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December 17, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:01 PM)

To anyone who was questioning my ranking of WALL-E as the best Pixar movie, I have only one word for you: Directive.

Nelson (Atlanta)

How do you imagine the Braves are feeling now that they have zero first round draft picks, when they could have potentially had three?

Klaw
  (1:01 PM)

Like maybe they should have waited a bit before jumping on Billy Wagner.

Steve (Whitestone, NY)

Keith, pretty please with a cherry on top will you do me a favor and tell the sports writers of New York that Benjie Molina is NOT a good player. I'm sick of hearing how a 35 year old catcher/albatross who is one of the WORST everyday players in the game is needed by the Mets because "he handles pitchers well" and is a "run producer" based on his 80 rbi's last year

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

Done. Benjie Molina is terrible. I'd barely want him as a backup. "He handles pitchers well" is code for "he can't hit or throw and barely gets to first without a walker."

Ryan (Baltimore)

why did my O's sign Mike Gonzalez and surrender a 2nd rounder when they could have signed Fernando Rodney w/o giving up anything

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

I can't object to that signing. I'd rather have Gonzalez than Rodney + a 2nd rounder.

Jake H (Kansas CIty)

Keith, if you were a scouting director for a large market team would you want a budget of 10 million for the draft each year?

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Yes - really, I'd want a flexible budget. Give me some theoretical maximum, and let me pick the players whom I think are the best values. One year that might be a $6 million basket, and one year it might be $10 million. One year it might mean grabbing Porcello in the first round for $7 million and not going over $1 million for anyone else, and one year it might be a lot of guys fairly close to slot. If you fix a budget figure every year, there's always going to be an incentive to spend it all, and some years that won't actually present good value.

Tom (Watertown, MA)

Even with as much as Ellsbury brings to the table, in no way should he be a hangup to a potential Adrian Gonzalez trade, right?

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Agreed. Nice player, production has not matched reputation yet.

Jason (St Louis)

Is it still collusion if all the GMs at the same time finally got smart up and quit over paying middle relievers (Ed Wade excluded), over the hill veterans and guys who can't get on base (Drayton Mclane excluded0?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

Considering how widespread information on the value of those players has become, I think a collusion cry would be absurd.

Jeff (Ann Arbor)

Keith, in your opinion what has been the worst FA signing of this offseason so far?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

Brandon Lyon.

Dave (Palmyra, PA)

If you're Ruben Amaro, do you hold onto Lee and make a one year run with him, assuming he'll leave as a free agent, or take the three prospects you got from the Mariners?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Hold on to him. If budget is a problem, spend the next two months shopping Blanton. Once Pineiro's off the market and the Braves deal a starter, there will be teams looking for someone like Blanton who might prefer giving up a minor prospect for him than signing Jon Garland.

KO (Pittsfield, MA)

Thoughts on Peter Gammons move to MLB Network and any interesting things you may have dealt with him on in the past?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

He's always been a pleasure to deal with, when I was with Toronto and since I came here, and I wish him all the best. And I think you all know if that wasn't true I'd say nothing and pretend the question wasn't in the queue.

mymrbig (New Orleans)

Props to your buddy Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider, who had the 3 seattle prospects in the Lee/Halladay trade what, like 12 hours before anyone else?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

He was the first person to tell me, I know that. He's more than just my draft-blog caddy, that's for sure.

Tony (New Haven)

Keith - what does the acquisition of D'arnaud (and signings of catchers Buck/Castro/Chavez) do to the development and gameplan for J.P. Arencibia?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

There's enough of a time gap between them that I don't think it affects Arencibia directly. I do think d'Arnaud will take that job in about three years, but I've always liked d'Arnaud and never been very high on Arencibia.

Matt (IN)

Brandon Lyon worse than Jason Kendall? At least Lyon will be somewhat effective

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

For another year and $9 million extra, on a team that has bigger problems than middle freaking relief.

Shawn (Madison)

Between Escobar, Weeks, or Gomez (yeah right) do the Brewers have anybody that can get on base enough to hit at the top of their lineup ahead of Prince & Braun?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Weeks has always worked the count well when healthy. Escobar is impatient and Gomez would swing at strike zero.

Mark (Madison, WI)

Keith, do you find it as amusing as I do when Derek Lowe says he never would have considered signing with the Braves if he knew they'd try to trade him after the first year .... when it's reasonable to assume that if the Braves knew Derek Lowe would post a 4.67 ERA in his first year they wouldn't have considered giving him $60 Million. Because I find that pretty amusing.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I do too. Derek: Shut up. If this mattered that much you should have taken less money and gotten a blanket no-trade clause.

Jake (Torrington, CT)

The early reports say Mike Cameron is going to play LF for the Red Sox next season. Don't most advanced defensive metrics suggest he would be better suited in center and Ellsbury in left?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Yes, they do, and I am pretty sure the Sox are aware of that too.

spencer (los angeles)

Keith, I'm a White Sox fan, and I just want to ask a rhetorical question: Why Juan Pierre? Why, why, why? Perhaps an upgrade over Podsednik, but that is like upgrading from a 1992 Toyota Tercel to a 1994 model...

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

I got no answer for you. He's a fourth outfielder and not even a great one. Do. Not. Want.

deadguy (RTP)

Why the sudden change of heart on trading Drabek when he was untouchable in July? Was it the Jays' willingness to take Taylor instead of Brown? A continuation of the New Moon-style crush on all Seattle-linked players that made Aumont seem like a viable replacement? Or does Reuben Amaro Jr. have to make one big move a week or else the front office will explode?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

I'm assuming the Jays' willingness to do a deal without Brown helped. I never saw Drabek as an untouchable guy - a pitching prospect who doesn't project as a #1 and has had one major arm injury doesn't usually fit the "untouchable" mold. That said, I like him better than Aumont, so if the Phils see what they got from Seattle as equivalent to what they gave to Toronto, I disagree.

Steve (Boston, MA)

Ellsbury followup. There are several media members who think you can't give up a young player like Ellsbury to get Gonzalez. Do you think they realize Gonzalez is only a year older??

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

I am guessing they don't. Gonzalez has to be one of the most valuable players in baseball for the next two years given his salaries.

Joshua (annapolis, md)

So what kind of player is Gillies likely to become, can Aumont start, and was JC Ramirez's bad year just because of his home park?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Fourth outfielder unless he becomes a stud defender. No. I'm not sure but I'd give him 25 starts in AA to figure it out.

Jeff (NYC)

WALL-E over Toy Story? Jon Daniels is planning to work Neftali Feliz as a starter going into camp. Do you think his stuff/body projects well enough to go 7 innings and pitch at close to the same level of dominance?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Yes, and yes. Holds his velo and it's pretty easy.

VN (NYC)

I admit I dont pay for Insider, but the headline of your post on Halladay trade was Phillies were the loser. Following you every week - just dont understand that... 4 years at $70MM out of pocket for Halladay, even if the net til of prospects are dilutive? I'm saying this as someone who agreed with you that Schmidt deal few years back at 3/$47 was a good deal - why is this judged differently?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

I didn't say that - that's just the headline, which I didn't write. (Copy editors write headlines.) However, they only traded for one year of Halladay, not four.

mj (edmonton)

how much money do you think Halladay left on the table with his extension, compared to what he would have been offered as a free agent next offseason (assuming of course typical performance and no injury)?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

It sounds to me like Halladay was leaving money on the table no matter what to put himself in a position to win and in a place that worked for his family. Clearwater is as close to his home as any place he's going to train. I respect any player who takes less money to get into a better situation for his family.

Ryan (Pittsburgh, PA)

What were your thoughts on Up? I liked that almost as much as WALL-E. I cried like a baby when he opened up the scrapbook.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Same part that got me. Liked it - never disliked a Pixar movie - but didn't have the same wow factor as most Pixar flicks, especially not in

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

SQUIRREL!

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

the humor department.

Jeff (Boston)

To be fair, Ellsbury may be only a year younger, but is three years younger in terms of service time, which is what really matters.

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

They both matter, though. Age matters for projecting future performance. It's not like Ellsbury is 19 and going to massively improve his offensive performance.

Rob (Philly)

I'm not saying Amaro did great in this trade, but when you factor in what he actually gave up ultimately from last trade deadline for Lee and now what he got back, doesn't both trades combined make him look pretty smart?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

I think he did spectacularly well in July, and not so well now. I'd rather look at the moves individually, or look at the entire body of work.

Steve ((Baltimore, MD))

Keith, Would you give up San Diego's own Adam Jones, along with someone like Arrieta and another prospect, in a deal for AGon? The O's would still have Pie to play center, and get to hold onto Matusz and Tillman.

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

There is no reason whatsoever for the Orioles to trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

Jake (VA Beach)

Up was quality...but I think a little to complex and a broad range of emotions for kids to connect with outside the dogs and Kevin

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

My problem with Up as a kids movie is that the villain was too real - a shotgun-toting human who goes after a child?

Randy (Camden County)

There's recent talk that Westmoreland is a real high upside guy. Do you share in this optimism for Westmoreland's ultimate upside?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Yes. Four- to five-tool player, assuming the arm comes all the way back. But he spent a week in the field this year between injuries and hasn't gotten out of short-season ball. The trade value of that type of player, no matter how skilled, is not that high.

Frank (LA, CA)

Have you ever scouted Jake Locker? It seems like he has committed to football, but I wonder what kind of tools he had.

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

No - he's only played baseball once since high school, in a minor summer league in '08.

Kruse (Iraq)

Do you see the Brewers making anymore additions to starting pitching before the start of the season? Wolf was a nice start. I have heard Mulder rumors? Would that push Suppan out of the starting rotation? Please say yes because I cannot take another year of seeing his stuff, even as an end of the rotation guy.

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

I have no problem with them taking a flyer on Mulder, but I'd have no expectations of him, either. Guy hasn't been healthy and effective in a long time. They do still need one more starter if they want to compete in that division, though. I like Parra's arm but banking on him to become a #3 would be foolish.

Sean (NJ)

Can your response to every Phily fan questioning why you think the Phillies lost on the trade be "Imagine rolling out a front three of Halladay-Lee-Hammels and now having the ability to do to your WS opponent what teh Yankees did to you last year"

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

I do like that.

Chip (Cleveland)

How does the Phillies return for Cliff Lee compare to the Indians return? What causes a guy that talented to get traded for apparently less than he is worth?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

I'm not sure what else was on the table in July, but Cleveland seemed to favor immediate salary relief over anything else, and then settled for quantity over quality. I like what the Phillies got for Lee this week more than I like what they gave up - three somewhat fallen prospects plus a 19-year-old flamethrower with a bad delivery and, as it turned out, a bum shoulder.

James (San Diego)

Do you think Brett Wallace makes the Bluejays team out of spring training? What type of numbers does he put up in 2010 and what about in his prime? Thanks

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

I believe Anthopoulos said Wallace will start in AAA. I see .400+ OBPs with above-average power. Even if he has to DH (worst case scenario) his bat will play.

Paul (Pittsburgh)

So Dom Brown is the player the Phillies liked most in their organization, agree?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

He is their best prospect, the one they didn't want to give up, and the one Toronto wanted most.

Jeff (NYC)

Is Jack Z cementing his reputation as one of the better GMs in baseball? He seems to pull off heist after heist (e.g. Aardsma, FraGU). Is Felix and Lee enough to get them into the playoffs?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Right now, on paper, they're the best team in that division. I don't expect the Angels to stand pat, though. They need another starter, at least. There has to be a fit with Atlanta somewhere.

AB (CT)

Assuming you could get any of these guys for 4 mil guaranteed on 1 year (plus incentives), who would you pick out of the group of Pedro, Bedard and Wang?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

I'd take Pedro. He's the only one healthy and able to start the season on time.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

The order of those guys would depend on the money and the possibility of getting some kind of option (even vesting) for 2011.

Greg (Los Angeles)

What do you think of the Orioles moves? Also are they seriously considering Holliday?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

Just wrote up those moves on my blog. No, they're not.

Jack (Toronto)

The Jays signed Dustin McGowan to a 1 year, $500K deal. Is this basically code for "we think his career is done but if we get anything out of him its gravy"?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

No, code for that would be "re-signed him to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training."

Ryan (Southern Wisconson)

Hey KLaw, I was wondering how you would approach this situation if you were in my shoes. I'm a relatively new teacher to the area and I know a little about baseball - enough so that I asked about coaching the team. They already have a coach and I'm fine with that. My problem is this: the area here is very big into baseball, so they have camps for all ages starting very early on. In this process, the high school coaches get involved early on as well, and begin teaching certain skills to players. I am concerned because these coaches seem to start pushing breaking pitches (mainly the curve) on the pitchers very early on, which then leads to the pitchers relying too much on this pitch, which causes arm damage. I tried talking to the coaches about this and mentioned that they might want to hold off on teaching those high-strain pitches to such young kids, and they just told me basically to get lost - saying I wasn't the coach so don't try to be the coach. Is there any resources you'd use to get through to these guys so they don't ruin the best years of some players's lives because they play in too much pain?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

Talk to the parents. There are published studies on the subject - pretty sure Dr. James Andrews coauthored one - and ultimately it is the parents' responsibility to monitor what their sons are doing.

Fulmzy (Hawaii)

Do you see the Giants landing a hitter in the off-season? It seems like a textbook need of theirs. It would be nice to have someone who can actually hit the ball out of the yard, for old times' sake. Seems like the Marlins are icing them down on Uggla. I would love to see the Giants land - Guess Who??!! - Jason Bay! What do you think? Oy vey and happy holidays!

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

They do need a hitter, likely two, to compete in that division. Bay's not a bad fit but his defense is a drawback in a big park.

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Plus Rowand and Bay in the same outfield? Ouch.

Sriram (Arlington, VA)

Wall-E is the most ambitious, The Incredibles is the funniest, Up is the most touching ... and Toy Story is the ABA Julius Erving of Pixar ... may not be the best, but you can't duplicate the shock and awe of seeing the technology for the first time

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

Monsters, Inc. was the funniest. The Incredibles brought the humor together with a more serious plot. That opening sequence of WALL-E - 45 minutes without dialogue? - has to be one of the half-dozen most amazing movie sequences ever.

mike (baltimore)

hey keith, you mentioned the loss of a second round pick being big for the orioles in signing gonzalez. i agree, but wont they theoretically get a pick like that back if he walks in two years? also, they could always flip him like they did sherrill for josh bell...who has much more value than a 2nd round pick, right?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

The value of a pick today is much higher than an equivalent pick two years from now, and the pick today is guaranteed while the pick two years from now could be higher, lower, or nonexistent. I doubt you're going to see many relievers offered arbitration after Soriano accepted this month.

mymrbig (New Orleans)

Saw that New Orleans was on your list of favorite US cities from a few chats ago. What were your favorite eats here? If you haven't made it to Jacque Imos, give it a whirl next time you are down here. In other news, ever made your own limoncello? Tips/thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

I hit mostly touristy places - Acme, Remoulade, Pascal's Manale, CDM. Always up for suggestions, as Louisiana has a few decent HS kids this year.

ray (burlington, nj)

Keith-thannks for the chat. Where will Domonic Brown rank in your top 100 rankings?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

High. Top 25, could be high within that.

Bill (Toronto)

Between Marcum, Drabek, Jenkins, Romero, Cecil, Rzepczynski and Stewart the Jays seem to have a lot of #2 through 4 starters but no ace. Throw in Listch, McGowan and Mills, is there enough there to form a playoff caliber rotatation or will they need to deal some depth for a frontline starter at some point?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

They'll need a frontline starter at some point. Maybe I'm wrong and Drabek becomes that guy. They could draft someone this year and have him become that guy. Or maybe they can convert that pitching depth into an ace when the time is right.

Jason (St Louis)

Do the Cardinals have anyone in your top 100 for next year?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

Shelby Miller will be on there. Daryl Jones will be on it again.

Randy (Camden County)

Yes! I was worried you'd take today off. Do you think that Taylor could handle RF well? If he can't, I'm cool with the Jays' return for Halladay. If he can, well, then, I'm not sure I see why you'd overload on the wrong end of the defensive spectrum when you didn't have to. A follow up if you'd allow it: is talk of Taylor as a 5-tooler accurate or simply more evidence of the over use of the term? Thank you, Klaw. Happy holidays.

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

I think that's a misuse of the term. He can play RF, but I'd prefer the more certain bat of Wallace. I talked to a few front office guys over the last few days and it was really split between these two, so I think it's fair to say it was an even deal.

Jim (Boston)

If you're Ozzie, between Rios, A.Jones, Quentin, Pierre, and Vladdy (assuming), who in God's name do you start, and where? Also, while you're playing Ozzie and discussing terrible players, please keep the profanity to a minimum.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

He might be my favorite manager going now. I used to think he was a bad guy, but he's not - he just has no filter and if you listen he's actually smart and very funny. Rios in CF, Quentin and Jones in corners, Vlad at DH, Pierre as PR. That ... is not inspiring.

Enrique (Chicago)

How about a Cubs question? Does Stalin Castro crack your top 100, if so where does he fit, Top 50, Top 25? How about same question for Vitters and Cashner.

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Castro's going to be pretty high as well. I buy it. Vitters on there but a little lower than last year. Cashner probably but low - love the arm, probably still a reliever, and I've consistently kept relievers in the back reaches of the list.

Jim (Philly)

How far off is Domonic Brown from Heyward?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Pretty big difference. Brown's a better athlete but Heyward is substantially more polished in all facets of the game.

Arin (D-town, Ca)

When can we expect your top 100?

Don (Georgia)

Which route do you take? Send D Lowe on his way for a medium grade prospect and extend Vazquez, or do you trade Javy and hope to get a higher level hitter...I think we are just 2 above average hitters at 1b and lf from being in a dogfight with the Phillies

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Late January again.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Trade Lowe - big contract and indicators pointing down.

Onan (Atlanta, GA)

I am freaking out. The hated Phils have just added a brilliant pitcher and and OB guy in Polanco...and it looks like they will add a solid RP. While Omar has signed 37 old C/1B types... fix us Klaw... please. It's Christmas!

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

The Phillies have a pretty healthy lead on everyone else in that division right now. I'm not sure the Mets can do as much externally as they can internally by getting full, healthy seasons from Reyes and Beltran. That's not sufficient, but it's necessary.

ODen (Motown)

Keith--Seeing the less than overwhelming return Halladay and Lee brought, shouldn't Detroit offer Verlander a 6 year 100 million extension right now, and if he doesn't accept, listen to trade offers? If he isn't going to resign, and they kind of are throwing in the towel on '10, shouldn't they maximize their return on him by dealing him NOW? They've already potentially lost three trade partners in Seattle, Philly and Boston.

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Well, to follow your train of thought, if those three trade partners are out, who's left who could make an offer they can't refuse? I also don't think they think they're throwing in the towel on '10.

Chip (Cleveland)

Why have you soured on Carlos Carrasco. 22 years old and has definitely done enough at AAA.

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

I was never that high on him - I don't think the stuff is as good as advertised, and I think his on-field intangibles, specifically issues like poise, feel, command, are all big question marks. And I know the Phillies felt the same way.

Dermot (nYC)

I could do without the political overtones in WALL-E. Any juice to the Nick Johnson to the Yankees rumor? OBP is a nice fit but are they willing to not have the power?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

OBP is life. I don't think it's a bad idea. Get him on the cheap for a year - might even take a slight discount so he can go to a good ballpark where he'll have lots of men on base for him - and let him get a bigger deal next winter if he plays 130-140 games. The political overtones of WALL-E didn't bother me - I didn't find it remotely preachy and I thought they chose a mundane environmental issue (garbage). It was really just a plot device anyway. They had to have some excuse for an Earth devoid of people.

Steve (Dallas)

I assume Revere and Hicks will make your top 100, will Wilson Ramos? Isn't he a guy you could package to get a 2nd or 3rd baseman?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Hicks will be there. Revere probably, although that lack of power is a concern. Ramos has a good chance to make it and yes, he's trade bait once Mauer's signed.

Coliccio (Craftsteak)

Did Bryan get jobbed on the Top Chef finale? Obviously they play up the drama for TV, but that egotisical little brother and all his ink get on my nerves.

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Gee, Tom, your own blog said it was the right call. I'm not shocked - they were the two most talented guys, and crazy/inventive wins on these shows more than straight-up execution. Same is true of Project Runway, the interior design competitions, etc.

Seamsplitter (SF)

Seems like we can say what we will about the Giants needing hitting, but no FA wants to come without seriously overpaying. I guess money and individual stats trump winning.

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

If you make the best offer, you get the player. That's true for ... just about every team, actually.

mj (edmonton)

do you think Andrew Bailey has the talent to be a top level closer for the next few years, or was this year's performance a complete fluke?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

In between. Fluky great, not a complete fluke.

jim (sf)

i thought that top chef guy was tony hawk?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Hah.

JD (NY)

Keith, love the chats! Would the Mets be better off avoiding both Bay and Holliday, and saving the cash to spend next winter when better free agents will be available? Odd are they won't be competing this season, with or without Bay/Holliday.

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

I'm afraid that's probably suicide for Omar.

trump (New york)

Thes cooking and movie remarks get on my nerves on a baseball related chat. does Chamberlain become the yankees closer soon?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Door's on your left.

Arne (Seattle)

If you were Jack Z, would you go prioritize keeping Beltre, or going after someone like Jason Bay?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

If they re-sign Beltre, where does Figgins play?

Pete (Mpls)

Keith - any idea why more teams do not try to sign their own players or FA's to front loaded contracts? I would think a team with younger players would really want to do this (possibly splitting up back and front loaded) to balance out payroll. It would also allow for lower overall contract values (not in true dollars/cost mind you), and make contracts on declining players more tradeable (ie Helton)

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

I know the agents/union oppose it, because final-year values affect arbitration proceedings.

Philip (Huntsville, AL)

Is having a 75 year old commisioner who appoints a 14 person committee with an average age of almost 70 to look at possible changes for baseball show signs of progress? To me it seems like the people running baseball don't want progress, but rather return to what they feel is a more nostalgic era of baseball. Am I cynical? Thanks

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

I keep thinking of the old SNL sketch from '89 or so, Dana Carvey as George Bush on a gonzo-style talk show called Bushwhack 'Em! He's talking about some big issue and says, "You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to ... appoint a committee! And they're going to ... write a report!" Life imitates art. In other news, that's the last time Dana Carvey was funny.

Ryan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tell Trump that we haven't even gotten to books yet. Just wait.

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Good point.

Paul (SF, Ca)

I think its worth noting that the prohibitive cost of living in the Bay Area is enough to justify a larger relative contract demand for some players whose offers come from places such as St. Louis, Atlanta, etc.

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

We ran into this in Toronto. JP always complained that players wanted more to come to Toronto. I pointed out that it was at least in part due to income tax differences.

Matt (NYC)

Are you philosophically opposed to a young guy starting his career as a DH? I'm thinking of Jesus Montero. Brian Cashman seems determined to keep him, but he clearly has no position except maybe 1B, and Mark Texeira is going to be there for a while.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

I'm not opposed, not when a guy is probably going to end up at 1b or DH anyway and the alternative is trading him.

CPC (SLC, UT)

Lets not get too carried away with Jack Z as best GM in baseball. He did trade A. Jones, Sherrill, Tillman, and Mickolo for Bedard.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

No, no he did not.

Omar Swanson (Bronx)

Did the Angels make a mistake by refusing to overpay for Lackey?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

If you believe he is now overpaid, then by definition they didn't make a mistake, right?

Mr. SKIA (MrSportsKnowItAll.com)

Why in the world does a player's most recent salary have an effect on arbitration proceedings? What does how much he's been paid have anything to do with what he's worth? How can a supposed arbiter be influenced by such nonsense?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

That's the process. I don't makes the rules, I just talks about 'em.

Joe (Havertown)

What are your thoughts on removing the DH? It seems impossible but I have been finding NL baseball more enjoyable to watch even though the talent seems inferior just because the games are so much shorter.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

I hate watching pitchers hit and managers waste time double-switching two inferior players into the game instead of just one. DH for both leagues. Then NL fans will stop complaining about some disadvantage in the World Series.

Steve (Dallas)

WHEN (I hope I am right by using when and not if) Ramos becomes trade bait, would you look to the Marlins for Uggla or are his defense and salary too much of a bad combination?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Could play 3b, and his defense at 2b was adequate before this year (and I'm basing that last part on a bad UZR). He'd be a nice fit as someone who takes a pitch every now and then.

Brian (NJ)

Is there any fan out there who would oppose emliminating visits to the mound (by coaches and catchers)?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

The excessive catcher visits drive me nuts. Varitek is/was the worst offender I can think of.

Mr. SKIA (MrSportsKnowItAll.com)

Sorry, Keith, I should have made clear that I know that you were just commenting on the existing system. But why does that system consider previous salary relevant?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

I'm assuming it provides an anchor for negotiations and filing figures. Plus, for players still short of six years of service, it brings the 20% cut rule into play.

Matt (Philly)

Something I haven't read much about in regards to the Halladay/Lee trade... Is Halladay that much better than Lee? As soon as I heard about the deal, I thought, "This doesn't really make the Phillies much better." I'm just curious how many more wins, if any, Phillies fans can expect from one year of Halladay versus one year of Lee.

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

I've said one more win with a full year of Doc than one of Lee. It could be one and a half, it could be under one, but it's not like they just got four wins better per year. That was my main objection to the deal for the Phillies - they got slightly better in exchange for a big hit to prospect value, and those prospects are going to matter in July if Ruben wants to go grab a new closer or a starter if someone gets hurt.

Oscar Martinez (Tulsa)

Derek Lowe for Juan Rivera... Who comes out on top? Does it happen?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

I'd rather have Rivera, considering contracts.

Joe (Mansfield, MA)

They have DH in amateur baseball and minor league baseball, when can people just accept the fact that the DH is a part of the game now, institute the DH into the NL rather than see some pitcher who's had about 100 PA from ages 18-26 step to the plate and flail wildly at 3 pitches, and move on?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Once upon a time, the gap between pitchers' hitting ability and hitters' hitting ability was a lot smaller than it is today. The rules haven't quite kept up with the organic changes to the game and its players.

Otis (Mt Airy)

Klaw- Just a quick thank you for the analysis of each signing and trade. Best thing on ESPN.

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

You're welcome. Which reminds me, if you haven't seen the analysis of the Orioles' two signings, it's here: http://bit.ly/8FwiJR - Twitter is tw0rked today and I don't think many people saw the link.

Sean (Kentucky)

Keith, what would you think of a team like the Pirates who would trade for a contract of a player that is an albatross to another team as long as that player is in his final contract year and projects to be a type A or B free agent, and as long as they are giving up a B- or C level prospect. Would teams be willing to trade those guys for that type prospect if it provides them salary relief if they are short on cash but convinced they can contend if they had money to sign "that one key player"? Sort of like the "expiring contract" theory NBA teams use

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Risky. Would not want to give up a prospect of any serious value to do it. Banking on draft picks is not a great idea if you're giving up something of value in exchange for them - the Blue Jays figured they were getting two high picks for Burnett last winter and ended up with a comp pick and a third-rounder.

Kevin (San Diego)

Keith, I'm cooking a beef tenderloin on Christmas Eve. Definitely pan sear prior to roasting, right? Any tips, especially for a simple sauce?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Sear, absolutely - pat the meat dry, season, sear over high heat.

Tony (Orlando)

I used to hate your articles and chats because I thought you were a sarcastic jerk. Then I realized I'm a sarcastic jerk, too...so I'm a big fan. Anyway, answer my question you idito! Any Tigers in your Top 100? Turner? Crosby?

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

Hey, sarcasm is just another service I provide. Crosby for sure. Turner - not sure how many '09 prep arms will be on there, it's a little too easy for me to dream on all those kids as future aces. I'll look at Sizemore for the back of the list - a guy who is stepping right into an everyday job in 2010 (and deserves it) is a valuable prospect even if he lacks ceiling.

Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)

Keith, whats your take on 2010 MLB Draft Prospect Kyle Blair from the University of San Diego? Any chance he falls to the Giants?

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

Saw him mediocre on the Cape. Big name from high school but '09 was kind of a lost year for him around the oblique injury. I'll see him again in the spring.

John Collins (Greenville NC)

$4M for Garret Atkins? What, was Millar asking for $5M? Have you ever read the Molesworth novels (1950s comic novels, written from POV of boy at boarding school)? Funny like Wodehouse.

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

I don't get it - I wrote on Twitter the other day that I would hesitate to give him a roster spot.

Jeremy (Wichita)

Keith - Watching the off season as a Royals fan is interesting and scary. Scared to watch us throw too much money for mediocre and sometimes injury-pone players. I know Dayton Moore is doing his best, but with the acquisitions of last year (trades and free agency) and ex-braves players we seem to release the next day... oh and Guillen, its kinda hard to hope for a good year. What would be the best pick-up for the Royals to give them a shot at the central this year or the next?

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

I don't see them being relevant in 2010 and 2011 is a reach. Your hope is on the farm. They're drafting better and spending more money internationally.

Josh T. (Cleveland,TN)

I have no idea if you've even heard of him but, any news on Lance Zawadski? He played at my college...

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Saw him in Fall League. Extra guy, a prospect, not a star.

Ben (C-ville)

Keith, have you seen UVa's baseball team play? Any guys that could someday be in the BIGS

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Jarrett Parker's going to go in the first few rounds next year, although he's not a first-rounder for me right now.

Steve (Philadelphia)

With so many Phillies prospects now in other organizations, does any other Philly farmhand than Domonic Brown make your top 100? (perhaps Gose? or now Gillies?)

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

Ramirez and Aumont will get consideration. I'll probably have 130 or so names for the list and then start paring as I write guys up.

Ryan (Madison)

Hey Klaw. I just wanted your thoughts on the Brewers signing of Wolf and Hawkins. Three years too long for Wolf? Can Hawkins help solidify the bullpen? Something obviously had to be done to improve their pitching and I'm just wondering if you believe they are at least on the right track. Thanks

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

A year too long on each guy, but if they've decided to try to contend in 2010, they had little choice but to overcommit on arms. It wouldn't be my strategy for the team.

sean (seattle)

i don't think it's pixar, but if we're talking brad bird, give me "the iron giant" any day.seems like all of boston's recent moves (even tendering a contract to kotchman) are pointing towards something big. what do you think?

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

It's not Pixar but that is a fabulous and criminally ignored movie, reminiscent of Miyazaki's better films. I don't think that's a guarantee, but obviously if they can get Gonzalez for a price in prospects they like, he's a great fit.

Marsh (St. Louis)

The reason NL people think the AL has an advantage with the DH, let me use Brett Wallace as an example: The Cards had no where to put them so they traded him, if the Cards were in the AL, they could just let him hit. Lot less flexibility and allows the AL to put together better offenses. Does that make sense or am I way off base?

Klaw
  (2:21 PM)

It makes sense for players who are strictly DHs. For someone like Wallace, who can almost certainly handle 1b, the issue is that he was blocked at one position in the NL whereas he'd have had an escape route in the AL unless he was blocked there too. I think it's relevant but a small advantage for the AL.

Andy (Fairless Hills)

Keith, Have to disagree on your project runway analysis. The straight-up execution won over the crazy/inventive. I mean come on, a runway show with all black?

Klaw
  (2:22 PM)

And those stupid hats? And that codpiece in the first outfit? My wife's the big PR fan and her response to the winner was, "I want to know who wears those clothes."

Rob (Toronto)

Wallace was in your top 20 prospects on your last list, do you still see him up that high?

Klaw
  (2:22 PM)

Most likely.

Trevor (Glendale, AZ)

Keith, please pardon my ignorance for not knowing this already. I love hearing your food advice and have used many of your ideas when I'm cooking. Where did you learn so much about food, or has it just been a gradual thing stemming from a passion you've always had?

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

Started of necessity - when I was in grad school, my wife worked full-time, so I took over the cooking, and I sucked at it. So I learned. My mother-in-law bought me Joy of Cooking. I started watching Emeril and stumbled on Good Eats. Found some good sites and message boards. Found some more books. And tried a lot of stuff. You have to try and fail and taste everything you cook to get a feel for cooking.

Dan (Tampa)

Heyward or Wieters?

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

Wieters.

Mr. SKIA (MrSportsKnowItAll.com)

Milton Bradley ($21 million owed) + Alfonso Soriano ($90 million) for Vernon Wells ($107(?) million): Who says no?

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

Jays. I don't think I want Bradley at this point.

Patrick (Atl)

Keith, Buchholtz/Ellsbury and some B level prospects (Kalish?) for A. Gonzalez -- too much or too little from Boston?

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Calling Kalish a B-level prospect will get you hate mail.

Richard (Short Hills, NJ)

Cliff Lee had just an average career before 2008. I don't think you can chalk up Halladay as 1-1.5 win better than Lee next year, considering Halladay's consistent dominance and Lee's improbable career turn-around at age 29.

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

I don't think you can discount two full years of great performance from Lee, either. I'm basing that delta between the two on Halladay's track record.

bill (newark)

you are a nerd

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Full time!

Mike (New York)

Keith 2011 is a plausible debut for Montero, right?

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

Yes. Could see him this year.

Ryan (Pittsburgh, PA)

You're a Miyizaki fan?! What's your favorite? I always keep on coming back to Spirited Away.

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

Got a soft spot for My Neighbor Totoro because my daughter loves it.

Dave (Flagstaff, AZ)

A lot of us out here in AZ are a bit miffed that Sherzer got traded, but perhaps because we don't know much about Jackson? What's his stuff?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

Big fastball, upper 90s often, but below average command and the slider is frequently not there or just not very good.

Mr. SKIA (MrSportsKnowItAll.com)

Who do you think is the most appealing FA (is likely being undervalued) left on the market?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

Pineiro?

Adam (PDX via Detriot)

What year do you predict Kobe Bryant will be in the Chi Sox farm system?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

Did you see him at a casino?

Jon (NYC)

Hi Keith - How far away is Martinez from taking over for Francoeur in RF? He was obviously rushed to the majors, but if he hits again like he did last year in AAA, how long do you leave him down before bringing him up?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

I'd play Martinez every day in the majors as soon as he's healthy.

Dennis (Colorado)

American Test Kitchen rules!

Klaw
  (2:28 PM)

I prefer Good Eats, but I watch ATK pretty regularly. I love the Tasting Lab segment - it's oddly addicting.

Rob B. (Buffalo)

Is Adam Lind now a career DH? His other out was going to be 1st but that is now blocked. Would an outfield of Wells, Snider and Lind be one of the worst defensively all time?

Klaw
  (2:29 PM)

Could DH Wallace and put Lind at 1b too. Snider's fine in a corner but Wells/Lind would cover less ground than a pebble.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Klaw, played my first-ever game of Settlers of Catan last weekend. It is now on my Christmas list and it's basically all I think about when I'm bored. Dam you, Klaw!!!!!

Klaw
  (2:29 PM)

It is addictive especially if you have a few friends who are really into it. Great article on WSJ.com on the game's rise in Silicon Valley, too.

Greg (LA)

Do you buy the idea that you can ruin a kid forever by bringing him up to early, or do you just keep him down because of the service time issue?

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

You can set back a kid's development by bringing him up too early or by bringing him up and not playing him. "Forever" is really about the kid's makeup and not true for most prospects.

Mike (New York)

Halladay has started started 31 or 66 games over the last two years against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. Greinke this year faced the Sox once and never the Yankees. ERA+ does not account for this. Do you think Halladay is greater than all pitchers by a wider margin than he's being given credit for?

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

I think he's the best pitcher in baseball. I'm not sure by how much, but I think that fact you cited is what elevates him over the Greinkes, Lincecums, and other contenders.

John (Toronto)

More unforgiveable front office decision: keeping Cito for another year, or keeping Wells in center?

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

Cito. Who's the CF alternative?

Chris (Fort Wayne)

Love the analysis, klaw. Do you see Jake Fox as a starter or platoon player for Oakland? 25 homers possible next year? thanks!

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

Starter.

Mike (Naper)

I struggle to cook fat steaks. Get them roasted up too much on the outside before they can cook fully internally, especially indoors. Pointers?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

Sear first, then finish in the oven on a lower temp.

Jed (St. Cloud, MN)

ETA on Kyle Gibson? Is he an ace?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

Give him a full year in the minors. More mid-rotation than ace.

Wes (Brookline, MA)

Assuming the Lowell deal goes through - where do you think Max will get his playing time? 1B, C, DH or Pawtucket?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

Sounds like mostly 1b/dh.

Scott (Fayetteville)

Have you see Zack Cox from Arkansas at all? Where will he get drafted?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

Yes. Love him. Top half of the first round for me. Just needs to improve his plate discipline.

Tommy (Philly)

Is Drabek in your top 50?

Klaw
  (2:34 PM)

Yes. But not top 25.

Chris (Fort Wayne)

Who catches for the Indians this year? Marson or Carlos Santana?

Klaw
  (2:34 PM)

Should be Santana. Marson's a backup for me.

Thomas (LA)

The Dodgers are allegedly looking at Harang. Is he a bounceback candidate? Can he be a #2 or #3?

Klaw
  (2:34 PM)

Yes, I'd take a shot at him. Could be a #3 who soaks up some innings, gives them more rope to give Billingsley to hang himself.

Chuggies (Parts Unknown)

Better prospect...Rihanna or Elin Woods?

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

Elin.

Jeff (Toronto)

Where you in Toronto when Balbino Fuenmeyer (sp?) was signed? Whatever happened to him. Sure wish you guys signed Montero instead that year.

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

I think that was shortly after I left.

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

But I was never involved in international signings, good or bad there.

Greg (LA)

Rhinna lots younger - don't forget the service time issue.

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

True and neither one is going to sign for a below-market deal.

Blueberry Johnson (Boston)

KLaw, what particular moments do you find funny in Confederacy of Dunces? With the exception of the letter Ignatius writes to the Levi Pants vendor, I dunno...I just didn't find it all that funny.

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

He is funny. He's ridiculous, and that's what makes him funny.

Jeff (Toronto)

But you were involved with Russ Adams!!

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

We were just friends.

Jeff (Ann Arbor)

Did anyone give you a hard time about your Cy Young vote at the winter meetings?

Klaw
  (2:38 PM)

No, of course not.

Adam (North Hollywood)

Ace man here. Will you please do a podcast?

Klaw
  (2:38 PM)

We'll do some kind of podcast when the draft stuff restarts.

Chip (Cleveland)

Can you explain what happens when a front office signs a Lyon for 3 years, or trades for a Pierre? I can't believe there aren't more than a couple smart guys saying 'hold up'.

Klaw
  (2:38 PM)

Having been in that situation, I can say that those smart guys are either ignored or locked out of the suite.

Joey (West Palm Beach)

Confederacy could've used A LOT of editing though, no?

Klaw
  (2:39 PM)

Well, the author WAS dead at the time it was published...

Jordan (NJ)

Forgive my ignorance, but I am not a cooker. How do you sear something?

Klaw
  (2:39 PM)

Saute pan or skillet, high heat, enough fat to coat the pan surface, dry the surface of the meat, season it with salt, then cook 1-2 minutes per side depending on what it is exactly.

drew (tarrytown)

Now that JP's gone, please say something about the Rain Man business. How offensive was that? And Lewis sounds like an annoying guy.

Klaw
  (2:40 PM)

The Rain Man joke was a one-time thing that never should have become public. I wasn't offended - JP meant it in a good way and I knew that from the start. I know JP has taken heat for things he's said but he doesn't deserve to be criticized for something he meant as a compliment.

Mike (Ohio)

The whole "You can put 5 guys on your Cy Young ballot" stuff is being called the "Keith Law Law" How do you feel?

Klaw
  (2:41 PM)

Heck, I'm the reason they put 10 movies on the Best Picture nominations list.

Bill (DC)

Try "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee. Great, great stuff. What's your current take on Smoak? Does he start with the big club or spend the first couple months on the farm? Numbers? Merci.

Klaw
  (2:41 PM)

Have it, not really a read but a reference. I have a feeling he starts in the minors, but by the ASB has the 1b job. Patience first, power in the long run.

Timmy (One More Toronto Fan)

Were you high on Kevin Ahrens with the Jays drafted him? Can he rebound this year? Funny how JP was comparing him to Chipper Jones, and now no one is talking about him.

Klaw
  (2:41 PM)

No, thought he was no more than a 50 and probably worse. That's after I left, for what it's worth.

drew (tarrytown)

That's awesome, thanks. I've always wondered how it was delivered -- it was a chance moment that seemed to have been deployed to portray that stat-friendly guys in a really specific way.

Klaw
  (2:42 PM)

That was how it was portrayed in the article.

Cory (LA)

Your comment earlier about Billingsley and the rope, what issues do you see there?

Klaw
  (2:42 PM)

I wish I could explain it. It's command, poise, all that intangible stuff - except that he has had those things in the past. The stuff coming out of his arm is fine. Psychological? Some minor soreness he's not reporting? I just don't know.

Daniel Morton (San Diego)

When are you coming to San Diego again? I have some restaurant suggestions, that are much better than World Famous.

Klaw
  (2:42 PM)

To see USD in the spring, I imagine.

Mike (Rutland, VT)

Keith - No question today. Just wanted to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!!!!

Klaw
  (2:44 PM)

Thank you, and to you - all of you - as well. And please be safe, especially when you get behind the wheel. I'll be back after New Year's for the next chat, and I'll keep posting blurbs on trades and major signings as they happen. Thanks for chatting.