Happy belated Thanksgiving. The Redskin’s win and Capital’s coach firing probably will dominate the chat, but here’s Tom Boswell‘ weekly Monday chat on 11/28/11. Of the baseball questions he took, here’s how I’d have answered them.
As always, questions are edited for clarity and I write my own answer prior to reading his.
Q: Boz, I think the 2012 Nats are going to make Earl Weaver proud. Pitching, defense and 3 run homers. Once Riz lands either Oswalt or Buehrle AND gets his centerfielder/leadoff guy, this team will be lethal. Davey played for Earl and understands the concept. Whare am I wrong?
A: Where are all the 3-run homers coming from? The Nats were respectable in terms of team Homers last year (7th in the NL) but were below average in most other offensive categories (runs, rbi, BA, OBP, slugging, ops+). Perhaps if we signed on one of the big mashers (Fielder or Pujols) we’d be guaranteed 30 more homers, but all I see are a bunch of question marks on the offense. We still have no lead-off hitter, we still have lots of Ks in the lineup. Is Morse really a 30-homer guy? Can LaRoche come back and get to his career averages (roughly 24-26 homers per full season)? Will Werth bounce back to have a 130 OPS+ season? Boswell says it may happen, but warns against sudden drop-off of pitchers like Buehrle later in their careers.
Q: Tom, So why the hate from MLB for the draft? Was it all a detest of Scott Boras? Some way for the big market teams to slap down the small market teams again? These are really harsh penalties for going “over slot”. There’s got to be something else behind this, right?
A: Because one of the most activist owners (Chicago’s Jerry Reinsdorf) and Selig himself are both small-market, cheapskate mindsets and they wanted to remove the one area of baseball where costs often-times end up being sunken dollars; bonus money for amateur players. When the big clubs saw that this deal was to their advantage, they piled on and suddenly you had enough owners to push it through. Boswell says there’s not enough information yet to properly comment.
Q: Will writers take into account Tony LaRussa’s connection to steroids when his name comes up for consideration for the Hall of Fame?
A: I doubt it. That’s on the players and on the commissioner. The manager just takes what he gets and tries to win games. Boswell says that after the 2011 WS win, he doubts anyone will NOT vote for the man.
Q: Can a player’s manager change his behavior and become a disciplinarian with the same group of players? (In the context of Terry Franconia losing the Red Sox clubhouse).
A: I don’t believe so. The best example of some who did though may be Tom Coughlin, who seemingly softened from his hard-liner stance with the Giants years ago and kept his job during one rough patch. Boswell says not really with the same team, but lots of guys learn from their mistakes and become better coaches later on.