We've got the World Series, Jake Peavy, free agents and, as always, prospects to talk about for the next hour. Let's get busy.
Hey Jim - long question, so bare with me. In a recent discussion, a sportswriter friend of mine opined that now that big market clubs have realized the importance of building through the draft (instead of just spending exhorbitant amounts on aging free agents) that it will be all over for most of the small market teams. The Rays model is sure to be copied by rich and poor teams alike. The only difference is that the Rays wont be able to afford all of them in a few years, nor add marquee free agents. Generally speaking, same with the Brewers. The Red Sox and Yankees and Angels can build through the draft, and still sign the Teixeiras, CCs, etc. Your thoughts?
I think that's oversimplified. Even before the Rays, big-market clubs new the importance of building from within. The Yankees started investing more heavily in the draft in 2006, and the Red Sox were doing so before that. The size of the market matters, sure, but making the right decisions matters more.
Who you got tonight? and why?
Phillies, because I like Cole Hamels to pitch well. But I still think the Rays take the Series.
Do you see David Price getting more playing time than he did in the ALCS? If so, will he be anointed Maddon's closer?
I think we will see more of Price. But I don't think the Rays will anoint him as the closer even if they decide to use him that way -- they're better off keeping the Phillies guessing.
Please tell us Giants' faithful when we can expect to see Buster Posey in the big leagues if he is as advertised.
Sometime in 2010. I don't think he'll hit quite as much as Wieters, and the Giants want Posey to polish his receiving, so he'll probably need a year and a half in the minors.
The Reds Justin Turner went 4 for 4 last night in the Arizona Fall League with 4 runs, a BB, and an rbi, is he a legit 2B prospect or a future backup?
I think he's more of a utilityman but it wouldn't surprise me if he emerged as a starting 2B for a couple of years. He's a gritty guy more than a toolsy guy, though.
Long term do you still like Jay Bruce over Evan Longoria or has Longoria won you over?
I still love Bruce, but I'd take Longoria over him.
Joba Chamberlain got in trouble in Nebraska this weekend for a DUI, a columnist from the Post suggested it is this type of reckless behavior which scared teams off, thus him dropping to #41 despite great raw tools...is that the reason he dropped?
No, I think that's ridiculous. Teams were concerned about Joba's health. He had weight problems early in his career, there was a lot of concern about the condition of one of his knees, and he missed time with triceps tendinitis in his draft year. Some teams didn't clear Chamberlain medically, that was why he dropped.
The Red Sox front office gets a lot of credit for good drafts...which unsigned draftee do you think they could have Alex Meyer vs. Pedro Alvarez vs. Matt Laporta?
Not sure exactly what this means -- which draftee they could have? LaPorta's asking price was too high for the season he had (he was hurt and didn't have a good junior year) but they put a full-court press on Alvarez and Meyer only to have the players opt for college.
JIM- can you give a quick assessment of Tommy Hanson, and would you trade a package of him, Jordan Shaffer, and Kelly Johnson for Jake Peavy?
Hanson is one of the better pitching prospects in the minors, with a live fastball and four pitches that each grade as plus at times. I've said this before and I'll say it again--I don't think the Braves should ship a package of young players to San Diego for Peavy. They got burned on the Teixeira trade and they're not one pitcher away from being a legit contender. I think they'd regret this deal if they made it.
Speaking of David Price's role in the WS, what's the outlook for the beginning of the 2009 season: AAA for a few months, bullpen guy in Tampa, or in the rotation for the Rays?
Rotation for the Rays.
Hi Jim, imagine for a moment that you're Theo Epstein and that you can only keep three of these prospects: Buchholtz, Bowden, Anderson, Lowrie, Masterson, Reddick, and Khalish. Who would you keep and who would you trade?
I keep Anderson, Materson and Buchholz. They have enough OF and SS depth in the lower minors. Lowrie would be the tough one because I think he'll be a solid regular, but I still have faith that Buchholz can be a front-liner. I also like Bowden, but on that Boston staff, he's probably a No. 5 starter.
Buster said in his blog today that many rival execs "expect the Padres will deal Jake Peavy to Atlanta for something very close to this package of players: center field prospect Jordan Schaefer, pitching prospect Tommy Hanson and second baseman Kelly Johnson." Could the Rangers best that offer with: Feliz or Holland, plus Andrus or Beltre, plus Laird or Saltalamacchia?
That's a comparable deal. The Padres really need a CF, so Schafer might be more attractive to them than Laird or Salty. Teagarden would be the C I'd want from the Rangers.
Jim, thanks for the chat. With Matt Cain and Robinson Cano as the anchors of a trade, what more would the Yankees have to kick in to get a deal done? Considering the Giants lack of a 1B, would adding Kennedy and Miranda be enough to tip the scales for Sabean in your view?
Wouldn't for me. I think it's a lot harder to find a Cain than a Cano, and I'm not sold on Cano being a 2B long term. The Giants aren't going to contend soon, so I'd rather have a package of young talent instead of a big leaguer coming off his worst season and creating questions about his work ethic. Kennedy's stock isn't high either and Miranda doesn't do much for me.
Jim, after the beating Hughes took last week (8 runs 3 ip), is it safe to say you guys were wrong about this guy being a frontline starter?
Yeah, because one AFL start tells all. Seriously, though, let's see what Hughes can do in a completely healthy season before we write him off.
BJ Upton has been very good in the playoffs. I know it's a small sample size but is there a reason other than improved health that has led to his improvement compared to the regular season? Who's your choice long term BJ or Justin?
B.J. was hurt during the season, and his power is definitely for real. Long term, I'd take Justin, because he has been more advanced than B.J. at the same stages of their careers.
What is going on with Gordon Beckham. Was he overrated or just needs a few years in the minors to get it together?
AFL stats are no reason to panic, guys.
Apparently the Mariners just named Jack Zduriencik as their new GM, thoughts?
Wow, hadn't seen that. Good for Jack, whose drafts built the Brewers. Good to see a guy can get a GM job without being a huge self-promoter. As I've said before, I'd want my GM to be a proven evaluator of talent, and Jack Z is exactly that. Nice hire.
Jim, love the work. Anxiously awaiting the Top 30 season (order the Handbook people)! In exchange for the plug, please help me out here: Darvish, Strasburg, Inoa. If all three were eligible for the 09 Draft, what order would they go and why?
Inoa would go third, because he's much further away and the other guys aren't lacking for stuff. Strasburg has better pure stuff than Darvish, but a team might opt for Darvish because he would step right into the majors. Not that Strasburg would need years in the minors, either.
Jim, should Felix Pie be starting in centerfield for the Cubs next year? Or would the Cubs be better served by bringing back the Reed Johnson and Edmonds combination?
I think they may need to look to Door No. 3. There's no guarantee Pie will hit in 2009, and the Cubs can't just bank on him. The Johnson/Edmonds platoon worked out well this year, but to expect a full repeat would be a bit much.
I keep hearing these rumors about Milwaukee trading Fielder. I understand he's arbitration-eligible this year, and may not be interested in signing a long-term deal (the Boras factor), but he's still Brewer property for a few more years. With LaPorta going in the Sabathia deal, who in the world would Milwaukee have to replace him? Gamel?!? There aren't any other real 1B prospects in the organization, are there?
Gamel would be the in-house solution, as there are questions about him being able to play 3B at the major league level. I still think the best player to trade, both in terms of being able to replace him and what you could get for him, would be J.J. Hardy with Alcides Escobar waiting in the wings.
Who do you believe will be the next Brewer Manager?
I live outside of Chicago, and there are a lot of rumors here that Bob Brenly is the favorite.
T or F - HS Soph Bryce Harper would be the No. 1 pick on the draft if eligible.
False. Strasburg would still go No. 1 overall.
Jim, Robert Stock was so highly regarded out of high school that he was predicted to be a Top 10 pick had he played his senior season. After two below-average seasons (compared to his expectations) where do you project him heading into the 2009 draft?
I'd say third to fifth round right now, based more on a hoped-for rebound. He was the most disappointing player in the Cape Cod League this summer.
Couldn't Ryan Braun play 1B as well? Similar defensive path that Pujols made isn't it?
He could, but he's athletic enough for the OF. No reason to move him.
Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Mark Melancon for Jay Bruce?
The Reds wouldn't touch that. That would be like trading a quarter and a couple of dimes for a dollar.
Alex White or Matt Harvey?
Tough call, but I'll say Harvey because he's further along than White was at the same point.
Prediction for UGA vs. LSU this weekend? Can the o-line hold up against that LSU front?
I'm worried about that very issue confronting my Bulldogs. But I'll still pick them to win a close on in Baton Rouge.
I understand nobody is "untouchable" for the right price, but if you were Brian Cashman, which 2 or 3 prospects would you try your best to hold out of any potential trades.
I don't think any Yankees should be considered untouchable. Their three best prospects are Austin Jackson, Jesus Montero and then someone like Dellin Betances or Austin Romine, and while those guys aren't nice, they're not can't-miss stars and not going to help the Yankees much if at all in 2009.
Did you really pick Anne Hathaway over Jessica Alba last week? Is Masterson a starter or a set-up guy next year?
I really did. I think it depends on Boston's needs. Masterson could be a No. 3 starter in time, but he's probably more valuable to the Red Sox in 2009 as their top RH setup man, capable of going multiple innings as needed.
Cain for Bruce?
That trade would make a lot of sense for both clubs. The Reds might balk first, though, as Bruce is going to be a lot less expensive for the next couple of years.
Is it time for me to apologize to the O's for criticizing their choice of Matusz over Beckham after Matusz' performance in the AFL?
Again, don't read much into AFL stats. But there never was anything wrong with taking the best pitcher in the draft at No. 4.
A curious (and lengthy) question here: How does a guy like Derek Holland come out of relative obscurity to be one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball??? More specifically, how does a prospect go from Zero to Hero so quickly? Obviously that's a credit to the prospect for getting better but is it more than that? Were those tools not noticed before???
Great job of projecting Holland's ability by area scout Rick Schroeder for the Rangers, and Holland's stuff continues to get better and better. He wasn't nearly this good when Texas drafted him in the 25th round.
What's the ETA for Andrew Brackmann and what do you think his roll will be for the Yankees? P.S. please post even though there are ALWAYS so many Yankee questions. Thank you.
Brackman just started pitching in real games in Hawaii, so I wouldn't expect him to make a quick impact. I think mid-2010 is about the earliest that could be expected. He has the upside to eventually be their No. 2 starter behind Joba Chamberlain.
Was Beckham solid enough for the O's to take at #4 considering their lack of organizational depth at SS?
Sure, a power hitter capable of playing SS would have been a nice pick too. Matusz was regarded as a better prospect, though.
Any updates on Josh Fields and his contract situation?
Nope, though Scott Boras has someone new to talk to about it now that Jack Z has taken the GM job. I think there's a great chance Fields pitches in indy ball next spring and a good chance he re-enters the draft.
Please post even though I'm sure you're getting bombarded with Royals questions. I was going to ask about Cortes' performance in the AFL, but I think I know what you'll say. So, what are your thoughts on Kila Ka'ahuie? Who does he compare to and was his performance last year real?
Ha . . . I'm not really sold on Ka'ahuie. He didn't hit well in 2006 and 2007, and I'd like to see him do it again to get excited about him. If he's for real, I guess you could say he could be a Carlos Pena type. I'm not ready to go there, though.
Let's head to the lightning round with 12 minutes to go . . .
With their new GM hire today - where do you see the Mariners going this off-season? Re-build..or Re-load?
They need to rebuild.
You quickly took a stab at the Yanks top prospects earlier, where would you put McCallister?
Middle of their Top 10.
Is Damon Oppenheimer a good scouting director or is he a product of his massive resources?
The resources don't hurt, but he's a good scouting director. Wouldn't surprise me if he winds up a GM some day.
First to the World Series: Pittsburgh or Cincinnati?
Lighting round: Cain or Peavy? Who would net more in a trade?
I'd rather have Cain.
Alonso or Votto?
Samardzija... Starter or Reliever?
I think he'll be a reliever in the long run, may try to start for a couple of years.
Will Antonelli start for the Pads next year? Or is he done for ever?
Wouldn't give up on him, but I wouldn't give him a starting job after the year he just had either. Back to Triple-A.
Kyle Gibson: Top 5 pick, top 10, or top 15?
True or false: The best position prospect in the Twins minor league system is Aaron Hicks. If not, who. If so, who comes in second?
It's him or Ben Revere, and a case could be made for either. I'd go for Revere after the year he just had.
Donavan Tate to the Braves next June?
They wish, I'm sure, but he may not get that far.
David Cooper: >, <, or = Lyle Overbay v2.0?
Better GM, Theo or Brian?
2008 draft or 2009 draft?
2008 draft, because of the better bats.
Alderson or Bumgarner?
Best prospect in a NY team's farm system?
Austin Jackson would be the conservative choice. Wilmer Flores would be the bold choice.
International draft by _____?
Too many logistical issues for me to believe this will happen.
Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton?
So if Jack Z is gone, should Brewers fans not feel so comfortable on draft day(s) in the future?
They've also lost two crosscheckers who became scouting directors in the last two years in Tom Allison and Bobby Heck. But that's a deep staff over there, I wouldn't expect them to fall off the map.
Against or pro having an international draft?
Against it. Think it would be rife for abuse and would create as many problems as it might solve.
AJax over FMart?
Who you would rather have in a trade vs. who may net more is entirely different right?
Vitters will be be an everyday Cub in ____?
Will McCutchen develop power and eventually be a 30/30 annual threat?
I don't see that much power.
Think Fernando Martinez will be a bust?
No, but think he's been overhyped.
Doug Melvin is a top ____ GM in MLB?
Cain over Peavy???!!! OK, since its lightning round, your lunch today: Crack or Cocaine?
Cain will be healthier, cheaper and -- most important -- better over the next four years. How often does Peavy go past six innings?
Help settle a debate of bitter mets fans... would the Pirates have been better off getting F-mart then Andy LaRoache in the Bay 3-way deal?
Cards closer of the future, Perez or Motte?
T or F: Chris Antonetti continues to withdraw his name from GM discussions because he will be the next GM of the Indians.
Austin Jackson's Bronx eta?
Reimold or B. Snyder?
That's it for today. See you next week.