Klawchat. It's no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out.
Was there anything in his history that would have predicted that Evan Longoria is such a clutch hitter?
Yes. The fact that he's such a good hitter, period.
Did taking 3 of 4 at Philly prove the Cards have a better than average chance against the Phillies or is it just false hope?
In 2008, the Yankees swept the season series against Cleveland 6-0, then lost to Cleveland 3-1 in the ALDS.
Change your position on Doug Fister yet? 8-1 with a 1.80 ERA since joining the Tigers -- is that a big enough sample for you?
As I pointed out on the podcast the other day, he could not have asked for an easier slate of opponents over the last two months.
Hey Keith,Is there any chance that Andrew Friedman would leave Tampa Bay to fill the same position with the Cubs?
I doubt it. I think Friedman is in a great position there with a president and an owner he trusts and who have given him the latitude to do the job as he sees fit. I could see him getting a new deal from Tampa along the way, but I have a feeling the Cubs will have to go with someone who isn't currently a GM. I've heard Dan Evans as a rumored name there.
Thoughts on Reyes coming out early? also, it's being forgotten/missed that Collins threw him under the bus by making it public that it was Jose's decision to leave early.
I think it's weak but I am having a hard time getting outraged about it.
What was your take on what you saw from recent draftees J.Ross, M.Kelly and A.Hedges?
Ross and Hedges both looked good. Kelly less so. Ross was an easy 91-95 and the breaking ball was a little sharper. Hedges' swing was better than expected, as was Jayce Peterson's (with whom the Padres have been working to quiet it down).
More praise-worthy achievement from the Reds-Mets game: Jose Reyes finishing with a .337 BA or Joey Votto finishing with a .416 OBP?
That's kind of the bigger problem. BA just isn't that useful a stat.
Bruce Bochy recently said Conor Gillaspie would "make some noise" in 2012. You buying that?
Not unless they get him to use his lower half more in his swing. He's all hands and can't hit for any power like that.
Keith Would Grady Sizemore go a long way to solve SF's CF and lead off hitter issues? Adding Sizemore & retaining Beltran make that lineup a lot better next year?
I don't think Sizemore can stay healthy playing CF - especially not that one in San Fran.
What's your take on Gavin Cecchini? Is he a better prep player than Garin was?
I don't think so, but he'll be ranked and drafted higher because of a thinner overall draft class.
Will you be doing a write-up on each of the series before the games get underway?
I'm doing a single piece with predictions on all four for tomorrow.
Did you donate to ColbertPAC? Caught your name on the ticker on Tues. night's episode.
Several people tweeted that they saw my name on there, but it wasn't me.
Do you think Jason Heyward can turn it around?
Absolutely. It's a mechanical thing.
Crawford taking some heat for not making the catch on Andino's hit. Could he have made the catch? Yes; but I think the degree of difficulty was pretty high. Your thoughts? PS - Longoria should win the MVP since his team would not be in the postseason without him. #narrative.
I think he should have caught that ball. Of course, the game was already tied, so this is like blaming Buckner while ignoring everyone else who screwed up before then.
What was that reason we need another wild card? To keep more teams in the race to the end? After last night I'd have to politely disagree.
Ditto. We won't get more drama. We might get the same amount, but with lesser teams.
Given B-Ham's late season surge (albeit against the lesser competition remaining in A-ball), would you start him in A+ next year despite the less-than-impressive overall numbers? My guess is the Reds will promote him without even thinking about it, but should they?
I'm not a big fan of having prospects repeat their leagues unless there's a major reason like an injury, so I'd be fine with bumping him up once.
When you were talking about the Cardinals 2006 run and their unlikely success, you forgot about Anthony freaking Reyes pitching a gem in game 1. Just goes to show you that if you get in, anything can happen.
Yes, thank you, I did forget that. If you're in, you can win.
How fun was last night?
That was a grade-80 day of baseball.
Here's what I don't get about adding a wild card...why is it necessary to "punish" the wild card team for not winning their division? If they're a borderline playoff team, then they play up until the end and use David Price, Tim Hudson, Jon Lester, or Chris Carpenter in their final game anyway. If they run away with the wild card like the 2010 Yankees, they're better than the other division winners and don't deserve to be punished.
Correct. It's a solution in search of a problem.
Any of the series have a greater than 60-40 favorite in your opinion? Or all mostly 50-50 55-45 area?
I wouldn't go 60/40 on any series. I think the Phillies are the biggest favorites, but more in that 55/45 range - and I'd probably say that if they faced either of the other NL playoff teams, too.
Is there anyone like Strasburg or Harper (or even close) for Houston to take at the top of the draft next year?
Will Pastornicky be the Braves answer for everyday SS?
I think he should be.
No question. Just wanted to say goodbye.
Enjoy that dirty water.
Salvador Perez - Where will he settle in as a hitter. I'm guessing a little less than his .335 this year. Also, have you seen guys like this before that were tabbed as below avg with the bat in the minors and then get to the bigs and put up more than respectable numbers?
I'd make a distinction here between below-average bat and a below-average hit tool. Perez' problem is that he doesn't get on base - single-season high in walks is 25.
What do you make of the way the Orioles celebrated (like they won the w.s.)? I thought it reflected on how hated the Sox and their "nation" is by the rest of the country.
I think it was more a reflection of what Buck Showalter does really well as a field manager. That they played hard to the final out is to his credit.
Are you as outraged as Skip Bayless that the Yanks didn't play their best players? Personally i believe the Yanks earned the right to do whatever they wanted to do.
I'm with you. Their sole obligation is to themselves. And you can't exactly argue that they mailed it in by losing a game in extras where they scored 7 runs.
Colby Rasmus seemed lost ever since he came to the Jays. Is there something mechanically wrong that can be fixed, does he just need more time to adjust or is it a sign of bigger problems?
His lower half has gotten really noisy - I see no reason they can't fix him but he'll need some work, and we'll get a real test now of whether he's actually "coachable" or not.
Yes, by a wide margin. But I can't say that nickname has much staying power.
Did you give TopChef - Just Desserts a chance this season? After last night, I'm out.
I bailed after the first quickfire.
I'm as big of a Cardinals fan as anyone, but I think it's a bit silly that so many people were saying "It didn't matter who Carp was facing last night. He would've dominated any lineup." Yes, he looked sharp, but there's a reason there were so many bad swings in that game. Bad hitters take bad swings.
I agree. It's not taking away from Carpenter to point out that the Astros' lineup was one of the worst I've ever seen.
Is Tony Reagins done in Anaheim as the G.M?
I have no inside information on this - but I think most of what went wrong for them this season is squarely on him. Scioscia gets a little blame for the Mathis obsession, but I think he generates plenty of value for the club through bullpen management. Reagins, in my mind, has gotten a free pass on a lot of pretty bad moves - and that's just the public stuff.
What can we blame the Braves collapse on? Managing, injuries?
Both of those, and on Wren's failure to build a better offense.
Klaw, Please tell me Angelos will at least interview Levine or Dipoto.
I'm not picking on Thad here, but let me ask you this: Why do you think he'd be a good GM? What exactly do you know about him, or most of the other potential GM candidates out there, that makes you want him in the GM chair? Because I think even the avid fan knows little or nothing about GM candidates - they are names you hear from the media (yes, including me). Most of us aren't even well-equipped to evaluate GM candidates, and some writers may just be pushing candidates who've been good sources over the years. We had this a lot with Kim Ng as well - I'm not saying she'd be good or bad, but that the fans advocating her as a candidate were doing so despite an absence of real information on her qualifications.
Speaking of Anaheim, what would you do with Bourjos? Would you just play him and Trout together in and just create a left side of an outfield where fly balls go to die?
Yes, but I think Wells and his contract are going to get in the way. Trout could easily start next year in AAA if Reagins is still GM.
Actual SPORTSNATION question on ESPN.com: "Who would you rather have on the mound for Game 1: James Shields or Josh Hamilton?" Considering one is a pitcher and one is a corner outfielder, I'd have to go Shields. What say you?
Tough one. Can I think about it? I'll get back to you.
What do you make of the Orioles' September play? Might they be ready to turn a corner?
Did you submit this today, or in October of 2010?
Did you do a podcast today? I find myself listening to the entire thing, even though I tend to be pretty Cardinals-centric in my baseball interest.
Yes, I'll post the link when I see it.
If you believe that the CY Young award carries as much wieght as the MVP award, then a pitcher should not be eligible for MVP. I know that some have won in the past and I know that it not against the rules, but it should be. Why don't they just reword the MVP award to hitters only?
Because no one is interested in redefining the award that way.
Best part: Hamilton has 39% of the vote. Ugh.
Are the Pirates likely to keep Derrek Lee for next season?
I don't know, but I wouldn't want him as an everyday guy.
What do I have to do to get as many questions answered as Jason from St. Louis does?
I'm pretty sure a half-dozen or so people post under that name, given how fast the questions come in.
I agree with you that it is incredibly difficult for fans to understand a potential GM's ability to do the job well. However, what we do have to go off of is their past records (in Colorado and Texas he's been a part of building winning teams). Dipoto's short term as GM in AZ shows he has the chops to do the job.
DiPoto is different - he has a real track record. I'd say the same for Logan White, who has a long track record as a scouting director that we can evaluate. But an assistant GM typically has no specific responsibilities for evaluating or acquiring players. Again, not picking on Levine, but on the wall between front offices and fans, with the media a less than ideal lens into the former.
Why, oh why it so difficult for GMs (and of course their owners) to acknowledge that they made a mistake with a contract (Well, Rios, Burnett, Bay), cut bait and move on? And don't tell me it's because they can't afford the financial losses. Pride goeth before the fall?
The natural human failure to understand sunk costs. It affects everyone. We just notice it more in GMs because the stakes are high and it's not our pride on the line. (That said, if I were the Angels' GM, Wells would be the best-paid bench player in baseball.)
Care at all about Ozzie to the Marlins? and the players dealt for him are nothing right?
Wrong - both are prospects, neither a star, but Marinez will touch 99 and flash a good slider, and Martinez is at least a solid utility guy.
Any chance Theo doesn't come back next year? Please tell me he's going to take his talents (his computer that evaluates players) to Chicago.
Does his computer get to take the two World Series titles to Chicago too? Or are you proposing to keep those while throwing Theo overboard?
Now that a year has passed, how do you feel the Padres did in the Gonzalez deal? Kelly didn't seem to have a great year and Rizzo's cups of coffee were lukewarm, too. Still plenty of time for change, but your thoughts now, please?
I'd say I feel the same on Rizzo, slightly cooler on Kelly (stuff is still there, fastball might be a tick better, but the propensity to have that one bad inning remains), and much cooler on Fuentes.
Loved your idea of the Jays going after LoMo as their latest out-of-favor acquisition, but does Ozzie's arrival give him a clean slate?
I think LoMo's situation is about ownership, not Ozzie.
How many years will it take for the Phillies to be seriously challenged in the NL East?
Nationals aren't far off. Maybe 2013 if they get a little lucky in development and make some better moves in free agency.
Have the Mariners completed the rebuilding phase at 1B, 2B, and LF (or DH) with Smoak, Ackley, and Carp? I feel good about Ackley, but what about the other two?
I would love to see a healthy Smoak this year - between the hand injury and the death of his father it was a lost summer.
Podcast is up: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=7035130
Did batting .406 in Aug and Sept give Miggy Cabrera enough to squeeze into the top spot for MVP?
No. Because position and defense matter.
Did you see that Jayson Stark has berkman 4th on his MVP Ballot? Really?
High for me, but is it that outrageous?
Is there really a chance Atlanta would try to "sell high" on Heyward? If you were a GM, would you try to put together the most tempting offer possible to induce Atlanta to deal?
I can't imagine they'd deal him - local kid, huge star for them last year (with the fans, that is), enormous potential.
Kenley Jansen's K rate was ridiculously high for September (21K/9 I believe). More of a product of bad competition or does he have that good of stuff?
It's pretty ridiculous. Blogged about him yesterday, but 92-97 with natural cut is pretty tough to hit.
Do you have a problem with giving the MVP award to a player on a non-playoff team (Kemp or Bautista)?
No. Because I have common sense.
Also wouldnt this be selling low on Heyward
I assumed that's why he used scare quotes.
you are named the cubs gm tomorrow - what is your move? Pujols, Fielder or complete rebuild?
I don't think those are mutually exclusive. If the owner tells me he wants one of those two 1b, I might try to get him to set some reasonable limits on the contracts, but both are great players and could be useful even if we're not competitive in 2012.
Could the over usage of Kimbrel and Venters have lasting effects on them?
Could it? Yes. Will it? I don't think we have enough information to say that.
From his numbers it looks to me (and my little bit of baseball knowledge) that J Ordorizzi projects out as a 2-3 with the a small chance to be a 1 or 4-5? As a Royals fan we'll take a 2-3 any day. Where do you see him?
Projects as a 3 with a chance to be a 2, although I do know some scouts who rate him below that. Kind of reminds me of Kelly - super-athletic kid, great arm, repeats an easy delivery well, struggled more than I expected in AA.
All right, who do you think wins it all?
Keith, I believe you were part of the team that brought the new logo and look to the Blue Jays. Are you disappointed that they are getting rid of it next year?
I was there at the time but was in baseball ops, not marketing, and had nothing to do with the new logo.
IE, Firefox, Chrome, Other? Homepage?
Glad to see you mention 1B defense. Advanced metrics hate both Freeman and Hosmer, who are, by most scouting reports, good with the glove. You say that advanced defensive metrics should be ignored for first basemen. Why, and what does this mean for 1B WAR, which relies heavily on UZR?
I back it out of WAR for 1b, then make a smaller rough adjustment based on my own scouting of the players' defense. Subjective, but I can't go with a defensive stat that I believe to be completely off base.
Pretty sure I know your answer, but would the Rays be foolish not to start Matt Moore at some point in the ALDS? Or do they possibly go 3-man with Shields, Hellickson, and Price?
I'm not sure Niemann is actually a better choice than Moore, and Niemann is due to start two games. Moore has a much higher beta, but against a good lineup I think I'd rather have that potential for a top-end outcome.
Thanks for the recommendation on the boquerones last week- I loved them (wife thought too spicy). Who has more impact for the Twins next season- Plouffe, Benson, or Parmelee? Follow-up question- based off your answer, should I be scared?
Tell your wife to toughen up. Benson has the best chance - the others look like extra guys to me.
Is it just me, or does everyone cheat on words w freinds on Ipad? I'm losing 2/3 of my games, and I am a good scrabbler.
I hate Scrabble. Play Carcassonne or Samurai instead.
Do you think the Tigers will beat the Yankees?
I'm picking the Yankees - again, we're talking odds of maybe 53/47 here.
As a former exec, would you step into the Cubs GM role knowing the organization has committed to Wilken and Fleita? Not saying they're not good (although at best the jury has to be out on Oneri) but wouldn't a top candidate want the flexibility to bring in his own guys? (Or her, god forbid #semisarcasm)
Asking the philosophy behind extending two top lieutenants would be my first question. It shouldn't be a dealbreaker if the candidate can otherwise bring in whoever he wants.
Or ticket to ride. I can't stop playing it. It's actually starting to annoy my girlfriend. She hears it fire up and she'll say 'is that the train game again?'
Yes, that would be my next choice. Stellar implementation.
What are your thoughts of Joe Panik playing in AFL? It seems like a pretty big jump for a guy who only played in short season.
He was overqualified for short season as a D1 product. AFL is perfect for those guys. Rosters are loaded with 2011 college draftees.
Scrabble is awful. I don't care if they are in the Scrabble dictionary - AE and QI are not words!
Come on, we know negative qi is what cost the Red Sox in September.
Ever see a two-sport pro athlete pop up again, or were Bo and Deion just that rare?
I think the money involved makes it really unlikely. As a fan, I would love to see it.
Matt Kemp MVP? If Matt Kemps BABIP is .380, isn't he just "lucky" that the balls he hits fall in for a hit? Especially since he is one of the worst at hitting balls into play. Sounds to me like he is just lucky that the balls dropped.
Hitter BABIP is not the same as pitcher BABIP. Pitchers have little control over their BABIP in the long term, but hitters do have some control. His career BABIP before this year was somewhere around .350.
Excited about the prospect of drinking with Bubba Starling during the AFL?
I really don't see the big deal here. Who was at risk here? He didn't drive. He didn't get in a fight or do anything stupid. If he was dangerously drunk, I haven't heard it. Granted, you're talking to someone who favors drug decriminalization, but an adult (he's 19) drinking moderately while putting no one else at risk except maybe himself just does not bother me at all.
Does last night affect Kimbrel's ROTY chances?
I bet it costs him a few votes but not the award as a whole.
How's the gluten free going?
I've created a little confusion about this, but just to clear it up, I'm not gluten-free or going gluten-free. I don't have celiac or gluten sensitivity (I was tested for both); it just doesn't agree with me, so I'm cutting back. I'm not happy about that, but no doctor has told me to cut it out entirely.
Someone asked you last night on Twitter about Betances, and you said you saw him as a pen guy. Did you mean that for at this moment, or is that where you seem him ending up full-time?
I think that's his most likely long-term role. It's not a guarantee - he sure looks like a starter physically and has the fastball for it - but he's not a good athlete and command has always been a concern with him. Walking 6 of 16 major league hitters is a meaningless sample, but I can't say it made me feel better about him.
Do you have a yard? Or do you have a rock garden or astroturf?
Yard, mostly gravel covering, some desert-appropriate trees and plants, plus three planting beds for herbs and vegetables.
Keith, does Detroit have an inferiority complex or what? Everyone I know says the media doesn't like Detroit and still brings up Alan Trammell not being in the HOF as unfair baseball is.
Trammell isn't in the HOF because defense still isn't valued correctly and because he was a contemporary of a better defensive SS (Ozzie Smith) and a better offensive one (Ripken).
congrats on moving to AZ, what has been your favorite restaurant in Scottsdale? I was forced to move from Scottsdale 4 months ago for work
I think I've been to Culinary Dropout four times already. Big fan.
from watching the Twins at the end of the season, does Parmalee really rate as just an "extra"? He was one of the few guys who actually produced.
So, you're going to use those 88 September at bats in the big leagues and just ignore everything that came before in the minors? OK.
What was your final Cy Young ballot? And did you have trouble deciding on any of the positions?
Can't reveal it. I think I spent more time on the order of 2 and 3 than any other part.
So KLaw, should i be saying "Happy New Year" to you?
Um ... are you asking me from 92 days in the future?
Starling would be a college frosh right now if he didn't get drafted. Shouldn't even have been news. That's what 19 yr olds do.
Exactly. If he got behind a wheel after drinking, then my view is completely different.
Got a recipe for Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken...ever tried it?
Yes. I find virtually no difference between that and properly fried chicken that isn't marinated in buttermilk.
Snakes thinks you're jewish maybe?
Oh, is that today? No, I'm not Jewish, sorry.
Ever play any long, multi-player historical games like Diplomacy, Age of Renaissance, Manifest Destiny, or Here I Stand?
Only Diplomacy. Mixed feelings. Brilliantly designed game. Usually ends with me wanting to gouge someone's eyes out.
The "will Francona and Theo be back next year" talk is silly. I'm not a Red Sox fan, but they were undone more by injuries than a choke, right?
Even if you want to call it a "choke" - not a big fan of that word, since it implies a personality defect - is that on the manager or GM? I don't see it.
Just wanted to say that I think we fans appreciate you're view on players and giving us both the good and bad equally without sugarcoating things. Unlike NFL and NBA analysts/scouts, sports i also like, you don't just shove down our throats how great someone could be. NBA and NFL tend to tell us how great the potential of a guy is with a slight downside when in reality his downside is probably higher than his upside. Thanks again and in my opinion you're the best in the business even if you can't accept that. Keep up the great work.
Thanks, Steve. I try to err on the conservative side of evaluations even while looking for things I like about the player. It's a tough mix - I don't want to be all rah-rah, but at the same time, finding that one tough-to-see skill that could turn a bench guy into a league-average regular is one of the hardest parts of what I do.
Longterm- Wilson Ramos or M. Wieters? Almost identical WAR this year.
Wieters. Much tougher competition.
Thanks for all the questions - need to hit the road for instructs. No chat next week but I should be back the week after that.