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July 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Keith Law
  (1:03 PM)

I have an old blender that doesn't chop anything very well, only has two settings, and sometimes starts smoking if I use it for more than three seconds at a time. If I offer it to the Royals, will they give me two prospects and pick up most of its salary? I say "yes."

Duncan (St Louis)

KLaw, great chat as always. When do you see the Cards calling up Wallace?

Keith Law
  (1:04 PM)

Thanks, glad you've enjoyed all zero of my questions. They've been adamant that they don't intend to recall him this year. I wonder if he'll force their hand at some point, though. The bat would help.

Chris (NYC )

Jesus Montero just another Yankee prospect pumped up to get other teams excited?

Keith Law
  (1:07 PM)

The bat is legit and it'll play at first or at DH. I can not see him catching long-term. I wouldn't call him overhyped if you remember that caveat on his position.

bg (toronto)

Keith, if JP is gone after this year, then how can ownership allow him to make a deal for Halladay? How can they trust him (plus his trading record is spotty at best)

Keith Law
  (1:08 PM)

I raised this precise question on Twitter: If you're Rogers, and you've accepted that the next step is a rebuild, is Ricciardi the right GM for that task? Isn't that an appropriate time to consider a change? I'm not calling for his firing - just raising the question. Of course, the Jays probably need to hire a full-time President first.

Patrick (Boston)

Is it really newsworthy that the Nats have not contacted Strasburg? Or is Boras trying to back an already desperate organization into a corner?

Keith Law
  (1:09 PM)

It's not newsworthy. And, by the way, Boras always tries to prevent teams from talking directly to his clients. So the Nats may have talked to Boras many times but never to the kid.

Rick (Hartford)

Hey Keith -- I was surprised by how bottom heavy Pedro Alvarez looked in the futures game. Should the Pirates be worried about Alvarez's weight and what it means for his future (in know he's young, but if you start big you usually only get bigger).

Keith Law
  (1:10 PM)

Conditioning is always going to be an issue for him, and I don't give him much chance to stay at third. Those were reasons I had him ranked below Smoak, Posey, and Hosmer last year, and from what I saw on Sunday they still apply.

Doug (Cincinnati)

Is Drew Stubbs currently better than Willy Taveras?

Keith Law
  (1:11 PM)

Yes, and he was better in the offseason too, when the Reds decided to pour all that money down the out-making (but fast!) rathole.

Tom (Boston, MA)

Word is that Michael Taylor is getting promoted to AAA. Is it risky to promote someone you're trying to use as a trading chip?

Keith Law
  (1:12 PM)

More reward than risk for a player who's performing really well, as Taylor was. If he continues to perform at the higher level, his value increases. Speaking of Taylor, had two conversations with scouts about him and Drabek in the last week, and they independently said the same things - Taylor was a solid 50, and Drabek was a 2/3 rather than a potential 1. Both questioned Taylor's power potential.

Ryan D (Waco, TX)

Do you think a package starting with Taylor Teagarden, Neftali Feliz, Kasey Kiker/Blake Beavan, and Mitch Moreland could peak the Blue Jays' interest in Roy Halladay or would Smoak/Holland have to be included?

Keith Law
  (1:13 PM)

That package is way too light. If I'm Toronto, I'm looking for something smaller but more impactful.

John (Dallas)

Does Feliz have a chance for three solid pitches? I heard that the curve looks much better and that the change should play with his fastball.

Keith Law
  (1:14 PM)

The change is above average already, and the curve is definitely improving although I'd still call it below average.

Ryan (College Station)

Dayton Moore's not-so-surprising-in-hindsight admission aside, are there any other organizations out there that do not give much weight/attention to statistical analysis?

Keith Law
  (1:16 PM)

I would have said Seattle last year. I don't think anyone is close to the Royals in pure obstinacy against statistical analysis.

Dustin (Logan, UT)

How do I find KLAW on Twitter?

Keith Law
  (1:16 PM) I try to post announcements of all TV/radio hits there, plus any extra sarcasm I find lying around the house.

Brian (Lower Merion)

Klaw- If your Amaro, who are your top 5 most untouchable prospects? Would you agree with Drabek, Taylor, Brown, Knapp, and Happ?

Keith Law
  (1:17 PM)

No, no, maybe, no, and no.

Nick (Cleveland)

The Indians claim to use statistical analysis, yet we keep bringing up lefty starters with poor K rates.

Keith Law
  (1:18 PM)

If they had a lefty starter with a good K rate, they'd probably bring him up first. They haven't exactly drafted anyone like that in ages, regardless of arm, except for Snakebite Miller.

Joe (Minny)

Did Rene Tosoni get traded to the DBacks? Another site has him listed on their roster.

Keith Law
  (1:18 PM)

Another reader pointed that out, but two Dbacks people told me it's an error.

Chris (NYC)

Although he struggled at the plate, Phillips and Sutcliffe had a lot of good things to say abotu Danny Espinosa. What was your take on him and his development since college?

Keith Law
  (1:19 PM)

Good defender, well below-average bat. I didn't see either of those guys at BP.

Ken (Tremendoustown)

What was so bad about the Royals trade? The Royals have scouts who watched the guy play. I trust those guys a lot more than any stupid stat.

Keith Law
  (1:20 PM)

I enjoyed the counterargument about how you have to see a guy play every day to evaluate his defense. In that case, don't you need about 200 guys in your scouting department?

CC (Atlanta)

Heard you on 680am last week here in ATL... you mentioned Freeman isn't a stud prospect. Does he project at least as a solid ML regular? Everythind I've heard is that he's a cornerstone for the Braves future.

Keith Law
  (1:20 PM)

He's not Heyward, and he's not an untouchable guy IMO. He's more of a 55 (above-average regular) than a 60 or better.

steve (anaheim)

What's your take on Brandon Synder?

Keith Law
  (1:21 PM)

Really like his swing. Some question about his plate coverage in the lower half of the zone. I wish he could still handle third, but by all accounts that ship has sailed.

Tim (Cincinnati)

This is the last season Dusty Baker is with the REDS right??!! He is terrible.

Keith Law
  (1:22 PM)

If only someone had seen that coming...

Joe (NYC)

You a Albert Camus fan?

Keith Law
  (1:22 PM)

Only read The Stranger, which was pointless (which I guess is the point) and boring.

Dennis (Santa Clarita, CA)

Did you find decent food in St. Louis? I went to Shannon's by the park and it was terrible.

Keith Law
  (1:23 PM)

Nope. That might be the worst MLB downtown after Detroit.

Greg (Baltimore)

Hi, Keith. Love your chats. I have little understanding of economics, and am curious to understand better something you say often--that high salaries have little to do with ticket prices. Could you elaborate more? Thanks.

Keith Law
  (1:25 PM)

High salaries do NOT lead to high ticket prices. Ticket prices are a function of demand; an MLB team is a quasi-monopolist and will set ticket prices to maximize revenues. High revenues will, however, lead to high salaries, as players will demand the marginal revenue product of their labors. (Econ majors should chime in if I got part of that wrong - haven't taken an economics class in over ten years.)

BallparkFan (Colorado)

Keith, as I understand it, players can be optioned to the minors repeatedly in one season and it only counts as "one year of options" being used. What stops a team from continually optioning pitchers to the minors between starts and calling up another player, then recalling the pitcher when his next start comes around?

Keith Law
  (1:26 PM)

Once a player is demoted, he has to stay down for ten days unless he's recalled to replace a DL'd player.

Harold (New Orleans)

Unless something out of the blue happens- an injury or two to a starting pitcher- the Dodgers are going to make the playoffs. I think Billingsley, Kuroda, Wolf, and Kershaw is not a bad four. Would adding Washburn make them a solid bet to get to the World Series?

Keith Law
  (1:27 PM)

You've already said they're going to make the playoffs, and you're suggesting they acquire a fifth starter ... but teams don't use five starters in the playoffs. So I think that's your answer.

Frank (NYC)

Never been to Flushing Meadows, huh?

Keith Law
  (1:28 PM)

In addition to Manhattan, you've got a great mini-Chinatown one stop away on the 7.

Daniel (St. Louis)

KLaw thought about this when i saw you scouted Nick Tepesch at the cape this week. Mizzou seems to be getting a ton of top pitching prospects. Any reason for this? Are they particularly good with player development, coaching, or something like that?

Keith Law
  (1:29 PM)

They've done a great job recruiting and holding kids from their area - Tepesch wouldn't consider some pretty healthy offers out of HS because he was hellbent on going to Mizzou.

James (Kenosha)

Have the Brewer giving up on signing Kentrail Davis?

Keith Law
  (1:31 PM)

I think there's at least a 50% chance that they sign him - they're just off to a slow start. He's a Boras guy, though, and Boras guys who go top 50 or so rarely sign before the deadline. My question is whether they should really give him first-round money when he's not a first-round talent.

Mike (San Diego)

Why didn't you just eat at the Ballpark Village in St. Louis? Oh wait, that's right.

Keith Law
  (1:31 PM)


Todd (WI)

So doing the futures game telecast, Sutcliffe said that Alicdes Escobar was untouchable. Why on earth is a "leadoff" hitter who doesn't take pitches and swings at everything untouchable. i'm confused.

Keith Law
  (1:32 PM)

I think that question kind of answers itself.

Nora (St. Louis)

If poor K rate = bad, how do you explain what Joel Pineiro has been doing? Luck? Or is his low walk rate making up for low Ks?

Keith Law
  (1:34 PM)

A pitcher can do three things to help himself - miss bats, avoid walks, and keep the ball on the ground/in the park. Pineiro does two of the three (61% groundball rate).

Jason (NJ)

I am a little confused by the selection process of the Futures Game. For example, why would Wilmer Flores who is only 17 and in Low A be selected for the game? Is he the type of player who has some significant upside that his current numbers do not show?

Keith Law
  (1:35 PM)

Yes, he is. The process is flawed, but he was a valid choice.

David (PA)

Klaw, I assume you saw Joba pitch as a starter in the minors. Where did you have him sitting for velo back then? Obviously, no one can expect him to throw high 90s like he did out of the pen, but I was just curious if his starting velo has dropped significantly since you last saw him in the minors.

Keith Law
  (1:35 PM)

93-98 when I saw him, a few weeks before he was called up in '07.

Jesse (North America)

Does Renfroe sign? What about Younginer and Volz?

Keith Law
  (1:36 PM)

I'm going to go with yes, no, and yes on that one.

Clayton (Dallas )

Klaw, please talk me off the ledge about my concern about Michael Main and the mysterious illness.

Keith Law
  (1:36 PM)

They're saying it's not mono now ... I'd just give up on him for this season, hope they diagnose it properly and that he can be at full strength next year.

sportznut (Clinton Township, MI)

Hi Keith, what are the chances of the following draftees actually signing? Luke Bailey, Everett Williams, Tommy Joseph, and Brody Colvin. Thanks.

Keith Law
  (1:39 PM)

Bailey and Joseph are very likely to sign. Colvin seems least likely, although I wonder if Williams was just Tate insurance for the Padres, since Williams was talking about first-round money before the draft.

Chris (NYC )

After seeing president Obama pitch I say he's a 3-4 currently on the mets, is that fair?

Keith Law
  (1:41 PM)

The Nats offered him the #2 spot in their rotation on the spot.

Scott (Seattle)

When I saw a headline that Augie Garrido had been sentenced to 4 days in jail, I thought that maybe Austin Wood had pressed charges after the BC game.

Keith Law
  (1:41 PM)

Jeff Passan just emailed me the headline. Four days isn't much for an idiot who drove drunk, but it's a start.

mark (sf,ca)

I know this won't happen, but doesn't a madison bumgarner for andrew mccutchen trade make sense for both the Giants and Pirates? McCutchen seems like an ideal fit for AT

Keith Law
  (1:42 PM)

I think the Pirates would have to slip a small equalizer in there, not that either team would ever consider it.

Noonan (Philadelphia)

If the NL adopted the DH, do you think they'd start to close the gap with the AL?

Keith Law
  (1:43 PM)

Yes, I think that would help. Money's a big factor too, and I think the fierce competition in the AL, especially the East, has forced front offices there to become more progressive.

Todd (Tallahassee)

Did you watch the All Star game and if so what did you think of it?

Keith Law
  (1:43 PM)

I did not. I thought it was awesome.

Swayne (Delmar NY)

Keith: Great job recently on "Mike and Mike", by the way. Should Brian Cashman be willing to deal Joba or Hughes, and/or Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero in a deal for Roy Halladay? Isn't that excessive? Also: Have you read "The X President" -- terrific alternative fiction by Philip Baruth from a few years back? Great book!!

Keith Law
  (1:45 PM)

I don't think it's excessive. We're talking about arguably the best pitcher in baseball, under contract (cheaply) for the next two pennant runs. Never read it.

Dan (Tampa)

Tillman or Matusz?

Keith Law
  (1:45 PM)


Jonathan (FL)

Have you read Empire Falls by Richard Russo? If you have, thoughts?

Keith Law
  (1:47 PM)

Loved it. #30 on last year's version of the Klaw 100. And yes, I intend to update it this year.

Isaac (NY)

Without getting angry at me for asking, how do you explain Ibanez's production this year? Lesser competition? Still too small a sample size?

Keith Law
  (1:51 PM)

I think both those factors are in play - he's obliterated the Nats and the Pads, two pretty lousy clubs, hitting ten of his HR and posting a .529 OBP against them.

Luis (Guatemala)

Don't know if you address this before, but wanted to know you thoughts on Pedro signing?

Keith Law
  (1:52 PM)

I haven't addressed it online, actually. I think if he's able to change his approach to that of a finesse/command guy, he can be a solid 5th starter for them. His change and curve were still above average when I saw him in September, but his velocity was in the mid-80s. You can hang in the NL with that stuff if your approach is right, but he was still trying to be a power guy and of course, it didn't work. By the way, Luis, I saw your email and I owe you a response in the next day or two.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK)

What do you think about the Padres likely promotion of Latos to SD?

Keith Law
  (1:53 PM)

I'm not sure the reasoning, honestly. Good prospect, big arm, but he has so little experience and they don't need him in the majors now.

Andrew (New York City)

Would an offer of Dominic Brown, Kyle Drabek, Jason Donald and Lou Marson be sufficient for Roy Halladay (I am aware from your futures game article, you don't love Drabek and your past articles that you don't love Marson, but that is 2 top 25 prospects from BA's most recent rankings and 2 other at least fairly well regarded guys).

Keith Law
  (1:55 PM)

I would not take that offer if I was Toronto, nor would I expect Ricciardi to take it. Marson and Drabek are both overrated, and as much as I like Brown, he's probably two full years away and carries some risk.

Josh (Portsmouth, NH)

I still think Russo's best book by far is The Risk Pool.

Keith Law
  (1:56 PM)

Glad to hear that - it's on my to-be-read shelf now.

Pete (Philly)

why do you think Drabek is overrated? He hits 95 with his fastball and has a curve ball. Not saying you are wrong, just curious to your reasoning.

Keith Law
  (1:58 PM)

His fastball is very straight, he doesn't actually pitch at 95, his delivery isn't great, he's already broken down once, he's slight of build, and he's had a lot of off-field issues (mostly before he was drafted). All that makes him sound like a zero, which he's not - he's got an above-average fastball and the curve is a potential out pitch in the big leagues. He's got some dings that reduce his upside and/or increase his risk.

Terry (Los Angeles, CA)

The Plague is a superior Camus book and it has a point (allegory of creeping fascism). Ceiling with Brett Lawrie, assuming he can be a league-average defender at 2B?

Keith Law
  (1:59 PM)

All-star. But I'm not sold on him at 2b long term at all.

Frank (LA, CA)

Kershaw, Lambo and DeJesus Jr. for Halladay - thoughts?

Keith Law
  (2:00 PM)

That is one of the most reasonable suggestions anyone has made in this chat (including the ones I haven't posted). I'm not wild about Lambo or DeJesus, though. It's really about Kershaw - the Jays would be getting a guy with a very good chance to be a #1 for them by 2011.

Seth (SF)

Re Mike Taylor, does "solid 50" mean average major leaguer? His minor league numbers suggest otherwise - Please explain. Also, how does someone that big, with a slugging percentage that high, not have power potential?

Keith Law
  (2:01 PM)

You are correct on the "solid 50." His swing plane is flat and he doesn't utilize his lower half in his swing - he's hitting for power against minor league pitching because he is big and strong, but both scouts felt he'd hit for average in the majors with less power.

patrick (tx)

ever seen a prospect that you would say has a ceiling higher than "all-star"? i guess "hall of fame" would be the distinction. if so, name a player. thank you for your time.

Keith Law
  (2:02 PM)

Justin Upton. Strasburg too.

Matt (St. Louis)

Please answer, really appreciate it, Kieth if someone says to you the NL has won four out of the last nine World Series so the leagues are pretty close how do you respond?

Keith Law
  (2:03 PM)

By pointing out that in interleague play the AL kicks the crap out of the NL every year, so maybe we shouldn't get worked up over tiny samples in October where games are managed differently.

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Just surfed by Neyer's blog - Hughes, A-Jax, Coke and Montero are mentioned as players the Jays may be scouting. Enough for the Jays? Should the Yankees go for it, if it was?

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

I'm sure the Jays are scouting all the major prospects in each target organization, not just four specific guys. That's nowhere near enough for Halladay.

Kevin (San Diego)

The official rules of baseball state 9 players play at one time, yet in the AL 10 players are technically playing. AL is not baseball by the strictest interpretation of the rules.

Keith Law
  (2:06 PM)

You must be great at parties. I bet no one ever breaks out the board games when you're there, unless they've already put something in your drink.

Rob (Houston)

Keith,I know you're a Wodehouse fan. What'd be a good place to start with him? He was so prolific...I go to that part of the library and get overwhelmed.

Keith Law
  (2:06 PM)

I started with a small compilation - I think it's Life with Jeeves - that has two volumes of short stories plus one complete novel.

Doc (Pittsburgh)

Cain, Bumgarner, and Posey for Halladay and Rolen? (With Panda shifting across the diamond to 1st)

Keith Law
  (2:08 PM)

Wow. That would be one of the most fun trades I've ever seen. I know a few Giants fans who might march on that park with torches and Molotov cocktails ... I wouldn't do it if I was Sabean, but I don't think it's insane.

Marshall (St. Louis)

Should the Cardinals consider a package for Halladay if it started with trading Rasmus?

Keith Law
  (2:09 PM)

I don't think they get him any other way. The lack of impact pitching in their system will be a handicap (and stop talking about Jess Todd, he's a reliever, people).

Todd (Coralville, IA)

Are you as sick of the Halladay trade proposals in this chat as i am? They aren't going to trade him. They put his name out there to see if the Yankees threw the kitchen sink at them. If they were really trying to trade him they would allow teams to negotiate with him. your thoughts?

Keith Law
  (2:10 PM)

I agree that they're not likely to trade him, but this is the bulk of what people are asking right now.

casey (new york)

keith, you've rightfully criticized the tendency some people have to always compare black athletes to other black athletes (or the same with other races). yet at least twice in your chats someone has asked you something like "did you like invisible man" and you've answered with something like "it's good but beloved and the color purple are better." is that really an appropriate answer? all 3 novels can be characterized as african-american lit, and they all focus on blacks in america, but other than that there's very little they have in common. why only compare these books to other books by black authors? certainly all three can be compared to all sorts of novels written by all sorts of people.

Keith Law
  (2:11 PM)

All three novels have common themes related to the African-American experience in the United States - the legacy of slavery and segregation, ongoing racism, etc. It's not about the authors, but about the subject matter.

Lou (Boulder, CO)

Jumping on the Ryan Westmoreland bandwagon yet? Fun kid to watch so far....

Keith Law
  (2:12 PM)

When was I off it?

James (Chicago)

Just wanted to say I love how you (and some of your more lemming-like readers) prefer to use sarcasm to justify your opinions rather than answering questions; for example rather than telling us why Alexei Ramirez is a bad player you'll probably accuse me of Klaw Baiting.

Keith Law
  (2:14 PM)

I love how your struggles with reading are somehow my fault. Oh, by the way, Alexei doesn't get on base and is a poor defender. And check out what he's done this year against AL competition - he hit .329/.373/.657 against the Cupcake League.

Scott (Boston)

Alexei Ramirez is a bad player because he doesn't get on base enough. And you can't score runs if you're not on base.

Keith Law
  (2:15 PM)

It's not that hard, is it? He's not a BAD player, just overrated by a few CWS fans last year, which led to the running gag.

Steve (Milwaukee)

Keith, when are you going to read Oscar Woa? I'm waiting for your review at the dish. What else would the Brewer need to include to get Halladay besides Escobar and Gamel? Would it be worth it long-term, or would they be gutting their system too much?

Keith Law
  (2:17 PM)

Posted that maybe five weeks ago, right around the draft. They've indicated those two guys are untouchable, which I don't really get, unless Gamel proves he can handle 3b.

Sarge (Lee's Summit, MO)

Betancourt is a BAD player.

Keith Law
  (2:17 PM)

And yet it's not a universal opinion.

Doesnt Matter (Wont Answer It Anyway)

Is this a baseball chat or a literature chat?

Keith Law
  (2:18 PM)

It's Klawchat! And it's over. Bye.