Christina Kahrl is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus Premium, and the longtime author of Transaction Analysis.
Christina Kahrl: Howdy gang, sorry to run a few minutes late, but our usual full Friday slate demanded my attentions, and I couldn't help but be distracted by the double-stack of injuries among Blue Jay shortstops and Nationals catchers. It's great to have all of you here, so let's get this show going, and see where it takes us.
Ed W. (Houston (TX)): Hi Christina. You picked us to win the World Series, didn't you?
Christina Kahrl: Heehee... not exactly, no. In this year's edition of the annual I am guilty of exploring the certain sort of crazed logic involved with this year's kamikaze run, but no, no flags will be flying in the great state of Texas when this season's done.
Alex (SF, CA): So at what point do the nay-sayers admit that Jack Cust is "for real" and that he should have gotten a shot years ago?
Christina Kahrl: Good question, Alex, in part because there's still a body of opinion that says he's a one-year wonder (our own Kevin Goldstein, for one), and another that feels he's as much of an outfielder as Kevin Reimer ever was, and a third that thinks he'll be able to do this for another year or two, tops, but that his window's already closing. All of that said, I'd lean towards that latter school; he's more Russell Branyan than Matt Stairs, but he certainly isn't Jim Traber.
bobby (ann arbor): christina what's going on with jj hardy? he's been pretty mediocre since this point last year. his numbers suggest that he's not overmatched at the plate, but his power has completely disappeared. thanks!
Christina Kahrl: I think it's a matter of too-high expectations. He's a perfectly fine starting shortstop with decent power, but he isn't going to be among the league's very best. I think we need to accept that "the trinity" of the '90s was an anomaly, and that a world in which we have merely very good players at shortstop--like Khalil Greene, or Hardy, or Yunel Escobar--populate most rosters. It still beats having to see Johnny LeMaster play.
Mike (Utica): Jeremy Hellickson or Trevor Cahill? Which pitcher would you pick?
Christina Kahrl: While Hellickson's numbers are surreal, I'll take Cahill, understanding that I'm also a bit biased.
Jaques (Houston, TX): How was the Hideout gig? You made me miss Chicago, the great summer concerts there... color me jealous!
Christina Kahrl: It was great fun, no doubt about it. Mark Bazer puts together a really entertaining show, and Nate and I were flattered by the invitation. I think we went in expecting to be funny and entertaining, and settled for being interesting to a general audience. Add in the live music and some good sketch comedy, and I'd advise people to check it out in the future. Plus, people should be going to the Hideout just on principle, because it's a great place to see a band, or do some uncomplicated drinking.
akrieger (ATX): Two quick ones: 1) Have you ever seen an outfielder make two throws in a game as good as Rick Ankiel the other night in Colorado? 2) A team that carries Izturis, Brendan Ryan and Aaron Miles can't really stay in 1st all year, can it? Aren't Miles and Ryan redund
Christina Kahrl: 1) Yes, but then on some level I'm always going to be in awe of Cory Snyder, and that's no slight of Ankiel. 2) Why not? The NL Central has a couple of very talented teams, but the Cubs and the Brewers have yet to put together the sort of hope-killing talent that could crush the rest of the field.
marco (Sierra Vista, Az): Probably a hundred questions like this in the queue but do you have any idea when Cincy will get wise and bring up Bruce? Why can't they make a deal for Dunn or Griffey now instead of waiting till the deadline?
Christina Kahrl: I'd like to see Bruce sooner rather than later, but let's face it, they're a weird assemblage of talent in a weird period, and it isn't like he's leaving the organization. Now that the front office cuckoo has pushed the other exec out of the nest, give Sir Walter a few weeks to sort out what he wants to do. I think the window to trade Dunn is limited contractually from mid-June to the end of July, so it's more likely they'd move Griffey of the two if they decide they simply have to do something before then. But in that ballpark, I think the far more important point is that you can't afford a Cesar Geronimo type in center--best to try and put eight thumpers in the lineup, and that means Bruce in center.
kimi (portsmouth): Are the Cubs actually going to give away another game by starting Lieber? Or will Lou let Hill back in from the doghouse in time?
Christina Kahrl: Lou's doghouse used to be more of an abattoir than a something that has a revolving door, but I remain hopeful because of the point you bring up initially--Lieber's going to keep finding ways to make Unca Lou fall out of lieben.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Hey, Christina:
In a keeper would you trade Volstad for Carlos Quentin? I have much better SP than OF?
Christina Kahrl: I'd keep Quentin. He's in a great park for him, with a manager who's taken a shine to him. The critical period has already passed; barring an 0-for-40 or something, he's going to have a fine multi-year run.
dianagramr (NYC): Hiya Christina .... thanks for the chat.
Have you ever thought of doing a column (or series of columns) describing the rules and regs of transactions (i.e. what happens when a DFA take place, or someone is placed on revocable waivers, etc.)?
Christina Kahrl: This has been suggested to me in the past, and while it's a great topic, I worry that I'm enough of a deadly-dull pedant when I'm carping in my capacity as the ME at BP.com that it would make for a ghastly read for all of you, since I would effectively have no outlet to goof off and have some fun in writing it up.
Otto (Halifax): A lot of the moves to improve teams seem obvious. So why aren't they done? Is it just the disconnect that "outsiders" have from the human element?
Christina Kahrl: There are a lot of ways to parse the statement. We're six weeks into the season, and some teams are pushing 'eject' too soon, while others are understandably patient for all of the right reasons. I think a lot of the cries for improvement are a product of an increasingly shrill 24/7 news cycle.
Vince (Boston): Is Keith Law better at cooking than you are at Oakland A's liking?
Christina Kahrl: Probably not, but there's no such thing as VORM (Value Over Replacement Meal). I had a nice meal at Chez Panisse back in March, and it was very nice, but I don't know if it was really all that, given the place's international reputation. Whereas in terms of A's fandom, I remain an unapologetic fan of Jose Canseco for what he did on the field of play, rooted for Kong long past his sell-by date, and even feel a bit of nostalgia for poor old Chris Codiroli now and again. If there was a VORF metric, I think I'd do rather well (or "Diner"-level horrifying, depending on your POV).
mikedallas45 (Dallas): Richie Sexson: Stupid lunkhead or smart armchair GM? After all, his impending suspension will probably help the team.
Christina Kahrl: If Richie Sexson was as much of a smart armchair GM as you suggest, I would think a decision to go find himself in the Himalayas would be a brilliantly selfless act.
macman (d.c.): You're Trader Jim Bowden (minus the leather pants) - What deals do you make in the next 2 months? Can you find a taker for Lopez or Guzman? Please tell me you won't trade Johnson.
Christina Kahrl: Lay off of Trader Jim--leather's great material, and there's nothing wrong with working it into your wardrobe. Actually, Johnson's exactly the player he should deal, in terms of the talent such a trade might yield, because Chris Marrero will eventually get here, and because nobody's going to bite on Dmitri Young. Beyond that, he doesn't really have that many chits that might draw interest; it isn't like somebody's going to go wild for Saul Rivera. Maybe one of the veteran catchers yields a C prospect at the deadline (once they heal up), and maybe somebody decides they just have to have Austin Kearns. I wouldn't bet on either. F-Lop just doesn't fit most team's needs--everyone recognizes he can't really play a good short, and there are people who can hit about as well starting at second base all over Triple-A.
Kiley (Oakland): Christina, Can the A's pitching keep this up? Who do you like better long-term Eveland or Smith? Would you have sent Gaudin or Duchsherer to the pen. Thanks, keep up the great work!
Christina Kahrl: Smith's the safer pick, in that Eveland's weight is always going to be something people complain about until, like Rick Reuschel or Jumbo Wells, he pitches effectively for so long that people finally stop talking about it. I think it would have been unfair to Duchscherer, given that he's really worked at getting back to starting. It's a lovely problem to have, to be sure, but one that puts the A's in the interesting situation, whether or not to still mull offers for Joe Blanton while making a bid on the AL West. That said, let's face it, somebody has to shadow Harden, and Gaudin's not a bad choice.
abernethyj (Chapel Hill, NC): Will Jeff Clement be able to translate his hot start in AAA this season to good production in the majors?
Christina Kahrl: Yes. The man can hit, and if the Mariners are smart, they'll just remove whatever obstacles are in the way and let him.
Curmudgeon (NYC): Is this really how you talk? Was Dennis Miller your journalism prof?
Christina Kahrl: I'm pretty florid, yes, but in point of fact Dennis Miller was never an academic, and I never studied journalism, preferring the higher ground and penniless-ness of history. Then I ran into Gary Huckabay. Manifest destiny means different things in different times and places. ;)
31cornucopia (Trenton): Are Adam Jones' poor numbers the result of hitting too far down in the lineup (away from Markakis), being on a bad team, or will he need a few years of playing time to become a better ballplayer?
Christina Kahrl: Let's not get too disappointed too early. Jones has had slack periods in his career, and there's nothing to indicate that the gifts that make him a blue-chip prospect aren't still there.
strupp (Madison): re: Jeff Clement... even if that obstacle is Kenji?
Christina Kahrl: DH and/or first base would be the paths of least resistance, given Clement's problematic glovework and Johjima's outstanding reputation as a receiver. Not every team has the courage to work with Victor Martinez or take Ryan Doumit seriously.
Scott (Chicago): How about that Geovany Soto? That k/bb is strikingly good for someone hitting over .330. While I doubt he'll keep that up, given he's had two four hit games already, is he already the best offensive catcher in the league?
Christina Kahrl: One of the reasons it's fun to be back in Chicago is that it's just fun to see Soto play regularly. Between the sock and the paunch, he's got the sort of Hector Villanueva vibe beyond the pure production that might make him the all-time catcher in Cubs history.
mschroeder14 (saint paul): Carlos Gomez has taken 3 walks this year.
Christina Kahrl: Taken? I would say he had them forced on him.
mak1277 ((state of shock)): You didn't just compliment the Pirates, did you (re: Doumit)? In all seriousness, can they get anything of real value for Nady? Bay? Or should we all just start preparing to be disappointed in the return when they (hopefully) deal them?
Christina Kahrl: I did indeed--I love that the new crew up top decided to take a page from the Indians playbook and take Doumit seriously as a catcher. The pity is that Ronny Paulino's better than the starters on a lot of teams, but even more so in the league where the pitcher hits, you have to maximize offensive production any way you can. Doesn't hurt that Doumit came to camp in great shape and seems to have sharpened up his catching skills, of course.
As far as the outfielders, never say never. I refer to "trading circles" at times, where you'll find that GMs who relate well to one another make deals among themselves. Last I checked, the Indians need outfielders, and I would suspect Mr. Huntington might just know a bit about who they have down on the farm.
AJ (Pasadena): This seems to be Scott Hairston's best and perhaps last opportunity to become a starting major league outfielder. Why isn't he seizing it?
Christina Kahrl: Because he was just never that good in the first place. The Snakes have many of their affiliates playing in bandboxes, and Hairston's really probably just a solid fourth outfielder and platoon asset miscast as a former prospect.
dills (Chicago): Donald Trump... short fingered vulgarian (I miss Spy Magazine!) or astute baseball man? How do we get him to shut up? I assume you heard his comments re: ARod being "non clutch"?
Christina Kahrl: Don't we already have Bill Maher's tedious show to clutter up the world with what the famously famous think when they aren't navel-gazing? Why does anyone pay attention?
strupp (Madison): Corey Hart... The Andy Van Slyke of the Fielder/Braun/Hart trio? Minus the defense and left handedness I guess... I was going more for the underappreciatedness of it.
Christina Kahrl: Forgive me, I needed a long giggle break. Andy Van Slyke, underappreciated? Would that be on the planet without beatwriters? (Now *there's* a movie that would make people forget "Mars Needs Women.") Anyway, I think it's obvious that Hart's the item that fills your bill. I'd love to see him get a serious shot in center, but I really don't think it's ever going to happen.
rockford (Pittsburgh): I would love to see you folks publish a "Historical Baseball Prospectus" of past players/Hall of Famers etc like Bill James did with his Historical Baseball Abstracts. Any chance of that happening?
Christina Kahrl: We happen to be working on something along those lines now, but it's going to be more a series of period pieces, as we start with the '80s and work our way around.
DaveKavanagh (Dublin, Ireland): Hi, Christina. Who holds the career record for just-foul-almost-HRs? Gary Sheffield?
Christina Kahrl: Good question... I have absolutely no idea, but remember Bill James writing about Steve Balboni in this department, but that was probably another bit of his understandable Royals-centrism back in the day.
squintsp34 (Chicago): On the other hand, Hill can't locate the plate right now even with the help of Magellan. Mightn't sending him down for a bit to locate his control, so to speak, be not such a bad idea?
Christina Kahrl: Yep, quite right. And I suppose as long as you give Lieber only a long enough leash to prove to yourself that he isn't really going to be a part of a division-winning rotation is nice to get out of the way now, rather than, say, let him play the role of Brian Lawrence with the '07 Mets.
Brandon (Boston): Any interest in Speed Racer? I'm psyched but it seems like it could flop big, your thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: Less than zero interest. I don't mind CGI or "enhanced reality" as art forms of their own, but this looks silly. "Iron Man," on the other hand, was really very good, so I'd definitely recommend going first and leaving the margaritas for later.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Hello Christina,
In the "Every Given Sunday" article on May 4th it mentioned that the Tribe might try and pursue Nady, Bay, or Dunn. Whom do you think would be the best fit? Who would cost the most to acquire?
Christina Kahrl: Dunn would probably cost the most, and might be untouchable out of some obscure "Ohio dominance" rivalry, but he'd also be the best fit, because the Tribe's fine as far as having right-handed power in the outfield. Not that I wouldn't deal Gutierrez or Francisco if it would get you Nady or Bay, but it'll take more than that...
Alex (NYC): Hi Christina - Thought your article on the Yankees from the other day was an inspired piece of writing. I wanted to ask you about the future of the Yankees - with Giambi and Abreu in contract years and Damon and Matsui approaching the end of their tenures in pinstripes, are we going to continue to see an influx of talent from within the organization to replace these aging veterans, or is free agency going to provide the next generation of ill-advised contracts for the Yanks?
Christina Kahrl: You're too kind, but how often does one have an opportunity to write about Azathoth and the Pogues in polite conversation, anyway? I think it's going to make sense for the Yankees to do a spot of shopping, because even with the young talent on the way up, not all of it is going to pan out, and with the expectations placed on this organization in that market in a new stadium, I can only image Hank Steinbrenner going watermelon on us "Scanners"-style if he doesn't have an obvious-seeming winner in 2009.
Bruce (New York): Nick Swisher and Paul Konerko -- are they just slumping, or toast?
Christina Kahrl: Just slumping. You want to leave the B and the L on the plate and get some toast, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Is it me, or has the minors produced less early season excitment in terms of prospects than in past years? (It's OK if it's me.)
LaPorta, Bruce and McCutchen have done their part on the hitting side, and Kershaw on the pitching side, but I'm feeling ho-hum on everyone else.
Christina Kahrl: I wonder if that isn't a case of information overload, but if you want to get worked up about what some people are doing, Kevin did a nifty pair of performance-driven pieces on April all-stars that are well worth reading.
pmoc81 (Orlando): Why on earth would you give up pieces for Dunn before you made a cheap offer to Bonds?
Christina Kahrl: Excellent point, and since the cleanup, you certainly need to turn to something beyond the Cuyahoga if you want to set an offense alight in Cleveland.
mcscolo (Detroit (in my mind)): Shef at DH, Inge at 3b, Cabrera in LF (maybe it will remind him how to run), and Guillen at 1b (with a promise to take footwork lessons from someone). Seriously, is this that hard?!? Then again, if you're vaunted starting pitchers and awful relief corp keep giving up runs at a Coors Field pace does it really matter? Please give me some hope here; besides "well, we may have overrated the entire AL Central."
Christina Kahrl: Agreed, and I said as much last night. As much as there's a potential issue with how right-handed that lineup leans, like I said then, finding the new Pat Sheridan to even that out is not an asperation worth entertaining.
Glenn Beckert (Las Vegas): Why have the Rockies been so reluctant to give Jeff Baker the job at 2b? Practically the entire infield has had to keel over before they have deemed to give him a shot, and even then it appears Quintanilla and Herrera are going to get plenty of starts at his expense. Is his defense THAT BAD? It's not like their offense has been firing on all cylinders or anything, such that they don't need a bat int he lineup...
Christina Kahrl: Going back a long, long time ago, I wrote a feature for militarylifestyle.com on Baker and his growing up the son of an officer who played baseball at West Point, and how the Bakers basically introduced Little League to the Middle East in the '80s so that the father could coach the son. Since then, I've been a bit biased, in that I'm always hoping for ways that Baker might play. Even so, although he was a shortstop in college, there's a reasonable concern that he might not hack second in the Show. Still, it would be a lot better than committing to dead-end "solutions" like Qunintanilla and Herrera.
Mike (Atlanta): Do you think the trade of Renteria for Jurrijens and Hernandez is going to be the worst trade for the Tigers since they traded Smoltz to Atlanta?
Christina Kahrl: What, and forget Randy Smith's Reign of Error, just like that? Or the ghastly Bo Schembechler years? Even though I like Jurrjens and Gorkys, Dave Dombrowski knew the risk he was running with this deal, and it's a bit early to say it's a disaster for los Tigres.
johnpark99 (Boston): Robinson Cano. What the dilly-yo?
Christina Kahrl: Slow starts happen. He's still a great choice to be the league's best second baseman in terms of overall value over the next five or six years.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): Given Hank Steinbrenner's apparent path, is it time yet for Brian Cashman to start chanting Cthulhu Fhtagn in the hopes of being eaten first?
Christina Kahrl: No, but maybe he can call on Fred Ward for an assist, and together they can cast a deadly spell.
Sorry folks, couldn't resist. Still wish "Cast a Deadly Spell" was on DVD, but perhaps some year...
Lopecci (Dale Murphys Mole): What do you think of Dale Murphy not getting into the Hall of Fame? Back to back MVP's aren't good enough to get him in? What would have?
Love your writings !!!
Christina Kahrl: Thanks, Lopecci, I appreciate the compliment, even if I'm probably going to end up disappointing you. I'm utterly unfazed by it. He doesn't belong, in the same way that Rice doesn't belong. No disrespect to a great pair of players, but they didn't do enough long enough to really have the cases that their supporters like to pretend they have.
dwiest12 (NoVa): The A's have been winning with a BRUTAL defense, especially Cust and Barton. Is Barton a full-time DH next year?
Christina Kahrl: No, he'll be a first baseman, and I expect that he'll come around. There aren't too many Sam Horns in any one generation, and I expect repetition and experience will do the trick (even though it didn't, in Horn's case).
pmoc81 (Orlando): How disappointed are you that in the countless hours of talk radio devoted to the Ozzie Guillen White Sox "blow up" scandal we have not once been entertained with stories of slumpbusting and mark grace?
Christina Kahrl: Sports talk radio and I have this lovely little arrangement--we generally ignore one another's existence, and both of us are none the worse for wear. It's a great way to avoid mutual frustration.
Stephen (Manayunk): I am presenting an opportunity for you to wax poetic on the accomplishments of one Nate McLouth. Go!:
Christina Kahrl: The misspent youth
of Nate McLouth
Could never really linger
He'd get to swing
His bat would sing
And give Chris Duffy's destiny the finger
Cal Jr (Aberdeen): The Freddie Bynum era has started! Blow the trumpets! Release the pigeons! Seriously, there has to be cheaply available SS better than what the O's have?
Christina Kahrl: Hey, Freddie Bynum can do some fun things, he's no Luis Hernandez. He might be a bit error-prone to seriously stomach at short over an extended period of time, but it beats trading for... well, for Luis Hernandez.
Aunt Jamima (Atlanta): Counting stats aside, how many thirdbaseman in the history of the game are better than Chipper Jones? He the greatest...
Christina Kahrl: Not to bash on Jay's recent good stuff about JAWS and contemporary ballplayers, but I have to agree with you and state that Chipper's looking like somebody who's a no-doubt-about-it selection for the Hall. And not just because he turns into the Punisher whenever he's facing the Mets...
squintsp34 ((Chicago)): Cano?! Cano?! C, I hope by "great choice" you meant "still a decided underdog" to our boy in Anaheim. Don't give up on the Howie Kendrick Experience yet.
Christina Kahrl: Never will, since I've already gone on record about how much I love Kendrick's almost unique gifts when it comes to making clean contact and driving balls with authority. He's not an easy sabermetric favorite, but the man's talents are incredible, and deserve respect. I just don't think he'll be as good as Cano, but somebody has to be second-best.
Mark (Toronto): How about some instant TA. Jays have traded for Mench and signed Wilkerson. Any impact?
Christina Kahrl: There's a point in "To Live and Die in LA," when our (anti)hero the counterfeiter (nicely played by Willem Dafoe) avenges himself on the lawyer who's been stealing from him. The throwaway line from that scene comes to mind. I don't care how desperate you are--and the Jays are and certainly should be--but a Wilkerson/Mench combo doesn't look like a platoon that's going to power great things.
Ryan (Milwaukee): How much worse to the Brewers have to get before management FINALLY gets rid of Ned Yost?
Christina Kahrl: To be fair, Doug Melvin and Ned Yost did a great job of working together to help get the franchise turned back around. Yost has problems running a pen, no doubt about it, and he doesn't seem to be learning from (bitter) experience. Still, you can understand Melvin's reluctance to pull the trigger on a man who has been an effective partner in the rebuild. We aren't in the age when you had managers like Dick Williams and Billy Martin floating around from job to job, with track records as in-season fixers. We're in an age where such a thing will happen slowly, if at all, and more likely at the end of a disappointing season.
Nick (Austin): Of Bourn, Towels, and Pence, which do you think is playing at his level and which do you think is likely to improve?
Christina Kahrl: None of them is playing at his level, and I expect all three can and will improve.
Jason (A Dull, dull meeting....): Hi Christina:
If you are the Cards, how do you sort the crowded outfield situation? Trade Skip while he's hot? Hope that Dunc sorts it out then trade him? Hold them all and hold a steel cage match? Other?
Christina Kahrl: Nobody's going to give you much for Schumaker, so the one I'd dangle would be Duncan. Beyond that, just let Ankiel keep on keeping on, pat yourself on the back for picking Barton, eventually let Schumaker slip back into "good reserve" status once he cools off, and anticipate having Colby Rasmus somewhere out there in 2009.
Jake (Augusta): Christina, thanks for the chats, love your work.
Have Jeter's 20-20 (and even maybe, *shudder*, 15-15) seasons gone the way of the Hapsburgs? Small sample size aside, I like that he's not striking out as much but his singles-hitter/GIDP act is really starting to wear on me!
Christina Kahrl: Thanks Jake... 20-20, yes, but let's not get too down on the man. He may be hitting like Rick Burleson, but I don't think we need to confuse the Captain with the Rooster just yet.
jdtk99 (Iowa): Does Steve Philips make you chuckle? He recently suggested in an ESPN article that the Reds should trade Dunn for Matt Cain and Jared Burton and Affeldt for Phil Hughes.
Christina Kahrl: I'd get a heartier laugh out of the man if he was in a front office instead of a studio; I suspect "Studio Transaction Analysis" would make for a really pointless exercise.
johnny (mpls): Your writeup of the Indians seemed to indicate that the vanishing of Hafner magnified the problems on the corners. What can Shapiro do to break the stalemate, given that the minors are just a long line of mediocrity in the near future like Francisco? They don't have assets to move and they don't have much money.
Christina Kahrl: My expectation is that they'll stall as long as they can to lower the price on their targets, which I anticipate will be guys who, like Kenny Lofton last year, are free agents-to-be.
Cary (Washington, DC): Christina, I'm facinated by Hong-Chih Kuo. You? To my eyes, he seems to be the perfect 2 to 4-inning reliever. His lines are so dominant except when he's pushed as a starter. Am I crazy or would he be perfect to pair with a rookie, like Clayton Kershaw, to innings-limit the young arm?
Christina Kahrl: That's part of the fun of the game, some of the unlikely heroes you find yourself following. I think it's a role in which Kuo could succeed very nicely, but the problem with creating that kind of usage pattern is getting a guy who likes it. Nobody wants to grow up to be Bob Shirley, and can you blame them?
Ryan Ludwick (St Louie): I haven't looked at my split stats recently....but what else do I need to do to get everyday playing time?
Christina Kahrl: Send a few teammates on sight-seeing tours to East St. Louis? OK, sorry, sorry, I'll play nice... to be honest, you're probably best off in a 400 PA role, in the same way that Schumaker probably also shouldn't get more than 300.
tcfatone (new york): ... not even Bob Shirley.
Christina Kahrl: Now *that* would make for a great biopic. "I knew my destiny, and I achieved it."--Keith Atherton.
ekanenh (Exeter): Matt Morris is one of my HACKING MASS pitchers. Having gone "too much, too bad, too soon," is he going to stay retired or is someone going to make him an offer he can't refuse. (I'm afraid I know the answer).
Christina Kahrl: Someone's always going to kick the tires; we'll be seeing Jeff Weaver again, after all.
ashitaka (long beach, ca): What's up CK? I'm probably going to be in jury duty during the chat, so I'm sending this early. (Man do they make it hard for you to get out of jury duty in California.) I'm wondering if you've seen anything different during Round Two of the Big Hurt in Oakland. To me, he seems to be standing further back in the box than normal. Not that this is unusual, but I noticed in particular during the Angels series that his back foot was a good 10-12 inches beyond the already destroyed back line of the box, further back than just about anyone I've seen before. I've never kept track of Thomas in the box so I don't know if he's always been that far back, but I imagine right now he's looking to gain that extra split-second of reaction time. Anyway, all he's been doing is swinging through fastballs up in the zone, or leaning forward and flicking at balls low in the zone. And as a result, his extra-base hits with the A's have been the bloop variety. So, how long until Beane is calling Jeff Borris?
Christina Kahrl: A great question... hrm. See, when I close my eyes, my mind's eye is always going to put Thomas in a White Sox uni, and back then, the back line of the box was almost always obliterated because Ozzie was usually batting atop the order and seemed singularly devoted to wiping out the line in his first at-bat. I really couldn't say, but I'd be interested to hear what other people think, and it's certainly something I'll look at in the games and weeks to come.
31cornucopia (Trenton): Do you think Pearce or McCutchen will make it to the Steel City this year? Right now they are blocked by tradebait Nady and Bay. Also did you like any of David Halberstam's books(baseball or not)?
Christina Kahrl: To bring us down the home stretch and do some quick-fire questions and answers: Yes (because Huntington will get some things done this summer), and no (because how much more do we have to hear from people over 50 about how everything was great when they were 20?).
nstampe (Madison): A non-baseball fan asked me this and I didn't know the answer and this the first chat I've caught in a while? Are there a lot/any females working in baseball's decision making/ General Manager stratosphere? I came up with a historical example of Wendy Selig-Prieb, but I couldn't name any current females.
Christina Kahrl: Two you should know about straight off the bat (and who didn't need nepotism): Kim Ng is the AGM with the Dodgers, eminently qualified, and probably top of any list you'd draw up for women in sports who could become a chief executive and run a team in a men's sport, although Jean Afterman is the AGM with the Yankees, and gets high marks as well, and would rank right up there with Kim.
Anonymous (Work): Just wanted to say thanks for keeping me entertained on a Friday afternoon, you do great work.
Christina Kahrl: Baseball Prospectus: contributing to declining productivity in a cubicle near you. ;)
metal1341 (STL): Managers are hired based on knowledge or a good interview?
Christina Kahrl: I don't think there's an easy answer to that. Obviously, both matter, although Jerry Manuel's excellent interview has always been seen as the key to why he got the job. Like it is with any profession, there's always going to be a combination of factors.
lornad11 (Northern NJ): This Mets fan is concerned. Atlanta looks like they have some pitching and that offense is very good. Is Atlanta the favorite in the East?
Christina Kahrl: You have reason to be concerned.
Allison (Frank Black's basement): If Mauer never hits another homerun, but continues to hit 346 with OB & defense, where does he rank amoung the catchers?
Christina Kahrl: Well above the Ausmuses, and a few ticks above the Bards. Except that he won't be able to catch for as long as either, at which point we have to start talking about Mauer and Mike Ivie in a conversation about all-time backstop disappointments.
sbiel2 (dc): is Gagne gonna make his pecota projection? even close?
Christina Kahrl: (checking) Sure. We don't project blown saves, after all. (ducking)
chuckstein17 (Long Beach, NY): Rick Ankiel...for real...he's so confusing to me. Would Owings do something similar? What's more valuable?
Christina Kahrl: I forget if Kevin said Owings would be a second- or third-rounder or what if Owings had been selected for his bat after a fine career slugging in college. So, in a word, yes, Owings could probably hit well enough to play in the majors, like Ankiel. I'd still take the starting pitcher version of either of them, though, if we're talking Ankiel at his best and before the yips, or Owings in terms of what he's becoming.
strupp (madison): I do believe babelfish has told me that "Gagne" is french-canadian for "Blown Save"
Christina Kahrl: Must be a dialect thing, because "gagner" means "to acquire," and you'd think blown saves would be one of those acquisition items that, like with the underwear gnomes, you would think would be sort of a self-selection thing.
birkem3 (Dayton): In your decision to trade Duncan and keep Ankiel, how much impact did their years before FA have? Duncan has through 2012, and Ankiel is a FA after next season.
Christina Kahrl: For me, it's a matter of the likelihood that Ankiel will still be very good by 2012, whereas with Duncan, I'm not nearly as confident.
lornad11 (Northern NJ): Do the Mets have anything left to get Nady back from the Pirates? I fear that Delgado is nearly a sunk cost. Nady would really help balance their lineup.
Christina Kahrl: Almost anything they have is going to be so far down in the system that he/they would require some more performance to engender greater confidence in what the Pirates were getting.
dcoonce (bloomington indiana): The Padres offense was fourth best last season in the NL on the road. What happened? It can't just be Mike Cameron. How soon before SD blows it all up and starts over.
Christina Kahrl: Well, it wasn't just Cameron, there just isn't a lot of star potential there. Remember, they're still committed to Giles, who has a limited upside at this point. Bard's not got a lot of sock. They let Bradley go away (understandably, perhaps) and learned the obvious, that Hairston doesn't cut it. Kouzmanoff's obviously very streaky, and that comes with bad as well as good. Khalil Greene doesn't get on base. Iguchi is a declining commodity. It's not *that* surprising.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Is the riddle to the Tigers as simple as fixing the pen and letting everything else fall into place?
Christina Kahrl: Well, there is still the ironing out of the best possible alignment of their defense and the lineup's needs, and it would be swell if Jeremy Bonderman started living up to our expectations, and Justin Verlander up to everybody's.
Mike (New York, NY): Millege or Gomez longterm and is Brian Church the next Paul Oneill?
Christina Kahrl: Milledge, and no, he isn't.
Christina Kahrl: OK, sorry to keep it brief and under three hours, gang, but I really need to get in a quick bit of running before the skies open up, and then start thinking of ways to talk about the pile of bodies in Toronto and Washington and bring Elric and Stormbringer into it for tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for the questions and the time spent hanging out, and I look forward to seeing y'all the next time around.