Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekly Chats

Welcome to another addition of the Stat Pack Chat Wrap. This week ESPN's Chris Mortensen and BP's Bryan Smith were very generous in answering our questions. We also have some question in there from Steve Goldman, David Thorpe, Matt Mosley & Mel Kiper Jr.

First up some Football Chatter with ESPN's Mort, Mosley & Kiper Jr.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Mel, I watched the Cal/OSU game and I was extremely impressed by Yvenson Bernard. Besides the hair he reminded me of Marion
Barber the Cal defense couldnt take him down. What do you think of him
and where does he project in the NFL?

Mel Kiper: He's always been a tough, productive player. Not a
game-breaker, but at the end of the day, he gets his yards. Probably a
day 2 guy who has a chance to make an NFL roster.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Anything on Romo's shoulder or will he be good to go sunday? Do you think this was the wake-up call the Cowboys needed?

Chris Mortensen: (11:05 AM ET ) I am assuming Romo will play. Wake up call? The Cowboys are not a dominant team. I saw them struggle in Miami for three quarters, in Buffalo and the Bears' game wasn't a breeze. All they can do is work on their deficiencies. They're a good team and, trust me, there aren't a lot of good teams in the NFL.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Can Chambers really be the #1 the Chargers have been looking for?

Chris Mortensen: (11:11 AM ET ) No, but he can be a really good No. 2 and, don't forget, the Patriots won three Super Bowls with WRs who were No. 2-type receivers.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Hey Mort, I here that the countdown guys hang around in the "War Room" on Sundays watching games and talking. Wouldnt that be a good show?...better then bowling

Chris Mortensen: (11:19 AM ET ) It's true, we watch all the games in a big conference room...big screens...HDTV... and it would be very popular TV....and some of us would probably get fired. (just kidding).

Tommy(TheStatPack): I know its early but I haven't heard many coaches on the hot seat yet. How safe is Marvin Lewis in Cincy?

Chris Mortensen: (11:44 AM ET ) The Bengals owner, Mike Brown, is generally patient. The next step, I believe, is for Brown to allow for a true general manager to work with Lewis. There has to be a change of organizational philosophy.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Hey Mort, I just bought Playing for Keeps haven't got a chance to read it yet but just wondering if you had any desire to write another book?

Chris Mortensen: (11:54 AM ET ) Thanks. I have a desire to write several books when my career settles into the next phase. I may give it a go this next off-season.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Did the Cardinals ever consider Drew Bledsoe?

Matt Mosley: (3:20 PM ET ) Not to my knowledge. Drew's trying to get his new winery up and running.

Next up some NBA & Seinfeld stuff with ESPN's David Thorpe

Tommy(TheStatPack): Isn't it crazy that Scott Boras represents A-Rod, Bonds & Kramer's pal Bob Sacamano

David Thorpe: (12:03 PM ET ) Nice.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Can Kenyon Martin, AI & Melo make the nuggets serious contenders in the west?

David Thorpe:
(12:13 PM ET ) Sure they can. But will they? I'd lean to no, but inspired and focused play can change my mind.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Your listening to Mozart right...are you wearing a puffy shirt to go with it?

David Thorpe: (12:20 PM ET ) But I don't want to be a pirate!

Finally our friends at Baseball Prospectus Steve Goldman and Bryan Smith round out the week with some Baseball talk.

TV: This was funny, I had to include this other guys question so you could understand my question.

Chris (Minot, ND): Kevin, what do you deem as the chances of the Twins extending Santana? And if they do decide to trade him, can they possibly get equal value?

Steven Goldman: Hi, Chris. This is Steven Goldman here, Steve to my friends, one of whom, I am proud to report, is Kevin GoldSTEIN, BP prospect guru. I don't know what I'm a guru of around here. I've edited or co-edited a whole bunch of the books, including the recently released "It Ain't Over," and I guess I have the history beat with my "You Could Look It Up" column. Honestly, it doesn't matter so much if I'm a guru or not, as I'm just happy to be here with these wonderful guys and gals, anyone of whom would give you the shirt off his/her back if you were caught out in the open during a sudden downpour in the fifth inning of a Senators-Browns game in 1937. I'm honored to be mistaken for Kevin, though you wouldn't make that mistake in person. I have the hair, he has the funny hat. And the snappy comebacks.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Hey Will I love the UTK series good job!

Steven Goldman: Thank you. Please try to ignore the supermodel on my arm as I examine your groin pull. You'll only embarass us both...

...The word "best-selling" seems to have disappeared from my intro between NY Times and Baseball Prospectus. It's not like they bought BP or anything.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Is it time to push the panic button on Reid Brignac yet?

Bryan Smith: I get a question like this a lot, and I'm really surprised by it. The perception of this season as a bad year mirrors the same perception in 2005 -- and then he broke out. Expectations are a bit high if a 21-year-old shortstop in a tough AA league and stadium posting a .173 ISO isn't enough. No, Brignac is still a very good prospect, and certainly still the shortstop of the future in Tampa. The biggest problem is that this team needs all the defensive help it can get, and Brignac is fine, but far from golden, up the middle.

Tommy (TheStatPack): How come Granderson gets more love that Crawford?

Bryan Smith: Granderson plays a very good center, while Crawford now plays an average left. That's the most significant difference. The other, obvious one is that Granderson is a very affable character that isn't shy with the media or the fans. This plays a part in public perception. Lastly, he's younger and he has a fun record.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Do you watch House M.D.?

Bryan Smith: I did the first season on a weekly, religious basis, and really enjoyed it. Was glad Hugh Laurie got his Emmy, but for me, the show started to tail off a bit in the second season. I don't watch it anymore, but I have some friends that still swear by it.

Tommy (TheStatPack): You gotta come back to House...How do you see David Prices season progressing where does he start the season and where does he end up?

Bryan Smith: I think you see David Price start the season in Montgomery in Double-A. I'll guess he has something like 10 starts there, 8 starts in Durham, and 12 starts in the Majors. I like Tampa next season a bit, more in 2009, and a lot in 2010. If they can figure out the best mix for all these players and improve their defense, they'll fast forward to 90 wins pretty quickly.

Jules (TheStatPack): Do you watch Law and Order? Which one is your
favorite? SVU? CI?

Bryan Smith: Doesn't everybody? Law and Order is a great show to waste
an hour on, because it takes no prior knowledge of the show to watch an
episode and enjoy it. That's why it has lasted so long, I think. I like
SVU the best because of Mariska Hartigay, but the original L&O was very
good, too. I don't like the CI actor at all, or rather I don't like his
character: too smug.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Shocker non Rays question from me...What are your thoughts on Dellin Betances? Has he developed a true second pitch to go with that nasty fastball?

Bryan Smith: Last chat I missed that Betances got hurt this season, so I wanted to mention that. Betances has a curve that flashes signs of being good, but it's inconsistent.

Jules (TheStatPack): Speaking of Homer Bailey, what effect do you see
the hiring of Dusty Baker having on his career?

Bryan Smith: You're talking to a guy that lived in Chicago and watched
Dusty Baker as he destroyed two of the great pitching talents of this
generation. It really does bother me that Dusty Baker has found work
again, and for now, all I can hope is that he entered this arrangement
with stricter guidelines than he did when the Cubs handed him their keys

Jules (TheStatPack): Do you think Manny knows he used to play in

Bryan Smith: For what it's worth, I absolutely love Manny Ramirez. I
find him to be one of the funniest people in baseball today, though he
doesn't always mean to be. However, he also loves baseball very much,
and he's one of the best ever. Does he remember living in Cleveland?
That answer could really go either way. I think that if he does, he
certainly couldn't remember where he lived.

Jules (TheStatPack): How far as Justin Smoak's stock fallen?

Bryan Smith: Not too far, because his freshman season, Cape season, and
sophomore season is still a really valuable body of work to draw from.
However, he has about as much pressure on him in the spring as any
projected top ten pick, because he'll slide if he gives at-bats away
like he did on Team USA. However, even without a great spring, I'm not
sure I can really argue Yonder Alonso over him yet

Tommy (TheStatPack): Its being reported that Torre will return to the Yanks on a 1 yr deal with a club option for 09. Does this matter to A-Rod at all?

Bryan Smith: Possibly on a public relations level only. If Torre isn't back, I think, PR-wise, you almost need A-Rod, Mo and Jorge all to be back next season. If Torre is back, maybe that lessens the hit of losing A-Rod, although I don't think it should. The Yankees should step up and meet A-Rod's demands, but I think there might be a chance it makes a difference

Tommy (TheStatPack): Does it soften the PR blow now that the Yanks make what looks like pretty fair offer and Torre was the one who walked? I could see Yankee fans seeing this and now siding with George

Bryan Smith: I actually think this means they NEED to get A-Rod signed. If they make pretty good offers to Torre and Alex Rodriguez, and those two Hall of Famers opt for greener pastures, what does that say about the state of Yankee baseball. The Bronx would be in panic mode, I'd bet. As far as A-Rod's pocketbook, this may have been the ideal scenario.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Is Carlos Silva the front runner for the Darren Dreifort like contract this offseason?

Bryan Smith: Well, different scenarios because I don't see Silva getting hurt and ruining his contract. Just being bad and making it look like a horrible contract. I guess were should call than Chan Ho Park like, though Silva won't be that bad. Then again, he could go to the National League and go all Jason Marquis on us.

Here are some non Stat Pack questions but Rays related and interesting.

TGisriel (Baltimore): If you were a GM would yuo be willing to acquire
Elijah Dukes, or do you think the headaches aren't worth the potential?

Bryan Smith: I would want a significant background check done on what
Dukes has been doing for the past few months. Other factors would need
to be involved, but if I was a small market team like Florida or KC, I'd
consider it if I got the right answers.

patsen29 (Toronto): What do you expect a Rays lineup to look like in

Bryan Smith: Moving around the diamond: Navarro, Pena, Harris, Brignac,
Longoria, Crawford, Upton, Young and Alvarez

BrettG (Worthington, OH): How did you forget Elijah Dukes in your answer
to "top-five guys who made their major league debuts in 2007?" I know
there are the obvious issues, but aren't the tools still there?

Bryan Smith: Dukes is just such an enigma, it's hard to anticipate where
he could even play baseball next season. I hope he figures his life out
and focuses on baseball, because he is so immensely talented, it's
scary. I'll really never forget the home run I saw him hit off Chuck
James in Durham. It was unbelievable.

RP (Chicago): Which side of the Jeff Niemann fence are you on?

Bryan Smith: I'm pro Jeff Niemann as a guy that, literally, could be the
fifth starter in Tampa soon. He'll be inconsistent, but he'll be
brilliant sometimes

That's all for the chats this week folks, be sure to tune in next week. Same Stat time, same Stat channel.