Christina Kahrl breaks down all the latest moves in the long-running \"Transaction Analysis.\"
Christina Kahrl: Hi gang, racing around a bit today--literally, since I just got back from a sprint with the dingo to set her mind at ease before sitting down here. TA wasn't finished in time for today's chat, but it'll just have to go up later in the day, because right now I'd really rather be talking about baseball with all of you.
Scott (NJ): I saw a rumor that had Robinson Cano heading to LA for Derek Lowe and Matt Kemp. This reeks of a set up to acquire Washburn and Vidro from Seattle. Tell me that the Yanks don't plan on making Vidro their 2B?
Christina Kahrl: I'd consider that a genuine bit of Apple-flavored nonsense (Big or equine, not Mac), not simply because the Dodgers can't really afford to part with any starting pitching, but because they also have some guy named Kent.
kevin (boston): just want to say I love free week and its making me strongly consider subscribing (i'm a poor college kid otherwise i would have already). Did you know its coinciding with a free week of mlb extra innings...this weeks been great
Christina Kahrl: Glad to hear it Kevin, and here's hoping you haven't tanked on your assignments during any summer session coursework. We wouldn't want that on our consciences here at BP, although we definitely appreciate it if you're grooving on baseball.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Please put your GM hat on for a moment....okay....you're the GM of a club needing a RH power bat. Dave Dombrowski is offering up Marcus Thames. What is the right price to pay for Thames? Thanks!
Christina Kahrl: A Grade C pitching prospect or an organizational soldier with some possibility of making it as a big-league bench player, nothing more. I could offer less to the Brewers for Joe Dillon, and I'd get a more generally utile guy who can still give me the right-handed pop; maybe they can be guilted into letting the old-timer catch a break.
Finding a good hat's never easy, and they've been out of fashion for women almost as long as they have been for men. It's a pity, because I was a hat-wearing kid, and I've got a few to this day, but it just never seems like the right opportunity.
Simon (Rochester, MN): Where do the Nats go from here? Looking at the roster, there are only three position players of much value, and the pitching looks equally dismal. How far off is this team from being any good? How do they get there?
Christina Kahrl: I'd be the first to admit that I was perhaps way too enthusiastic about the organization last year, in the annual, and this spring. It's easy to understand: there's a lot of talent in the front office, talent that should be complementary instead of working at cross purposes Dodgers-style. Manny Acta's probably the one manager who makes his team's box score always worth checking out, day in and day out. And between what looked like some good drafts and several inspired deals, it was easy to get worked up.
Then we have the less-happy stuff. The extension for Young and now Guzman. The offense-wide implosion, like they were the second coming of the '85 Giants--plenty of talent, but a team-wide funk that infects everybody.
It's hard to advise anything other than what I'm sure everybody from Stan Kasten down already knows and believes, which is staying the course. Guys like Milledge or Dukes have to be given time. One good draft or two does not a good organization make; they need a half-dozen, and as much good work as they did in the years leading up to the Lerner's acquisition of the franchise, they need to keep on keeping on now that they're no longer wards of the state.
PJ (Montréal): Hi Christina! Do you think that Brian Fuentes will end up in another uniform on July 31st? If yes, do you think that the Rockies will have made a good deal?
Christina Kahrl: Hi PJ... yes, but perhaps not as much as you might wish for if you're a Rockies fan. He'll be a free agent at season's end, after all, and while keeping him via arbitration would be great for the acquirer, it's more likely he'll leave for free agency and get a multi-year deal. So the team getting Fuentes is looking at two months with him plus a draft pick. It could turn out well if O'Dowd plays bidders off against one another, especially with this being another seller's market, but that's not guaranteed.
BigOwe (SF): Hi Christina,
There have been some rumblings about the Rangers preparing to move Hank Blalock in the last couple of days. When I checked last night, I was surprised to see that he got a fairly positive write -up in this year's annual. Do you see him as a middle-of-the-order thumper in the next few years, or is he no more than an adequate bit part on a competitive team?
Christina Kahrl: To give Blalock due credit, I think people rejected him too strongly because he was overhyped on the way up... Marc Normandin's Player Profile from a while back did a good job of exploring why that was. If he's the fourth- or fifth-best player in a lineup, that's probably not a bad lineup, but if you expect him to be one of your stars, given his track record for health, you're asking a lot. So, more than a bit part, but not one of your best, and you'll be giving him credit for what he is.
flitcraft (chicago): So, I stumble upon a nice little restaurant on one day, and then see a reference to said 'Big Jones' in the Harden Transaction Analysis the next. I can't quit you, BP.
Christina Kahrl: Well, we all do get out and about, and one of the nice things about BP is that, Buzz Bissinger's hating on us aside, we're not really the bunch of pocket protector types and shut-ins some whiskey-soaked Fourth Estaters would have you believe.
Tim (DC): Hey Christina, thanks as always for the chats and TA's. What do you think of the O's position (or posturing) of hanging onto Roberts and Sherrill through the deadline? I realize the "magical .500" may help with the fan-base..still, not sure if their value can be much higher.
Christina Kahrl: It's always hard with family-run outfits, because while I'd normally say ".500 will come with sensible long-term management," Andy MacPhail has to be only too aware of how many interoffice assassinations litter this franchise's recent past. If they're serious about themselves, and really dominating their market, they'll hold out for the best deal possible. Roberts isn't a rental, he's already under contract for 2009, and that's worth something (just as Teixeira was last year, for the same reason). Similarly, Sherrill's under control through arbitration for two more seasons; that's worth a lot the way reliever pricing is going. So it's worth it to the Orioles to listen, but it's also worth it to them to walk away, because these two will still have value in trade this winter, next spring, or at next year's deadline. Jay Payton and Kevin Millar, not so much, so if they can find takers, they should be in a giving mood.
Wendy (Madrid): Who would you rather have, Mauer or Martin? Mauer's got the talent, but Martin is a better bet to stay at catcher.
Christina Kahrl: I don't know if I'll be banned from the chapel or something for saying this, but between the injury risk and the shortage of catching, I'd take Martin, figuring I have one of the best backstops in baseball for the next six or seven years.
G-MOTA (Bumpus, MA): I thought you were pretty hard on the Yanks in the last TA. With that said, they do have to find a catcher, and it won't be easy. Any theories or recommendations?
Christina Kahrl: I was indeed, basically for dramatic effect, but let's face it, Jose Molina's the current incarnation of bad Bomber backup backstops. What makes it worse is that there are so few options to go out and get to repair the problem, and there are rivals for any catcher available by trade (notably the Marlins). When the prize is someone like Bengie Molina, and the more likely alternatives are guys like Paul Lo Duca or Ramon Hernandez, the magnitude of the problem becomes apparent. The danger is overpaying for a guy like Gerald Laird, but at least he'd be under team control for the next two years.
mgibson (DC): How did Rizzo and Kasten let Bowden do the Bonifacio deal? Can't believe how bad that was. Ken Rosenthal tried to make the case for the deal and came off really half-hearted.
Christina Kahrl: I'd go with a slightly different slant in answering your question, in that I do see the responsibility as collective, and the upshot as monumentally disappointing. Maybe Bowden's been worn down by the complaining over his not dealing Soriano at the deadline in 2006.
Jerjapan (Toronto): Love your stuff Christina!
Why Riccardi's reluctance to deal guys like Burnett, Downs, Barajas and Eckstein? I thought it was clear to everyone the Jays are out of the huntm have some depth at these postions and need some serious talent added to the upper minors?
Christina Kahrl: Thank you, a compliment's as good as currency in my book. ;)
Eckstein's still there in part because he's not at the top of any one team's shopping list; anyone looking for a shortstop--like the Dodgers--is looking for bigger game, and failing that, can reasonably expect to be able to get Eckstein if that doesn't work out. Barajas seems to be in vogue in Toronto, probably because what he does bears a too-close resemblance to Pat Borders for ol' Cito, and what Gregg Zaun does is way too Ernie Whitt. Burnett's killing his own market, and as is, there's enough OTL-related concerns over what he'd bring to a team that I wouldn't be surprised if they're stuck with him. Downs might be the guy who genuinely brings something of value back, since he's under contract for two more years at reasonable cost.
Justin (Milwaukee): Please settle a debate for me. Is JJ Hardy now a top five SS in the major leagues?
Christina Kahrl: Sorry, Rammstein's "Te Quiro Puta" just came on, momentary distraction... yes, he is. Between the defense, the up-side, and the present-day performance, he's all that.
Ira (North Texas): Teagarden, Ramirez, Saltalamacchia, Laird? Who stays, who gets traded, and who gets moved to another position?
Everyone keeps saying that Salty will get traded and Ramirez moved to another position. but Ramirez seems to be a much better catcher than Salty, and Laird is very good too. Plus Teagarden has a great reputation as a catcher. The only one who doesn't seem to catch well is Saltalamacchia.
Christina Kahrl: Hey Ira, happy to see you here. Repurposing Salty might involve an unhappy markdown, and unless you're suddenly sold on his not being all that for reasons that transcend his current performance, that's probably not acceptable. I'd deal Laird, expecting he'll fetch something with value, commit to Salty, keep Teagarden as your fall-back, and see if Ramirez elicits interest while leaving him at catcher.
mgibson (DC): To my (untrained) eyes, Huston Street has looked terrible lately. His delivery looks like it's all upper body/arm. (Maybe that groin problem is still bothering him?) Do you get the sense his value is down to the point where Beane won't deal him?
Christina Kahrl: Well, the latest Mill will be up in a few minutes, and Will has something to share on the subject. I'm worried, but that's on the more basic level of fandom, and my sense is that it isn't affecting his value in trade, especially with so many teams on the hunt, and so few "Rauch for nothing" deals available to them.
Keith (da Bronx): I'd like to state for the record that "whiskey-soaked" is one of the top five compound adjectives, right up there with "slime-caked."
Also: Will I survive the rest of the season with Jose Molina and Chad Moeller behind the plate every day, or will I need to resort to soaking in my own whiskey?
Christina Kahrl: I suspect you'll be learning all about self-pickling, sad to say.
Drew W (NoVa): Billy Beane is showing much more patience with Daric Barton than he did with Carlos Pena--is he mellowing as he ages?
Christina Kahrl: Perhaps, but I think it also reflects the difference between how Barton works at his craft now, and how Pena did then.
Dr. Wayne Pitcher (Castro Valley, CA): Why no love for Barry Bonds from ANY team? He could help pretty much every team in major league baseball, and his acquisition wouldn't cost any prospects! Isn't that worth a perceived PR hit?
Christina Kahrl: I don't even buy the "PR hit" angle. So the guys on the beat bitch a bit, because mean old Barry will give them a few dead-eye stares. So what? Win some ballgames by scoring some runs, especially if you're short a left fielder--as Joe's talked about, he's not Albert Belle out there--or a DH. Any team that doesn't accept that is guilty of some sort of baseball malpractice.
JMan (Chicago): If Edmonds goes down do the Cubs turn to Pie, trade for a CF, or gauge Lofton?
Christina Kahrl: I just don't think Lofton's a doable proposition, not simply because he can't play center, but because reports on his expectations for what he should get seem to make the chances of adding him improbable for most teams, not just the Cubs. I'm guessing we see way too much Reed Johnson, with Pie spotting a couple of times per week. And within such a scenario, there would be a very real likelihood that they'd make a waivers deal in August for a veteran outfielder (like Winn or Dave Roberts), but only if that's available to them.
John (Cambridge): Christina,
Would it be worth the Yankees while to get Ramon Hernandez for basically nothing but $, or is his defense so bad that they're better off without him?
Christina Kahrl: If there's one thing that would probably be unpopular in Baltimore, it would be helping the Yankees in any way, shape, or form, so I don't really see Hernandez going to the Yankees if they want to be concerned about how they're perceived by an understandably grumpy fan base.
Ed (Houston, TX): Chris, do you think I should just wait until next year? I'll have everything lined up by then to make the World Series. If only I had Ruben Amaro Jr. working for me I could do less thinking and concentrate more on my new karate and judo lessons.
Christina Kahrl: Wait till next year? Dude, you're signed through 2010 for a team that had an expiration date of 2006, and nobody thought you'd ever be back in a GM's chair. Work on your judo and keep cashing those checks, if the mission was self-perpetuation, that's definitely mission accomplished.
Tom (Poughkeepsie,NY): Re: Hardy - The SS position has really dropped talent wise lately eh? There's the three NL East R's (Reyes, Rollins, and Ramirez), followed by Tulo and Hardy, I guess? Who is number 6 on that list? Drew? Young? Tim Beckham? I will light myself on fire if the answer is Christian Guzman.
Christina Kahrl: You can put away the matches, but I think these things move in cycles, and we were spoiled by the trinity. It's sort of like the '80s in football, when we were swamped with articles on how "Lawrence Taylor and the other great uber-OLBs are our natural masters." Eventually, this was no longer the case. It makes for some dynamism in player valuation within individual positions.
Dan ((Newton, MA)): Love your writing, Christina -- you're the reason I started subscribing to BP last year!
Rauch aside, it seems like the trade price for relievers it too damn high while the return is too damn variable. Why don't you see more teams trying to convert their best pitching prospects into half-season relievers (i.e., Chamberlain and Masterson)? Or are a lot of them doing it and I'm just too far on the East Coast to notice it?
Christina Kahrl: Thank you Dan, I'll hope to live up to that commitment. It can be too high, yes, and yes, I'd like to see more in-season conversions of that type. Steven would tell you a Stengel story about how Casey would pick his best arms and run with, but so too would Earl Weaver, or Bobby Cox (take a look at Jimmy Key's rookie season) or Gene Mauch (ditto, but with Chuck Finley). The more you let yourself get zombified by our contemporary fixation on role-playing, the more you become the creature of that habit.
Bill Smith (Minneapolis, MI): A lot of people in my office tell me that I should get some guy named Beltre for some of my young pitching.... should I listen to them?
Christina Kahrl: Some, but I wouldn't go nuts. Maybe the Orioles would give you Aubrey Huff for a lot less. Maybe you get Kevin Kouzmanoff for less, and still get the righty slugger you need for less.
Tim (DC): Christina, I have a modicum of optimism about the Royals (perhaps misplaced by seeing the Indians in last). They have a few parts they could be moving at the deadline (Grudz, German, Guillen?), but will they be active sellers?
Christina Kahrl: Don't look at me, if I remember correctly, I picked them to finish third on a day I must have been seeing the world through powder-blue glasses. I think they'll deal any of their veterans, but I also think they don't have elaborate, exaggerated expectations about what they'll get. If they're fortunate, they add some first-base type who's already in his peak years, and plug him in. I know, that's what they thought they were getting in Ryan Shealy a few years back, but that wasn't a good idea at the time given Shealy's park-generated power and predictably underwhelming hitting once he was no longer a Sky Sock.
mgibson (DC): My initial reaction to the Harden deal was the same as yours--you wrote "[Gallagher is] a guy who throws strikes and has solid command of low-90s heat and good breaking and off-speed stuff". (Liked the joke about the "Sir Mix-a-lot acquisition strategy.) But his DTs from this year show 7.3K/9, 2.6BB/9. Pretty tasty, no? How do you square the near-universal opinion that Gallagher's stuff is mediocre with that strikeout rate?
Christina Kahrl: Hey, when it comes to pop culture, it may not begin with Sir Mix-a-lot, but it always ends with him. I think something that Kevin noted recently from a conversation with a scout is what's really key in assessing Gallagher--the upside is a Radke type, but more often, you wind up with a Germano-like fifth starter wannabe.
Andrew (Nueva York): What is this talent in the Nationals' front office you speak of? How long until Rizzo or someone else is running the baseball ops?
Christina Kahrl: He's in the front office. So is Kasten. And Dana Brown, and more besides. It's a pretty good group, and it's really only just getting started. I'd give them time.
Brecken (Chicago): Personalities for $200
Which GM makes you think of General Custer?
Christina Kahrl: If I keep beating on Ed Wade, people might think he's paying me to by the hour.
Marshall (Fresno, CA): I hear all the time about the teams that are asking Pittsburgh about Nady and Marte. Everybody knows the Pirates are looking for pitching, given their aversion to the strike zone, but do teams like Tampa Bay and Philadelphia really have the kind of prospects that would be involved in such a deal and still be of value to the Bucs?
Christina Kahrl: Are you kidding me? If there's one team to get into bed with in the pursuit of pitching, it's the Rays seven days a week and twice on Sunday. The problem isn't that you'd want to deal with the Rays if you were the Pirates, it's that they don't need what you've got. Instead, you've got to hope that the Yankees or Mets crumble and give you pitching, which the Yankees have more of at the upper levels, but which the Mets might be able to match if you're willing to be patient and take guys further from the majors.
hotstatrat (Toronto): For those who love rapturous melodies, Coldplay, after three golden eggs, finally laid an A & P one. I'm still thrilled the most by Keane's Hopes and Fears. What music inspires you?
Christina Kahrl: Well, I'm a Keane fan, so I suspect we're on the same page there (my fave is probably "Atlantic" for its darker start), but I'm also a big fan of Curve, Korn, Rammstein, or Brazilian Girls when I really want something to kick me into overdrive.
dianagramr (Queens): Yay ... another Kahrl chat!!!
Hey Christina, please tell me Ed Wade traded for Wolf so that he could package him with someone else for another trade before the deadline?
Otherwise ... I believe the new mascot for the Astros should be the "don't drink the" Kool-Aid pitcher.
Christina Kahrl: Yay, another Diana question--always happy to have you here. ;) What would the anti-Kool-Aid mascot look like. Cracked? OK, that was easier than I thought...
kf4ykd (DC): Who plays SS for the Orioles next year? I'm watching gameday right now and we've regressed all the way to starting Juan Castro over Brandon Fahey. It's rather comical.
Christina Kahrl: It's like a horrible VH1 show, "The Flavor of LeMaster," with the former Giants shortstop forcing you to watch the player who most closely resembles him.
jimbeau (Left Coast): Hi CK. Been thinking about this since the AS game - trying to come up with a way to not risk players' health through multi-extra inning AS games. Why not, if its tied after nine, from then on, start each half inning with a runner on second (the last batter from the previous inning)? With a run expectancy of over 60% (I think), it would seem to increade the likelyhood of an entertaining game resolution in relatively short order. What do you think? [I also think they should have a re-entry rule for position player starters.]
Christina Kahrl: I'm probably the last person to ask about the All-Star Game. I don't think I've watched a complete inning of that corporate junket and baseball-flavored entertainment since Rick Reuschel got rocked by Bo Jackson. I like my baseball to count, using teams that get designed and employed to win, not ones that get run like a Little League squad. I'd leave it an exhibition, and end the game automatically after 12 innings if nobody's won it by then; it will have fulfilled its purpose as an exhibition and junket in that amount of time. In the words of one neo-realist philosopher, "I pity the foo' who takes the All-Star Game seriously."
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Ms. Kahrl, my favourite baseball writer.
A few years ago we had slow-footed sluggers undervalued (and that was probably a long period, no?). Then, the As and others focused on the fragile and the defensively-gifted.
Care to guess what type of talent teams might be passing over too quickly now? Or has that window closed more or less?
Christina Kahrl: Ah, Mr. Clancy... is it wrong that I liked Dave Stieb better? (Hey, it isn't like I'm picking Luis Leal.) Anyway, I'd suggest that it's still "bad apples," because look what citizenship grades have done to the market value of Milton Bradley or Barry Bonds. Or Shawn Chacon.
havybeaks (Michigan): Are there any plans for BP to add author/staff bios to the site? Surely I'm not the only one who'd love to see a photo of the Dingo!
Christina Kahrl: I should probably hesitate from making any great pronouncements, given that I relayed the answer that we'd have comments sections soon, and the answer is still "soon," but it's something that's coming up. You'll get to see everyone's bald pate (myself excepted) soon enough. The dingo's only a contributor to my sense of well-being, so technically she isn't on the payroll. Suffice to say she's BP's coolest dog (leading to the inevitable fight with Goldstein over how his is BP's coolest dog).
Mary Beth (St. Louis, MO): Hi Christina! Love your work! Who gets your vote for greatest living baseball player...
Christina Kahrl: Thank you Mary Beth... Willie Mays is 77 years young, making this a pretty easy call.
Jenny (Baltimore, MD): Which literary figure is Mr. Brian Bannister most closely becoming: Dr. Jeckyl; Mr. Hyde; Frankenstein; Walter Mitty. Thanks!
Christina Kahrl: How about the protagonist from "The Baxter"? Good guy, not the greatest, but with plenty going for him, and he'll get by if, like the Royals, you can give him the shot.
Timmy (The 50's): Lassie would have been scratching at the door by now to head out! Your dog must be a saint (and I don't mean Bernard!)
Christina Kahrl: She's still sleeping off this morning's workout. Gotta be in the park by 7:30 am and throwing things for 30-45 minutes, or she's bouncing off the walls.
abernethyj (Chapel Hill, NC): What direction do you see the Braves going at the deadline? Will they be able to get anything close to what they gave up for Teixeira in return for him a year later? And how do you see their outfield dilemma shaking out?
Christina Kahrl: I think I'm in a very different place than, say, Joe's been, in that I've been off the bandwagon for a bit. I think it's long since time to recognize that 2005 was a while ago, and there are too many things wrong to be able to fix them all. Best that they see about whether or not anyone will take Kotsay, plug Blanco in as their center fielder, and bring back Brandon Jones.
Czechjustin (Brno (Czech Republic)): Hi Christina,
I'm writing from the city closest to Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz (the battlefield is just outside the city). What are your feelings as an A's fan on the acquisitions of Cardenas and Outman? Will Cardenas play 3b? Will they keep Outman as a SP? Curious on your thoughts.
Christina Kahrl: Ah, Brünn of old, Brno today. "Istanbul was Constantinople," etc. I think it was a good package, but Cardenas is almost something of an infield tweener, in that his bat would profile best at second, but it remains to be seen if his glove work will cut it at the keystone. Outman seems almost certain to wind up a reliever, but more than just a situational demon.
Brian (Texas): To chime in on the favorite adjective discussion, my vote goes to the adjective form of epiphany, epiphanic.
So really, does Beane still think the A's are still in the hunt? He says he isn't a "seller", but it sure looks like it.
Oh, and I'm listening to Herzeleid.
Christina Kahrl: Seller? No, I suppose he isn't, but that's because it's a matter of tense: he sold.
Tommy (OPS,FL): The Rays are toying with the idea of brining Price up if they can't land a reliever. Do you think Price can be the 08 Joba?
Christina Kahrl: Wow, this one's kind of easy: yes.
BL (Bozeman, MT): Joe Posnanski made a good case for Stan Musial as one of the best living ballplayers the other day... where is he on your list?
Christina Kahrl: Where's Jay Jaffe when I need him? I don't keep lists like this, but it would definitely be behind Willie Mays. It isn't like it's ever going to be an Olympic event, where Musial's got to stand around on a podium and subsequently explain his disappointment for getting the bronze behind Mike Schmidt or Frank Robinson or something. Maybe I'm being lazy, but Mays seems like a solid enough selection for an off-the-cuff answer. ;)
squintsp34 (Chicago): No question, just...Howie Kendrick!
Christina Kahrl: Rocks. He's just fun to watch at the plate. Is it wrong to like that? Is this sabermetrics' answer to forbidden fruit?
rgrunder (dayton, oh): No mention recently of Franklin Morales that I can find anywhere on BP. Since he's one of Kevin's darlings, I find the silence maddening. Sure, young pitchers are going to struggle, but this is awful!
And if I may indulge, shouldn't the Reds sign Dunn for 3 years, put him in LF, Bruce in RF, and find a decent CF? This team is close enough to contending with the talent they have that leaving 2 giant holes in the OF (the result of trading Dunn) would be a mistake. Do you agree?
Christina Kahrl: Hey, between the struggling that's explicable in any environment, and the possible exaggeration of that encouraged by having to pitch in Coors Field, I think it's OK to chill. People were in a hurry to write off Edinson Volquez not so long ago, after all.
As for Dunn, the seeming disinterest in him is sort of fascinating, to the point that yes, it might be interesting to see if he'd agree to a multi-year deal to stay put, since it might now cost the Reds less than it would have a year ago.
Goose (Chicago): So Christina, I couldn't tell from your transaction analysis, do you like Joe Blanton? Kind of ambiguous.
Christina Kahrl: I'll take that as semi-facetious, since I expect him to be sub-Lohse-ian in terms of value to the club down the stretch on the basis of his new home and his home/road splits with Oakland. I went into that a bit, as well as the problem that he may not simplify their picking their five starters; he gives them a starter who will take the ball every five days, but the results aren't going to be pretty, and might wind up being Eaton-level bad.
Gordon (Dallas): Lou Piniella: Man of destiny or medieval griffin?
Christina Kahrl: Can't he be like Jack McKeon, and both at the same time?
Doug (Chicago): OK, as a Sox fan I would love to see Huston Street on the Southside, but what on Earth do we have to trade for him? Nothing, thanks Kenny.
Christina Kahrl: Josh Fields is being brought up in that context, and that doesn't sound so terrible to this A's fan. Yes, it's a weakly-stocked system, but if you decide to plan on using some of your playoff revenue to re-sign Joe Crede, Fields is just a prospect on the hoof waiting to be converted into something you can use. Given this team's core, no time like the present.
Kevin (Oak Lawn, IL): Hi Christina, not sure if this is your expertise, but is there an explanation for Jeff Samardzjia's success at Triple A after all those so-so games at lower levels? I hear the Cubs might make the call on him this week when Woody is DL'd.
Christina Kahrl: It's six starts, so I wouldn't get that worked up about the Domer just yet.
Sam (OC): What do pitchers in the modern era do during the offseason?
Christina Kahrl: They don't make like generations past and sit in a blind with a cooler full of beer, nor do they have to sell suits to make ends meet any more. I don't think I'm saying anything that isn't already commonly understood--being a professional baseball player is a year-round thing in a way like never before, whether the guy's conditioning, rehabbing, pitching in the winter leagues, or what.
Matt A (Raleigh): Are there any realistic deals out there to be made for Mark Teixeira? I'm on board with dealing him, but I just don't see all of the Tex-for-Kotchman or Tex-for-Conor Jackson or Tex-for-Youk rumors that are around. Teams are content with there pretty good 1Bs that they've got control over for the next 2-3 years and don't want to lose them for a 2-month rental.
Christina Kahrl: I guess because I've never been all that excited about Conor Jackson I'd do that, because Tex in Phoenix should light up the scoreboard, perhaps enough to make the difference between a title and an early start on people's golf games. They'd still have a problem in left, though.
Matt (SF, CA): What is your vision for the web site?
Christina Kahrl: Well, funny that you mention that, because we're gearing up for our annual business meeting, and "the vision thing" is on the agenda. We're all looking forward to getting comments added in one form or another. There will be changes in terms of the kind of statistical information we'll be providing, some improvements on the surfability (finding all relevant articles to any one team on its Team Audit page is high on my wish list). We're also always working on perfecting our content mix; the Preview segment has been a great addition in my opinion, especially given the amount of work Caleb and Marc invest in it.
ahaldar (Atlanta, GA): Bigger problem: Melky/ Gardner or Molina? Assuming Ponson turns into a pumpkin, wouldn't Washburn be a reasonable 5th starter?
Christina Kahrl: Molina. Melky and Gardner can do better, while Molina's doing exactly what he's good for. If Washburn can be gotten without giving up any of the frontline pitching prospects, that wouldn't be the worst patch job.
sroney (Orange Co, CA): Miss seeing you at SABR conventions the last few years.
There seems to be a lot of call in the local papers for the Angels to pick up a big bat, usually mentioning the usual suspect outfielders. I don't have a lot of faith that they would sit the appropriate person if they got a bat, so I am reluctant to join the bandwagon. What say you?
Christina Kahrl: And I've missed attending them, especially since I'd love to have caught up with people in Cleveland, but the logistics of life after repeated floodings sort of got in the way. I'll be catching back up again, there as in other places.
As far as the Angels, I guess I don't see the need in the outfield if they want to finally keep to a commitment to play Juan Rivera. I'm more worried about the problem of Casey Kotchman, because how much longer can they wait for his bat to arrive and just not receive all that much in terms of a reward?
Drew (St Paul): In your opinion are the Twins better off trading for a 3B or giving Luke Hughes a shot?
Christina Kahrl: I'd deal for one, but that's said from the comfortable remove of not having to be responsible for making a deal with a messed-up Mariners organization at a reasonable price, if we want to focus on Beltre.
kf4ykd (DC): In regards to the vision, I hope you're planning to continue the college baseball portion of the site. I know Bryan Smith left, but that was a really nice feature.
Christina Kahrl: I post this not because I have an answer, but because I agree--I learned more about college baseball in the past year than ever before, something I'm grateful to Bryan for, and something I know I'd like to continue to make space for going forward. If somebody's interested in the gig, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I promise not to bore you with chitchat about my dog.
mattymatty (Philly): Does the recent hot streak make you think differently about Dustin Pedroia going forward? Theres not much time in the majors to look at so I wonder if he's taking a step forward or if this is just one of those blips that happens over the course of 162. Thanks, Ms. Kahrl.
Christina Kahrl: It would be somewhat ironic if we had the new Bobby Grich on our hands, yet we in the analysis community shrank from identifying him until he already made it imminent.
johnpark99 (Boston): Christina, anything you expect the Rays to do before the deadline? Are they willing to move top prospects for a shot at the title?
Christina Kahrl: If there's a team that can afford to be smug and stand pat, it's the Rays. They already have the shot, and they've already "won" in terms of what this means for the franchise's place within the industry, let alone in the hearts and minds of the ticket-buying public. If I wanted to be over the top, I'd say they already own the future. Why share by dealing any of their good stuff, when they're probably already good enough?
ahaldar (Atlanta): Igawa for Washburn, with Wash filling in the 5th spot next year as an innings eater?
Christina Kahrl: That's tasty for the Yankees, but bad sushi for the Mariners.
strupp (Madison): Thanks for the chat CK, always enjoy the work. Nate helped talk me down, but I need just a bit more reassurance, this Cubs thing is just a late June Swoon, right, and they'll be back winning serious games starting this weekend? Right? Right? Please??? (We Cubs fans are a somewhat sad lot.)
Christina Kahrl: I don't know, the points made by Marc recently about how Kosuke's a Wrigley warrior, like Keith Moreland of old to my way of thinking, that gets you to thinking... I guess I think there's a very real danger of losing the division to the Brewers, but if I had to pick the wild card, it's going to be the team that finishes second in the Central.
bb10kbb10k (Erie, PA): Hi CK, love your work. Just taking a break here from my own to check out your chat (great as usual), and a question pops up: What all do you read baseball-wise, whether on-line or off, that gets you to the point where you know SO much? Thanks!
Christina Kahrl: Well, the coolest part of my job is that I get to read all of the stuff that our subscribers do, and that means I get informed by Kevin Goldstein on prospects, or big-ticket analysis by Nate Silver, or the latest injury dope from Will Carroll, or something fun about ten different teams by Caleb Peiffer... you get the point. Beyond that, there's my personal game of trying to keep the stack of unread baseball books in the personal library below 20 (permitting me to buy more). Oh, and blowing at least my first two years of college and the subsequent year off basically doing nothing but follow baseball when I wasn't playing euchre or drinking. Eating was optional, and so was class, at least until I was informed otherwise. Fandom as a kid in Northern California in non-MLB city was more solitary than the present ever could be, much more boxscore- and radio-driven; coming to a two-team city like Chicago at 17 made it a consuming passion.
NHZ (Royals Review): Too bad Alex Gordon is the biggest bust in the history of the universe, eh?
Christina Kahrl: I thought that was Todd Van Poppel, but maybe that's my bitterness showing.
Corkedbat (Dallas): They gonna show Hacking Mass some love any time soon?
Christina Kahrl: However do you mean? A quickie check here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/hm/
... tells us that the Sultans of Suck seem to have nice lead over the Bevacqua Velvas, among others.
costa24 (Montreal): The WWL reports that Mark Cuban is still a possibility to take over the Cubs. Is that really serious or just noise?
Christina Kahrl: I'm figuring that's just wishcasting... I can't see Bud and Bud's buddies voting Cuban into the treehouse.
scareduck (Somewhere west of Angel Stadium): Hi, Christina, love your writing... the queen of transaction analysis! Big question for you: Are the Angels due for a whopping regression next year? I'm mostly worried about their 2007 Diamondbacks-like pythagorean win-loss record. Their outfield in particular looks like it'll be a shambles. They'll be minus Juan Rivera (unless they make a serious effort to re-sign him), Vlad will undoubtedly be taken up on his team option, Garret Anderson will be gone, but Torii Hunter will be a year older (and he's already showing signs of decline), and the team will be carrying that godawful Gary Matthews, Jr. contract (barring a DFA). Plus, the bullpen will almost certainly be without K-Rod, and that leads to questions about the team's ability to shut down the opposition late in games with the implied roster reshuffling. Like the 2008 Snakes, it seems they could very quickly become a .500 (or worse) team in a hurry. Thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: I think it makes for a very interesting question, because the factors you mention could lead to an expectation that it might take fewer than 90 wins to take next year's division crown, at which point you can put Oakland and Texas into the picture if they play for the near-term.
ct tiger (ct): is jurrjens for renteria going to look like smoltz for doyle alexander, except for the part that doyle gave the tigers something?
Christina Kahrl: Ouch... a sharp if valid comparison.
Tim (Chicago): Clayton Richard got hit a bit last night, where do you see him eventually fitting into the majors?
Christina Kahrl: A solid fourth starter in a big-league rotation.
Christina Kahrl: Ladies and gents, with that, I've got a couple of things to wrap up (including an article to finish), and here it's already been three hours and I've enjoying myself far too much. As we gear up for the usually 'Deadline Day' intensity, rest assured that you can look forward to all sorts of good stuff from the team in The Mill, plus TAs as fast as I can type them up. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of Free Week, not to mention the balance of another great season of baseball.