Chatting from the secondary auxiliary press box ... also known as my living room.
Why leave Lee in to pitch the 9 with a 5 run lead if you want him to come back on 3 days rest for game 4?
My theory was that Manuel knows he's likely to use the pen hard in game 2 - even if Pedro pitches well - and figured he'd keep everyone fresh. I have no objection to that.
Care to explain to the masses that a 45-55 'dog winning Game One behind one of the top ten, if not top five pitchers in baseball doesn't constitute a shocking upset or the end of the world as New York knows it?
Well ... yeah. That does about sum it up. Although if I was a Yankee fan, I'd have had nightmares of the Phillies hanging a 6-spot on Burnett in one inning tonight.
How do you decide who to root for when 'your' team is out of the running?
When I had a team? I would usually root for teams that had never won a WS before, or that had gone the longest without winning one. Which, oddly enough, would be the Yankees right now.
Keith: If the Yanks lose the first two at home...it's pretty much over right?
Pretty sure we've had a team lose the first two at home and win the series before...
With each passing start, how atrocious does Cleveland's "haul" for Cliff Lee look?
When I heard Lee say post-game that he's never been nervous before a big-league start, all I could think of was Carlos "The Human Panic Attack" Carrasco.
KLaw, have you ever dealt with Jed Hoyer? Any thoughts on the future of the Padres with him at the helm?
Yes, saw him quite a bit at Fenway over the years. Great choice - bright guy, high-energy, thinks strategically, and comes from a model franchise worth emulating (that is, worth stealing every idea from). Waiting to see who he pilfers from their front office and scouting department. I also like knowing there's a GM out there who, like me, might get carded when buying beer.
Keith,Any idea why CC has become a FB/CH pitcher instead of FB/SL? Do you notice any different in it or is this just a better approach? Thanks!
No idea - I don't do the postgame clubhouse scene, but would have liked to ask him that question. Could he not grip the ball well enough to throw the SL last night? The pitch to Howard in the first was just horrible - Howard doesn't hit good (or even adequate) breaking balls from lefties. Why throw him a fastball right down the ...
What does "late life" on a fastball refer to?
Anything that makes a fastball not straight (or simply appear to move) when it's in the zone. I usually won't use it on a two-seamer with obvious tail, but would use it to describe a four-seamer that looks like it "pops" as it crosses the plate. Anything that makes a fastball move in an unexpected way is a good thing.
What conclusions--if any--do you draw from S. Strasburg's performance in the AFL thus far?
None. AFL performance is not meaningful.
It sems like alot of talent has left the AFL and it also seems like the talent level is not as high as previous years. What level of the minors compares the AFL ?
And the reason the stats there aren't meaningful is that the level of competition is really broad. You have top-flight guys (Strasburg, Scheppers, Cashner) and you have non-prospects. Even within one game, a hitter might see four pitchers all across the talent spectrum.
If performance in the AFL isn't meaningful, do you think that he shouldn't be there at all? Or is this providing experience?
It's valuable experience. I think just about any reps are good reps for a prospect, and within an AFL stint every player will face a few good pitchers/hitters. I just don't read anything into the overall stat lines.
Phils win game 1 and we are taking questions about the AFL... come on KLaw you are better than that!
There's not exactly much to talk about from game 1. Do you need me to tell you that Cliff Lee was awesome?
Any thoughts on Beetson getting the gig on a permanent basis? Didn't he "handle" the Paxton negotiations? Happy days are here again...
I keep flashing back to OJ looking for "the real killers." Beeston was looking for the permanent CEO and insisted it wasn't him. And yes, I was told by more than one source that Beeston handled the Paxton negotiations. On the plus side, you know Beeston and Anthopoulos have a great working relationship.
As a Yankee fan I am nervous about A.J. tonight but even if he gives up a six spot the Yankees can still win because well, they can do the same to Pedro. What would you do with Nick Swisher if you were Girardi? I say keep the faith.
What's the alternative? Hinske? That'll be 3 punchouts on Pedro changeups tonight. Gardner? Please. You have to leave Swisher in there.
Peter Pascarelli mentioned this on Baseball Today and I wanted to ask you this because I agree with him...why did Robertson throw Ibanez an offspeed pitch instead of sticking with the fastball that he was using to blow away Ibanez earlier in the at-bat? I think he should've stayed with the heat until Ibanez showed he could hit it.
I said the same on Twitter last night. Ibanez looked bad all night - don't speed his bat up there.
Is a package around Kelly & Westmoreland (with maybe a Fife or Navarro type player or two) good enough to send Adrian Gonzalez to Boston?
As much as I like Kelly and Westmoreland, that's two teenagers, one of whom has already had two major injuries and is hurt now (Westmoreland/broken collarbone). Seems pretty light to me.
Just like the media and ESPN...the Phillies win and all they talk about is what the Yankees did wrong and not what the Phillies did right.
Maryland grapes are not known for producing quality whines.
Girardi was an engineering major at Northwestern. Who do you think scored higher on their SATs - you or him?
I aced the managerial aptitude section.
Keith, J.A. Happ won Rookie of the Year. You had him rated as a serviceable 5th starter. Has your opinion changed on him since then? Thanks.
Rookie of the Year won't be announced for two weeks. He's a serviceable 5th starter.
Can someone tell all these sportswriters that the Phillies aren't about "grit" and "toughness" and "nevergiveupitude" and that, in reality, they're stacked with star players?
Don't blame them. They're still struggling to figure out who this Chuse Atley fellow is.
KLaw: What's your opinion on the Acta hiring? Any chance he'd be willing to start the year with Santana behind the dish? That certainly had no chance under Wedge.
He's a progressive guy - I expect you'll see plenty of prospects get opportunities Wedge wouldn't have given them.
So, the Rangers are now interviewing candidates for their hitting instructor vacancy. I am wondering if you comment on some conceptions I have about hitting instructors? 1) There is not a radical difference between what one hitting instructor stresses and another. 2) Communication is the greatest determining factor towards the success of a hitting instructor. Lastly, since the hitting instructor's job takes place mostly out of the public eye, how does one determine if Candidate A would be a good hitting instructor?
Point 1 is not true. There are differences. Point 2 is not necessarily true, as there are coaches who are primarily mechanical, and some who are more psychological in approach. Point 3 is absolutely true. I think it's very hard for fans to judge hitting coaches. It's extremely hard for me to judge those guys without getting insight from someone in a relevant front office.
Have you heard anything on ROY? Does coghs have a good chance? And do you think he can keep this up and be a pedroia lite, or will he just be a servicable baseball player.
I think he's a solid-average regular, but not a star. There's nothing to hear on RoY - voters are asked not to divulge their ballots until the winners are announced.
What do you think of the two-CDs Prince released earlier this year? (can't get "$" or "Chocolate Box" out of my head). Stolmy Pimental future 2-3 starter sound about right?
Bought it, listened to it maybe four times, dealt it on swaptree. "Chocolate Box" was the best song, but it was maybe a deep track on a classic Prince album. Mid-rotation on Stolmy with a chance for more if his velo picks up.
Any Arizona eats from your AFL trip?
I didn't go anywhere new, just the usual haunts - Phoenix Ranch Market, Cornish Pasty House, etc.
Ian Kennedy has had his ups and downs, but is doing well in the Arizona Fall League. Is his future looking better? What are the chances of his becoming a #2-3 starting pitcher?
Zero. He's a back-end guy, at best.
Burnett throws a hard fastball and has 4.22 BB/9 this season. Doesn't this play directly into Philly's hands tonight?
The walks do. His fastball has serious life, though, and he has other weapons. It's not a start-your-bats-early fastball, where you know that's what you're getting.
Can you give any examples of well-regarded hitting instructors? Just curious, since this is something us fans really would not have much insight into.
Charlie Lau was great in Max Dugan Returns.
Do the Cubs suddenly have three top-50 guys in Vitters, Cashner, and Castro?
The hitters are definitely there. Cashner may strictly be a reliever - that's what I'd project him to be right now - and I don't know if I've ever put a true reliever in my top 50.
What does it take to get Roy Halladay now? Bard, Pimental, plus Reddick or Kalish get it done? Who says no to that deal?
I'm thinking the Jays are feeling good about turning down the offers they got on Halladay. Lee's performance in the NL is making the package Cleveland got look worse than ever, so holding out may very well have been the right strategy, and I don't think they'll deal Halladay for second-tier guys.
What are your thoughts on the "snarky" basket catch, and the clever behind the back grab that Lee made? Certainly seemed like showboating, though I doubt he actually was.
Looked like just a really great play. Maybe it was instinctive, but it wasn't so slow in developing that he could have planned it out.
If AJ's stuff is so good, why is he so freaking erratic? I mean, the last time he went out, he gave up 4 runs in the 1st and then nothing the rest of the start.
It's mental. When the game started and the pressure was on, he was bad. Down 4-0, the pressure was off, and he was great. Suddenly up 6-4, he regressed. He's always had a reputation as a guy who pitches well when leverage is low.
Do you think Drabek works his way into the Phillies rotation next year? What can we expect from him?
You could see him mid-year in Philly. Long-term, I think he's a solid 2.
With Eric Hosmer being sidelined because he can't see, should I be more concerned about Hosmer not being able to see or the Royals scouting deparment's failure to realize that their number one draft pick couldn't see?
It's a Process, Matt. I talked to Eric in Arizona and he said after Lasik surgery he's seeing better than ever.
For my birthday, the wife picked up Metro, Carcassonne, San Juan, and Orient Express. Which do you recommend we play first?
That's a good wife. Metro is probably the easiest to play right out of the box. Orient Express is a sentimental favorite of mine - if you like logic puzzles, you'll get right into that one too.
Would Conger, Bourjos, Reckling be enough for MIL to trade Braun to LAA? Angels would then have 4 above average starting pitchers, full infield if you count Wood, and full outfield under contract/control for three more years. Pretty decent window of opportunity isn't it?
That isn't even close. Look at the rest of your question - you're talking about how good it is for the Angels, with no thought as to whether it's anything other than insane for Milwaukee.
I saw Dayan Viciedo was shut down due to elbow issues, but his subpar performance in Birmingham has to make the $10mm investment seem suspect now. Do you think instances like these will make MLB teams wary in Cuban investments?
If teams haven't become wary of Cuban free agents by now, they never will.
Shouldn't Cliff Lee and Rollins' catches both have been infield fly rules? Runner on first, less than 2 outs right?
Runners on first and second. Runner on first alone does not trigger the rule.
Klaw like Crow or Scheppers? Bizzaro Klaw need answer or Bizzaro Klaw go read T.V. Guide and watch soaps.
Everything I've read from the AFL has raved about Tanner Scheppers so far. Do you see anything with his delivery that concerns you, and are there any other pitchers you'd slot him behind in that system other than Feliz and Perez?
Arm works fine. Just concerned about the known injury to his shoulder, but if he's throwing great and not reporting pain or soreness, then there isn't much point in worrying about him since he's already under control.
If Vitters can't stay at first, what postition would they move him to?
He's at third. He may move to first. I'd even say it's likely. But there's no reason he can't play first.
Do you think Manny Banuelos will end up in your top 100 prospects next year?
Hey Keith, I was just curious what you thought of the "spike" curve Lee was throwing last night. The "announcers" kept commenting on it and it looked to be pretty sharp. Any comments on the pitch and it more pitchers are using that. Thanks!
A spike CB is a knuckle-curve. Very few guys throw it because it's so hard to command.
KLAW, what would you do with the Votto-Alonso situation? Alonso should be ready mid season so do you move Votto to left field or trade one for other needs?
Mid-season 2010 is aggressive for Alonso. You probably have till '11 to sort it out. One guy could be trade bait for pitching. Actually, I wouldn't be shocked to see Alonso dealt for pitching this winter.
Are there any impact free agent bats on the market outside Holiday and Bay? I know the Giants are going to be too cheap to sign either one and they need offense so are there any other free agent bats outside those two that can make a real impact on a lineup?
Abreu is an impact bat of a different sort - a .390 OBP (in the AL) is a major improvement (he might see more pitches in a typical game than the entire SF lineup), but it's not the power bat you probably meant.
KLAW, is Jermaine Dye toast or what? Will that prevent Brian Sabean from signing him?
If he's not toast he's broiled bread.
Keith, the Braves shut down Jason Heyward in the AFL. Is there any concern on his injuries this year? I think he missed time ealier this year with a sore hip and the latest injury seems to be a quad or hamstring. Why not just shut him down for the year? I heard Wren said something about winter ball for Heyward. Is that a wise decision after all the injuries this year?
I'd just give him the winter off. All his injuries were minor, but let him rest up for the winter.
How about a hot stove question. Delmon Young for Derek Lowe. Braves pay a large portion of Lowe's remaining salary. Any thoughts?
Lowe has slipped this year, but Delmon Young is kind of awful.
What is the ceiling for Homer Bailey? On one hand, he showed real promise at the end of this season. On the other hand, Dusty will probably hang him out there for 160 pitches at some point next year leading to tommy john surgery.
He showed promise by shutting down the mostly-AAA lineup the Pirates had out there by year-end three times, and the Cards after they clinched. It doesn't tell me much.
Is this the platform that Utley needs to be recognized as a top 5 player?
With that haircut, he's going to be recognized one way or another.
If and when the Braves re-sign Tim Hudson, which of the other Braves' pitchers do you think is most likely to be traded? Lowe, Kawakami, or someone else?
Lowe most likely. He's the guy I'd most want to trade, because the arrows are all pointing down, except the arrow indicating his salary.
Ever take the LSAT?
Yes, although I never applied to any law schools. I actually enjoyed the section with logic puzzles.
How has Posey looked, seeing as the stats aren't meaningful in the AFL?
The week I was there he looked exhausted.
Who would you pick, and why? Martin Perez, Casey Kelly or Teheran?
Right now? Perez.
KLaw...I'm a little behind the ball here, but I'm wondering what your opinion on the Bochy/Sabean resignings are?
Sabean's done enough the last few years to restock the system that I didn't object to it the way that a lot of Giant fans (well, the ones who read my stuff) did. Bochy, on the other hand, should have been canned.
What's your opinion, on Andrew Bailey? One year wonder or legit closer?
I don't see him exceeding what he did this year, but he could hold this level for a few years (or, if he's a typical reliever, do it again, then miss half a year, then have a down year, then suddenly do it again and hit free agency).
Davis/Smoak/Alonso. What order would you rate them?
Ike Davis? Then Smoak, Alonso, Davis.
So, Bobby V loses out to Acta for the Cleveland job. Do you see him getting another big league managerial job?
Is there a consensus best prospect pitcher behind Stras or best hitting prospect behind Heyward? I'm seeing Posey and Bumgarner most of the time. Whom do you slot there?
Posey yes. Not sure there is a clear #2 pitching prospect right now, given Bumgarner's strange velocity loss at year-end. Half a dozen guys come to mind but I could make a case for any of them.
2009 draft question - at the time of the draft, rumors were that the Red Sox coveted Stassi, but chose Fuentes instead apparently due to money. Is that a case of Stassi demanding more money, but settling for less? Or was 370k or so that big a difference when you compare the two players? And, at this point, are you able to determine who's the better prospect, or do we need to wait until next year? Thanks
It wasn't money. I like Stassi over Fuentes, but the Red Sox liked Fuentes over Stassi.
If you were commish what would you do (if anything) to improve competitive balance? Also how do we improve umpiring? Go younger? Stricter oversight?
I think MLB needs a salary cap, like the NFL. After all, the NFL has parity! You don't have awful teams that are winless halfway through the season, or that fail to show up most Sundays, or that are national laughingstocks even beyond their sports. Baseball needs to be more like that!
Can Heisey start in the Reds OF in 2010? What's the ETA for Mike Leake? Thanks!
I'd expect both guys to debut by the All-Star Break. The whole point of Leake is that he could get there really fast.
If a Cuban player defects to the US instead of establishing residency in a different country, is that player subject to the draft?
Do the Padres have any impact prospects outside of Tate?
Do you see baseball adopting an international draft anytime soon?
No. I think the logistical hurdles are enormous.
Have you scouted Kila Kai'huie (sp?)? The on-base skills are obviously there, but there's question about his power, "slider bat speed", translating to the bigs.
I said this time last year that I thought he was better than Mike Jacobs, which is the standard that matters right now for KC. He's not a star, he might not even be a 50, but he could outhit Jacobs for $400K.
Yunel Escobar is a good example of a Cuban coming stateside and then being drafted.
Ariel Prieto was another one. And the Red Sox took a Cuban guy, not in the first round, and I'm drawing a blank on his name.
Keith, Where did you pick up the Wolaver's Brown Ale you mentioned on twitter?
At a liquor store in Lexington, right on the Arlington line. (Arlington used to be a dry town, so right over the border in every direction, there are liquor stores.)
Okay, now can you really answer the question about competitive balance? You don't think there's any less parity in baseball than the other major sports? Every sport has it's premier franchises, but doesn't it bother you that in baseball, the top franchises seem to coincide more with cash flow than in other sports? The richest franchises in the NFL are the Cowboys and Redskins. How are they doing this season?
The top franchises in baseball are the ones that develop their own talent. The Twins, Rays, and Rockies all made the playoffs the last two years on small payrolls. Heck, the Phillies weren't always a big-spending team - they spent more when they developed a core that looked like it could win if the team spent money to fill out the roster.
So all these HRs I'm hitting in the AZL are no big deal? How worried are you about my K rate? Can I be a productive big league starter?
Your inability to make contact is the main reason I am not excited about a ten-game sample of power production.
You could just go Pedro-Hamels-Lee-Blanton-Pedro-whoever. I think you tell Lee to prepare for a possible short-rest start, but you don't have to use him. If they're up 3-0, they don't have to start Lee in G4.
Hey, Ryan.. if you count 2000, this last 10 year span will have had 2 repeat winners, the Sox, and whomever wins this year. Football had the Steelers, and the Pats, who won 3. Basketball had the Lakers and Spurs. Hockey has the Devils and the Wings. 2 for each of the sports. Lack of parity in baseball is an illusion used to excuse poor management.
Phils are the first repeat pennant winner in the NL since '96, right? Yes, there are MLB teams that consistently suck, but it's largely incompetent management, and you can't spend your way past poor scouting and development.
Keith, I'm from Mass. and my wife is from Toronto, Ont. We want to get out of NYC because of the cost of living, but I can't get her to bite on a move to metro Boston. You've lived both places, can you please give me a hand? Thanks!
I never lived full-time in Toronto. I will tell you that all three places are ridiculously cold and one of these years I'll get myself to Arizona for good. You never have to shovel sunshine.
What is your twitter account name?
Oddly enough, it's keithlaw.
Say Theo doesnt like the years Bay and Holliday will ask for. Who is in LF next year? Do you trust Youk at 3B if we get a 1B? I dont.
I don't see a LF on the market who would fit the bill for Boston. I'd expect them to try to fill the spot through a trade.
Lombardi's the best pizza you've had in NYC? What does Jaff Decker have to do in the Cal League this year to quiet his critics?
Grow about six inches.
When will Todd Frazier be the SS for the starting Reds?
Season 40 of Sesame St. begins on 11/10/2009. Is there a good comp for Desmond Jennings and how/when/where do you see him fitting into the Tampa outfield. Thanks Klaw.
He's going to hit for average, get on base, add value on the bases, and play good to great defense. Whether or not he has more than average power is, to me, the main question mark. He could play in the majors on OD 2010.
starlin castro has some serious buzz (thanks to you).... whats his eta?
I'd say early 2011, but if he debuted next year I wouldn't be shocked. He's too young to guarantee a 2010 debut, but guys like him tend to move faster than their ages would indicate.
The balance thing goes beyond just championship winners - it includes teams that consistently make the playoffs (or don't) in each of the major sports. Those who are complaining should get off their butts and actually look up some of this info. There are plenty of pieces on the breakdown of "playoff parity" among the major sports. Baseball does pretty well for itself.
Exactly. But it's easy to write 1200 words on deadline about MLB's balance "problem" when the Yankees are in the World Series.
First off, are you ever going to write a book?Second, Rickie Weeks got off to a great start in 2009 before injuring his wrist and going on the DL. If healthy all of 2010, how good do you think Weeks will be? Where would he rank among NL 2B?
I did write one manuscript, showed it to a few people in and out of hte industry, but decided it was better to start from scratch than rewrite. I'm a bad rewriter regardless of the subject. I've been a Weeks believer beyond any rational point for years, so why stop now? He'll be a borderline All-Star offensively. He was actually going to have a huge second half this year if he'd been healthy. You can't prove otherwise!
This was game one. PRedictions for the series should not change, correct?
No. Odds should have changed, though. Phillies are (obviously) more likely to win the Series now than they were at this time yesterday.
Why do reporters around the Mets keep mentioning that they need to sign B Molina to be their starting catcher to a 2 year deal? Also they mention the need to sign Hudson and trade Castillo who was the least of their problems last year. What does the Mets game plan need to be?
I don't know who those reporters are, but I guess they haven't seen Molina play this year. He's terrible. I won't rank him on my top 50 free agents at all.
You coming to Philly for the series? I have restaurant recommendations if you are.
No, I'll watch from the secondary auxiliary press box.
That's all for this week. Next Klawchat will be November 12th - no chat next week. Thanks!