Former Los Angeles Dodgers GM and current BP columnist Dan Evans takes your questions about baseball and the Hall of Fame.
Dan Evans: Hello, and thanks for joining me today for a live chat. With the HOF announcement in less than an hour, let's get started & don't be afraid to ask questions! Let's get going...
John (Vegas): Which geogrpahic region plays the highest level of high school baseball ?
Dan Evans: Hello, John from Vegas. You're leading things off today. While I have a lot of respect for your region and level of play, Southern California is the best and annually produces the most Major Leaguers and draft choices. Florida, Texas, Georgia are the next three best in my opinion. Las Vegas has done a great job the last five years elevating itself, and now is among the better areas too, and will have some high selections again this year. Southern California wins because of the weather and ability to,play year round
jlarsen (chicago): What is the point of a HOF vote when you send in a blank ballot or a ballot with just 1 vote?
Dan Evans: Jake, I'm guessing that you're hanging out in the burbs today in my hometown. You ask a really good question. Everyone has their right to cast their ballot as they desire, consider that in the USA people skip voting altogether and I would suggest that elections are a little more important. Everyone has their own beliefs and decisions to make, and this year's balloting will display that fully within an hour. Personally, I would only cast a blank ballot if I did not believe
Tnlgolfpro@verizon.net (Florida): Thoughts on Nick Longhi draft vs. college and as a player.
Dan Evans: Thanks for your question, Tnlgolfpro@verizon.net. Wondering what part of Florida you're from. I have seen Nick Longhi enough to know that he will hit, and that is either in the college game or in the pros. The ball sounds different off his bat than most of his peers. He has bat speed and pop. I saw him hit the hardest foul ball of the summer and won't forget it. My only question about him is where will he play defensively, not that he cannot defend, but his value is dependent on where he ends up playing. He is one of the high school players that intrigues me because few at his age can swing the bat like he can.
Alex (Anaheim): What team do you believe will be the surprise of 2013?
Dan Evans: Thanks for your question, Alex. How is the OC today? Two teams come to mind immediately, but keep in mind that there is a lot of roster building still to do between now and Opening Day. I think Terry Francona will immediately impact the Indians, as i respect him immensely - they'll be better. I also believe the Twins will make a lot of improvement in 2013, and they have too much core talent to have another year like 2013, plus I think Ron Gardenhire is outstanding. In another 30 days, we might have another team or two to discuss.
BR (NYC): Dan, I saw your BP-Hall of Fame ballot this morning. With your limited number of selections, do you feel the current HoF system is flawed? If so, do you think it needs fixing, and what would you do? Thanks in advance!
Dan Evans: BR from NYC...I think there are two elements that need to be considered: 1) I would like there to be no limit to the number of selection a voter can make. Limiting it to ten may inadvertently leave someone off a ballot, and an 11th guy should not be harmed; 2) I would like to see the voting pool increased by adding broadcasters and media members who have a daily investment in the game. When you are within the sport on a daily basis, seeing the best of the best, you're a better-prepared person to cast a ballot. Someone like Vin Scully not being able to vote makes no sense to me. I have a lot of respect for baseball writers after working with them for as many years as I have, but they shouldn't be the only voters.
jwfisher (Milwaukee): Any thoughts or advice for someone who is starting a career in Baseball Ops at the intern level this spring/summer?
Dan Evans: Thanks for your question, jaw fisher from Milwaukee. I started as an intern with the White Sox, and it was an incredible experience. You are joining one of the best-run teams in the game, as their GM, Doug Melvin, and his assistant, Gord Ash, are among the best in the game and have exceptional interpersonal skills. Their scouting director, Bruce Seid, is really good also. My biggest advice would be to make a complete investment in yourself, and plunge into this opportunity head-first, with no distractions or limitations. If you go in with an attitude that time is not an issue and weekends are more opportunity to learn, you'll walk out of this with new horizons and knowledge you won't be able to believe. But it takes a full commitment.
19braves77 (Pensacola, FL ): How fast are scouting reports updated in the front office on Minor League players to the GM ?
Dan Evans: Good question, 19braves77 from Pensacola. In a perfect world, scouting reports are moving to the GM and his top decision-makers on a daily basis, whether it is on players from his own organization or others. Clubs can get as much info on their own players as they desire, and the good ones have nearly limitless information, allowing them to stay on top of guys and know who is doing what. Clubs that are slow in this process will likely make slow decisions and won't be on top of players as they should be ideally. When I worked for clubs, I did not go to sleep until all the minor league games were done, as that allowed me to start the next day fully aware of what was going on.
kcboomer (KC): You must have had fun defending your HoF ballot to your colleagues. Clearly, you were making an anti-PEDS statement with your ballot that excluded a number of players. Bur why didn't you vote for Schilling??
Dan Evans: Regarding your question, kcboomer from KC, I did not vote for Schilling but I really wrestled with that one. He was a terrific pitcher, and I wish I had more time to explore his candidacy. I understand his JAWS and WAR numbers, just not sure if he was HOF. I definitely debated his candidacy the most.
Jon (Alexandria, LA): If you were the Rangers would you go with Cuban prospect Leonys Martin in center or go after Bourn?
Dan Evans: Thanks for your question, Jon from Alexandria, LA. It isn't that easy. We don't know how the Rangers evaluate Martin's candidacy for the Majors in 2013. We also do not know what Jon Daniels' budget is in 2013. Plus, Bourn would cost the Rangers a first round selection. These are two talented guys, but there is more to it than just picking a guy over another since they have different sets of concerns.
Jerry (Milwaukee): I saw your ballot for the BP hall vote, you did not vote for any of the suspected PED users. Is that just because you do not want to honor them with a first year selection or do you feel they disgraced the sport and should not be elected. Also can you expound on Frank Thomas's impact on the discussion.
Dan Evans: I did not vote for some players because, like many people, I just do not know enough about the individual situations and the players are eligible for 15 years, not just one. If there is more information or guidance, my vote might change. Regarding Frank Thomas, someone I saw play nearly every game of his first decade in the Majors, I am looking forward to seeing him inducted in 2014, because he was incredible.
Bill (New Mexico): Thanks for doing these chats; I always appreciate insights from someone with front-office experience. Here's a Q pertaining to that experience. One of the arguments against Jack Morris as a Hall of Famer is that pitchers like him in his generation -- Dave Stieb, Frank Tanana, etc. -- got rejected by HoF voters very quickly. My question is: if guys like Stieb and Tanana were so good, why weren't the high rollers of the time bidding for their services when they hit free agency? Was there an unspoken rule (collusion?) against poaching other GMs' free agents? Or did they not understand talent evaluation very well? Something else?
Dan Evans: I enjoy these chats, Bill from New Mexico. Thanks for your question. I saw Morris a ton during his career, as I worked in the AL my first 19 years in the game and was in the same league. Jack Morris was damn good, a winner, and a guy who grinned out wins and threw tons of innings. It is hard to evaluate each player's career in regards to roster decisions unles you're his agent, because that's the only person who really knows what was really out there. I certainly did not reject him as a HOF candidate, just felt he was REALLY good, not HOF.
jj0501 (washington): From an insider's perspective, how close was "Moneyball" in conveying deal making for a GM ? Do things really happen based on one or two quick phone calls, if the fit is right ?
Dan Evans: jj0501 from Washington, I am not even sure if Moneyball portrayed the A's correctly. Every trade scenario is unique because there are 30 different ways of doing business, and 30 different sets of needs and expectations. Sometimes a deal is done in one or two calls, other times they can be extremely complex. The more players involved, and the more money included within a deal in terms of contracts, the more time it usually takes. I thought the we're a lot of parts of that movie that portrayed facets of the game and some people within the sport much different that they really are, but that's Hollywood.
Alex (Anaheim): Who's the GM of the offseason thus far? Is Anthopoulos the obvious choice?
Dan Evans: I think it is too early to decide which GM made the best set of moves to bolster his team, as it is the first full week of 2013 and there are a lot of moves still to be made. I really think the best moves are made in January, when good decisions on subordinate players can impact your club, plus some of the creativity needed to sign free agents at this stage. I think Alex certainly has made great moves this off-season, and would have to have him right there with teams like Atlanta, Toronto, KC, and Detroit.
chiroclimber (Kansas City): With all the $$$ being thrown around in LA, the expectations for the Dodgers must be World Series or bust. What is the team doing to manage those expectations and keep the team focused?
Dan Evans: They have great leadership in Stan Kasten, and Ned Colletti knows what he is trying to accomplish. Managing expectations is the toughest part of the sport, and the difficult aspect is that there are so many variables out of your control. They still have the Giants in their division and I am not sure that Ramirez is a good enough everyday shortstop defensively.
Steve G. (STL): Do you see any significant changes to the voting methods for the HOF?
Dan Evans: Just learned that no one was selected in this year's Hall of Fame election, with Biggio the top vote getter at 68%. I am not sure if there will be any significant changes to the process for 2014.
JuanBobo (The Sun, AZ): Is Kevin Towers a crazy person? How can he possibly justify signing aging free-agents to multi-year contracts at over-crowded positions, while accepting cut-rate value for a good asset (Trevor Bauer) in order to address need? Is there some secret GM wisdom behind these moves I'm missing? Thanks!
Dan Evans: Thanks for your question, JuanBobo from The Sun, AZ. Kevin Towers is one of the best GMs in the game, and has been for an extended period. He has managed rosters in difficult situations and has been really good for a long time. If he has secret GM wisdom, he doesn't have to share it with us. I am certain there is a method to his actions.
allangustafson (San Diego): Sold out a good pitching staff for elite hitting in a 5 x 5 roto league. Second year of five years, going of the strategy of streaming three pitchers per week, but only have two keepers, Medlen and Zimmermann. I need two good K pitchers that will not ruin the Whip. Exclude you're top 50 pitchers, who would secure in a draft?
Dan Evans: I need to stop my session at 1230pm MST due to a previous commitment, sorry. Not sure who the top 50 are, but I would lean towards pitchers with better defense behind them and a better chance of winning games. More strikeouts in the Central Division of the AL than any other, right?
jlarsen (waukegan): Outside of sifting through rumors, it seems that Rays fans are split between Chris Archer and Alex Cobb. Alex Cobb has consistency, a higher "floor" and MLB track-record. Archer, on the other hand, has a higher ceiling, better "stuff" but is inconsistent throughout majority of career. Archer made improvements to his command and has improved his change-up enough to where it's an avg pitch and not irrelevant anymore. If you had to decide between the 2, who would you choose?
Dan Evans: Nice "problem" to have for the Rays, eh? Why make a decision before you have to in my opinion. They are both going to contribute to the Rays in 2013, and they'll need both to climb back into the postseason. Plus, different answers for short term and long term.
Rob (DC): Following up on John's (Vegas) question, the first of the day: Are there regions of the United States that represent "market inefficiencies" at this point? I think of Mike Trout. Granted, he was a first-round pick, but in retrospect he clearly deserved to be a much higher first-round pick. Was the issue there that the level of competition in New Jersey is such (i.e., lower than in Southern California) that the comparison population makes all players there tough to scout? Or could it be that there should have been more scouts in New Jersey?
Dan Evans: Great question, Rob from DC. Some clubs have an issue drafting high school position players, and most value pitching over offense, and those factors came into play I am sure. Plus, Trout playing in Jersey is a tougher high draft due to the amount you got to see him play in his senior year and the level of competition was just okay. He really impressed the heck out of me in showcases and tournaments prior to his senior year. Hitting is the toughest thing to scout, and Eddie Bane made a great decison.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Shouldn't the Sox trade for Morse and forget Napoli? Similar age and power and both have defensive limitations, except Morse would be cheaper and for less years (I believe). Could something like Breslow/A. Miller and B- type propsect get this done?
Dan Evans: Thank you for your question today, Shawnykid23 from CT. We don't know what is going on wi the Napoli situation, and since it is so confidential between the parties it is tough. I like Morse, know him from his Mariner days, and he can help a team. Tough to decide without all the information involved plus need to know budgets too.
kenny915 (ri): I was impressed by Ben Revere season last year, does he have the makings of a younger Ichiro
Dan Evans: Kenny from ri, I love your state. While I like Ben Revere a lot, he is not as talented as Ichiro, one of the best defenders I have ever seen with an outstanding and accurate throwing arm combined with the most unique offensive approach I've seen. But he is a very good player.
BeplerP (New York City): New Yorkers are taken aback by the behavior this off-season of BOTH their teams. The Yankees have been fixated on lowering payroll to get below the "luxury tax" threshold. The Mets have been extremely passive other than signing up their franchise player, David Wright, to a long term extension. This behavior is completely uncharacteristic of both clubs. Somethiong must be driving it, but I can't figure it out. Is it the new CBA? Is its effect THAT profound? Help. Regards,
Dan Evans: Thank you for your question, beplerP from The Big Apple. The Yankees' decision to lower their payroll doesn't necessarily mean they won't be as good - you can accomplish both. Cashman is a great GM and has exceptional staff with him. The Mets had a lot of financial issues in the past, and we are not sure whe their budget is in 2013. Both are run by among the best GM's in the game.
BR (NYC): Piggy-backing on Bill (New Mexico)'s question. Do you think Morris' late-career overlap with Clemens affect his balloting? Which if any of the following contemporary pitchers would you rank as "better" or "about equal to" Morris' career or peak performance? David Cone, Dennis Martinez, Saberhagen, Steib, Tanana, Bob Welch. Any others who stick out in your mind as "about equal?"
Dan Evans: I feel that Dennis Martinez and Dave Stieb were better pitchers than Morris. Saberhagen would have been the best of the group were it not for injuries.
jlarsen (waukegan): Speaking as a former GM, how would you approach the current position that Mike Rizzo is in with Mike Morse? He is in final year of his contract, basically positionless due to horrible fielding skills and other players ahead blocking him at the 2 positions that he can "play" at. However, he's stated that he's against being a DH. Most of the teams interested in Morse are in need of DHs and he doesn't have a no-trade clause to block any trade. As Rizzo, do you deal him for a left-handed reliever or high-upside pitching prospect(See Mark DeRosa Indians/Cubs trade for similar deal) and let new team decide how to approach Morse's distaste towards DHing?
Dan Evans: Keep in mind that he doesn't have to make his move today, but taking on a salary is something that has to be taken into consideration versus the remaining free agents. As you go deeper into the off-season then into ST, budgets tighten up. Sometimes you like the player, but cannot maneuver your payroll enough to make a move.
Dan Evans: I have to end this chat due to a previous commitment. As always, thanks for your great questions. Too bad Biggio did not get into HOF. Wishing you all the best.