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

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Sorry, was just finishing up an episode of Parks & Recreation. Best comedy on TV right now.

Brendan (Indiana)

Keith, I know it is probably 10 months away, but what would you think about a team signing Pujols to a 10-year $300 million contract. Is that too long and too much money for you to invest in one player going through his 30s and early 40s, even if it is Pujols?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

Way too long. Even a player as good as Pujols is/has been will eventually get old and decline. Over the next five years, it might be negligible. At ten years, you are just begging to have a year where you're paying him over $30 million to be an average player.

Brendan (Indiana)

Keith, who do you see as a possible pick at 9 for the Cubs? Any chance Purke is still there? Would Jungmann or Bradley be a good pick there or do you like someone else better?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

Good week for Brendan, I guess. They took Sonny Gray out of high school and offered him over $2 million, which he declined. I'd have to think the Cubs would take him again and pay him even more now that he's better and closer to the majors.

biggie (dc)

Brian Matusz was flat out ridiculous the last few months of 2010. Any chance he turns into a star *this* year.

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Yes, pretty good chance. If the Orioles sniff .500 this year - and I'm still betting they don't - it'll be because Matusz and Wieters break out, not because they brought in a bunch of players whose names exceed their production.

Mark (Lyme, CT)

After five seasons of pro ball, can a guy like Josh Reddick still learn plate discipline? I think he has all the tools to be a MLB RF, but he just seems like he'll never "get it".

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I think he's a lost cause. There's been no progress in that area.

JB (Dallas)

First Vanderbilt pitcher picked after Gray: Armstrong (assuming he comes back from injury at full strength) or Garvin?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Right now I'd say Garvin - and in fact Garvin was on my original list of 50 late last week whereas Armstrong wasn't. Armstrong has more upside but many more questions.

Brad (Philadelphia, Pa)

Could u see Pujols in Philly for Howard? If STL doesn't sign him then this is a Win-win for both teams. Isn't it?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

By "Win-win for both teams," you mean two wins for Philly and none for St. Louis, right?

Jeff (OH)

Keith, who are The Suburbs? I've never heard of that band, yet they won Album of the Year. Their song, "Arcade Fire", must be pretty good.

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

Nicely done.

Doug (Connecticut)

With a draft this loaded, and a lot of the SPs so close together, is their a chance Barnes could fall to the Mets at 13?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

I doubt it. But it makes more sense to say "there will be a premium college pitcher on the board at 13" than "this specific premium college pitcher will be on the board at 13." Someone gets there, because there are more than 12 top-flight players in this draft and you have two teams (ARI, SD) drafting ahead of the Mets with unprotected picks (meaning they must sign those players because there's no compensatory pick next year for them).

Rob (Charlotte)

How important is Manual to the Phillies? Given what happened with Lopes and now Manual's extension, looks like the front office may be making more of a hard line on mgt salaries.

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Manual : Phillies :: Binder : Yankees?

Samson (Toronto)

Did Bautista's offensive abilities really change *that* much to think last year wasn't a fluke? And would you have bet $65 million on it?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Doubtful, but not impossible. But no, there is no way I'd put a long-term deal on a guy with 2000 at bats of "meh" and 600 of "wow." Plus the Rogers Centre played as an unusually good HR park in 2010 and I wouldn't bet on that to continue either.

Robert (Milwaukee)

I've seen positive opinions of Rickie Weeks' contract because "he was a 6 win player" in 2010. Isn't that kind of analysis almost as over-simplistic as considering only BA and RBI? It's hard to imagine a scenario where he stays healthy, and injury prone players don't seem to age well.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

I agree. Love Weeks' ability, hope he stays healthy, but there's a lot of playing time/injury risk - and the injury risk with him extends to the risk he has to move off second base, too.

angelo (Target)

An ironed cheese sandwich and tomato soup? are you kidding me?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Clearly you should have bought a dishwasher and steamed fish in it.

Hurdy Gurdy Man (Singing songs of love)

Concerned about Cabrera's continued struggles with alcohol? I thought he was making progress with that.

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

I think he should be suspended, with rehab a condition for reinstatement, before he kills someone by driving drunk.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

Is it difficult to evaluate someone like Starling who plays in a really bad high school league?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

Most HS players play in bad leagues - the typical first rounder is miles ahead of anyone else he'll face all season. Scouts evaluate them on tools rather than performance.

Mustard (Kingston, ON)

Good or bad, Werth's contract has set a pretty high bar. If Bautista goes to the open market next year and hits .260/30/100, is he not in line to get an even bigger contract? I dont expect 54...but $13 mil per is not going to cripple this franchise.

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

It will if he reverts to the .242/.334/.412 player he was from 2006-2009.

Jon (Jacksonville)

Keith, your thoughts in the Rays not trusting Jennings this year with an OF spot?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

I think the lack of trust is about his ability to stay healthy, not his ability to perform at an acceptable level.

Studebaker (NJ)

Gary Sheffield in The Hall: Yes or no? Show your work in the margins.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Yes.

Scott (Boston)

Can one team draft the same player out of HS and then again after his junior or senior year of college? For example, the Red Sox and Alex Meyer.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

He has to sign a form consenting to re-selection. Most players do. Not all, but most. It would happen closer to the draft, though.

Chris (Alabama)

Gut feeling - does Swihart stay behind the plate?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Yes.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Yes.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Yes.

Jared (Panama City)

Schaefer > McLouth?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Mayor McCheese > McLouth.

Scott (Chicago)

Why do people misspell the word "lose" with "loose" so often?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

You're guess is as good as mine.

EricJ (SF) [via mobile]

Any chance Weeks is the next Paul Molitor? There is precedence for this..

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Weeks has special bat speed and a good idea of what he's doing at the plate. I think lost in my 140-character criticism was that I like the player a lot. I just question whether it's wise to guarantee money to a player with his track record of injury.

Bunn (lowell,ma)

Why would any one pay 1 player 30 mil a year when you can almost have a whole team for close to the same amount? (Marlins)

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

I understand the sarcasm, but player value isn't linear. Having that much offensive and defensive production from just 4% of your roster justifies a very high salary, even a historic one. My objection/hear on Pujols is the years more than the salary.

Chip (Richmond)

Related question- do you have a problem with short pitchers, or do you think that's an area where team's miss opportunities because a pitcher doesn't fit their ideal measurables?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

There are multiple schools of thought on diminutive pitchers. One is that they're more likely to get hurt, which I don't believe is true. Another is that they struggle to get on top of the ball for downhill plane on a fastball or good depth on a curveball. To me, that has some validity, but you answer it by watching the pitcher, not by checking his height on the roster.

Darnell (Chicago)

Why arent the Cards being criticized for the contract they gave Holiday last year. I thought that was a HUGE mistake.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

You can bet if they don't re-sign Pujols, they'll get a lot of "how do you sign Holliday and not Albert?" criticism.

Pale Beerboy (Seattle)

You have mentioned several times your disgust for people/players with a DUI, however, phones kill 4 times as many people behind the wheel. What would you do about that?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

I believe it should be illegal to talk on your phone while driving, hands-free or otherwise.

Josh (Pawnee, IN)

I heard Albert Pujols has credited his success to the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Is this a model more should follow?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Absolutely. Remember, fish is practically a vegetable.

Mike (Chicago)

When are you getting out to camps? Do you spend more time watching practice or (meaningless) game performance for young players?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I don't go to practices. I glean nothing from it. I'll do some college/HS stuff in the meantime and then head out to spring training once the games start.

J.B. (PA)

Ron Guidry: 5' 9" tall.

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

Roy Oswalt is 4'10" and that never stopped him.

Joe S. (San Diego)

Ever blow a .26 on a BAC test, klaw? Shouldn't there be more serious repercussions for stuff like this?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

My rule: when I start the second drink, I don't drive for the rest of the night. And yes, there should be repercussions. Even from a cold business perspective, he's a walking liability at this point.

Sage (Chicago)

Total guess, what percent of MLB players care more about winning than their own performance?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Over 90%. Most players are hypercompetitive. If they care about their own performance, it's in a "do better" sense rather than an "earn more" sense. That's just my impression from talking to players over the years.

Nick (topeka)

I have seen where you aren't that high on Freeman to be a great player in Atlanta. Do you see them trying him out for a year at 1st and if they don't see progress or what they want, they will make a change at first base?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

I don't see him being a superstar. I see him being an average to above-average player for quite a while. If he's Lyle Overbay (pre-wrist injury), that's pretty good, and not a position that makes a GM despserate to make a change.

Jake (VA Beach)

Smarter for the White Sox to make Sale a permanent starter or permanent closer? Seems Thornton is pretty dang good enough, and moving Sale around too much could screw him up.

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Closer, and that seems to be a majority view among scouts I've talked to about Sale. But I don't think that's Chicago's view, and theirs is the one that counts right now.

Darnell (Chicago)

Can MLB institute a morality clause like NFL has done to punish players that do "stupid" stuff?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

MLBPA is like a car battery to the NFLPA's 9-volt.

Jay (NYC)

Is there any serious discussion among execs that Pujols is older than 31?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

There's an impression, but there's no hard evidence. If you're a GM, you have to at least consider how his value would be affected if he was actually 32 now rather than 31.

Nick (Seattle)

Where do you see the Mariners going with the #2 pick? I know they need they need a ton of hitting, but I feel that Cole would be hard to pass on.

Jax (Dallas)

How bad will the Rangers pitching be this year? Will Young acting like a baby affect the team this year?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

Nick: College, either Springer or an arm. Just a guess, though - it's way too early to speak with any certainty about team plans. That's why I don't do "mock" or projected first rounds until May.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

I think the Young thing is more a media creation than a clubhouse distraction. Could see some Ranger arms step forward; I like Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, to name two.

Bob (Tinley Park)

Much better draft overall than last year, but lacks cachet with no Strasburg or Harper. Agree?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Different sort of cachet. Lots of potential stars and players with interesting back stories, but not the single impact name. Much better draft this year than last year, though.

EricJ (SF) [via mobile]

How much of your doubts about Lincecum out of school had to do with size?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Zero.

Bob (Tinley Park)

Will SD end up happy they didn't sign Whitson given the stronger draft this year?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Potentially yes. I think it could work out well for them and Arizona.

Max (Knoxville Tn)

Brandon Laird was voted MVP 2010 Eastern League. I cannot findhim listed in any rankings by analysts. Does he have flaws thatoffsets his numbers. I know you are a straight shooter and would like to have your views why he is ignored. Thanks

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

More of a 4A slugger/extra guy. Don't see him hitting against better pitching.

Cameron Maybin (AZ)

Do NOT eat at Panda Express. Gross!

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

I'm not a fan. All salt and sugar.

Bill (Albany)

How close was St Johns SS Joe Panik to making your top 50? How does he compare to UNC's Michael?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Not close. More 3rd-4th round type.

Tom (St. Louis)

Does Manny have anything left in the tank? I still can't believe he signed for $2 million.

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Bat speed has been down for over a year.

Kevin Towers (Phoenix)

I'm skipping the draft since there are no gritty 35 year olds in it for me to take.

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Word in the industry has them running a pretty limited draft budget this year, which would be disappointing.

Tom (Los Angeles)

I'm an Arcade Fire fan from way back, and I don't understand the hype around The Suburbs, which I thought was decent but not amazing. I know you loved it--did you like it more than Funeral? If so, why?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

I don't know how to explain why I liked one album more than another, but yes, I did. I thought it was tighter musically and lyrically, with far more (and better) hooks. I have enjoyed the fact that mainstreamers are saying "who is Arcade Fire" while there's a hipster backlash because they won a mainstream award. Smells like validation across the board.

John (Chicago)

Trey McNutt - starting pitcher in MLB? When? 1/2, 3/4, 5/swing guy?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Yes. Maybe late this year. More top than bottom of rotation.

Jon (DC)

Is there no chance Springer is availble to the Nats at #6?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Can't say that. We have no idea at this point who teams might take because they themselves have no idea. I'm guessing Pittsburgh has a list of 6-8 guys at minimum whom they'll consider with the top pick and it only expands from there.

Ben (NYC)

What are the chances Mike Moustakas makes an impact this year for the royals?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

Chances that he appears are high. Chances of impact are moderate to low. Could come up, hit a bunch of bombs, but have a low average/lot of whiffs.

GreekGodofWoks (Munson, FL)

I know he can bring the heat, but how is Jose Fernanez's command and control

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Not there yet, but no obvious reason they couldn't be in the future. Breaking ball's improvement is the new and positive development.

Joey (Federal Way, WA)

Do you take many notes in the books you read and review, or do you write your review along the way? I'm working on the KLAW 100, reading Ragtime right now--very enjoyable. Do you have another recommendation based on my appreciation of that book?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

I usually jot down a few page numbers with quotes I might use in a dish post, but that's it. Taking too many notes just slows me down, and ultimately I read for pleasure rather than to write about the books. "Appointment in Samarra" comes to mind.

Ryan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Are there certain tasks for which you prefer a santoku knife over a chef's knife?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Yes. Cutting Redi-Shades. Works like a charm.

Jon (DC)

I know you think that Derek Norris can stay behind the plate, but do you think his bat will play at First?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

I don't think it's an issue. He's a catcher.

Ryan (Chicago)

I've listened to Arcade Fire and they are absolutely horrible. They make noise not music, Coheed and Cambria and Sigur Ros are different but far superior.

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

I wasn't into Coheed and Cambria the first time around when they were called Savatage.

Paul (DC)

I know you are still a Chris Tillman believer...so how would you handle him this year?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Give him a rotation spot and 25-30 starts. This is another objection I have to their change in strategy - if there's suddenly a short-term goal of winning, it means that players like Tillman could lose their jobs when they need to play in the majors to continue to develop.

Tom (PA)

The Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness is the best thing thats been on television this year. How bad did the Cardinals screw this up? How did they get to the Spring of 2011 without Pujols under a contract that kept him in St. Louis for his career?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Have there not been hints that Pujols/Lozano wanted a record-setting deal? If the player wants the highest annual salary or total figure ever, the Cardinals are not the franchise for him. It wouldn't make sense for them to do that, especially not when he wasn't close to free agency.

Nick (topeka)

Is this years potential rookie class going to be as star studded as last years or is it going to take a step back?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Step back. High minors are a little thin right now after all the promotions last year.

Travis (Atlanta)

What happened between Danny Hultzen's father and the Diamondbacks that you elude to in your recent article?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

That spring, when Danny was a HS senior, the father yelled at scouts who tried to talk to the kid or give him a questionnaire. When Arizona took him in the 10th round, the father called the GM and went on a tirade about how he told teams not to draft his son. It left a bad taste in a lot of mouths around the industry. At the same time, it probably shouldn't reflect much on the player, if at all.

N (Chicago)

I'm getting married and I need a song for introductions into the reception and the fiance wants a dam Black Eye Pea's song...any suggestions?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Too late to call it off? The only BEP song I can stand is "Weekends."

Mike (San Diego)

How dumb is it that there are actually people out there comparing the Pujols thing to LeBron leaving Cleveland? If Albert suddenly leaves the Cardinals and they replace him with a guy like Adam LaRoche, it's not like they're all of a sudden going to be the Pirates.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Does Bill DeWitt like Comic Sans?

Rob (Alaska)

I think the Weeks-Molitor comp made by Eric in SF was more a question of whether a player can learn how to be healthy in the middle of his career - as seemed to happen for Molitor. He was constantly banged up, missing time, in the first part of his career. In other words, if health is a skill can it come to some guys later than others?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

But Molitor didn't play 100 games at any position other than 1b/dh past age 32. And he got clean at some point, which I guess could have been a factor.

Jesse (Phoenix)

On TV just now, Kurkjian reported that the Rangers are at least considering stretching Feliz out and working on his secondary pitches this spring, to get Feliz in the rotation. If it worked, Ogando or Lowe would close. Thoughts?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Approve.

Gilly (Arlington MA)

Had a salmon burrito from Strip T's yesterday...it was dynamite...just sayin

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Nice, I do miss that place. The Strip-T's of the Phoenix area is the Hillside Spot in Ahwatukee.

Sean (Atlanta)

I'm making my way over to Nashville to watch Stanford-Vanderbilt. Who should I be watching out for besides A. Wilson, S. Gray, K. Diekroeger, and Esposito?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Vandy: Armstrong, Garvin, Moore, Loftus. Stanford: Gaffney, Vanegas, Mooneyham, maybe Jake Stewart.

Zach (Toronto)

Who are a couple of guys that might be available come Torontos pick?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

I posted a top 50 ranking earlier today: http://bit.ly/hXkUJl

Brian (NJ)

Did you watch Jeopardy last night? The same computer who runs the A's and wrote Moneyball won!

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

Can't top that one. Thanks for all the questions ... I have a coffee table to assemble. I'll be back next week.