With the Winter Meetings about to begin, you'll want to ask what could happen of the man on the beat, John Perrotto.
John Perrotto: Hi everyone. The winter meetings start Monday morning in Indianapolis and the Baseball Prospectus staff will be out in full force. So let's talk a little ball in advance of the conclave in Indy.
Mark (New York): John, always enjoyed your Pirate coverage. At the #2 spot in the Rule 5 Draft, who, or what, do you think the Pirates will target? A lefty pitcher (Lofgren) to hide in the pen? Who are some of the top candidates in this year's Rule 5?
John Perrotto: I think one of two players, either Lofgren or Yankees right-hander Kevin Whelan (who Greg Smith drafted when he was the Tigers' scouting director). Thanks for the nice words about my coverage.
paulbellows (Calgary): Best player traded this offseason in the non-Halladay division will be ___?
John Perrotto: Dan Uggla.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): As much I don't regularly watch sports center or listen to much sports radio, I am still at least a little surprised at how few rumored deals are on the interwebs and airwaves for Roy Halladay. Is the market for him just stalled? I keep hearing that the Jays want this or that, but I haven't heard anything about packages they've been offered.
John Perrotto: I don't know if there have any definitive offers made to the Jays this winter for Halladay. I would say things will really heat up next week in Indy with everyone together at the same time. As far as lack of trade rumors, I'd disagree. My friend Tim Dierkes has started a cottage industry at mlbtraderumors.com.
paulbellows (Calgary): The team to spend the most on free agents this offseason will be ___?
John Perrotto: the Red Sox but no one is going to come close to the Yankees' $423.5-million spree of last winter.
db11cn (Talbott, Tennessee): Your thoughts on the Cubs' trade with the A's?
John Perrotto: I like it for the A's. Jake Fox is the perfect DH.
Matt (Chicago): Assuming a trade for Granderson doesn't happen, what are the Cubs' viable remaining options for another starting outfielder?
John Perrotto: Granderson is definitely the guy they want. I keep hearing Marlon Byrd in conjunction with the Cubs as a fallback free-agent option.
MarkakisFan (Baltimore): Honestly, what are the chances Andy MacPhail and the Orioles have to make some noise this offseason like they've promised? With thier payroll almost cut in half from last year (currently $46 mil?), it would be a complete failure for them not to be one of most active teams in both the FA market and trade market.
John Perrotto: I think they'll got some help but what hurts a team like the Orioles is that they have lost for so long and are still so far from contention that a lot of veterans don't want to step into that situation unless you overpay them.
dianagramr (NYC): Hi John ... thanks for the chat.
Wisdom would have the Mets taking 2010 to re-tool their roster and re-stock their farm system, perhaps by dealing Beltran and other useful parts. But given the almighty race for the back pages of the newspapers, they'll probably make some short-sighted mistakes again.
How would YOU fix the Mets?
John Perrotto: I would start rebuilding the Mets but, as you say, it's not an easy thing to do in New York. Short of spending about $250 million on free agents this winter, I don't think the Mets have any other recourse but to retrench and take their lumps for a couple of years.
scoutingu (Pittsburgh): KDKA - will we see you there next year? The Pittsburgh Pirates brand is taking a significant hit nearly every week lately. Will this force their hand to spend more on free agents than they may have planned to? Best guess - where does Doumit land?
John Perrotto: KDKA sounds like a good thing to me. I think they have my number. I really think Neal Huntington and company will stick their guns and continue on with the youth movement rather than sign a bunch of free agents. My feeling is that Doumit stays as the Pirates would be selling low on him at the moment considering he was hurt and had a bad year in 2009.
Kyle Reese (The Future): How realistic is it that the Dodgers will have to shed salary in the wake of the McCourt fiasco? Who would be candidates to be fire-saled, in your opinion?
John Perrotto: That's a great question and nobody really knows the answer because Frank McCourt isn't making himself available to the media. If they do go into firesale mode, I'm sure they'd love to offload Pierre, Manny and Blake but I don't think there would be a big market for any of them.
Steven Strasbourg (NatsLand): Does your crystal ball project me pitching in meaningful late season games...
a) in 2012
b) in 2013
c) only after being dealt to the Halladay division
John Perrotto: Steven, you've gotta learn how to spell your last name. Surely, San Diego State is a better instituation of higher learning than that. I'd say A. I really don't think the Nationals are nearly as far away as their 59-103 record of last season would indicate.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Think Uggla will stick at 2B for his new team? Are you predicting he'll be a Giant?
John Perrotto: It all depends on where he lands because a lot of teams would probably move him to third base. The Giants are a possibility but I still believe their big free-agent signing will be Nick Johnson.
Aaron (YYZ): Any thoughts on how special of a 2009 season Asdrubal Cabrera and Elvis Andrus had as very young shortstops with good-great defense and solid offense?
John Perrotto: I think Cabrera is a little ahead of Andrus at this point but that Andrus will have the better career. I like both of them a lot.
Rob (Alaska): Do you see Figgins re-signing with the Angels? If they keep him, who makes an offer for Brandon Wood?
John Perrotto: I think Figgins will wind up with the Angels when it's all said and done. In many ways, he's the most important of all their free agents. I think a number of teams would be interested in Wood.
Beth Gibbons (UK): How's the Members Only jacket doing lately?
John Perrotto: It's not a Members Only jacket. It just looks like a Members Only jacket. LOL.
John Perrotto: Well, that was short and sweet. Thanks for the questions and keep checking the site for all the news and views from Indy next week.