Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Christina Kahrl: Hi gang,
It's taken days, or almost a week, but here it is, at long last, the Christina Kahrl chat, mini edition. No four-hour marathon, so I apologize in advance if anyone else was skipping their Wednesday evening fun for this session. Let's talk some baseball...
ethanfry (New England): You've been keeping an eye on the Red Sox starting pitching carousel. Think Boomer ever comes back? Has anyone seen Matt Clement lately? Is Lester the one (to be our number five)?
My main concern is that this team doesn't have the kind of staff that can give them a sustained winning streak, what do you think? Does Theo need to get on the phones, and if so, which teams match up?
Christina Kahrl: It does seem uncanny that guys who, on paper, in a Strat league, in the hammer-and-tongs mayhem of December and January, all look like pretty sweet pickups, all wind up with the Red Sox, and all wind up being something less than what you wished for. It isn't quite Whitsonesque, so maybe we have to call this the Curse of Al Nipper or something, because Wells wasn't supposed to be this broken, Clement wasn't supposed to be mediocre, and what's happened to Josh Beckett? (Marc Normandin did some fun review on what's amiss with Beckett in the latest notebook.)
As far as what needs doing, I guess I like the idea of looking at Lester in one slot, but I'd agree, the Sox still seem a starter short, and best to get on the phones now, when the Yankees might not run interference, and before the Jays get their house in order and start crushing people.
jjcole (Houston): Nieve, Bucholts and Rodruguez seem to have decent upside and are cheap. Would you trade one or two of them for half a year of Soriano?
Christina Kahrl: It's an interesting proposition, one I especially find tantalizing because of the suggestion of Alfonso Soriano + Crawford Boxes = profit (or at least a good number of runs).
The problem is how much pitching does Houston actually have to peddle. Is Oswalt okay, or just the latest bit of indoctrinated cannon fodder in the Astros meatgrinder? Will Pettitte ever get right? Until the Astros know the answers to those questions (not to mention ones like "how good is Chris Sampson, anyway?"), they can't pull the trigger on that sort of move.
If I'm the Nats, I'd be all over Nieve or Buchholz, though.
Cris E (St Paul, MN): When does Moore start the garage sale in Kansas City? He'll surely hold some chips back for late July, but don't some situations like STL or NYY invite investigation earlier?
Christina Kahrl: Garbage sale, you mean? As our own Joe Sheehan speculated today, I think Grudz makes a dandy Met, and if I were the Royals, I'd want to be on the phone with a proposition yesterday. The rest of the stuff really is junk. Mike Sweeney? Who needs an occasionally present DH? Matt Stairs? For what, an A-ball pitcher drafted in the top ten rounds, but still short of a very pale blue-chip status? Mark Redman? Again, we're talking the rare A-ball goof or two, and maybe a 26 yo outfielder stuck in Triple-A.
Dayton Moore's job borders on the impossible if you want to keep your eye on what happens between now and August 1. His responsibilities far transcend that window, and he's got a lot of damage to undo. Give the guy time, a winter meeting, and let's see who's still standing when camp opens in 2008--this team is that broken.
lentzner (Fremont, CA): A few days ago my wife asked me if I thought our daughter was going to grow up to be good looking. I responded that I thought her "upside" was Rachel Ray (of the Food Network). Have I gone completely over the edge?
Christina Kahrl: You need to adjust your upside potential, my friend. Rachel Ray? Piffle. I think your daughter's PECOTA should be much happier than that in the 90% range. She could be the first woman on Mars, or a Senator, or the person who comes up with a more plausible shield against global warming than whatever that was in all-time terrible movie "Highlander 2."
It does make me wonder what all of our PECOTAs would look like. Is it wrong to hope that Paris Hilton has a 100% collapse rate? What are her comps, anyway? Mamie Van Doren? Nancy Davis, before she... blew by the competition on the way to the top?
In other words, if you're over the edge, I suspect I'm in the rubber room next door. ; )
Massie (Cincy, OH): Christina,
Do the Reds have the heaviest outfield in recent memory? Dunn 270, Kearns 240, Junior 220+? That, despite jettisoning Wily Month who's 245.
Good to see the Reds select Drew Stubbs yesterday, as he should fit right in @ 6'4" 220 lbs.
Christina Kahrl: Outstanding question, Massie. I was kicking this around this afternoon, chuckling over the subject with John Erhardt, and wondering about this because how much of it depends on one really large human, like Dunn. That immediately made me think on Frank Howard. His listed weight was 275, which makes him even larger than Dunn. Give him a pair of hefty teammates, and you've got a lot of bulk, and probably two rarely-covered gaps in the outfield.
Turns out that Howard's biggest pair of teammates in the outfield probably never happened: the '72 Tigers, with Gates Brown and Willie Horton. That trio's still smaller than the Reds Big Three.
So that got me to going another way around the question... don't you need a big center fielder to make this happen? That took me to the '88 A's, which had Dave Henderson--a big man in center--flanked by Jose Canseco and occasionally Dave Parker. That's a big group, to be sure, but as big as the Reds? Again, I think not.
Reaching well over 700+ pounds of flesh isn't just a two-year run of Merchant of Venice, it's an outfield that probably can't be beat for girth, at least as far as I can tell. I'll leave it to Keith Woolner to suggest the Win Expectation of oversized outfields, and to Steven Goldman to tell us what the chunkiest middle infield combo was.
paulbellows (Calgary): C. Wilson or Cruz Jr to the Twins for some of their many prospects? That will put some runs on the board. Is it that hard to be a GM? Maybe Terry Ryan needs to take some PED's
Christina Kahrl: If you're the Twins, why would you make this move? Cruz Jr. is only a cut above useless to a team that's already listing to port, and Wilson's about to get even more expensive. If I'm the Twins, I'd love to have Wilson, but unless you gull Littlefield--which does happen--it isn't worth going out of your way for yet. Barring a newfound sense of aggression in Terry Ryan, this season's done.
jgalt73 (Portland, Oregon): Christina, any thoughts on 26 year old Rich Hill? His lines in the Majors (19.1 innings - 23H, 11/15 K/BB, 9.31 ERA) and AAA (44.2 innings - 31H, 61/9 K/BB, 2.42 ERA) this year seem too disparate to explain. Dare we use the AAAA label - "Between the Numbers" be damned?
Christina Kahrl: Let's not damn "Baseball Between the Numbers" like your random Mobile torpedo--there's some pretty good dope in that tome.
I may come across as robotic on this topic, but I think a culture of failure is something a manager helps create. The Cubs have an awful lot of young pitching talent, and a manager with no real track record for developing pitching talent, young talent, or even figuring out that developing isn't just something they do at the local Fotomat. Time to find the new millenium edition of a Lachemann to be named later. *Then* let's see what a guy like Rich Hill does.
Failing that, if you're someone who wants to trade people you can plausibly argue are better than Tony Womack or Phil Nevin for pitching, now is your moment.
Darin (Houston, TX): Your columns, my friendly dog, the poetry of Robert Hass--these are my reasons for being. What's Hunter Pence's ETA in Houston? Please tell me that help is on the way.
Christina Kahrl: There's a lot to be said about a good dog, but the other stuff's a bit hit or miss. : ) Seriously, I'm immensely flattered, but I don't think we'll see Pence before next spring. Maybe it's a matter of trusting the veteran talent, maybe it's that Phil Garner doesn't seem like the sort to turn to a kid in a pennant race.
Cris E (St Paul, MN): Do you follow the draft closely or are these guys too far from the majors to really affect your transactions work?
Christina Kahrl: It's probably a failing of mine that if there's a topic I find almost as uninteresting as fantasy baseball, it's the draft. Show me a great college pitcher, and I'll show you a pitcher whose peak might be aspiring hero in Battle Creek. I don't envy scouts the difficulty of their work, but as a columnist or commentator or analyst, I can afford not to.
What's Lance Dickson up to these days, anyway?
Darin (Houston, TX): With all of the good young shortstops in the NL, who do you like most long-term? Reyes? Lopez? Hardy? Drew? Tulowitski?
Christina Kahrl: It's probably not propeller-head correct, but there's a lot to like about what Reyes might grow up to be. I'm not sure Lopez will ever become a solid defender, but Reyes has given us peeks of improvement in several phases of the game, and considering that he's only just turned 23, there's an insane amount of upside left to dig into before we can do a really good job of forecasting whether or not he'll be the class of the NL the way Renteria was for so long.
Don't get me wrong, I like Drew and Tulowitzki, and I have a weak spot for Hardy, but I think Reyes is the one where I'd take a chance and see what the next ten years have to offer.
carlosrubi (Mexico): You don't like fantasy baseball?! B-b-but I loved you!
Christina Kahrl: I'm a little stuck on reality. It's my favorite plane, better than a Focke-Wolfe 190 even.
Johnny Tuttle (Exhibition Stadium): Everyone's waiting on the Yankees to make a big slash with their corner guys out for the year, but how realistic is it that they can get something done?
How dangerous is it for their playoff hopes if they have Cabrera, Long, Bernie, etc. in the corners all year? Do the other stars and the tremendous rources still win out?
Christina Kahrl: It's a good question. I'm not sure whether or not actually swinging the big deal is the Yankees' forte these days, which leaves them back in Matt Lawton shopping spree territory. And is this the organization with the sense of purpose to bench Bernie Williams? I think not--Torre is no Stengel, and Cashman is no Weiss. Winning just doesn't seem to be the bottom line, not when it might mean offending someone's sense of dignity.
Naturally, a generation of Yankees fans raised of Phil Rizzuto's self-pity might be okay with that, but when you're supposed to be the 800-pound gorilla, I'd think it's better to act like it, and not say please first.
lyricalkiller (the OC): Simply:
D. Wright or J. Mauer?
Christina Kahrl: David Wright, but I seem to remember mentioning him on my NL MVP "ballot" for this pre-season.
Dawg (Boston): Christina,
I'm wondering why you think that the White Sox not developing their own pitchers is that big a deal. I actually believe that it may be more cost-efficient to just punt the development of pitching pitching prospects and rely on solid trades (i.e. Garland, Contreras) or scrounging the scrap heap (Jenks, Politte). Developing pitching prospects involves paying out high signing bonuses, years of patience and tutelage and a very high attrition rate. I would think that the ROI on this proposition is extremely low. Thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: You're quite right, Dawg. If you're a GM, the ROI on home-growing pitching brings to mind notions of chateau-bound generals huffing about "wastage" in the trenches on the Somme. Rany Jazayerli's done a tremendous job documenting what has been going on with trends in player development and the draft in the last couple of decades, but it still ends up being a case of throwing as many bodies at a wall to see how many stick--and the wall's made of teflon.
What the Sox have done is a credit to what Kenny Williams has been able to balance--low-end trades, scrounging, and even assembling a notionally attractive package to go out and get Freddy Garcia. That's impressive, but it also doesn't erase the fact that for all of the talk of Sox pitching prospects, guys like Jon Rauch or Arnie Munor or Corwin Malone haven't turned out all that much better than Scott Ruffcorn or Joel Davis.
Sammy Sosa (Vegas): If you were a 37 year old, former slugger, best-bound-for-1B fielder looking for a job, which league would you join? Independent, Mexican, Japanese, etc?
Christina Kahrl: Japan. A fish-heavy diet might get a growing boy caught up on his Omega-3s, and we'll always have Kyoto.
GBSimons (Seymour, IN): In the Diamondbacks section of yesterday's TA, you said, "it'll be interesting to see what the team does with Ortiz once Cruz is ready to be reactivated."
I'd say letting Ortiz go and swallowing $20 million (which hasn't officially happened yet, but almost certainly will) is a pretty bold move, even if it's the right one, no?
Christina Kahrl: It's a gutsy decision, but one made easier by the fact that it's Joe Garagiola Jr.'s mistake, which creates a comfortable bit of distance between acting responsibly for your future and having to take responsibility for the past. And as Keith Law pointed out on ESPN today, the money was already spent. This is like the Yankees sending Steve Kemp on an extended vacation, or the White Sox paying for Julio Cruz years after they'd actually had to make locker room space for him. The needs of the present outweigh maintaining a facade that the other guy knew what he was doing.
RCCook (Dallas TX): What move (or moves) should Jon Daniels be looking at between now and the trade deadline to improve the Rangers' chances of winning the AL West?
Christina Kahrl: A truly difficult question to answer, because we don't know what to expect from Adam Eaton, and how soon. Yes, a quality #2 starter would make October a lot more attractive, lest this Rangers team wind up like all of those ones that could get by with Roger Pavlik or John Burkett. But if Eaton's that guy, you can turn to probably finding another quality reliever. Failing that, I'd just like to see them get over Rod Barajas and play Gerald Laird, but again, that's an in-house fix. I don't think any of us really expect Little Sarge to pan out in center over a full season, so that's an area that I'd address before the pen or the #2 starter issue.
sferenchick (Philadelphia, PA): Will the Marlins trade either Dontrelle Willis or Miguel Cabrera before the trading deadline?
Christina Kahrl: I certainly hope not, but if they do, it'll come on the heels of an announcement that MLB is putting contraction back on the table. Whether or not they do becomes a matter of record on July 1 if I remember correctly. Since I think of the Lorians as pure poison, it's almost a price worth paying to get rid of them, but I don't think contraction will actually happen, I just expect it to be threatened as part of baseball's blind eye to its capacity to anti-market the product.
carlosrubi (Mexico): Do you believe the humidifier story Dan O'Dowd is selling?
Christina Kahrl: I suspect the story's slick with something. I mean, why shouldn't we believe that there's divine power at work when it comes to putting the Rockies in the basement?
Crazee (Chicago, IL): The White Sox seem to be remarkably patient with Brian Anderson, but how long do you think they can wait while he underperforms? He has enough patience, and his defense has been consistent... but you can't win with a .170 average unless you're hitting for uber-power. If he doesn't come around, what's the best move for the Sox? btw, love your work on transaction analysys. :)
Christina Kahrl: Crazee,
Thanks for the plug, they're always appreciated. I'm actually impressed with the Sox showing the patience with Anderson that they have. The guy's minor league trace record says he's better than this, he *is* playing good D, and if they're close without getting much from him at the plate, why not look forward to how many more runs they'll score once he gets things ironed out?
To put it another way, I'd rather bank on Anderson's learning curve than hope that you can pick up an adequate center fielder on the cheap at the end of July.
Patrick Kennedy (St. Petersburg, FL): Is there even a remote chance of Aubrey Huff coming back to play at anywhere close to his previous level?
Christina Kahrl: I don't think so, but it's best not to talk that up. I'd love to see him on some especially loathsome squad, after all, and I'd like to see what the Rays can do in dealing him.
PSIllini (Champaign, IL): Hansen, Pauley and Lester. Are these three guys just up for a cup of coffee, or are they the solution to Boston's picthing struggles?
Christina Kahrl: Is it just one cup, and if so, do they get straws? I expect that Hansen and Lester can make it onto the team's postseason roster, which means I expect they might both be up to stay by August. Pauley, not so much.
As for whether or not they're the solutions, they're not. They can both be Mr. Helper, but what the Red Sox need is Beckett and Clement to pitch like Beckett and Clement.
mjw024 (Burke, Va): Christina -
Do you think the Nat's hiring of Davey Johnson as a consultant is a prelude to him taking over for Frank next year? If so, what are your thoughts on Davey running a re-building project?
Christina Kahrl: I'd love to see Davey Johnson running a ballclub, but as you know, success is no barometer for employment in this industry. Rumor had it that if the Royals hadn't gotten Dayton Moore, Randy Smith's resurrection was in the offing. Sort of like Bill Bavasi's comeback, or Bowden's, wonders truly never cease.
If I'm a Ryan Church fan--and I am--I'm really hoping for a Johnson comeback in the dugout. No slight intended towards Frank Robinson, but I've been saying I'd love to see him kicked upstairs into an executive position within the franchise since November 2004.
hein0147 (Miller Park): What do you think the Brewers should do with Bill Hall once J.J. Hardy comes back?
Christina Kahrl: Keep him. Two starts a week at short, a start or three for Koskie at third, and a spot start for Rickie Weeks now and again, and you've got a quality everyday player, *plus* insurance against anything happening to any of the three regulars. Between Weeks' glove, Hardy's health, and Koskie's expiration date, there are too many questions in the Brewers' infield to casually deal Hall.
JM (Pittsburgh): Not a question, but an observation. The Mets are 70/81 in SB attempts (86.4%!) That's huge... comment?
Christina Kahrl: Stay away from the hit-and-run, and you might keep that up all season.
bobby1239 (Flanny from Baltimore): In the off season, I acquired an underrated All Star caliber catcher (Ramon Hernandez) for below market cost and traded some bags of balls for some useful players (Kris Benson, Corey Patterson). I also avoided some big mistakes among free agent pitchers. Why do I get no respect in GM circles?
Christina Kahrl: Because you also missed the clever picks, like trolling through the minor league free agent market to find a first baseman or a bat for DH. Instead, you're spending cash money on people like Jeff Conine and Kevin Millar. Why isn't Roberto Petagine playing every day?
That said, this was a pretty tasty offseason, but plenty of work remains to be done.
charles (new york city): Will Logan White be a GM soon? If so, where possibly?
Christina Kahrl: I would certainly hope so, but White's in a happy circumstance, in that he probably has his pick of opportunities, but has his association with one of the game's best farm systems to keep him in vogue for years to come. Whether you're old school or a stathead, nobody turns a blind eye to quality player development.
Or maybe he eats babies on toast, but I expect not.
Where, though... DC would be great, naturally, but how many other opportunities are there? Maybe Jim Hendry has to face the music when he's got a 90-loss season to answer for, although that's a case of a good man overcommitting to the Legend of Dusty Baker. Dave Littlefield, out of Pittsburgh? Maybe. I guess I just don't expect a lot of front office turnover this winter. Baird's been thrown under the bus, and anything beyond that will depend on what happens in the months to come, fairly or no.
Justin Singer (Miami, FL): Hi Christina, long time reader, first time typer,
As a big Marlins fan, I am happy with the progress of the youngsters and the way the team is shaping up...I really hope Dontrelle is traded soon, and I really hope it is to the Diamondbacks (if any "contender" (ha) ever needed pitching it would be them...would it be unreasonable to expect a Chris Young and Carlos Gonzalez package in return? This is a HUGE opportunity for the Marlins to add some hitting prospects to a pitching-rich/weak hitting system. What do you think he could fetch from other teams in need, especially if he has a couple more great starts in a row?
Christina Kahrl: I have to admit, that's tasty, to the point that I don't know if the Snakes would ever have the nerve to go for it. Young and Gonzales? It would certainly answer a few problems on this team, although I can't say I really believe Uggla's anything more than a temp, the sort you let become somebody else's problem once arb eligibility is achieved, a la Pat Meares.
Is it unreasonable? I don't actually think so--heck, you ought to get a big league-ready pitcher in that package too--but I guess I just don't see it happening either. To get that sort of swag would take some excellent media management, rumor mongering, and aggressive salesmanship to the Dodgers, Padres, Giants (to pretend--nothing you want there), and the wild-card hopefuls in the NL. I'm not sure the personality-challenged Marlins have the charm for that sort of campaign.
jeff4sf (Philly): What can the Phillies reasonably hope to acquire for Abreu or Burrell and do the Yankees have it? No thanks, Mr. Duncan, you can remain in Trenton.
Christina Kahrl: No, the Yankees don't have it. They never do. I think Jay Jaffe's piece on "The Claussen Pickle" highlighted the foolhardiness of trying to get value from the Yankees--think blood from an especially anemic stone. It's like discussing the "value" you might get from Walt Jocketty--the man isn't offering value, he's offering to get you off the hook on what might otherwise too nakedly resemble a salary dump, and he's damned good at it.
Olinkapo (Queens, NYC): Hiya Christina! Firstly, your work is an absolute blast to read, and never leaves me wanting. Onto the query...Take a look into your crystal ball (please don't spare the Windex) and let me know where you think the Abreu trade will rank among the worst swaps of all time when his career comes to a close. Top 5? Top 10? Or am I just way too much of an Abreuholic? Thanks....
Christina Kahrl: Thank you Olinkapo, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the column, it's been a lot of fun to get back to it with the sort of regularity I had back in the day.
Presumably, you mean the Abreu deal involving the D-Rays... that's probably the headliner in what I expect has to be the Chuck LaMar Wing of Shame that needs to be built, lest we overload the list with moves involving the D-Rays and Arnold Johnson.
Jojo (Independence KY): C,
A. Dunn is taking heat from the locals for a lack of run production. His RBI production per home run is very low...39/22 currently.
Does this matter?
Christina Kahrl: A run is a run is a run. The locals need to stop spinning their wheels on these sorts of bad ideas, down that path lies Womackery and worse sins. Best to hit the ped bridge and get over to that outstanding Hofbrauhaus across the river, and stop fretting. Murdilatin' people works pretty well in this game, just sit back and let Dunn do his stuff.
phil44 (Boston): The Twins finally got smart and now have Kubel and Bartlett on the roster; of course, as soon as my favorite team comes into town. But I digress. Kubel (or Kobel as Don Orsillo repeatedly called him) even won the game with a walk-off grand slam last night. No question, just a comment.
Christina Kahrl: Apparently, the Twins circulated a memo that the games actually started counting a couple of months ago, and not starting June 1. Give'm another month, and they might even be good enough to make the 2006 bittersweet, instead of just disappointing.
Don (Seattle): Will Dan Johnson bounce back or is the real Dan showing up this year?
Christina Kahrl: I'm one of the few believers, but admittedly, that's the fan in me. Generally speaking, oldish rookie first basemen (as Johnson was last season) aren't guys with tremendous futures to look forward to.
carlosrubi (Mexico): Is there any way Juan Pierre can become a White Sox?
Christina Kahrl: Why would they want him to? Would Jim Hendry send him COD to spite the world champs?
Amos (New York): Peter Gammons has been talking up the Colorado system a lot lately. Do they really belong in a sentence with the Diamondbacks and Dodgers farm-wise? Or given those standards, are they even in the same ballpark?
Christina Kahrl: Perhaps he's taking a break from all those pointless Andy Yount updates--the man never tired of touting Red Sox neverwuzzes back in the day, although Reggie Harris and Josias Manzanillo did eventually turn into somethings.
At any rate, I digress. No, I don't think the Rockies deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence, but to give credit where credit's due, Chris Iannetta, Ian Stewart, and Troy Tulowitzki are a pretty tasty trio. But there, the Rox are sort of like the Brewers, or the Cardinals of old, or the Braves: a cadre of top-shelf blue chip talent, and then a lot of other guys who might be haunting the PCL if they're lucky. That's not a bad way to be, of course, but it does keep your nosh box a little on the empty side if you're casting about for bodies to throw to a trading partner for a necessary veteran now and again. That said, the Rockies aren't there yet, so perhaps some stronger later-round drafting might help.
Frank McDonnell (NYC):
Clay referenced nis need to attend to his day job in his chat. How many BPers have day jobs, and how many can live high off the hog on subscription income?
(Quick hello to all of my fellow NASA-mates in the chat)
Christina Kahrl: Most of us still do have day jobs, and our interns tend to have grad school to look after, but an increasing number of us--Will, Joe, Kevin G. of course, Nate Silver, even yours truly to some extent--really devote ourselves to this every day. That isn't to say I don't do some other writing--I just finished up my contributions to the forthcoming Football Encyclopedia a few weeks ago--but it's definitely a lot more fun for me now than it was for much of the last five years.
Drew (SF): Just how awful do Marco Scutaro/Antonio Perez/Jay Payton/Bobby Kielty/Dan Johnson have to be before Billy Beane starts looking at other options? Save for a short hot streak last year, Kielty has generally been terrible since he was acquired 2 years ago... Beane seems to have developed an unhealthy attachment to underperforming players, a la Dusty Baker and Neifi Perez. Whatever happened to accountability?
Christina Kahrl: It's a fair complaint, but to be fair to Johnson and Perez, I wouldn't throw them in with the rest of that lot. Kielty was believably valuable once upon a time, and Payton & Scutaro have had their moments in seasons past, but yet, they need to be seen as problems, not assets. One of the things the A's player development program was supposed to do was provide near-ready college talent that could fill in the margins. As we've seen, that didn't work out quite so well, and now the team's stuck without a second baseman the manager will play (I'd rather see Perez out there).
That said, the A's latest zig when everyone else zagged was to sign Loaiza this winter, probably absorbing most of their financial maneuvering room. If Harden's busted and Loaiza does well, it'll end up looking like a wise investment.
sanchez101 (santa barbara): What are the Dodgers going to do about the inevitable roster crunch? What happens when Izturis comes back, and later when Mueller returns? What about in the outfield when Ledee and Repko return? The rookies have made this decision very difficult. Oh, and what about Navarro? wow, the Dodgers have too many players.
Christina Kahrl: It's a nice problem to have, certainly, but one I expect will produce a few wrong answers, like keeping Jose Cruz Jr. and Ramon E(-4) Martinez. The real issues are what to do with Willy Aybar and Matt Kemp, but if they keep hitting, there really shouldn't be a lot of choice in the matter. I just don't know if Grady Little and Ned Colletti are the people to do that, though.
kasgard (St Louis): Youkilis vs Crisp--why'd they take the GGOW out of the top spot, he would've scored a hundred. And while that's arguable, it isn't arguable that batting Youkilis way down in the lineup reduces the value of his frequent walks (ahead of The Alexes) while Crisp at the top reduces the value of his speed (ahead of Papi, Manny). If you're not leading off with the GGOW, bat him 9th. Thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: I don't like it, but that's because anything that raises the probability of an at-bat for Alex Gonzalez at anybody else's expense in this lineup is a bad thing. I agree, I'd think that Youkilis' walks would be especially tasty at the top of the order, while Crisp's speed opens up the tactical menu when the bottom of the order is up, plus Crisp has the power from the sixth or seventh slot to help plate runs. This is the team that saw wisdom in having Wade Boggs lead off or bat Carlton Fisk in the second slot once upon a time, but instead, it looks like Terry Francona's receiving wisdom from the people playing make-believe that the White Sox won with speed instead of power, and aping that nonsense.
jfadams (Palo Alto): Have you ever seen a team go as veteran-heavy on position players as this year's Giants? I thought last year's roster was ridiculous, and then this year Sabean brings in Vizciano, Sweeney, Finley, and Greene, all on the wrong side of 35. Add this to a mix that includes Vizquel, Matheny, Bonds, and Alou, and it looks to me like Sabean has gone completely 'round the bend. Your thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: Maybe it's the 25th anniversary of those really ancient Giants teams of the early '80s, the ones that had Reggie Smith and Joe Morgan and Darrell Evans... except that team was a lot younger than this one.
I'm at a loss, honestly. I think these are the guys who wind up on the Giants because most players choose better alternatives.
carlosrubi (Mexico): Russ Ortiz will become a _____________.
Christina Kahrl: top candidate for Mr. Mom, 2007, or will have to fight for his life against Gary Hogeboom in Celebrity Death Match.
Willie (New York): Is there any way I will ever stop giving up precious outs in the first inning?
Christina Kahrl: Have a heart-to-heart with Jim Leyland. Even he grew out of it, and that's sort of like this one friend I know getting over Olivia Newton-John after, oh, twenty years of worship. If Leyland can beat it, so can you.
Time for a few quicky questions, and then I'm calling it a night...
Lastings "im not cocky, just confident" Milledge (Philly): Would the marlins do Milledge for Willis straight up? would the Mets? would you?
Christina Kahrl: I would, the Marlins might, and the Mets shouldn't.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Realistically, what do the Jays do at 2B this year?
Christina Kahrl: I like the flip-flop they're currently going with, but I'm more concerned about Aaron Hill's ability to play short than Russ Adams's ability to play second. If it works, they're golden, if not, it's a lot harder to find a useful shortstop than pry loose someone like Grudzielanek or Adam Kennedy.
IN23 (Baltimore): So why is Adam Loewen still pitching for the Orioles? He's obviously not ready for the big leagues yet.
Christina Kahrl: Last year's Orioles team made several ridiculously premature call-ups as well. I suspect it's more about the frustration of their situation than any realistic expectation that any of these guys--Loewen or Fiorentino, Markakis or Hayden--are close to ready.
Chris W (seattle): Chris Iannetta's name seems to be just coming up a lot lately, where I'd never even really noticed it before. He doesn't even make BP's honorable mention to the top50, right? Are his amazing numbers in AA this season for real do ya think?
Christina Kahrl: There was some debate on his virtues, with Paul Swydan plugging for him in particular if I remember correctly, but at the time, I was singing the praises of Curtis Thigpen, and that didn't wind up going anywhere either. I expect Iannetta will wind up better than Jayson Nix, certainly.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): Who's your favourite unexpected sports commentator of all time? Mine would have to be Henry Kissinger, who was the CNN analyst for the World Cup in 1998.
Christina Kahrl: Bill Murray was probably the best pinch-hitter during Harry Caray's stroke. Beyond that, my expectations are low for what we get out of the booth or the mike these days.
metsRok (nyc): Kubel with another homer tonight, should the twins be excited and more importantly should i pick him up for fantasy?
Christina Kahrl: Yes, and yes. Kubel, Bartlett... next thing you know, the Twins might actually field major-league hitters one through nine in the order.
Christina Kahrl: With that, it's time for me to call it a night. I'd love to stay up, but there's a TA to write in the morning, with plenty on Russ Ortiz, Tony Batista, and the rest of the mayhem from the last couple of days. Thanks to everyone who wrote in, and apologies to everyone whose questions I didn't get to.