Talk with Christina Kahrl about the moving and shaking to come as the off-season gets into full swing.
Christina Kahrl: Hi gang, sorry for the late start, and not to undercut myself, but my roundup of almost all of the AL's October roster moves is about to go live, so I have a semi-reasonable excuse for my late arrival. Let's talk about the Hot Stove League in particular, and baseball in general...
McGoldrick (Los Angeles): Who has the most gas left in the tank: Adrian Beltre, Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Raul Ibanez, or Chone Figgins? Which ones would you want on your team in '09?
Christina Kahrl: That's not really a comparison of like to like, but I'd pick Figgins from among that crew, if only because speed guys seem to retain value wel enough. Beyond that, I'd take Beltre, but I can't say I'm wildly enthusiastic about any of them. It's easier to suggest that I'd put Paulie at the bottom of the pile, and work up from there.
Frank Leja (Washington, DC): Stan Kasten says he has a plan for the Nats. Is there any evidence to suggest what that might be? If so, how is it coming along?
Christina Kahrl: Maybe he's pulling a Nixon '68 and it's a secret plan; he's just waiting to be handed the reins before sharing with the class, as it were. Seriously, the fact that the Nats are dealing with in-house bickering, a fight with the city... if there was a honeymoon period with the Lerners, it was one from the Britney Spears storybook, complete with the expensive hangover.
Scott the Stathead (NY, NY): I've been dying to read what you have to say about the Mark Ellis signing. Good deal for the A's? Is he worth the risk? What is his value given his hitting, defense, age and injury history?
Christina Kahrl: Lamentably, the A's were one of two teams I didn't get to in the article that's about to be published, but I expect to comment on their moves (Joe Dillon is free!) and the Blue Jays' after we wrap up here. But to be terse (by my standards), the word that sums up my feelings on keeping Ellis is 'resigned' (as opposed to 're-signed'). OK, we kept him, and in the long and unhappy history of second base in A's history, Ellis is sort of our generation's Dick Green, a nifty player, but not a great one. For that money, it's not a great deal, and given that it's spread out evenly, this isn't even a situation like Terrence Long's contract, where we can always hope Billy gets somebody else to pick up the heavy back end of the tab.
brianjamesoak (Alameda, CA): Book idea: Poll BP readers to see what burning questions they have about the game of baseball (that haven't been answered yet) and then choose the most common and/or intriguing ones to answer in a sort of BBTN 2. What do you think?
Christina Kahrl: This is a great, great idea. I'm excited enough as is because I'm going to hopefully be contributing to the next version, but with a nod towards my colleagues and Mr. Goldman in particular, I have to share this because of the excellent good sense it represents. Many thanks. :)
Ted (Milwaukee): Are Macha and the Brewers a good fit?
Christina Kahrl: I do wonder, if only because of the communication issues that some complained about in Oakland, but I can't really say if the young crew that makes up Milwaukee's current brew needs a lot of hand-holding or not. He's a sound enough tactician and an able enough communicator to keep the Fourth Estate busy. What I wonder about was that he was able to cope with a pretty easy-going clubhouse in Oakland; is that what the Brewers need? It wasn't like Ned Yost was a latter-day Showalter law-and-order type, although it's worth remembering that when Yost first came into the job in Milwaukee, he did bring in a brand of professionalism the club needed. That's not to say that Macha's the opposite of that, far from it, but I wonder if this is an interesting variant on the Shotton Effect, where a low-key guy with solid tactical skills fits nicely as the sort of manager who doesn't get in the way of a great collection of young talent.
Bill (New Mexico): Tell us, O trademeister (I've never heard the term "trademistress"): Do the Cardinals trade Colby Rasmus during the off season?
Christina Kahrl: Hi Bill... actually, I prefer the term "editrix," but try putting that on a business card. I don't think so, no; Rasmus' value is down because of his injury-plagued season, so I can't see the Cards getting value, nor do I see all that much incentive for them to give up on him already. And to be blunt, as cool as the last two years of Ludwick's production have been, would you bank on anybody past Rick Ankiel? Can we even bank on Ankiel. That's not to say I don't like them, it's a fascinating group of talent, but I don't know if I'd have the confidence to deal from it. To say that John Mozeliak has some interesting options would be an understatement.
Rob (Alaska): Christina! Thanks, as always, for the chat. How much value should teams place on the defense of their backup catcher? Would it create valuable roster flexibility for a team to have a guy like Ryan Garko or Jayson Werth or Josh Willingham catch one day a week? Or is that just re-arranging the deck chairs? Iím also wondering if this would preserve some of the positional value of prospects who just donít look like they can catch every day, such as Jeff Clement or Hank Conger.
Christina Kahrl: You're talking to somebody who fell in love with everything about catchers back when you had backups like Johnny Wockenfuss and Bill Schroeder, guys who really weren't much behind the plate, but gave you something in the lineup, and who hit well enough to have value DHing or playing some first base. (Naturally, that makes me a Chris Coste fan. Jim Leyritz too, for that matter.) While a guy as big and as fragile as Werth would give me pause, I think it makes plenty of sense in Garko's case. I wonder about Willingham, but in part that's because I sort of fancy the notion that he could grow up to be the next Brian Downing.
neal (joliet, iL): PSA: Just found out my county had my name misspelled in their system. If I hadn't called ahead to double check, I would not have voted a normal ballot. I think its worth everyone double checking!
Christina Kahrl: Good point, Neal, and a reminder to everyone of every political stripe to make sure they've got you registered properly and then do your part by voting.
Curll84 (MA): CC's contract: Lower, On par, or Larger than Johan's extension?
Christina Kahrl: On par, I expect. I'm really interested to see what the credit crunch does to team behavior in the market this winter, but Sabathia should be one of the obvious guys whose salary expectations should be recession-proof.
Drew W (Vienna VA): The A's will play a franchise-record 37 spring training games in 2009. This seems like WAY too many. Any thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: I'll resist saying something negative about the WBC, lest I get accused of being someone who says, when in doubt, blame the WBC, but I guess I don't have a problem with it. Partially, that's because I'm hoping to make another spring trip to Phoeni, and in part I think the A's have a ton of sorting out to do, in their outfield, at the non-Ellis spots in the infield, you name it, it's up in the air. I can see how people would be of two minds on this--how long can anyone count on Crosby or Chavez to be healthy?--but I guess it really doesn't bug me all that much.
Mike Maddux (Texas?): My departure from Milwaukee will be devastating for the Brewers young pitchers. Agree?
Christina Kahrl: No, not particularly. Pitching coaches walk the same hamster wheel managers do, going in and out of fashion, and being seen as geniuses one season, and run out of town the next. I don't say this to suggest that Maddux is anything but a good pitching coach, but guys like Dave Wallace and Rick Peterson have had their days of being in vogue, and like Maddux have some things to their credit.
Matt (UW): What is the market for Andruw Jones? Can't the Dodgers just eat that thing and ship him off to another team for ~5 mil/yr. I can't help but wonder what an in shape Jones would look like in a Cubby uniform. 2006 was not that long ago.
Christina Kahrl: Actually, I suggest something along those very lines in today's TA, and involving the Windy City, no less, but on the South Side instead of Wrigleyville.
Dan (Brooklyn): Is Michael Bowden in the BoSox rotation next year? Does resigning Wakefield necessarily mean that he's a starter in '09?
Christina Kahrl: This is another item I touch on in today's piece, but I really like the dynamic of a Bowden vs. Buchholz fight for the fifth slot. I like the odds that one of them pans out--who wouldn't?--and if the Sox have to deal with another one of Beckett's hiccups, perhaps at that point Bowden or Buchholz has established himself to help pick up the slack.
wrightfan5 (MD): Speaking as a Mets fan to an A's fan, what do you suppose it would realistically take to pry Huston Street from Billy Beane's far-from cold, dead hands? And do you think Street poses the best solution to the Mets bullpen woes (from here he seems to be a better solution than paying retail rates for K-Rod and/or Fuentes, or wishcasting on Putz to be healthy)?
Christina Kahrl: I think you can expect Beane to hold out for the best bits in the organization, but I really doubt that the Mets would deal Fernando Martinez for Street, and if I'm the A's, I don't need or want guys like Mike Carp. Danny Murphy's interesting, but basically this would have to involve a lot of low-level pitching to make it worthwhile. I suppose it depends on whether or not consecutive humiliations at the hands of the Phillies adds any additional impetus; at some point, Omar's going to be the guy taking the blame for failure.
Frank (Vegas): can we expect much trade action at this week's GM mtgs, or do we need to hold our breath until the Dec winter mtgs?
Christina Kahrl: I think we'll see a lot of what we've seen in the past: people laying ground on deals, sorting out one another's needs, getting a handle on their own 40-mans and finding out who wants to deal a guy because of that.
dianagramr (NYC): Adam Dunn in a Yankee uniform at first base .... give him 3 years and 36 million.
Christina Kahrl: Hi Diana... not a chance, not at that price. He should and will cost more than that, and I'm not sure he wants to sign a "contender's discount" deal, no matter how long he was in Cincinnati.
dcarroll (WI): Should we be excited about Kelly Shoppach?
Christina Kahrl: Absolutely. His production this year makes it clear that he's not simply a guy whose upside was as a second-division starting backstop. Look at how much churn was generated over the execrable Jeff Mathis this year... Mathis isn't one of the 30 best catchers on the planet; he probably isn't in the top 50 either. Shoppach obviously is one of the 30 best. It's not just the Rangers who have options behind the plate.
Hawkeye (North Dakota): Odds of the following:
Twins getting a 3b who could reach .800 OPS?
Red Sox adding Texeira?
Yankees adding CC?
Peavy leaves the NL?
Christina Kahrl: I'm not much for gambling, but let's go high/low. In order: push, low, high, low.
Aaron (YYZ): Are we forgetting Masterson in the Red Sox rotation?
Christina Kahrl: No. I think his good work in the pen is more likely to keep him there, especially in light of the BoSox's tasty alternatives.
tcogle (las Vegas): Who do you see playing first for the Marlins now?
Christina Kahrl: I sort of ran through this yesterday, but in short, the Fish have a multiplicity of options because they have prospects who can hit a little in Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez, defensively-challenged young veterans like Josh Willingham and Jorge Cantu, and a one-for-one replacement for Jacobs in Dallas McPherson, at least in terms of skill sets. It's a choice the Marlins only have to make now if they decide to add a hitter in the outfield or a third baseman who can pick it; otherwise, they really can go into spring training and have some fun sorting it out. I'd probably do the pitching staff the favor of trying Cantu, and mix in some McPherson.
JAN02000 (Bozeman): Christina, always a fan of your writing. Do you have any predictions for how the Red Sox resolve the catcher situation this winter? What's Varitek going to demand? Are there any viable replacements? I look at the market for catcher's right now and it seems bleak.
Christina Kahrl: Many thanks, JAN, I definitely appreciate the compliment. I guess I see a happy bit of re-upping as the path of least resistance, but Tek really ought to scratch the backs of the people who handed him his just-finished monster deal and be agreeable, because there's no love for him anywhere like there is in RSN, and a big deal to provide leadership or whatever is just going to beg for boo-birding once he hits the way he has for any other ballclub.
Dennis (Monterey Park, CA): Thanks for the chat. Where do you think Milton Bradley will end up? I'm thinking he can probably be had for a 3 year, $36 million-type deal. Do you think he'd be a good fit for the OBP-needy Angels?
Christina Kahrl: The thing about Bradley is that I don't think anybody--anybody--inside the industry our out has any idea of what to expect from him. I'm sure plenty of people would welcome signing him to an especially creative, incentive-laden deal, but I expect he's self-aware enough and go for the guaranteed money. While he'd be the kind of player the Angels could use, I think that's only after the Teixeira scenario plays out; if LAnaheim tries to keep either Tex or K-Rod but loses both, all sorts of things become possible.
Chris (Chicago): Christina, you wrote today that Jeff Zduriencik (wow!) has to decide whether or not he wants to get involved in the rule 5 draft. I assume that there is some type of punishment (loss of draft pick) for selecting a player in the Rule 5? Otherwise, every GM would pick up someone, right?
Christina Kahrl: There's no penalty, just the challenge of making space on your 40-man with a certain celerity, which given his recent arrival in his own office means he'll need a veritable coup d'oeil to cull what he decides is chaff from the organization he's inherited.
BL (Bozeman, MT): Thanks for the great, and depressing, deconstruction of the Jacobs deal for KC and its ramifications. Given this blind spot for raw power and ignoring the subtleties, how do you see Dayton Moore moving forward this winter? Do you see any off-the-radar corner outfield notions that make any sense (Juan Rivera)?
Christina Kahrl: Sorry to call it as I saw and generate some joylessness on the Great Plains, BL. There are veteran outfielders who can be had cheaply, certainly, but like you, I'd like to see if getting a guy like Rivera on the cheap was possible. However, unless they make DeJesus their CF, you might be targeting the wrong Angel outfielder--Reggie Willits would be sort of nice to have, I'd think.
basicslop (albuquerque): Where would Adam Dunn be most appreciated: Washington, Kansas City, S.F.?
Christina Kahrl: Giants fans might appreciate a certain Bonds-yness in the production, Royals fans might dig the personality, and Nats fans might just enjoy seeing a major league hitter.
Dale Berra's Stash (Pittsburgh): Does it seem like there are a tremendous amount of bad contracts coming off the books this off-season? I bet the owners are kicking themselves with all this extra payroll but the economy sucks.
Christina Kahrl: Like I said, I think this is something we don't have a good handle on. John Perrotto's article yesterday sort of got me to thinking about how the rules of baseball's debt load might have an impact as well, but right now, I wouldn't be at all surprised that teams show some restraint given the credit crunch.
nstampe (Madison): Latest history book that been taking attention away from the dingo?
Christina Kahrl: Eric Weitz's "Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy," because Weimar is just one of those subjects I never get tired of, to the point of boring friends. Including the one who made a gift of this particular volume. ;) The dingo's nicely tolerant of this, as long as she gets to go to the beach with some regularity, and as long as I show a Salomon Torres-like rubber-armedness when it comes to throwing things in the park.
mattseward (Cardiff, UK): Hi Christina, Baseball America released a list of potential Type A and Type B free agents. How on earth is Varitek a Type A? Darren Oliver? Bob Howry? Isn't it about time this whole business was at the very least modernised? One can only assume the replacement player thought process sure hasn't reached Elias....
Christina Kahrl: It's easy to bet on Elias on this subject (I usually do), but keep in mind that this particular brand of silliness is the product of collective bargaining, and accept that however dysfunctional the classification system, that's how the players and the owners like it.
Johnny (Champaign, IL): I have been getting a lot of bad news in a lot of areas lately. Not having a very good couple weeks.
Would you be willing to say nice things about the Cubs, looking towards 09?
no snarkiness please.
Christina Kahrl: They are, in fact as well as on paper, the best team in the NL Central. Their big problem is a lineup that leans too heavily towards "thirtysomething" and "right-handed," and as we saw, that can create matchup problems. While fixing that by doing something in the outfield seems to be the favored topic of conversation, I'm much more concerned that Derrek Lee's days as a difference maker in a lineup are done.
Bill (CT): What would the Red Sox have to give the Mariners to get Jeff Clement? After last year's Bedard trade I wonder if Theo could pull a fast one on the Seattle front office.
Christina Kahrl: Not going to happen, not unless the new sheriff in town, Jack Zduriencik, decides Clement can't catch. Remember, Bill Bavasi is, at this moment, an ex-parrot.
shamah (NYC): OK, same question I ask everyone at these chats: who mans CF for the Yanks next year? Another year of Melky, hoping he pans out? Hope Damon holds down the fort for a year, and pray that Austin Jackson is the answer? Someone else? Can Milton Bradley play center anymore?
Christina Kahrl: I think the question describes how far standards for center-field play have fallen in New York, thanks to the downslope of Bernie Williams' career. Bradley? No. Damon? No. Melky... if this wasn't a win-now kind of club, sure, but the Yankees have their ambitions, and the clock's ticking on how much longer you can contend with the Jeter/A-Rod combo. In the absence of great options on the market, and in light of Jeter's problems afield, I'd suggest they move the Captain to center now, while anticipating that eventually Jackson's the answer. Then, decide if you want to put A-Rod at short is still feasible, or dip into a market that has some veteran shortstops who can play or do the Pirates a favor and take on Jack Wilson's contract.
I know, it isn't going to happen, but you'd think that if the Captain would agree to play somewhere else--and have some value as a hitter--a marquee position like center would work for him.
buffum (Austin TX): What kind of deal does Casey Blake get on the open market? I could accept him back in a Tribe uniform on a 1-year deal, but I expect someone will give him 3, and I don't want that team to be Cleveland. In the absence of Blake, who plays 3B for the Indians in 2009?
Christina Kahrl: Hi Steve... it's a good question, but I'd think a reunion with the Tribe makes sense now that Marte's pancaked with an enthusiasm that only Mrs. Butterworth would appreciate. Two plus an option is probably more palatable than anything flavored "one," but maybe a one-plus option works.
WillyFrom Philly (Philly): Christina, with Ruben Amaro being named the new GM in Philly, do you think the 'Ed Wade GM Tree' is sprouting leafs?
Christina Kahrl: Heehee... like hearing the creation myth for the first time, it's the sort of thing that makes one do a double-take, but in point of fact, Wade did hire Amaro, and Amaro does have a good number of believers within the industry. I guess it just goes to show that there's no such thing as an entirely fallow field.
GBSimons (Loganville, GA): Christina, can you let us in on the little secret of the comments section? What does the number in parentheses under each person's name mean? Joe is (17), I'm (1520), etc. The BP public is dying to know.
Christina Kahrl: It's probably attached to when you became active with BP or somesuch... not really quite sure, since I think I'm a number below 20. Gives the whole thing a sort of Patrick McGoohan/"The Prisoner" vibe, no?
Steve (NJ): Is Chad Cordero the type of low-cost/high-reward relief pitcher the Mets should be accumulating this winter? He's a FA after refusing assignment and Omar drafted him way back when (I think) so there's a history there.
Christina Kahrl: The concept's sound, but given the amount of doubt that Cordero's going to be able to pitch much in '09, he'd have to be a multi-year project, and that's not what the Mets need right now this instant.
Jimbo (British Columbia): Hi, Christina... always enjoy your take on things. Do you think Denard Span is for real? His minor league numbers pale in comparison to what he did for the Twins in 08. Did he learn something or was it just luck?
Christina Kahrl: Channeling "Barton Fink," I guess I get that Alex Cole feeling where Span's 2008 is concerned. Not that there's anything wrong with a great first impression, and the boost to his walk rate suggests a developing approach. Never count out the fact that players are people, and have learning curves at work, just like you and me.
Shane (Miami): How likely is that the Orioles move Ramon Hernandez this off season and do you think that they will hand over the reigns to Matt Wieters out of Spring Training?
Christina Kahrl: While I'm not sure I'd just hand the job to Wieters, there's certainly no time like the present to move Hernandez; waiting for Wieters to just win the job and holding onto Hernandez lowers your number of suitors because the catcher-less teams will have resolved their catching situations one way or another by April. Put it this way: the Red Sox probably won't still need Ramon Hernandez in March, but they could use him now.
Dave (Chicago): I think in the past you've said Beane's worst trade was dealing Bonderman to the Tigers. Given that he has seemingly regressed since 2006, and the absolutely negligible value they got for Tim Hudson (Marlins just claimed Dan Meyer, hence what sparked the question), do you still believe the Bonderman deal was worse?
Christina Kahrl: Which part of this is more bittersweet, that there are potentially multiple answers, or that to take the contra, I have to "root" for Bonderman to bounce back and make the A's look worse? It makes for a list not unlike the worse parts of Brad Pitt's career--there's plenty of reason for regret to go around.
Travis (Vancouver): Will AJ Burnett ever develop into a legitimate ace like Halladay or Peavy, or has he peaked as a number 2 starter?
Christina Kahrl: I think WYSIWYG... I just don't harbor any expectation that there's this undiscovered consistency gene that will suddenly go un-latest and let Burnett transmogrify into an ace.
ssteadman (St. Louis, MO): Christina, how do you think the White Sox infield shakes out over the next two years? Clearly Cabrera wouldn't re-sign even if he were offered the market rate, so does Alexei shift over to Shortstop until Beckham is ready (hopefully 2010?), or do they re-sign Uribe to a deal similar to the one year he just finished? Also, are Getz and Fields good enough fielders, or would the two of them with Paulie and Alexei be something out of a cheap horror movie?
Christina Kahrl: I sort of hit this note as well in today's TA. I like giving Getz a crack; the real dilemma to my way of thinking is what to do as far as signing a backup infielder who probably ought to be able to play short in case it turns out that Ramirez really can't.
josher464 (NYC): Doesn't it make more sense for the Mets to trade Fernando Martinez than keep him? The window for this team is NOW and by the time he would be ready it seems like the window would be closed. Isn't this a rare case where it's better to trade the future for today?
Christina Kahrl: I can accept that argument, but the real problem then is what is it you want to get with Fernando Martinez? Huston Street? That's a waste of resources; better to just burn money and sign K-Rod if that's your play.
Bucco Bob (Pitt, PA): What can the Bucs expect in trade for Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez? Would LA deal for Hu for JW for example, or are we looking at AA/AAA prospects in a teams top 10 for each? And would it be better to wait until the trade deadline, or now, to deal these type players?
Christina Kahrl: If Neal Huntington could get Hu for Wilson, that would be nothing short of superb for the Pirates. I really don't know how much of a market there is for Sanchez; whether you consider him a weak-hitting third baseman or a weak-fielding second baseman, he's really only a patch, and people might keep tripping over the batting title when it comes to expectations of his valuation. Can he be useful? Of course, sort of like Casey Blake as a patch at any of the four corners, and if you're in win-now mode. But that narrows the field of candidates considerably.
John (SF): How do you see the A's outfield situation shaking out next year? Even with Emil Brown finally gone, they have a surplus of players and no clear-cut options between Sweeney, Buck, Gonzalez, Cunningham, Denorfia, Murton, Patterson and Raj Davis. Carrying more than four of those guys on the 25-man seems a bit superfluous with Cust still on board.
Christina Kahrl: Well, in the immortal words of "Sesame Street," some of these things are not like the others. I just don't have any expectations of Sweeney ever developing power, and Denorfia and Murton and Davis are all just filler. The A's apparently still harbor a willingness to see Patterson as a sometime second baseman, which makes a huge difference in his value. I think this really boils down to Buck, Gonzalez, and Cunningham, with the other guys mixing in only as long as elements of that trio are injured and/or unready.
Matt (UW): Do you agree with the Brewers decision to pick up Mike Cameron's $10 million option for this season? He was exactly what they expected but he is slowing down in the OF and is going to be 36. Putting up that kind of money on a team that needs SP badly with a relatively smaller budget just doesn't seem very sound.
Christina Kahrl: Yeah, I have to agree, Matt, this wasn't really the best investment given the team's more significant needs in other areas. If this team doesn't address its holes in the rotation, they're also-rans, and I'd rather they found a third baseman than keep winging it.
x (Y): Better farm right now -- A's or Rangers?
Christina Kahrl: I guess that's a grass/greener question, but speaking as an A's fan who likes what we've got, I nevertheless find myself envying the Rangers much of what they have.
erghammer (DC): You're Theo. How do you make this team better? Assume that all of the non-traditional methods are already being covered (eg, digging up another reliable but totally unknown middle reliever like Okajima). Do you break the bank for Teixiera? Do you agree that they need sticks more than they need arms?
Christina Kahrl: There's certainly a lot of risk to be found from the four corners/DH situation once you move past Youkilis and Bay, and they're pretty clearly stuck with Drew (and probably shrink from anything involving Papi in another uni). That feeds into the talk of dealing Lowell, which makes a goodly amount of sense if and only if you gun for Teixeira or a mid-career premium player at first or third (exploiting Youk's positional flexibility). You may well end up taking a loss on the Lowell deal to move him out of the way, but I really think the team needs another lefty power bat. Random goofy idea: if the Brewers get serious about any of those Prince Fielder rumors, the Sox *must* become a part of that conversation.
Aaron (YYZ): Where do you think Mat Gamel ultimately ends up playing in the Majors? Trade Cameron for a 3B or SP and go with Braun/Hart/Gamel in the OF? Trade Fielder and put Gamel at 1B? Suffer the horrible defence at 3B? Trade Gamel for 3B or SP and let someone else make the decision?
Christina Kahrl: I just don't think Gamel can handle third convincingly enough long enough to be tolerated at the big-league level; there just isn't enough Maalox in the world. A Gamel/Hart/Braun outfield would give life to way too many flying things (much as I enjoy the spectacle of seeing Hart in center, it doesn't really work), and Fielder would have to fetch you top-shelf pitching talent *and* perhaps that third baseman to be remotely tolerable, setting aside whether you replace him with Gamel. Gamel to somebody else for a starting pitcher or starting third baseman is sort of like all the talk about Billy Butler: you're limited to the DH-league teams, because everyone's aware of the unglovely downside that goes with these cats and their limitations as fielders.
Rob (Alaska): Was the Rickie Weeks/Ray Durham platoon a good idea? Do you think they'll do the same in 2009? Now that Cameron is in the fold, the option to move Rickie to CF is gone.
Christina Kahrl: OK, I know, it's a bit of a run on Brewers questions, but I'll deal with this one now too... yes, it was, but I've never been sold on Weeks' ability to stick at second. Picking up Cameron's option makes sense if you can deal him (for young, under-control pitching, perhaps), but I think the charade of calling Weeks a second baseman needs to come to an end if the Brewers really want to turn the corner.
dfisher9 (Philly): Phillies LF next year; Burrell? Manny (yeah right)? Rumors around here are Baldelli as a RH in a platoon with Jenkins/Stairs. I would think that counting on Rocco as anything but a 4th outfielder is asking for trouble with nobody else on the roster that can fill that part of the platoon.
Christina Kahrl: I love the Wonder Hamster, but no way do I count on him as a starting left fielder. You may be stuck with Jenkins, but acquiring Baldelli would make for a nice Werth-like play with upside, in that the right-handed half of the proposition might outgrow the platoon, making Jenkins sort of the Steve DeBerg of corner outfielders or something.
niketour2 (Raleigh, NC): Christina,
Love the chat(s) and work. Daniel Bard - possibility for the pen next year? Delcarmen does nothing to impress me...can he set up Papelbon with the occasional save as soon as next year?
Christina Kahrl: Thank you, niketour... maybe, as far as Bard, but I wouldn't sell Delcarmen short.
ericturner29 (CHicago): Tribe 09 : contending year, or retooling year?
Christina Kahrl: That's the fun thing about the AL Central in a nutshell, isn't it? Four contenders and a purportedly improving Royals franchise. I think the Tribe has a shot, but that's because their bid is a lot like this year's was a year ago: fragile, but plausible. The Indians could do all sorts of things this winter, but they may still be the single most unpredictable team in the industry, capable of anywhere from 72 to 92 wins.
Mike (Utica,NY): Do you think a Billy Butler for Jonathan Sanchez trade would be good for both teams?
Christina Kahrl: Not at all. Billy Butler can't DH in the National League more than a couple of series.
Alone Again (Naturally): How long until Michael Young gets moved to another position? And where do you think he should end up, when he does move?
Christina Kahrl: For the Rangers, he's locked in at short as long as Ian Kinsler's his teammate, and I can't see a move to any other position than second base.
J.P. (Hartford): On F-Mart, let's say he's three years away from being a viable major league regular/ low-end star. Whose going to keep the Mets from competing in three years? Delgado? Beltran if he ages poorly? Wright and Reyes will both be 28. Santana will be 33. Maine and Pelfrey, though not sure things to develop further, will still be in their twenties. Sure you trade F-Mart is the value is there, and I would have swung him for Holliday or as part of a Manny package (not convinced he's a future star anyway) but the nucleus is still reasonably young.
Christina Kahrl: Well, the Mets did exercise the option on Delgado last Friday, so they're stuck there. The problem is this: how many areas do they have left to address? They could use a starting catcher, but Omar got his guy, and they get to choke on him for another year yet. They're stuck with Luis Castillo at the price Omar paid for him. They could use an established corner outfielder--like Holliday--or maybe a starting pitcher, and that's talent of the type you might use F-Mart to fetch, but dealing him for a reliever isn't just overkill, it's giving up too much to acquire the most unpredictable commodity in the industry.
Cox813 (Jersey): How hard will Atlanta go after Peavy? How hard SHOULD they pursue him? Do they consider any of their young guys untouchable? Also, does Francoeur have any trade value?
Christina Kahrl: If I'm the Braves, I chase hard, because they should want him, and they have enough depth in their system to make the Padres an offer. As for Frenchy, I'm as studiously uncertain what comes next as everyone else; I doubt you can get value for him right now, and shopping him aggressively now might well be taken as a sign that you think he's cooked.
Fine Man (Ottawa, Canada):
What happened to Jeremy Hermida? He looked like he was going to fulfill his potential during the second half of 2007, then blah in 2008.
Christina Kahrl: He's certainly not helping any of us resolve the stats/scouts argument over whether or not he had as much upside as his performance record suggested, is he? At this point, he's more Kevin Maas than Ben Grieve, and the fact that both halves of that proposition are a bit of a downer, it's beginning to look like some of us were oversold on those big walk totals in the minors.
mattymatty (Philly): Speak of, How is the '09 Prospectus coming along? I can't wait to read it.
Christina Kahrl: Chapters are assigned, people are doing their homework, and I'm looking forward to some of the back of the book pieces. In some ways it's just part of the change of the seasons for some of us any more, although I think this year I may actually sneak in some active participation in Christmas with the family for the first time in a long time.
dianagramr (NYC): Luis Castillo for Mike Cameron ... allows Weeks to move to CF, gives the Mets another couple of years to find a corner OF ...
(of course, we have to figure out if Daniel Murphy can hack it at 2B this Winter)
Christina Kahrl: Good point, Diane, except that Cameron's not really an asset in a corner. I was sort of counting on Murphy/Tatis to man one corner, and then no rely too heavily on Ryan Church. Obviously, position-relative value-wise, Murphy might make a lovely hitter for a second baseman, but for every Jeff Kent who actually transcended low expectations for his defense, you've got a legion of guys whose glove work doesn't hack it. Castillo might be the lesser evil the Mets just have to endure because, like Schneider, he was more valuable to Omar Minaya than he is to several billion other people.
gmchugh (Seattle,Wa): What are your thoughts on Jamie Moyer and should the Phillies re-sign him? He is quoted as saying he'll be back what's he worth?
Christina Kahrl: On some level, Moyer's almost like the crafty lefty variant on Tim Wakefield--if you can get him for an affordable package that lets you write him in as your fourth starter, he's an asset. If he wants a three-year deal at market rates, wish him well.
Playwright22 (Baltimore): Assuming the Orioles would match the high bidders (a big assumption, I know), do you think the geographical connections would lead either or Both of A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira to sign with the O's? Or is their status as an also-ran to much to overcome?
Christina Kahrl: I guess I look at any sentient adult's chances of signing with the Orioles, and I'd ask what they were smoking, or if they just needed the money. The latter is an entirely justifiable motive, but if you were a premium free agent who could punch your ticket to any destination in the majors, why would you pick the AL East's definitive also-ran?
smitty25039 (Charleston): Do you expect Aaron Harang to return to his normal 2005-2007 form next season?
Christina Kahrl: As much as I wish I could be optimistic because Harang's fun to watch when he's on, the Gap's no friend to pitching, and playing for Dusty Baker hardly helps matters any.
Silv (NYC): Thanks for chatting, Christina! Questions on the Peavy to the Dodgers chatter: (i) the whole concept of a divisional 'premium' that is being bandied is ludicrous, no? "We're charging you more because it'll embarass us to have to lose to our own player." Really?; (ii) Kershaw and/or McDonald for a ticking arm like Peavy, plus a giant monetary cost? Um, no?
Christina Kahrl: Never a problem, Silv, I enjoy this at least as much and probably more than you do. ;) If I'm the Padres, damned straight I tax the Dodgers, because they could use Peavy, and because as your second clause suggests, they're one of the teams with the best good bag to fish from.
Rob (Brighton): If you were the Rays GM (Freedman?), how would you approach this offseason? Would you sit on the farm system and let things hatch, or would you be looking to make a few to deals to put the club over the top?
Christina Kahrl: I'd be thinking about fixing my right-field problem, but beyond that, I'd be exploring making room for David Price in the rotation by re-adding Edwin Jackson to the bullpen mix to see if he isn't your eventual closer. Which is sort of like letting things hatch, but after finding a right fielder, there's not a whole lot else that needs going out and doing by going outside the organization.
Ben (Dallas): So the discussions of Mike Young moving to 3rd by the local media are just a smokescreen?
Christina Kahrl: No, they're just ill-considered, but if the Rangers choose to go that way, let's just say that I'm glad they're in my team's division.
Christina Kahrl: With that, I really should scoot. I have the A's (Joe Dillon!) and Jays moves to add into today's TA to complete that article, and there's tomorrow's announcement of the first half of the IBAs to look forward to. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and the questions, and until the next time around, enjoy the offseason.