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September 30, 12:34 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, everyone. Have to love a three-playoff-game day, and Yovani Gallardo and Cole Hamels will kick things off right after we're done here. Let's see how many questions we can tackle first . . .

Mike Brookline, MA

With the recent OTL by ESPN about Latin America signing bonuses, it had me wondering if the Yankees reduced Jesus Montero's original bonus because they knew of the wrongdoings.

Jim Callis
  (2:01 PM)

OTL is the best thing about ESPN, good work on that story. I don't believe that was the issue on Montero at all, however.

Boomer, Wrigleyville

Question on draft and the Cubs/Astros game that wasn't made up. Astros could have possibly went from #20 next year to #18 if they played and lost that game. No one said a word about it though...why not? Hypothetically, if they could've went from 16 to 14 with a loss, that would have a big impact on free agent compensation. Would they play then?

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

They're not going to make up a game late in the season that doesn't affect the standings. That would have been a travesty, with the Cubs not wanting to get anyone hurt before the playoffs and the Astros only benefitting by losing. MLB should not and will not make up those games.

Justin (MN)

How good can Jose Mijares be and could he step in and set up for Nathan next season?

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

Mijares always has had an electric left arm, so this was no fluke. If he keeps his focus, he could be a valuable setup man for the Twins next year. Shoot, he was a valuable setup man for them this September.

Nick (Cleveland)

Is there any hope for the Indians? Does anyone really think Cliff Lee will repeat?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

Cliff Lee won't got 22-3 again but the Indians will contend next year. Plenty of hope. Their record was a little fluky this year and they have talent in the majors and minors.

Pat (Boston, MA)

Do you think Jed Lowrie is good enough to be an everyday player for the Red Sox next year and possibly beyond? I know there are/were concerns over his defense at SS

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

I do. I don't necessarily think he'll be an all-star but I think he can provide good offense for a middle infielder and solid defense at shortstop. He's been a little better defensively that I expected. Definite upgrade all the way around over Julio Lugo.

Jon (Strasburg PA)

What about a situation where it was the difference between the #1 pick overall (as almost happened with Washington and Seattle). Would they have made up a game there?

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

They would not. Nothing would be served by replaying a game where only one team had something at stake and would be motivated to lose.

Nick (Cleveland)

Is the best Matt LaPorta comparison the 2002 version of Pat Burrell? Not so good average but not Adam Dunn bad, tons of EBH's, not much defensive value. There is more right?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

That 2002 version of Pat Burrell is pretty good. And for as much flak as he takes, he's been pretty consistent the last four years. I could see LaPorta being a player along those lines, sure.

Mike (Rutland, VT)

Jim, Always look forward to your thoughtful insight. Now that the Alarez has finally, somehow, been resolved, do you think that he will get a fair shot in Pittsburgh with the fans? And, do you think this will affect his long-term performance? Thanks for your time.

Jim Callis
  (2:11 PM)

I don't think the controversy will affect Alvarez in the future at all. I think he'll be a star, and if he produces at the plate, Pirates fans aren't going to care at all about his draft negotiations.

Kevin (Eugene, OR)

The Dodgers made a bold move this morning placing James McDonald on their playoff roster with a total of 6IP in the big leagues this year. Can McDonald be another force in the Dodgers bullpen during the playoffs without any true experience? What are his chances at replacing Derek Lowe (should be leave via free agency) in the Dodgers starting rotation plans in 2009?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think he'll be a "force," a la K-Rod in 2002, but McDonald can be a useful middle reliever. If Lowe departs, McDonald will get the opportunity to crack the rotation. He won't replace Lowe's production right away but he could be a No. 3 starter in time.

Jon (Mad-town)

Allright Jim, give us your playoff predictions, and WS MVP.

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

I've got the Red Sox over the Cubs in the World Series, with the Rays and Phillies making the LCS. World Series MVP . . . I'll go with Dustin Pedroia.

Ben

Are the playoff rosters set for the whole postseason or can teams adjust them after each round????

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

They can adjust them after each round.

Jon (Mad-town)

Who will be the better Ramirez in the NLDS Aramis or Manny?

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

Manny. But the Cubs will still win.

Ben (Tempe, AZ)

Are the games on ESPN radio today?

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

Yes they are.

Eric (Albany)

So now that Alvarez signed on 9/20 how will other teams go about negotiating knowing the 8/15 deadline is just a suggestion by mlb?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

The rule was pretty clear cut to begin with, and it was pretty bold of MLB to change the rule unilaterally. That won't happen again, as the Alvarez settlement included giving the arbitrator the right to void deals signed after the deadline.

Lew (Santee, CA)

Hi Jim, if the 09' draft were held today, what would be the chances Strasburg would fall to the Padres at #3?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

Next to zero. The only way he drops is if his price tag scares the Nationals and Mariners, in which case I think it would also scare the Padres. Stephen Strasburg stands above the rest of this draft class like David Price did above the 2006 draft class.

Jim, from the grave (Pere Lachaise, France)

A series of true or false questions: 1. Donovan Tate is a future batting champ 2. Martin Perez has a Johan Santana changeup 3. Mark Trumbo is a legitimate MLB power hitting firstbaseman 4. Grant Green is a future allstar SS

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

Those are all pretty bold statements. Tate is the best high school position prospect in next year's draft, but I wouldn't label him a future batting champ yet. I like Martin Perez and he has drawn some Santana comps, but let's let him get some full-season hitters out before we say his changeup is that good. Nice year for Trumbo, but I'd like to see him do it again and away from the Cal League. The one statement I will endorse at this point is No. 4. Green, the best position player in the 2009 draft, will be an all-star shortstop.

Danny (Washington DC)

Hey Callis, now that my Nats got the one pick...I know its early, but where do you see them going with it...it's easy to assume Strasburg, but considering the "cost-effective" nature of the Lerner's so far...could you see them going for Mychal Givens?

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

If the Nats were to avoid Boras clients (Strasburg, Green, Dustin Ackley, Tate, among others) I think they'd be looking at North Carolina RHP Alex White or California HS LHP Tyler Matzek. It's early, of course, eight more months for things to play out.

Travis (PHX)

What is the tie-breaker for the draft order?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

Whichever team had the worst record the previous year gets to pick first.

Brian (Brooklyn)

What kind of hitter does Wilmer Flores project to be, top of the order or middle of the order? Also where does he end up plying defensively?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

Middle of the order, third base.

Danny (Washington DC)

Do you think passing on Crow might be a smart move for the nats, they add the potential of affins a pitcher and front line college hitter(Ackely?)...considering their needs that seems like money that might be better spent, don't you think?

Jim Callis
  (2:27 PM)

I don't think. Ackley won't last until the 10th pick (their comp pick for Crow) and they won't get the second-best college pitcher in the draft with that choice (like they did with Crow). Also remember that they're going to shell out a lot of money for the No. 1 overall choice and they don't get more compensation if they don't sign the No. 10 pick, so they may have to cut a cheap predraft deal at No. 10.

Eric (Atlanta)

Does Green fall to the Braves at #6? Do the Braves even select at #6 or is that the Giants?

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

The Giants pick No. 6 and the Braves No. 7 (because of the tiebreaker that I just explained). I think Green is gone by then.

Reece, Arizona

Who has the top minor league system in baseball? Thanks!

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

The Rangers, followed by the Athletics.

Ike, DC

What will David Price's role be in the postseason, and do you think the pressure will get to him?

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

I don't think the pressure will bother him. I think the Rays will use him as a multiple-inning middle reliever, and he'll be a nice weapon in that role.

Lorenzo - Milwaukee Wi

If the 2009 draft were to be held today, who would be pick #s 1-5? Thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

You'll have to read the column I wrote this morning for Baseball America. Should be in your mailbox early next week and on our website around then as well.

Rick (Lansing, MI)

Hello Jim, I was wondering about your thoughts on Tigers Catcher Dusty Ryan. It looks like they will give him every chance to win the Starting Catcher position next season with Inge going back to 3B. What do you think of Ryan, do you think he can be a solid MLB catcher?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

I don't see it. He never hit much in the minors and I wouldn't count on him for next year. He's a backup at best for me.

Kyle, Chicago

What is your opinion on the choice of Lidge for Comeback POY? What about Kerry Wood who almost retired in August of last year? What about Randy Johnson who started 10 games last year and 30 this year? Lidge pitched in 66 games with an ERA of 3.36 last year. Maybe not his best, but what did he come back from? Eight blown saves isn?t the same as a major injury.

Jim Callis
  (2:34 PM)

I just can't get too worked up over awards, especially Comeback Player fo the Year. Sorry.

Bob (New York)

Hey Jim, How do you project Austin Jackson? Average Player or Above Average...Don't think he will be a star.

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

Solid average regular. I like him but I don't think he'll be a star either.

Paul (San Francisco)

Jim, has your expectation of Clay Buchholz changed or are these just growing pains? I can't tell if he's Scott Kazmir or Homer Bailey.

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

I haven't soured on him (nor have I soured on Phil Hughes, Yankees fans). Buchholz needs to improve his fastball command and repair his confidence, and both of those are fixable. And as much as he struggled, he still has 72 Ks in 76 big league IP. The raw stuff is still exciting.

Brandon (Charlotte,NC)

Carlos Marmol could be a starter, what do you think Jim?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

I think he's best suited to be a reliever. He throws a lot of sliders and there's effort in his delivery, so I'd keep him in the bullpen.

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

I'm in a lightning-round mood, so let's start it a little bit early today. Go!

Rob (Chicago)

Cubs or Dodgers tonight?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

Cubs.

Jay, Melville

Jim, Taegarden or Laird?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Teagarden.

Jason (birmingham MI)

Tigers SS in 2009 is Cale Iorg: True or False.

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Too early.

Randy (St. Paul)

Denard Span or Ben Revere?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Revere.

Dennis (San Jose)

Manny Delcarmen can be a better starter than reliever?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

No.

sully (southie)

Youk's production today or upside of Lars?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Upside of Lars Anderson.

Pablo (Miami)

Kershaw or Price?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Price.

Jason (Boston)

Ellsbury or Carlos Gomez?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Ellsbury. I'm just not a big Gomez fan.

Jeff (LA, CA)

Only teams with no chance at the WS - Milwaukee and Chicago White Sox?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Disagree, anything can happen in the playoffs. Just ask the 2006 Cardinals.

Greg (DC)

Who do you see as the Cardinals' third baseman in 2010? (A) Wallace (B) Freese (C) Craig (D) None of the above.

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Brett Wallace. Won't be a pretty defender, but he will hit and Pujols isn't moving off first base.

Ross (CA)

Nick Noonan's ceiling is Chase Utley?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Ceiling, yes. Obviously, Noonan has a ways to go to get there.

Ryan, Detroit, MI

Is there any logical reason for the Tigers not to go after F. Rod? With all there bullpen troubles and the money coming off their payroll this year, doesn't it make sense?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

Two problems. 1) Their payroll may be maxed out. 2) K-Rod is going to get a lot more money than a closer is worth. I keep thinking he'll wind up on the Mets.

Kyle (KC)

Hosmer or Moustakous?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

Moustakas.

Alex. F. Knoxville, TN

Michael Almanzar or Engel Beltre?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Beltre.

Ross (CA)

Villalona or Montero?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Montero.

Brendan (MA)

Michael Bowden, top or bottom of the rotation

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Can I take middle?

Manolo, Puerto Rico

Please pick me!! True or False: Brett gardner is a future starting CF for the Yankees or elsewhere

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

No. Fourth outfielder.

Ryan, Detroit, MI

Which fan base most desperately need to win it all, Cubs or Phillies? And how intense would that NLCS be?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Maybe I'm biased because I live outside of Chicago and see the desperation up here, but the Cubs haven't won it all in 100 years or even been to the World Series for 63 years. I give the desperation edge to Cubs fans.

Justin (Redlands, CA)

Ervin Santana or Jon Lester?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Lester.

Karl, Baltimore

Gut feeling: Where does Teixeira end up?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Stays with Angels.

Ryan (Chicago)

Beckham's ETA in Chicago is 2009 or 2010?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

2010.

Scott (Boston)

To clarify on Bowden- Beckett, Lester, Dice-K is the top of the rotation. So, Bowden > Buchholz?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

I thought you meant in a hypothetical rotation. In Boston, Bowden is a No. 5 guy.

Ryan, Detroit, MI

Chili's or Applebee's?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Chili's in a rout. And I'm starving, this isn't helping.

Rob (Chicago)

Desperation indeed. I already feel sick to my stomach.

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

See?

Danny(Philly)

Guess you never been to Philly Jim. Philly hasn't won a championship in all major sports since 1983. We are dying for a championship!

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

I know . . . but it's 100 years!

Jeff (New Orleans)

Heyward's ETA in Atlanta is.....

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Mid or late 2010.

Scott (St. Louis)

Evil Z or No-Hitter Z in the playoffs?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Closer to No-Hitter Z. Let's call it Normal Z.

Jeff (New Orleans)

Shock or Starz in the WNBA finals

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

I can't think of a question I could care less or know less about.

Mike (Philly)

Who do you think is going to win the Phillies-Brewers game today?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Phillies.

Arin (ca)

McCutchen's ETA in Pittsburgh is ...

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Opening Day 2009.

Fred (Kansas)

Jordan Schafer starts 2009 in...?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Triple-A, gets to Atlanta by midseason.

Nick (New York)

Last year you said that you would rather have Cano batting in a critical situation than A-Rod. Still feel that way?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

I would not take 2008 Cano over A-Rod in a clutch spot. That said, I wouldn't want A-Rod in a critical situation either.

Righteous Child

Alexei or Longoria - who's your AL ROY?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Longoria.

Paul (DC)

Better rotation in 2010: Sox (Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Buchholz, Bowden) or Yanks (Joba, Hughes, Wang, X free agent, Kennedy)?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Red Sox.

Ryan, Detroit, MI

What baseball owner not named Steinbrenner is the closest to Al Davis?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

No one. Al Davis can't be matched.

Danny (Washington DC)

Darvish or Strasburg?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Strasburg.

San Diego

Tell Philly to shut up. We have NEVER won a major sports championship!!!!!!!!!

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

What about the 1963 AFL title?

Joe (Madison WI)

K-Rod or Lidge in the big spot??

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

I'll go Lidge. But I think both guys are destined to blow at least one playoff save.

Joey Votto (cincinnati)

Why can't I win ROY??

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Because Geovany Soto was too good this year.

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

I've got to hop on the el to get to Wrigley Field. Everyone enjoy your playoff baseball today and tonight! See you next week.