Sorry, was just fielding calls to see how I can turn my 2019 Hall of Fame vote into, you know, some political or financial benefits for me or my wife...
Klaw- I know you're not Pres. of the Derek Jeter fan club, but can we start to seriously consider that he might retire as the all-time hits king?
I think that's becoming less likely, not more, as he's starting to slow down offensively and his defense declines.
What's the deal with Rafael Furcal? Why would he verbally agree to go back to the Braves then bail on them for the Dodgers? That's not the type of player I want here in LA.
It's not his player - it's his agent. It sounds like they had a verbal agreement, his agents found out they could get more from LA, so they reneged. (I've tried to reach Kinzer but he hasn't returned the call.) If that's accurate, I'd have a hard time ever dealing with them - your word is critical in this business.
Klaw, am I crazy to think that CC isn't even the best lefty in the AL East, never mind the AL. John Lester produced against better line-ups all last year and when comparing post season numbers, CC isn't even close to the pitcher that Lester is.
You are crazy.
It looks like the Mike Cameron trade to NY is on life support, at the very least. We all know Cameron, even with his .330obp is a tremendous increase over our AAAA youngsters, but how much of a downgrade defensively is Gardner/Melky from Cameron?
I'd say at least half a win. Possibly more.
What can you tell me about Red Sox minor league rookie of the year Kyle Weiland? What does he project as down the road? Thanks.
Setup man, potentially a closer. Definitely in the pen.
Clayton Richard, Jeff Marquez, Aaron Poreda, John Van Benschoten, Lance Broadway, Jack Egbert, Jon Link... Are ANY of these guys viable starters next year? in the future?
No, no, yes, no, no, no, no. That was easy.
Hey K-Law, thanks for the chat. What do you think of the Cubs signing Joey Gathright? Low OBP, kinda reminds me of Pie, so why not just keep Pie as 4th/5th OF'er?
Pie has actual upside, whereas Gathright just kind of stinks. And Gathright's a lousy defensive CF too.
You recently ranked Sean Green as the 3rd best winter meeting acquisition. Do you see his stuff as being better than that of Joe Smith?
Yes, it is better than Smith's.
Not sure if you've seen much of Gardner but defensively he's not far off from Cameron.
I have. He's not close to Cameron.
Paul Maholm made huge improvements last year. He pitched extremely effeciently, but he also showed that he can get the K when he needs to. Would you consider him to be a No. 1 pitcher? Or does he have another step to take?
I consider him to be a No. 5 starter. "Can get the K when he needs to" - translates as "can barely miss a bat to save his life."
Whats your take on Alcides Escobar?
Overrated. Can run, quick bat, poor pitch recognition, no power (present or projected), good glove. This is not one of the top ten prospects in the game.
I know you aren't a fan of the salary cap in any form, and I do agree with you, but if the Yankees or Sox wind up with Tex at an obscene price, isn't this yet another sign to small-market fans that, even if their teams have short-run success, they won't be able to sustain it because teams like the Yanks, Mets, Sox, and Angels are just going to outspend them no matter what when their players hit the free agent market? I only see the Yankees getting more ridiculous with their spending now that they have a new park. 300 million dollar payroll anyone?
We hear this every time one of the northeast teams goes on a big spending run, without anyone actually waiting to see, you know, if all that money was put to good use. And that's without considering the fact that Tampa Bay and Colorado have won pennants the last two years on low payrolls and good player development.
I just read that Rocco Baldelli was given the wrong diagnosis, and he actually has a treatable disease. Have you heard anything about this? If it is true, what kind of value does he have?
I've only heard what you've heard. I hope it's true, but I have to wonder about 1) how likely it is that the first diagnosis was wrong and this one is right and 2) the timing of the revelation. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic - I've got a metabolic disorder myself, but fortunately it doesn't affect my livelihood - but it seems a little too good to be true.
Is Fernando Martinez still a top 50 prospect? I know many have soured on him but he is still not 20 and played great last year in the spring. I remember you writing that he was impressive BP at the futures game so I would like to know what you think...future star, bust, or trading chip
Keith, I respect most of your opinions, but c'mon man, get real! Of course New York/Boston aren't GUARANTEED success by spending way more money than everyone else, but its an obvious HUGE advantage to be financially capable of retaining your best players while also being able to outspend smaller market teams for their players. You're cherry-picking with TB and Colorado.
I'm cherry-picking with two of the last four pennant winners? And the Phillies' success was built mostly on their drafting - Rollins, Howard, Utley, Hamels, the players traded for Lidge and Blanton, etc. You can ARGUE that it's a HUGE advantage to BE able to keep your PLAYERS, but your argument seems very light on ... facts.
It's not how much money, it's how you spend it. Marlins have 5/6 winning seasons.
It's how you spend it, and what you do on the margins - teams spend $5-10 million a year on the draft, and maybe $2 million in Latin America, and Burnett's getting $16.5MM a year. Think of the relative impact.
Keith, I haven't been able to find your opinion on the Cardinal's trade for Khalil Greene. What's your take on Greene and the trade?
He's not very good, but they got him for nothing and he is an upgrade. Good defender, not great; has raw power; will chase breaking stuff away until he's dead. Not really my kind of player.
So if you were a GM you'd be just as happy with a $200M payroll as a $40M one?
I think for a GM to complain about the magnitude of his payroll is absurd. It's just a given and you probably knew it when you took the job anyway. A GM might argue over smaller amounts - an extra million for international scouting - but to whine about having $60 million instead of $100 million? So your job's a little harder. If you don't like it, there are a dozen qualified people in the game who'd gladly take on the challenge.
Is Jason Donald and Carlos Carrasco a fair offer for Zack Greinke?
Yes, but I don't think KC would do it.
Klaw, I've heard people compare Lars Anderson to Justin Smoak, any truth to these?? If you had to choose one, who would you rather have?
I'm not sure why they'd be compared; they're first baseman who can hit, but I don't see a lot of other similarities. I'd take Smoak.
Are you going to go sledding tomorrow w/ your fam?
I'm precoating my lawn and driveway with two inches of calcium chloride.
Thoughts on Brad Holt?
One-pitch guy, really holds his velo well, improving command. Would let him start to see if the offspeed stuff comes along, but otherwise he should be an asset out of the pen.
Klaw I agree with you. Instead of people getting angry with the way the Yanks and Sox spend, they should get angry at the fact that their teams dont re invest their revenues back into the team!
I think it would be smarter to get mad at the actual decisions the GMs make - the time your GM threw away a draft pick by not offering arbitration to a free agent, or took Daniel Moskos with five better prospects on the board who'd sign for slot. Money is rarely the main obstacle preventing a team from succeeding. It's usually incompetence, acute or chronic.
Keith Is the upside of Andrew Brackman the same as David Price? I heard they were rated 1,2 prior to the year they were drafted. Let me know your thoughts?
Brackman's upside is that of a #1 starter, but he's a long way away from it, not in the least because he blew his elbow out during his junior spring. Price hasn't been hurt or lost that development time, and he was more polished to begin with.
I only get upset when the A's do draft well and can only keep the guys until arbitration or trade them before knowing they need to get something before they do become free agents.
If you delete the word "can," your argument makes more sense. They could have kept Dan Haren; they decided it was a better baseball move to trade him.
KLaw, love the chat every week. I'm concerned as to why the Mets are the "team to beat again." I mean how much more can the Phillies do than win the World Series? I think Madson/Lidge are even if not better than Putz/K-Rod, am I wrong?
I haven't labelled the Mets the team to beat, but I don't think winning the WS gets the Phils some kind of grace period. Are they better today than they were in October? No. They might be worse - I'm no Ibanez fan - but they're not better. And after finishing just a few games ahead of the Mets, they've treaded (trodden?) water while the Mets have improved their club and are likely to add one more piece. I don't think it's unfair to say the Mets will start spring training the better team on paper.
If Boston lands Tex, can they keep Lowell/Ortiz/Youk? Are there enough at bats during a 162 game season to keep them all happy?
I assume that means Lowell gets shipped out of town once he's healthy.
Best 3B prospect, Vitters or Alvarez?
What are your thoughts on Nick Hagadone? Can he stick as a starter? Might we see him this year out of the pen?
I'm dying to see where his velocity sits when he's back. He was 88-92 as a starter in college, spiked to the mid-90s this spring, and then his elbow snapped. I guess it's an unprovable theory, but it has always seemed to me that sudden velocity spikers are more likely to hurt their arms. (Not that you avoid those guys - you just steel yourself for the injury possibility.) If Hagadone is really sitting 95 after the surgery, he's pretty clearly a starter prospect.
What is Arrieta's ceiling - #1 - #2 - Any MLB comparisons?
A 3/4. Probably a 4 now, needs to improve his command/control because he doesn't have a knockout pitch.
What position do you see Moustakas at when he breaks into the majors in a couple years?
Probably a bad defensive 3b, but I still want to see them stick him behind the plate.
What kind of talent is Stephen Marek out of the Braves system? I'm not too familiar with him...I just noticed that they added him to their 40 man roster.
Middle reliever. Needs to throw more strikes, not sure that he will.
Hector Rondon, Carlos Rivero, Wes Hodges, and Garko for Lance Berkman and Wandy Rodriguez? Same package for Zimmerman? Or...the same package for Tulowitski? How far away from ML is Luis Valbuena? Thank you Keith.
Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. Valbuena could play in the majors this year.
Klaw, I saw where the Mets were considering giving a spot in the rotation to either Niese or Parnell. Thoughts?
Niese yes, Parnell to the pen, IMO.
Keith, I think you underrate Greinke. You've said in the past he could be a 2 starter, but he's pretty clearly a top 15 starter in the game.
He has two years of control left, right? And in exchange they'd get six years of an everyday shortstop in Donald, plus a starting pitcher who, conservatively, projects a #3-4 with six years of control there. I actually like Greinke a ton, but we're talking about a guy with one great year under his belt and not much time left to free agency.
Did the Padres make a good Rule-5 choice with E. Cabrera? Can he stick on the roster?
No, I don't think he can or should.
Mr. Law - Will Sean West be in the majors by year end? Can Dallas Mcpherson face major league pitching? Thanks!
Probably, and probably not.
Will you be keeping Desmond Jennings in your top 25?
The talent is the same but the lost development time hurts him. He'll be lower this time around.
What do you see as Pablo Sandovals ceiling?
About 300 pounds.
Is Tommy Hanson far enough along in his development that he could compete for a spot in the Braves rotation THIS season?
Maybe mid-year. Not right away.
Keith - What's with Alton Brown's new hair? Is his awkward commercial for Concord grape juice a sign of an expanded Brown empire? Also, what's your best guess on LF-CF-RF for the Cards next year? I can only hope Rasmus is the Kevin Brauch to Pujols' Alton Brown.
Yeah, he needs a haircut in the worst way. I know you're losing it on top, AB, but go with dignity, man. Just shave it. Anyway, unless they find a good deal for Ankiel or Ludwick, Rasmus starts in AAA, which isn't the worst thing in the world for him or the club.
Just curious Keith, would you sign Stratesburg (sp?) to the $10 mil he is seeking if you were the Nationals?
If he's the best player available, then you take him and figure out the money. We haven't seen a $10 million bonus in a while now, so the final figure probably won't be that high.
Did you do a rule 5 write up? If so, where can it be found? If not, can you give us a quick review. thanks
I did not, because as usual, very few if any of those players are going to have any major-league impact. Terrell Young (taken by the Nats) is interesting and should stick, and I said last week I'm intrigued by the Red Sox' pick (Miguel Gonzalez), but that's about it.
When does Matt Weiters get called up? Is he instantaneously a better than average starting catcher?
If not April, then June, and yes.
Short answers are great - Jeremy Hermida - bust or beak out year in 09?
I'll say breakout year, again.
With the Brewers needing a starter (and having money), wouldn't it make sense for them to at least see if Jake Peavy would waive his no-trade clause to play there? With Milwaukee's prospects, seems like a win-win for both teams.
I'm not sure I could put together a good enough offer from Milwaukee's system.
Keith, I know you haven't been too praising of the NHL and are not a fan of salary caps in general, but do you think in their case where revenue is not comparable to the MLB that it helps?
It helps the owners. That's about it.
Does the inclusion of player(s) on the 40 man roster indicate the club thinks there's a chance of bringing them up soon (1-2 years)? is it just a preventative measure so nobody poaches them? What do the giants Sosa and English (just added to the 40man) project short term and career.
It's required to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, and it's required when you want to call a player up to the majors (you can't have a player on your 25-man active roster if he's not on the 40-man roster).
Ok Klaw, lets get serious, can Danny Murphy really play 2nd base...will he?
No, he can't.
You should read Straight Man, different than other works. It's a comedy, and would be well worth your time.
I'm going to read everything you've written, in time. Of course, I have at least 25 books in the queue right now, so it'll be a while.
Why was the Rule 5 created? What is its purpose in your opinion?
To prevent teams from hoarding prospects, to the players' detriment. That is, it gives a player who's potentially ready for the majors but is blocked or otherwise throttled an out: either he gets on the 40-man, or he gets a shot with another organization.
Why is everyone down on Aviles playing short? Is he that bad, comparisons?
He doesn't look good, but every defensive metric I've seen says he was very good.
Have you ever read Ender's Game? What did you think?
Meh. The whole thing at the end with the Speaker for the Dead part felt so tacked-on - which, it turns out, it was. The main story was fun.
By the way, changing your name repeatedly doesn't make me any more likely to answer a question.
My queue is dwindling. Can you rattle off a list of must reads? Also, do you think Derek Lowe will get something like 4yr/$52M?
I think he gets a little more than that. Google the Klaw 100 for my all-time favorites.
Keith, last year BA said that Donald projects more as a utility player. Now it seems you are pretty high on him as a starting SS. What has changed in his game to make him more of a starter, or have you always been this high on him? Thanks!
I have not always been this high on him - when he was on the Cape I thought he projected as a utility player. I like the bat more now than I have in the past, and he should be at least average defensively at short and above-average at second.
Mat Gamel or Dexter Fowler?
Fowler. He's not allergic to leather.
Have you read Time Travelers Wife? A friend highly recommends it, but then he highly recommends everything. Need independent verification.
My wife loved it. I kind of guessed the ending without reading it, so I haven't picked it up.
Hall of Fame yes or no's... Bob Abreu Edmonds R. Alomar Vizquel Dave Justice McGriff Larry Walker Smoltz Tejada
Maybe, probably, yes, probably not, no, no, no, yes, no.
Klaw- Don't you find it frustrating when people take offseason analysis so personally? I mean, the Phillies just won the World Series, and their fans can't get over that people are saying the Mets, who lost the division to the Phils 2 years in a row because of their bullpen, are better ON PAPER than the Phils right now because of the moves they've made...isn't it true that these were two teams that were pretty close in terms of talent going into the Winter Meetings?
I'm just assuming Phillie fans aren't really angry so much as still drunk.
Keith, if the Jays are in rebuild mode, wouldn't it make sense to dangle Vernon Wells to the Yanks since they a) need a CF and b)could be one of the few teams willing to absorb his salary ?
Yes, but I don't think they're in rebuild mode, and I have to say if I'm Cashman the player option in VW's contract gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Or the jibblies.
Have you read any Bolano? I'm reading "The Savage Detectives" right now. Digging it, but a plot would be nice. Without one, I feel like I'm drifting. My questions is this: is it rude not to have a plot or am I just an intellectual midget to complain about it?
I'm from the Wilkie Collins school of thought - the plot is everything.
It seems the Yankees are focusing their attention on Manny. Why oh why? Don't get me wrong, I think Manny is awesome, but right now Tex makes the most sense. It's a complete no-brainer and I don't understand why the Steinbrothers/Cashman aren't pursuing him as hard as Sabathia. Thoughts?
I thought an offseason that landed them Sabathia, Teixeira, and another starter would be perfect. The starter didn't have to be Burnett. They don't have a good 1b on the roster or in the system, and they could use some defensive help somewhere on the diamond.
How much time passes or should pass before you begin to belief that your last scouting report may not be accurate anymore? Obviously you can't see every play for every player so how much time should pass before you begin to think "but I haven't seen him in..." to weigh the opinion of the player?
Players change every year. I do talk to scouts and execs all the time about players just to get a reality check on myself.
I know you hated the Ibanez signing. But here's the other side of the coin. Ibanez hit 100 points highers with RISP than Burrell in the last 3 years, puts more balls in play, strikes out less, plays horrendous (but still better) defense than Burrell, and has hit over .300 against the only lefty in the NL (Johan) worth mentioning. He's older, sure, but has shown his work ethic will make that less of an issue. He's not loads better than Burrell, but I don't think it was quite as bad as you made it sound.
That's rationalization. BARISP is a skill? No, it's not. Strikes out less and puts more balls in play - those are one point, and when you're as slow as a sack of hair, striking out less isn't necessarily a good thing. And I'm not so sure Ibanez is a better defender than Burrell. Finally, you omitted the entire draft pick problem - no arb to Burrell plus losing a pick for Ibanez = bad pick management.
Would Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera be a good starting point to get the Dodgers to discuss trading Matt Kemp?
No, it's not close to sufficient.
Will Kyle Drabek or Joe Savery ever pan out for the Phils? I know Drabek has been injured, but both were first round picks. Busts like Golson or steals like Hamels?
I think Savery's a bust. Drabek is just coming back from TJ surgery, so let's give him a year and see if he gets back to where he was in high school (which was very good).
Andruw Jones for Hideki Matsui. Who hangs up first?
give me something good to read over christmas please.
Since we've been talking about Russo, pick up Empire Falls.
Keith, I know you have a mathematical issue with OPS due to the weight placed on SLG. Would an OPS-type stat that measures SLG as fractions of the diamond (1B = .25 instead of 1, etc.) be something you would approve? Does such a stat exist already?
Well, now you're headed towards linear weights (or even wOBA). The coefficients differ from what you're using, but that's the general concept.
Do I really want to end up in Washington? Do they have anything in the pipeline to offer me any encouragment?
If they offer you the most money, then take it. But no, their pipeline is pretty dry right now.
Fmart is a future star? But didn't you say in another chat that Ajax is better than him?
No, I don't remember saying that, and I rated Martinez above Jackson in last year's top 100.
Law we love you across the pond! Help me out here, Cameron for CF as an aging 36 yr old who strikes out 27% of his PA for young (albeit low ceiling) CF, why bother making this move?
Good power and good defender, and it's just a one-year commitment.
If the Braves were to trade Jason Heyward straight up for a prospect, who would it be?
Yikes. Wieters, Price, Feliz ... it's a short list.
Several people that follow the Padres Minor leagues have rated Kellen Kulbacki as the #1 prospect in the organization. What is your take on Kulbacki?
My take on Kulbacki is that you really want to have a better prospect than him in your system. (And don't they? I know Latos is a ways off, but he has a great arm and was very good when he pitched this year.)
Do you think that Jed Lowrie is good enough to stick at SS for the Sox for more than a year or two? What do you project for him this year?
Long-term he's at least an average everyday shortstop, can handle it defensively but isn't plus, bat will be above-average for the position.
...and that's another guy on whom my opinion changed as I saw him over a few years.
Any chance that we can see Jordan Danks out in center at some point during 2009 for the south siders? Seems like he could at least match Owens production, minus the steals. How does he project as a center fielder? Thanks!
Not in 2009 - maybe not ever. Athletic, bad setup, long swing, poor plate discipline.
Calling me a racist DEFINITELY will not get your question answered.
You didnt want to discuss the rule 5 draft so can we get some insight on the non tenders? A healthy Saito is one of the ebst relievers in baseball so he has to have some value, right?
Absolutely. I'm shocked the Dodgers wouldn't retain him. Should get $3-4 million from someone with incentives, at least. I'd love to take a shot on him; I know the injury is potentially severe, but the treatment the Dodgers' trainers tried was new and they were pretty optimistic that he wouldn't need surgery. I was also surprised to see Chris Britton non-tendered.
Is it true the arbitration board is made of members who look at dark age stats, understand just the basic concept of the game and often award the athlete?
The arbitrators aren't baseball arbitrators - they're professional arbitrators who are only supposed to consider the arguments made before them in the hearing. Given the limited time and the lack of any analytical background on the panel, the team and agent skew towards easily-understood (if analytically fraudulent) stats like RBI, wins, saves, etc. Personally, I don't think it's that hard to explain some of the more informative stats - I mean, linear weights is pretty easy to grasp - but there's a reactionary mentality among people who specialize in arbitration hearings.
read master & marg awhile back and loved it - since we have similar taste, would you say the following is true: atlas shrugged > fountainhead? just finished the latter and am pretty pumped for the 'masterpiece'
Never read Rand, no intention of doing so.
Final Jeopardy on Tuesday - Novels: Amazon.com called this novel, set in Iowa, the "romantic classic of the 90's". Never read the book but correctly guessed the answer.
That's easy - Field of Dreams. (kidding)
Were your HOF answers what you think or what you think will happen?
How I would vote.
With everything going the way it is for Frank Wren do you see the him trying to put another package together for Peavey? Maybe something that does not include Hanson, Heyward, or Escobar? Or do one of them have to go to change that crazy mind of Towers?
I believe that ship has sailed.
How do you think Vlad will rebound from knee surgery? 2004 or 2007 Vlad? Thanks.
I think 2008 Vlad is a more realistic expectation. I don't think we'll see 2004 Vlad again. It's too bad - he's one of my favorites.
Hey Klaw, really enjoy your work, don't alway agree, but I respect your opinion. Can you give a rough ETA in the majors for Phillies outfield propect Derrick Brown (I hope I have that right).
Dominic Brown? 2011 or beyond.
What's your take on Catch-22? Lack of plot, but the humor...
There's a plot, sort of. Loved it when I read it in high school - it's on my shelf now for a re-read. Twenty years ought to be enough to have forgotten most of the funny parts.
I'm obviously not up on linear weighting and informative stats, but could SB's be added to slugging percentage since those players are moving themselves into scoring postition? Maybe and Adjusted Slugging Percentage?
The value of one stolen base is far lower than the value of a base achieved by a hit, because the latter can advance other runners. And of course you run into the issue of accounting for times caught stealing and picked off, and the slight negative value on the hitter at bat.
What better 1-2 combos are there than Moustakas/Hosmer?
Of prospects? Smoak/Feliz. Wieters/Matusz would have an argument. Price/Beckham. Heyward/Hanson.
Francisco - nunca voy a contestar a tus preguntas. Se no me tienes respeto, no tengo que hablar con tigo. Entendiste?
Are the Padres taking the Supremem Courts approach to Peavy? They can't define what they want for him in a trade, but they'll know it when they see it?
I like that. Who's the Justice who actually made the comment (about pornography)? We should name the doctrine after him.
Oh, and yes, that seems to be their strategy.
Ricky Romero - any hope left?
Yes, absolutely. I think he makes 25 starts for Toronto this year and is just below league-average.
Todd Frazier thoughts?
Hate his swing - huge hitch - and no idea of his position - probably left field. I know he smoked the Midwest League, but he was way too old for it, and then had an .808 OPS in high-A with a lot of strikeouts (which I'd expect, given his swing). He really has to hit at AA, at least, to get me to change my opinion, or to alter his swing.
Odds that Matusz is a September callup this year?
I think he'll force his way in there.
Shin Soo Choo....600 AB's... .279/.369/.500?
I don't think he plays every day, but he could hit like that against RHP in 450+ AB.
Know it when i see it - Justice Potter Stewart
Thank you. The Stewart philosophy of trades. Drives other GMs nuts.
Infinite Jest? Ever attempted?
Not yet. I have a few tomes on my shelf now (Lonesome Dove, Magic Mountain) and I don't let myself accumulate too many 800-pagers at once.
Would Gordon Beckham be a better 2B option in 2009 than Chris Getz, Jayson Nix or Wilson Betemit?
Maybe not right off the top, but by year's end, it's likely.
If Brett Lawrie can be an average catcher, where does that put him in your top 50?
He's not an average catcher and doesn't project as once.
Nate McLouth... how do you project him for next year?
OK, that's it for this week. Next klawchat will be in the New Year, so Happy Holidays to all of you, and please be safe, especially when getting behind the wheel.