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January 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:01 PM)

I will not call Judas Priest "death metal." I'll just call them awesome. Klawchat.

Kyle (Visalia, CA)

Has Houston overtaken St. Louis for best farm system in the game?

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

My organization rankings will run on Tuesday, January 28th. The top 100 runs on the 29th, then the org top tens over the next two days, AL one day, NL the next. Unfortunately, that means I won't answer a lot of rankings or prospect questions before then.

Matt (NYC)

Keith,If you were named MLB Commissioner tomorrow, what type of PED rules would you try to change?

Klaw
  (1:03 PM)

I'd stop the ridiculous HGH testing program, and clamp down on therapeutic use exemptions for amphetamines.

mk (albuquerque)

the thing that i learned from the 60 minutes piece is that PEDs can enter and leave system w/i span of a ballgame. it seems that short of in-game testing there is no way to ever expect to get a leg up on PED users. could you see league ever pushing for in game testing? any reason they couldn't make this happen? any reason they shouldn't?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

That's what they claimed, but is that true? Would such a steroid supplement have any benefit, or is it merely psychological (the placebo effect)? Wouldn't speed or caffeine be far more effective, and just as quick to leave the system, if you want a single-game boost? I'm a bit out of my depth here, but those are questions I had afterwards.

Matt (Steinway)

Do you think we'll see teams limit contracts for marginal players so that they won't be on the hook in a potential '16 work stoppage?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

No. I don't know anyone in the game who expects serious trouble in the next CBA.

Andrew (Small Market USA)

Keith, Why are people so up in arms about meaningless stuff like the Hall of Fame, but could care less that at least 20 teams couldn't even dream about ever offering a 200 million contract?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

I doubt the number is more than 10 teams that couldn't dream of it. The issue is that such teams won't do it, not that they can't. Other than Tampa and Oakland, who are in awful stadium situations, I think every team could offer a deal like that. The owners are raking in money hand over fist.

Adam (Alsup)

Higher upside...Teheran or Lucas Sims? Why?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Teheran. Might be three plus pitches when it's all said and done.

Studebaker (NJ)

Based on Bosch's suspicious testimony and the fact that A-Rod couldn't stay healthy or effective under Biogenesis's care, isn't it plausible that Bosch simply sold A-Rod some "magic elixir" that carried no actual benefits?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

I can't believe you're impugning Bosch's integrity like that. He seems like such a standup guy.

Matt (NJ)

More bang for the buck: 6/140 on Tanaka or 3/12 on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez? I know the reports on gonzalez are all over the map, but he basically got what has sadly become middle reliever money, and seems to have mid-rotation potential to some.

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

Gonzalez got that little because the Phils discovered an elbow issue after he agreed to terms. Not a reasonable comparison - nor would I call him a mid-rotation guy until we see what exactly the issue is.

Tom (L.A.)

When you say owners raking in money hand over fist - the Dodgers' local TV deal is $340m/yr, the Angels $150m/yr, and Padres $60m/yr. So some fists are bigger than others?

Ryan (St Petersburg)

You had Mesoraco as a top 12 prospect a few years ago. Now that the job is all his, can he be a top 10 catcher?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

Sorry, the chat software is acting very flaky today.

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Local TV money is important, but there's a lot of revenue coming in at the national level too. Just don't confuse "can't" with "won't" when talking about team spending.

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

On Mesoraco: Yes, I do. Moderate to low AVG, decent walk totals, plenty of power for the position (20-25 HR), solid to above defense. Just needs to play every day, and may need a year or two of that to do what I just described.

Bryan (Montclair, NJ)

It sounds like the Mets will wait to promote Syndergaard and potentially Montero until after the Super 2 date. If more teams use this strategy, won't we eventually see the actual date get pushed back further each year?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Yes - it's already shifted slightly as a result. I'm not a huge fan of that kind of manipulation, for two reasons. One is that the value of an added win or two in the current season (from promoting a prospect) may, depending on the team's current status, be worth more than the financial savings from delaying arbitration by a year. Two is that it implies that you know the player, once recalled, is never going back down. Mike Trout didn't stick when he first came up. Let's not get too clever about this. As for the Mets, if they must do that with one of the two guys, do it with Syndergaard, who has the much higher ceiling, rather than Montero, who is probably more ready to contribute right away.

Jeff (Detroit)

Grant Brisbee opined that the Braves, once big spenders, are now essentially a small market team relative to their competition. He went so far as to compare them to the Rays and A's. Do you agree? Is their television deal really that much of a hindrance, or is this more a reflection of their ownership? Is Atlanta not knocking at the door of the top ten markets?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

It's a reflection of ownership. They are only interested in making money off broadcasting the games. Liberty has no idea what's happening on a granular level inside the team's operations right now.

JB (Dallas)

Keith, I would like to see Bosch prove that the "gummies" or whatever else he was giving out can leave your system by the time the game is over - have him do an official MLB drug test, take a gummie, wait 3 hours and then take another test. I want to see him prove that all of his methods he claims he used to produce all these clean tests actually work. Your thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

This is a great idea except that it means Bosch wouldn't go away just yet, and really, isn't that what we all really want at this point?

Rusty (Kennesaw, GA)

KL, do you think Craig Kimbrel is worth a long-term contract with the Braves? At his young age, should he be the exception to the rule of not paying closers a lot?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

No, due to blowout/attrition risk. I think he'll be otherworldly as long as he's healthy, but I wouldn't bet on any one-inning reliever to stay healthy three or four straight years into the future.

Gary (Rochester)

Who has better year coming off major injury Beachy or Pineda?

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

I'd always bet on the elbow guy (Beachy) over the shoulder guy (Pineda).

Andy (Tampa)

I'm going to guess you've commented on this and I missed it, but what was your initial reaction to the Kershaw deal?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

It's a good deal for both sides. Kershaw's actually worth a lot more than that to the Dodgers as long as he's healthy, but I can't say he did poorly when he shattered all records for a pitcher's contract.

Michael (DC)

Do you see any chance of Carlos Carrasco becoming a viable starting candidate or is he just a pen guy now?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Pen guy. I was never a big fan, even when he was in Philly, because he lacked command and was noticeably immature on the mound. He's probably more of a two-pitch short reliever, once through the lineup, rather than even a back-end starter.

Kevin (NY)

Thoughts on Jose Abreus projections? They seem very very optimistic.

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Easy to be optimistic when you don't have much if any valid data that puts a cap on what is reasonable.

Matt (MA)

Out of all the Red Sox close to ready SP prospects who gets a regular spot in the rotation first, Workman, Webster, Ranaudo, Barnes?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

I think the team would say Webster. Workman looks great in a relief role, and might deliver just as much value there as he would as a back-end starter. Webster has the velocity and the changeup, but his command was much worse than I expected when he was in the big leagues, and he doesn't have a solid avg breaking ball.

Joe (Chicago)

Thoughts on Orioles offseason?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

Has it started yet?

Mark (Chicago)

What do you think of Kyle Hendricks? Mid rotation type?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

Fifth starter, if that.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

My thoughts on Jose Abreu: had Yasiel Puig not been so good last season, Abreu's projections would be lower. Which is not a good way to make a projection.

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

And Abreu and Gonzalez and Guerrero would have been paid less. Puig blew everyone away - I don't think many scouts thought he would be THAT much better nine months after signing.

Matt (Queens)

Pick one for Hall of fame; 75% lowered, 5% rule abolished, or 10 vote limit expanded.

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

10 vote limit expanded. But I think even that evades two other problems: Troll voters, like blank-ballot guys; and the lack of any clear direction on what do to with PED guys, actual ones (failed a test) and suspected (someone didn't like the cut of his jib).

Joe (DC)

What is an acceptable profit margin for a MLB team, in your opinion, since owners are making money hand over fist? Shouldn't they be trying to maximize profits like any other business?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

An individual team is a business, but one that is also part of a cartel where the health of every member is important to the health of the superior entity. If Jeff Loria is just going to keep bleeding Florida taxpayers dry, trading players as soon as they get a little expensive, then MLB is worse off for having him, even though he may be running his business in the way that is optimal for him as the owner.

Jeff (NYC)

Went to Bouchon in Vegas last week and tried the chicken and waffles. Plus-plus to say the least. I know Tanaka's raw stuff isn't as great as Darvish's but would you classify him as a #2 starter type (i.e. one of the best 30 or 40 starters in the game)?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

I think that's his ceiling. He's got a big fastball and can hold his velo, albeit on an extra day of rest, but he doesn't have the assortment of offspeed stuff Darvish brought over. If Tanaka is "just" a top-40 starter in the game, though, he's worth $18-20 million a year.

Tom (L.A.)

Am I following correctly? Turn your ballot over to people who took the vote seriously and did a good job = bad. Use your ballot to vote nefariously/agenda laden = good.

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

In the eyes of the BBWAA, Dan's mistake was in completely handing it over to someone else. What they did with it is immaterial (and yes, that ballot was among the better ones, although it needed Raines). Had he solicited feedback, but made it clear he retained agency over the ballot, he wouldn't have been punished.

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

That said, every agenda-voter should be stripped of his ballot - blank-ballot guys, spite voters, etc. This ain't about you, Murray.

Mike (Worcester, mA)

Steven Drew plays for the ___________ in 2014.

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

money

Beau (NOLA)

Doesn't trading Homer Bailey make the most sense for the Reds? Assuming they can get a young impact bat back (at almost any position other than 1B). Seems like they could offset his loss with a combo of Cingrani / Arroyo (if resigned) plus have Stephenson in the future. How else could they potentially improve?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

Yes, mostly because they'll lose him to free agency after the season. This won't happen, obviously, but he'd make a ton of sense for Pittsburgh: One year, dollars aren't outrageous, fills a clear need, strong farm system that would allow them to deal.

Shawn (NYC)

Okay, you'd get rid of the HGH testing, but would you get rid of testing for minor non-performance enhancing drugs?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I wouldn't test anyone for marijuana. That should be adequately covered by other clauses that require the player to be fit to perform his duties. If he's so stoned he doesn't show up for practice, he can be sanctioned.

Charles (San Jose)

How big a segment of the BBWAA is secretly shamed that the Deadspin ballot was better than their own?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

The voters to whom you refer are incapable of feeling shame, only pride.

jon (nyc)

Who's most likely going to get tanaka in your opinion?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Bearing little or no inside information on this, I will be boring and say the Yankees.

Keith (Memphis)

Are you as sick about hearing about ARod as I am?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Yes.

S H E I K (Raleigh)

KLaw, did you publish your hypothetical 10 (or more) for this year's HOF?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

I did, but I don't mind saying it again: Raines, Bagwell, Piazza, Maddux, Thomas, Mussina, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, and I believe Trammell was the last one. Glavine, Edgar, and Walker were all squeezed out by lack of space.

Seth (My House)

Does the union have any concern for the wide disparities we are seeing in salaries? Guys like Kershaw have paid their dues but with 4th starters getting 10M plus a season, it is easy to see why teams value controllable talent so much. Is there going to be a push in the new CBA to raise the minimum to a level where the young controllable players are not so exploited?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

It's actually gone up by something like 60-70% in the last decade. Wouldn't surprise me to see it jump to $800K in the next CBA.

Josh (DC)

Biggio?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

Yes, sorry, I thought I had him in there already. So replace Trammell with Biggio, then push Trammell into the "no room" category. Of course I'd vote for Whitaker had he been on the ballot.

Derek (Chipotle) [via mobile]

Follow up on the Kimbrel contract question. If you were a GM would you NEVER give a RP a 4 year deal?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

Correct. The only one I would have done so for just retired.

Charles (Seattle)

How soon until we see a career minor leaguer step up and volunteer to be studied on the true effects of PEDs? It appears the debate will go on forever until someone steps up. Wouldn't that potentially be a lasting legacy worth being proud of as a baseball player?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

I think the health risks to the player would make such a test unethical for the testers and kind of stupid for the player. I've spoken to a couple of subject matter experts, and they all say two things: In tests of pure strength or athleticism, steroids (that's really what you mean, right) do make a significant difference in performance; and they are incredibly bad for your health when used in this fashion.

Ryan (Hanover, PA)

RE: Orioles...I guess you missed the invites to Delmon Young and Tyler Colvin :)

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

I don't get the Delmon signing. Colvin has his uses as a 4th OF. Delmon has no value any more. None.

Chris (DC)

Your thoughts on Top Chef last? Or, lead us in the right direction to your blog? Thanks!

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

I'll write that up after the chat. I spent the morning enrolling for TSA Pre-check, which was a very easy process.

Bob (Ny)

Wilmer Flores, guy or GUY? What do u think his #s will be next year? Should the mets go after Drew instead? Thx

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Guy. Really not sold on him at 2b. He can hit though - might still profile as a regular at a corner spot.

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Drew ... are they contenders this year? Or just competitive? I think they could sneak up on Atlanta, but the gap on paper between the Mets and the Nats is pretty large.

Brandon (Nashville)

Is MLB ready to expand? What cities would be good options?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

I don't sense any appetite for expansion.

JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)

So, if all the owners are flush with cash, then any team that didn't at least contact the Tanaka camp (attempting to acquire a young pitcher that won't cost you a draft pick or player), is doing their team a disservice, right?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

I agree with that. You have to at least ask. There's zero cost to the conversation, unless you're at a payphone.

Justin (NY)

Hey Keith, a lot has been made this offseason of the Dodgers having "too many" outfielders. Couldn't one just as easily say that they don't really have a centerfielder?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Yes. And that Ethier is kind of a platoon guy. And so is Crawford. And Kemp sort of has to show he can stay healthy for a full year.

jason (brooklyn)

From The Daily Colleagian, 1990: ...a few weeks ago [Bud] Black not only became a very rich man, but also, history will show, caused baseball to forever change its financial structure.Black's new four-year, $10 million dollar contract with the San Francisco Giants represents a trend that will either bankrupt many major league teams or compel the major league owners to abandon their free wheelin' capitalist ways in favor of a structure in which teams share profits with each other.

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Signed, Anonymous MLB Owner.

Marc (Sacramento)

Nominations were just released, who are your Oscar winners for the major categories? Seems like 12 years and American Hustle are can't miss.

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Haven't started my movie-watching yet - been too tied up with prospect calls and writing, plus catching up on some TV series. #archer

Sean (Lexington)

Brooklyn 99- After the 1st 2 episodes I said to my wife.."this show will be cancelled in 2 more weeks." Now, can't stop watching and laughing. Quickest turn around in the history of TV. The Mariners need to hire Michael Shur.

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

That's another one. Thrilled it won the Golden Globe (although I would have given it to Parks and Rec). B99's cast is outstanding. I'd like them to give Santiago more to do, as opposed to just being the cute/meek one.

Albert (Pujols)

What do you expect from me this year now that plantar f stuff is behind me?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

A line like 2012's.

Don (Detroit)

I know that you are anti-Morris in the HOF.But did you see Schoefield's post on the HOF needing to be even bigger based on more teams than historical comparisons.Would Morris make it into your "Even Bigger" Hall approach even if only for durability in an era of non-durable pitchers?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

No. He drops the floor far too much. Adding him endorses historical revisionism.

Andrew (Toronto)

Re: team spending - I've always felt that many baseball fans should hate on the Yankees less for "buying championships," and be more annoyed at their ownership for crying poor and not trying to compete.

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Yep. Plus, all that spending bought them one championship, in 2009. The 1996-2000 run was built on the farm system, and supplemented with cash. The 2009 team was largely bought.

Jim (Alabama)

Hey Keith, one guy nobody ever talks about is Kevin Brown. For a good 7 or 8 years he was right there in the conversation for best pitchers in the game. Thoughts on his Hall of Fame case?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

If Glavine sailed in, Brown should be in too.

Max (Boston, MA)

What's the most "off" you've ever been in evaluating a prospect? Like if there was someone you predicted would be, at most, a bench player, and turned into a good everyday player?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Too many to list. I was never a Goldschmidt fan when he was in the minors, for one.

Billy Bob (Tennessee)

You're stance on NEVER giving long deals to relievers is ridiculous absent the amount of money in the contract. Otherwise, you are implying that a 3-year deal at $10m per year is better for the team than a 4-yeard deal at $7.5m per year. That is illogical.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Thank you for that incredibly obvious and needless clarification. You've made us all 0% smarter today.

John (Dover, DE)

The 2014 Firefly lineup was just released this week - will you be there? We don't have much else to offer in Delaware in the way of entertainment.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

I might. Tough to do anything like that mid-season, but if I can come for a day or so I'd love to see at least a half-dozen of those acts. Maybe we can organize a meetup down there.

JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)

There's no chance that Pedro Martinez' relatively low win total gets held against him by HOF voters, right?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Not enough to matter. He'll get 95% of the vote.

Joe (Chicago)

Are you a fan of all the tolls in Delaware?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

They keep my taxes low. So come on by.

mk (albuquerque)

re: delmon.....i'm a twins fan so you won't get too many arguments from me re: delmon's ultimate worthlessness. but he seems like he still might have the ability to get hot for a few weeks at a time and carry a ballclub. you think that's why he keeps getting chances?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

I think he keeps getting chances because he's a former first overall pick. There are 50 players in the minors who can do what he'll do. And that's not saying I'd sign all of them, either.

Jason (KC)

Which young Cardinals starter is least likely to maintain last year's performance?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

I'd say Kelly or Wacha.

Scott (Lincolnshire)

Who's your early favorite for spring training's best "I'm in the best shape of my life"? How about "Most overrated prospect based on 2014 spring training results" ?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

We'll see in early March. Just remember what Jackie Bradley, Jr., did last spring.

Jason (Las Vegas)

With the move are you still coming out to Cactus League this year?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Yes, absolutely. Just trying to figure out for how long.

J (Boston)

are you referring to income tax or property tax in Delaware? a top income tax rate of 6.6% isn't that low...

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

No sales tax.

Robert (NYC)

Soler or Pederson? Who's going to be better in the Show?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

I'll take Soler.

Lake (Memphis, TN)

Since no one's asked yet - were you surprised at Price's 1-year extension?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Everyone asked, but there's nothing to say. It wasn't an extension; they just agreed to terms and avoided arbitration.

Tarek (NYC)

Did you see Archer on Monday. Damn those writers are brilliant.

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Yep. That was insane.

Jason (KC)

Will Austin Hedges be RoY whenever he makes his debut?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

That's a bizarre question, but he's also not the kind of player who typically gets RoY votes - he's a defensive wizard, not an offense-first player.

Roy (New York)

Where do you see the underrated power of Mark Reynolds going?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Don't know. I think his overrated power will get a minor league deal somewhere, though.

Andrew (Philly)

RBI Baseball is making its comeback....hopefully they keep that spit ball in there

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

I never played the original game - I think I'm just a couple of years too old for that. I did play MicroLeague, though.

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

That's all for this week. Thanks for all the questions - I'll have the Top Chef recap up later today, and I'll be back for another chat next week.