Hall of Famer? Yes. Best hitter ever? Almost. Photo: unknown via fantasyknuckleheads.com
Tom Boswell did his monday morning chat on 10/24 after a week off; in-between taking questions about the death of the Redskins, he managed to fit in some baseball and Nats questions. Here’s how i’d have answered them…
Questions are edited for clarity and space, and I write my answer before reading Boswell’s. We’ll only address baseball-related questions.
Q: Is there any question at this point that Pujols has joined Ted Williams and Babe as the three best hitters ever?
A: (side note; this is just AFTER Pujols‘ 3-homer performance in game 3 of the World Series, just the third time that’s ever been done). If Pujols retired tomorrow here’s what his career lines would look like: 455 homers, .328 career hitter, 170 career OPS+, 3 MVPs and another six times in the top 5 candidates (four times coming in 2nd place). That by itself is Hall of Fame worthy, no doubt.
By the time he retires? I think clearly he’ll be mentioned as either the best or 2nd best right-handed hitter of all time (Willie Mays) and in a small grouping with Mays, Ruth and Williams as the best all-around hitters to ever play the game. Absolutely. I don’t think Pujols needed a 3-homer World Series game to cement that status either. Boswell agrees, saying that Pujols joins the list just behind Ruth.
Q: Thanks for pointing out he did all his damage after the Cards were ahead in Game 3. We’re so quick to pronounce “best ever…” these days that it was good to get some context.
A:Very fair comment. Pujols may have a 3-homer game, but it doesn’t nearly have the significance of Reggie Jackson’s 3-homer game. Also fair about pronouncing current stars “the best ever” without much context to those that came before. Ruth’s domination of baseball and the country at large is so difficult to understate that we’ll never really be able to draw a modern comparison. Boswell agrees, at least with the first part.
Q: Game 5 prediction (on the night of this chat)?
A: I’d pick Carpenter and the Cardinals. I don’t trust CJ Wilson and don’t think he’s nearly the pitcher that Carpenter is. I stick with my St Louis in 6 prediction. Boswell goes against logic and says that Wilson will outpitch Carpenter.
Q: Do Lefties with high-heat give a significant advantage over right-handers with comparable velocities?
A: Absolutely. Lefties are already rare enough and effective enough that any left hander with velocity in the upper 80s can usually find work in this league. There’s a reason for that. Add a few more mph and the cache of left-handers who can reach the mid 90s in this league can be counted on one hand. They are special, and they are valuable. Boswell doesn’t have a good explanation.
Q: With all the issues in Boston, should the Nats be calling the Red Sox to see who they might get in trade?
A: Sure. But the Red Sox are prospect hounds and will want our farm system depth in return. The guys they’re probably willing to trade are probably not going to be the guys we want anyway. Boswell didn’t really answer the question but mentioned that Ellsbury will be a FA after 2013 … gee, only 3 years too late for the leadoff/CF that we need!
Q: Boswell had previously described baseball Managers as one of four types: Little Napoleon, the Peerless Leader, the Tall Tactician, and the Uncle Robbie. Who are the best four examples of each type now in the modern game?
A: Interesting question. Here’s a list of 2011’s baseball managers to choose from. I’ll guess that Ozzie Guillen is the Napoleon manager, Tony LaRussa is the peerless leader, Ron Roenicke is the Tall Tactician, and Joe Madden is little Robbie. Boswell’s answers werent’ close to mine; perhaps because its his manager classifications to begin with.
Q: Was the strike zone in game 4 inconsistent?
A: I thought it was; in the bottom of the first a strike 3 was called on Elvus Andrus that had been a ball earlier in the count. And that wide zone continued throughout. Its no wonder Holland looked so unhittable. Boswell blames the TV strike tracker as being misleading.
Q: Could Albert Pujols go to the Rangers?
A: I guess he could … but that doesn’t seem to be the way he’s going. He seems set to stay in the NL and stay in the mid-west. I think he’s either staying in St Louis or going to save the Cubs. Texas might as well light Michael Young on fire if they got Pujols and, for the 3rd or 4th season in a row, asked their franchise leader to move positions for incoming talent. Boswell predicts Pujols stays in StLouis.
Q: Should Texas have pulled Holland after the 7th to retain him for the 7th game?
A: Nope. Texas’ bullpen was shredded and its much more important to have a fresh Feliz than a starter on 2 days rest. Of course, Washington USED Felix in a non-save situation to finish off the game. Waste. At least the rest of the bullpen got a night off. Boswell disagrees with me, saying the team should have pulled him in the 7th to have him in game 7.
Q: What are the odds of the following players returning next season: Livan Hernandez, Ivan Rodriguez, Chien-Ming Wang, Jonny Gomes, Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel?
A: Livan: 10%. Ivan 1%. Wang 80%. Gomes: 25%. Nix: 40%. Ankiel 40%. Boswell didn’t offer percentages, just saying that he thinks Wang will be back and that Johnson loves guys like Gomes and Nix on the bench.
Q: How long does it take Theo Epstein to turn around the Cubs?
A: I’ll say most of the 5 years he’s signed up for right now. His starting pitching is a MESS, he’s got an aging, expensive team with big contracts and little wiggle room, and he’s got very little in terms of young players. He needs all his bad contracts to age off, he needs to scout and draft better, and he needs time. Boswell punted.