Last train to Snarkville. All aboard the Klawchat.
It appears the Tigers are determined to give Bruce Rondon the closers job to open the 2013 season. Do you think his stuff is good enough to be effective in the majors right now, and if nothing else, should I be happy they appear to have no interest in overpaying Soriano?
He's got the fastball and nothing else, not the offspeed, not the command. I don't really get the enthusiasm.
Could Wheeler be a good addition for the Rockies at 3b until Arrenado grows up?
Well, he can't play third and doesn't have power, so that's probably a negative.
It seems some of the money Upton got is based on hope that he can still improve?something I know you believe is possible. But if it turns out that the player he has been until now is simply the same as who he will be in the future, is this a major bust? Give or take .255/.335/.420, with 18 hrs, 35 sb, and subpar defense doesn?t seem worth $15m/year.
Subpar defense? Wrong guy. He's a 4-5 win player as long as he's playing center like he does now, with a decent chance to be worth more.
How much should be read into my insane 17.1 k/9? Am I an elite prospect?
Absolutely nothing. Polished college starter working relief-length outings, mostly at levels below what you faced in college. That's even before we discuss the sample size of 21 innings.
I can be there by 4:30...Any inside word on the Wilton Lopez non-trade? Thoughts on Lopez as a viable option.
Decent middle reliever if his arm holds up.
Should I pay attention to Yunel Escobar's home/road splits in 2011? Killed it at home, couldn't hit a lick on the road. Was that just SSS, and do you think he can produce like that again?
Ask the Man in White. He usually shows up here at some point.
Greetings, Klaw. Wonder what your impressions were (that is, if you had much interaction with him at all) of John Gibbons. And what are your thoughts on the hire?
I'm a fan. He's very open-minded and followed a lot of Earl Weaver's philosophies on managing, including a distaste for offense-killing small ball strategies. I also really like that the Jays ignored any possible negative reactions due to hiring a guy they'd once fired and simply hired the candidate they thought was the best fit. Also, big fan of Pete Walker - I thought when he was pitching for us in Toronto that he'd make a great pitching coach some day. Very bright guy who had to relearn how to pitch after shoulder injuries took away his velocity.
Keith, Bryan Price said Aroldis will be on an innings limit next year ? no concrete number, though. My biggest fear is that he turns out to be a really effective starter and they shut him down in August-September. What?s a realistic way to prevent this? Rotate Chapman/Leake during the regular season? Rest Chapman until early June and then pitch him every fifth day?
Come on. No contending team would ever shut down a healthy, effective starter in August.
Why all the hate on Gyorko? He looks like the next Cano!
I don't know who "hates" Gyorko, but he doesn't look anything like Cano, and Cano had over 1000 major league at bats when he was Gyorko's current age.
Keith, White Sox brass could mentioning Carlos Sanchez as an elite defensive middle infielder. What have you seen/heard?
Not elite. Solid at 2b, could also play 3b. Best tool is his hit tool - might be a guy who hits for high enough averages to carry him to 3+ win value anywhere his glove fits.
What players were you surprise that were left off the 40 man roster that most likely will be select in the rule 5 draft?
Haven't looked at it. Rule 5 draft has been irrelevant since the 2007 CBA pushed back player eligibility by a year.
Keith, admit it, you were scouting local kids during your vacation in Hawaii.
Oh, I did some scouting all right.
Are you buying on Brian Goodwin? Is Mike Cameron a decent comp? How does he compare to Jackie Bradley?
Don't think he will ever have Cameron's power, and he doesn't have instincts close to Bradley's. But I do like Goodwin, just isn't in that class.
Does Henry Owens have #1 upside? #2?
Do you think the Longoria extension is an implication that the Rays are trying to get funding for a new stadium? Otherwise the extension doesn't seem to make a ton of sense to me given that the six year extension doesn't kick in until his year 31 season, on top of the injury issues he seems to have been getting.
That's what I disliked about the extension - the Rays are buying mostly decline years or late peak, and I'm afraid he's becoming too injury-prone. But a reader asked me on Twitter to compare this to the Howard deal, and I don't think they're close. Howard was a bad defender at a position with a much higher offensive bar and had serious platoon issues at the time he signed - plus his salary in present value terms is much higher than Longoria's.
As for the stadium issue, I doubt this affects their battle with the county at all. MLB may have to step in at some point. If I were a competing owner tired of chipping in so much for revenue-sharing, I'd look at what it would cost to buy out the Rays' existing lease and move them.
Why exactly do you need to guarantee 3 years to Russell Martin?
I don't get this at all. The Yanks should thank him for his service and tell him to enjoy Pittsburgh.
Kaleb Cowart has yet to post a slugging percentage above .500. Why is he such a well-thought-of hitting prospect?
Jeff Bagwell didn't slug .500 until his age 25 season. That worked out OK. Why focus on that single number in Cowart's case? He's got incredible hands and a plus arm at third, shows some plate discipline, and has bat speed.
Do think the Carlos Ruiz suspension is a big deal or non-story?
I think it's a non-story. But I'd like some consistency in the coverage of players suspended for this stuff.
Developing homegrown talent and paying to keep them is the only real way to succeed in baseball, right? Is there any evidence to the contrary? Even the Yankees depended heavily on guys from their farm systems when they've won titles.
Yes, or at least the only way to succeed consistently.
Darin Ruf and Evan Gattis are two "Old" prospects who have come on strong in the past year. Do either or both have the chance to be impact major leaguers? Starters?
Neither is a starter for me. Old guys with raw power and not much else.
Hey Kieth. Did you get a chance to see Paul Blackburn pitch in the AZL? Do you have any information on him - delivery, velocity? Does he have front end potential or is more a back of the rotation/reliever type? Thanks.
Twice. Looked back of the rotation. Velocity was better the second time around, touched 93 IIRC.
Your thoughts on the Cubs signings of Baker and Feldman?
Good buy-low moves. Figure one of them works out and becomes trade bait in July.
Can you tell me what to expect from Manny Machado?
Superstar. Possible MVNTP candidate - most valuable non-Trout player.
Brett Jackson is supposedly undergoing a swing overhaul. Can you see this working to cut his strikeouts down? I know Rizzo changed his swing but he didn't strikeout near as often as Jackson in the minors.
I think it's the only way he'll be able to be a big league regular. That doesn't mean it'll work - and without seeing the new swing I wouldn't offer an opinion - but it's the right thing for the Cubs to do. Next guy to rework is Szczur, who barely projects as a 4th OF right now.
Wacha and Seth Blair. Could they be servicable 4 and 5 starters for the Cards in a couple years?
Wacha yes. Blair looks like a reliever to me.
Is there any way the Alford news could actually be good for the Blue Jays as it could force him out of SMU and thus have him fully focus on baseball?
Possibly, assuming having a minor leaguer who likes to play with guns is somehow a positive.
Keith, are your bags packed for Nashville? Are you bringing a GPS system to find the restrooms in that place?
Plenty of fake plastic trees around that place to solve that problem..
Why is Volstad being passed around like a fruit cake during the holidays? I remember him being pretty highly touted when he first came up.
Beautiful delivery, no out pitch. Also known as an L. Hochevar infection.
If you were a rival GM looking to deal with O's, how would you order the following, in terms of most value to least value: Matusz, Britton, Hunter, Arrieta?
Britton (most), Matusz, Arrieta, Hunter.
Thoughts on the Angels signing Ryan Madson?
Love it. Little downside.
once BJ Upton signed, saw Twitter flash with people (read: Philly fans) calling him 'lazy'. if i recall, you previously linked to an article showing the racial undertones of that assessment. do you happen to have the link handy?
That's exactly what it is - if he were white, you wouldn't hear that crap. You might be thinking about my Tim Raines piece from 2009: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hof09/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=3825493
Do you underline or annotate books as you read?
When I am king that will be punishable by death.
What is your personal opinion on Marvin Miller's candicacy for the HOF?
They should put him in after they disinter the rotten remains of Bowie Kuhn from Cooperstown.
Is there any way you can defend the Longoria extension , considering that the value of a win may be higher with 5% inflation rate and we might be wondering how the rays got Longoria to sign for only $100 million
That's the other thing - we know now with the new CBA that the value of a win in the market is increasing rapidly.
Tommy Hanson is only 25. Why is everyone so down on him?
Because the inside of his shoulder looks like hamburger meat.
IIRC, you once said they should blow up the Opryland Hotel?
I said when they do, I would be happy to push the button. I despise that facility.
Thoughts on the Will Myers/Lester rumours?
The Red Sox should take that offer and run. Same for the Rays with Shields.
Will Omar Vizquel be a first ballot HOFer?
Probably. Doesn't belong in the Hall at all, though.
What do you know about Dodger prospect P Zach Bird so far? Is he as under the radar/interesting as he appears?
He was my favorite sleeper from the AZL. Projection guy but man, can you dream on that. In an absolutely perfect world he's a well above-average starter in 4-5 years - I mean perfect.
Klaw! So I fixed duck for Thanksgiving...and now I have a jar of duck fat in my fridge. Other than the obvious (duck fat fries, confit), would you please impart a couple of suggestions for its use? Also, is it reusable, or do I have to toss it after, sa,y making fries?
Could strain and reuse after making fries. I use it to cook bitter greens with a little garlic and red pepper, and it's great for frying eggs or even poaching them.
What do you know about Matt Skole, I'm a pretty avid fan, but have never heard of this guy till about two weeks ago...good enough to be fast tracked?
Fringy prospect. Probably a DH, doesn't have the power for 1b.
your hypothetical HOF ballot?
Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Raines, Trammell, Schilling, Edgar, Biggio, Piazza, McGwire.
Are you surprised the A's added Yona to the 40 man? Would you have taken him in the rule 5 if you were a GM?
In the era of 12-man staffs, you can make Ynoa a long man without killing him.
You think Kolten Wong starts for STL next year? Seems like he wore down at AA but had a solid AFL
Might start the year in the majors but I don't see more than an average regular.
Hi Keith - I don't understand why you consider the possibility of an extension as completely worthless in a trade. I understand that a team is trading for the contract the player currently has. But extensions do happen, even team friendly ones, and they can only happen with one team. Doesn't that exclusive access to an extension have any value?
What's the value? Give me some rational estimate of its value and we'll talk.
Feel Homeland is going off the rails a bit this year? Definitely not as tight as last season, but I think they're doing a good job of holding that line between drama and nonsense.
I agree with the second statement. This week's episode was among the best of the season, not in the least because of the return of two of my favorite supporting characters.
If there was no 10 man limit, who else would be on your ballot?
The next name would be Larry Walker.
Do you think Zunino sticks at catcher? Or is there another reason M's are looking at Napoli with Jaso and Montero already?
Zunino is a no-doubt catcher for me.
My buddies and I think the Reds didn't need to sign Broxton to 3 years/$21 mil. Closers are a dime a dozen and Broxton has regressed bigtime since 2009 (13.5 K/9 down to 7.0). Would you have made this move, or would it have been a better idea to spend that cash on outfield help?
I'd never sign a reliever to three years, and if I would, Broxton ain't exactly the first name that comes to mind.
Who will hand out the contract this year that makes us go..... Uh what?
Ned already did that with Brandon League.
Are you excited for The Hobbit movie, or balking at the running length?
I'll see it. Need to step up my moviegoing now that the AFL is over.
What's the bigger travesty with current HOF voting - Guys like Bonds and Clemens with pretty direct ties to steroids being left out, or guys like Bagwell being left off ballots simply because of suspicions?
The Bagwell thing is beyond embarrassing - omitting him due to unfounded suspicions is unethical.
Did you see anything from Zach Collier in the AFL that warranted a 40 man roster spot?
Sure. Don't think he's a great prospect but their system isn't loaded.
Would you rather have BJ Upton for the next 5 years or Michael Bourne for whatever he ends up signing for?
Do you think comparing Gary Brown to the Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury is a fair comparison? ETA for Gary Brown?
Not remotely fair. Brown could never hit for the power Ellsbury showed last year.
How do you feel about the HOF case for Dale Murphy?
Not even close.
First, did you enjoy Kauai? One of my favorite places in the world. Second, anything of note from the Pirates fishing through the Royals' DFAs on Wednesday, aside from their usual, fan base-deflating flea market approach? Mahalo.
Kauai was gorgeous. Glad we rented a car, though. I'd give Clint Robinson a chance at 1b, but he's a longshot.
Who's going to be the best out of Archie Bradley, Trevor Bauer, and Tyler Skaggs? Also, for or against the oxford comma?
Do you watch Boardwalk empire? Thoughts? last episode basically matched the previous 10 in terms of action/excitemnet
Bailed after S1E8. Boring.
Got any advice for job seekers going to the Winter Meetings?
Good luck. If you don't have meetings set up beforehand, it may not be a great use of your time and money, unfortunately.
Any likely free agent signings to help the O's to make it back to the playoffs, hopefully even take the next step?
I think they're very likely to regress in 2013, even if they add something significant.
KLAW: Have you had a chance to see Reece McGuire yet? If so, how does he compare with Denney? Do you think Alex Jackson has more upside and will be drafted more highly in 2014 than any of the HS catchers coming out this year?
Several times this summer. Struggled very badly receiving and I wasn't a fan of the swing. Denney's not a great defensive catcher but he can really hit. Jackson's a possible stud, could be a top-5 pick in '14.
Would you feel comfortable giving Haren 2 yr/ 24 mil with a club option for 3rd if you were Josh Byrnes?
Given what I've heard from industry sources about his medicals, no, I wouldn't.
Hey, Alex in Chicago, sign up on the PBEO website for the Job Fair. It is the only sure fire way to get any sort of interview, worked for me.
There you go.
Keith, no question, just requesting a year-end music post on the Dish.
Will do. Expect alt-J to feature prominently.
Can you see one of the new crop of HOF eligibles admitting they took PEDs after they are elected? - What happens then?
I'd love to see that - the player could announce it at the induction ceremony, then moon the audience, showing the voters all the needle marks.
Devin Mesoraco - how does he get the work he needs with Ryan Hanigan blocking him? Seems to me that as long as Hanigan is there, he deserves most of the work. But at the same time, Mesoraco needs reps. My solution? Hanigan's trade value will never be higher than this winter. See what's out there. He's 32 for crying out loud.
Right. And yet I think the Reds are five times more likely to trade Mesoraco.
Did you see Philip Hershs's tweet indicting players for statistical anomalies? Is it even worth trying to explain to some of these people what a statistical anomaly is?
Yeah, that's just basic innumeracy. Most people think a randomly distributed series should be very close to uniform, when that's not the case at all.
THoughts on bring back Top Chef Last Chance Kitchen and the Twist it gets you straight to the Finals?
I figure the finals will include a good five minutes of whining from the existing participants about the LCK winner getting in through a back door.
Start with Straight Man or Empire Falls? Or does it matter?
Empire Falls is his best. Straight Man is funnier. No right answer - I reviewed both on the dish if you want to compare.
Pagan or Victorino, who would you rather sign for 2-3 years?
Pagan. Victorino's a platoon guy at this point.
Fitzpleasure just came on my Pandora at work. What is your favorite track on An Awesome Wave?
"Tessellate." My daughter loves "Breezeblocks" because it quotes "Where the Wild Things Are."
This chat was horrible. Need a new moderator
That would make things rather awkward.
Klaw, Should the O's try to Trade JJ HArdy with the thin SS market and move Machado to SS?
Do the Rays end up trying Richie Shaffer at first or outfield, with Longoria entrenched at third there for life?
I'd leave Shaffer at third for now and let it play out. Longoria might have to move if he keeps getting hurt. Or Shaffer could just be trade bait.
Hi Keith,Is your Top Chef review being posted today? Always love the show just wish they would focus more on the food and less on the drama between Chef's.
I have notes and just have to convert it into readable text. I actually thought last night's episode was great - we're focusing more on the food now and less on bizarre challenges.
You're hired to replace Ruben Amaro Jr. what do you do?
Depends on the owner's mandate. If the idea is to win now, I'm taking whatever money I had left and going hard after one of the CFs. But I think that just pushes the team closer to the cliff where they're old, expensive, and losing 90 games a year.
Jorge Soler - Is 2016 still his expected arrival in the bigs?
KLAW: Any thoughts on Austin Hedges first full season. Is that bat for real and better than folks thought?
Yes. Big, big believer.
I apologize for every Giants fan thinking Gary Brown is the next Andrew McCutchen. Who do you like more Crick or Blackburn? Why?
Blackburn. Better body/delivery.
Given what you said about LF being the place where teams typically put their worst defender, does it make sense for teams with great LFs (Gordon and Gardner) to move them to another OF spot to enhance their value or leave them in LF?
Gardner should be in CF, certainly.
Best 2013 season out of Hammel, Chen and Tillman?
Tillman. Then Chen.
Percent chance Denard Span is traded for starting pitching? Can he get a solid return?
Very high chance, I think. Should net a mid-rotation guy.
To build on Nik's (Philly) question, Pagan or Victorino given Pagan will most likely get at least one more year and a higher annual salary?
Does Taveras project in center? If so, should the Cardinals look to move Jon Jay?
I don't think Taveras stays in CF.
Thoughts on Ben Gibbard's solo release? I like how it's a perfect medium between Postal Service and DCFC
I have it, loaded it on the iPod for the vacation ... and never turned the iPod on once. (I did read five books, though.)
Your thoughts on the Angels new scouting director Carlos Gomez? Will the Angels finally be active in Latin America signings?
Great hire, and yes, I expect so. Also sounds like Arizona may be largely punting on international now.
Played Carcassonne 2x. Is a basic strategy just get on the farm and build as many cities connecting as possible?
I've found any game against an experienced player comes down to fighting for control of the largest entities on the board, or just blocking your opponent from closing them.
Do you have a link to your cookbook suggestions? Having trouble finding it.
Keith, do you ever settle for what you know will be a mediocre meal because it is close and cheap?
I'm going to exercise my Fifth Amendment rights and decline to answer that question.
Kinda wish those two supporting characters on Homeland had their own show. Would be willing to stay up late to watch it
I hear Cinemax already has the option on that.
Welcome back to contiguousness. What would you give David Wright, and do you think he stays in Flushing?
The rumored deal seems to make sense for both sides.
When do you expect Yelich hits Miami?
As soon as late 2013.
I got to be part of a couple of this season's episodes. Who are your favorites so far? Also, Padma is hotter in person.
This does not surprise me at all. I'll put my latest top three predictions at the end of today's post.
(Don't want to spoil anything.)
Any advice on a good but not outrageously expensive Espresso machine? I'm hoping to stay as close to $300 as possible.
I believe this is the new version of the one I have owned since ~2005: http://klaw.me/YbmfVA Absolutely love it. Yes, there are better machines available in the $500 range, but this one still works.
Related note: If you live/work in Honolulu, try Downtown Coffee in the Fort Street Mall. They roast their beans every Saturday and the couple that runs the place are awesome. Ended up bringing home their Maui Mokka and their Downtown Blend after the roaster walked me through all their beans.
Is Bruce Bochy a HOF manager?
I don't really know how to evaluate managers for the HoF. Would he be a candidate for two WS wins? Is that sufficient?
Do you believe the competitive advantage/imbalance created by the rampant use of PEDs was greater than/less than/equal to advantages/imbalances that came from playing in a segregated league? Do you think HOF voters opposed to inclusion of Bonds, Clemens, etc. think about past eras in this way and would similarly be against players of that time? If people leave PED players off the ballot for lack of integrity what does that say about their endorsement of pre-Robinson players?
I think segregation polluted baseball's numbers in a more significant way.
More excited about the winter meetings or season 4 of Archer starting in January! Season 4 Pam's revenge!
We're getting close to the danger zone.
is fresh pasta worth the time and clean-up or is hard pasta good in a pinch
I love making fresh pasta - tastes better and means you can experiment with flours too.
Also good for gluten-free cooks - I've made pretty good pasta dough with garbanzo bean flour, even for ravioli.
How soon does Rendon make it to the big leagues?
Saw him a lot in AFL. Gut feeling is that he needs at least a good half-season more in the minors.
Where could the Rays move to, I can't think of a city big enough support a MLB team.
I think even moving to the east side of the bay would help.
Best eats on Kauai?
Best meal was at the Feral Pig in Lihue. They smoke their own bacon and pulled pork. I asked the owner how they cured the belly and he asked, "Have you ever heard of Michael Ruhlman?"
If you were Ben Cherington, what would be your biggest priority in Nashville?
Getting out of the hotel every night for dinner.
Do you view GIDP as a context driven stat like you would RBI?
Actually, one caveat to that. Most players who hit into a lot of GIDP have two things in common: They make hard contact and they're slow as hell. That's useful information although I'd want to corroborate it before acting on it.
Speaking of moving teams, how long is this A's San Jose thing gonna go on?
My daughter will answer that same question when she does her first ESPN.com chat in 2029.
What kind of extension would you give Buster Posey? I understand the risk with his position and injury and decline due to wear and tear. But, you have to keep him around and he'll be expensive...
I'd go 5/$100. But I've always been a huge Posey guy.
What books did you go through while on vacation?
The Orchid Thief, On Beauty, A Sport and a Pastime, The History of Love, and Ukridge (Wodehouse). All very good. Will try to review them all.
What's the ceiling on Avisail Garcia? Will the power develop?
More concerned about the lack of any approach at the plate.
Do you think the Angels and Red Sox line up well for a trade? Angels have 1B depth with Trumbo (who let inexplicably love), Morales and CJ Cron. Sox have RP depth. Thoughts?
I get the idea but I don't see how to line them up in a way both sides would like.
Sad. To paraphrase Kanye, Bud Selig doesn't care about A's fans. Well, to be more accurate, Bud Selig doesn't care about anyone except owners.
To be fair to him, his only job is to care about owners. If Congress would just revoke the antitrust exemption, then fans would get better treatment.
If you could move to one city for the food alone, what city would that be? Same question for Gluten Free food.
Thanks for the board game recs on The Dish. Had a great time with friends figuring out Puerto Rico. Have you ever heard of the game "Lords of Water Deep"? Tried it over Thanksgiving, it seems to play like the AL Central standings.
You're welcome. (The recs are here: http://klaw.me/SxJBfR) I haven't played that one, but I'm taking suggestions for new games to try in the comments under that post. Some already on my wishlist are Glory of Rome, Goa, Kingdom Builder, and the two-player variant of Agricola.
Also, a few readers suggested Ora et Labora, but BGG lists a two-hour playing time.
Any plans to read Alan Sepinwall's new book, "The Revolution was Televised"?
I might just for the Wire chapter, but I think that's the only series in the book I've really watched. Alan's stuff is great, though - I'm sure the book is fantastic.
Do you read physical books or do you use a Kindle/iPad/Nook?
I'm almost solely on dead trees. I do occasionally read classics on my iPad, either via iBooks or Kindle, since they're free.
You a fan of Traeger grills?
I literally have no idea what you're talking about.
How does OPS+ relate to oWAR. I have seen players with an OPS of 100 (which I understand as average) but a oWAR of 2 or 3. Does this mean they are just average but still better than replacement level?
Right, average is better than replacement level, by definition.
Why does Bud only need to care about the owners? I get that they hire him but does the job description state that he carries out the interests of the owners?
He was hired by the owners and is paid by them.
Could the braves still pursue Justin Upton even after Landing his brother? How about a package of Tommy Hanson, Julio Teheran, Nick Ahmed, maybe another B rated prospect for Justin Upton. That would give atlanta a formidable outfield.
It would also give Arizona a pile of coal. That makes no sense for them.
If you were a zombie where you you move for food?
Boston. Lots of universities there.
OK, that's all for this week. I will chat next week but might push it to Friday after the meetings end. I'll tweet the specific date/time once I figure it out. As always, thank you for all of the questions.