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Boredom + BP Chats = Good Times for All

Today was Day 1 of my days off and I wanted to put my 2 top projects that I'm working on aside and relax. By the way, I'm working on 3 interviews for the site and I believe that my cowriters may too.

Anyways, Baseball Prospectus has a chat going on almost everyday and usually it's good for opinions from people "in the know" and a few laughs. Sometimes I can send in 6 questions, get none answered, and other times(like today) I can get them all answered. Here's all the Rays-related question from Dave Laurlia's chat.


jlarsen (DRays Bay): Do you want to hear the funniest random fact of PECOTA's comparables? 2 of Carlos Pena's comparables are disturbingly ironic. 1 guy(Mike Epstein) was nicknamed "SuperJew"(per his wiki) and the other had a last name of Gentile(Jim Gentile).

David Laurila: BP readers are an interesting lot.

Or should that be interesting Lot?

jlarsen (DRays Bay): Do you believe that Carlos Pena's 2007 to be a fluke? Considering he hardly got any ABs in the 1st 2 months of last season before he put up the monsterous numbers.

David Laurila: Actually, going back to the previous question:

How do you define an "unhealthy" obsession with baseball statistics? Do you have a poster of Joe Sheehan on your bedroom wall? Or maybe Christina Kahrl? (hey, now there's a marketing idea!)

Carlos Pena was not a fluke last year; he simply paired more maturity with an opportunity.

jlarsen (DRays Bay): I'm a Rays fan and I'm serious when I predict that the Rays are better put together than both Baltimore and Toronto. Am I psycho in stating that the Rays are no worse than a .500 team and will finish 3rd in the AL East?

David Laurila: Baltimore yes. Toronto no.

The Rays are getting closer, but they're not there yet. A year from now, I expect that I'll agree with you.

Dennis (LA): Thanks for your great work. Your interview with Brian Bannister was one of the best things I read all year last year. Just wanted to ask you your opinion on two players: James Shields and Nick Swisher. What do you see in their futures and who do you think is the more valuable player?

David Laurila: Thanks, Dennis. Bannister makes any interviewer look good.

I recently had someone opine to me concern about Shields' mechanics, specifically that they haven't been consistent over the course of his career. Granted, that's not my opinion -- I'm only passing along what I heard -- but if true it poses a question.

Swisher can hit. Given a choice of the two, I'd take Swisher.

jlarsen (DRays Bay): Could Shields' changing mechanics be due to him regaining velocity and control post-surgeries(I think he's had one kind of reconstructive surgery already)?

David Laurila: This might be a good question for Doug Thorburn. I'll put it on the list, as it's better to get an expert opinion than my own.

jlarsen (DRays Bay): Do you see it possible or feesible that the Rays would take a chance and package a deal for Blanton, Harang or Street in a midseason trade? The Rays have the firepower in the farm system to package prospects together and not worry about killing the farm system, now the ownership has shown the willingness to take chances and spend money.

David Laurila: It would probably depend somewhat on the contract situations of the players in question. If you're making a deal that means finishing 6 games out of a playoff berth instead of 16, it doesn't make sense if it hurts you down the road. If it makes you stronger going into the following season(s) it's a different story.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Do you think David Price will be in the Rays rotation at seasons end?

David Laurila: Only if it's to get his feet wet in September. If they feel it would behoove him developmentally, which would include his innings this summer being relatively light, we may see it.

jlarsen (DRays Bay): More likely to be a 30-30 player for the Rays next year: BJ Upton(30 HRs, 30 Stolen Bases) or Jason Bartlett(30 SBs, 30 Errors)?

David Laurila: BJ. He's a special player.