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Chat: Steven Goldman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday July 07, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with Steven Goldman.


Batting 'em around with BP Broadsider Steven Goldman

Steven Goldman: Good day, friends. It's a lovely 100-degree afternoon for a baseball chat, so let's hit that beach.

ripfan008 (Baltimore): Hi Steve, thanks for chatting. Do you believe we'll see in the near furture small market teams attempting to use strategies as an undervalued asset? Will the Rays or Royals try 4-man rotations, 3-inning relievers to gain an advantage?

Steven Goldman: Great question. No. Think of what the Red Sox tried with a bullpen-by-committee a few years back. You stumble at all, the media jumps on you because you had the hubris to challenge the conventional wisdom, and you're treated as the dunce of the universe. And if a pitcher gets hurt at any time during such an experiment as the one you describe, there will be pogroms, even if "after therefore because" is one of the great logical fallacies.

Steve (Iraq): BP2012 will be available in e-book format next year. True or False?

Steven Goldman: Um, maybe? It's a priority, but it's not an easy nut to crack. You want it, we want it, and it will happen at some point, but we don't control the timetable.

Marissa (Las Vegas): Who's going to win the Stanley Cup next season?

Steven Goldman: A hamster named "Pootkins."

delasky (Austin, TX): Come clean Steven, we see what's going on here. We all know you are trying to start a celebrity feud with Matt Wieters for the publicity. So when does the album drop?

Steven Goldman: I'm really not at all, and I have great respect for every major-league player. I've heard that Wieters is not that happy with me, and I understand that. At the same time, what I was trying to ask was simply, "Is it time to abandon the superstar expectations we had for the guy based on his amateur and minor-league showings?" That has somehow been interpreted as being a condemnation of what the guy IS accomplishing, which is not my intention at all. What I do find odd is that some now seem to claim that they and the Orioles would have been happy with a 99 OPS+-hitting glove man, which is just a lie. That's not what you hope for with the fifth overall pick in the draft, especially when that guy rips through the minors hitting .340 with power.

psk (scottsdale): Steve- What the you know what are the Yankees doing with Noesi? In a game where you have a starter only go 5 innings wouldn't that be a game where you give Noesi a shot at multiple innings? The better question is why is he not in Scranton starting. To me the only spot in a pen that should be occupied by a journeyman in the long man spot (Gordon seems to well suited for this). The constant infusion of one tomato can after another (Carlyle, Sanit, Marquez, Mitre, Pendleton and ever Gordon to a lesser degree) points to serious roster/organizational management issues.

Steven Goldman: I just wrote about this in passing at the PB today. I actually don't mind that they have Noesi on the roster getting some major-league experience, but you're right, they have passed him up for longer relief appearances and spot starts and that makes zero sense. And the embrace of the guys you list over the options in their own system is pathological. As long as George Steinbrenner was alive, I understood that part of the psychosis at work in the organization were that pitchers trained in another organization were ALWAYS better than the ones the Yankees developed themselves. George is gone, but that particular bit of insanity lives on. You can probably throw in the fact that when we someday write the book on Brian Cashman's career, we will find that he was one of the worst GMs in baseball at knowing what to do with his 24th and 25th spots on the roster. To him that's free parking and it doesn't matter who you put there. Why not Buddy Carlyle? Why not Clay Bellinger?

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Hey Steven - if Frank McCourt doesn't wake up and realize his best option is to sell the team, can we legitimately refer to him as the worst MLB owner of all time? Who else is in the conversation?

Steven Goldman: I started trying to write an objective top-10 list for worst owners 1900 and up and I got swamped; what I had intended as a 1500-word column threatened to turn into a book. The question of McCourt versus, say, Tom Yawkey, really depends on how you want to weight Yawkey's three pennants against his last-stand defense of the color line and his (now conveniently forgotten) desire to blow up Fenway and move the team to a bigger park. And how to you rate McCourt against William Baker and Gerald Nugent, who turned the Phillies into a major-league farm team for 30 years? McCourt is bad, but is he the worst? Hard to say.

Paul (DC): "Pootkins" is a great scorer, and simply amazing on a break away. Speed and stick work galore. But "Pootkins" gets worn down by the long season, and can get absolutely crushed on the boards by a hard checking team. Almost always a disappointing first round out in the playoffs.

Steven Goldman: He's also a lousy interview. Win or lose, all he says is "Neep, neep, neep!"

Jay (Madison): RE the Wieters feud - to be fair I believe you used the term "bust" and referred to him as one of the biggest busts of all time. Right? That's a bit different than saying he's not the hitter we hoped him to be. I think if you'd called him a disappointment, we'd be in a different place.

Steven Goldman: Well, I regret that. In the initial article, I used the term "bust" where I meant "disappointment," and as I did the other three articles in the series so far, I've been careful to draw a line between the two terms. Any player who makes the majors and has a decent career can't be called a bust. A bust is a player like Ty Griffin, taken 9th overall by the Cubs in 1988 amidst much hype but his bat peaked in Peoria and he never made the majors. I would call, oh... Rick Manning a disappointment. Taken second overall in 1972, had a good first couple of years, got hurt, played another decade but wasn't anything more than a ballhawk in that time.

John (Pittsburgh): Recognizing that the Pirates' record most likely overstates their true talent level, what do you do before July 31 if you're Neal Huntington? It's not every year (or 18) that a team finds itself only a game and a half out of first at the midway point.

Steven Goldman: Man, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes, because making the playoffs, even to wipe out in the first round, would be a big deal for the legitimacy of this franchise. They could use a bat anywhere in the infield, obviously. The problem is that if you spend out of your pile of prospects, you're taking away from the thing that's allowing you to grow in the first place. If I could get someone like Jeff Keppinger cheaply maybe I'd do something like that, but trading for Superman, whoever that is, is probably out of the question,

Paul (DC): Hard to compare owners from different eras. So what are the ownership eras of baseball? A) Abner Doubleday to the demise of the Federal League, B) The BlackSox to Jackie, C) Integration to Curt Flood, and D) Free Agency

Steven Goldman: No, it's not that simple. You'd have to pinpoint the moment that ownership became a class of rich guys as opposed to some random grubby entrepreneurs shuffling guys in dirty uniforms around the country. You'd find key changes with the submission of owners to the National Commission and then to Judge Landis. There is the demise of "syndicate" baseball in the early part of the 20th century, where an owner could own more than one team and shuffle players between them for the best mix. And Jackie didn't change anything as far as ownership. For most of them, they just kept right on being primitivist bastards.

Randy (Denver): I was just thinking about Joba Chamberlain. He gets so much hype... but has he ever been that good

Steven Goldman: He was, briefly, when he first came up. Then the Yankees killed him with kindness in a case of pitcher mishandling that will literally be textbook for the next 50 years.

Heather (Florida): Why does MLB do such a poor job of markerting baseball towards females? And by a poor job I'm talking about no marketing at all outside of pink shirts and hats.

Steven Goldman: I tend to think of MLB as an organization that's not great at marketing overall, although they've improved greatly over my youth. It still drives me crazy that the only place you see commercials for baseball is during baseball games (where the time has likely been included as part of the deal to air the games). Guys, I'm already watching the game! You don't have to sell me! Anyway, I confess that I don't know how they would better market to females, but I wish they did as our audience here at BP seems to be about 98% male and I wouldn't mind having a few more women join the gang. I'm grateful for every one of you guys, guys, but as a male who has always appreciated the company of women (in a nice, clean way, I mean!) I'd enjoy it. Also, the locker room smells like old socks and we'd probably keep it cleaner if there were women coming over.

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): About a month ago on a Friday, I was checking the pitching stats page and minor leaguers were included. I assume you were taking it for a test drive, but it was really fun to see SIERAs for minor leaguers, and I hope you incorporate that in the future.

Steven Goldman: We were indeed taking it for a test drive. This is coming on a regular basis in the near future. Thanks for noticing.

ryovino (Sonoma County, CA): What would mlb teams do with a 26th roster spot? I suspect they would fill it with bullpen arms and third catchers, but I would hope for an explosion of one-tool specialists - speedsters, sublime defenders, lefty mashers. Your thoughts.

Steven Goldman: You would probably have to cap the number of pitchers, which isn't necessarily a bad idea if you also liberalized the rules for being able to add and subtract from the roster so that you always had 10 healthy guys. I can think of a lot of weird implications to what I just said -- what if starting pitchers were only eligible on the day they pitched? I don't know... It's kind of a can of worms, but anything would be better than the current plan, which seems to be 23 relievers and two position guys.

JZirinsky (Washington, DC): Steven: Politics alert! I'm curious about your take on this whole debt ceiling issue. Seems like the GOP is playing politics with a pretty serious issue.

Steven Goldman: As I've said in previous chats, while I was very enthusiastic about political blogging for awhile, I felt that Obama broke faith with me over health care reform (and a few other things) and since then I've been too disgusted/alienated to really write or even pay attention with the same intensity I did for literally my entire mature life until that point. I just feel like there is no one in government who actually gives a damn, and when the subject comes up now, I just admit to myself that we're screwed, put my hands over my ears, and say, "La la la! I can't HEAR you!" There is NO ONE I find worthy of my support and no one who is supporting anything I believe in, so it's kind of a two-way street of mutual disregard. To the extent I have been able to stomach the debt ceiling debate, I will say this--I have said it many times here before, and it applies to baseball and any other aspect of life: any time you take an ideology and elevate it to the point that it cannot be questioned or deviated from, you have abandoned your ability to THINK. Now, whether I mean that to apply to Democrats, Republicans, or both I'm not going to say. That's up to you.

slicksilksox (safe at home): How do we know Joba was mishandled and not just another guy who had trouble adjusting to the batters who adjusted to him - or a guy of certain fragility that could never handle a full season no matter how he was handled? With tons of respect, aren't you a little guilty here of what you were criticizing in your first question of the day?

Steven Goldman: We don't necessarily. As I said earlier, "after therefore because" is one of the great fallacies, although when you go away from it you realize you really don't know anything about anything. With Joba, though, the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong. We do have to allow that the injury he suffered that day in Texas, when Cervelli (IIRC) threw a ball at his head and he fell on his arm, probably played a key role in his subsequent decline. The big lesson, though, is that since we don't know the inflection point for injury with any given pitcher, you can try as many tricks as you want to try to protect an arm and you still might lose.

ekanenh (Capitol City): Russell Martin is rapidly heading towards worse-than-last-year-dom. Will Cashman do anything about it? Should he?

Steven Goldman: I was wondering about this last night. Jesus Montero is on the disabled list right now, and his season has been on the mediocre side (that he's 21 and at Triple-A not withstanding) even were he healthy. Austin Romine has had a decent Double-A repeater season at Trenton, and I hope that the Montero thing means he gets a little time at Triple-A. Then again, I'm an idiot for thinking the Yankees would ever turn to an internal option. You also have to take into account how well Martin has handled the pitching staff. If he has something to do with veteran retreads like Colon and Garcia doing well, how do you balance that against his offensive non-contributions? It's a difficult decision. Still: .182/.295/.384 May 1- present.

Just a heads up that I will be forced to take a short break to do a radio spot in about 20 minutes. However, you can follow along live at http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/station/1057-the-fan/, and then I'll get right back to you.

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): I asked this earlier in conjunction with a query about Eduardo Nunez, but is there any chance of seeing a return (sans Nate Silver) of this series? http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4784 I love Kevin's work, but this would be a wonderful complement to it...

Steven Goldman: I'd like to see it, and I will pass the word to Colin Wyers.

Keith (Vernon, CT): Steve - in terms of the criticism directed about Derek Jeter's decline and usage in the NYY lineup, it seems that Jeter supporters are spinning said criticism as shots directly at Jeter. I view it more as pointing towards management who don't know how to handle a superstar in decline. If they would have dropped him in the order, even solely against RHP, let him leadoff vs. LHP, much of the criticism would not exist. What say you?

Steven Goldman: Probably, although I think Jeter (or his agent) alienated some by asking for a much longer, more expensive deal in his negotiations with the Yankees this offseason.

Jquinton82 (NY): Matusz lost velocity... hughes like funk, or is there an injury there?

Steven Goldman: Since the Wieters thing, I have become, ironically, popular on Baltimore radio, and I get asked this question a lot. I wish I knew the answer. It behooves the Orioles to err on the side of "yes, injury, even if we can't find it right now." What purpose does it serve to have the guy go through life getting spanked? Let's shut him down and figure things out.

psk (scottsdale): Steve- What are your thoughts on Cashman? It seems like he is planning on leaving but I have thought that before. I kind of think its time for a change but I have also always thought that he is difficult to evaluate due to org decisions made above his head that greatly impact the roster (Jeter, arod, posada contracts, soriano signing, etc)

Steven Goldman: The thing to remember with Cashman is that he has never worked anywhere besides the Yankees. He started there as an intern 25 years ago. I could be wrong about this, but I believe his father was pals with George Steinbrenner through their mutual interest in horses. He has no identity separate from the Yankees. I think anyone would have a hard time pulling themselves away after so much time, so I don't see him rushing off to Milwaukee or some other city that isn't New York.

Jquinton82 (NY): Thoughts on Freddie Freeman?

Steven Goldman: Still Captain Marvel, Jr. to me, and you can call me a nerd--I don't mind. Hitting .298/.362/493 May 1 on, and you'll take that. I've really enjoyed the progress he's made throughout the year. You'd like him to get a better handle on the strike zone at some point or the pressure to keep up the batting average will never recede, but I'm not complaining right now.

John Foley (Los Angeles): I think Joba Chamberlain was wildly overrated based on a SSS of 7 weeks when he first came up. Those 7 weeks were, admittedly, brilliant, but why do people act like that was the "real" Joba Chamberlain? Plenty of pitchers have had dominant stretches like this, never to repeat that success. Do we refer to them as having been "ruined?" And besides, we may never know what went wrong with Joba. The Yankees thought they were being sensible with his usage, yet he got injured anyway. Maybe you just never know what's going to go wrong with pitchers. If they hadn't used kid-gloves with him and he got hurt we'd be killing them for that, too.

Steven Goldman: Yes, but there is a middle ground they missed by a country mile. He's a starter! A reliever! On pitch counts! Starting on odd rest! He's only allowed to eat fish! They grasped at every straw they could find, and all they did was undermine the guy's confidence and consistency.

hotstatrat (Toronto): FYI, we in Canada can't listen to your interview in Baltimore - at least, not by http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/station/1057-the-fan/.

Steven Goldman: But you can still listen to Rush, right? That's fantasy baseball nut Geddy Lee, not Limbaugh.

kent hoyt (KC): Odds Jesus Montero is a Yankee the day after the trade deadline?

Steven Goldman: I think they'd be selling low just now, but who is out there that would be worth parting with him for? And who is he a good fit with? Has to be a team that needs a 1B/DH.

Rob Gee (Philly): Seriously, what is going on with the Yankee decision makers and their ability to develop pitching? You'd think Kennedy's success elsewhere plus how Joba and Hughes turned out would be instructive.

Steven Goldman: It's not something they've done within living memory for most people, so they get nervous and paranoid about how to handle young players. Under the Steinbrenner family ownership, they've gotten Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte, Dave Righetti... It's not a long list, so they're inexperienced.

Scoresheetwiz/hotstatrat (Toronto): Andrew Freedman (not Friedman) was the Giants' owner 1895-1902. He burned through 17 managers in eight seasons. Worse, he was a Tammany Hall gangster who rigged his New York politicians to not bring the new subway lines to Brooklyn’s facilities and prevented the 1901 nascent American League from starting with a franchise in New York.

Steven Goldman: Here comes radio... I think the 19th century guys are not totally comparable. Colorful, yes. Comparable to McCourt and the modern robber barons, no. On hold with Baltimore.

John Foley (Los Angeles): I think the real problem with Joba is that he used to throw 100 mph when he first came up, and now he doesn't. That slider he's so in love with is only effective when you're gearing up to hit 100 mph heaters. Why does he no longer hit 100 on the gun? Maybe he was really airing it out at first, trying to impress. Or maybe they were using the Chien-Ming Wang gun every time Joba pitched.

Steven Goldman: Now where was I? Thanks for holding up for the radio. Always a fun time with Bob Haynie. As I said in an earlier comment, he fell on his arm in a game in Texas, and what was billed as a minor injury at the time seems to have had major repercussions for his velocity.

Jay (Princeton): Abreu... kind of an odd career path. He's around top 30 in the league in WARP as a singles hitter. Don't older people hit homers and such?

Steven Goldman: One of my favorite players, even though his wall-shyness drives me nuts. Guy could only go forward, not back. His power came and went after about 2005, but is well down this year, obviously. Still, that combination of .285 average and 100-walk pace earns him a .309 TAv and the Angels are lucky to have it given their traditional emphasis on hitting your way on (and often failing to do so).

TheRedsMan (Chicago): Walt Jocketty finally called up Zack Cozart to try and address the Reds' black hole of suck at SS. The rotation is still a big question mark with Arroyo falling apart after 5 innings and Volquez having no clue where the plate is. Has Jocketty shown too much patience in not addressing the Reds issues, just enough, too little?

Steven Goldman: Too much, particularly with Cozart, not that I think he's really a great solution. Still, when your shortstops have hit .226/.274/.271 on the season, you owe it to the team to try anything. Speaking of which, if you're the White Sox, do you let Adam Dunn just put up 600 at-bats of what he's been doing? That would be a season for the books.

Tony (KC): Can we pin some(not all) of Joba on the "Overhyped/Overexpected Yankee Prospect" Syndrome? The hype create a perception that Joba was the "Next" and perception is reality, untill it's not.

Steven Goldman: I don't think so, not when he came up throwing the ball at the speed of light.

John (Niece, FR): Any summer reading recommendations, baseball or otherwise? Also, any chance you can divulge any information about future BP books?

Steven Goldman: Ah, Niece! My ancestral home (seriously). Believe it or not, I've gone backwards in time to read, finally, the Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, and am about halfway through that now. When I'm not doing that, I've been researching material for our next non-annual book, which will be out in the spring. I think I've said a few things about that already, but in case I haven't, give me a little time to properly introduce it. I think you will be happy.

Matt (Athens (OH)): You've suggested that Cashman has a peculiar blind spot for the 24th and 25th spots on his roster. I might agree, but how much of a difference does this really make? Three games over the course of a season? Less?

Steven Goldman: Probably. I care about those three games, though. I care about all of them. Never compromise!

Rob Gee (Philly): Is the importance of minor league pitching overrated? It seems as if pitchers who know how to pitch learn that craft by the time they reach AA and AAA. It seems blasphemous, but perhaps the only way to learn to pitch in MLB is by getting out MLB hitters?

Steven Goldman: We've made this point many times. There is a good argument to be made that once a pitcher has demonstrated a certain level of competence, you're not doing much by keeping him in the minors except rolling up his odometer.

Big Bob (Indianapolis): Hey Steven. I'm a big Yankees, like I know you are, and I was just thinking about some of the trade rumors swirling around the Yankees, especially Zambrano. Why in the world would we take Zambrano and his 37.25 million dollars over the next two years, when we already have a rotation that's too crowded to begin with! Ivan Nova was just sent down for that very reason. If we really want starting pitching, we can wait for this offseason, when CJ Wilson and Chris Carpenter, or even lower end options like Joel Pineiro and Edwin Jackson will be available, for a lot less might I add. I just don't think now's the time for Big Z in the Big Apple. Your Thoughts?

Steven Goldman: I know I'm a crazy dreamer, but I'd rather see some of the internal options, starting with the two guys at Double-A, Betances and Banuelos, get a shot before any of the mediocre options you just named.

Rob (Alaska): I realize I may be painting myself into the grouch corner here, but is there a case for abolishing not only the All-Star game but all individual awards of any type? I feel like the people (of whom there are many) who spill so much vitriol over ASG slights, Cy Young and MVP voting and the like are totally focusing on symbols over substance - and to be honest I wonder if these people really like baseball at all.

Steven Goldman: I don't know if I'm up for abolishing all of that, but I have to admit that I'm as jaundiced as you are, particularly when it comes to All-Star Game stories. Every year it's "Oh, the injustice!" on behal of some player(s) and we get very exercised for about five days and then forget about it. I feel a little different about the MVP and Cy awards since they retroactively take on a lot of importance when we're looking at history and trying to judge a player at a distance. It seems more important to get those right.

hotstatrat (Toronto): Yeah, (keeping it to "classic rock") we get all the Rush, Guess Who, The Band, and Neil Young you could possibly wish to hear up here - plus many groups you wouldn't want to hear much of in the first place. There is a law all FM stations must play 30% Canadian content. As an expat Yank, I would love to see that challenged under NAFTA. I don't get to hear much Yes, Allman Brothers, Greatful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Marvin Gaye, Spirit, Chambers Brothers, ELP, or (except in Montreal) early Genesis. Fortunately, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Who remain extremely popular up here.

Steven Goldman: Share the land, hotstarat, share the land.

ekanenh (Capitol City): Why don't more runners tag up from 1st to 2nd on deep OF flies. Instead, they "go halfway," just in case THIS fly is the 1 in 500 that the OF drops like Charlie Brown (or Ollie Brown). Meanwhile they probably could have walked into 2nd on 300 others.

Steven Goldman: Heck of a question. One thing we should do is poll the database and see how often teams actually do this and if any teams have done it consistently more often.

Cap (Pitt): Both Alex Gordon and Joba came up with "superstar" labels. Both put up great minor league numbers and flashed the skills to support those numbers. Both were met in the Majors with some 'disappointment'. if we don't assign expectations to minor league stats what should we attach our expections for prospects to?

Steven Goldman: Pure scouting? In which case we would still be calling these players disappointment. Wieters, too. There was no disagreement with any of them.

Joe Girardi (Bronx, NY): How can I break this bizarre addiction to Sergio Mitre? is there a 12-step program for unhealthy co-dependencies between baseball managers and bad relief pitchers? And, please tell me, why didn't I pull AJ Burnett before he melted down the other night?

Steven Goldman: Joe seems to veer between the manic "Coffee Joe" and passive "Torre, Joe" aspects of his personality. On the whole I'll take him, but quite often his choices are difficult to fathom.

James (Lexington, MA): Is there a better organization at developing pitchers than the Braves? When I look at how aggressively they promote, it seems like actual MLB experience is highly valued and more so than keeping a prospect in the minors for "seasoning". AA/AAA innings: Hanson (98/66 IP) Jurrjens (179/19 IP) Beachy (74/50 IP) Minor (87/105 IP) Teheran (40/95 IP) Not one over 200 innings in the high minors. Why aren't more teams as aggressive? If you want pitchers to get out major league hitters, it seems you need to let them face major league hitters (Calling Brian Cashman).

Steven Goldman: The Yankees just don't have the patience to do that. It just won't ever happen.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Do you think there is any chance the Yankees move Jeter down to the bottom of the lineup this year or even in future seasons?

Steven Goldman: Let's close on this note. They moved Joe DiMaggio down, so they can move Jeter down. They cared more about winning than avoiding media scrutiny then. Right now it's all about this utterly meaningless milestone. Once it's over, you'll probably see him get a day off and then maybe they will make some changes. They just have to make up their minds to deal with a week of annoying questions.

Joe (Washington, DC): Re: Joba. I think the whole "Yankees mishandled him" meme is a bit off. Sure, they yanked him around a bit, but let's not forget: once they made him a starter he was FANTASTIC until he walked off the mound in Texas, hurt. And I think that had a heck of a lot more to do with genetics than it did with how he was handled. What came after that was sort of irrelevant, in my book, since he was already basically damaged goods.

Steven Goldman: Can we say it was both? All of their maneuvers were irrelevant at best and deleterious at worst. First he got hurt falling off a mound in Texas. He came back from that a slightly different, but still often effective pitcher, albeit one apparently more suited to relief work than starting. Relief work, however, proved to be no panacea in terms of preventing injury--he got hurt anyway. Until such time as we have a miniature MRI machine attached to every pitcher monitoring their health in real time, you're not going to know what you're doing, just guessing.

Glenn Wright (Hoboken, NJ): Abner Doubleday?!? My friend Alex Cartwright codified the rules of this great game, not Abner Doubleday. The owners of today also don't love the pure game as much as we did in the 1880s, just like Mr. Jeter falls short in the mustache department compared to our Apollo of the Box, Tony Mullane. Huzzah!

Steven Goldman: If you check out John Thorn's new book, you'll see it wasn't either of them. Or maybe that was Chadwick. I get confused.

LoyalRoyal (Perfect World): Steven, please stop running down Melky Cabrera. You know he isn't any good, I know he isn't any good, but the Royals need to pass him off to somebody who doesn't for something worthwhile. lol On that note, what can the Royals expect to get for guys like Melky, Frenchie, Betemit? What would a bigger get like Soria bring? Thanks...

Steven Goldman: He has actually been decent this year. I just expect that he has some resemblance to a pumpkin at some point. A rational GM wouldn't pay much for anyone but Soria, and although Soria has been very good since the end of May (15 innings, one run), what preceded that would make me nervous.

richardkr34 (Saint Paul): What are the chances that the Twins are big sellers this deadline? What could they get for Cuddyer? Liriano? Kyle Gibson?

Steven Goldman: Wait, you're dealing Kyle Gibson, a team-controlled, former first-round pick who, whatever his lack of explosive velocity, is the closest thing the team has to a ready starting prospect? That strikes me as premature to say the least.

Steven Goldman: And on that crazy note, it's time for this BP E-i-C (E-I-E-I-O) to ride on to other errands. As always, thank you for spending part of your day with Baseball Prospectus. Look for more from me both in these pages, www.pinstripedbible.com, and at Twitter (@PB_Steve). See you around the batting cage.

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