She's not wearing a brass hat, but BP Executive Editor Christina Kahrl's ready to talk brass tacks about transactions, rosters, this year's edition of the annual, and more.
Christina Kahrl: Howdy gang, sorry to be (predictably) late, but had to put the finishing touches on a brief bit of TA on the subject of Randy Winn. So, voila, let's talk some baseball!
dandaman (Sea Cliff): Christina,
When I met you 6 or 7 years ago you talked about how great a kid named Danny Haren would be. Seeing how right you were about him, who do you have love for these days? Thanks for the chat,
Christina Kahrl: Interesting question... you must have caught me in one of my brief bits of knowingness and wisdom. I'm pretty high on Brett Anderson, but that's not really all that bold. I like Ricky Romero more than many seem to; it seems as if people have overcorrected for his in-season correction after those first three starts. Matusz and Tillman seem too obvious.
Jake (San Francisco): Any idea why the A's were so cavalier about letting Desme go? Between the signing bonus, draft pick, and years of development he cost them it seems a little unfair for him to walk out now.
Christina Kahrl: What are you going to do, take a public position against organized religion? Question the importance of faith? Whatever your brand, or mine, or Desme's, dialing back from that and looking at it as a public position an organization might take, and that just seems like an automatic public-relations disaster. I hope Desme becomes a great priest. As an A's fan, I'm not happy to see him go, but as I pointed out in a TA comments segment, I admire the conviction.
Drew W (NoVA): What do you think of the job Mike Rizzo has done so far digging out from the Jim Bowden era in DC
Christina Kahrl: Hard to say so far, although I like some things well enough. It isn't like picking Stephen Strasburg was all that surprising, however much phony drama was invested in the "will they/won't they" buildup. I'm glad to see Ian Desmond taken seriously, but Danny Espinosa's already coming into the picture, making for a nice problem to have. Weeping over the "expense" of employing Pudge seems overstated, there seems to be something coherent about what they're doing with the pitching staff (unlike Bowden's 'try everything' approach). We'll see, but I'm hopeful, and there really wasn't anywhere to go but up.
ScottBehson (Nyack, NY): Hi CK-
I LOVE BP, but the censorship by certain readers on the comments sections of articles is getting out of hand. Any "dissenting post", even a harmless one like: "The As finished 22 out this year, 24 out last year and 18 out the year before." during a discussion of the success of the A's recent rebuilding gets voted down so it cannot be viewed. Is there anything BP can do about this?
Christina Kahrl: I'm throwing this out there in part to see what people say. I have a thick enough skin (despite moisturizer), but sometimes it seems as if people overreact to a post. That said, I find a lot of what gets said on the boards pretty stimulating and interesting, but that's a credit to a great audience.
Steve N (Delaware): Some folks seem to think that Everth Cabrera won't be particularly productive because of his lack of size. He's 5-9. 170. How does his size affect his future as a major leaguer?
Christina Kahrl: I don't buy it for a second, and I don't think his listed size is a handicap to his having a fine career. He's bigger than David Eckstein or Jody Reed or Mike Gallego.
dwiest12 (NoVA): The Cardinals signed Rich Hill--any chance Dave Duncan can get his career off life support?
Christina Kahrl: If anyone can and if his arm is sound, it's Duncan, and it isn't like Hill's that far removed from being a very good big-league pitcher. That said, questions about his arm and his head will have to be answered. I may have seemed overly flip in suggesting that he could be the Cards' third-best starter this year, but it was something of a poorly-put left-handed compliment, because Lohse has to come back and I'm not really wild about Brad Penny.
Akneeland (Arizona): Quick thoughts on the Thome signing to satisfy us before your next TA blog?
Christina Kahrl: I love it for the Twins, and I think it makes the AL Central that much more well-stocked with grudge matches since there are so many former White Sox knocking around the division.
efeder21 (new york): ronny cedeno or bobby crosby
Christina Kahrl: Cedeno, handily.
Bubba Brown (Roy, UT): I know it's ridiculously premature to ask this type of question when he hasn't even played an inning in the bigs, but will Jason Heyward win an MVP(s) during his career?
Christina Kahrl: Sure, it's ridiculously premature, but if you're going to pick anyone to win won over the next 15 years, there are thousands of worse choices than Heyward, and how many obvious better ones? Pujols and...
m1rch00 (Silver Spring, MD): With Capps and Bruney signed, when do Nats fans get to see Drew Storen as a closer candidate?
Christina Kahrl: July? Capps and Bruney might be signed, but they're also far from long-term answers or reliable commodities in themselves.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Why Randy Winn over re-signing Damon? Is Winn/Granderson that much of an upgrade over Damon/Cabrera-Gardner?
Christina Kahrl: I've just been informed that my TA on the topic's been set live on the site. ;)
Mike (MD): If you remove Garrett Atkins and replace him with Garko on a 1/3 mil deal, would that change your perspective on the O's offseason? Because outside of Atkins, I don't disagree with the other 3 moves (Tejada, Millwood and Gonzo). Stability without commitments past this year was the name of the game, yes?
Christina Kahrl: I'd like it better, but even there, I think expectations for Millwood are a bit overstated. Tejada fills a need adequately, and I didn't mind Gonzalez as an investment.
Matt (Chicago): How do you see the Cubs organization's short-term fortunes playing out as they continue to deleverage bad long-term/NTC deals while incorporating the fruits of their improving farm system?
Christina Kahrl: They've got a one- to two-year window with what they have, and they have to hope that nobody else turns into a 95-win team in the meantime. So far, the Cardinals' moves don't seem to put them there, and the Brewers aren't there yet (if they ever will). The Reds are interesting, but as an 85-win contender if these other three remain around that level. It's an interesting division, certainly, and the Cubs matter in it.
Neil (NJ): Did the Phils get more back then they paid for Lee?
Christina Kahrl: Sure, but so what?
JZirinsky (Washington, DC): Hi Christina! How's the dingo? OK, on to something more pressing: what did you think of the State of the Union speech last night?
Christina Kahrl: BP's best dog (take that, Goldstein) is doing exceptionally well, even if we both have to freeze during our outdoor playtime on the nearby diamonds. She's still adapting to having a cat in the house, since the recent addition of four or five pounds of feline ferocity has her wondering who decided to let a squirrel sleep indoors.
To be blunt, I skipped to SoU to attend a meeting of community organizers. Most SoU speeches seem decidedly uninteresting. "I'm doing good stuff, and with your help, I'll do more good stuff. My opponents on the [Right/Left] disagree, but isn't that always the case? They suck, we rock. I promise to do things, and I might do some of them. We are confronted by challenges, which are challenging."
Alex Gordon (KC): How close am I to becoming a bust?
Christina Kahrl: Not very. No, Gordon's going to be the new George Brett, but that doesn't mean he's not going to be a good player. The guy's coming up on his 26th birthday, and I figure he'll still give us something very much worth watching over the next four years.
tommy (Fremont): How do you feel, given the succession of events, about trading CarGo, Street, and Smith for Michael Taylor?
Christina Kahrl: A lot better about it than I did trading CarGo and two years of Street for Brett Wallace. Either way, Greg Smith's what, a party favor?
Leroy Brown (Downtown): Is Xavier Nady any kind of positive for the Cubs? Sad that adding a 4th outfielder is possibly the triumphant move of the off-season.
Christina Kahrl: That's if he can stay healthy, a big if, but at least he's potentially an upgrade on Reed Johnson. And the latter part... wasn't that what we could say about signing Marlon Byrd? I suppose there's the loudly trumpeted Pyrrhic victory of making Milton Bradley go away, but Carlos Silva's going to make people miss Al Nipper.
MJ (detroit): Who's better for the next 5 years - Matt Latos or Aroldis Chapman?
Christina Kahrl: Latos. But that's partially the park, partially Bud Black, and partially because I'm pretty noisy in my rejection of the brochure's promises made on behalf of every Cuban import. Some Cuban players wind up close to their predicted value, and 'some' is still in the minority compared to how many have disappointed those expectations.
Steve (Clearwater, FL): Getting back to the earlier question about comments being "censored" and voted down, I'd bet those comments get even more views than the "uncensored" ones. I don't know about you, but I can't help but click on the "display anyway" button to see what comments have been deemed so beyond the pale that they get voted down.
Christina Kahrl: Exactly right. I always look myself, in part to see what it is that someone said, but also to see the sometimes valuable rejoinders the 'bad' comments have elicited in response.
rentree (Pa): P.Alvarez or Posey - long term
Christina Kahrl: A tough call, but I'd go with Posey, but that's because I'm concerned about how soon Alvarez will be headed to first base.
Evan (Asheville): Where does Chad Tracy fit on the Cubs' roster. Who gets bumped if he make it out of Arizona? (assuming Hoffpauir is already in AAA)
Christina Kahrl: I touched on this yesterday in TA, but I doubt he makes the team given that he hasn't done much hitting against right-handers in the last couple of seasons. Never say never, of course, but if he's an unsluggy first baseman, he's not really an effective alternative to Hoffpauir.
Jim Lahey (Sunnyvale): Predictions for Colorado OF PT?
Christina Kahrl: Dexter Fowler doesn't lose that much playing time to CarGo, and Ryan Spilborghs keeps getting the short straw.
collins (greenville mn): How high you think MN ought to go to get O-Dawg for 2B? $7M? Or is there a better move for them to make?
Christina Kahrl: I like the idea quite a bit, especially for what it would mean for their pitching staff's ball-in-play tendencies. But I'm also dubious they'll take on the expense, even with, as Jeff E. noted today, a recent willingness to shell out a good-sized chunk of change for payroll.
MarinerDan (San Francisco): Is Jack Zduriencik everything he is cracked up to be?
Christina Kahrl: I think so. Creative thought plus an open mind to quality information from multiple sources? In an age when it seemed like paralysis by analysis seemed to rule the day, he's shown a remarkable ability to solve big problems without fear of consequences. That said, I'd wish for something better than Casey Kotchman at first base, but nobody's perfect.
warclub (Strongsville, OH): Are the Indians trying to finish behind the Royals this year? Wouldn't Washburn be a good fit for them assuming they stop acting like Scrooge?
Christina Kahrl: What do you get for fourth place? A life supply of Rice-a-Roni? It's a nice thing to give Jarrod Washburn seven large--if you're Jarrod Washburn. The Indians are behaving much like you might expect a team that knows its 2010 season isn't going to involve contention would, and some would say should.
dwiest12 (NoVA): Is this a make or break year for Gio Gonzalez?
Christina Kahrl: Given that, with the Sheets signing, the odds that he'll be spending a good chunk of the early going in Sacramento just became that much greater, I certainly don't think so.
Jquinton82 (NY): Brett Wallace is the next...?
Christina Kahrl: Better than Lyle Overbay, but not quite John Olerud.
A pretend GM (Indy): Christina,
How would you rank Rasmus, Fowler, and McCutchson for both next year and career? Do Escobar or Andrus hit enough to produce more than the CF crop?
Christina Kahrl: I'd go McCutchen, Rasmus, Fowler, but there's a big gap between the first and the other two; no, they won't, but I think Andrus is going to turn out better than some seem to expect.
Ron (Vancouver): Give me 5 reasons why I should buy BP2010?
Christina Kahrl: 1) It's bigger than ever before, with close to 2000 player comments.
2) It's a bargain for the price.
3) It features some outstanding contributions from writers old and new; props to Ken Funck, Matt Swartz, Eric Seidman, and Shawn Hoffman.
4) I told a few jokes, and believe I successfully avoided a reference to the Punic Wars.
5) It has an index.
Perhaps the other thing that should be stressed as the PECOTAs went live today (we wanted to get them to our loyal subscribers absolutely the first minute we could, while things like the PFM and depth charts are going to be ironed out in the days to come) is how much time was invested in them by the data team. We think you'll like what they've produced.
Benpav (Chicago): Talk to me about the Upton boys. What do you expect to see over the next three seasons? Any MVPs on the horizon?
Christina Kahrl: If one's to be won, it'll be by Justin, who has the park and the talent to put up a massive year or two in the next three. I expect a good rebound season from B.J.; the guy is only heading into his age-25 season after all, in what's considered the initial part of a classic hitter's peak.
Ben Affleck's Career (Gigli): How do you like the early days of AA in Toronto? Hope yet for the faithful?
Christina Kahrl: I think 'hope' is a strong word for an organization short on a ton of talent in house, but between a combination of rational handling of the situation and no longer having to operate from Ricciardi's self-dug hole in terms of his relationship with the fans and media, it's a worthwhile new beginning. To the credit of J.P. Ricciardi and the player-development staff, there are a number of worthwhile arms in the system. It's something.
Mike (Chicago): Just looking at the depth charts page, it seems that the total runs scored/runs allowed is much higher than last year. Any reason for that assumption?
Christina Kahrl: Yes, because the depth charts page hasn't been pared down yet in terms of reflecting projections of individual player's PT. Right now, what's up and useful are the individual projections for players in terms of what PECOTA's saying about their potential production.
BL (Bozeman): Any chance you'll drop a few hints about any non-annual BP book projects on the drawing board?
Christina Kahrl: The hint is that we'll be doing more on this front very soon. As in more books, and more book about baseball. Speaking only for myself, I relish the opportunity to do a BP-branded book project of my own, but that's not going to be out in 2010.
Brian (Tinley): Christina -
First off, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your work.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on how the White Sox fared on their roster moves this winter and last summer with Rios and Peavy? Do you think they have put themselves into contention to get into the playoffs and advance?
Christina Kahrl: Brian, thank you as well, I appreciate the sentiment. I'm left with feeling as if the White Sox' offseason is a thing not yet finished. I like the rotation quite a bit (Freddy Garcia may prove to be a bargain, while Peavy will be fine), and the pen's looking good as well (don't forget Jenks' commitment to conditioning, even after it lost its q rating to Villanueva's even bigger weight loss). I just don't like the DH situation, because Kotsay and Jones won't add enough value there, and they should have re-upped with Thome instead of keeping space open for a 12th pitcher they may not need given that rotation.
Mark (N.Y.): The asking of the Gordon question makes me want to ask about Andy LaRoche. Is he going to take the next step forward with the bat and do you think he'll be able to make the move to 2b, or be traded when Alvarez is brought up?
Christina Kahrl: I don't think LaRoche to second base is a realistic outcome. It's hard to know what's going to happen here, because LaRoche really looked like something special through his age-22 season, and even his age-23 season wasn't cause for alarm. Given that he's now heading into his age-26 season, I still haven't given up, but he's fallen into that David Bell/lesser Boone range of guys who are employable, but not necessarily much more than that. I figure it's Alvarez who may have to head to first base if they don't move LaRoche, but it's up to LaRoche's hitting as to whether or not that expectation stands up.
Punic War Veterans (My Imagination): Boo on no references in BP2010!
Christina Kahrl: That's OK, Tila Tequila makes an appearance if that makes you feel any better.
bjmd (SF): Is there any way to look at the Giants off-season as anything but another disaster?
Christina Kahrl: It's glum stuff in terms of Sanchez and Huff, certainly, because the disasters involve the elective decisions to sign them, and forgo other alternatives. If the goal was to wind up with a first baseman who might not outhit Travis Ishikawa or Nate Shierholtz or John Bowker, with the flexibility of Mark DeRosa and Pablo Sandoval allowing you to rotate around if all three deliver (no laughing... OK, some laughing), maybe all that's lost is money. I still think the Dodgers and Rockies are takeable, but the disaster is that Sabean didn't seem to realize it, and lined up adequate propositions in an offseason where other teams have been considerably bolder and more creative in fixing their problems.
mattymatty2000 (Philly, PA): Any news on a book tour? I always look forward to talking ball with y'all.
Christina Kahrl: Boston, New York, Chicago, and DC all seem to be on the itinerary, but the details are still being ironed out. In terms of subsequent non-tour events during the season, I expect we'll have events of some sort in LA in July in concert with the All-Star Game, and in Atlanta in August at the same time as SABR, but there should be more to look forward to than just those two.
Conan (LA): Assuming both players were in their early 20's, who would you rather build your team around, A-Rod or Jeter?
Christina Kahrl: A-Rod, which may mean I've got to avoid the New York events, since I expect a mob's forming shortly. Where does one buy pitchforks on Manhattan, anyway?
Rod Barajas (Toronto): What was I thinking declining arbitration?
Christina Kahrl: Welcome to the new market. With the number of other catchers floating around, opportunities were limited for backstops of this ilk.
Anselm (Brooklyn): Can the Punic Wars serve as a useful comp in any way for Baseball's labor battles over the last half-century?
Christina Kahrl: Not really. Two different slaveocracies square off, versus a story of liberation. Maybe we can apply the Melian dialogue to the stupidity of making San Jose "Giants territory."
MarinerDan (San Francisco): Thanks for the chat. What are your views on the Mariners rotation after King Felix and Cliff Lee? Is RRS/Snell/Vargas enough to win the AL West or do the Mariners need to pick up another starter through trade or FA? Perhaps Harang or Pedro?
Christina Kahrl: I think Rowland-Smith is fine in one slot, but but I'd treat Snell and Vargas as short-leash propositions: fail, and they get strung up with them, for interchangeable alternatives like Fister or Yusmeiro Petit. All of which suggests to me that getting someone else on an incentive-driven contract would be worthwhile.
Dave W (Douglasville, GA): Ms. Kahrl - welcome back! I have a disturbingly large crush on Billy Butler (50 doubles is ultra sexy) this year, to the point that I actually think he could be a top 5 or so first baseman in baseball THIS YEAR.
Christina Kahrl: Pujols, Prince, Teixeira, and AGonz seem like an unassailable top four at the position, but if hitting alone is the qualifier for who winds up fifth, Butler's got a chance of achieving it.
efeder21 (new york): does connor jackson bounce back
Christina Kahrl: I'll defer to people with medical expertise, but my point of reference keeps coming back to Johnny Moore of the San Antonio Spurs, since he contracted Valley Fever in the '80s, and it effectively ruined his career. Given that fatigue is one of the major issues while acknowledging that basketball and baseball are very different games, I really don't know. I'd worry about claims of certainty until we see how he holds up in the early going.
ChuckR (Addison, IL): Re: Thome, the Sox loss is the Twins gain, but I think the Sox can still redeem themselves depending on how the lightning round of free agency goes this spring. Anyway, so there will be a SABR-day event this year in Chicago, and you will be the main attraction?
Christina Kahrl: There's definitely going to be a Sabermetrics Day event here in the city, at Metropolis in Edgewater. The coffee's excellent, it's easily accessible by El or Lake Shore Drive, and I will not be the only name of note, as we'll also have Stu Shea, author of the unauthorized biography of Wrigley Field, in attendance. Saturday at 1 pm, and hope to see everyone who can make it there.
bflaff (Phila., PA): Hi, CK. Thanks for the chat. How critical is Chris Carpenter's health to the Cardinals' chances this year?
Christina Kahrl: Decisive. If he isn't healthy, neither are the Cardinals' chances.
TGisriel (Baltimore): I disagree with the earlier comment about "dissentng posts" and poor ratings for them. For example, my disagreement with your article criticizing the Tejada transaction is currently rated "6".
My father always taught me that I should learn to disagree without being disagreeable. Perhaps that is the lesson to be learned.
Christina Kahrl: A fine point, Tom. I guess I try to treat these as ongoing conversations, no differently than if you were sitting next to the person at the ballpark. You can absolutely, totally disagree with a person, and have a fine time doing it.
Phil S. (NJ): What are your thoughts on the Mets roster as it stands now?
Christina Kahrl: It's motivation for people to sign elsewhere, a la Ben Sheets. Jeff Francoeur? Little Sarge? No offense from first base or catcher? A rotation of Johan Santana and the Question Marks? And yet people keep flogging Luis Castillo--of course he took the money. You'd take the money. I'd take the money. He didn't make anyone offer it to him.
Eli (Brooklyn): I know it's almost obscene to be this angsty over a backup OF, but your thoughts on Randy Winn over Reed Johnson? I don't think some alternatives (Johnson or Baldelli) were explicitly mentioned in your terrific TA piece.
Christina Kahrl: It's just a couple of million on an initial suggestion for a reserve for a team that probably spends more than that on lunches on the season. Reed Johnson's many things, but just because he shows a bit of leg sartorially, he's not a center fielder, and he doesn't run, walk, or hit for power; when he spanks enough singles against southpaws, he resembles a valuable outfielder, but even then, his career ISO vs. LHPs is .150; he's no Gary Roenicke. Baldelli's someone with fatigue and availability issues. I wouldn't call any of them great choices; landing on Winn at least involves the one who might be healthy and able to be a defensive asset at three positions, and some use as a pinch-runner.
ekanenh (capitol city): Does Johnny Damon's continued non-employment surprise you?
Christina Kahrl: Not too much. Every market has losers, and he's one of them in that there were only so many people who were going to get in on Holliday and Bay and decide to see Damon as a viable fall-back option. It would have been neat if he'd been a one-year addition for the Giants instead of their signing Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff, but one of the problems with being a historical actor is that you sometimes lose out because of historical actions. Damon seemed to keep waiting for a deal that wasn't there, and other teams, players, and agents weren't waiting on him.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): If BP staff would be up to it, I'd like to put in a request for a BP event around an Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines. I think you'd get a very nice turnout.
Christina Kahrl: I'm more intent on making a trek down to St. Louis, and thinking about whether I'd want to do a road trip to see the new park in Minnesota, but hell, Goldstein and Carroll and Ken Funck and Colin Wyers... we've got some Midwest presence that makes that sort of thing possible. Probably not likely, but possible.
glenihan (nyc): You think Butler has a chance at out producing all of M. Cabrera, Youk, Morneau, Pena, Howard, Berkman, Votto, Lee, and Helton? Top 5 seems nearly impossible for Butler in 2010
Christina Kahrl: I like Butler quite a bit, and qualified it with talking about hitting. Add defense, and his total value takes a big hit, but picking a designated fifth from that group is sort of a fool's errand. Naturally, I couldn't resist.
ElAngelo (NY): What's the most hopeless franchise in baseball (and by hopeless, I mean bereft of hope to contend for a postseason bid in the near future and appears to be going in the wrong direction)? Kansas City? Houston?
Christina Kahrl: I still think it's the Royals, because while they've got an interesting gaggle of middling pitching prospects and Zack Greinke (OK, and the Mexicutioner), there's just not a lot of reason to expect a major turnaround. It's becoming a waystation franchise staffed with discards, and while some of them might use KC as a place to get their careers back on track (as Callaspo sort of did, and Ankiel might). It's up to Gordon and Butler and Crow and Hochevar to help make that less the case.
mattymatty2000 (RE: Book Tour): No Philly... ? I can recommend a number of independent booksellers who might be interested in hosting if you are curious. I'd be more than happy to help out if need be.
Christina Kahrl: It'd really be up to any local willingness, but I throw this out there because Steven Goldman should see it and might take you up on it. I'd e-mail him and cc me on it, and we'll see what's possible.
mo (las vegas): howdy! signing thome, does it means kubel rf, cuddyer 3b, punto/casilla 2b?
Christina Kahrl: I'll be going into this a bit in tomorrow's TA, since I expect Thome's deal and looking at the Twins' lineup options will be the most interesting part (Miguel Cairo's becoming a Red menace notwithstanding), but that would be one possible permutation. However, that would also mean complete faith in Delmon Young, which might be a tough proposition, nice September or not.
Eddie (Newmarket): Is lining up Jeremy Reed & Gathwait for backup CF/RF encouraging for the Jays, or just a sign of the low end dumpster diving to come? Is Bautista really the opening day RF, and if yes, would he be the worst one in history?
Christina Kahrl: Oh, I don't know, there have been some pretty ghastly Opening Day lineups. Miguel Dilone was the A's OD starter in right field in 1979, for example. I'd expect some attentive scrounging from the Jays when we get to the end of March.
cdmyers (Jersey): Damon to the Tigers. Does it make sense? Will it happen? The way I see it, if they're willing to spend 7 million on a closer they should be willing to shell out a couple million more on a competent and undervalued left fielder. And if it pushes Guillen to DH and thus gives fewer ABs to Maglio (lessening the chance of his option vesting), so much the better.
Christina Kahrl: I don't think it's all that likely, but if they feel the need to match the Twins' signing Thome and to compensate for the iffy rotation, it wouldn't be the worst idea.
WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): Whos is better in '10? '12? Porcello or Brett Anderson? I'm pretty high on Anderson too.
Christina Kahrl: In 2010, Anderson. In 2012... well, that's where things get interesting, because the expectation is that Porcello's got a ton of unrealized upside, while Anderson's already on the cusp of his. I'd favor Anderson, but I can understand where everyone who picks Porcello is coming from.
rowenbell (Chicago): CK -- As a lifelong Jays fan, I look at the current structual setup and I don't see much to be hopeful about, regardless of how talented our new GM turns out to be. When you're locked in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox, an awful lot of things need to go right for you to even be able to sniff a playoff spot.
Does MLB need to consider major structural changes in order to prevent a number of franchises like my Jays from becoming permanently irrelevant? I'm wondering if MLB should take a cue from the NFL and try unbalancing the schedule based on prior season's record rather than geography, as a means of artificially creating competitive balance. Thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: Hi Rowen,
Well, we've already gone in for the staged "success" of interleague play, so it isn't like the regular season's sacrosanct. Forcing some element of the season to be scheduled in such a fashion outside of normal divisional play would be interesting, certainly, but I guess I'm too much of a doubter as far as innovation within the industry to believe this is ever going to happen.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Is there any way the Cards could get Mat Gamel away from the Brew Crew to fill our void at 3B? Can Gamel handle the position defensively or would TLR bench him after 3 games?
Christina Kahrl: I don't think anyone believes Gamel can handle third base for any great length of time. Better to see what the Cards do with Freese and Craig in the meantime, which isn't so terrible.
Stan (nyc): but, re: CarGo/Taylor... which player would the majority of GMs take of the two (hypothetically and given their situations)????
Christina Kahrl: I expect CarGo would be most people's answer, but he did manage to get dealt twice already.
iorg34 (Minny): Hi CK - Love it! Any prospects that you have unexplained affinities for?
Christina Kahrl: Todd Frazier, because the bat will play. I find myself hoping Zack Cozart gets taken seriously, given that Paul Janish isn't really a solution, and I'm interested in how Tommy Manzella pans out. It's hard not to like Scott Sizemore and Alex Avila for the Tigers. I'm interested in seeing how Jose Ceda's comeback goes. I think this is the year for Brandon Wood, or at least I hope so. I root for Hank Conger. I'm more fond of Ian Desmond and Shairon Martis than probably makes sense.
Christopher (Nashville): Is Jordan Schafer ever going to be a "bright spot" in the Braves' outfield?
Christina Kahrl: Absolutely. Perhaps it'll have to wait until 2011, but it's going to be worth waiting for, the early failure aside.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Other than the simply joy of having baseball back, is there anything in particular you look for during spring training?
Christina Kahrl: Deals on flights, because dropping everything to just go is way too easy to daydream about on a day when it's 14 degrees outside.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Is there a particular game/team/player who broke your heart as a fan?
Christina Kahrl: Game One of the 1988 World Series. Kirk Gibson is unadulterated evil in cleats. Does it matter who played for? Of course it does, because I grew up in Northern California, and he played for one of those teams from the glamor end of the Bear Flag Republic. Grrrrr. An unhappy memory, to this very day.
David (bloomington, indiana): Do Jon Coutlangus and Doug Fister ever get to pitch on the same team together - it would be a shame for that treasure-trove of single-entendres to go untapped.
Christina Kahrl: Oh, I don't know. There's a quite a bit to be said of players who defy Bermanisms. Unless of course HBO moves into broadcasting baseball...
I Got Ripped in 4 Weeks (I'm Crazy Ripped): '10 Mariners vs. '86 Mets in a 7 game series: who ya got?
Christina Kahrl: Still the '86 Mets. The only thing that seemed certain of beating them was Mike Scott in a Game Seven that never was.
dcoonce (bloomington, indiana): Everybody assumes Adrian Gonzalez is going to be traded this year, but I can't see a fit, either for need or with the necessary prospects to deal. What do you think?
Christina Kahrl: I really think the AGonz chatter is a matter of wishcasting from those who envy the Padres their possession of him. He's signed cheaply through 2011, and they're taking themselves somewhat seriously.
BL (Bozeman): Books you're currently reading, and plan to read, baseball and non-baseball divisions?
Christina Kahrl: In the baseball division, I finally picked up a copy of D'Antonio's Forever Blue, and I keep meaning to crack Brad Snyder's A Well-Paid Slave (about Curt Flood). I'm currently finishing up Sebestyen's 1989 (a light run through the fall of the Wall) and Howe's What Hath God Wrought (heavy slog through 1815-1848 US history), and debating whether to turn to Herwig's new history of First Marne or Blom's The Vertigo Years. Also, Kerr's A Quiet Flame needs attention, since I like the Bernie Gunther series quite a bit.
BR (NYC): I'm coming in waaaay late to the chat, but wanted to extend a big thank you for all the hard work this winter!
Christina Kahrl: Thanks BR, and no worries. It's been an interesting offseason for a number of reasons, but I'm really looking forward to the season to come.
Christina Kahrl: With that, I should scram and turn my attentions back to Jims Edmonds and Thome, the really wrong Cairo on the banks of the Ohio, and more, but I thank everyone for their questions. Until the next time, which should be after pitchers and catchers report--and there's cause for joy right there.