Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

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Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:40 am

Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?


One person thinks so. Via Dan Connolly:


But this season, perhaps more than ever, fans should clearly see the immense difference between the mediocre but evenly matched National League and the top-heavy but talent-laden AL.

In fact, the logjam of quality AL teams might be the most interesting story to monitor as spring training begins. Are they as good as they look on paper?

We'll find out, but they sure look impressive now.

One baseball executive recently ranked the majors' best teams, and his top five was, in order, the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees - all AL clubs.

He paused for a moment and then added the Seattle Mariners as No. 6 with a bullet after their acquisition of former Orioles ace Erik Bedard.

Three weeks ago, you read something like this here too:

It's an interesting thought: That the teams who Yankees might have to worry about this season are the Indians and Mariners (in a fight for the Wildcard). This assumes that the Red Sox, Tigers and Angels will be as good as people say they will be in 2008.

So, who do you think are the best six teams in the A.L. this season, and, how would you rank them?

hT - Steve Lombardi of Waswatching.com


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:51 am

Wang's long-term proposal rebuffed
Right-hander only unsigned Yankee entering camp


TAMPA, Fla. -- Chien-Ming Wang is a Yankee. He'd like to keep it that way, too, for a long time to come.

The Yankees agree, though they're willing to wait on the details. As Wang's arbitration hearing nears, the team's most successful starter over the past two seasons admitted on Tuesday that contract talks haven't gone in quite the direction he had hoped.

Wang asked for a long-term deal. The Yankees told him it's "not the time."

"I want to [work out a long-term contract]," Wang said after working out at the team's Minor League complex in Tampa before admitting that the Yankees have led him to dismiss that hope.

The team's reasoning, according to Wang, was that it's difficult for pitchers to stay healthy, so there's little incentive to sign a young starter to a long-term deal.

Especially not one like Wang, who won't be a free agent until 2011. With no competition for his services for another four seasons, the Yankees don't have much reason to lock him up with a long-term deal. Waiting may cost them some money if Wang continues to improve, but it also effectively voids the risk of injury.

Still, the Yankees seemed to set a precedent last week by signing second baseman Robinson Cano to a four-year deal instead of heading to arbitration. In reality, that may have simply been an exception.

And so Wang, who has won 38 games over the past two seasons, will likely head to an arbitration hearing on Thursday. He's asked for $4.6 million this season, while the club countered with an offer of $4 million. Either way, he's set to make substantially more than the $489,500 he earned last season, and he could yet settle at some point in between. History has shown that teams generally avoid arbitration cases with their players when the difference in salary figures is that minimal.

Wang, for his part, said he "hopefully" can work out a deal with the team before Thursday.

All those numbers and figures represent perhaps the only uncertainty surrounding Wang this spring. He's been the one rock for a pitching staff that has struggled with consistency, and now must anchor a rotation that's set to include some combination of youngsters Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy.

Wang's regular-season resume says he's ready for the challenge, but some October struggles -- he posted a 19.06 ERA in two starts against the Indians -- have provided evidence to the contrary.

Wang attributed those woes to nothing more than fatigue.

"I was tired," Wang said, "and my arm dropped down."

Now he hopes he can hoist it back up -- for good. Wang reported to Spring Training early -- pitchers and catchers aren't scheduled to be in Tampa until Thursday -- after spending two weeks working out in Arizona. Regardless of what happens with his contract in the future, right now, Wang remains as critical to the Yankees as anyone.

And he knows as well as anyone that if the wins continue to come, the money is sure to follow.


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:56 am

The Clemens restoration project


We don't even have to get to the circus that will remind us why Congress has a 22 percent approval rating. This is where we are: The voices the public is listening to are Jose Canseco, John Rocker, Brian McNamee and Kirk Radomski.

Through his designer shades, Canseco saw how much money the players, owners, agents and enablers were making in the steroids era, and he questioned why he shouldn't be making his buck his way. But once Roger Clemens and McNamee are finished in the halls where the Voting Rights Act once was framed, Canseco is going to seem like Madeline Albright.

We don't know why McNamee would lie about Clemens and not about Andy Pettitte or Chuck Knoblauch, or why Rep. Tom Davis would say Pettitte corroborated McNamee's testimony. We don't know why Clemens would risk jail and his legacy by risking perjury, or, for that matter, why he kept McNamee in his employ all those years.

Theoretically, we will learn all that in time. And we will learn whether Rusty Hardin can prove there is a conspiracy against Clemens. Hardin is doing what he is paid to do. The late Edward Bennett Williams might have been the most charismatic, fascinating man I have ever met, and he defended Joseph McCarthy, Jimmy Hoffa, John Connally, Frank Costello …

But even if Hardin wins Clemens' case, can he ever restore Roger to his past posture? Will The Rocket do the coin flip before a Texas-Oklahoma game and flip the "hook 'em Horns" sign to the crowd? Will he ever play in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am?

What has bubbled to the forefront since the Clemens -- er, Mitchell -- report was released is the vitriol directed at Clemens. Oh, the way he has defended himself has not helped, with the bluster and the fire and the "I could give a rat's ass about [the Hall of Fame]." Hardin has made it worse by essentially threatening Rep. Henry Waxman and IRS agent Jeff Novitsky.

Clemens is a good guy who worked as hard as anyone in the game, who truly enjoyed working with the Houston Astros' minor leaguers, who savored every moment playing with his son, Koby. Now he has been made into a villain.

If you read the New York papers every day, you would believe the media hates Clemens. Some appear to be consumed by him. They remember his retirement and the ovation the Florida Marlins gave him during the 2003 World Series, his resurrection in Houston, then his return for what supposedly was a higher average annual salary than Alex Rodriguez's, which made greatness seem mercenary. There are daily reminders of him beaning Mike Piazza and buzzing Alex Rios.

They feel the same way in New England. Clemens did like it there. During the 1999 playoffs, he spoke nostalgically of his drives down the Massachusetts Turnpike. In spring training 1997, privately, Debbie Clemens actually broke down and wept discussing selling their house west of Boston. But people remember that in spring training 1987, Clemens, as the MVP, was allowed to skirt the salary rules after walking out of training camp, because Peter Ueberroth forced Red Sox owner Haywood Sullivan to give in to Randy Hendricks, Roger's agent. They remember Hendricks laughed at Boston ownership in his news conference in Toronto.

In Houston, where Clemens should live out his life as a Texas legend, he is remembered by too many as the loyal Houstonian who went back to the Yankees for the annual average value, or AAV, which might mean that years from now, to expand on a very funny line, Clemens' stat lines might be DNA, AAV and ERA.

Barry Bonds wasn't the only one, yet he has honors, riches, glory, fame and nothing much more than a warehouse to show them off. This seems to be where Clemens is headed unless Hardin can break McNamee down into a Perry Mason-esque confession if the defamation suit ever goes to trial.

Getting Clemens off might not be enough, but Hardin might be good enough to accomplish anything. Williams once represented a high-profile client whose case seemed hopeless and brought in Billy Graham as a character witness. "When one of the jurors said, 'Amen,'" Williams recounted, "I knew I [could get] the son of a bitch off."

Maybe Hardin can pull that off. And maybe Bonds, separately, will end up being judged innocent of perjury. But what will Clemens and Bonds have five years from now for all their hard work and greatness?

Perhaps that is the lesson: No matter what mountain you climb, if you break the law while scaling the peak, it can come back to roll you down the side of the mountain on your behind. If kids look at Bonds and Clemens and ask, "What did 762 home runs and 354 wins get them?" George Mitchell will have accomplished something, as inherently unfair as it might be to those two men.

Canseco has been right about a lot. Rocker is right when he laughs that only about 80 names were thrown into the media feeding pool through the Mitchell report. McNamee and Radomski have been granted more public credibility than one of the greatest position players and one of the greatest pitchers.

The sight of Clemens' public execution this past month has been stark, so stark that one wonders what he will ever get back. One wonders if the fighting is worth it if all it does is bring out the anger and distaste of a public that should love this guy, whom Jeff Bagwell affectionally called "the biggest, goofiest kid in America."


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:59 am

Too Tempting To Pass Up?

Draft class could help convince teams to bypass slotting


The strength of the draft varies from year to year. The 2005 draft, the best this decade, featured an outstanding group of high school outfielders and multitooled college position players. In 2006, college pitchers stood out among a weak crop. Last year, prepsters outclassed the college talent, especially with everyday players.

Scouts are enthused about the 2008 draft, which will begin on June 5 with the Rays making the first pick, because of the diverse talent available. The consensus is that there are more quality college bats—not in terms of athleticism but just sheer offensive firepower—than in any year in recent memory.

Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak and Miami first baseman Yonder Alonso headline that group. Alvarez is the consensus No. 1 overall prospect entering the season, while Smoak and Alonso project as the first first basemen to go in the top 10 picks since the Brewers drafted Prince Fielder seventh overall in 2002.

"There are more college hitters than normal, and that's been an absolute void the last few years," an American League front-office executive said. "There's good depth in college pitching—not a lot of tremendously high ceilings, but depth. And there always are good high school guys if you're willing to take them."

Four players clearly stand above the rest at this point: Alvarez, San Diego lefthander Brian Matusz, Missouri righthander Aaron Crow and Griffin (Ga.) High shortstop Tim Beckham. Alvarez is the best hitter for both power and average in the draft. Matusz is a tall, lean southpaw who could have three plus pitches, while Crow is a more compact righty with a deadly fastball-slider combination. None of the three should require much time in the minors.

Beckham is a five-tool athlete and sticks out even more because there's no comparable player in the college ranks. Holt High (Wentzville, Mo.) righthander Tim Melville has separated himself from the rest of the high school pitchers with his plus fastball, projectable body and advanced feel for his secondary pitches and command.

Slotting Could Crumble

MLB has recommended specific bonuses for every pick in the first five rounds since 2000, and last year it tried to exert more control than ever. Believing that improved compensation for unsigned picks and a universal signing deadline would give teams more leverage, MLB reduced the slots by 10 percent across the board. But in the end, a slew of well-above-slot deals were struck shortly before the Aug. 15 deadline.

The Nationals, Orioles, Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees aggressively went over slot, either for singular talents (such as the Orioles giving Matt Wieters a $6 million bonus that is the largest up-front payment in draft history) or for multiple players.

That didn't sit well with the clubs that adhered to slotting, especially after they received assurances from MLB throughout the summer that no teams were going to ignore the guidelines. A month later, Frank Coonelly, whose job as MLB's senior vice president of labor relations included being the watchdog for draft bonuses, took over as Pirates president and announced his team would go over slot as needed.

Clubs also have noticed that the Red Sox and Yankees have used their deep pockets to build two of the game's deepest farm systems. With dissatisfaction growing, several scouting directors predict the slotting recommendation system will fall apart this year.

"You look at some of these teams toeing the line, like the Pirates and the Astros, and their general managers and scouting directors are getting fired," another AL club official said. "Frank Coonelly comes into Pittsburgh and says he's going to take the best available player. More and more organizations are going to break from the pack and call their bluff."

Will Rays Take Alvarez?

Other early storylines for the 2008 draft include:

• The Rays are the first team to own the No. 1 overall pick in consecutive years. (Before 2005, the first selection in each draft alternated between the two leagues). Though Alvarez is the consensus best prospect, Tampa Bay already has a blue-chip third baseman in Evan Longoria, the No. 3 choice in 2006. Teams at the top of the draft usually adhere to a philosophy of taking the best player regardless of position, but Alvarez isn't light years ahead of Matusz, Crow and Melville, all of whom could be more tempting to the Rays.

• If Tampa Bay does select Alvarez, Vanderbilt will become the first school ever to produce consecutive No. 1 picks. A year ago, the Rays opted for Commodores lefty David Price.

• Two clubs with dismal major league outlooks, flagging farm systems and new scouting directors have top-five picks that are crucial to their futures. The Pirates (Greg Smith) choose at No. 2 a year after alienating their fans by passing on Wieters' price tag at No. 4. In year one of their post-Barry Bonds era, the Giants (John Barr) will select fifth.

• For the second straight year, ESPN will provide television coverage of the first round of the draft


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:09 am

Where are all those Yankees haters who wanted them to give up their Wsfor "cheating"..Let's take away some of those Redsox and Patriots Yankee World Series wins while Roger the liar was pitching for them..How does that sound Boston Sports fans..Good to go...Two faces.. Harrison use Hgh.. *2004 Redsox -*David Ortiz


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:54 pm

I would say same thing about Pedro. How about Pedro Roid rage Mike when He threw Old Man Don Zimmer on the ground during playoffs? Hmmmm.... He keeps hitting Yankees batters left and right... anger or steroid


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:41 pm


Jason (Atlanta): Kennedy's ceiling is...?

SportsNation Jim Callis: No. 3 starter.


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:42 pm

Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis


Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, Baseball America's Jim Callis will chat it up with SportsNation. Ask any question and he will try to answer - big leaguers, prospects, draft picks ... anything goes!

Send your questions now and join Jim on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!

Baseball America Archives: Chats

SportsNation Jim Callis: Hello, everyone. I'm not watching the circus going on in Washington right now, and I'm going to focus on other subjects today. And we're off . . .

Dennis, Bellingham, MA: Good afternoon Jim, Love the chats. I was wondering , where would college pitchers Brian Matusz, Aron Crow or Kyle Gibson rank in the top 100 prospects if there were eligible? Are they viewed upon as similar to Bucholz or Kershaw or lesser?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Speaking of our Top 100, we're finalizing that for our current issue and it should be up on our website by the end of next week. As for the question, I'd have to put them behind guys like Clay Buchholz and Clayton Kershaw, who have had a lot of success in pro ball, which is clearly a cut above college ball. Buchholz and Kershaw have superior stuff, too. Right now, Matusz and Crow (the top two pitchers in this draft) would come in around No. 50 for me. Gibson has yet to spend a full season as a college starter, so while I like him a lot, I wouldn't put him on the Top 100.

Erik (Dalton, GA): Jim, what do you make of Josh Smoker at this point and what is his ceiling?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I really like Josh Smoker. The only reason the Nationals were able to grab him as low as No. 31 last June was he slumped right before the draft. But he's a lefty with plus stuff and an idea of what he's doing--I could see him being a No. 2 starter if it all works out.

Jordan Rosario (North Carolina): I know is early but could you rank the best Catchers, at least 3, and where could they go in the draft?

SportsNation Jim Callis: It's never too early to talk about the draft, and in fact the Early Draft Preview issue is in the mail right now and a lot of the features are on our website. The top two catchers are California high schooler Kyle Skipworth and Florida State's Buster Posey (in that order), both of whom are first-rounders. After that, there's a dropoff. The third-best catcher is Florida high schooler Adrian Nieto.

Cesar Cabral, NJ: Question 100 about the top 100. When is it coming out? The book already came out. Your individual top 50s have been published. What's left before we get the top 100s? I'm DYING.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Hang in there, Cesar. As I mentioned in the intro, it's coming soon. I'm actually holding the all-but-final version in my hand right now . . . Give me one player, and I'll tell you where he ranks. But that's the only one I'll reveal today!

StevenJ (CHI): Jim, Cubs and Brian Roberts, will it get done soon? Who opens the season in CF? Thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: Who knows when it comes to the Orioles and Peter Angelos? The latest version I heard would send Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno to Baltimore, and that deal makes sense for both clubs. Chicago's CF job is Felix Pie's to lose right now.

Graden (Seattle): Can you give your thoughts on Carlos Truifel? Projection and how far away?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I like Triunfel, but I think it's easy to get overexcited about him right now. He's very young and he hit for average in low Class A last year, but that's the only offensive tool he showed. He still has a long way to go in the power department (and with OBP), and that will matter because he's going to have to play third base. No way he sticks at shortstop.

Ben (Centerville, OH): Who is the Reds long term 3rd baseman after 2009, Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, Brandon Waring, Neftali Soto, or Chris Valaika?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'm going to say Todd Frazier. Ben always asks about 10-12 interesting Reds questions each week. We'll give him another . . .

Ben (Centerville, OH): The rumor is that the Reds are after A's pitcher Joe Blanton but the price is Homer Bailey, Josh Roenicke, and a Low A PTBNL, is Blanton worth it? I don't think so...

SportsNation Jim Callis: I wouldn't do that if I were Cincinnati. Bailey has a chance to be much more valuable and he costs a lot less.

Joe (Chico, CA): Which team did the best in getting value back for a pitcher: O's for Bedard, A's for Haren, or Twins for Santana? Thanks


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Re: Yanks 5th Best Team In A.L.?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:43 pm

SportsNation Jim Callis: Considering how long those pitchers will be under control and what they will cost, I'll say the O's for Bedard.

Pat (Coney Island): In the current issue of Baseball America there is an article talking about how the new college start date is changing the way teams scout. My question is do you think that the new start date is a good thing? Do you see MLB pushing back the draft to allow for teams to scout the college players more?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I don't think the new start date is going to have much of an effect on leveling the playing field in college. MLB wouldn't mind pushing the draft back and you may see that in the near future. As long as they keep it in June, they aren't altering any draft rules.

Kenny (Fresno): What's your opinion, and those of some scouts you may talk to, about the proliferation of the year-round teams that a lot of kids start playing on when they are 12 or younger? If a guy who is overworked in college or the minors is an injury risk, isn't the risk of injury or burnout increased exponentially if a kid has been playing 45 weeks out of the year since he was 12?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Definitely. That's why a lot of times the pitchers who jump out as the best at ages 12-14 don't wind up becoming major league stars.

Chang (CTU Custody): Ahh, Mr. Bauer! I was not able to stop you, but it looks as though the Writers Guild of America has ruined your season. How does it feel Mr. Bauer?

SportsNation Jim Callis: It feels like 2009 is the most likely time for 24's return. Alas.

Jack (Chicago): Follow up on Joe's quetion, which of those SP brought back the best player that was not the centerpiece of the deal? Best secondary player in those deals?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I think the perception is that Adam Jones, Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez are the centerpieces. In which case, Brett Anderson (part of the Haren deal) is the best secondary piece in any of those packages.

George (Athens): Who is the best player in the SEC excluding Vandy and South Carolina?

SportsNation Jim Callis: From a draft standpoint this year, Mississippi righthander Cody Satterwhite, just ahead of Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham and another Rebels righthander, Lance Lynn. Don't forget about Kentucky righty Scott Green, either.

Ron (Jax): Who is the best high school player in the state of Florida?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'll take Eric Hosmer, a 1B from American Heritage HS in Plantation, Fla. He's the most devastating high school bat in this draft.

Kevin (KCMO): I know guys like Gordon and Delmon *underachieved,* relatively speaking, in 2007. But both showed improvement post AS break, and have track records of success at every level. Their 2007 performance is more of rule for rookies, compared to Braun's season as the exception. Thus, their long term potential shouldn't be affected by a rookie year, yes?


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SportsNation Jim Callis: I agree on all counts.

Post  RedMagma on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:43 pm

SportsNation Jim Callis: I agree on all counts.

Kip (Boston, MA): Jim, thanks for talking with us. I'm interested in the dearth of left handed pitching in the Yankees system. Are left handers over valued in the draft so the yankees are picking righties? With the advantages that left handed pitchers have at Yankee Stadium I would think they would try to get a few solid lefties.

SportsNation Jim Callis: These things just run in cycles . . . I don't think there's any trend here or any philosophy or development shortcoming at work.

Ryan (PA): To follow that up, who do you like better? Jones, Gonzalez or Gomez?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Adam Jones, easily.

Bobby (Upper Saddle River, NJ): I've been hearing a lot about Yankee prospect George Kontos as of late... Is he worth all the hype (beleive it was Baseball America that called him the "Yankees' Secret")? What do you see from him this year? Does he have the potential to be in the same class as Joba, Hughes, Ian and Horne?

SportsNation Jim Callis: He has a good arm but has had inconsistent success. I think the Yankees would be happy if he turned in a solid year in Double-A this year. I'd put him with Horne, potentially, but not with the other three.

Cesar Cabral (NJ): top 100 list dying man's request. Steven Wayne Pearce, Jr. Pittsburgh Pirates

SportsNation Jim Callis: Of course this could be an impostor, but I'll trust this is the real Cesar Cabral . . . Steve Pearce is . . . No. 89.

Bobby (Detroit, MI): "Give me one player, and I'll tell you where he ranks. But that's the only one I'll reveal today!" Okay Jim, where does Porcello rank?

SportsNation Jim Callis: That was only for Cesar!

Ed (Warminster, PA): Hey Mr. Callis. I always hear the words command and control thrown out when discussing a pitcher. What exactly is the difference between the two? Thank you.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Control is the ability to throw strikes (or not walk people). Command is the ability to locate pitches more precisely within the strike zone. Someone with good control but iffy command won't give up walks but will get hit.

Odie (Portland): I ask this question every week, Jim! How do you rank Lincecum, Cain, and Billingsley for next year? Five years from now, how would you rank them (tossing Kershaw into the mix as well)?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Really a tossup . . . Billingsley will win the most games in 2008 because his team is much better. In terms of pure effectiveness, I'd go Lincecum, Billingsley, Cain. Five years from now, still a toss up, keep that same order but Kershaw in there at No. 2. And don't get me wrong--I really like Matt Cain, too.

George (West Hempstead, NY): Hi Jim. If you had a choice, which one of these vastly different SS prospects would want as your long term solution at SS, Oscar Tejada, Tim Beckham or Brandon Hicks?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Tim Beckham. I think he has the best change to stay at shortstop and provide quality offense. Great question, George.

Gray (Chicago): Jim, do you blame the Angels at all for their handling of Brandon Wood? Twice last season they called him up to sit on the bench for 10 games...that must have affected his timing and numbers last year. I think he gets a bad rap.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Me too. He has stagnated a little bit, and the Angels deserve a lot of the blame for that.

Mike (San Diego): What are the odds that Longoria actually starts the season at third for the Rays?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'd be surprised if he doesn't.

Jack (Toronto): Can Carlos Marmol be the type of reliever Francisco Rodriguez is? Similar ceiling?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Yes, that's fair.

Jon (Tulsa, OK): Where do you see Lillibridge long term? Escobar and K. Johnson seem to block him in the middle IF, and Schafer will likely block him in CF by next year. Is he most likely trade bait?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I don't think Escobar is a lock to keep the SS job--he played over his head last year. He and Lillibridge are different types of players but have comparable overall value.

Fred (Farmingdale,NY): Jim, Is it unreasonable to expect 30 wins this year between Hughes and Kennedy? Or are there just too many factors to make that seem very improbable (such as young pitcher injuries, inconsistencies, and limited innings)?

SportsNation Jim Callis: VERY unreasonable. Hughes isn't a rookie, technically, but he's essentially in his first full year as a big leaguer. Not many rookies win 15 games, and to have everything go right for two on the same club is a longshot, even if they're both talented.

Steve (NYC): Where does Brandon Moss fit in the Red Sox plans?

SportsNation Jim Callis: He doesn't, really. There's no place for him to play in RF, LF, 1B or DH, so he's going to be a backup or trade bait. He's no superstar, but he could hit .270 with 20 HR for someone.

Paul (San Francisco): Jim, I've read a few pieces suggesting that the vast majority of teams are planning to go above slot, as opposed to the 3-5 who have historically. Do you agree with this? If so, will it mean the traditional 3-5 over-slot teams won't have much access to talent?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I wouldn't say vast majority -- that would be at least 20, right? And I doubt that many teams have made a definite decision about it now. But after seeing that the rule changes gave the teams no extra leverage--I'll toot my own horn here and remind them that I called that as soon as the rules changed, it wasn't hard to see--more clubs are frustrated than ever. But it's one thing for scouting directors to be frustrated and wish they can spend money, and another for owners to give them the go-ahead (especially after more lobbying from MLB). My guess? You won't see the vast majority breaking slot, but I think we'll see 10 or so clubs being aggressive about it.

Rick (NYC): What exacly does one mean by #2 starter for a pitcher's ceiling - are we talking league average # 2 starter, #2 starter on a playoff team, Glavine to Maddux's ace?

SportsNation Jim Callis: The second, No. 2 starter on a good team.

Adam (NYC): Where do you see Ethan Martin being taken in the draft? Has his stock dropped at all since his AFLAC performance, or is he still a 1st round talent?

SportsNation Jim Callis: More of a sandwich round guy right now, but he could play his way up the charts.

Norman (NY): Over under 90 HR's between Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Under. I think Braun is going to be merely good and not spectacular this year.

Tim (Long Island, NY): Jim, Did you win the good fight on Moustakas in your roundtable for the top 100? Or did the other guys give you hell on ranking him #6?

SportsNation Jim Callis: On further review, I moved him down one spot on my list to No. 7. John Manuel's Greek heritage precluded him from giving me a hard time. I was the high man on Moustakas--and even I don't think he'll stick at shortstop, but I love the bat--but everyone agreed he has huge potential. He'll make our Top 20.

Jon (Elkhart, IN): If you were with the Cubs would you rather keep Sean Gallagher or Sean Marshall? )Or neither if he helps bring a significant player?)

SportsNation Jim Callis: Gallagher, but I'd give him up for a significant player.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): Based on the top 4-5 prospects on each team from your handbook, what team's top 4-5 would you take?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Devil Rays: Evan Longoria, David Price, Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Reid Brignac.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Get those lightning-round questions ready. We're headed there in a moment . . .

Rob (DC): So just checking the Padres have two potentially quality gloves coming up this year that can play third. Kouz's bat is great, defense not so much, yet they're shifting those guys to the outfield and keep Kooz at third. Crazy right?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Well, not really. Headley is more decent/solid than a quality defender at third base, and Antonelli, the best athlete of the three, may not have true third-base power. It comes down to the fact that Kouzmanoff would be a potential disaster in the outfield, and Antonelli is a good enough athlete to play more challenging positions.

Kyle (KC): Who was a better prospect once upon a time: Ryan Shealy or Justin Huber? Can you believe Huber has never gotten a real shot in the show?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Huber. And considering he's on the Royals, can't really believe it either.

SportsNation Jim Callis: OK, let's head to the lightning round.

Ben (Leland Grove, IL): Moustakas or Beckham?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Moustakas.

Chris (Madison, WI): Re: Going Above Slot...Doesn't this pose a problem for small market teams? Obviously, the 5-10 extra million they spend now above slot helps them short term, but doesn't it hurt these teams long term when draft talent becomes proportionally expensive to free agent talent because more and more teams start doing it?

SportsNation Jim Callis: It's a lot easier to compete for draft talent, which is a LOT cheaper than free agent talent. And the current system isn't doing anything for small-revenue teams, who often spend most of their budget on a very high first-rounder and then get little out of the rest of the draft.

Jay (DC): Better upside of two rookie-ball pitchers -- Matt Latos or Jordan Walden?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Walden.

Zac (UT): Joey Votto or Daric Barton?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Votto.

Lucas (Detroit): Most likely to start at 3B in the All-Star game: Miguel Cabrera or A-Rod?

SportsNation Jim Callis: A-Rod is a lock . . . he still plays for the Yankees, right?

Ben (Leland Grove, IL): Matusz or Kershaw?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Kershaw.

Arin (ca): Long term who will be beter: LaRoche, Villalona, or Vitters

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'll go out on a limb and say Villalona.

Dennis (San Diego): Villalona: 1B or 3B?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Probably 1B though.


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