David Schoenfield was ESPN.com’s baseball editor from 1996 to 2002 before moving over to Page 2. He took over the SweetSpot blog in 2011.
1. You're the GM of an expansion team, and you can select any pro player (major or minor leagues) to build your budding franchise. Who are you taking, and why?
- I’ll assume contracts and service time matter, so if I wanted to take a minor leaguer, for example, I’d only get his six full seasons of pre-free agency time. As tempting as it may be to take Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, I think I’d have to take a little more proven commodity. Considering the risk involved with pitchers, you have to take a position player.
I think there are three guys to consider here: Evan Longoria, signed through 2016 at a cut-rate salary; Matt Kemp, signed through 2019 (age 34) at about $21 million per year; and Troy Tulowitzki, signed through 2021 (age 36), at a slightly lower per season rate than Kemp. The one big advantage Kemp has over Longoria and Tulo: Durability. Dude never misses a game. His improvement last season appears legit, so I’ll go with Kemp, even with the massive contract.
2. At the end of the 2012 season, Albert Pujols has a ___ OPS and ___ homers (fill in the blanks).
- Pujols finishes with an .860 OPS and 28 home runs. In examining the numbers, I think it’s pretty clear he’s not the Pujols of two years ago. He’s expanding his strike zone, his walk rate is down and the bat speed may be in decline. He should get of this slump, but I think his days as the best hitter in baseball are over.
3. If you were a major leaguer, what would your intro music be?
- Some people have no problem answering this question. I guess I’d go with something from Wilco and maybe my favorite song, “I Got You.” As a hitter, you could translate that line to facing the pitcher: I got you. That works, right?