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Chat: Daniel Rathman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 04, 2012 2:00 PM ET chat session with Daniel Rathman.


Catch up on all the latest Winter Meetings week rumors with "Rumor Roundup" writer Daniel Rathman.

Daniel Rathman: Hey, everyone! Lots to talk about with the Winter Meetings underway. Let's get this thing started ...

Ignacio (chicago): how do you keep track of all the rumors? this stuff makes my head spin!

Daniel Rathman: Good afternoon, Ignacio. Right now, the "Favorite" button on Twitter is my best friend.

Alex (Anaheim): Are the Yankees moving in on a catcher?

Daniel Rathman: Thanks for the question, Alex. I don't think the Yankees are in a big rush to add a catcher, considering their payroll constraints for 2014. If they don't acquire one via trade, I think you'll see a lot of Austin Romine next year.

Chopper (Indy): Daniel, any truth to the thought that Kinsler may move to 1B so Profar can play at 2B in Arlington? Do you think the Cardinals have a shot at Scutaro? Thanks!

Daniel Rathman: One at a time, Chopper!

Starting with Kinsler -that buzz surfaced yesterday, and it's an indication that the Rangers are considering every option to get Profar into their lineup if he earns that job out of spring training. Moving Kinsler to first is a bit tricky, because it leaves Mitch Moreland without a home and blocks Mike Olt, but either of those two could be traded to make it possible. So, yes, I'd say the thought is true, but it's probably not Plan A or B.

The Cardinals met with Scutaro yesterday, so they are certainly in the mix. However, Hank Schulman (a Giants beat writer for the SF Chronicle), tweeted earlier this morning that Scutaro will give the Giants an opportunity to beat any offer: http://sulia.com/channel/san-francisco-giants/f/4c2ca6e3-9ca0-4c48-80a2-6c7e9db46040/?source=twitter

John Carter (Toronto (Tigers fan originally from the New York a): So, Detroit's looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Dirks. . . assuming that resigning Delmon I-don't-want-to-DH Young is out of the question, who is available? Do they have any depth anywhere for trading?

Daniel Rathman: Glad to see you in the queue again, John Carter.

Jon Morosi reported (and then retracted) yesterday that the Tigers had a two-year offer out to Scott Hairston, and while that report proved inaccurate, I think Hairston could be a fit there. Cody Ross is another possibility, though his price would need to come down if he's going to serve in a platoon role, and they could also consider Andruw Jones or Matt Diaz.

In terms of pieces the Tigers could trade, Brennan Boesch and Andrew Oliver were mentioned yesterday by CBS Sports' Danny Knobler: https://twitter.com/DKnobler/status/275663979584552962.

John (Kansas City): Which minor league prospect do you feel has similar stuff, K%, BB%, GB% to Kris Medlen of the Braves? Clayton Blackburn? Thanks for the chat!

Daniel Rathman: Hey, John. Professor Parks and the minor-league gang probably have a better read on this stuff, but if you're looking for raw peripherals, Blackburn does seem to fit the bill. Two others to keep an eye on: Rangers RHP Cody Buckel, who found a groove late after struggling initially in Double-A, and Padres LHP Robert Erlin.

cal guy (cal): Taijuan Walker's name has been popping up in trade rumors for Myers, Upton, etc. Is he really that good of a prospect or is he being overrated due to some favorable write ups by prospect pundits?

Daniel Rathman: What's up, cal guy. I haven't seen Taijuan Walker personally, but (as you mentioned) everything I've read does point to tremendous upside if he can improve his command and become more consistent. He's the caliber of prospect who could headline a deal for Upton, though purely from a fit standpoint, the Diamondbacks seem to have a greater need for position player prospects than pitchers.

Steve G. (Athens, OH): What else is going on with the Rays? Are the negotiations with Washington for Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa for Jeremy Hellickson still a possibility?

Daniel Rathman: They were as of last night, Steve G., so I think that something along those lines remains a possibility. Talks might heat up if/when the Nationals find common ground with Adam LaRoche.

There are a bunch of questions about the Rays, namely Hellickson and Shields, in the queue, so I'll use this as a sort of catchall answer. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman wrote this morning that with Zack Greinke representing the only elite free agent starting pitcher, and with the bidding on Greinke reportedly sky-high, the Rays are increasingly tempted to cash in on one of their starters. I don't think Tampa Bay will move Price, but at this point, either Hellickson or Shields seems a good bet to go. If nothing comes to fruition with the Nats, another possibility might be a deal with the Twins for Josh Willingham, though it's not yet clear if Minnesota is inclined to move him.

Daniel (NY): Does Kubel get traded? where does he end up?

Daniel Rathman: Hey, Daniel. It sounds like talks involving Kubel are heating up, so there's a good chance he's moved. Keep an eye on East Coast teams -the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees in the AL and the Phillies in the AL -as possible destinations.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Are the Yankees looking for stopgaps or real solutions in the infield? The commitment to avoiding the luxury tax is going to force them into some compromises, so what corners are going to be cut?

Daniel Rathman: Thanks for the question, Cris E. Based on Cashman's comments yesterday, his current targets are stopgaps, because he's hopeful that Alex Rodriguez will be able to return to third base when he's healthy. The other considerations are, as you mentioned, the luxury-tax cap of $189 million, and the looming extension talks with Robinson Cano. For those reasons, as well as the nature of the job with the Yankees, where the player they sign could start as the full-time 3B and then be asked to transition into a utility role, I think you're much more likely to see someone inked to a one-year deal.

CoachFish35 (SoCal): Is there any chance San Francisco looks to Jeff Keppinger to fill the hole at 2B if they are unable to re-sign Marco Scutaro?

Daniel Rathman: A lot of Marco Scutaro- and Jeff Keppinger-related questions in the queue, so I'll kill all of those birds with CoachFish35's stone. As I said earlier in the chat, I think the Giants will end up re-signing Scutaro, but I'm not sure about Keppinger as a fallback. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this morning that the Yankees are in hot pursuit of Keppinger, and I think he fits better in a platoon/utility role than as an everyday second baseman.

One name to keep an eye on as an alternative for the Giants is Hiroyuki Nakajima. The SF Chronicle' John Shea tweeted yesterday that the Giants are in contact with his representatives in case Scutaro heads elsewhere: https://twitter.com/JohnSheaHey/status/275761688098271232.

Ben (Here): Thoughts on the Nats now that they have Span and (probably) Haren?

Daniel Rathman: I liked the Nats before they added Span and Haren, Ben, so I can only like them more now. At this point, it's hard to not see them as the favorites to repeat in the NL East, and if I were making my predictions right now, I'd probably pick them to win the pennant.

Clarence Eldridge (New York, NY): Do you see Ichiro staying in NY? Do you think Scott Hairston fits as a platoon partner for him or another LHB with the Yankees?

Daniel Rathman: I hear people really stuff themselves on those cruise ships, Eldridge.

I do think Ichiro ends up staying in New York, and Hairston has been mentioned as a possible platoon partner. That said, if Hairston insists on a two-year deal, then the Yankees might first look at other options to avoid committing to him for 2014.

LanceR (Plano, TX): With all the hub-bub about rumors this, rumors that at the Winter Meetings so far. As far as the Orioles are concerned - do you think they actually walk away with anyone significant when it's all said and done?

Daniel Rathman: Thanks for stopping by, Lance R.

After the breakout year in 2012, I think Dan Duquette is motivated to reinforce his roster, so I do expect the Orioles to make a significant addition at some point this offseason. They are in on several 1B/OF types right now, including both Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse, and the outcome there obviously depends on what the Nationals are able to do with LaRoche.

lnodolf (Fillmore,CA): Where does Jenry Mejia fit in the Mets rotation? What kind of ceiling does he have?

Daniel Rathman: lnodolf, reports yesterday indicated that the Mets are working on trade possibilities with both R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese, so they appear committed to finding a spot for Mejia to try his luck in the rotation. Mejia needs to find more consistency with his offspeed stuff to improve his strikeout rate, so while he may have a mid-rotation ceiling, he's a back-end starter at best right now. Given that he's only 23, it's worth a try for the Mets, but if he's unable to make those strides with his breaking stuff, Mejia's future is probably in the bullpen.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Are folks at the Meetings talking about the Los Angeles TV contract? Are other regional networks expected to pony up in the next five years or is this the last huge deal as sports leagues price themselves out of basic cable packages?

Daniel Rathman: Back to Cris E -I'm typing this from my living room in San Francisco, so I'd hit up one of the BP-ers at the Opryland via Twitter to see if there's any TV contract buzz in the hotel lobby.

GJones20 (Boston): If the Red Sox were to sign Shane Victorino, where do you think Cody Ross ends up?

Daniel Rathman: Pulling from a slew of Ross-related reports from the last few days, GJones 20, apart from the Red Sox, the Braves, Giants, Phillies, Tigers, and Yankees have been mentioned as possible destinations. Outside of Fenway Park, he probably fits better in a platoon role, and out of that bunch, the Phillies are the only team that I could see considering Ross for an everyday job. If his price tag comes down to something more commensurate with a part-time gig, then the list of possible destinations could expand further.

Bill (New Mexico): Do you attach any credence to the rumor that the Indians are asking an arm and a leg (specifically, Lance Lynn's and Joe Kelly's arms, and Matt Adams' gynormous legs along with the rest of him) of St. Louis for Asdrubal Cabrera? That would be an Adams-sized overpay, wouldn't it?

Daniel Rathman: Nice one, Bill -and the asking price for Cabrera at this point does seem exorbitant. Paul Hoynes from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer characterized it as "three to four players," at least two of whom are likely to be top prospects. Cabrera is a reliable, two-win player signed for $16.5 million through 2014, so it's understandable that Chris Antonetti doesn't want to give him away. But given his iffy defense at shortstop, and the other options at 2B and 3B, unless teams get desperate (and I don't think the Cardinals are), that demand is unlikely to be met.

Bill (New Mexico): Do you attach any credence to the rumor that the Indians are asking an arm and a leg (specifically, Lance Lynn's and Joe Kelly's arms, and Matt Adams' gynormous legs along with the rest of him) of St. Louis for Asdrubal Cabrera? That would be an Adams-sized overpay, wouldn't it?

Daniel Rathman: Nice one, Bill -and the asking price for Cabrera at this point does seem exorbitant. Paul Hoynes from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer characterized it as "three to four players," at least two of whom are likely to be top prospects. Cabrera is a reliable, two-win player signed for $16.5 million through 2014, so it's understandable that Chris Antonetti doesn't want to give him away. But given his iffy defense at shortstop, and the other options at 2B and 3B, unless teams get desperate (and I don't think the Cardinals are), that demand is unlikely to be met.

Daniel F (NY): Can you explain why Chase Headley wasnt taken in the first round? The guy was an all state two sport athlete in high school, in college he broke Todd Helton's record for walks in a season at the U of Tennessee. Do GM's not understand that although not one of the five tools a good eye at the plate, i.e, drawing walks is a key component to a truly great and complete player?

Daniel Rathman: Headley certainly had outstanding credentials, Daniel F, but one possible concern at the time was his injury history. He had knee surgery during his sophomore year at Tennessee, and that may have dimmed his otherwise soaring draft stock. I'm sure that plenty of GMs and draft decision-makers regret passing on him now.

comish4lif (A Secure DoD Facility): I doubt that having added Harent that the Nats would be interested in trading for Shields or Hellickson. Just my 2.

Daniel Rathman: That's a good point, comish4lif, and it may throw a wrench into talks with the Rays. That said, Ross Detwiler was essentially a replacement-level pitcher last year, according to our metrics (0.1 WARP), and if the Nats can upgrade that spot in the rotation without losing a key piece of their 2013 puzzle, I think they would consider it.

Daniel (NY): Do you believe KC would be crazy to trade Myers in a deal for Dickey since Dickey wont turn them into contenders by himself?

Daniel Rathman: Daniel, I would think twice ... maybe three times before including Wil Myers in any deal, and especially one for a 38-year-old pitcher (Dickey's Cy Young performance in 2012 notwithstanding). Myers has a chance to be a perennial All-Star, and the potential gap between him and the alternatives in right field could negate any gains in the rotation.

Eric (Kansas City): Thanks for the chat Daniel! Please rank the following SS in terms of potential fantasy offensive upside: Profar, Baez, Russell, Lindor, Story, and Bogaerts. Thanks for the response!

Daniel Rathman: Hey, Eric. I'd shoot this question over to Professor Parks or one of the prospect guys, but in the meantime, I'll give you my less-informed rankings. I'd have them as Profar, Bogaerts, Lindor, Story, Russell, Baez, factoring in both their likelihood of staying at SS, and their current level/success in the minors.

twinsfan29 (Nashville): Who do you see the Twins targeting as far starting pitchers?

Daniel Rathman: You're much closer to all the buzz than I am, twinsfan29!

Jerry Crasnick from ESPN heard yesterday that they're in on Joe Blanton, who would fit well at Target Field. He also mentioned the recently non-tendered Mike Pelfrey and John Lannan here: https://twitter.com/jcrasnick/status/275711755441823744. Last week, the Twins were tied to Brett Myers, who could transition back from the bullpen. If they turn to the trade market, some of the Rays starters could be in play.

SecondHandStore (Sheboygan, WI): Brewers really need to sign a starter this winter. If they can't afford a guy like Dempster or even a Brandon McCarthy, how do you think Francisco Liriano stacks up to the rest of the buy-low guys? Any idea what his contract might look like?

Daniel Rathman: Liriano is an intriguing possibility on a short-term deal, SecondHandStore, but I'm growing increasingly skeptical of his ability to regain his 2010 form. I could see him attempting to rebuild value on a one-year contract for somewhere in the $5-8 million range, and the Brewers - along with the Royals and Twins - are possible destinations.

Paul (St. Louis): Early predictions: which Starting Pitchers do you feel make for some good fantasy sleepers next year? Thanks for the chat.

Daniel Rathman: You're welcome, Paul; thank you for stopping by. I'll toss a few names out there off the top of my head: Chris Archer (if he lands a spot in the Rays rotation), Brett Anderson, Mike Minor, and Homer Bailey.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Houston is looking for a DH, but this year everyone plays interleague all the time. Are NL teams starting to make adjustments to carry a DH-like guy year round? Any idea how else this might affect roster construction in the NL?

Daniel Rathman: I fielded a question similar to this one in my last chat, Cris E, but I'll rehash that answer here. The big thing to remember is that while interleague play will now be happening year-round, each team is still only playing 18 interleague games. That's just one-ninth of the season, and regardless of the timing, it seems imprudent for NL teams to alter their offseason plans based purely on the scheduling change.

Paul (DC): If the Dodgers sign Ryu Hyun-Jin, how much does he pitch in Chavez Ravine this year?

Daniel Rathman: Paul, I can't imagine the Dodgers signing Ryu and then not using him, so if they reach a deal before the Sunday deadline, he'll be given an opportunity to earn and keep a spot in the rotation. That's one reason, by the way, to expect the Greinke market to develop over the next few days. The Dodgers won't let Ryu stand in the way of signing Greinke, but if they land both, Ned Colletti will be working the phones with his other starters immediately after he comes home from Nashville.

cal guy (cal): If the Giants sign Scoots, do you think they are done, or might they still go for a LF?

Daniel Rathman: John Shea mentioned yesterday that a platoon LF remains on Sabean's wish list, and given the state of the Giants' bench at the end of last season, I'm not surprised. Shea's tweet (https://twitter.com/JohnSheaHey/status/275758927357042688) said that the need could be addressed with a minor-league free agent, and he heard that the Giants are close to a deal with one. Let the speculation begin!

fish filet (SF): Do you think Marco Scutaro ends up resigning with the Giants?

Daniel Rathman: I'll use this to provide an update from Scutaro, courtesy of Buster Olney: https://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN/status/276054769880145920. He reiterated that the Giants are still the favorites, and if the bidding has in fact reached three years, $24 million, I'd expect a decision to come soon.

Daniel Rathman: Lots of great questions today. Thanks to everyone for making this fun. I'm looking forward to chatting with y'all again soon!

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