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October 31, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

I have stared into the abyss ... and it seems to end in about 105 days.

Matt (DC)

Thoughts on the Matt Williams hire? Know anything about him in terms of his managerial capabilities?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Nobody does. His managerial experience is two months as an interim guy in AA and one season in the AFL. He might be good - he's very highly regarded as a coach - but I don't see how anyone can evaluate him as a manager when he has so little managerial experience. MLB managers should have managed in the minors first. I find it hard to see how I'd hire a manager who hadn't.

JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)

Boegarts at SS from Opening Day 2014 onward is the best move for the Red Sox to make, right?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

I believe so. They could reasonably start Bradley in CF, Bogaerts at SS, and Middlebrooks at 3b, getting three regulars for under $2 million total, and getting good value for the money. The question then would be what they'd do with the savings.

Jesse (MN)

Are you buying Alex Meyer's AFL stats? Potentional #2 for MN in years ahead?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

I don't buy anyone's AFL stats. Tiny samples in a weird environment where players aren't used in normal ways. I like Meyer, but he'll need to improve his fastball command and his changeup to be a 2 (or better).

Oren (Waterloo, ON)

Listen to the new Arcade Fire?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

On my third listen.

Dave (Boston)

Keith - How much, if at all, does postseason performance affect the contract a FA might receive? Specifically, do you think Salty hurt his value with his subpar postseason? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

In a rational market, it shouldn't, but you know execs are watching those games (well, except Billy Beane) and they'd have to make a conscious effort to ignore what they saw.

RJ (Pittsburgh)

Cards' depth is insane: Waino, Lynn, Kelly, Miller, Wacha, Martinez, Garcia for the rotation; Holliday, Jay, Craig, Taveras in the outfield; Freese, Wong, Carpenter in the infield. And they have money to spend. What should they do? What will they do? Thank you, Keith.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

The ideal rotation from that group is Wainwright, Miller, Wacha, Martinez, and probably Rosenthal if they're willing to transition both him and Martinez. I'd do that, bring Garcia back as a reliever at first, look to trade Lynn and/or Kelly (I think Kelly is probably better in the pen, so that's an option too), and perhaps put one of them with Freese (Carpenter at 3b, Wong at 2b) to try to find a shortstop or a long-term CF solution.

Robert (Chicago)

When will ESPN be posting your top 50 free agents?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

Tuesday - when they become free. I've already filed the ranking and capsules for 50 guys.

Matt (Boise )

With regards to David Ortiz. The last time we saw a 38 year old slugger hit this well his name was Barry Bonds. Just saying.

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

What are you saying, exactly? Or are you just a coward?

Jared (Philadelphia)

Klaw - pleasure meeting you at Futures Game in July. Going to Barbuzzo tonight. Getting the out-of-style kale salad. Other suggestions - items you almost ordered but didn't? Think D Price to LAA for Trumbo, Bourjos + prospects makes any sense?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

I don't think TB would be interested in Trumbo; he's a very limited player, with an obvious hole, and will cost more in arbitration than he's worth. It's not a competitive offer (especially since "prospects" from LAA doesn't mean much), and Texas or LAD could blow it out of the water, to pick just two examples. I'd like to go back to try the meatballs and the pizza.

Matt (Boise)

I'll say it. I think he's taking PEDs.

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

If you have the magical ability to detect PED usage via your television, you should share this with the world at large. Otherwise, the guy's passed all the tests so far, and while he could be using something the tests don't detect, it repulses me to start slapping the PED label on guys just because they're outliers.

Koz (Gilbert, AZ)

What would you consider to be Matheny's major managing mistakes during the World Series?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Leaving his starters in too long. Very consistently wrong on that point. The roster construction issue, where they played the whole month with a 23-man roster (the rules let you take 25), isn't an in-game mistake, and I don't know how much is on Matheny and how much is on the front office. It is, however, an interesting datum in support of the argument that you can get through October with a 10-man staff.

Joe (Chicago)

With regards to Matt in Boise, Hank Aaron hit .301/.402/.643 with 40 HR at age 39. Just saying...Sometimes exceptional players do exceptional things.

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Exactly. There are outliers. If Ortiz fails a test, then we can pillory him. Till then, it's all baseless, irresponsible speculation.

TheSheriff (CA)

I understand not putting running on base intentionally because more base runners always makes the offense happy, but if 1 player has half the hits on the team for an entire series, doesn't it make sense to challenge the other players to beat you? It all goes out the window if the other players start hitting, but it's common (seemingly effective) strategy in a lot of team sports to take a team's best player out of the game and challenge the rest of the team to beat you.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

I think in other sports, it's more effective to take out one player in that fashion - but in baseball, one player doesn't make an offense go, and taking him out of the equation does something positive for his team (free baserunner).

Lenny (Philadelphia)

It sounds like the Mets maybe moving EY Jr. to 2nd. Is that a position you see him as capable of playing at the ML level?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

No.

Jason (DC)

Are you celebrating today? Not for the Red Sox, but for the fact that Tim McCarver has retired! I'm thrilled...the wind has stopped blowing.

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

I have never been a McCarver fan, dating back to when he was the Mets' color guy in the '80s. I don't care for the pedantic style, and I don't agree with him on many aspects of baseball philosophy, scouting or tactical. I wish him the best in his retirement, but I won't pretend I was a fan of his work just because he's hanging up his headset.

Studebaker (NJ)

Why is it after nearly every major North American sports league championship we inevitably get the riot stories? Can't people be excited for their team without property damage? /end rant

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Pretty true in Europe, too. It's just the state of the world.

Joseph (Richmond, VA)

Would you begin the 2014 season with Rendon at 2b if you were the Nats? If not, what kind of infield reshuffling would you propose? Thanks, Keith.

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Put him at 3b, Zimmerman at 1b, trade LaRoche.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Were you as uncomfortable watching Buck and McCarver say their final words as I was? I was waiting for a full on man hug/cry session to commence at any moment.

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

I had changed the channel within 60 seconds of the final out. The baseball part was over. I don't need the interviews or the celebrating.

Kirk (The TC)

Is Adam Walker a Top 100 guy? Or does he not even break the Twins top 10 (15?) for you?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

21-year-old D1 college product 1b who posted a .319 OBP in low-A. That's not a prospect. If he played short or center or could catch, that would be a different story, but not as a bat-only corner guy.

CC (Atlanta)

Those that criticized/doubted Braun before his pathetic admission were wrong too, right? I'm not saying Ortiz did anything wrong (no reason to think he did) but to rip someone for suggesting it is a stretch too. Blame guys like Braun and Bonds for all the paranoia.

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

When did you stop beating your wife?

Michael (Pittsburgh)

An idea was proposed on a Pirates blog about trading Francisco Liriano this offseason. I can see why it would make sense (lack of SPs on the free agent market, may not be able to resign him at the end of 2014, was 2013 a fluke year) but on the other hand I can see where it doesn't make sense (Pirates actually have an ace, helped them to reach the playoffs firs the first time). What side of the fence would you fall on?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

I don't think 2013 was a fluke year - the stuff was there to justify the performance - but I could understand floating his name because no one knows if he'll stay that healthy again. You can always explore trading a guy without actually trading him. If you get an offer you love, take it. You never know if the Rangers will say, "Sure, we'll give you Profar," unless you ask.

Jason (Dallas)

Any cause for concern with Corey Seager's AFL performance?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

None, as stated above. Don't get worked up either way over the stats out there. It's equivalent to about a month of the regular season for guys who play regularly, and the talent distribution is very different from that of a full-season league.

kei (honolulu)

This has been hashed to death and I probably missed the discussion. It's over, but for my education re the interference call at third. It was clear interference, but...the interference was between 3rd and 2nd, not 3rd and home. Does that matter?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

The obstruction (a runner interferes, a fielder obstructs) came when Craig stood up to attempt to run home. As there is no baseline in that situation, the only questions were whether Middlebrooks obstructed Craig's path to home plate (Joyce ruled that he did, and he was right) and whether Craig would have scored safely had it not been for the obstruction (same). There is no way Middlebrooks could have avoided an obstruction call once he'd missed the throw, unless he had the ability to disapparate at that precise moment. It was an inelegant ending, but after not fully understanding rule 2.00 I now see it was the correct one.

Tim (AZ)

Lets review La Stella gain, since you seem to be the only one that is not impressed.

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

I do not see any reason to argue for a high upside here. His swing isn't going to generate power, he's not a runner, he's not a great fielder. He can hit, absolutely, and that may make him a solid everyday guy or a touch above. Forty-four AB in the AFL shouldn't change that view.

Michael (DC)

Had a chance to visit Oklahoma Joe's (original) while in KC for one night last week. Thanks for the tip! I think my colleagues were skeptical when I told them it was in a gas station. Any thoughts on reviving the Asdrubal to the Cardinals trade rumors this offseason? What would be a reasonable offer from StL?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

You know, Asdrubal isn't actually that good of a player. Cleveland should have traded him a year ago (pure hindsight there, BTW). A 1.2 WAR shortstop who's declining on defense shouldn't get you a top prospect in return. Maybe he will, but I'm skeptical.

BK (LA)

With the addition of Tanaka and possibly the Big-U (Jimenez) are the Angels world series competitive?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

It makes them better. I don't think that makes them a 92-plus win team on its own.

Kyle (Visalia, CA)

In your opinion, what are the odds that someone other than Rodon goes #1 overall next June?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

If we're considering the chances he gets hurt, maybe 25%. If not, maybe 10%. He's way ahead of any other candidate.

Robert (Killeen, TX)

Re: Ortiz, did everyone already forget that he was terrible in the ALCS? How is a hot six-game sample proof of, well, anything?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

It's not, but, you know, the #narrative rules. Also, remember all the "Carlos Beltran clutch October OMGZ" nonsense from the NLCS? Beltran hit .268/.388/.464 this October, pretty much what he is as a player.

sk (Arlington, VA)

Ortiz was amazing in the ALDS, awful in the ALCS and had an amazing World Series. baseball is an amazing game

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

And that ought to be enough for us without the clutchy-clutch woo-woo BS.

Ryan (Montreal) [via mobile]

You have mentioned a few times that the Cards played with 2 less players. Who would you have put on the team instead of Miller and Mujica? And would you have also replaced Tony Cruz?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Cruz has to stay - you can't start a game with one catcher on the roster. I'd have added Ryan Jackson, an actual shortstop who hits just a little, and another bat who could have helped off the bench. Chad Huffman was sitting in AAA and could have filled that role, although I don't think he was on the 40 and the Cards would have had to add him. But anyone was better than a pitcher they wouldn't use.

TE (LA)

Keith - Last week somebody asked why so many teams missed on drafting Wacha as he seemed to be a GUY. However, how much of him becoming a GUY is due to being drafted and developed by the Cardinals. In other words, would he be as good if drafted by somebody like Seattle that doesn't have a good track record?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Possible. I'm more disturbed by national media jumping on the "how did everyone pass on this guy?" bandwagon when a year ago they didn't even know who Wacha was. Pay attention to the draft and you'd know the answer: It was a great HS draft, one which hasn't yet borne fruit in the majors but could produce five or six legitimate stars from that crop, including Buxton, Correa, Almora, Russell, and Seager. Plus the big miss in that draft may have actually been Colorado's Eddie Butler, but he wasn't on TV in October.

Tom (KC)

Time to look to next year. I believe the royals need to add power next year. Would a trade of Kyle Zimmer, Jason Adam, and Greg Holland be enough to get Giancarlo Stanton in return?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

No. And that's even before we consider that Zimmer ended the year on the shelf.

Shelby Miller (Where in the world?)

Any confirmed sightings of me?

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Heard you were on the grassy knoll.

Chuck (Philly)

I agree with you for the most part that we go overboard with the whole "clutch" label. However, you don't completely dismiss that there are players in sports that handle big moments better than others do you? Or that there aren't players that squeeze the bat too tight at the plate, get a bit weak kneed at the foul line, or grip the football too tight on a throw?

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

If you're one of them tight bat-squeezers, you're probably not getting to the majors. There's intense pressure on these kids from age 15 on.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

Re: Nationals. Does that mean Espinosa gets another shot @ 2b? He was 3 win player as recently as 2012.

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

That would be part of my plan, yes. His glove alone should make him playable, even though I don't think he'll ever be a decent OBP guy.

Shannon (MO)

What type of contract do you think Corey Hart will be looking at? He seems like a pretty good buy low candidate.

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Depends on his medicals, which I don't know of course, but I'd say a year and $3-4 million guaranteed with big incentives. I was never wild about him - he turned out better than I expected, but I couldn't get past his inability to adjust to the RH slider away, plus his awful fielding - but I'd give him $3 million or so to see what's left.

Gary Brown and Joe Panik (Giants Farm System)

Have we disappeared or do we still have a shot at a big league career?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Panik might be a utility guy, maybe not even. Brown still plays a long time in the majors because of his glove, but may never be more than a fringe regular.

Corey (NYC)

How much time do Cherington and the front office get to enjoy this before they're back at it for next season? Monday everybody is back at the desk?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

I'm sure they've already been thinking about roster stuff. Minor league free agents are already out there, so you can't just focus on the playoffs.

Ruzzi (Phoenixville, PA)

Have you been to Mikimotos in Wilmington yet?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

Not yet. La Fia still the best place we've tried in Delaware.

Matt (DC)

You forgot to mention Giolito from that high school stars crop... and the Nationals media corps did raise question regarding Wacha.

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

I did forget him, yes. Plus a healthy Zimmer gets picked ahead of Wacha every time - more FB, way better CB, feel for a CH, tremendous athlete. We all second-guess in this business, but it helps if you have any familiarity at all with the subject on which you're guessing second.

Ryan (Dayton) [via mobile]

Klaw, could you see Robert Stephenson working his way through the reds system to earn a late season cup of coffee next year or is he still a year + out?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

I think a year-plus out. Command improving, still more control than command at this point, and needs to refine the CH.

Herbert (Eugene)

Last week on Twitter you mentioned that you think "Morbid Tales" is the 4th-best Celtic Frost album. Would you care to elaborate on this? I am admittedly more of a Hellhammer guy but I am rarely compelled to go beyond "To Mega Therion."

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

I prefer their more progressive/technical stuff, which presaged a lot of melodic death metal as well. That's just my personal preference.

Doug (Santa Barbara,CA)

Wacha lasted 18 picks . . . Trout lasted 25 . . . sometimes, it just happens! Which player dropping was a bigger surprise to you?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

I had both guys rated a little higher than they were drafted - Wacha 15 and Trout 20, I think. But I also thought Wacha would go higher because he was "safe" and had ranked him as high as 10th earlier in the spring because I liked his probability as well.

Casey (AZ)

What do you think the dbacks need to do to avoid another .500 season?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

They need to get tougher. Gotta get some guys who'll really grind out at bats, some pitchers who have that will to win, guys who'll fight and scrap for every run or every out.

Tyler Smith (Atlanta, Ga)

As a general rule, how much of an impact do veteran players have on a young team? Do veteran starters have more of an impact than backups?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

I'll put that at or near zero. Running a bunch of kids out there didn't hurt the Cardinals. The Pirates made it pretty far with a young, inexperienced roster too.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

What QO, placed or not, will be the most interesting to you?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

I would have said Lincecum before that extension. Maybe Saltalamacchia.

Andy (Tampa)

When was the last time you got a pro Kozma tweet, post, smoke signal, etc?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

First week of April?

Gus (Boston)

Speaking of the Wacha draft, does it appear the Mets whiffed on the Gavin Cechinni pick or is it too early to tell?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Too early. Won't even turn 20 till Christmas.

Evan (Philly)

Thoughts on Infinite Jest? I didn't see it on the top 102 so I guess it wasn't your favorite. Worth the 2-3 years I'll spend reading it?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Read it in April, after I compiled that list. Took me 2-3 weeks - it's doable, just a commitment: http://klaw.me/179sOsp

Paul (Chicago)

What do the Cubs do with their depth of third basemen in their system? Where would you start Bryant, Baez (if that's the plan), Olt, Vitters, C. Villanueva, Candelario?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Olt in AAA, Bryant in AA, leave Baez at SS for now, Candelario at high-A, don't care about Vitters.

Tom (KC)

Any significant complaints/glaring errors made with the gold glove award winners this year?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

I don't know who won.

Crazy (Pleasanton, CA)

Any early thoughts on the Arcade Fire cd?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

Still listening. I've learned that I need at least 3-4 listens to get a feel for an album.

Joseph (Richmond, VA)

If you were to interview for a GM job with an MLB team, what would be the first question you would ask the people/person on the other side of the desk? Thanks, Keith.

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Two questions would be critical. One is "What's the goal here for this season and the one beyond it?" Are we in win-now mode, rebuild mode, or something else? The other would be "how much autonomy will I have within baseball ops?" Ideally, I'd get a budget every year and a clear process for getting approval on moves over $X million, and otherwise have broad latitude to do what's needed.

Chris (Boston)

Hey Klaw - Reading a lot of rumors that the Tigers may shop Scherzer in the off season. Do you see them doing this considering they're in a "win-now" situation with an aging team? Thanks....

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Makes no sense to me.

Ben (UK)

Just wanted to say I loved BTD this week, was nice to hear you and EK discussing baseball again.

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Thanks - it was a lot of fun to do it.

Jonathan (Brooklyn)

Ortiz has been linked to positive tests twice before, just because he hasn't been caught under the new protocol doesn't mean he has a clean reputation.

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Irrelevant. I got drunk at a friend's wedding in 2005. Doesn't mean I'm drinking now. (I'm not, as it turns out.)

BD (DC)

You said that for Brian Goodwin the individual tools are better than the sum of the parts... how should an organization try and fix that moving forward for the player?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

No idea. You're asking how to teach a kid to have instincts, or feel for the game, more or less. It's not an easy thing to fix. It's not mechanical, and it's not purely psychological.

Robert( Toronto ) [via mobile]

What did you think of Pete Kozma in his draft year?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

Utility guy ceiling.

Jonathan (Brooklyn)

Doesn't that eliminate him getting the benefit of the doubt and open up his current actions to questioning?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Not to rational people.

Alex (CA)

Do the Giants have anyone in their farm system who can help them in 2014 at the major league level?

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

In any significant way? I don't think so. Brown probably gets some time. Susac could come up and be the 40-game-a-year catcher. Not sure who else might be ready to contribute other than some relievers.

Jason (Cleveland)

Bradley>Walker?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Archie over Taijuan? Yes.

Kyle (Bloomington)

Does a package of Vogelbach, Alcantara, and Pierce Johnson land the Cubs Price?

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

Pro tip: If you want to come up with a non-laughable trade offer for your team to get David Price, start with your top prospect(s). Not your second or third tier.

Jon (New Castle)

Keith,Just looking at guys from the 2009 draft who haven't reached the majors. Which is a worse outcome to you from a team standpoint, a draft pick who doesn't reach the majors, or one who does but has a negative WAR?

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

No difference to me. Getting him to the majors saves face, but doesn't necessarily add value.

CAM (Work)

With the Cardinals seemingly set up with young studs, which other NL Central team(s) do you see will be able to compete with them over the next decade?

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

Pirates have the best system, but the major-league team is a full grade or two worse than the Cardinals', and they're likely to always be behind STL in payroll. Cubs are getting there fast, but are probably two years behind Pittsburgh. Milwaukee's in the worst shape by far - mediocre major-league team, below-average system.

Todd (Philly)

Maybe the focus should be on pinpointing "how" PEDs actually impact performance in a positive manner before the field goes laying the concern on individuals.

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

I've told you before that talking sense won't get you anywhere around here.

Charles (San Jose)

The Diamondbacks added Matt Davidson to the 40 man roster and called him up in August, and then sent him back to AAA one week before roster expansion (when he returned). Did that blow one of his options?

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Yes, if he wasn't on the 40 before he was recalled, then it cost an option to send him down. He'd have two left.

Rob (Orlando, FL)

Do you see Andrew Heaney making an impact in 2014, or is 2015 more likely?

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

2014 is reasonably optimistic.

Jonathan (Brooklyn)

I just don't believe you can think that just because he hasn't been caught recently we cannot question his actions.

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

He hasn't been caught in a decade, right? And was it ever clear what he was caught for? Why is it so hard to just stick to facts when we're talking about someone's reputation?

Joseph (Richmond, VA)

I'll give it a shot.....Rendon, Goodwin, AJ Cole, and Storen for Price? Who says no, and is there laughing involved? Thanks, Keith.

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

Not sure the Nationals would do that, given the other pitching they have. That's a hell of a return for TB.

TiM (Pittsburgh)

What do the Pirates do with their OF? Plug in a FA in RF or go with Tabata and hope Polanco is ready by the end of the season?

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

Polanco could play CF right now in the majors. He's not far off.

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

That's all for this week. I'll be back next Thursday to talk free agent rankings etc. Thanks as always for reading and for all of your questions.