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October 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

Sorry, phone rang two minutes before the chat was scheduled to start.

Travis (Chicago)

Junior Lake's arm on the scouting scale?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

I could go 7 on that. But his lack of instincts on both sides of the ball is scary. I'm not sure he can stay in the infield, and his favorite pitch to hit is the first one of the at bat.

Ryan (Dayton) [via mobile]

To clarify, if the Theo deal goes through and he subsequently hires Jed hoyer as GM, who would be making the baseball decisions for the cubs?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

I would expect Theo to remain involved in baseball decisions. Those guys (and McLeod) worked well together in Boston so I don't expect the friction you might normally anticipate when the President is dabbling in baseball ops.

Nick (Seattle)

I don't know if you had a chance to see Hultzen pitch yesterday, but as a M's fan, should I be worried that he isn't going to be anything more than a #3? While he didn't allow any hits yesterday, he didn't have any K's. Please tell me I am just overreacting to an AFL outing.

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

You are overreacting to an AFL outing. That said, he's probably a number three starter anyway.

Adam (Chicago) [via mobile]

KLaw- Last week, you watched Trey McNutt...anything for Cubs fans to look forward to from him?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Or Red Sox fans? He's a good athlete with arm strength who'll flash an above-average breaking ball, but he's not repeating his delivery at all, not the arm path, not the release point. Fair amount of work to do there but with upside of a 2-3 starter if you can get him some consistency.

Dan (LA)

Hey KLaw,What can you tell us about Ms. Ng as a potential GM? Any particular strengths or resources that should make Angels fans excited at the prospect? Or should we just be generally excited about the potential breakthrough?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

I talked about this at length on the podcast today, but I'll answer that one point: No, you shouldn't be "generally excited about the potential breakthrough." That's idiotic. You should be excited for the best person to get the job, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Jerry DiPoto (Baltimore)

Will I be the next O's GM? Or am I headed to Anaheim?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

I think you get one of those jobs but don't have any inside intelligence to say which one.

Greg (Baltimore)

Rumor has it that the next Oriole GM will be either Jerry DiPoto or Tony LaCava. Both look good to me. Are they?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Yes. Talked about both of them and their strengths on the podcast today.

TJ (Detroit)

Two questions, Klaw:1. How much help can we expect from Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, and/or Nick Castellanos, for our belvoed Tigers in 2012?2. How level of Oreos- top prospect, mid-level, or any- would it take to let Theo Epstein go if you were the owner of the Red Sox?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

1. Nothing from Oliver or Castellanos in 2012. Turner could be a solid rotation option if they think he can handle 160 innings in the majors, chance to be league-average or better but with more variance than you'd normally expect from a league-average guy. 2. A whole case of Oreos.

Kevin (Santee, CA)

Is Jeff Moorad crazy? Byrnes doesn't exactly have a great track record.

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Jeff worships Josh. I have pointed out that AZ was a mess when Josh was fired. Maybe he's changed his philosophy since then, but if I were a Padres fan, I would not be pleased by this shuffle.

Tom (Madison, WI)

I've heard Jackson, McNutt and Szczur won't be part of the Theo compensation. Is there anyone left in the Cubs weak system to get remotely excited about?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Cubs system isn't "weak," but it's bottom-heavy. Szczur's an extra outfielder anyway, so I wouldn't be thrilled with him as a return for Boston. I'd be interested in Cashner.

Justin (Chicago, IL)

RE: The best person to get a particular GM job. How as fans do we judge whether the best person got the job, when almost all of our opinions come from what we hear insiders say. My point is, do we really even know that?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

You don't. I'm often operating with insufficient information - which has been my comment on Kim Ng before. You don't know, because even people in my position don't really know. So people use proxies like "worked for a good GM," which don't really answer the ultimate question.

Dan (Chicago)

I've heard the reports about Andrew Cashner hitting triple digits this fall but more importantly how's he spotting his fastball and how does the offspeed stuff look??? would you give him another shot to see if his arm can hold up in the rotation considering the lack of SP in the cubs organization top to bottom?

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

Changeup is plus. Can't put him in the rotation in 2012, IMO, because you'd be pushing his shoulder too far. Let him relieve next year, work on building up strength around the joint, and reassess after the season.

Jeremiah (SF)

Keith, ever been to Keller's The French Laundry? Thinking about taking the wife later this year for Treat Yo Self 2011.

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

No, hoping to work that into a trip in 2012.

Arin (D-town)

Is La Russa this great gameday manager or this just more of the narrative?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

He has a bullpen that suits his batter-by-batter style particularly well. He made fewer mistakes in G1 than Washington, so he looks better by comparison. Still, bunting ahead of Pujols is face->desk material.

Dodger Blue (LA)

Any word on whether or not Logan White will be staying with the dodgers? Do you think he would be a good GM? or better suited as a scouting director?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

I think he should be on the list for any team looking for a new GM to lead a rebuilding effort.

eric (baltimore)

View of O's job in baseball: nowhere to go but up or nowhere to go period?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Nowhere to go but up, but with significant challenges, from dealing with a mercurial owner to cleaning up a big mess in the farm system (despite some strong drafts).

rory (nyc) [via mobile]

Have you seen Jefry Marte out in the AFL? He is playing well given his age. Thoughts on his future projection.

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

Where does he play? Can hit some, can't play third.

Jon (DC)

Do you ever do a list/blog post before free agency about what each organization's free agency strategy SHOULD be?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

Have not. Without knowing their budget or owner's goals, it's a fool's errand.

Dougie (Ridge)

Junior Lake 9 for 9 on steal attempts so far in the AFL.. Future leadoff hitter or more middle of the order if he can figure it out on defense?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

Neither. I guess he's replacing Terdoslavich as this year's "most overrated prospect based on a tiny AFL sample."

mike wants wins (MN)

How worried should we be now about Hicks. He really can't seem to hit the ball. What is more teachable, hitting a strike, or taking a walk?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

He needs to get stronger, and he doesn't recognize offspeed pitches well. Can't think of the last guy I saw like that - knows a ball from a strike, but doesn't adjust to breaking balls or changeups.

Dan (LA)

Definitely agree with the outlook of best person regardless of non-job related traits. Any chance you could link to the podcast por favor? Appreciated as always KLaw!

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

Sure. http://t.co/LkqK3tFH

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

Unshortened: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=7127309

John (Richmond, VA.)

I keep reading about the Nats being interested in Fielder, Darvish, and Sabathia. What have you heard? Any predictions on what they'll do this winter?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

I don't really track FA rumors, but saying that "team with money is interested in three of the top five free agents" isn't all that controversial, I guess.

Joe (Tampa)

Klaw, everyone gushing over LaRussa needs to explain away so many post season under performances with the A's and more recently with the Cardinals 2000 - 2005. If he's the greatest ever how does that square with 2 WS titles in 32 prior seasons, many of them with stacked lineups and pitching?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Don't buck the narrative.

Tim (Haverford)

Heard today that Aroldis Chapman will make appearances in the AFL on October 24th, 27th and 31st. Will you check him out? If yes, what will you look for in his appearances?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

If that's true, I will go to at least one of the three. I'll be at Purke tomorrow in Surprise.

Jeff (Denver) [via mobile]

Have you had a chance to see Arenado this AFL? Numbers don't mean much, but he's among the youngest there and is playing pretty well, no?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

Can hit. I don't think he'll ever be average at third but might have enough instincts to fake it and stay at the position. Below-average defenders at the hot corner are the flavor of the year out here, with him, Marte, Ryan Wheeler, Lake.

John (Richmond, VA.)

You sounded impressed by Derek Norris. Do you see him as trade bait or do the Nats move ramos to make room for him? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

I still think he'll hit. Nothing wrong with the swing or approach. The problem is that you're going to ask, "So why hasn't he hit for average for two straight years?" and I have no answer. He should have, dammit.

James (Washington)

Have you seen Bryce Harper in the AFL? Is he just worn out or does he have more adjustments to make than initially thought?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

He turned 19 over the weekend. He's fine.

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Actually, one thing I will add - I talked to him for a minute in the dugout yesterday, and he's gotten a lot stronger, upper and lower halves, since I last saw him up close.

Mikey (Ann Arbor)

I've read that Jesus Aguilar has impressed in the AFL. Thoughts or projections on him? Can he play 1B?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

He's OK at 1b. Plus power, decent idea at the plate, just really big for his age (257 pounds at 21) which makes you wonder what he'll look like at 25.

Tom (Chi)

Help those who are uninformed (me): If Theo is Prez, but Hoyer isGM with authority for baseball decisions, what exactly does Theo do all day? Play Angry Birds?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I hear he's more of a Carcassonne guy.

Alien (Planet Glarnak)

Nick Punto should bat 4th tonight since he's the best hitter for the Cardinals, right? I've never watched baseball before last night when I landed on Earth, but it seems like with the way the Rangers pitched to him, he's clearly the best hitter for the Cardinals. Maybe in all of baseball.

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Absolutely insane. Why would you want to face Craig with two on/two out than Punto with one on/two out?

Jake (San Clemente)

Hoyer and Co. was in San Diego for two years. Is that enough time for their player development strategies (actually drafting high end talent and growing the scouting department) to stick in their absence? How did Byrnes spend on player dev in AZ?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

The system is loaded right now, one of the best in the game. It seems nuts for Moorad to let the two main architects of that walk away with a fruit basket.

Robbie (Silver Spring, MD)

What's a reasonable expectation from Jerry Sands next year? .260/.330/.430 sound about right?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Maybe lower OBP, more SLG, with below-average defense. That's not an everyday player.

Brian (Indianapolis)

What do you see Brett Jackson's upside being? Should the Cubs have pulled him off the table so soon?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Solid average regular, below-average contact rates/OBP buoyed by position/defense.

VRP (LA)

Is Alex Castellanos anything to get excited about?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Yeah, kind of like the bat, good approach, not sure where he ends up playing though.

DK (Berkeley,CA)

What would you say is Gary Brown's ceiling? Is a Michael Bourn comp reasonable, or is he more of a Carlos Gomez type?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

Plus glove, plus speed, avg to slightly above-avg bat, not many walks, no power. Is that Michael Bourn to you? You're hoping Brown hits .300+ so he can keep the OBP above .350 and add value on the bases.

Eddy (Miami, FL)

Any timetable for your long-awaited iPhone app dish post?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

This one? http://meadowparty.com/blog/?p=1856

Tim (Haverford)

despite the SSS on Grandal in the AFL, he did move up two levels in his first season in the minors, he has to be a big time trade chip for the Reds this offseason, right?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

Rising questions over his receiving ability. Throws well, calls a good game, clanks a lot of pitches most catchers catch. Saw some of that myself last week. I have no explanation for it.

Chris (Chicago)

Hey Keith, here's one more Cubs question for you: who do you see as a more realistic solution as the future at 3B, Vitters or Baez? I know Baez is a SS but from what I've read he'll be moving over the third. Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Baez. If I'm Theo/Jed/JMc, that's the guy I'm most excited to have in the system when I walk in the door.

Tom (Chi)

Thanks for the always appreciated sarcasm, but I was serious when I said I'm uninformed on his potential duties (Although I shouldn't have set you up with the Angry Birds comment, that was a layup for Klaw snark).

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

That depends in large part on the split of duties he and Hoyer agree on - but the President also oversees sales, marketing, corporate sponsorships, possibly stadium ops, and so on.

Jason (St Louis)

Mattingly said the Dodgers need another bat. Could Trayvon Robinson have been that bat? If he hadn't been given away that is.

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Possibly. Have heard they tired of his attitude and temper - he exploded when the Dodgers told him he'd been traded.

brian (brooklyn)

I just saw a picture of Gary Brown...the Bourn or Gomez type doesnt seem like a good comparison. Isnt Josh Hamilton a better comp or maybe Aaron Rowand

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

We're scouting off pictures now?

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

Have you thought about updating the Klaw 100? It's been a while since the last update hasn't it?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

I want to get to the point where I'll be adding at least ten titles to it. I don't think I'm there yet.

Jake (MI)

Porcello for David Wright. Which team says no?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Mets, I presume.

Steven (Kingsport)

Jackson, McNutt and Szczur for Theo? If I am Ricketts, I do all three and walk away laughing at my good fortune. Heck I'd throw in Vitters just to be charitable. One of Theo's strengths is surrounding himself with good people and trusting what they tell him so if they get Hoyer and McLeod too, WOW, just tremendous intellectual capital.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

I agree. These prospects are getting wildly overrated. McNutt is the one guy there with some star potential, but he is low enough probability that I'd be fine parting with him to get one of the game's strongest front offices.

Mike (San Diego)

I think brian was being sarcastic about the Gary Brown comment and how sometimes comparisons only go "skin" deep if you get what I'm saying.

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

If so, then I missed it entirely.

Alfred (Bat Cave (AZ Desert))

If the Cards somehow pull this thing out, how peeved are Rangers fans gonna be regarding the All Star Game determining who gets Home Field Advantage? Last year the Giants got it with a worse record and now a wild card team gets it instead of Texas. Why is Bud doing this?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

I hate the system too, but you can still win a series without home field advantage. Stop giving away outs and put up some runs off the non-Carpenter starters and it won't be an issue.

ray (burlington, NJ)

Keith-thanks for the chat. Is Robbie Grossman a top 100 prospect in 2012?

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Yes.

ar (philly)

is your hunch that Reyes will be massively overpaid versus the other SS FAs? i mean, 120 games from a .340 wOBA, great defensive SS is still 5 wins or so.

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

All top-tier FAs are overpaid. It's the winner's curse. Reyes is in a great spot as the one elite shortstop in a market where many teams need a shortstop.

brian (brooklyn)

Yea that was my intention...I just assumed you were being sarcaistic in your response

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

OK, my bad, I just whiffed on it. Well done.

J Lester (Boston)

I'm at KFC. You want to pick you up anything?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Bucket of extra crispy and some decent beer for a change, Jon.

hannah (bay area, ca)

do any of the yankees younger arms (phelps, noesi, brackman, etc etc..) have a change to do well in their rotation in 2012? have you seen phelps in azfl? phelps has been awful though i'm sure the desert hasn't helped.

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Haven't seen Phelps yet - one of about a half-dozen starters I've missed. I could see Noesi helping the back of the rotation in '12. Banuelos too. Not Brackman.

Nick (OB)

Is CJ Wilson a $100M pitcher?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Under.

Myles (Litchfield, CT)

Does Chris Dwyer make it as a starter? That K:BB rate isn't too pretty.

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

No.

Bob (Seattle)

What's more impressive for a prospect, taking a 90+ heater out the opposite way, or turning on a 90 for a homer?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Opposite field.

Bryan (MA)

The always reliable Alex Speier is reporting that McNutt is part of the Theo comp package. If that's true, where would that put McNutt on the Sox' top prospects list?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

I think I said top 10 yesterday on twitter; probably back of the top 10 is more accurate.

Rob (Houston, baby)

Have you read Lev Grossman's followup to The Magicians yet?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

No. Next year. Got at least 30 books in the queue right now. About 2/3 through Waugh's Vile Bodies right now.

Taylor (Pennsville, NJ)

Hey Keith, anyone surprise you in a positive or negative way at the AFL this year?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

I've got two blog posts up on the AFL and will probably do two more before it's over, which will all answer your question.

Gavin (San Diego)

Is it a given that McLeod is following Hoyer to Chicago? I'm just trying to understand what is going through Moorad's dense skull right now.

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

I believe so, yes.

Matt (Chicago)

If McNutt does become a #2 starter is it worth it?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Can't judge him on what he becomes without considering the probability he'd become that when the deal was struck. If someone gives you stock options that could be worth $1 million in a year but are 98% likely to be worthless, those options are worth $20,000 today, even if they turn out to be worth the full million next year.

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

So do you stick with the order of your book queue pretty religiously then? I struggle to do that and usually end up just picking the ones I'm most eager to read.

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Mostly, yes.

Chris (KC)

I can't find any blog posts for you...links?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Throw http://search.espn.go.com/keith-law in your RSS reader and you'll never miss a thing. Or follow me on Twitter - I tweet every post.

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Or my Facebook fan page or Google+ ... I'm around.

Barry (Werner, CO)

Sweet potato fries: yea or nay?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Nay. Sweet potato chips: yea.

Dan (Atlantic City)

Considering Matt Szczur played his high school and college ball in the Northeast - and that he split his time between football and baseball in college - do you think you could be selling his potential a little short?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

No, not unless he completely overhauls his swing. It's mechanical, not experience.

Jason (St Louis)

Have you read either of the Freakonomics books?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Both. Enjoyed both tremendously.

BD (DC)

Im grilling chicken and trying to keep it reasonably healthy. Olive oil, adobe, garlic powder, and sage? What else am I missing?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Salt. And leave the skin on.

Mike (New York)

More likely to happen in the next five years: The Orioles win the World Series or you eat at an Olive Garden?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Orioles. I am not eating that garbage.

Eli (Toronto)

Have you scouted Hechevaria (sp?) at all in the AFL? If so, thougths?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Yes, more of the same, good glove, plus arm (and throwing better now, not underhanded), little power, little plate discipline, long swing.

Steve (Huntington Beach,CA)

Are you still high on Segura? Could you see his power continuing to develop or is he pretty much maxed out?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

He looks bad out here - body slow, back side collapsing at the plate. Granted he missed a lot of time this year, so he could be rusty and his conditioning may have suffered when he was out, but this is not what I wanted to see.

Patrick (Pittsburgh)

I like the Olive Garden...especially when they have the never ending pasta bowl.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Get out of my chat.

bowie (ca)

if a woman becomes a GM, that is a major breakthrough. are you serious?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

If someone gets a GM gig for which s/he is not qualified because of a demographic consideration, that is not a breakthrough. And that is what you are saying you want. If you want Kim Ng to be a GM, great. Tell me why she is the most qualified candidate. She may very well be so - but her gender is not evidence either way.

Jay (South Riding, VA)

How many times have you met Harper? Is he as cocky as some people claim or does he seem like a normal kid?Also, Ramos or Norris as the Nats catcher in 2 years?Thanks for the chat.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Twice, I believe. I have never found him to be cocky, not in person, not on the field. He's enormously talented at a young age, which I imagine is an awkward thing to manage, and he plays all out all the time, which is kind of what you want, right? Either of those catchers is the right answer; I like Norris more for the long term, but that's not a knock on Ramos.

Brian (Boston)

Have you scouted Oscar Taveras yet?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Yes. High-effort swing. Good plate coverage - maybe great plate coverage. Not much discipline.

Adam (Houston)

Are you going to be doing a Top-100 type article of players under 24 like was discussed on the BS Report? I'd be extremely interested in such a column and I assume most of your readers would be too ;)

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Yes, in about a month. Free agent rankings are next.

John (Wisconsin)

Any reason the umps couldn't get that call off Beltre's foot right last night? You would think at least 1 would have realized it should be a dead ball

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

I was as confused as you are. Thought it was obvious right away, given where he hit the ball off his bat and where it went afterwards.

Jeff (Baltimore)

Klaw, how would you suggest a young MBA candidate get involved in baseball operations?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

If you're getting an MBA, you probably shouldn't look for a career in baseball operations. The ROI will be negative. I got my MBA three years before I switched careers, and if I had known I'd end up in baseball, I'd have skipped the extra degree.

Mike (San Diego)

Maybe the umps missed the call on Beltre, but if Motte would've balked, the umps would've been all over it.

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

The umps' balk obsession has extended to the AFL, in case you were worried about it.

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

Thanks for all the questions - I need to get started on some free agent capsules. I'll be back next week.