We're pushing Keith's chat back to 3 p.m. ET.
Sorry for the long absence, but I guess it's not a secret why I was AWOL. We're back on schedule now.
KLaw: asked this on Twitter last night: I know it's not a super-consequential move, but thoughts on Vogelsong for 2/$8.3M?
Not a big fan of guaranteeing two years to an older player who's had half that many productive seasons. But the Giants' logic probably includes Vogelsong's imminent free agency, so the second year of the deal was much higher in value (on the market, at least) than the first. I'm just seeing far more chance this goes sour right away than that it succeeds for the Giants, even though the money isn't all that huge, because Vogelsong's pre-2011 track record is so dim.
Keith,What are your thoughts on the Mets handing Fernando Martinez over to the Astros? Seems like mismanagement on the Mets part and a shrewd pickup for the Astros. Is having DJ Carrasco and his 6.02 ERA really more important to the Mets than keeping F-Mart? His stock has certainly fallen, but he's still just 23 and could hit if he manages to get healthy.
My understanding is that Martinez' leg issues are serious and chronic, if not actually degenerative. I don't see the argument here.
Your evaluation of Choice is that his swing is problematic but all I hear from Choice, his Single A hitting coach and A's management is he's simplified his swing greatly. When is the last time you saw Choice and have you seen any improvement? Are you still not high on him?
Saw him in AFL. Same guy.
Anyone who doesnt vote Maddux first ballot deserves to have their vote taken away, right?
Honestly, I'm much more disturbed by the (anonymous, apparently) voters who abused their privilege this year by voting for players like Eric Young and Bill Mueller who, while fine big leaguers, have absolutely no place in the Hall. Take your responsibility as a voter seriously or give up your ballot entirely. If you want to make a mockery of the ballot, then you shouldn't have the right to vote. That's far worse than failing to vote for a candidate who's going to sail on 98% of ballots.
Klaw can you please explain why or if there is a rush for teams to sign their arbitration eligible by tomorrow? I know they can agree at anytime up to their hearing date, so is there any significance getting it done by tomorrow?
Once teams file, there's a lot less room to negotiate because lines in the sand have been drawn, publicly (within the industry at least), so settling on either side of the midpoint becomes a 'win' for one side.
Keith,on the podcast, Buster suggested Dave Duncan for HOF. I like that - what say you?
We don't have great precedent for putting coaches in, but I think Duncan would be a great choice. He had far more to do with the Cardinals' two WS wins in the last six years than TLR did.
It is my birthday today, is an insider subscription something worth treating myself to?
I may be biased, but I think so.
Who do you see as the long term solution for the Yankees at catcher? Montero, Romine, Sanchez? None of the above?
Kind of feel like none of the above. Sanchez is at least young enough that a massive improvement behind the plate remains possible.
What are you willing to tell us about your decision to stay at ESPN and not join Houston's front office?
Out of respect for the Astros, I'm not divulging any details about the position, the offer, or even my decision beyond saying that I made the right choice for myself and my family.
Just so you know, if you're working for the Astros right now, my Insider subscription gets cancelled. Thanks for sticking around.
Well thank you for that. It's only possible for me to stick around because enough of you value my work, and it's a privilege to be here writing for you.
If you were the commissioner, what is the first thing that you would do?
There's a long list, but ending interleague play, adding two teams, imposing the DH on both leagues, increasing umpire accountability, expanding use of instant replay, enforcing the obstruction/interference rules on plays at the plate, and working to boost the sport's audience overseas would all be high on it.
What are your thoughts on Archie Bradley? What kind of ceiling and does he have the stuff to be one of the best pitchers from this years draft class?
Number one starter ceiling.
Where will Carlos Martinez wind up in your top 100?
Very high. Speaking of which, the tentative run date for the prospects package has been pushed back one week to roughly February 1-3.
It increases the chances that I will delete every question you submit to the chat (which the software allows me to do with two clicks). Please don't - I try to read as many as I can, and clogging the queue (it is a queue, constantly updating) with the same question over and over doesn't help me get to everyone.
Vote totals for Jack Morris and Lee Smith went up- we'll get them in the Hall yet!
(tightens grip around RBIs' neck)
I find the obsession with HOF induction and the awards annoying and frustrating. I understand the self-interest that leads writers to emphasize these things as "important topics," but I don't know what my fellow fans get out of it. If they like results in sports that are determined by the voting of bystanders, they should go watch figure skating or boxing.
I will say this: If readers didn't care, I wouldn't write about it. I haven't been to the HoF in over 20 years and don't see myself going any time soon. My only real interest in this is in watching the dinosaurs of the business continue to pretend the teams they cover are still operating under a philosophy that died a decade ago.
The Olive Mill + The Pork Shop > Houston. People need look no further than this.
I need to get to The Pork Shop. We don't have enough commerce from local farms out here. I know the farms exist, but very few sell to the local public.
What are the chances Cashner can evolve(right word?) in to a starter eventually? Is it a matter of improving the change?
I'd say 10% or less. Doubt his shoulder will hold up.
In your experience, can a guy like Brett Jackson learn to make more contact, or a guy like Josh Vitters learn to swing at fewer questionable pitches?
I don't think either happens, but I think it's easier to make a hitter less aggressive than get a hitter to make more contact.
Keith, do you think that Jacob Turner for 2 yrs of Matt Garza would be a wild overpay for the Tigers?
No. But adding Castellanos (which I don't think is going to happen at all) to Turner would be.
Forgot to ask, have you seen Moneyball yet and if so what did you think about it? Any 2011 draftees you see making a splash this year outside the obvious ones?
They made a movie out of "Moneyball?"
Klaw, the guy you addressed on Twitter...the one with the blank ballot. How much does it frustrate you when guys like him defend their decisions with vague reasoning such as: "I thought Bagwell was very good, but not quite great" - knowing that guy gets a vote until he dies just kinda makes me angry.
This is why you've seen single-season award voting improve dramatically over the last few years while HoF voters remain stuck in the dark ages, voting for a decidedly average pitcher like Jack Morris (same ERA+ as AJ Burnett!) even though the industry has just passed these voters by. Teams know better. Isn't it our responsibility to know better too?
Does Nyisztor leaving Rutgers affect his draft stock at all?
The reason he left Rutgers is what's affecting his draft stock. He's off my radar for now.
Still wanted to ask, any prospects from the 2011 draft you see making a splash outside the obvious ones? Thanks.
Bauer and Hultzen are the obvious ones, I assume? I mean, if the Dodgers wanted to leave Chris Reed in the pen, he could certainly pitch in the majors right away, but they intend to start him (good call).
Would Russell Wilson have been a top prospect if he hadn't decided to pursue football?
No. Athlete, very little baseball skill. I was surprised he was drafted as high as he was, given his age and relative crudeness.
After your experiences with Houston do you feel the Astros are on the right track??
I think that's fair game - yes, I do. Without saying anything specific about what I was told, yes, I felt very optimistic about their long-term future. But it's not going to happen quickly. That organization probably has less talent top to bottom (including the MLB roster) than any in baseball, so they don't have many major league assets left to trade for prospects, and the farm system isn't strong enough to make them competitive sooner.
Why does the NCAA let a head coach leave his team and coach right away (like the Wagner HC) a little more than a month to go before the seasons starts but if a player did it for the same reason (closer/better for his family) he would have to sit a year?
Because the NCAA treats its players as if it is doing them a favor by letting them play revenue-generating sports for free.
Do you know if Jorge Soler is going to be restricted to baseball's new CBA with regards to how much teams can spend on him since he's only 19 or is that policy not in effect yet? Thanks.
No, he's going to benefit from being one of the last cows out of the barn before the door closes. I could see him getting an eye-popping number as a result.
The chances of Darvish not signing with the Rangers are lower than the chances of the Astros winning the World Series in 2012, right?
I agree. He's signing. His BATNA sucks.
Edwin Jackson isn't going to get the five years he wants. Would 2 years 24 mil be fair for the player and signing team?
Isn't going to get the five years he SAYS he wants. If he asks for three, he won't get four. So ask for five.
Thoughts on Wada/ Chen? At least The Duke isn't filling up on 4th OF's
I like Chen, not Wada.
I have yet to hear a really good argument for the DH. Please explain your love.
Pitchers can't hit. Does that clear it up for you?
Is Cashner really all the Padres could get for Rizzo? Seems crazy to trade Rizzo for a RP. No?
Crazy, no. But I wouldn't have done it.
How about a sneak peak at your prospects list: which minor leaguer made the biggest leap from one year ago to today in your eyes?
No, sorry. I'm avoiding most of these questions because the list is coming out soon. I don't want to preempt the list, and I don't want to say something now that changes in three weeks as I go through the process.
Pitchers cant hit, but they can kinda bunt and people do love them some small ball.
They love small ball because several generations of writers - who think Jack Morris is a HoFer - have told them that small ball is beautiful. I have been evaluating players for a living, via one method or another, for a decade now. Small ball makes me want to stab myself in the eye. Give me hitters who can hit.
Where do you fall on the HR/FB argument, controllable by some or all luck all the time?
Controllable by some. Maybe controllable by most over a large enough sample.
Will Cespedes' decision to play in winter ball increase his asking price?
I think it will increase his floor, rather than his highest offer. There will be more comfort level with him if he's seen playing in games.
I know it is early for MLB Draft talk but what do you know about Jamies Winston?
I get the sense he's going to play college football.
Is Harper's power a 70? Higher?
That's 80 raw. Or just 8, for teams that go 2-8 instead of 20-80.
Can you asnwer this? What has to happen for a player to be excluded from the list? Does one day of service time do it?
Rookie status. If you're no longer a rookie, you're dead to me.
What goes into grading the hit tool? Seems like it has the most components you have to consider.
Hardest tool to evaluate. Power is fairly easy. Run/arm tools are really easy. Glove is probably second hardest. Hit tool is a function of swing mechanics, bat speed, athleticism, approach, pitch recognition, and more. All in one tidy little number.
The Pirates appear to be waiting (again) on the next group of pitchers to reach the majors (Cole, Taillon, Heredia, McPhearson). Does it make sense to deal McCutchen in the next year to get multiple pieces that have the same expected ML arrival date? Doesn't sound like they'll get McCutchen signed to an extension that will cover some FA years.
They're not shopping McCutchen, but they will listen, because he wants Justin Upton money and they don't want to give it to him.
Please tell people to quit playing off of my twitter handle and to come up with their own gimmick.
I was talking to Pud Galvin the other day and he agrees completely.
I am so glad you are staying, our snarktastic friend! Ceiling for Lindnor still mlb regular? I guess he doesn't do one thing great?
Better than that. Legit SS with a chance to hit for average? That's an above-average regular, at least.
I just ate at the Queen Creek Olive Mill in late December. We loved it! Do you think the Tigers could eventually get Garza with a trade package of Drew Smyly, Rob Brantly, and maybe Casey Crosby? Thank you.
Great place. No, that's way too light in my opinion.
Cubs: Like or no like offseason moves? To me they got 2 rotation guys and a possible start 1st baseman for 1 year of Sean Marshall, Cashner's shaky shoulder, and Zambrano. Win, win, win. But I'm biased. Professional thoughts?
Mostly like. Also liked the Ian Stewart acquisition.
Can we look forward to you rejoining Karabell on the podcast in the not too distant future?
I hate the DH b/c it doesn't force most managers to think. AL ball is boring compared to NL.
No, that's backwards. Pitcher coming up to bat in a key situation is an automatic PH. There's no thinking there - you MUST pinch hit. So pitchers get pulled even if they have another 20 pitches in them on that particular day. With the DH, the manager's decision on pulling a pitcher is far more discretionary.
Thoughts on Republican nomination?
I turned that down too.
Hi KLaw, can Leonys Martin produce enough to win the CF for the Rangers?
Thoughts on Kendricks extension?
Liked it, because I think he's still got some improvement ahead of him.
Thoughts on Chris Sale as a starter this year?
I do not believe that arm action works as a starter.
I keep reading that you should spend about as much on your burr grinder as you do on your espresso maker. If that's the case mine is inadequate, but I like my espresso just fine. You think I'll notice the difference if I upgrade?
My burr grinder cost half of what my espresso machine cost (and neither was that expensive, relatively speaking). If you have a real burr grinder, you're fnie.
Thoughts on Scott Boras' off-season?
I think it just started.
KLaw, how would you change/improve the HOF voting if given the chance?
I'm not a fan of the binary system - no vote for ten years, but then a vote for life? How many absurd ballots have we seen from writers who haven't sniffed a game in years? (That's not universal, of course; some retired writers take the vote seriously, some don't.) If I've covered the game for five years, have I not learned most of what I'd need to learn to be able to vote intelligently? Do we need a longer period before we grant the permanent ballot? Or could the length of post-career ballot be tied to the length of career - for every year you worked, say, you get an extra year after you leave the BBWAA?
Nothing more exciting than watching an early 2 out rally go Single -> Double -> Int. Walk -> Pitcher weakly waving at strike 3.
Do you like the odds of Don Cooper being able to correct whatever it is that went wrong with Simon Castro the last few years?
I like his odds more than I like the odds of most coaches doing so. It will be interesting - Castro has a good arm, but the mechanics aren't good and he's not athletic.
When does Derek Norris supplant Kurt Suzuki due to Suzuki's upcoming arb years?
In the next year.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara - do you whisk egg into pasta OR whisk egg whites in and nest yolk in center ?
Beat eggs together, then whisk into warm pasta.
I like your idea of everyone's ballot being public.
Would help enforce accountability, at least.
Keith,I recall you mentioning that Charlotte probably couldn't support a MLB team. I know it's a smallish market, but it already supports NFL, NHL and NBA teams. Why not MLB? Do you think MLB should expand any time soon? If so, to what markets?
Population and corporate base required to support MLB are higher than those other sports. (Did Charlotte get an NHL team while I was snoozing through the neutral-zone trap years?) I think Austin/San Antonio is the most natural untapped area for a team - an NL team now, I suppose, since we have two AL teams in Texas.
Keith, is the Stros Johnson an every day third baseman?
Read something that said Philadelphia gets the 14th pick in the first round this year from Madson signing with Cinci, but you said due to the new CBA, that this will just be a sandwich pick instead. Can you clear this up?
That was Jim Callis' information and I believe he's correct. But he made the call to MLB to confirm it. I'm just passing it along.
I recently visited Phoenix/Scottsdale and went to Culinary Dropout, Arcadia Farms and The Breakfast Club. All were good. Have you been to the last two? I stayed at the Biltmore. It kicked butt.
Only the first two. Both very good.
It seems like all writers, and fans assume that Garza will be traded before Spring Training. Do you see a scenario where Theo does not see enough significant value in return, and he keeps Garza? Or, has that ship sailed?
Yes, I don't see them trading him for its own sake.
Will you be doing the team-wide top 10s and sleeper prospects as well this year?
Yes. We agreed to push it back rather than drop any part of the package.
Where do you see Liam Hendricks ceiling at? #2 or 3?
If you add those two numbers together, then yes, that's right.
I see a lot of your tweets have been about Downtown Abbey. Does this mean you stopped watching the Wire? Did you finish it or are you watching both?
Both. I watch DA with the wife, Wire on my own.
Top Chef question. Is Beverly very smart and knows that the judges only care about what each chef plates - so she doesn't waste time helping out her teammates? Or is she clueless and doesn't understand why people don't like her?
I think she lacks social awareness. I feel a little sorry for her, because this is the wrong environment for (what we see of) her personality type.
What do you think of Cechinni? Would he be a good pick at #7 or would that be a reach?
Right now, that looks like a terrible reach.
Will the Astros continue to be subject to the famous KLaw snark as they always have been, or do you have to give them a grace period, given what you've just been thru?
NOBODY gets a reprieve. But I admit it would be hard for Luhnow to do anything to make them worse right now.
Which prospect has been the biggest disappointment in your eyes over the last few years--someone you were certain was going to be a star, and just couldn't put it together?
This might be a weird question, but at least for me it's not intuitive: are blown saves as irrelevant as saves? For example, I think of Jordan Walden as a budding relief ace, but I'm somewhat confounded by the 10 BS. Do I just need to let that go?
Yes, let it go. Terrible stat.
"THERES'S NO CRYING ON TOP CHEF!"
They should pipe those words into the house at night to subliminally influence the chefs.
Have you ever tried Persian Food?
Yes, but not often enough. Always liked what I've had.
Have you heard from Jason Grey? I see he landed in TB.
No, he's all big-league now.
Who do you like better at closer if Sale is moved to the pen. Sale or Reed?
Reed. But either order would work - they would be one of the best game-ending combos in the game in a year or two.
I know you won't believe me... but "Chopped" has improved significantly
Oh, they changed hosts?
Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy? Thoughts?
No. No interest.
Would you rather have a guy with great makeup, average talent, or great talent, below average makeup?
Give me talent. People can mature.
Which prospect has been the biggest surprise to you, someone you didn't think highly of, in recent memory?
Ian Kinsler. I think I was with Toronto when he was drafted, and he wasn't on our radar (IIRC he had an injury his junior year), and then when he raked in low-A it looked like just another older college guy beating up on bad competition. Every time I've thought he's reached his peak, he's improved.
thoughts on Starling Marte as a pro, regular, all-star, or 4th OF?
I think he's either a 55 (above avg regular) or a 45 (extra guy), but not in between.
Since you apparently "listened" or "entertained" a front office offer from Houston, does that mean you're open or interested in others?
Let me put it this way. I don't close doors. If a door closes after I choose not to pass through it, that's fine. I have no need to work in a front office again, but that doesn't mean I'd rule it out permanently.
Beau in NOLA - email me. I can try to help you with that offline.
Cupcake shops have caught on big in recent years. What would you say to a shop that only focused on pies?
I went to one in St. George, UT, a few years ago. Shockingly, they made good pies.
Have you played Navegador yet? It plays in 90 minutes with lots of tough choices.
Yes, once. Excellent.
Anthony Rizzo long term evaluation?
I'd refer you to my blog post on that trade.
do you agree with the idea that the nats shouldnt spend big money on fielder and should move zimmerman over to first in the next year or so to open up 3b for rendon due to zimmerman's throwing issues?
I'd like to see Rendon's shoulder get healthy before I commit to a plan like that.
You mentioned personality type. Willing to share your Myers-Briggs?
Why would I even know what my Myers-Briggs type was?
Rumors on what happens if Yu-Darvish doesn't sign. Free Agent next year or post 2013?
He's going to sign.
Going to be in AZ the third week in March to watch my kids play in tournaments there. Which complex is the best to go out and watch the minor leaguers work out and play?
They're not all that fan-friendly. I'd just pick the one that's most convenient to you. Except Maryvale (Brewers). Don't go there.
I thought Rendon had ankle issues?
OK, gotta get back on the phone for the prospect stuff. Thanks for all the questions, and the support earlier this week. It means a lot to me.