You'd think the Nats would have realized that Gonzalez was lying about his age when they saw his gray hair and arthritic hip. But anyway...
Just to be clear, John Henry approves of a salary cap in an effort to restore competitive balance to the league and give all players the benefit of playing for a contender. (P.S. I absolutely love Snarky Klaw.)
He approves of a Salary Cap. I approve of an Owner Muzzle.
I know you mentioned the Josh Fields (the pitcher) signing in your blog, but where would he rank in your top 100 prospects? Thanks.
Towards the back, probably near Schlereth but behind him since he hasn't pitched in eight months and has no pro experience for us to examine.
Even I can't explain how I haven't been fired.
Did you send this from Mark Lerner's blackberry?
Don't know if you've been asked this before -- apologies if so. Do you think the ball is juiced, and since what year(s)? It seems to me that an awful lot of what is attributed to 'roids is actually the result of a livelier ball. Your opinion?
It's plausible - the change in offensive levels from 1992 to 1993 was big and sudden. Some of that, perhaps most of it, was caused by expansion, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to it.
Will Adam Jones, Alex Gordon, and Delmon Young have BREAKOUT years this season?
I don't KNOW but I WILL say that I have always LIKED Jones and Gordon.
KLaw: the man, the myth, the legend. Matt LaPorta has an immense ammount of talent and seemingly blocked everywhere he goes (Garko, Hafner, V-Mart now in Cleveland). What would be a good time table for him to reach Clevelands roster? Could he potentially break camp this year?
Garko is not good enough to block LaPorta. He (Garko) is an okay offensive 1b who's a terrible defender. He's a placeholder until someone better (like LaPorta) comes along.
Does Auckley sound reasonable for the O's at #5? They definitely could use a 1Bman.
I don't think he profiles well offensively at first, so it's a good thing he's expected to play center this year.
Still believe in Buchholz?
Who is going to be the closer in Oakland, Devine or Ziegler ?
So wait - it's the guy who doesn't get lefties out, or the guy who REALLY doesn't get lefties out? Awesome. I'd take Devine.
Why are you so critical towards Seattle signing Griffey, Jr.? It is a win win for both. Plus, Jr. has the right to sign where he wants. He is protecting his legacy. He could tank, but still be loved. That wouldn't be the case in Atlanta.
If he tanks, they have to bench him, and then what happens? Good luck with that. Memory Lane is a dead-end street for baseball teams.
I love looking at Cots Baseball Contracts and figuring out which guys would be without a team if he were a free agent this offseason. No way Lohse gets 4/41 right?
I could see him getting Oliver Perez' deal or something slightly better. He had the better platform year and doesn't have Perez' up-and-down history.
I was recently reading a fantasy baseball site, and the "expert" said he questioned LaPortas power. He even went on to sompare him to Lyle Overbay. He has much more power than that though, right?
Auckley in center? Does that mean Jones moves to left? If so, is this more a reflection of Jones's limitations or Auckley's skills?
It's Ackley, first of all. Second, I'm not sure he'll be there at 5. Third, I'm not sure they'll take him, since there will also be very good college and HS arms on the board, and as you pointed out, they kind of have young outfielders in spades.
What a steal for the Pirates. Nate the Great for under $20 mil. I mean, the man won a Gold Glove and hit well four 4 months last year!
He hit .257/.331/.437 from June 1st on. Good luck with that.
At least Dan from Washington still has my back
I'm sure Jose Rijo does too.
What do you think of a proposed trade that would send Elvis Andrus, Wilmer Font, Kasey Kiker, and Michael Main to San Diego for Jake Peavy. It would be a great trade for San Diego not only do they get Three very promising pitching prospects but an everyday shortstop to boot. All this can be had for basically no money on san diego's part, plus they can get rid of Jake Peavy's large contract. What do you think.
Two A-ball pitchers and a guy who missed the entire year with shoulder and back trouble ... yeah, I'm sure that's just what the Padres had in mind.
Do you think Amare gets traded before the deadline? Oh, shoot. Wrong chat!
[90210 reference] [porn star reference] [House] [Manning face] [random basketball stat] [TAINT]
That's better. Apparently the chat engine doesn't like the gt/lt symbols.
Who do you think the Rangers will pick with this year's 14 pick in the draft. I've heard it's either going to be Tyler Matzek or the other young highschool lefty in the draft.
You've heard? From your sources? It's February; colleges haven't even started playing yet. I'm guessing the Rangers have more than two guys on their radar right now.
I feel like a celebrity. But no, Smiley, you're on The List, right behind K-Law. Seriously -- firing Bowden, Rijo, Baez et al just doesn't seem like enough of a punishment (MLB gets its share of the blame as well). There are serious shady dealings in the Dominican -- would a Latin American draft help?
I know a lot of front office people who'd like to see that, because of the shady dealings, but - more importantly for them - because it would slam a cap on most of the bonuses. I can understand this even though I dislike anything that transfers wealth from players to owners: It's hardest to operate a business in an uncertain climate, and the Dominican Republic is about the definition of uncertainty.
Nope its just the two. If they are gone we're gonna do like the Minnesota Vikings and just pass.
Excellent, glad we cleared that up. You must be John's source.
Who replaces Glaus in the early part of the season Freese, Wallace, Craig, Other?
It's a competition in spring training, but I would put the best odds on Freese, even though I confess I'd love to see Wallace win it.
Hey Klaw, thanks for doing these chats. Am I too optimistic to think that the Smiley Gonzales thing is the nadir for the Nats as an organization? I mean...JimBow couldn't possibly remain, right?
I sort of expected Kasten to announce at the presser yesterday that Rijo had been fired or suspended or reassigned. I'm also surprised that people aren't keying in more on the fact that the Nats use a complex in the DR that Rijo *owns*. That's a brilliant idea. Isn't there anyone in that organization with a moral compass that points north?
Who gets to the majors first Cahill, Porcello, Holland or Anderson
I think any or all of them could reach the majors this year. I'd put Anderson and Holland in the "closer" group and Cahill and Porcello in the "farther" group.
Keith, Braves picking 7th is somewhat uncharted territory for them. Do you think Roy Clark will go PBA if a guy like Crow or White fall to them, or will they do their projectable high schooler thing. Gut feeling?
From talking to Roy and people who have worked with him over the years, I think his rep as a HS-or-bust guy is a little unfair. They have nearly always drafted in a spot where the premium college guys gone. This year that won't be the case - they'll probably have a choice of two or three of the top college arms plus two or three of the top high school arms (just because high school pitchers so rarely go top-5).
In Neyer's chat on tuesday he said he thought pedroia would be the best position player of the next 5 years. Is it me, or does that seem just a little ridiculous? What about David Wright, Grady Sizemore, Chase Utley, Albert Pujols, and Hanley Ramirez?
I would take any of those five guys over Pedroia for the next five years. Utley might be a push, because he's more likely to decline than any of the others, but right now he's a better player than Pedroia. Jose Reyes comes to mind. Those Upton fellows deserve at least a nod in their direction. And Alexei Ramirez.
Keith settle a debate for me, are leadoff hitters "overrated" or is it just that hitters like Bourn, Gomez, Taveras ect. who are speed guys are mislabled as leadoff hitters and they are the overrated ones?
The latter. The leadoff spot gets more PA for your team than any other. You certainly want to put someone there who's going to produce more offensively in those PA. The gain may be minor, but it's nonzero.
that's $5 for White Sox fan baiting.
Don't give Alexei my reference!
I can't get enough of that wonderful Klaw!!! Does A-Rod overcome the negative pressures and have a big year?
I think I just got compared to shoo fly pie. Yes.
Why aren't HRs included in BABIP?
Because they're not IP. BABIP is about fielders' influence on Balls In Play.
Speaking of Taveras, saw a note saying he's aiming for 100 SBs this year. Shouldn't he try to earn 100 PAs first?
Or reach base 100 times. In one calendar year.
Ryan Howard or Adrian Gonzalez? Next 7 yrs?
Gonzalez. That's not even close. Ryan Howard wakes up at 3 am every night, screaming, "no! not the slider!"
I know John Tolisano had a rough year last year, but is he still considered a prospect?
He has to find a position first.
How poorly has GM Moore guaged the changes in the market this offseason? The $14MM being spent this year on Farnsworth, Jacobs, Teahan, and Buck could have been used to acquire a Burrell or Dunn.
The Jacobs and Farnsworth acquisitions were inexcusable. But I'm not sure you can blame any GM who didn't foresee the quick erosion in the second- and third-tier free agent market.
Which of the young Dodgers position players (Kemp, Martin, Eithier and Loney) have the most upside remaining?
Upside, Kemp. Loney has more probability of reaching his upside. Ethier is about at peak right now.
Who ends up being the Phillies 5th starter at the beginning of the season - Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park or Carlos Carrasco?
I'd bet on Happ or Park.
Mauer's still two years from free agency. Would a 3yr/45ext be fair to both sides if offered now?
I think he's looking at $20MM/year when he gets to free agency, so he'd have to accept a huge hometown discount.
Is this Cubs team better than the 2003 Cubs team that was 5 outs from the World Series? I'm really worried that either the bullpen could pull a Mets, Zambrano/Harden's arms could fall off, or Bradley ends up being a bust. What are the odds that this Cubs team misses the playoffs?
They've got to be 70-75% to win that division, right? Who's close to them on paper? Maybe the Cardinals if Carpenter is healthy and gives them some innings. I don't see it.
You originally praised the Giants for their Affeldt and Renteria deals back in November and December. In light of how the rest of the offseason has shaken out do you still feel like those were good deals? Did they strike too quickly and overpay?
Affeldt yes - no change there. Renteria's dollar figure looks insane right now.
Of the Marlins top three starters (Johnson, Nolasco, Volstad) who has the most upside?
Johnson has the best stuff. I've always liked Nolasco, but I don't think he's a 1 or a 2. Volstad looks the part, great delivery, sinks the ball OK ... but I kind of wish a little more came out of his arm.
I always enjoy your chats and their digressions to food and literature. However today I have a strictly baseball question. Some rate Brewers catcher Angel Salome high despite his 5-6, 190-lb size. Some have concerns. Your thoughts?
I don't care about size per se. Can he catch? I think that's an open question. He can hit, but if he can't catch, he has no other position.
BP ranked me #90 in their Top 100 prospects. What do you see in me that they don't? ETA?
I don't know what KG's comments on Cecil were, so I can't compare and contrast for you. I see a four-pitch starter who misses bats and throws strikes with a pretty aggressive approach. ETA is this year. Concern on him is workload - college reliever converted to the rotation. I will be disappointed if Van Pelt doesn't get Cecil on his show after the kid's debut.
BP named Hagadone the Red Sox #3 prospect. Do you agree with this assumption, and what is his ceiling? Lester-like?
Well, he was #3 on my rankings of Red Sox prospects too. You tell me. I wouldn't hang a Lester tag on him yet.
Keith, Nolasco had a 186/42 K/BB. If that's not a 1 or 2 material, I don't know what is.
You're right. You don't know what is.
Will you ever answer one of my questions?
Yes. But I'm done now.
How would you grade the Angels new GM Tony Regans performance so far?
Solid. Was willing to bench Matthews despite the huge contract when he saw a better option (Hunter) available. Made the big trade (Teix) Stoneman never wanted to make. Signed Abreu to a bargain deal. Love that Santana extension. I'm trying to think of a move he's made that I hated ... I didn't love the Hunter signing but I didn't hate it. They do need to restock that system, but they'll have some extra picks for a change this year.
I dislike the Phillies as much as anyone, but how can you say 'not even close' when it comes to A Gonzalez and Howard, yet Ryan Howard is looked upon as the 'better' player in the world of baseball. Is this the problem of glorifying home runs or are you just smarter than everyone else?
It's glorifying home runs, ignoring his futility against lefties, ignoring his horrid defense (and Gonzalez' excellent defense), ignoring his body and the direction it's likely to go in the next few years, and yes, I am just smarter than everyone else.
You like Adrian Gonzalez long term, but how about short term as compared to RyHo?
If I'm a GM, I want Gonzalez. If you're asking a fantasy question, I'm assuming Howard is a lot more valuable.
Klaw, what youngsters make the yankee pitching staff?
Robertson in the pen, maybe Coke, although they're indicating they want him to start. Aceves in the pen. I don't know what the plan is with Hughes; I wish they'd just give him the 5th spot and let him go.
How do you see the AL central standings finishing this year?
I'm sticking with Cleveland as the winner. Maybe Twins, Tigers, Royals, White Sox?
How can you say Griffey isn't a great acquisition for the M's. He has great veteran leadership and is one of the top RBI men of all time?
Rumors of the Mets contemplating batting reyes 3rd in the order. Good idea, bad idea or it doesn't really make much of a difference?
Any move to put Castillo above 7th in the lineup is a bad idea.
Snarky Anderson, thanks for the chat. With the logjam at LF/1B, and the fact that he may be appealing (3 more years of control) do you think the Nats should trade Willingham? People are talking Nick Johnson, but there can't be a market for him. And they gotta play Dukes, Milledge and Dunn.
Sure, but how much of a market will there be for Willingham right now? Then again, any assumption that Nick Johnson is healthy or will stay that way for more than twenty consecutive minutes is faulty.
I just picked up a copy of Weaver On Strategy. Great book. I was wondering about your thoughts on the role a manager has on a team and if there are any statistical measures to qualify that? Also, with the #5 pick the O's take....
A manager can affect a team's performance mostly through playing time choices and bullpen usage. He can affect player development in more significant ways, by not giving enough playing time, by jerking players around between roles or in/out of the lineup, and by putting players into roles for which they are not ready. A bad manager does more harm than a good one does good.
Will you ever answer one of my questions other than the previous one?
Oh, fine. But after this I'm going back into the lamp.
For the last question of the day. (drum roll)Will Erik Bedard return to his 2007 form?
Last question? It's only two o'clock, probie. It's all about health; if he's healthy, he's good, and there's no reason to think he's not healthy right now.
I can't tell whether that AL Central prediction was genuine or if you're openly baiting White Sox fans at this point.
Genuine. The White Sox are worse on paper, they weren't THAT good last year, and I have said for a while that I think Floyd's 2008 was a fluke.
Do you see either of the rumoured Teahen or Shumaker attempts at 2B as potentially working out?
Definitely not, and probably not. I'm concerned Teahen's going to end up shattering his leg or something when he tries to turn a pivot.
Now that the Braves lost out on Griffey...do you expect them to possibly go the Garrett Anderson or Jim Edmonds route?
Edmonds would be a decent, not great, fit. Anderson .... shudder.
I'm taking the GMAT tomorrow, any last minute tips?
I took that test 15 years ago. I'm probably out of date.
KLaw, just finished the Pickwick Papers and loved it, anything you know of written in a similar style that I could pick up that's as good?
Tom Jones, by Fielding.
Can Joe Saunders duplicate last years performance? Or do you think it was kind of a fluke?
He has the stuff to miss bats, but he doesn't, and really never has. Either he strikes more hitters out, or his ERA goes up.
Keith - Ever had Dinosaur BBQ in upstate NY? I think it's about as good as you can get outside the normal BBQ hot spots.
I went to the one in Harlem with Joe Sheehan and it was below-average.
BTW, if Harlem is "upstate," that's a pretty narrow definition of New York City.
So the Rijo complex is an unacceptable conflict of interest? How about the commish owning the Brewers for all those years? Nothing cultural or racial in that!
Of course it was a conflict of interest. Baseball is rife with them. The difference in Washington is that they're under investigation by the feds. You might want to, I don't know, clean up a bit.
If Bruce/Votto/Cueto/Volquez all perform at about 80% (on average) of their ceiling for this year, and Harang pitches like its 06/07, can the Reds content for a playoff spot?
Sure, but that's not going to happen.
I heard the Dino in Harlem was weak. You gotta try the one in Syracuse or Rochester, though not sure why you would find yourself in those places.
If I did I'd probably be looking for a liquor store rather than a Q joint.
Three prospects with major league contracts. Rank them most to least likely to appear in a big league game this year: Matusz, Porcello, Alvarez. Thanks, Keith.
Just that order, unless the Pirates decide to rush Alvarez in a see-how-great-we-did! move. I hope not; that's the sort of thing they used to do there.
Dinosaur originated in Syracuse and there's another in Rochester, pal.
Dino BBQs original location was in Rochester, I believe.
Here's an idea: Why don't you two go to upstate New York and settle it while standing on three feet of ice.
Rasmus or Mccutcheon long term?
What is your favorite spring training stadium out here in AZ? And what do you think of the two new ones (Dodgers, Indians)? I think my favorite is Scottsdale Stadium, although I really like Tempe Diablo too, for some reason
Surprise is the best just because you're in the shade behind the plate. I don't think there's one I dislike, though; maybe Maryvale, mostly because of where it is. I haven't seen the new ones yet - I don't get out there for two weeks.
I don't read much because in the past I've found it boring, but I'd like to get a fresh start. Is there any specific book that you would suggest to get started?
That would depend on your interests, but without knowing that, I'd say "To Kill a Mockingbird." Readable, riveting, clever, and powerful.
Last week you mentioned that PECOTA had some value for a FO. What about their pre-season win projections? Any value there? Dose of reality perhaps?
Probably good for bettors' purposes.
I know you're not a big fan of "Catcher in the Rye," but what did you think of "A Seperate Peace?" I think it's much better and underappreciated.
Read that in high school ... I remember really not liking it, but that's just one read twenty-plus years ago. I read "Catcher" twice in my teens and didn't like it either time.
[VORP] [Other nerdy stats] [What an absurd question] [Biting sarcasm] [Defensiveness]
[VORP] [Win share] [You are wrong, I am right] [Sarcasm] [$5]
Sorry, no way I was letting those go by.
KLaw: How good can Matt Dominguez be at his peak?
Above-average everyday 3b with + glove and power. Concerned about the OBP right now, but he is still quite young.
If you ever make a worst 100 novel list, The Stranger should be towards the top.
Did not like that at all. I remember an interview with Chris Cornell from around 1989 where he cited Camus, Kafka, and Celine as major lyrical influences. I could not have seen more of a difference between "The Trial" (excellent) and "The Stranger."
GMAT recommendation, don't worry about the essays...
There were no essays when I took it, so I am clearly out of date.
How should the Rangers handle their catching carousel? Who goes where and why between Max Ramirez, Saltalamacchia, and Teagarden, all of whom appear to be major league ready.
I'd probably let Saltalamacchia catch as much as he can; he'll be the best player of all if he can handle the position and hits like he did in the minors.
Just finished "Remembrance of Thing Past." It honestly took me three years, but well worth it. Are you a Proust fan?
I got through Swann's Way and half of the next volume and put it back on the shelf. It's too much work for a moderate reward.
what are your thoughts on John Danks was his 08 a fluke or is a top of the rotation starter?
Top of the rotation starter. His '08 was real, and Floyd's was a bit of a fluke.
If you had to guess today...who's the top 5 picks in '09 draft?
Strasburg 1, clearly. Just naming top players rather than assigning them to teams - White, Green, Crow are the next three, roughly. Then you've got a pile with Ackley, Tate, Matzek, Miller, Gibson, Oliver.
Probie? Just use a NCIS reference? Beautiful. If the Yankees eat the majority of a Nady/Swish contract and send back a decent prospect to the Braves, could that get Hernandez or Schaffer? Clearly Heyward is not in the picture.
I doubt it, unless they've really soured on Schafer. Wouldn't hurt to ask - a paid-for Nady for Hernandez isn't insulting, it's just a better deal for the Yankees.
Keith, some more Dustin Ackley questions: How much power can you see him developing at the major league level? Is 25 HR/year at his prime a stretch or somewhat realistic? Given that he hasn't played much CF at all in college can you envision him being at least average defensively?
That seems like a stretch on the HR. I won't hazard a guess on his defense until I see him.
Ok - Keith, since you have such a sophisticated palate - I'm going to Vegas in April - give me 3 restaurants I MUST eat at.
Firefly. Craftsteak. Breakfast at Cafe Bouchon.
Just picked up a novel for the first time since college. "Atonement," what did you think of it? I'm almost done, but not blown away.
I thought the resolution ruined it.
We all know your thoughts on Jim Bowden (and you have good reason), but what about Stan Kasten? Do you think he should be given GM duties?
No. What's his baseball experience? He was a GM in the NBA, not MLB. Let him hire the new GM - there are plenty of good candidates available.
Hey Keith. Do you see this being the year that Ian Stewart finally wins a starting job (LF?) and puts up big numbers? Fowler and Gonzalez should start the year in AAA, me thinks.
I believe that he's going to hit. Defense in left may be a little shaky - they should have traded Atkins. Maybe they still could, to the loser of the Crede sweepstakes?
I think you are spot on regarding Atonement. Made me want to throw an otherwise well written book against the wall What is James Loney's upside?
What he did in a partial season in 2007 is a pretty good approximation of his upside. I think he'll hit for a high average with a good OBP, maybe closer to .400, but I don't think he's a 30-HR guy. Like the strength and bat speed but his swing plane is kind of flat.
HOW DARE YOU SAY THINGS I DON'T LIKE! After all, I am forced to be here! Anyway, if you were Manny Acta, how would you play those guys in the 1b/lf crew assuming health. And would you give Kearns a towel or powedered gatorade packets to be useful during games?
Keith, does Nick Johnson to the Giants make sense, I mean they need someone to play first right? If so what kind of value do you see them getting back Burris an option at all?
Jumping back to Charlie: Dukes, Milledge, Dunn in the OF, Willingham at first, Johnson on the bench or DL, Kearns told that home games are at RFK.
For Steve: Sandoval at first base.
Would a GM/Owner combo of Jim Bowden in DC and Drayton McLane in Houston produce the worst franchise in sports history?
That would be amazing. They'd draft a toolsy two-sport high school outfielder in every round, and then fail to sign them all.
Did you see Neyer and Caple's Page 2 movie article? Any chance we get a KLaw at the Library piece?
I haven't seen it, actually.
You seem to be very high on Justin Jackson of the Jays. Is his ceiling along the lines of 270/350/450 10hr power, with ++ defense? And finally could you expect to have a breakout season this year?
That's a ceiling, but he's going to have to show he can make more contact.
Any possibility that the Nationals mess up the Strasburg pick, or is there any likelihood that he performs poorly this spring and his stock drops?
Unless he gets hurt, he's going #1. He's already throwing extremely well in workouts/scrimmages.
How do you pronounce Jack Z's last name?
I believe it's Zoo-REN-chick. But I could be wrong too.
Would you agree that, over time, a book can cross the line from a work of popular fiction to literature? Vonnegut, for example was once relagated to the 'science fiction' section of the book store- now it is literature. Is there any current 'popular fiction' which might maybe make the Klaw 100 if it were to cross that line?
I have Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" on there. I will probably have "Jonathan Strange" on the next iteration. I think the line is pretty blurry.
Keith, what do feel is Clayton Kershaw's upside, and when will it come?
#1 starter, Cy Young contender, two to three years down the road. Guys with that kind of stuff can make big leaps in one year, though, and he did pitch much better in his last ten or eleven starts last year.
Did you know there is a facebook group out there "Keith Law is a ------ Bag"?
Are you kidding? There are TWO!
What happened to Sox 1st rounder jason place? Any chance of makin a major league roster? What's his future?
He's a borderline non-prospect - has tools, not translating into offensive performance, particularly in the relatively important area of "making contact."
Better GM: Bowden or the Hawk? I think the Hawk might be the worst GM ever.
Yes on the Hawk. Bowden's not second-worst, either - Randy Smith comes to mind. Cam Bonifay as well.
Keith, authors like Chandler, Hammett, Le Carre and some others are often relegated to mystery or some like named section of books yet are extremely well written.
And I have all three on the Klaw 100, I believe.
Keith: I nominate you for new GM for the Nationals. Seriously. Think how excited Angry Dan and his compadres would be!!
It would be fun - first GM ever to taunt portions of the fan base? Seriously, if Kasten called me, I'd give him a handful of other names he should talk to first.
OK, that's it for this week. Klawchats will be a little sporadic for the next few weeks, but I'll try to announce them at least a few hours ahead of time on the dish and on Twitter (I'm keithlaw there), and they do seem to show up in my new RSS feed here a day prior to the chat. Thanks!