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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 03, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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Ask R.J. about transactions past, present, and future.

R.J. Anderson: Hey folks, busy day. Let's get going.

David (Montreal): Thoughts on the Marlins-Jays trade one year later?

R.J. Anderson: Looks better for the Marlins and worse for the Blue Jays than it did at the time.

Miami freed up payroll and didn't have to deal with disappointing seasons from Bonifacio, Buck, and Johnson while netting a few interesting prospects. We'll see what Dan Jennings does this winter and throughout the season, but the young core is there to make a run sometime in the next two or three years. That's turning into a sneakily fun team to watch most nights.

Just about everything that could go wrong with Toronto's side did go wrong. Even Reyes missed considerable time due to injuries. I suppose the good news is Buehrle wasn't overwhelmed by the American League East, so the Blue Jays might have gotten two useful players out of the deal.

Cal Guy (Cali): R.J., David Price will be a top _____ starting pitcher in 2014.

R.J. Anderson: Depends on the measure but I feel comfortable saying top-12 overall. I'm not too worried about his velocity because his game is really about command; he doesn't just throw it by guys, there's nuance involved. Of course the bigger question is where he lands, as the industry vibe is that it's a matter of when, not if, he gets traded this winter.

Greg (San Francisco): Which deal do you like better -- the Giants' 2-year/$23 million deal for Tim Hudson or the A's 2-year/$22 million deal for Scott Kazmir? Sub-question, is getting Kazmir at this price better than whatever cost it would have taken to sign Bartolo Colon?

R.J. Anderson: I prefer the Hudson deal. I just trust him more. Kazmir has a great story and I have fond memories of his golden days, but his injury history concerns me more than Hudson's broken ankle does. Plus, I'm not sold that Kazmir is as good as his second-half numbers suggest, or that we should put a ton of emphasis on them—after all, Bruce Chen had a lower OPS-against than Kazmir did, and nobody wants to give him a two-year deal. I view him as more of a no. 4 type, which is fine. I just prefer Hudson's relative safeness.

It depends on what Colon wants. If the money was comparable then I might prefer Colon. But if he wanted 3/45 or something out there like that, well ...

Cal Guy (Cali): Hi R.J., Do you see any possible non-tendered players to serve as a right-handed hitting platoon partner for Gregor Blanco?

R.J. Anderson: Assuming we're not doing anything crazy, like making Justin Turner change positions, then no I don't.

Tyler (OKC): Will there ever be a Julian Asante wiki leak style event to happen in baseball?

R.J. Anderson: Deadspin got hold of some financial documents a few years ago. That might be the closest thing. I'm not sure what else could leak that would create a frenzy.

Travie (Gym Class): What's one move (trade, FA, whatever) you'd like to see happen?

R.J. Anderson: Hm. I've had Cincy signing Stephen Drew stuck in my head this morning. I guess that'll do.

Cal Guy (Cali): Hey R.J., Mas or No Mas (Tanaka)? If "Si" who do you see landing him?

R.J. Anderson: I assume Tanaka will be posted at some point. Everyone involved benefits from it, so there's no reason to delay this another year. The Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, and so on are obvious guesses. I do wonder if the Angels might get involved. They might not have the budget room, but he'd give them the most upside without costing a draft pick.

Eric (Indiana): Where would Jose Abreu rank on a top 100 prospect list today?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not the right guy to ask about the prospect ranking portion of this question. (In fact, I'm not sure I would rank him because he's technically a professional player.) That being said, there are some serious question marks about Abreu's game and how it'll translate to the majors. Obviously you can't ignore that four or five teams were high on the guy, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's closer to average than excellent.

EdTheRevelator (Cleveland): Dave Dombrowski knows something we don't, right? He seemed to sell low on Fister, then turns around and signs Joe Nathan. He's still smarter than us, we just can't see why yet, right?

R.J. Anderson: Dombrowski is smarter than me, I know that much. The return on Fister feels a little light, but I'm not ready to throw Dombrowski down the well over the Nathan signing. We all know teams don't address their needs in chronological order or anything of that sort. I'd bet on them signing someone like Choo or Ellsbury in the coming weeks. Whether that makes their offseason as a whole a success or not is up for debate. I'm just willing to give him more than 24 hours to put his vision together.

Tim (NYC ): Baseball news happening late at night lately...what gives? Do I need to stay up until 1am to get all my daily news?

R.J. Anderson: I'd love for MLB to push the deadlines up to the daytime or early evening. There's no reason, so far as I can tell, that there needs to be a midnight deadline for any kind of player movement during the winter.

Courtney (New York): In hindsite, almost all of the teams in the league would have offered more than Washington for fister. How could this trade have happened?

R.J. Anderson: Presumably Dombrowski focused in on a set of players he liked. I don't have any special insight here, though. Maybe he did check around and the league doesn't value Fister as much as we do, or maybe he needed to make a move (for whatever reason) as soon as possible and couldn't take a hard negotiating stance. Lots of plausible scenarios but I don't know which one applies here.

Nathan (West Lafayette): I have the 2nd pick in an upcoming prospect draft. These are the best available guys: Bryant, Frazier, Appel, Abreu, Odor, Gray. How would you rank the guys in that list? I'm assuming Bryant goes #1 overall. If that's the case, who would you take. Thanks!

R.J. Anderson: Bryant if he's available. Otherwise, I'm not sure you can go too wrong any which way; each has their pros/cons.

Jake Haddock (Kansas): How is Wichita state looking this year?

R.J. Anderson: I assume they'll make the tournament. Long ways from March, however.

Hatfield (Best City, Florida): This Hanigan to the Rays news is still pretty fresh. We don't know much yet. Preliminary thoughts on his fit in Tampa Bay?

R.J. Anderson: Hanigan is a bit like Jose Molina, except younger and with more offensive upside. He should be a good fit and an upgrade over Jose Lobaton.

Chris (Phoenix): Do you predict any prospects getting trades this winter?

R.J. Anderson: Yes. Michael Choice.

Jay (Madison): Why did Billy B just spend $10 mil on an ok closer when he has only a modest payroll?

R.J. Anderson: It's a good question. I joked around on Twitter that the A's should continue the O's tradition of considering moving Johnson to the rotation. Shy of that, I guess Oakland wanted a sure thing in the back of the bullpen who allowed them to keep Cook and Doolittle away from high arbitration costs.

Eric (Atlanta): Will the O's go after a big-name free agent cause of the extra cap room they got by trading Johnson?

R.J. Anderson: It depends on who you consider a big-named free-agent—does Nelson Cruz count?

Jonah (Redwood): Archie Bradley or Jonathan Gray, and why?

R.J. Anderson: For fantasy purposes? Gray will be in the majors sooner, albeit in a worse park for pitchers. Can't go wrong either way.

Will (Baltimore): At best Jake Arrieta seems like s 5th starter. Seems destined to be in the bullpen even on a lousy team. Agree/Disagree?

R.J. Anderson: I do think he winds up in the bullpen. At the same time, I wonder if there's a physical or mental reason why the Orioles didn't move him there. Maybe he can't warm up quick enough, or can't handle the daily preparation or something. They did it with Matusz, after all.

Chris (Phoenix): Are there any prospects that are coming out of the short seasons international leagues that have yet to make their US debut that you are higher on than others?

R.J. Anderson: Nope. That's not an area I have a feel for.

gtliles82 (Charlotte): Choo lands in __________? Ellsbury lands in __________?

R.J. Anderson: Choo lands in Detroit. Ellsbury in Seattle. Or vice versa.

Chris (Phoenix): What kind of career can Brad Miller and Nick Franklin carve out and who ends up the better long term player?

R.J. Anderson: Franklin is still likely to have the better long-term career, likely as a solid second baseman. Miller can hit but it's hard to figure out where he'll stick defensively. You don't see too many bat-first utility infielders out there, yet that's what he tends to profiles as.

I will say Miller impressed me last season by thumping David Price a few times. Rare to see a young lefty hang in there like that against Price, let alone do damage.

bradleyankrom (nyny): Jokes about Chris Cotillo's age finally die in the year ____.

R.J. Anderson: Whenever the next 17-year-old boy wonder pops up.

Tyler (OKC): I meant more of like baseball operations secret-stats kind of leak, not financial leaks.

R.J. Anderson: Ah. Well, I suppose that's possible. You see NBA writers, Zach Lowe mainly, who cite team-only VU stats. I guess someone could tell a reporter/writer why they acquired a player using their esoteric stats but, at the same time, baseball seems more secretive about this stuff than other sports.

mblthd (PIT): Do you see any non-tendered players that might be worth a look as LHH platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez? Mat Gamel, maybe?

R.J. Anderson: Nope. Gamel is interesting, but health is a skill and he doesn't have it. I think the Pirates sign someone like James Loney.

Tim (St. Paul): Are the twins down on Pinto? Why all the Salty speculation or AJ before he signed? Could you see them going 3-4 years on a catcher, if so would they trade Pinto for Matt Capps like relief pitcher?

R.J. Anderson: I wouldn't say they're down on Pinto. His defense could use some extra seasoning in the minors—unless I'm misremembering, he seemed to block the umpire from pitches on the corners—and it's not like they couldn't use him in conjunction with Pierzynski or Saltalamacchia. He's a solid prospect and I think they realize that. I'd be surprised if he's traded.

izzy2112 (New York): Any logic behind a Jon Jay for Daniel Murphy trade?

R.J. Anderson: Not on St. Louis' part. They have Wong to slot in at second base.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Let's talk about the 2b market. Cano has to stay in NY, right? Is Brandon Phillips staying in CIN for 2014? Who needs a 2B that can handle him and has something to offer?

R.J. Anderson: If Cano landed elsewhere that would surprise me. We know the Royals and Marlins could use new second basemen, and perhaps the Orioles (depending on how they feel about Weeks, Schoop, and retaining Roberts). With Ellis and Infante out there, too, it's hard to see those teams—well, at least the Marlins—giving up too much for Phillips. Maybe the Braves decide they prefer BP to Uggla and La Stella?

Tim (Springfield): Can Tanner Roark get 60 innings in 2014? He kind of seems like the odd man out with Fister coming over.

R.J. Anderson: Certainly. Injuries happen. Doubleheaders happen. Whatever. Roark's best served as a sixth starter type anyway.

EdTheRevelator (Twitterland): nevermind, Oakland isn't the third team. But they did just trade Choice for Gentry.

R.J. Anderson: Looks like Arizona is the third team. Not only that, but Hanigan has an extension in hand.

Courtney (New York): Why are teams willing to pay Scott Kazmir $11m a year, but unwilling to part with upper-tiered prospects for Fister (a proven commodity with stats to back him up)?

R.J. Anderson: It could be an opportunity thing. Everyone knew Kazmir was available. Maybe not everyone knew Fister was.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): So are the Rays keeping Hanigan or is he going to be part of something else? Do they just not believe in Lobatan?

R.J. Anderson: All signs point toward keeping. Lobaton had a nice season (and penned a great ending to Game Three) but realistically he's a generic backup type.

Joe (Tacoma): Do you see the M's getting Kemp? What would the framework of the deal be?

R.J. Anderson: I would guess not, because that seems like it would be a complicated deal and those are tough to bet on. Maybe Seattle goes after another big-named guy on the move, albeit without the massive contract—think someone like Justin Upton last year.

Courtney (New York): Where does Engel Beltre end up at the end of this year?

R.J. Anderson: I figured he'd wind up with the Cubs during the season. I'll stick with that.

Scott (Lincolnshire): Why would the Cubs trade Shark for 75 cents on the dollar?

R.J. Anderson: Remember: It's only selling low if the player is likely to regain his prior levels.

cdgoldstein (DC): Who was the most interesting non-tendered player? As a follow up, are we making enough "tender" jokes on Twitter?

R.J. Anderson: Had to be a reliever. Axford, Belisario, or Webb. Justin Turner struck my fancy in a "cheap utility player" sense.

Travs Hound (Arkansas): If Oscar Taveras matures into the Cardinal's everyday RF, I would have think it would push Allen Craig to 1B. Therefore Matt Adams playing days may be numbered. Do you see this playing out any other way?

R.J. Anderson: No. I think Adams gets moved at some point. He seems to fit best in the AL, where that body could slide to DH for as long as the bat plays. Of course we're probably a year away from all this going down.

CyMature (Cooperstown Retirement Home): Liveliest fastball you ever saw? Some live fastballs in minors today? Thanks, man.

R.J. Anderson: Fernando Rodney is up there, in terms of movement and velocity. Taijuan Walker has one of the better minor league fastballs.

Kyle (Chicago): Jason Martinez has Alex Wood listed as the 5th starter. I can't see that sticking come March 31st. Thoughts on him as a starter vs bullpen guy.

R.J. Anderson: My guess is Wood is a reliever long-term. Maybe Atlanta uses him to start the season, but I wouldn't be surprised if they added a vet arm before spring.

Scott (LA): With only a handful of catching stars and many of the current crop looking at position changes in the not too distant future, which of the young catchers do you see stepping up to the elite? Do you think Wilson Ramos is in that conversation?

R.J. Anderson: Ramos is a good guess. Probably the best guess, actually. I don't think Welington Castillo will become elite, but I think people slept on how good he was last season.

comish4lif (High Above Rosslyn, VA): Thinking of a WikiLeaks level leak - I'd love to see the PDFs of Scott Bara's free agent and arbitration binders. Also - would love to see what stats and metrics the ex-BP guys, and other media analytics guys are acually producing. I am sure that there are all sorts of non-disclosure agreements preventing that. And given the small staffs, it'd be hard to get away with it.

R.J. Anderson: I think you can find some of the Boras material out there, actually. At least his A-Rod stuff.

EdTheRevelator (Cleveland): What is Billy Beane doing this offseason? Trading for closers, now in a 3-team deal?

R.J. Anderson: Providing us with a lot of content.

R.J. Anderson: Okay, folks. I've gotta run and help Sam Miller out with trade pieces. Hope it was worth your while. We'll do it again soon.


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