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November 3, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

Happy Free Agency Day! Lot of coal in the stockings this year, I'm afraid.

James (Baltimore)

I'm not an Angelos fan, but don't you think it's unfair to blame him for LaCava not taking the job with out knowing what happened behind closed doors? Personally I think it's probably more about Showalter's perceived authority. It's a no win situation for whoever takes the job because if you win Showalter gets the credit and if you lose you get the blame.

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Except that I do know what happened behind closed doors, as do a lot of other people. Danny Knobler nailed it in his column yesterday: Lacava wanted to clean out some longtime Angelos toadies, and Angelos refused to do it. I wouldn't take that job right now if Angelos flew to my house with an offer for $1 million a year and his grandmother's secret recipe for avgolemono. A situation where your underlings have a direct line to ownership is a recipe for long-term failure.

the DCHAV (Wuxi, China)

Hey Keith. Great top 50 free agents. I know it's probably annoying to do but was hoping you would have some predictions on who would have interest in the guys. I was curious the Cubs and Yu Darvish, your thoughts? Also, the Cubs and Grady Sizemore, your thoughts? Thanks!

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

I don't do those predictions for two reasons. One, it's pure speculation, based on little or no actual evidence. Two, I hate reading those predictions, and I don't write things I wouldn't want to read.

BD (DC)

Anything to make of Bryce Harper's recent surge in the AFL?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

I told everyone to stop obsessing over his slow start...

Mike (San Diego)

I'm assuming you're on board with Bernie Miklasz's article today where he basically said if Tito wants the Cardinals job, they should give it to him, right?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Yep. Bernie's on point, as usual.

John (San Francisco)

Just read your top 50 FA piece. Do you think Fielder will command an 8 year deal? Especially without the Red Sox and Yankees engaged in bidding?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

I'm guessing seven years on the top two guys, and no one else in the market gets more than five. (Darvish is a wild card, but I imagine he'll want one of those sub-six-year deals with a no-arbitration clause for early free agency.)

stevek (NYC)

After the World Series, which do you think is a truer conclusion: (1) randomness can surpass even the most boneheaded managerial moves; or (2) LaRussa, at the end of it all, out-managed Wash and that gave the Cards the victory?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

LaRussa outmanaged Washington, but I don't think that gave the Cards the victory in and of itself. That would unfairly denigrate the players' role in it.

Andy (Madison, WI)

When do you release your personal ballot? I can't wait for the accusations of bias and bad math skills costing people awards.

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

The day the NL Cy is announced - November 17th. Or "Nobember" as one of my daughter's friends calls it.

Andrew C (Nashville, TN)

Can't Bud use the "best interest of baseball" clause and force Angelos to give up control of the Orioles?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

Might I point out here that Angelos is a lawyer?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Dammit, the system just ate a question about picking up Maholm's and Cedeno's options. I would have picked up Cedeno's. Fine with them declining Maholm's.

AC (Baldwin)

I always appreciate you honesty. My question is if you are an O's fan the only solution is new ownership correct?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

This is my view, yes. I can't recall any GM candidate ever turning down a job for reasons other than geography before. That should speak volumes.

Mike (DC)

In his most recent AFL appearance, Purke only gave up 3 runs in 1 inning. Quite an improvement! Seroiusly though, concern about the shoulder?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I'm very concerned, but at the same time I don't want to bury the kid - let's at least give him an offseason of strengthening/no pitching and see if it helps.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

If he doesn't fit in either the White Sox's or Cardinal's plans, do you think that Buehrle could be a good fit for the Cubs? The Cubs aren't going to compete next year, but I don't see too much of a fall off in Buehrle's 32 through 34 seasons since he doesn't throw hard anyways. My question is if he could survive the Cubs' defense?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

I like Buehrle for his high level of predictability - he's good for a ton of innings every year, never hurt, no wear on his arm, not likely to decline, but yes, it would make sense to improve the defense if you sign him ... and I figure improving the defense is going to be one of Jed/Theo's main priorities. They showed in Boston that they understood defense's role in run prevention.

Patrick B. (Dallas)

The ranking of Buehrle over CJ is ridiculous. You cite CJ's need for a good defense, yet you give Buehrle, a guy who strikes out only 5 per 9 innings and is essentially a pitch-to-contact pitcher, the nod.I get the walks issue, but that just seems incredibly inconsistent.

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Buehrle has a substantially lower beta, a longer track record of performance, more durability, no injury history, might be the best-fielding pitcher in the game, shuts down the running game... Wilson has more upside, but far lower probability overall. Risk matters.

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Buehrle has allowed 49 stolen bases in his major league career. Wilson has allowed 45 in the last two years. It's a very minor factor, but it's part of how Buehrle gets by with a below-average fastball.

Warren (Dalton, GA)

Do you buy the Fangraphs piece that suggested Fielder has already hit his decline period and that heavy players "fall off the map" at age 30?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

It's a bad body, and not one likely to age well. But I do not believe he's already hit his decline period.

Lerim (Wisconsin)

I'm a Cardinals fan, and I love what Albert has done for us, but does a 10 year contract on a guy already in his 30's make sense at this point? He's worth big money, but for how much longer?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

I wouldn't sign any hitter to a contract that covers his entire late 30s and maybe early 40s. Someone else wants to take that risk, be my guest. In my view, you are absolutely begging for an albatross deal in that scenario.

AN (NYC)

I was surprised that you ranked Darvish so far above Wilson. Are you that convinced that Darvish can come over and translate well or that low on Wilson? Thanks for the chat!

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Little of both.

Greg (NYC)

Keith- Does the fact that the sale of the Dodgers has to go through bankruptcy court change the process of approval at all? Would that make it easier for Cuban- or anyone else MLB isn't totally sold on- to buy a team?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

I brought this up on the podcast yesterday - I think it's good for Dodger fans but not good for MLB/Selig, who like to handpick their owners but may not be able to do so here.

ar (philly)

Where would ryan howard have ranked on your list if he was a FA this year, as he should've been? 30-40?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Too low. I'm obviously not his biggest fan as a player (preeminent!) but you're putting him below some fourth outfielders there.

Joseph (St. Louis)

How likely to you think it is that Pujols actually is older than his listed age? 10% chance? 20%? And how likely is it that this slight uncertainty will impact the contract he gets?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

I'm not sure how to handicap it, but the subject keeps coming up when I'm talking to front office people. If some GMs will shy away, or offer fewer years, because in the backs of their minds they're worried he's a year or two older than his listed age, isn't that relevant to this discussion here?

Your fan (New York)

Is the release of Brackman a bit of a surprise? Could be be a fringe starter for someone?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

I wasn't aware of the clause in his contract that required his release if the option wasn't picked up, so yes, it surprised me. Would not project him as a starter at this point.

Andrew (Centereach, NY)

any chance you put out a mini entry with a list of the top 5 FA at each position without any blurbs?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I'll be doing the Buyers' Guides like last year, starting tomorrow.

Raymond (Baltimore)

This might be a record for O's questions in a chat.. If you were Angelos, who would you turn to next in your search for a puppe... I mean GM

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I can't see any candidate with an ounce of self-respect taking that job.

ar (philly)

Yeah... i was going to say 15-30.. but then remembered that he ruptured his achilles. which seems particularly terrible for his body-type, and general mediocreness.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

OK, I took your question more abstractly and didn't consider the injury. Then you're right, he would have been below 30 because he might miss so mucho f 2012.

Patrick B. (Dallas)

So you ranked CJ lower basically on reasons having nothing to do with getting players out. Cool.

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

I didn't realize being a Rangers homer impeded one's ability to read.

Your fan (New York)

Has Michael Choice's strong AFL changed your opinion on him?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Almost every hitter is having a "strong" AFL.

SW (Lawrence, KS)

Do you have a link to the Danny Knobler column referenced in your response to the first question?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

It's on my Twitter feed.

Keith (LA)

Were you at all disappointed with Austin Wilson's first year at Stanford?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

Yes, but unsurprised. They have such a long track record of screwing up hitters' swings that we should never be shocked when a talented player goes there and doesn't hit.

Wee-Bay (Way Down In the Hole)

Hey Keith,Amazing FA breakdown -- thank you. Let's say you've got a captive audience with Mr. Angelos. What are your first three suggestions for improving his club? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

I feel like there's a Brother Mouzone joke in there somewhere...

Mike (San Diego)

Still have hopes for Jaff Decker, 2011 season notwithstanding?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Yes.

Keith (KC)

Speaking of strong AFL seasons, Wil Myers. He had a bad season marred by injuries, have you seen him much in the AFL and what are your thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

There's something tangible there to change the report - he's moving better, favoring the knee less, driving the ball more. This is the player I ranked in the top 10 coming into the year.

Ian (MPLS)

Holdover question from last week. Which is harder: teaching Joe Benson to take a walk or teaching Aaron Hicks to hit a strike?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Hicks has made some adjustments in that department in the last two weeks, so maybe that's the answer.

Andrew (Centereach, NY)

If Stanford has a track record of screwing up swings and Rice has a history of murdering the arms of pitchers, why do kids still go there?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Great academic schools.

Steve (LBC) [via mobile]

Will Dipoto work a little harder than Reagins did at last years winter meetings...you know, when he showed up a day late and thought he had crawford signed, sealed and delivered?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

I don't think anyone's going to outwork DiPoto.

Scott (Lincolnshire)

Josh Vitters doesn't fit Theo-Hoyer's model, even if he were still a top prospect. Bad defense, doesn't see enough pitches, etc. What in the heck do you do with someone like him? Doesn't have a lot of trade value, so do you promote him and see what you go, or just move on and eat your losses?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

Just let him play and see if he figures something out. You can't make him playable in the field but maybe you can get him to work the count enough to become an extra guy.

Mick (Chicago)

I think baseball takes a credibility hit when awful teams like the Cardinals and Giants win the World Series. How about you?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Neither was the best team in baseball, but don't you think "awful" is a bit of an exaggeration?

Shoshana (Boston)

If you were a long suffering O's fan what would you do? Depressed am I

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Find another team. The one down in DC is headed for some good times.

John (Arlington, VA)

Would a trade of Brett Gardner to the Nationals for Brad Peacock and Ian Desmond make sense for both teams? Nationals get a CF and leadoff hitter and Yankees get a promising starter and someone to take the reigns after Jeter who can play all over the filed in the mean time.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

I'm not president of the Gardner fan club ... but that is such a hilariously awful trade for the Yankees I'm mad at myself for taking the question.

Dan (DC)

Hey Keith just a quick book question. When/are you planning on reading 1Q84

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

When it comes out in paperback.

Mike (STL)

Do you think the Cardinals are in a bit of a no-win spot with Pujols? They almost have to sign him, but doing so might require an 8+ year commitment, which will likely hurt the club long term. Thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

That's a fair assessment. If his listed age is accurate - and, again, that's the only hard evidence we have - I still wouldn't do eight years. We can't project performance out that far, and history says hitters decline over that period, corner bats more than up the middle guys.

neil (boston)

have you heard very much about cavan cahoes?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Expected him to go to college. Rooting for him because he'd be a good story, but he's pretty crude.

Mike (Boston)

Keith, can you direct us to that short ribs recipe that you made yesterday?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Wasn't a formal recipe - I just seared them in a dutch oven, took them out, then threw in mirepoix and a splash of Guinness to deglaze, put everything in the slow cooker with the rest of the Guinness, cooked for six hours on low, removed the bones, cut the meat into chunks, browned in a 450 degree oven for ten minutes. Strained the liquid from the slow cooker into a fat separator and reduced the liquid with some sauteed mushrooms and shallots for a quick sauce. Served with polenta and pan-roasted brussels sprouts with garlic.

Patrick B. (Dallas)

And it's not homerism. It's having to listen to people in the metroplex say that CJ isn't a good pitcher that get's annoying. Apologies for the hostility.

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

He is a good pitcher. I put him in my top ten, and he's one of the only guys on this market who could end up a number 2 in a decent rotation. But I see wide variance in his potential results over the course of the next deal. It's the kind of variance that would make me as a hypothetical GM very nervous.

Rob (Toronto)

Anthony Gose leads the AFL in strikeouts and is walking at a lower than usual rate...still the most exciting player in the AFL or are approach concerns starting to come up again?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Two strike approach needs work, because it's nonexistent. But the swing change had to come first. Not a finished product by any means.

Craig (Bethesda, MD)

Have you read "One of Our Thursdays is Missing" yet? Or do all books go to the back of the queue?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Yes, I'm ffully caught up on Fforde.

John (Atlanta, GA)

so, DVR'd top chef...concerned about the show involving 29 chefs. worth it or just pass until next week?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Haven't watched yet - watched "Sugar" instead since my wife was out and wanted to watch TC with her.

Matt (Atlanta)

How much do injuries play into negotiations? Obviously in a case like Sizemore, it's obvious that teams are scared of his injury risk, but what could it mean for Reyes? Could it mean more of an incentive-based deal rather than guaranteed money up front?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Reyes gets guaranteed money. Sizemore missed enough time this year and last that he'll have to take some of his money in incentives, but Reyes' platform year (2011) was good and healthy enough that he'll get paid.

chuck anderson (oshkosh,wi)

i hear varying opinions on T Bauer vs. G Cole... where do you sit? who has the most upside?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Cole has more upside. Bauer will contribute in the majors first.

Nate (Chicago)

Keith, stats aside, did you see a chance in Brandon Short's approach in the AFL?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

I wish I could say yes, but I can't.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA)

Any idea which of Teheran, Vizcaino, or Delgado will be in the Braves rotation this spring?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

I'm not assuming Hanson is healthy in march, which would put Minor in the rotation and then create a competition for the last spot that I think Teheran would win over those other two guys plus Medlen.

Nick (OB)

IPad games: what is your top recommendation?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

I ranked 15 such apps (for iOS) here: http://klaw.me/npiQkN

Robert (Monrovia, Ca)

You know the system is broken when Darren Oliver is a "Typer A" free agent.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Yep. Screw hard slotting. Just kill the FA compensation system.

Eric (Los Angeles)

Do we get a review of Sugar from you? I love that movie. Curious about your perspective on it.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

It's half written. Will finish later today.

Garrett (California)

Re: Medlen not making the Braves rotation. He's always seemed to me like a guy who would be great as a multi inning reliever who can work in 50 games but through 100-125 innings. I mean he has had success as a starter, can handle to bat enough to bat once in a 3-4 inning appearance. Seems to me to be an ideal way to help solve Fredi's bullpen management. But of course, is Fredi smart enough to do this? or is Wren smart enough to make him do this?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Yep, I agree. Not a starter, but a very good reliever candidate. No team seems willing to use that reliever model, though. Maybe the Cubs will do it now. Someone has to try it.

matt (cleveland)

Loved your top 100 list...wondering if you are a fan of "Babbitt" by Sinclair Lewis, its my personal fave and would seem to be up your alley. Do you see a major league future for the Indians with Luis Aguilar? Had a great year in Kinston. Thanks

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Haven't read it - only "Arrowsmith" (brilliantly written, but the story falls apart), with "It Can't Happen Here" next in my queue. Do you mean Jesus Aguilar? Huge raw power, worried about the body, not sure if the approach is good enough. Absolutely a prospect, but with a wide span of potential outcomes.

JR (Vegas)

Looking at some of the long term deals that have been handed out the past few years is laughable. It's almost as if the system needs to be reversed. Let everyone be a free agent at 18 and then once you reach age 32 you are forced to go into arbitration year to year.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

I imagine that wouldn't go over well - but it's true, free agency is an annual lesson in the winner's curse that the students fail every year.

Mick (Chicago)

I'm looking for the next really exciting shortstop prospect in the mold of Jose Reyes. Is he breathing here on earth?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Profar comes to mind.

Matt (Minneapolis)

Favorite scene from The Wire so far?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Season 1 has to be "Where's Wallace?" Season 2 is either Prop Joe talking about family with Sergei, or McNulty saying "You're late."

Anderw (San Diego)

KLaw, thoughts on the DiPoto hiring? Seems like a perfect fit with his player development background and the Angels' need to beef up the farm. What's his reputation within the industry?

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Outstanding hire. Perfect fit across the board.

Logan (NC)

2 questions. Any chance we get a team in NC anytime soon? What are the more likely destinations for Jose Reyes?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

I don't see a team in NC any time soon. MLB doesn't seem to have any interest in expansion and I don't know if any team is moving in the next few years. No clue on Reyes - that's not really my department - although I would think the Giants and Brewers would call on him, given their in-house SS options.

Derek (Cleveland)

Did the indians make the right moves with the sizemore and carmona options?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Probably wouldn't have picked up Carmona's. I might have non-tendered him and tried to re-sign him at a lower salary, for fear an arbitrator would overpay him based on his counting numbers.

Joe (MI)

Seems strange to me that the Cardinals would consider Sandberg to replace Larussa, considering he's never coached in the big leagues. Is he a viable candidate?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

He's at least got managerial experience in the minors, which I think is important.

Ray (Burlington, NJ)

What are the chances Cuban buys the Dodgers since the court is making the call?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

Said he wouldn't pay a billion for them. I imagine he'll kick the tires, though.

Jeff (Sacramento)

Is the return of Posey and Sanchez enough for the Giants to win the NL West next year or do they need at least one more bat, i.e. Beltran?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Need another bat. But Arizona isn't invulnerable.

Jeff (Sacramento)

Like the Javier Lopez resigning but not sure about Affeldt. Wise move to pick them both up for next year?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Affeldt shocked me. Have always loved the arm but that's too much money for a middle guy.

chuck anderson (oshkosh,wi)

Is Don Mattingly in danger becuz of the Dodgers sale? He struggled with in-game decisions in a bad way...

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

The direct result of hiring a manager with no managerial experience. That stuff matters. I don't think Mattingly is a dumb guy, but you want your manager to have already learned from making those mistakes in the minors.

Mike (San Diego)

If Sandberg does get the job, you could probably tick off two fanbases by talking about how the most overrated manager of all time is being replaced by the most overrated second baseman of all time. Maybe not completely true, but it's arguable...

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Wow. At my most evil I didn't think of that. Love it, though.

Joe (MI)

Does Oquendo's experience managing in the WBC count?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

No. You couldn't seriously expect me to say yes to that.

Phil (Toledo)

The braves seemed like they wanted lowe out of town the second they could move him.. Do you think he gathers himself a bit this year in cleveland or was this a better move by ATL to get him out?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Better move by ATL. Not a bad pickup for $5MM for Cleveland, but I am not projecting a big bounceback year.

William (Chicago)

Why haven't teams tried a more radical pitching approach. Like having only a three man rotation and having that pitcher pitch only a few innings at a time. Then you do the same with the pen. This could help teams with injury prone pitchers and help teams keep their best pitchers always pitching.

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Inertia is very strong in this industry.

Kevin (Jersey)

Are you a Deven Marrero believer?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Yes.

Ben (SLC)

Starting to plan your TGiving menu yet? Also, what do my Rockies do at 3b next season?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Just the three of us so I might go off the board and skip the turkey for duck instead. Find a placeholder for a year and wait for Arenado, most likely.

ty (san diego)

is marquess renowned for ruining pitchers' arms as well?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Yes.

Ryan (South Bend)

I can't believe you like Robbie Grossman. Happy, but shocked. Is Fat Pedro done? Will Cutch eventually be a 30-30 guy? Do you like Dippin' Dots?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Why shocked? Good player. Pedro: No, but uphill battle. McCutchen: I could see that. Dippin' Dots: Never had them.

Jorge (Anaheim)

Klaw,Do you think Hank Conger can be a legitimate big league catcher? I have my doubts

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

I think he can.

Greg (LA)

I know that we discount hitting in Arizona, but what about lack of hitting? Trout's been average at best.

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

He's visibly tired - 20 years old, been playing almost nonstop since early March.

Ian (MPLS)

Is the Florida catcher - Zuniga? - a legit option at #2 to the Twins?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Zunino. Possible, not that likely right now.

Jon (NYC)

Any chance the Mets would consider hiring Eddie Bane to replace Chad MacDonald (who left for the Padres this afternoon), or is his philosophy on players too far afield from Alderson and Co.?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Don't know, but Bane should be someone's scouting director - he was fired by the GM who subsequently traded Napoli for Wells.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Thanks for all the questions - I need to cut this short to head to the studio to appear on Outside the Lines today at 3 pm ET/noon PT to talk free agency. I'll be back next week to do this again.