-ending Red Sox-Angels game. What I took away from what I saw after the fact was that, as you said, the Brewers played poor defense (new team, same shortstop) but the swing-and-miss was still there. I wouldn't rush to judgment.

KPL (Vernon, CT): A Brian Cashman question: I've always found him to be an interesting guy, moreso now than in past seasons. With the Soriano signing and Jeter negotiations, there appears to be interference again from non-baseball people. He sounds like a guy who doesn't care how his bosses perceive his comments. What's your take on Cashman's relationship with Levine and the "new" ownership dynamic? Do you see him sticking around much longer?

Steven Goldman: It seems like ownership/upper management is feeling its oats, but even if that's true, it has always been very difficult to figure out where those guys end and Brian Cashman begins. No GM has a totally free hand, but Cashman's administration has seemed more collaborative than most. In the aftermath of the Torre book, Cashman has said he will never write a book, but I implore him to reconsider, even if he saves it for some distant retirement, because (1) he has been part of way too many significant teams and interacted with too many important personalities and (2) without guidance we will never be able to assess his record.

adambulldog (Spring Green): Did you know that Reggie Jackson went to high school with the guy that led the Israeli commandos in the 1976 raid on Entebbe? I just learned that today.

Steven Goldman: Reggie Jackson's background is one of the most interesting things about him. I'll match you with another high school pairing: Casey Stengel went to high school with the actor William Powell, best remembered today for the Thin Man series with Myrna Loy. If you haven't seen, at the very least, the first one, check it out straight away.

Aaron (YYZ): With offense down again so far this season, does any major league team have the gumption to try and get more offense by going back to radical things like real platoons and deeper benches?

Steven Goldman: As Ben Lindbergh showed today (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13809) the stolen base is making a comeback this year, so perhaps other forgotten elements of the toolbox will be remembered. However, managers will probably think about the sac bunt and the hit and run before they recall that teams used to have real bench options and 10 relievers.

BL (Bozeman, MT): Working on a book at the moment? If so and the topic is a state secret, what two or three book ideas would you like to do, or see done?

Steven Goldman: We've not made a secret of the next BP book, a follow-up to Baseball Between the Numbers... At any given time I have about 10 book ideas that I'd like to pursue, both for BP and myself (I guess that makes 20 book ideas) but I would NEVER divulge them hear or anywhere else--once an idea has escaped, you can never recapture it, and it's fair game for anyone.

mattstupp (NYC): Steven, RE: The Mets signing Reyes In spite of the Wilpons' financial mess, couldn't these factors work in favor of Reyes staying with the Mets?: 1. new minority ownership/cash 2. the bloated contracts of Beltran/K-Rod/Castillo/Ollie coming off the books 3. ownership's understanding of the impact of star talent on their brand/business Would you say that Reyes is very likely to test the free agent market, regardless of whether or not he is traded?

Steven Goldman: It could, but it also depends on what Alderson thinks he can get. The problem from my point of view is that no matter what you get back, it's not going to be an above-average shortstop, which means that the Mets will go from Reyes to having an above-average chance of having to play some Ronny Cedeno type. For all his flaws, Reyes is young enough that he should be a safe sign on a long-term deal... barring some personality issues that I'm not aware of that makes the Mets believe that once given his cookie he'll go to sleep for the duration of the deal.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Is AJ Burnett pretty much back in working order, as far as he can be?

Steven Goldman: My YES colleague Jack Curry just tweeted that opponents are now 1-for-18 with two outs and runners on base vs. Burnett. Does that sound like the kind of thing that will last? Don't think so.

stately (atl): do you ever root for a team based upon how nerdy their front office is?

Steven Goldman: I wish I had TIME to root now that I'm helping to run this operation. But the serious answer is no, not at all. Maybe I'm one of the nerdy BPers, but on the whole we're a pretty mixed group of guys and gals and we don't have any special affinity for the socially maladroit. We take everyone on their merits.

dianagramr (NYC): Is it impolite to mention ex-BPers? If not, then those interested in why offense is down ought to listen to the Rany and [redacted] podcast from this week, where they expound on the lack of platoons and the surplus of relievers, as well as the reduced stigma of the strikeout as reasons for reduced offense. http://www.[redacted].

Steven Goldman: Of course not! Once a BPer, always a BPer. I'm proud to be part of the organization that Dr. Rany helped found, and I admire the work that he's doing today, wish he was doing it here.

jhardman (Apex, NC): I've been wanting to ask this question to someone who might have an answer, so who better but the editor-in-chief? Why do so many articles get released here before some basic editing is done? It is comical to read the comments section and see some of the humorous notations regarding bad editing. And to add to it - how is it going to get fixed? Or is it?

Steven Goldman: I'm sorry you feel that way. Every article is edited, with the exception of some of the quick posts on the blog side of the page that we try to get to you without interference because of the immediacy of some of the topics. We have very high standards and are mortified by any error that makes it into print.

BeplerP (New York): Steve, thanks for the Chat. The New Rk Metropolitans are deep in a woods of their own making. Alderson and Co. are smart guys, and I am all in fsavor of giving them the chance (Eat your heart out, Billy) to turn this hulk around, and I am even liking Collins as the FM, but I don't see a way out of a <70 win season, even if Santana returns timely. And there isn't much in ths system. Do you see things I don't? Regards,

Steven Goldman: Nope. It's going to be a long year, and once they start making the seemingly inevitable deals, it's going to get longer. One of the things aspects of all the trade Reyes/trade Wright/trade Beltran! discussion that I hear around here is, what do those pushing for deals think they're going to get that is better than or will develop into something better than those players? I also don't understand why some in the area have seemingly wanted Wright dealt from day one, but thats another story.

Aceball (Reno): Do you have a favorite marriage between baseball and the thriller genre? For me it would have to be the novel Lights Out by Jason Starr who is an all around good New York writer.

Steven Goldman: I know it's not that movie with DeNiro and Wesley Snipes as Barry Bonds... I haven't read Jason Starr, I never got around to finishing Parker's book about Jackie Robinson, and it's been too many years since I read former BP collaborator R.D. Rosen's books to report accurately. I've been meaning to read something in Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series (which are sports oriented but may or may not have baseball in 'em) as I've enjoyed several of his stand-alone books.

Seems to me that the relationship between a story and its setting has to be organic, as quite often the attempt to graft a mystery plot onto baseball seems forced. You wind up with something that doesn't quite work.

stately (atl): i feel like on every single site i frequent (bp, fangraphs, hardball times) there are a ton of readers who are constantly complaining about the editing and typos and errors, however minor. why are these people obsessed that all content be perfect, even to the point that they think it disqualifies the content? You don't know anything about baseball or analysis, because you said Grienke instead of Greinke! It's annoying.

Steven Goldman: I said Grunke instead of Grinkly because I'm more interested in giving you speedy responses here, as in the past readers have ALSO complained about the pace of chats. Therefore, I'm going to credit y'all with enough intelligence to understand that and know that when I say Gruntly, I mean Zap Grizzly. ...As for the rest, the readers have a right to expect a high level of competence from us in every aspect of what we do, particularly on a site like this one where they pay for the service. We know that so we never resent the complaints, however niggling they might sometimes be, because we always want to improve our game...

I saw that Eduardo Nunez error coming a mile away; the runner screened off the ball, and that seemed likely to discomfit him.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Hi Steven. Worse contract: John Lackey's 5 year/$85 million deal with Boston or Derek Jeter's 3 year/$51 with New York? I think Lackey but I'm curious as to your opinion. Thanks for the chat!

Steven Goldman: Jeter's. As expensive and disappointing as Lackey has been, he's a new pitch or refined mechanics away from salvaging the deal. Not saying it WILL happen, but it's in the realm of possibility, whereas Jeter has gone to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.

Aaron (YYZ): Sadly, I suspect the Phillies will avoid getting so desperate as to realize they're the perfect testbed for the 4 man rotation and a 15/10 hitter/pitcher split.

Steven Goldman: One of the problems with innovating, which in this case wouldn't be innovating but actually trying something old, is that the coverage of the game is basically reactionary. As we saw when the Red Sox/Bill James tried to change the way bullpens are thought about, the moment something goes wrong, every writer looking to fill column inches jumps on you with both feet, then your fans do, then your own players and coaches do, and you can't run your team for all the shouting. If the Phillies tried something like this, not saying they should, but if they did, and Halladay came down with a strained elbow three weeks in, a million words would be published as to how the four-man was the reason why... When in reality they have no bleeping clue, but assuming "after therefore because" is one of the easiest forms of lazy thinking to occur to the human mind.

BL (Bozeman, MT): Just a shout out for the most recent Broadsheet. Excellent writing, excellent insight, and the honesty is really, really refreshing. Thanks much!

Steven Goldman: Thank you, BL. I really appreciate that, especially since relatively few of our readers bothered to look at it. The readers know what they want, and for whatever reason that wasn't it, but I appreciate all the nice things that were said in the comments.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Lackey is also tradeable; someone might be willing to take him off the Red Sox, believing a change in scenary could help. Jeter is a pure sunk cost, and is looking very much the sink part right now. I don't think I've seen Nunez play the field yet - so far, all his problems have been on throws, right? That seems correctable. How does he look in the field otherwise?

Steven Goldman: He has more range than Jeter, though that's damning him with faint praise. And the news now comes down that Eric Chavez has a "small fracture" in his foot, so I guess we won't be seeing him for awhile. As we've often said at BP, health is a skill. Sadly, and I really mean sadly, Chavez doesn't have it. I wonder who gets called up. I hope it's someone more useful than Ramiro Pena...

Aceball (Reno): I've read one of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar books and while it lacked the perfection of Richard Stark's The Hunter, the book I read was a lot of fun and the end gave me chills.

Steven Goldman: Richard Stark = Donald Westlake, right? Westlake was brilliant.

Brad (Chicago): We'll (the Cubs) take Wright if New York doesn't want him. Of course they'll probably try to "fix" his batting eye to make him more agressive and turn him into a .320 OBA hitter... because we all know the Cubs view walks as bad.

Steven Goldman: Did anyone see the Yankees losing three of four to the Tigers? ...I've written many times that the aspect of the game the Cubs have neglected repeatedly across the decades is OBP. It's a very simple thing that they've failed to grasp, and it's disheartening that, except for brief intervals, this flaw reasserts itself from generation to generation. Literally generation to generation.

jhardman (Apex, NC): Thanks for the response on the typos. You could have easily dodged that one, so I appreciate your answer. As an old school journalism major (one edu-ma-cated in teh '80's), I remember the focus on quality and tightness in the copy even within the deadline drive of a newspaper or magazine. Web deadlines are different, but I hope you realize that it does still reflect on the quality. Quality is the lost art of many professions in the past few years, and as a reader who does pay for the service, it's the quality I'm paying for. I can only speak for myself. Thanks for the continued good job. I still pay for the subscription. :-)

Steven Goldman: Like I said, I appreciate it when you keep us on our toes. Quality is hugely important to me and to all of us. We want to be worthy of every penny you spend.

Jim (Abbottabad): Where's a good Sunday Night BP Roundtable when you need one (like last Sunday night)?

Steven Goldman: Sorry for the slight delay there... My computer crashed hard and I had to switch machines... I was going to schedule a roundtable for this Sunday night when I realized it was Mother's Day, and while you may have dispensed with mom by the time brunch is over, mine likes to do things on the late side. We'll probably have one the following Sunday.

WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): What are your thoughts on Jorge Posada at this point? Small sample or entering the Jeter territory you mentioned a few Qs ago?

Steven Goldman: It's a small sample and offense is down overall, so it would be hasty to make a firm judgment, but given his age and his aversion to DHing in the past, you have to be nervous.

Aceball (Reno): Yea I'll have to check out some of Westlake's material. Baseball Prospectus never steered me wrong.

Steven Goldman: The first book in his Dortmunder series of heist novels, "The Hot Rock" is quite funny. That's the cool thing about Westlake--he could do thrillers, but he could also do comedy. OTOH, he wrote the screenplay to "The Grifters," where you have a collection of just totally unredeemable scumbags.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): I'm not sure a team could pull of a 4-man rotation, but I see no reason a team couldn't pull off a 6-man bullpen - and so a 14-man bench. Its not for every team - the Pirates, say, probably couldn't do it. You'd need very reliable starters, and you couldn't carry a LOOGY - but its doable. This wouldn't be a radical change - most fans and probably a good number of writers probably don't know who the 7th guy in a bullpen is. Why hasn't someone tried it yet? (As a side note - if the Rays didn't have so many younger starters, and such a flexible bench, I'd expect Maddon to do it. Maybe in a couple of years?)

Steven Goldman: I'm pretty sure Joe Torre didn't know who the seventh guy in his bullpens was either. His memory tended to stop at Scott Proctor. We've also seen teams win championships without a LOOGY, an evolutionary dead end if I've ever seen one, and I'm not just talking about my first girlfriend's mother. You're right, though, and the Phillies could do this. You keep that last pitcher at Triple-A and call him if you really need him. Teams seem to think of their rosters as Swiss Army knives--you have to be prepared for every eventuality, hence the 3rd catchers on some teams -- a meteor might strike both backstops. Dudes, if you lose one game due to a shortage of catchers fine; you might win several more with more flexibility the rest of the time.

Larry (NJ): Re: 3 out of 4 to the Tigers. There isn't a short right field in Comerica so I'm not entirely surprised.

Steven Goldman: I was going to say, "Fair point," but consider the splits coming into this game: Yankees at home, .249/.328/.459, on the road .252/.348/.458.

goodwine10 (New York, NY): With the way the Yanks have been playing lately, their obsession with giving away outs and their recent struggles in Detroit, it wasn't unreasonable to expect this. Hopefully, this is their alarm.

Steven Goldman: Yes, but once you've heard the alarm, what do you do? Actually, what exactly do you think they're sleeping through?

Jetson (NC): looking at Burnett's GB/FB splits across his career, is it fair to say that part of his problem is that he never could just pick a way to pitch and stick with it? Has stats scream that he may be constantly tinkering (intentionally or not). Some of his annual stat lines look like they belong to totally different pitchers.

Steven Goldman: Jane, get me off this crazy pitcher. OK, that sounded weirdly dirty. Burnett had also been frequently hurt prior to recent seasons, so maybe the injuries forced all the alterations. That said, consistency has never been a term associated with his name.

stately (alt): is it just me, or is oakland completely unable to develop hitting? when was the last time an impact bat came out of their farm system and, perhaps more damningly, when was the last time a prospect universally regarded as a great hitter actually come up through the oakland system as one? 2001?

Steven Goldman: I'll refer this question to Kevin Goldstein, as he has a special feel for the A's, but I don't think we can fault them on hitting, and it has been awhile, without also acknowledging that wow, have they built a pitching staff. The Rays have been built along the same lines, with good pitching, less success on the offensive front. Of course, they have their Longoria and the A's don't have theirs.

carligula (Oakland): On the "where did platooning go?" theme of some of the questions... I agree that good bench players tend to be more interesting than LOOGYs, but teams still are platooning, no? - they've just switched from using it as an offensive weapon to a defensive one. There wasn't really a question in there, so here's one I have fun thinking about - which HOF-worthy, or at least on that track, player now in his prime do you think will eventually need a Blyleven campaign to get noticed?

Steven Goldman: The problem is that you can control platooning on offense far more effectively than you can on defense. They're not equivalent. I'd have to think about that Hall of Fame question. The first name that came to mind, though he's not active, is Bernie Williams. This would make a good column topic for me, and I appreciate your suggesting it. I'll try to hit it next week.

...Brett Gardner keeps the game alive.

Steven Goldman: Thus endeth the ballgame. The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of other things. Sadly, I am very walrus-like, so the description applies. Thank you for spending part of your day with Baseball Prospectus and myself, and keep that feedback coming!

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