Klawchat: Vulgus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.
Keith, After the trade of Chris Young, it appears that the Diamondbacks CF job is Adam Eaton's to lose. WIth a full season of at bats, what kind of year do you think Eaton can have? He doesn't appear to have current power, but does he have above average on base skills and speed? Do scouts expect him to eventually have power? Thank you.
I think he'll hit for average, walk enough to post an OBP in the .360+ range, and hit 15 or so homers, with no worse than average defense.
Could we be at a point where it just doesn't make any sense to sign FA relievers unless they are reclamation project type bargains?
We were there five years ago. Some GMs (coughNedcough) just haven't caught on.
Why don't you believe in me like you do Reddick, who's OBP was only .305 last year?
Your pitch recognition is substantially worse, and you're a year older, and you're less athletic.
General comments on Gold Glove selections? Or just don't care?
I don't think they're any kind of measure of defense - often they're a measure of offense, or just of fame - but they weren't as awful as usual this year. Trout and Bourn got stiffed, and really so did Brendan Ryan.
I'm taking a break from my Steak and Steak lunch to ask if the Padres would be wise to do a "reverse Mat Latos" trade? The premise is that the Padres have a lot of B level prospects and would be wise to package 3 or 4 of them for an A prospect or one of the Rays arms. What sya you Keith Law?
I agree with the principle, especially with the fences coming in, but I don't think the Rays trade one of their arms for a package of quantity. They're in the driver's seat this offseason without a lot of quality arms available in trade and only one truly premium arm in free agency.
On the podcast you stated that you thought ARods issue had to be the hip. Was that your opinion as an analyst or wishful thinking as a fan not wanting to see one of the greatest players of all time reduced to a shadow of his former self?
I guess you could argue both. He's not rotating his hips like he used to and the power that used to come from his lower half is gone. The wishful thinking part is that I think or hope an offseason of rest will help.
What do you think about Darwin Barney? Gold Glove winner, and was top 15 in the NL in WAR.
Wildly overrated by advanced defensive stats due to the overshift. He's a bench player in reality, and one you'd be hard-pressed to use in the era of 12- and 13-man pitching staffs because he can't play short.
You have mentioned several times (here and on Twitter) that the Orioles need to make some major roster moves to have a chance to contend in 2013. I agree and, other than SP, 1B, 2B & LF, what would you address? Thanks.
I'd try to use Hardy to fill one or more of those holes, sliding Machado to his natural position at short. I'd also want to move Jones to left and get a better defender in center. I wouldn't spend a dime on the bullpen.
Did you get many looks at Javier Baez this year? Reviews about his bat and defence have been great thus far. Is there any reason to be skeptical based on his lack of patience?
Yes, before he left the AFL. Best bat speed out here. Swings at everything and then some.
Despite being young for his level, the reports on Joc Pederson have not been promising. What do you think the young man's future holds?
Fourth outfielder. He's not a great athlete, and I'm not sure he's going to hit enough to overcome that.
Think of package of Mike Morse and either Espinosa or Lombardozzi could pluck James Shields from TB?
Not even close.
On a scale of 1-10 how insane will it be if Raffy Soriano gets something like 4/60?
Worse MVP? Ryan Howard over Pujols in 2006 or Cabrera over trout? At least Cabrera has a solid case for being the second best player.
Juan Gonzalez winning, ever.
How did Posey win the Hanks Aaron Award over Braun?
Same reason he'll win the MVP in a walk over Braun. Posey never failed a test. Braun did, won the appeal, and now he's paying for it. I'm not saying it's right, but that's what it is.
With people already signing, why is ESPN waiting to post your FA list?
No free agent can sign with a new team until tomorrow night at midnight. The FA list will go up then.
So let me get this straight....Barney is wildly overrated in WAR because of defense, but Trout should get MVP over Cabrera because of the defensive aspects of WAR? I don't understand why MLB teams aren't knocking down your door!
You don't have it straight. Trout should get MVP over Cabrera because he was a better player, period. He had a slightly higher OBP, slightly worse SLG (hurt by his home park), added more value on the bases, added more value on defense, and played a slightly tougher position. You don't need WAR to see this. As for Barney, the advanced metrics still struggle with overshifts. They also struggle with defense at first.
Ha! Your MVP didn't even win a Gold Glove. So much for your argument of the importance of def....... no, I can't even finish this KlawBait with a straight face. Though I suspect you've been getting real comments and tweets like that based on what I've seen previously.
A few. Or people who think I'd be upset about this. It's funny how many Tigers fans don't realize that if Cabrera had actually had the better season, I'd be touting him for MVP.
The Chicago Trib had a nice little piece on Santos Rodriguez who fared well in the AFL. Do you think he can be a nice power arm in the pen next year. I believe he would have to be added to the 40 man roster or risk being picked in the Rule 5 draft. Thanks for the great work.
Power arm with poor command. He could be Nate Jones. He could walk a guy an inning and disappear. You want guys like that in the system, but I would never bank on someone like that to turn the corner. I do think he'd be taken in rule 5 if unprotected.
Any idea what kind of prognosis we can expect for Matt Purke? Apparently he "just" had some bursa sacs removed (which sounds gross), but his labrum and other structures looked very good.
I'm pessimistic. Arm action was never clean, and I don't see how that surgery will give him back the velocity he's been missing for two years.
At one point, you advocated Desmond and Espinosa switching positions (with which I agreed). Then, in 2012, Desmond made what may be a quantum (and long-term?) improvement both offensively and defensively. Espinosa, meanwhile, became a strikeout machine, although he still showed some power and excellent defense at both second and short (when Desmond was hurt). Do you think Esipinosa can show the same offensive improvement in his third year, or is this what he is? Thanks!
I think this is probably what he is. With Desmond making (as you said) a huge leap - mentally, not just physically - on defense, maybe they should look to move Espinosa to a team that needs a SS?
What do you think the odds are of seeing Mason Williams and D. Bichette Jr in the Yankees lineup by the end of 2014?
Williams, maybe 20-25%. Bichette, zero.
I have noticed some articles that have speculated that Swisher might not be a great fit for some teams due to his personality. Do you buy any of that?
I do not.
Is there any hope for BJ Upton to become the player that people thought he would be when he was a prospect? It seems like whichever team signs him could get some surplus value if he ever figures it out.
I do think so, given his age and history of plate discipline before this year.
So by all accounts several teams are flush with cash and at the same time the next two free agent classes are very weak. On top of that you can't spend more in the draft or in the international market. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Are you kidding me? This is going to be *hilarious*.
Even after his TJ surgery, are there 10-15 other players from the 2012 draft you would rather have than Giolito?
Would it make sense for the Astros to trade Jose Altuve now while he has value? It would appear that Deshields is there 2B of the future and could be up sometime in 2013. Does that make no sense at all?
No sense because I don't see any way DeShields is ready next year.
You're a GM and you get to choose from any of the NL East's crop of RFs. Who do you take? Heyward, Stanton, or Harper?
Heyward. Best combination of current production (offense and defense) and future potential.
I know people consider this a week free agent class, but don't people say that every year?
It's a weak top tier, but there's a lot of depth. 30-50 on my list isn't as bad as the last few years.
What kind of hitter will Christian Bethancourt be? He obviously has no power, I'm guessing he's not very fast. Will his defense be enough to make him a starter?
He has power, but he falls into the "can't hit for power if you can't hit" category. Defensively he was ready for the majors a year ago.
If Atlanta loses Bourn, which it appears that they will, do you think Heyward could move to center and be at least average defensively there?
Do you think Josh Donaldson's improvements are real enough for him to be a starting MLB 3B? The A's seem to think so.
Heyward: No.Donaldson: Probably not. Never hit in the minors. And I admit I was quite high on him out of college.
I am curious as to why Shelby Miller is always ranked so far ahead of Trevor Rosenthal. From watching these two quite a bit this past year, it appears Rosenthal has a better fastball and better secondary stuff?
Miller has better secondary stuff.
Andrelton Simmons,,,,can he reach 10-20 home runs in a season? looks like he has good bat speed...
I'll bet the under.
Any advanced statistics or numbers suggest that Trout can not repeat 2012 numbers next season?
His BABIP was very high, even for a speed guy - but it's not like we have a history of lower BABIPs for him to base it on.
Did you scout Delmon Young when he was in high school? How did he get so out of shape? I can't imagine a guy with that body would go anywhere near the top of the first round.
Saw him in the AFL that year, but I was still learning the basics of evaluation so I couldn't give you an opinion other than that I was shocked at how physically mature he looked for ~18. He fit right in with guys 4-5 years older.
Could the recent elblow surgery for Romero suggest that his problems this season were because of the injury? If that's the case, how much do you fault the Jays training staff with all the injuries this season but letting him pitch through it?
I hope so, for the Jays' sake. There's no other reasonable explanation for how God-awful he was.
What do you see as Oscar Taceras' ceiling! Thanks.
Star. Possible MVP candidate.
The GG award was already debased before this year. Since the best outfielder in MLB did not win should we just stop recognizing the existence of the award?
It's not going away. Better to rage against the machine.
Would you go three years on Laroche if you're the Nats? Do you match such a deal or let him walk?
I'd let him walk.
Trevor Bauer - overhyped to begin the year? over criticized for his weak showing in the majors? Somewhere in between? Who is a comparable for him. This relocated DBack fan needs to know what to expect!
Probably in between the two. I think his major league time was impacted by the groin strain, but I also think he's really being stubborn about trying to get guys to chase stuff out of the zone, even when he's behind in the count. He has the stuff to miss bats within the zone, but until he pitches that way, he's going to struggle, not just with walks but with giving up hard contact in hitters' counts.
Is Chris Tillman a # 4 pitcher at this point? Looked to have turned the corner finally...How do you view him?
I think he'll be more than that with a full 2013 season.
Does kicking Kenny Williams upstairs and replacing him with Rick Hahn change anything for the White Sox philisophicaly?
I think it's an upgrade, to be honest. They'll be more thorough in their processes and I think there will be more emphasis on development.
I've seen you say on Twitter to ignore AFL stats..any explanation as to why? Should most winter league stats just be thrown out?
The sample sizes are small, it's a hitter's league in general, and the caliber of competition can vary widely within a game.
Is Logan White a credible or fringe candidate for a GM job? He's had productive draft strategies and the talent evaluation philosophy seems sound.
Very credible. Surprised he hasn't gotten more interviews.
Billingsley is supposedly throwing "pain free." Were they wise to hold off on TJS or have they only delayed the inevitable?
Inevitable. When has that ever worked?
Initially you were skeptical of Yasiel Puig's chances to be an impact player. Have you seen him yet and if so any changes in thinking?
I have - and that skepticism was based on secondhand reports, not from my own looks. He's a strong kid, plus raw power, average runner, very, um, physically mature for 21. Might be a solid-average regular. Not sure I see a star there yet. Was really hoping to see him more in the AFL but he missed the fall after surgery to treat a staph infection, and that could linger into the spring.
Follow-up AFL question - what purpose does the AFL serve best?
Great for scouting. Also great for players who need extra reps, like Cosart/Gibson, or who need to be challenged by older competition, like Baez.
Your thoughts on the Bruce Jenkins' claims the Giants won the WS because they are an anti-sabermetrics team?
Baseless. He chose a narrative and grafted it on to reality without regard for the underlying facts.
My understanding is that something a lot of people don't realize about the AFL is that it's not just a hitters' league because it is in Arizona, but also because such a large percentage of the best pitching prospects hit their innings limits during the regular season. As a result, a lot more of the best hitting prospects are in the AFL than pitching prospects. Is that right?
Yes, especially this year.
Keith Maul !! How high would you go on Kuroda for one year? thx ..also - please give me a good spot to stop quick with my brother for some food/beer on the ride from PHX to Peoria when my flight gets in tonight. thanks!
$15 million. Slight detour OK? I haven't been to Ohso Brewery yet but that sounds like exactly what you want. Four Peaks is also great but it's the wrong direction.
Have you seen the Nate Silver bashing that has been going on lately? Don't want to get political here, but it's amazing how much people not only don't understand math and statistics, but revolt against it as though using fact and analysis is a bad thing. Do you think it's a factor of laziness and not wanting to catch up to best practices (something everyone in every profession should shoot for) or something else?
They're fine with math (probability) when it says what they want it to say. If Nate's forecasts said Romney was a 70% favorite, he'd be a favorite of the right and be taking some criticism from the left, although I think it would be less than what he's getting now.
I'll send you $50 if you grow a big, bushy mustache for Movember...
Movember is the stupidest idea ever.
Any thoughts on Teheran? I've heard his ceiling isn't as high as people once thought? He's been around for a while but he's still just 21.
I think that's fair. Age is a bigger factor for hitters than pitchers, and Teheran's lack of fastball life or an above average breaking ball are major issues.
On the billingsley question you answered "Inevitable. When has that ever worked?" That was in reference to TJS what about the Cards wait and see approach with Garcia shoulder? Inevitable or worth the wait?
I was referring to elbow injuries. Shoulders are different - the joint is far more complicated and success rates for the surgery relative to rehab are lower. It seems that strengthening the muscles around the labrum or rotator cuff is often a viable alternative to shoulder surgery, but the same doesn't work for the elbow.
apparently rick ankiel is thinking of pitching again, thoughts?
I haven't seen that, but I hope it's true. One, because he's not a major league caliber position player, but two, because it would be a phenomenal story.
Do you see the Pirates making any big moves?
I'm still waiting for Bob Nutting to give some concrete answers on the "hoka hey!" story.
Crawford's glove more than makes up for his lack of hitting - agreed? Also, any chance he can be a .250 hitter from here on out?
Disagree. And I'd bet the under there.
He's benefited from the extremely low state of offense at SS in 2012. Replacement level there was somewhere below my 12-year-old cat.
You're a so called food snob, so I need a recommendation in Scottsdale for an anniversary dinner.
Citizen Public House. Get the pork belly pastrami starter.
I just finished The Big Sleep, which pretty much wraps up Hammett and Chandler's oeuvres (My favorite between the two was Farewell, My Lovely). What should I jump to next?
If you want to stay in that vein, perhaps Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books, or Richard Stark's Parker novels (starting with The Hunter).
Whats your opinion of the band "Fun". Cant decide if I like them or not, but they are certainly unique.
"Some Nights" is fine. "We Are Young" makes me want to clean my ears out with barbed wire. I'm obsessed with the alt-J album right now - it's the favorite to win the Mercury Prize later on today, and having listened to at least part of all ten nominated albums, I don't think anything else was close.
I think Trout is a great player as well. If he had played close to a 155+ games I might even agree with the MVP buzz. But with Miggy playing a more difficult position ( moving for the sake of the team) and having a triple crown year. Something even my Hero Ernie Banks never did. I don't see how you can pick trout. And I don't get why it's a positive (just imagine what he would have done!!) verse a negative that he missed all the games. I do understand why he missed them but baseball is a game of attrition.
It's neither a positive nor a negative that Trout missed those games. How much value did he provide in the games he played? A lot more than Cabrera provided. The Triple Crown doesn't tell us much at all about value.
If you were a college aged male with average culinary ability, what dish might you prepare to impress a lady?
If I want to impress someone with my cooking, I'm focused on dessert. But for a main I'd do something like the pork tenderloin recipe from Ruhlman's Twenty, or maybe a sear-roasted salmon with a buerre blanc, which is a very simple French sauce that tastes like it had to be difficult to prepare.
Alt-J is great, but not better than the Django Django album which is pure bliss
Disagree. Django^2 is more accessible, but alt-J blew apart boundaries.
You have family on Long Island, right? everyone safe?
Thank you for asking, but they sold their house there in July. Good timing.
Keith, interested in your thoughts on Trayce Thompson after seeing him in the AFL? Can he be an everyday CF on a good baseball team?
I don't think he will make enough contact for that. Has tools, lacks the execution.
I am reading Gravity's Rainbow right now and I noticed it wasn't in your top 100. I'm about 300 pages in and it's just starting to get interesting/make any sense. What a slog. Have you read it? Also, would love to what moves you think the Nats should make this offseason, assuming ALR is gone.
Haven't. It's on the to-do list after I finish "The Recognitions" (which is the source of the quote at the top of the chat).
Whatcan you tell us about Otani? Is he worth the hype? I've seen some sites compare him Strasberg at similar ages
Mid-90s fastball, above-average slider, arm works okay although he looks unathletic on the mound (based off video). Apparently he can swing the bat some too. Never seen him live, though.
Point of order: Is it wise to post questions early (prior to the actual chat) or after it has begun? I ask this after having asked what I thought were a number of good questions but did so hours ago and have seen nary a response (yes, I'm guessing the questions just weren't that good...).
I'm at about 800 submitted questions so far - there's no strategy to getting one answered.
I know Tyrelle Jenkins was shut down with shoulder issues? How serious are they?
Can't be that serious if he can still put those footy pajamas on by himself.
Are you planning on seeing Life of Pi?
How in the bleepity bleep did Alcides Escobar, also known as "Shortstop Jesus", not even get NOMINATED for a Gold Glove. If he doesn't win, whatever. But to not even get nominated? Conspiracy?
Not that this answers the question, but Shortstop Jesus had a -12 UZR this year.
Jason Hammel -- I believe he has a year left of club control. Would a two or three year deal be something that Hammel and the O's should look into? Or revisit it at some point next year?
Depends on his knee. Would certainly extend him a year or two if that checks out.
Why isn't the amateur draft and now the new cap on spending challenged in court? Isn't the player likely to win?
Better question for an antitrust lawyer, but I think since they are the product of collective bargaining the player would be unlikely to win.
How did Schoop look to you in the AFL?
Good. I'm a big fan. Don't think he's a SS long term but I think he'll hit and have easy power.
Well, what were you for Halloween?
The proud father of a candy cane fairy.
Aren't one year UZR samples unreliable?
My understanding is that you need two years of data to get a reasonable assessment of the player's true talent level (although the developer of UZR would also argue for further regressing that number). A single-year UZR figure may be prone to more skewing from random variation, but it still should represent a reasonably accurate picture of what actually happened on the field. Not my stat, but I hope that's at least close to a fair answer.
(Non-antitrust) Lawyer here can answer that. The reason its not challenged in court is that antitrust law does not apply when there is a Collective Bargaining Agreement in place. Remember in the NFL lockout the players De-certified their union? They did this because they thought antitrust law was better than labor law for them, and you can't use both. So, if there's a union and a CBA, there's no court challenge based on antitrust. You'd have to show an unfair labor practice under the CBA, but the union agrees to the cap on spending and amateur draft.
This is what I thought. An amateur player isn't represented by the union until he signs a major league contract, but I don't know if that gives him much standing in court.
Thoughts on potential for kolten wong? when you think he will be up??
Ceiling is an average regular at 2b. Could be up next year. It's all in the hit tool - if he hits .300+, he's going to be a good big leaguer, and if he ends up a .270 hitter, he'll be a bench guy.
Thoughts on the Cubs hiring Derek Johnson? Brilliant or f'n brilliant? Nice to have competent leadership for the first time in my life.
Big fan of Johnson's work at Vandy. Kept guys healthy and helped several of them get better. Can't ask much more of that when you've got college coaches busy trying to run their starters into the ground or calling all the pitches from the bench.
KLaw, also hesitant to do politics but...why do you think Silver would be "...taking some criticism from the left, although I think it would be less than what he's getting now." Both sides seem equally capable of ignoring facts and getting hysterical.
Because he's on the left himself. The criticism is more shrill because some of his more insane critics are claiming he's built his own political bias into the system. I also think that the rationalists who tend to favor Silver's probability-based approach are more likely to be on the left politically, although I concede that is my own speculation.
Bob Engle just announced as head of international operations for the Dodgers. Think it was a move for more money?
Maybe. Definitely a great move for LA.
There are lots of 1B prospects who have had uneven or terrible starts in the past couple years. Hosmer, Belt, Freeman, Smoak, Ike Davis, Alonso. Who, if any of these guys, is far better than what they've shown?
Freeman's been the best of that group, but I don't think there's a lot of upside left there. Hosmer and Belt both need mechanical changes, Hosmer getting his hands down, Belt keeping his hips back and not loading so deep, but both have high upsides left if that can happen. I could see Davis having some .325/.500 seasons at his peak. The power's real but he's always going to strike out.
What is your take on the Angels dumping Santana to the Royals?
Blog post on that subject: http://klaw.me/PI3Wni
I still can't believe that minor league players can be subjected to a CBA that was negotiated by a union that they are not a member of. Seems like there is potential for a lawsuit there if not for the fact that every potential plaintiff is working to get into that union and doesn't want to jeopardize those chances.
I'm not a lawyer, and I really don't know the answer here. It just sounds wrong, but that doesn't mean it actually is wrong.
Honest question. When was the last time the best team in baseball won the world series?
2009? 2007? 2005?
Tigers just picked up the $6 million option on Peralta to keep him at shortstop. I felt there had to be someone- anyone not named Betancourt- out there who would be available and better at short. Please give me a reason why this move to keep him makes sense so I can come back off the ledge...
I don't think he was that bad at short, not so bad that he should be the focus of their offseason. They've got bigger problems, so to speak.
Brandon Moss led the AL in ISO. Who has the higher ISO in 2013, Moss or Chris Carter? Both .500+ sluggers?
Carter. I'm calling fluke on Moss.
What about Logan Morrison and Anthony Rizzo while we are talking about young 1st base types?
My concern with LoMo is health - the leg/knee issues seem to be chronic. He can hit if he's healthy and gets his lower half stronger.
Thanks as always for all the questions. I'll be back next week for another chat, and my top 50 free agents rankings will be posted at midnight eastern time on Friday night.