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Chat: Matthew Kory

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday June 11, 2014 12:00 PM ET chat session with Matthew Kory.


Talk baseball with Daily Hit List author Matthew Kory.

Matthew Kory: Good morning from the west coast where the coffee is good, and the coffee is expensive, and I can't afford any more of this coffee. Let's talk some baseball! Are you curious about Manny Machado? The Dodgers outfield situation? The Red Sox being lousy? The Rays being lousier? Me too! Let's talk!

Justin (WI): Is there anything in the Brewers system to be excited about? Keith Law of ESPN has me down in the dumps about the whole Brewers system

Matthew Kory: Being in first place, four games up on the Cardinals isn't enough for you? If I may be so bold, I'd suggest more focus on the major league team and less on the minor leagues, but, since you asked, Jason Parks ranked Tyrone Taylor first in the latest BP Brewers Top 10 list and I don't see anything from him this season to diminish that ranking. THAT said, the Brewers are kinda odd in that they do have a weak minor league system but one of the younger major league rosters. So maybe for them the minor league system isn't quite as important as for other teams. Hope that makes you feel better! (Also, first place!)

daren (Visalia): How much would Justin Verlander get as a free agent this offseason if he hadn't signed his extension?

Matthew Kory: He'd probably still get a ton. I don't know that he'd get $140 million, but he very well might. Teams need pitching badly, and Verlander, though he hasn't Verlanded as much this season, was still widely seen as one of the best starters in baseball as recently as three months ago. Remember him in the post-season last year? I sure as heck do. Wow. Someone would pony up for that. Remember, what a player gets is as much about how good he is as who is doing the bidding. Think the Yankees wouldn't want Verlander? And the Dodgers want everyone, so. I'll say he gets $139 million. Less, but...

Brock (Boston): I'm roughly as real as Daniel Nava was, right?

Matthew Kory: Oh, Brock... /swoons. Brock Holt the jack of everything, master of nothing for the Red Sox is hitting .341/.381/.472. I'm buying Nava more than Holt though. Nava hits right handed pitching well. I still believe that even though he's gotten off to a rough start. Getting shipped back and forth to Triple-A hasn't helped while Holt, because he's an infielder (or, today, maybe an outfielder) who could fill in for Will Middlebrooks got regular playing time. Holt has some skills, versatility, some pitch recognition, and also versatility, but he's got no power at all. He's not a starter, but he's a heck of a fill-in. One of the only guys in Boston hitting right now.

daren (Visalia): There's an app that lets you listen to the walk-up songs of your favorite major leaguers. My question: Can you envision any possible way of generating a worse mix tape than that?

Matthew Kory: I bet if you could listen to the iPods of strangers walking down the street it would be awful. Just awful. A bunch of mediocre R&B, horrendous Rap ROOOOCK and whatever garbage is being shoved down our throats by main stream radio at the moment. So, yes, I'm sure it could get worse. Then again, that might be kinda what you're talking about.

James (CA): There's a piece at Deadspin that says a GM can be worth more than Mike Trout. Do you buy it? http://regressing.deadspin.com/why-a-great-general-manager-might-be-worth-more-than-mi-1589122571/+reubenfb

Matthew Kory: I haven't read the piece so I can't comment on it directly. Sounds like an interesting premise though. Off the top of my head, I'll say sure, why not? The Angels GM can trade Trout, right? So immediately he can deprive the Angels of Mike Trout. That's a lot of negative power. Positive power is harder to come by and takes more skill. But considering the GM shapes the direction of the franchise, I'll buy it in a macro sense.

It should be noted that teams have all kinds of different front office structures, and GM can't just refer to the guy in charge. It's scouting, analytics, draft consultants, GM assistants, etc. There's a lot that goes on. But can all of that be worth 10 wins a year? Sure. Easily.

DanDaMan (Sea Cliff): What's your take on Manny Machado's recent antics over the weekend? I've loved Manny, but he came across as an overly sensitive hothead to me.


I think I have a different feeling on this than a lot of people, though maybe not! Watching the clip, it was clear to me Machado threw his bat with the intent of hitting someone with it. His swing didn't start until the ball was in the catcher's glove. Then the launched it. What happens after that shouldn't effect the penalty. I'd throw the book at him (metaphorically). If I could suspend him 50 games for it, I'd do that. You simply can't throw bats at people. You can't. I've heard arguments that it's harder to hurt someone with a bat than a ball, and what about getting hit with a pitch, and those are legitimate arguments, but in the end it comes down to this: I believe someone could have been seriously injured. If Machado had managed to launch his bat directly at the pitcher while he was falling off the mound after delivering a pitch, what would have been the result? I shudder to think about the possibility. MLB needs to ensure that never happens. I'd suspend the heck out of him in the hopes that that never happens again.

Sam (Bay Area): If the Red Sox had lost in the ALDS last year--a totally normal possibility that we know was no more or less likely than the actual result--what kind of conversation would we be having right now about their front office and their manager? Wobbly chair stuff?

Matthew Kory: I was thinking about this the other day! If you exclude 2013 (which you totally can't do but for the purposes of conversation) the Red Sox have now had three entirely dispiriting campaigns in a row. Whether Cherington would be on the wobbly chair or not, I can't say, but I'm sure it would be part of the overall media discussion. I mean, heck, his name has "chair" in it, so.

All that said the 2013 Red Sox were a team of destiny and they had beards so of course they weren't going to lose that's ludicrous. Beards!

Frank (Milwaukee): Clint Coulter has really come on this year. He was drafted high, but reports weren't great, and he has a 45 overall (20-80 scale). What do you think of Clint Coulter and what could be expected in the majors?

Matthew Kory: I think he's got a great name. It's alliterative! Beyond that, I can't say much. He's a catcher in Single-A. I haven't seen him play. If I were you I'd check out the scouting reports and stats at BP. They'll give you a much better picture than I can.

iifyhbpr (1): 1

Matthew Kory: I seem to be out of coffee. This won't stand! Just a second...

Bill J. (Durham): You have a left fielder. He's good. He hits some, fields some, he's a guy you want on your team. He has a 40-grade arm. How much more is he worth per year if he suddenly gets the best throwing arm in the league?

Matthew Kory: More. But not a lot more. The ground he covers and the jumps he gets are more important defensively, and then there is baserunning and hitting, so overall I don't think it changes the picture all that much. Be exciting though!

Did you all see Cespedes's throw last night? That was nuts. And maybe the best part is the clips of all the other great throws that people started finding and putting out on twitter. Bo Jackson! Vlad Guerrero! And the best was Jose Guillen! That one broke laws of physics.

Chesty (New Bern NC): Machado may go back to the minors.I drafted him .Now I am looking for a replacement .Castellanos,Pllouffe,Dominiquez,Reynolds are available.How would you rank as a replacement in a one year league.

Matthew Kory: Machado isn't going back the minors. He's much better than all those guys you mentioned. That said, go nuts. Have fun going nuts. Nothing can go wrong. It's all a fantasy!

pmitchell60 (NOLA): In an ESPN Standard 10-team 12 Keeper league, I have Springer and Taveras in a loaded outfield (B. Hamilton, Trout, Braun, Puig, Ellsbury)...looking to move one or two of them. Generally speaking, is receiving a top flight SP enough in a straight up deal here or should I target elite positional players instead? Also, in such a league, how hesitant should I be to trade the younger prospects over the established guys?

Matthew Kory: I'm so not a fantasy guy, but this one is interesting for a few reasons. Generally speaking I think we over-rate young players. There's so much volatility (a word I consistently misspell) that getting established stars (to the extent such a thing exists) has great value. Without more specifics, if you can win this year, it's worth it to give up youth.

As for pitching vs. position players, we all know how crazy pitchers are. Sam Miller wrote a tremendous piece that you should all read on Justin Verlander. Verlander, you may recall, was the best pitcher in baseball or close to it and Sam makes a convincing case that he's not that anymore. He's 31. Remember how everyone kept saying Roy Halladay was a horse and an innings eater and he ate innings for breakfast with no repercussions and you could just put him out and his arm could absorb endless abuse and then his arm blew up and that was it? Pitchers are so all over the place.

And now my coffee has arrived! Hooray!

Dave M. (Philadelphia): What sort of moves would you make through the end of the season if you were running the Phillies?

Matthew Kory: If I were running the Phillies, I'd sell everything that isn't nailed down. So would you, I'm guessing. It's obviously what needs to be done. They're awful, they're really old, they're expensive, and their minor league system needs almost as much help as their major league team does. So sell sell sell sell. Clearly sell. But the thing about the Phillies is I'm not running them and neither are you. The interesting question is what will Ruben Amaro do? Or what will the ever-silent Phillies ownership do? And for that I have no answer.

I'll say this additionally to throw a wrench in the works: if I'm running the Phillies, I don't want Amaro as the one in charge of tearing down the franchise. As lousy as the Phillies are, they do have some desirable players that could bring value from other teams. Do you want Amaro to be the one dealing with Billy Beane while trading Chase Utley to the A's? If you're a Phillies fan maybe that's the real danger.

justarobert (Santa Clara): What's your favorite kind of rare baseball event? Nine-pitch, 3 K innings? Weird double plays? Walk-off catcher's interferences?

Matthew Kory: Hi Robert! I'm partial to immaculate innings. A nine-pitch, nine-strike, three K inning. Justin Masterson (I think) did it to the Red Sox a few weeks ago. It's so wonderfully dispiriting! I mean, that has no impact on the game beyond the one scoreless half inning and the implication that the pitcher who did it is pitching well, but it's impressive and fun to watch. Also, you can do it and still lose, which is kind of amazing also.

Wilson (Newport): Koji Uehara's stats as a one-inning Red Sox reliever: 0.97 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, 10.7 K/BB. Putting aside the fact that he'd probably get hurt by the fourth game, what's your best guess of what those stats would be if he were used as a starter instead?

Matthew Kory: That's a great question. Koji was a starter when he first came to MLB. He had a 4.05 ERA in 66.2 IP so he was alright, but not anything like what he is now out of the pen.

There's so much to take in. Koji is older and has suffered injuries in the relatively recent past. He throws two pitches, when most starters need three at least by conventional wisdom. Also, most starters go until they have trouble so that means most starters run into some trouble at some point in their starts. As a reliever, Koji goes one inning and then that's it. So I'll say his ERA goes up to 3.something. Low threes. He'd give up more hits, more homers especially, but the walks would probably stay down (he has near perfect control). 1.15 WHIP and 4ish K/BB. But that might be overselling it. It probably is.

Steve (Philly): So, following up on the previous question, your solution would start with removing Ruben Amaro from control and bringing in a new GM. Let this new GM reshape the organization and find whatever he can for the aging players with bloated contracts on the Phillies roster. Throw a parade if the GM can find someone to take Ryan Howard's contract off our hands. Who is out there that could do that on short notice?

Matthew Kory: I'd say nobody reflexively and move on to the next question except someone took Vernon Wells in trade twice so I wouldn't say it's impossible. As for who though... man, now you're taxing me. The Yankees maybe? They could use him as DH and back up 1B while Teixeira is recovering from his latest recovery. I can't imagine an NL team taking him now. He has negative defensive value and can't hit left handers so he is totally neutralized later in the game. I think the team probably has to live with Howard for a few more years, but maybe it's possible to move him. Hope springs eternal!

mofab (Bellingham WA): This season has been a tale of two Tigers teams: the one with the dominant rotation and dynamic lineup that got off to a 27-12 start and the mediocre one we've seen the last two weeks. What should we expect from here on out?

Matthew Kory: Something in between. By OPS+ the Tigers have three above average hitters on their team (Kinsler, Cabrera, and Victor Martinez). The good news is they can likely upgrade the bullpen with the addition of most relievers available at or near the deadline so improvement there is possible. The lineup might be a bit better than this, but it might not. Austin Jackson can improve, and I guess Torii Hunter could as well though the age is what the age is. In the end though this team needs their rotation to push them to the post season. I'm not optimistic about them in two years, but this season they should make the playoffs.

Theo And Hoyer Bother Me (Blasphemy Land): Ok, you build lousy teams to stock up on draft picks, and I have to pay filet mignon prices for hamburger, or not see baseball. Fine. But when you use the top pick to save money, pick a guy you could have got 12th or 15th with a non-soul sucking level of losing at the major league level and at some point I think I am just being tortured to line the owners pockets, and TheoHoyer are just the nice looking bamboo being stuck under my fingernails. I'd rather not care about under slot, I'd rather see more talented.

Matthew Kory: I wasn't a huge fan of the pick either, but at least for now, with the draft being one week ago, I think it's tough to say anything about it. The Cubs made their choice and since half of first round picks don't make the majors anyway, I think you have to respect their choice as coming from conviction. That team has some real talent on the farm so improvement is coming. Whether or not it is World Series winning improvement I don't know, but there are some hitters on the way.

John (CT): Any concern about Hunter Harvey? He got blasted again last night? Do you think Bundy gets a starting shot with O's this season?

Matthew Kory: You always like to see results from minor leaguers, but a 19 year old in A ball has what the experts call time. I wouldn't worry about it.

Steve (Philly): Sorry, I meant which GM candidate could come in midseason and work miracles. But I like the Howard-centric reply!

Matthew Kory: No names spring to mind but I'd think there are numerous good candidates, assistant GMs from good teams, who could step in and make some smart deals. The thing is, you really don't need miracles. You need smart people making fair and decent decisions. The Phillies are where they are because they've repeatedly made bad decisions. Stop the cycle and things will improve.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): What's going on with David Wright? He was awesome last year when he played and didn't show signs of regression. Any hope he rebounds?

Matthew Kory: Sure there's hope. Fewer fly balls are going over the fence and the walks are down a bit. Maybe he's playing through something. That wouldn't shock me. (Though I have no inside info on this.) Wright has a long track record of success though and we're just over two months into the season. I'd bet on improvement.

Jordy (SC): Can the Braves get anything more than a ham sandwich for Dan Uggla?

Matthew Kory: If they get a ham sandwich they'll be happy. The issue is will they have to keep paying his salary (yes) and if so (yes) how much (a lot, probably)? He's due $13 million next season which wouldn't be a killer if he was on the Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers or whatever, but the Braves play on a tight budget (whether they should or not is another topic) and Uggla's salary will keep them from improving in other ways. Can they move him? I wouldn't say no, but it won't be easy. But we might be beyond that anyway. It may be time for them to simply DFA him. The roster spot has value too.

Gray (Chicago): Laymen draft analysts don't understand that by picking Schwarber they may be able to sign 3, top 100 talent prep starters they took in rounds 4-6 (Sands, Steele, Cease). The MLB Draft is beyond most writers and analysts.

Matthew Kory: Saving money on the first pick, especially the fourth overall, means they can reallocate it to other guys later in the draft, that's correct. The problem with that is teams are playing the draft more and more straight up, meaning selecting their best player first, their second best second, and so on because of the slotting system in place. That makes it hard to grab guys with later round picks and unless you save a lot of money on those early picks, you likely don't have the money to buy high schoolers out of their college commitments anyway. The Red Sox tried this strategy last season with Ryan Bolt. Bolt was a highly thought of CF (I think) out of high school but wanted first round money to sign. The Red Sox had selected a ton of college seniors in rounds 4-10 to save money but didn't have enough to sign Bolt. He went to college and Boston was left with unspent money. This year they played it more straight up, likely at least in part as a reaction to last season, and in part as a reaction to other teams. Just saying, that's a strategy, but it isn't one that always works. And when you have the fourth overall choice, that's one where you'd like to get a future above average MLB player. The Cubs might have one and they might have money under the slot to entice extra talent, but the danger is they end up with neither.

Rougned Odor (Dallas): If I continue playing the way I have so far, do I get to keep my second base job next year??

Matthew Kory: Maybe! The problem is the Rangers have three guys for two spots with Andrus, Odor, and Profar. They could switch one of them to another position (when Profar gets healthy) but that destroys some of the value. They might be better off making a deal to improve elsewhere. I'm sure they'll get some discussions going during the off-season about Odor and Andrus and maybe Profar as well. So I'll say yes, but with the caveat that it depends on what happens this off-season.

Chris (KC): There have been three nine-strike-three-out innings this year: Hamels against the Reds on May 17, Masterson against the Red Sox on June 2, and Richards against the Astros on June 4.

Matthew Kory: Thanks, Chris! And hooray, I was right about Masterson vs. Boston.

Jordy (SC ): You have an interesting take on Machado for sure (I would have been fine with a 50 game suspension too). What about when a pitcher intentionally throws at a batter, or when a hitter charges the mound? Should those punishments be more severe also?

Matthew Kory: Yes. There's really no reason for MLB to condone fighting or attempting to injure other players in any form. I was talking about this with Jason Wojciechowski (who edited the BP Annual this season with Sam Miller) on our podcast (the Back of the Bullpen; check us out on iTunes!) (end of plugs) (sorry). The upshot is there has to be a way to keep players in the dugouts and in the bullpens. In hockey they suspend you immediately if you leave the bench during a fight. Anyone in the bullpen should be subject to that kind of rule. You should never have two equal groups of extra combatants running onto the field. Nothing good can come of that. If you leave the pen you should be suspended. Beyond that, I think it would take more thinking through, but generally, yes, throwing at a batter should be grounds for immediate suspension. Something like 15 games or something, at least. It has to be a lot because it has to be a deterrent. Now there is no deterrent.

/jumps off soapbox

Billy (Houston): Carlos Correa is killing it in high A as one of the youngest in the league. Do you expect him to be promoted to AA this year?? Any chance he starts in the majors next spring?

Matthew Kory: No chance he starts in the majors next spring, if for no other reason than the Astros have shown they will game the service time requirements. However, if Correa will sign a 10-year, $12 million contract with eight team options, he can come up right now.

Brad (Chicago): Maybe a bit of a reach, but Schwarber sure seems like a nice lefty bat to go with Bryant's righty bat in the middle of the lineup. He's got both the hit tool and the power tool. If he's another Matt Stairs, it's a wasted opportunity, but if he can hit, that's a nice pick.

Matthew Kory: You might be underselling Stairs here. I'm sure he's not their ideal outcome, but 17 WARP isn't anything to sneeze at (though it came over parts of 20 seasons so maybe achoo).

A quick aside: I wrote a piece for Sports on Earth about the best hitters against every team and Stairs, as it turned out, was one of the best hitters against the Rockies. He's a broadcaster for the Phillies now and they mentioned the piece on the broadcast. Even though I made slight fun of his physique, he laughed and took it in good fun. Therefore, I now love Matt Stairs.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Re: Question about Cub's draft- in the words of the Professor "It's all currency baby!"

Matthew Kory: Undoubtedly so. The question is can you spend it or not, and if so, what you get for it.

Shawnykid23 (CT): What jerseys are the following players wearing on August 1st- David Price, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija?

Matthew Kory: ...is a question I would like to know the answer to!

I'm going to guess Price and Shields don't get traded. The Rays will ask for a ton a ton a ton and the Royals won't want to give up on their season. Samardzija will get dealt and I'll say to the Orioles. Or maybe the Blue Jays. Or maybe the Brewers. Or the Giants. Or the

Jefferson (Chicago): Sox fans are excited about Abreu. Rizzo has the same OPS with a much higher OB, is significantly younger, has a better batting eye and can field. Which one do you prefer?

Matthew Kory: Rizzo has the same OPS because he has a .400 OBP and a .500 SLG and Abreu has a .300 OBP and a .600 SLG. Which do I prefer going forward? Probably Rizzo. He's younger (as you note) and cheaper, and I'm all about getting on base which Abreu hasn't shown the ability to do, even while slugging .600. That said, if you could promise that both players would stay the same forever and give me the choice, I think I might take Abreu.

Mo Zeliak (Slightly Hot Seat): If they could, should St. Louis trade Shelby Miller, Matt Adams and Carlos Martinez for Paul Goldschmidt? (Goldy's just 26 and only makes a bit over $40M for the next 5 years. At 5 WAR per year he'd generate $100M in surplus value.) Thanks for chatting, Matthew!

Matthew Kory: It's always fun to chat. I appreciate that you guys take time out of your busy days to talk baseball with me. I really do. Many thanks for that.

As for that deal, wow, that's a lot of talent to give up. I'll put it this way: if I were the Diamondbacks, I'd make that deal two times.

And now, sadly, it's time for me to go. I have a podcast to do and an article to write and a sunny day to enjoy. I will be in Seattle this weekend with Jason Parks, Joe Hamrahi, Geoff Young, and Harry Pavlidis and I hope to see you there! Should be a blast.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for spending some time here at BP!

Matthew Kory: Bye!

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