Last Stop: Klawchat.
Is Lincecum's contract bad, really bad or insane from the Giants perspective?
Insane. I see so little chance of him delivering even par on that deal that it makes no sense for them to allocate those resources to him. Nor would he have matched that in free agency. At worst, just make him a qualifying offer - either he accepts and you get him at one year, $14.1 million, or you get a draft pick and someone else overpays him. I wonder if this was ownership and not Sabean.
Carlos Martinez should be a full time starter for St. Louis next year, right?
I might start him in AAA to lengthen him back out. He's had some trouble staying healthy, and his command has wobbled when he's started. He has the repertoire for it and I hate wasting that in the pen.
Take on the Lester glove substance drama?
I asked Dana Demuth but he said he didn't see anything.
From the Yankees' pov, is it worth committing to McCann for six years?
How close was OSU's Michael Conforto to cracking your top 30 draft prospects? In what round does he project to go in next year's draft?
Wasn't in the next 10, would have been in the next 30. So I'd say second round. Good solid college player, no carrying tool, very slim chance he's ever more than an average regular.
More and more, I see the ?average value of wins on the free agent market? argument used to evaluate free agent signings (i.e., ?If the average cost of 1 WAR on the free agent is $5 million, a 3 WAR player is a good signing at $15 million?). Am I alone in thinking this is a terrible way to evaluate a signing? Even if you ignore the team context factors (marginal value of wins, team resources, team needs, etc.), the free agent market is by definition inefficient. So receiving ?average? value for a free agent signing is still average inefficiency?not exactly a big win.
I hate that argument because of two problems: One, those dollar per win numbers are largely nonsense, and two, we don't know teams' specific revenue curves. A win to the Pirates this offseason is not worth the same as a win to the Astros. We need to stop pretending those numbers are the same.
Expected DOA for Buxton and Sano?
Wow, and people say *I* hate players.
Where would you rank Evansville LHP Kyle Freeland? Saw u write about him on the cape and his fastball has been up to mid-90s this fall. Any chance of being top 50/100?
Chance of being top 50, yes. Great arm, reliever profile due to slot and heavy, heavy use of the slider.
Re: Dana Demuth line (which was hilarious, btw)You thought that up just now, worked on it all morning, or have been waiting for an opening to drop a "Dana D. is apparently blind" joke?
I try never to prep jokes for the chat. I feel like you'd be able to tell if I did that, and it would all seem stale.
What do you think of Micah Johnson?
Interesting guy. Can run, would be a good candidate for CF, good hand-eye, really funky swing (not a compliment), maxed out body. An odd mix of good and less-good.
I'm here at the Pete Kozma Fan Club meeting and it's completely empty today. Did something happen? It's getting spooky...I haven't seen the "He's A Good Hitter Too" subcommittee in MONTHS.
They're all down the hall at "What shortstop could the Cardinals draft in 2014?" inaugural meeting.
Had Matt's big breakfast for the first time yesterday in Phoenix. Great stuff.
I get prospects wrong all the time, but I'm pretty good with the food recs.
Who do you think has more upside--Lucas Sims or Julio Teheran?
Teheran. I like Sims a lot, but Teheran might turn into an ace.
What would you respond to critics who think your souring on Aaron Sanchez after being so high on him for so long is related to the rest of the industry's opinion on Syndergaard?
I don't think much of "critics" who question my integrity rather than responding to my specific comments on players. I compared what I saw from Sanchez in Fall League to video from when I saw him in 2012, and it confirmed my initial impression - he's shortened his stride and is finishing too upright. The Sanchez I'd seen in the past missed bats with his fastball; the one I saw in AZ threw 28 fastballs and didn't get a single swing and miss on it. Lengthen his stride, get him finishing over his front side, and let's see if that gets him back to where he was.
What is your opinion of Bryan Price getting the Reds Managerial job? Good move or wait and see?
Wait and see - I just don't have any sense of how we'd judge him, other than to praise the Reds for not hiring a retread, or hiring a former player with zero managerial experience just because he's famous.
What do you think the chances are of Kyle Drabek returning and becoming a quality Major League starter?
Very slim. Double TJ guys who've returned as starters ... I know Chris Capuano did, but have there been any others?
There has been a lot of talk lately about how many teams missed on Wacha in the draft? The Nats took Giolito, did you consider that to be the right move at the time, and was it still the right move today? Thanks.
That talk is so absurd - not just second-guessing, but overreacting to a tiny sample, all from people who didn't even know Wacha existed at this time last year. And yes, Giolito was the right move.
How many seasons before we see Joc and Seager in L.A.? Do you think they make it to L.A. or traded?
Seager could be up by September. I think Pederson is trade bait because of Puig. Just my guess, though - I haven't heard that he's been out there on the market.
Did you see Jamies Winston play in HS? Any type of pro potential or just a great athlete?
Yes, I did. Just an athlete. Not a baseball prospect.
Thoughts on the Alexander Guerrero signing? Do the Dodgers get a little more benefit of the doubt after the success of Puig and Ryu?
I've only talked to a few scouts who saw Guerrero, and all were fairly bearish on him. Typical comments were that he has to go to 2b, he's got a stiff body, and that the power is maybe average at best. I haven't seen him, and he wasn't easy for scouts to see once the Dodgers sort-of-kind-of had a deal with him this summer, so take that with a grain of salt.
Do you have an concerns about whether or not Maikel Franco's bat will play in the Majors? Is it just his glove holding him back?
I think he'll hit, just not the way he hit in A+ and AA. Glove is an issue. He's worse than Asche at third, but has more offensive potential.
Speaking of Wacha, what I have heard from Giants beat writers is that they were all set to take him before the Cardinals took him one pick before them. The Giants ended up taking Stratton instead. Have you had a chance to evaluate him lately? Seemed off that a college arm like that would spend an entire season in Low A.
Don't know if that's true about Wacha, but I saw Stratton in ST and his velocity was down a full grade. Heard from scouts it was the same most of the year.
Read that some believe Wheeler is better prospect/young player than Wacha bc of higher ceiling. You agree?
Gerrit Cole or Michael Wacha?
Cole. He's an ace. Anyone remember the arguments in 2011 that the Pirates should have taken Bauer because he had better stats at UCLA? Anyone? Hello?
Simmons....a bit of a disappointment on the OBP front, made up for by HR output....What is you slash line projection for a normal year for him? I know the glove is awesome, but a sub-.300 OBP is not particularly attractive.
Devil's advocate: He makes a ton of contact, so while he'll probably never be a high walk guy, he could follow the Ozzie/Vizquel path and gradually raise his batting averages so that he's a valuable offensive player as well as an all-time defender.
There's some chatter about the Cardinals looking at Kolten Wong as a CF next year so as to leave Carpenter at 2B. I guess Wong played some CF in college. Does this strike you as viable?
He's not that kind of runner. I know I've said this before, but why not Wong at 2b, Carpenter at 3b, and trade Freese?
Is La Stella's glove holding him back? Should the Braves make a move for a 2B or give him a shot at the job?
I'd give him a shot at the job. Even if he hits a somewhat empty .280-.300 with fringy (0 to -5 runs) defense, for $500K that's probably the best value available to them. And I think he can at least do that.
Can D.J. Peterson become the everyday LF the Mariners have never had in their existence?
I do not think he has the athleticism or speed to play the outfield. He's 1b only for me.
Just read your piece with Christopher Crawford about the top 30 draft prospects for 2014. How quickly will Rodon appear in the majors? End of 2014? Start of 2015?
If I drafted him I'd be looking to move him very aggressively. It's now stuff. Any pitch he throws in A-ball is probably a wasted bullet. Start him somewhere high, maybe AA, and set short-term performance or developmental goals (e.g., a certain walk or ball/strike rate, a specific number or quality of changeups) that set a path for him to the majors.
What you do make of Buxton's less than stellar numbers in the AFL? Good pitching or fatigue from a long season?
Fatigue plus third-youngest position player in the league.
Russell Addison....second coming of Brad Miller? Who projects better in the long run of those two?
I assume that's Addison Russell, and he projects as a superstar, which would put him well ahead of Brad Miller, who is ... not a superstar.
Matt Purke now up to 12 scoreless innings in the AFL with 15ks, and 3 bbs. I know super small sample size, but reports have him at 91-93, with good curve, and decent change. Still hope?
He was more 88-91 when I saw him, touching 93. Back-end starter type. And a chronic health risk.
Did you see anything from Rowdy Tellez in the AFL to upgrade your current position of "not even a guy" on him?
I did not, because he wasn't in the AFL.
When is your next prospect list update?
Late January or early February. Up to my editors.
Albert Almora or Buxton?
Long-term, Buxton. Almora is more ready right now, though.
Keith, you are the GM of the Rangers and the Mets come calling for Profar. They offer Wheeler, Montero, and Nimmo. What do you say?
I'd probably take that offer depending on Nimmo's medicals. Conservatively, that's a 2, a 4, and a potential everyday outfielder, for a probable star at shortstop ... not a steal, but good value. The question is whether Texas could get more from someone else.
Start Bogaerts at SS from day 1 next year if you're Boston?
What kind of major leaguer do u see synderguard becoming?
Above-average starter. 3-4 WAR guy.
Have you been to Dinic's in the Reading Terminal and eaten the Italian style pulled pork?
Yes, years ago. Loved it. Philly's a damn good food town.
Profar.....Star or good player?
I still think he's a star. Let him play every day.
I am noticing less snark than usual today. You feeling okay?
I'm highly caffeinated. I'm not sure if that makes me more or less likely to deliver the snark.
Is Mac Williamson anything to get excited about? Or is he being overvalued because of the fact that the Giants position player prospects are a total wasteland?
Little of both, I think. Not a star or an impact guy, but a potential everyday player in RF who adds value on both sides.
If Seager's up next year, it's as a SS or a 3B? Is there an even 5% chance he's a longer term SS? Worse defensively than Hanley?
Zero chance he's a SS. I've pointed out before that he'd be the largest shortstop in MLB history, and he's not the kind of athlete who's going to set that mark.
What NBC is doing to Parks & Rec is a crime.
Couldn't agree more. At least Brooklyn Nine-Nine has come on strong the last three weeks. "You have a friend ... who's just a silhouette?"
MLB analysts have stressed the importance of the next Cubs manager should be Latin. Spanish speaking presence I see, but attributing a persons ethnicity to a job position seems to set us back
Totally agree. That is as offensive as saying that the next Tigers manager should be white. There's no place in our sport for that kind of thinking.
Wacha long term? number 3 starter? lower, higher?
Number three to number two. Stuff of a three, command elevates him. Will probably depend on where the breaking ball is over a 200-inning sample.
I periodically refer to your Top100 Novels, and I'm a little perplexed. Why no Anna Karenina?
Because I wanted to punch Levin in the face.
Maybe Spanish speaking presents can join the ranks of veteran presents?
I actually have no issue with saying that Spanish language skills are an advantage for a managerial candidate - but that's not about ethnicity or national origin.
Stephen Piscotty keeps on hitting in every league he goes to. Does he have a shot to be a 3-4 WAR player or is that a bit too lofty?
Needs to get more comfortable with pulling the ball. The player you describe is in there, but his value is all in his bat, and he doesn't always have that aggressive approach that he'll need to generate the 20-25 HR to make him a 3 WAR player.
Heard a lot about Mike O'Neill this year (to continue the trend of talking about Cards prospects), what's his ceiling/likelihood like?
Extra outfielder, tops.
Up front, I'm a Cards fan, but I absolutely agree with overturning the call last night. It was really bad. If it has to be a spectacle, at least have it be a spectacle with the correct ending. That said, have you ever seen umpires overturn an out/safe call in the World Series? Heck, even playoffs? More than anything else, I'm just curious if we witnesses a bit of baseball history last night.
First one I can remember. Maybe because the mistake was so egregious. Mostly I was shocked to see the umps get over their normal pilulous smallness and admit they fouled something up.
Were the Pirates justified in taking Taillon over Machado at the time?
That's not a yes/no question. They were clearly the next two most talented players on the board at the time. I had Machado over Taillon, strongly, but I don't think that was an industry consensus. Imagine seeing a 6'7" kid hitting 98 every start with a hard breaking ball. It's hard to look at that and say, "Nah, we're not interested."
Whats the latest on Dante Bichette Jr??
Is Oscar Mercado just another Pete Kozma, or can Cards fans hope he is our future starting SS?
Not similar players, but I don't think Mercado is a great prospect. Maybe an extra IF.
General scouting question: what is considered a hitter's "approach" that you raise in draft profiles repeatedly? What should a layman look for?
The term can mean two things, and unfortunately I've ended up using it both ways, because that's kind of how the industry uses it. One is his hitting plan at the plate - plate discipline, patience, but also his general idea heading into each at bat. The other is an overall description of his swing mechanics from load to contact - a "quiet" approach is a good thing, very simple and usually very direct to the ball. A "noisy" approach means there's a lot of extra BS, often with the guy's hands, before he makes contact.
Thoughts on JP Crawford? The Phillies had to have been thrilled with the little they saw of him last summer.
I'm all in. Big fan. Jays should have taken him at 10 over Bickford on pure talent.
Why do you always recommend "lay people" not get radar guns when they ask you about which brand to get? Seems a little snooty...
Because what the heck are you doing throwing $1000 away on a tool you don't need? Most pro stadiums have radar on the board, which is accurate enough for the layman's purposes. And if you've got $1000 to burn anyway, I'm sure you have a local food pantry that could put it to better use.
Henderson Alvarez or Joe Kelly longterm, and why?
Alvarez. I actually think Kelly's better off in the pen - he'd deliver more value in 80-odd innings there than in 160 or so as a fifth starter.
Cub prospect with best chance of being a 10 time All-Star?
Bryant. Big flies get you to the ASG.
Keith, I have enjoyed your Top Chef reviews so far this season, keep up the great work on that front! Anyways, thoughts on Mitch Haniger's season (including AFL)? Where does he stand in the Brewer's system?
Extra OF. Didn't show well the first week in Arizona when I was out there.
Will Odorizzi get significant time in the majors next year or still sitting at AAA? What type of ceiling do you see in him?
No out pitch. They already have a guy just like him in their rotation. I doubt they want two of those.
You said Sox in 6 before the series. Anything you saw last night to change your mind?
I wouldn't change it off last night.
Was physical projection the only thing keeping Kolek from ranking higher?
Secondary isn't great. He's good, but not as athletic or complete as guys like Holmes.
Best White Sox prospect not named Erik Johnson?
Tim Anderson or Courtney Hawkins. Can't get off the Hawkins bandwagon after 2013 - he was way too young and inexperienced for high-A.
What TV shows are you currently watching?
Almost nothing. B99, Homeland, Parks and Rec when NBC deigns to air it, Sleepy Hollow ... I think that's it. Foyle's War's latest season did just air on PBS and we have all three on the DVR.
I know you think the Lincecum deal is insane and my first impression was likewise, but his xFIP is much better than I would have anticipated (3.5ish, I believe). Is that surprising? What do you think of that number?
xFIP doesn't reflect the fact that he stinks from the stretch and that his fastball is and is likely to be especially homer-prone (flat, up, with average velo). I like those advanced stats but you have to recognize (or try to recognize) when they will mislead you on specific pitchers.
Will Tanaka be more of a Darvish than Irabu?
I hate making same-race comps, but the best NPB pitcher comp for Tanaka is Kuroda. I will now strangle myself with a protractor.
You're still watching Homeland? Tougher October for a Dana - DeMuth or Brody?
Her storylines are always terrible. The actress is fine. The writing isn't. And they either need to fully commit to a storyline following Brody or omit him entirely from the season.
There was a TankforTrea movement in some corner of Metland. Is he worth it to justify giving up on Tejada and Cecchini?
Turner? He's not that kind of prospect. Someone's scouting the stat lines.
So basically nobody knows if a potential manager is going to be good until he's actually good or bad. Right? Or is, say, the Cubs search different because they're going for more unknown guys?
We don't know, because we can't, unless he's managed before. And managers can improve - Francona is the best example in recent years. But front offices get to interview these guys at length - they might know a good bit more than we do.
As a Giants fan, it's obvious to me they need to upgrade the rotations and there is nothing waiting in the minors that can help. What do you think of Phil Hughes? He's a flyball pitcher, like Cain, who might thrive in that environment and in a much more laid back media city. Do you think Sabean will pursue him and overpay him by about 35-50%?
A lot of folks have floated this idea, but I think Hughes' future is probably in the pen. He might still be homerprone in SF.
What sets Courtney Hawkins apart from Jared Mitchell?
Stronger, better overall athlete, far more raw power, and of course younger than Mitchell was when the latter entered pro ball (and then missed a year due to injury).
I understood the Mets plan of getting out from underneath the deadweight contracts, now, how would you build them back up with no upper level position prospects and a weak position player free agent class? Overpay free agents? Trade Synderguard or Wheeler?
They should explore trading one of those two arms, or Montero, for a top position player prospect, preferably up the middle. It's a painful thought but they'd be trading from strength.
Can you believe that the Tigers are actually considering me for their manager? I thought Dave Dombrowski was smarter than that.
Managers do sometimes get better, but you were pretty bad the first time around and "better" might not add up to "good."
Have you been to Pamela's diner in Pittsburgh? Great breakfast.
Probably 30 times while I was in school there. It ain't healthful, but it is pretty good.
Are they running out of quality chefs who want to appear on Top Chef? Seems like people are getting kicked out for failing to cook properly.
I think the standards on the show are creeping up each year, so what seems like a blatant mistake on TV is actually a minor one if you're eating the food. That's just based on comments from folks like Tom, Hugh, etc. about the quality of the cooking.
Is the argument by some players against fans/critics/writers that "They don't understand because they didn't play the game" akin to insulting someone based on appearance? Meaning, its the best they could do & is without merit?
Yes. It's an appeal to authority and should be dismissed as such.
Hey Keith. Any interesting recipes for homemade cranberry sauce? I go with the basic, OJ, sugar, cinnamon and cranberry. Looking for other variations or suggestions.
You ever tried cooking Asian food? What's a good first dish to try?
I don't do it often because so many dishes require very high heat, more than you can produce on a consumer stove. Nigel Slater has a stir-fried pork dish in Tender that is simple and superb, and that might be a good starting point.
Is Dillion Gee as good as his final four months this year, and run last year previous to injury? His stuff says "no".
I also say no. Does that seal it?
Do you agree with the approach Lunhow and his staff are taking in Houston? How much longer will ownership or the fanbase tolerate such low win totals?
They're doing exactly what they should be doing, and I might argue it's what they have to do, given what they inherited.
What's your take on marrying international outreach with regular series games? Is starting next season in Australia better/worse than just having the two teams play exhibitions?
Better. MLB should do a series or two like that every year, one in east Asia or Australia, one in Europe. Maybe an annual series in Mexico, or work in Cuba when the political situation eases. Brazil would be a dream situation but I don't think any facilities exist there.
Who's your favorite prospect from an emerging baseball nation? (brazil, europe, south africa, etc.)
Luiz Gohara from Brazil and Max Kepler from Germany, although neither had a great 2013.
When you were house hunting would you even bother to look at a house that didn't have a gas stove?
We bought a house without a gas stove. We need to redo the kitchen anyway so we'll run a gas line into the kitchen and buy a new stove.
Sonny Gray show you anything in his two post-season starts or still middle/back-end-of-the-rotation guy?
Still the same guy he was a month ago. Same for every player in the playoffs.
Keith, what to make of the mediocre seasons for all the Yanks top prospects?
It's an issue, for sure. Not sure where the blame lies, if it's a matter of blame at all, but that is a lot of talent that isn't performing up to expectations, from makeup/effort questions to injuries to just flat-out lack of results.
Will Lincecum set the pitching market this year, or is it an anomaly due to the stupidity of the Giants organization?
Anomaly. I joked about it being a thank-you gift, but in a sense that is part of the contract - no other team was giving him that kind of AAV.
Wondering where might be a potential spot for DJ Davis on your prospects list for next year
Not on the top 100, if that's the question.
If the Cards don't win tonight, considering they have Lynn/Kelly coming up, is the series all but over?
Tyler Naquin's AFL stats are great, but we all know how much value those carry...so, any scouting reports on how he has looked?
Saw him. Same guy. Hoping he's a regular, likely an extra outfielder. Glove and arm are there, not much bat.
BJ Upton -- A repeat of 2013 or closer to 250 and 30SB?
Needs a ton of swing help. He was a mess this year.
re: Top Chef - I was more amazed how most of the chefs on last night's episode seemingly had no clue about Vietnamese food.
Same. I'll cover that more in my recap later today.
JR Graham -- Future closer or starter? And his ceiling?
Starter, if healthy. Mid-rotation guy. Undersized RHP but he sinks the heck out of it, so I think he can avoid becoming a 35-40 HR guy.
What kind of contract would you give Stephen Drew this off-season? Would you give up a first round pick to sign him?
All of that stuff is in my top 50 free agent rankings, which will go up after the World Series at some point. I'm still writing players up now.
So should the Mets just give CF to Lagares to have enough money to get a SS and 2 corner bats?
Given the glove he showed this year - and I had no idea he was this kind of defender - yes, absolutely.
As someone who is a fan of the more euro style of boardgames, how do you handle gaming with someone younger like your daughter? Since these games tend to remove most luck out of the equation, it seems like it should be really difficult for a child to win and that probably would lessen their enjoyment of the game. Do you play sub-optimally? Only play cooperative games? Or do you just avoid the euro-games all together with her?
Some of those games have a lot of luck, like Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. And yes, I just play a little suboptimally, or I help her make decisions by pointing out options and helping her think through them. Playing should be fun, but she won't enjoy it if she's always losing.
I thinking of building a brick oven in my backyard. Ever thought of doing it? Have done it? I'm just dreaming of brick oven pizza and bread.
Thought of it. Not sure I'd do it right, or well, but if you find a way let me know and I'll just copy what you do.
If you were Mattingly, wouldn't you stay with dodgers. Maybe the talent alone wins you a WS (Since Donnie is a negative manger) and then you can tell the Dodgers front office to take a hike and grab a manager job with another team.
Yes. Plus you shouldn't walk away from an existing deal. Didn't work out so hot for Riggleman.
In your top 50 FA ranking piece, are you going to give two separate contract predictions (where appropriate) depending on whether the player is extended a Qualifying Offer? I'd urge you to do so as I think it's a pretty important part of the equation...
I don't give any contract predictions, as I think they're a waste of time. I give suggestions on what I might be willing to pay, assuming a moderately competitive team that is at or above the median in revenue per win, but focusing more on years of contract rather than just dollars.
Who would you pick for the Cubs job if you were Theo? I'd like Acta or Francona if that was a possibility
Acta and Hinch are great choices and I know both personally. Don't know Martinez, but he does have a strong rep within the industry. Again, very hard to judge these things from outside.
Back to the approach topic, does Javier Baez have issues with both types? It seems to be the one negative in the reports.
You mean the part where he tries to tear every pitch he sees apart at the seams? That's just part of his charm.
So if that guy above doesn't kill Buxton and Sano, would you expect to see them in the Twins lineup together at some point in 2014? Does Sano break camp with the big club?
Buxton no, Sano some time in 2014 but more likely in the second half.
Looking back, how badly did the Yankees mess with Hughes and Joba? Or were they just never as good as advertised?
Messed badly with Joba. Hughes was always a bit overrated.
That's all for this week. Thanks for all the questions - I'll be back next Thursday to do this all over again.