Want to talk about who's making teams or changing teams as spring training heads into the tough cutdown phase? Drop by and chat with BP executive editor Christina Kahrl.
Christina Kahrl: Hi gang... between the Rangers' press conference, Elijah Dukes' release and my looking forward to writing about that later today, and other stuff besides, it's a tough day to zone in on a chat. Still, it's talking about baseball, and you can't go wrong with that. With that, let's get this gig going...
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Hi Christina,
Any thoughts on the Nats' release of Dukes?
Christina Kahrl: It's a pretty bold stroke from a skipper who got to see what was going on with Dukes last season, so there's a back story, and from a GM who just as obviously has had plenty of time to get used to having him around, having inherited him as well. Mike Rizzo and Jim Riggleman may not be people who get confused with Buck Showalter, but this obviously makes for a decisive break with another one of the Bowden legacies. I'm just wondering if cutting Dukes means that the team's "Special Assistant: Player Concerns" is now out of a job as well.
dandaman (Sea Cliff): Hey CK, how do you determine which players you will write about in the annual? I thought it was the 40 man roster, but it seems like more by my count. Thanks for the chat, Dan
Christina Kahrl: It's more than just the season-ending 40-man, or 40-man plus top prospects. We basically include everyone who finished a year with the team (even if they were, say, cut in July, and then didn't land anywhere else, and who might nevertheless have a good chance to land elsewhere in the season to come), everyone we find interesting in one way or another, and sometimes it's just because there's an anecdote about the guy we wanted to share. There's a good amount of chapter author freedom of action, but then I'll usually fidget a bit to add even more people, bounce ideas off of Steven, annoy Kevin Goldstein about somebody who might never achieve more than Cal League stardom, and voila, you've got too many players worth talking about.
Mike (IL): What do you make Adam Jones' reverse platoon split? Small sample size, or is he simply unable to hit lefties? Is there ever a case where you'd sit a player of his caliber against a lefties?
Christina Kahrl: I think it makes sense to never get too wrapped up in a big reverse platoon split for a single season. Jones has just two years in the majors under his belt, but he isn't even 25 yet. I'd be reluctant to infer there's something he can't do, given that we're dealing with fragments of seasons, and differing measures of health. When in doubt, I refer to the master; Earl Weaver usually gave a guy 20 at-bats against a pitcher before he judged him, and in point of fact Jones has yet to face any single lefty 20 times. That's in part a product of today's more variegated schedule, but it's a reminder that Jones has plenty of direct experience to acquire. He'll improve.
Jquinton82 (NY): Two pitching questions:
1) What are the chances of Bumgarner finding that missing velocity?
2) Jenrry Mejia, 8th inning or Triple A?
And Happy St Pat's
Christina Kahrl: Happy St. Pat's to you too, especially when it's such a gloriously beautiful day (here in Chicago, at least). I think Bumgarner's going to be fine, and would refer you to some of the things Kevin Goldstein has said about how, last year, he'd been allowed to throw too much between games, and that was the problem. I'd love to see Mejia stick around, in part because he'd be another guy to count among those story-changing youngsters that the organization does have almost ready. However, like Josh Thole, I can see taking their time and easing him in later on this season.
lennyd (Portland): Hi Christina,
I look at Oakland's line-up without anyone I'd like on my fantasy team and can't understand how Pecota has them playing 500 ball. What are your thoughts on the A's?
Christina Kahrl: Either you don't have a lot of teams in your league, or you're very picky, or maybe you have no use for steals; while I'm not wild about an outfield with Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis in it as everyday players, they will snag bags. For pitching, whether you're in a keeper league or not, just go grab Brett Anderson. Like steals, saves are a commodity you should want, and Andrew Bailey's the real deal. Position-related supply/demand issues might encourage you to snag Kurt Suzuki or Mark Ellis. Basically, it's going to be a better real-world ballclub than a generator of traditional category fantasy stars.
h (NY): consistently love your work!!!! if you ran a team, how many relievers would you have? 5, 6, 7, 8?
Christina Kahrl: Thanks h, definitely appreciate the compliment. I can't see the necessity to go beyond six; whether it's to keep an extra glove, a bat with potential platoon applications to help cover for any particular regular's issues against righties or lefties, or a bench player that you make a point of working into the lineup regularly enough to keep everyone fresh, I like a bench that provides you with options. Admittedly, there are some teams and lineups and managers where it barely matters who's manning the last roster spot or two, because the skipper favors a set lineup and a stable rotation and a pen that isn't overstocked with situational types. I'd love to see more teams willing to go to four-man rotations in April, when the number of days off can allow you to keep everyone on regular rest yet forgo the fifth starter until almost the end of the month, but for some reason, some managers like carrying 12 pitchers in April, when there aren't enough games to go around to keep them all sufficiently busy.
Rube (Philly): Do you think Houston's Ed Wade is slowly crafting together another championship team in Houston like he did in Philly? I see he drafted his catcher and shortstop of the future in Castro and Meier. It's like when he was in Philly and Rolen and Rollins were drafted. Then Mr. Wade added parts over the years until he reached the top. Thoughts?
Christina Kahrl: It was briefly fashionable in sabermetric circles to deride the acquisition of Michael Bourn, but I don't mind at all the suggestion that Wade's accumulating up-the-middle talent, and nobody's laughing quite so hard now that Bourn seems to have come into his own. The question is, having bought himself time and credibility by giving it a go with what he inherited (to little point, predictably, but he tried), will the talent he's adding arrive in time to help the core he inherited? The answer to that should be a clear 'no,' not with Roy Oswalt talking about two more years, Lance Berkman showing signs of wear, and Carlos Lee heading into his age-34 season. Instead, the challenge is going to be whether Castro and Mier are the centerpieces of the next good Astros team... which good as they might be as prospects, isn't the same as saying they've got Tulo and Buster Posey.
dangor (New York): Recent history question. Were you around when Steinbrenner bought the Yankees? What was the logic behind nobody wanting to top that offer? I can't wrap my mind around some rich guy not buying the Yankees for twice that number just for kicks.
Christina Kahrl: Certainly a fascinating thing to ponder, no? But keep in mind, when the Boss bought in, CBS had run the franchise into the ground, it was stranded in the Bronx at a time when the neighborhood wasn't getting any better, and they were confronted with a couple of seasons in Shea while Yankee Stadium was getting renovated. Baseball was in the business of ceding its previous predominance to football. Baseball teams were being operated by shallow-pocketed operators like Charlie Finley or Bob Short.
beta461 (SF): Am I the only one who still fantasizes about the possibilities of Pablo Sandoval catching; even on a limited (backup) basis? That bat is HOF caliber there.
Christina Kahrl: Even with the lost weight, it just isn't going to happen. This is definitely the stuff of fantasy, Strat, and wishcasting. Not that it isn't lovely to think about, of course. ;-)
Will (Mactaquac): Please tell me that Dukes is coming to Toronto. BAUTISTA'S OUR STARTING RF! Thank you.
Christina Kahrl: A few other folks have commented on how this must be the end for Dukes, but I'm not buying the argument, and for reasons such as this. Even if the man winds up in Mexico or the Atlantic League, I just figure that somebody else among the 30 is going to look at the sporadic excellence in Dukes' past and figure they can see about sorting out the other stuff. And they may well be right; sometimes, a particular player's just better suited for a different management culture. Whether or not there's a perfect fit for Dukes, though, I don't know.
Bill (New Mexico): Cardinals pitching prospect Jaime Garcia has looked downright evil this spring, but doesn't seem to be in serious consideration for the rotation, which definitely has a vacancy. What's going on, Christina? Flash-in-the-pan syndrome? Justifiable desire to hold the workload down for a TJ survivor? Or a noxious manifestation of Dave Duncan's aversion to working with young pitchers, particularly starters?
Christina Kahrl: Hi Bill, always a pleasure to see you on the boards... I think it's very much a matter of politburo-style turnitis, in that it isn't his turn yet. He's having a great camp, he's coming back from injury, and especially because of April scheduling, I could see him spending the first month or two getting regular starts for Memphis. By June, we'll know if McClellan's calling for reinforcements (inevitable, if you ask any Civil War buff), or if Rich Hill's redeemable and that's just in the fifth spot. Duncan's deserved reputation or no, I'm just not that wild on bets that Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny will be totally fine, so I think Garcia's going to be put to work at some point this season.
Pat (New Jersey): I know he'll be on the Opening Day roster, but what are the odds that Adam Dunn is still on the Nats after the trade deadline?
Christina Kahrl: Better than you might think; remember, most of the market studiously avoided him. To see him moved, it might have to involve an AL contender without a solid DH, and how many of those are there going to be?
Vladimir Ashkenazy (Cincinnati): Have you read "The Machine" by Joe Posnanski? I'm half way through and it is a good Spring Training baseball read.
Christina Kahrl: I have, and I enjoyed it, because it was a great way of remembering players--and a skipper--now recognized as all-time greats for who they were when they were great. The observations about Pete Rose or Sparky Anderson or Gary Nolan are wonderful; I had no idea Ken Griffey Sr. was quite so bitter. I'd have liked a little more substantive performance analysis, but you might properly call me a snob on that score; Joe wrote a fun and necessary book that does an excellent job of putting you in that time and place, and gives several players we might have thought we knew their proper due.
John (The North Side): Your thoughts on a rebound season from Geovany Soto?
Christina Kahrl: I like the possibilities. As I wrote in the essay portion of this year's Cubs chapter, age and conditioning are potentially crippling concerns. The fact that Soto's in great shape, and was much better after the early going... I'm a believer.
gluckschmerz (Mosel): Do you enjoy Chicago in the springtime?
Christina Kahrl: Absolutely. There's nothing quite like the sensation of that first day when the sun's warm enough to take the chill out of your bones. That was this very morning, slinging the Kong for the dog's benefit in Pottawattomie Park, right here on the North Side. As a precursor for Opening Day, it's a must.
Bernie Pleskoff (Arizona): Are you excited by the early returns on the spring performance of Aroldis Chapman?
Christina Kahrl: As much of a noisy doubter as I frequently am about Cuban imports, because the failures still outnumber the successes, Chapman is very obviously one of the ones where you have to tip your cap to the scouts for pegging his talent correctly. Kudos as well to Sir Walt for coming up with the winning bid; for as much talk as there might be about competitive imbalance and the usual frothy nonsense about realignment, it's important not to underestimate the power of ballclubs to change their own fortunes and actively improve their lots.
twinkies25 (MN): So overall, what do you think of the Twins singing Blackburn and Span? In your articles, you kinda didn't like Blackburn's, and you kinda liked Span's. I'm just wondering in a specific sense, how do you like those signings for the Twins? (Basiccally, what letter grade would you give the signings individually?)
P.S Is Mauer any closer to signing with the Twins? It will be a huge blow to their playoff run and their monetary future if they don't do it. Not to mention how loud the fans will boo when Mauer comes in pinstripes...
Christina Kahrl: I think these are great indications that, when it comes to the Pohlad brothers' pursestrings, these aren't their daddy's Twins. I'm not a big believer that Blackburn's going to earn out the full measure of the contract, but it's not a cripplingly expensive deal; call it a B-, and Span a B+. Both were somewhat obvious in terms of arbitration-driven anticipations of expense, so there's no genius involved, just good, solid operational management, absent the self-pitying whining about expense you'll find with a few other outfits. If the younger Pohlads' pattern of affording their key guys contributes to Mauer's decision to stay, then perhaps the B's stand for 'brick'; a German would say you can't build a Mauer without bricks.
Bill (LA): I polished off the annual on the first leg of a cross country flight (fantastic read, by the way). Any book recommendations for the return trip?
Christina Kahrl: Happy to hear it, Bill. For baseball, Posnanski's The Machine just came up, and would be worth it. I very much want to read Mark Armour's biography of Joe Cronin; Mark's an outstanding writer and a thoughtful baseball historian, so it'll be interesting to see how he deals with Cronin. For non-baseball, I'd pick up one of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther mysteries; start with the Berlin Noir trilogy if you haven't read any of them. For science fiction, Ursula le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness is a personal favorite, but Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain stories are wonderful; you might also want to check out Richard K. Morgan or Charles Stross. I recently finished Game Change, which was fun, if not especially deep; if you're more historically minded as far as political commentary, I'd pick up some H.L. Mencken. For a history of thought and literature, I'm very fond of Christopher Hitchens' Unacknowledged Legislation.
Will (Mactaquac): "for as much talk as there might be about competitive imbalance and the usual frothy nonsense about realignment, it's important not to underestimate the power of ballclubs to change their own fortunes and actively improve their lots"
Uh oh. Christina, this has been good for us, but we're just not going to work out. Jays fans need support in our time of needs, not Booker T. Washington's boot strap speech. It's not you; it's us :)
Christina Kahrl: I come from a family of huggers, if that helps.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Ron Washington tests positive for Cocaine last year. Ramifications? Does it affect how he interacts w/Josh Hamilton?
Christina Kahrl: I couldn't say one way or another about Hamilton, and I don't know what the ramifications might be. Well, this all happened last year, and he went to rehab. Washington isn't dysfunctional as a manager, so while this was something to get a handle on, I'd rather see him still taken seriously than stigmatized and flat-out fired. As a social issue, dealing with issues of addiction actively, instead of sweeping them under the rug... it seems like a step in the right direction as far as policy.
tommybones (Brooklyn): Would it really be worth it for the Braves to trade 2 month of Heyward over the likes of Diaz for one less season of contractual control? Are they really going to make that mistake and start Heyward in Rf on opening day? Seems pretty foolish.
Christina Kahrl: I couldn't disagree more, and maybe it's because I'm tired of the cynical, transparent manipulativeness of it. The games they'll be playing during those two months will count, Heyward's that good, and we'll see what happens in five or six years; Heyward's the kind of talent I think we all expect to get sewn up in a multi-year deal that prevents his ever winding up in arbitration. Add to all of that the fact that if this really is Bobby Cox's swan song, and he wants to go out a winner, and he loves Heyward, and Heyward's ready, and this is a team that hasn't won jack since 2005... there's a point at which the victories of crass service time manipulation and a temporary win on the ledger sheet for team payroll costs you in other ways. I hope Heyward's there on Opening Day, because I want to see Heyward play. Braves fans want to see Heyward play. I'm not rooting for John Malone's ROI, or Liberty Media's balance sheet. Call me a latter-day rube.
GrinnellSteve (headed to Florida): I just finished Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy, detailing his year with the Provo Angels in 2002. He was a lefty pitcher out of Yale. Have you read it? It's put me in the mood for a little spring training.
Christina Kahrl: I've got a copy in storage (a fact of life once your bookshelves fill up), but I haven't read it yet. The accusations that McCarthy helped his stories a bit with colorful recollections that don't necessarily dovetail with those of others on that ballclub... well, that sort of took my curiosity about the book right out of me.
APBA player (16th Round of draft): A couple of catchers with prospects behind them... do you like Lou Marson or JR Towles better?
Christina Kahrl: Marson, because he's more likely to have a career, even if his shot at everyday play with the Tribe should be necessarily brief.
kidzero (denver): if huston street is out for an extended time, who will close for the Rox, Morales or Betancourt, or who else..Casey Weathers?
Christina Kahrl: I'd love to see what Morales could do, but I sort of expect that if he doesn't become the hot hand, Betancourt would be the pitcher who gets the most opportunities in such a scenario.
TGisriel (Baltimore): I've noticed several Rule 5 returns over the last several days, and one trade in lieu of a return.
Are Rule 5 picks and roster spots chosen to prevent players from being selected in the Rule 5 draft overhyped at the time? For example, I've seen criticism of Mac Phail's roster construction because he "lost" Steve Johnson in the Rule 5 draft, and now he's back.
Christina Kahrl: Hi Tom, good to see you here. The fascination with the Rule 5 draft is definitely overstated, because the vast majority of the selections mean very little, and it means even less under the terms of the current CBA. It's still interesting as a matter of possibility--Dan Uggla wasn't so very long ago, after all--but mostly, it's about kicking the tires with a few arms, and deciding to "buy back" the roster slot for any one of innumerable NRIs inevitably in camp with every ballclub.
mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): Will the friendship between Milledge and McCutcheon be good for both of them?
Christina Kahrl: As Kevin's fond of reminding people, players aren't strat cards. Is there synergistic potential, because they could help one another deal with the stresses of being big-league ballplayers? Of course there is. Can we put a number on that? Of course we can't. Is there a downside? Sure, players are human beings, and good stuff and bad can happen between any two teammates, however close. Me, I think it's a cool thing, and hope it works out as a dynamic that at least inspires some enthusiasm among Pirates fans who usually have so few things to get worked up about.
SC (Minneapolis): Are there plans to change the blogs? The current system (which I understand is under development) is very difficult to navigate, with every post requiring a click to a different page to read. Especially for blogs like 'No Pepper' taking me to a separate page is a dealbreaker. Ideally, you'll end up with a "blogs" page, with each individual writer or blog having it's own page, so I can read all the "No Pepper" or "One-Hoppers" in one place. I'd also recommend using the "expand post/contract post" stylesheet Nate uses at 538 that keeps readers on the same page when expanding a post.
Love the new content, and I'm looking forward to seeing it better organized and presented.
Christina Kahrl: Hi SC... I'd love to see the bloggy side of things get a more navigable landing page, because it can be a bit problematic to get through to older posts. We're hearing a lot of positive feedback on the content of guys like Tommy and Marc's burgeoning Fantasy crew, and presentation could be easier. I'm throwing this up there for folks to see, and perhaps we'll start a thread discussing what you'd like for us to do with the blog content to make it more community-oriented and surfable. We want to talk about baseball with all of you, we like to talk about baseball with all of you, so we'd very much like to make it as convenient as possible for all of you.
HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): Jermaine Dye had an off-year after a good 2008. Most in the Nats Constituency seem averse to adding Dye to replace Dukes. Do you think Dye has another good year left, at least one better than Maxwell, Bernadina or Willie Harris could provide this year?
Christina Kahrl: I sort of like the idea of adding Dye to the mix. Whether it's because I don't think Harris or Bernadina should be everyday players in a corner, or because Maxwell's ability to stay healthy is far from a sure thing, or that a multi-month spin with Dye might get his career back in gear and yield something of value at the deadline... I like it.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): I know you don't always discuss draft strategy, but what did you make of Minor to Atlanta? In the annual, I think it was pointed out, correctly IMHO, that you should go for a star there that highly. Still, Minor's such a sure bet to be a 3/4. What do you think? Would you have gambled there? Do you think they tied Minor to trying in the international market for a high ceilinged crap shoot? Thank you.
Christina Kahrl: I guess I'm someone who favors risk in those situations; so many of the sure things wind up being less than sure as is, so why not shoot for the moon that high up? Acquiring guys who might grow up to be fourth starters someday... that's essentially what the Pirates have to show for tearing down a 75-win ballclub. You can find those guys.
dianagramr (NYC): Hiya Christina ...
How do you think the HBO segment went?
Christina Kahrl: Hi Diana, thank you for asking. I've gotten a lot of questions about this sitting here in the queue, and while this isn't really the forum for them, I'll say this much: I think it came out really very well indeed, and my hat's off to Bryant Gumbel, Joe Perskie, Jill Klapper, and the camera crews in New York and Chicago for doing an outstanding job in dealing carefully and sensitively with unusual subject matter. Now, I'm on BP's time here, so enough about that, and back to baseball. I'm always open to questions about this stuff on my own time.
Jack Brahmamer (Chicago): I'll planning on taking my son to the book show in Chicago tomorrow night. It starts at 6 - when should I tell mom we'll be home?
Christina Kahrl: Depends on how long your commute is, natch, since there's a big difference between grabbing the El in Lakeview versus driving in from St. Charles. I know Kevin and I can go on, answering questions for everyone in attendance, for at least 90 minutes, and we've crossed the two-hour mark. We're very much at your disposal at these things, and don't want anyone to leave empty-handed.
David (Alameda): How does the A's bullpen shake out? Also, if Chavez is healthy enough to start the season on the roster, is there any place for Fox?
Christina Kahrl: I think the big issue with the A's pen is that right now, it's almost as if everyone has one owie or another: Wuertz, Devine, Bailey, Breslow... it's the sort of nagging laundry list that Cedrick Bowers' or Jason Jennings' dreams are made of. So other than taking it for granted that most of those four will be available on Opening Day, and that Brad Ziegler's a lock, it's a bit up in the air. Henry Rodriguez's velocity turns heads. As for Fox, I wouldn't be too down on him. He's out of options, but I'd anticipate that part of keeping Chavez healthy would involve days off for him, and between the four corners and DH, there should be at-bats to go around. The guy who's playing for the present is Daric Barton, who's rising to the challenge, but he has to, because the future belongs to Chris Carter.
J. G. Ballard (Vermilion Sands): Just curious..., how is it that you find the time to sit still and actually take in a ballgame?
Christina Kahrl: One of the joys of the season to come is that I'll be spending a lot more time at the ballpark, and perhaps it's the permanent kid in me, but that remains a thrill (Sacramento didn't even have minor-league baseball when I was growing up). Now, sure, most of the time that'll be up in the box, but as is, having a late-onset gluten allergy means I'm pretty much stuck without a beer and a hotdog as far as a more casual way to take in a game.
Will (Mactaquac): No fungoes in the BP2010: sign of the future, or just space constraints? Who know 1 more prospect in KG's list would have such ramifications on the tome as a whole?
Christina Kahrl: A bit of both; our editor at Wiley was very much interested in doing things this way, and long-term we're more interested in housing the most analytical work here on the site, when we aren't integrating it directly into the team essays themselves. I can't say whether that's a permanent thing, however; I'd address the question to Mr. Goldman.
Neko Case (Toronto): Who gets the high lev situations in the Toronto pen? John Perrotto reports Frasor perhaps heading to the Cubs.
Christina Kahrl: Which I'd find heartily amusing, since we all know where Kevin Gregg is at present. I'd anticipate that there will be some element of job-sharing involved, with Gregg, Frasor (if he's there), and Scott Downs all getting save opportunities. Later in the year, I wouldn't be surprised to see Josh Roenicke cadging save ops.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Is Dukes the best FA now, or is there still a Pedro-level end gamer ahead of him?
Christina Kahrl: Eh... I may be one of the few willing to suggest other people put up with Dukes, but he might be the sort of specialty item on the market that puts him among his own limited group of bidders. Much depends on what sort of expectations you have for your club this season. If I'm the Jays, I'm interested in Dukes. If I'm the Yankees? Not so much.
Christopher Hitchens (Washington D C ): What are your Ten Commandments for baseball?
Christina Kahrl: Technically, they're referred to as "Weaver's Ten Laws." ;-)
TGisriel (Baltimore): In this era of emerging but still imperfect defensive stats, which ones do you look at, and do you have a favorite?
Christina Kahrl: It's funny that you bring this up, Tom, because I've been asking a number of front-office types in both leagues about their usage patterns and preferences, with an eye towards a couple of columns about defensive metrics, their merits and their discontents. Myself, I tend to be a bit ecumenical, because all of them have uses as well as pitfalls. I'm very much looking forward to what Colin Wyers is working on in this field.
mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): You are able to enjoy a cold, crisp riesling from the hills along the Mosel River, right?
Christina Kahrl: Absolutely, but Napa, the banks of the Douro, Tuscany, or a Viennese weinstube to be named later would do in a pinch. And then there's always Chile to wonder about; haven't been there yet.
Guillermo (Montevideo): Hi Christina!! What´s your take on the Mauer situation? Do you think he signs with the Twins? Do the Yankees scoop up somewhere in the season and trade for him (with a window for negotiating a huge extension?) Do we get an insane bidding war next winter?
Christina Kahrl: Speaking of South America... There's no chance he gets dealt. It's either going to be a situation where the Twins find a way to make this happen now, or we get an insane bidding war.
Drungo (SoMd): Selig's panel pondering radical realignment: Serious planning, or just a bunch of hand-waiving to distract from the fact they're a bunch of old guys who don't want anything to change?
Christina Kahrl: Because the teams can't be moved without their agreement, it's hand-waving, even though Selig's the Commissioner who achieved realignment in the '90s after Fay Vincent managed to spectacularly screw up in his attempt on that score. Look at the efficacy of most of his panels: they're usually dog-and-pony shows. Remember the various panels on umpiring?
Wendy (Madrid): I may be reading this wrong, so please correct me if I am. You seem to take a lot of shots at people that play Strat. While it's true that a certain type of personality flocks to the game, without stating the obvious, I would think you'd be much more accepting of different personality types.
Christina Kahrl: Actually, anything but. I love Strat, and encourage people to buy the game and play. I especially loved playing the board game, dice in hand, hanging out with friends, sifting through my roster, annoying my rivals with innumerable trade possibilities, blowing through an afternoon or evening playing a few series. But there's a very real difference between managing a stack of cards or haggling over whether you really are willing to risk a 3 or 4 at second or third against dealing with a group of human beings and the more realistic uncertainties involved in evaluating what he can do in the field or on the mound or at the plate. Morale matters. Injuries matter. Usage patterns have impacts on how players see themselves, and how well they do what you ask them to do.
BeplerP (New York, NY): Lightning Round Question: Why has Joba Chamberlain been subjected to the Yankees' version of The Death of A Thousand Small Cuts? And can he recover (if not in the Bronx, somewhere else?) Thanks for the chat Christina
Christina Kahrl: I think he's fine in NYC, and that he will be fine starring in whatever role they place him in this summer. It's not about the media, it's not about New York, it's about how they manage him.
Jmadeja (Chicago): Neftali Feliz is having a bit of a rough spring. Do you think the Rangers might send him down to start the season?
Christina Kahrl: They might, but with only a little less than three weeks to go, there's not a lot of reason to say that the pitcher who had two bad weeks in Cactus League action can't have three good ones and erase these kinds of concerns before they really even become concerns. He's still Neftali Feliz, and he's still an incredible prospect.
dianagramr (NYC): But wouldn't it be beneficial for ALL wannabe managers to play lots of Strat and see how to construct a lineup, work through double-switches, warm up relievers, engage in situational hitting?
Christina Kahrl: A few years ago, I suggested that it would be really cool to launch sort of a seminar series, where you could have minor-league managers and coaches listen to Chuck Tanner or Whitey Herzog talk about the running game, or to Earl Weaver or Dick Williams about in-game tactics, or the late Johnny Sain to talk about workloads. But that would be collective, and the industry favors competition; why let Whitey Herzog talk to anybody else, if you want to hear what he has to say? Put him on the payroll as an adviser, and don't share. As is, in-game tactics aren't exactly rocket science--indeed, much of the stuff sabermetrics "discovers" on this front simply documents previously observed and understood phenomena, going back not just to Earl Weaver or Whitey Herzog, but Casey Stengel or Joe McCarthy.
lou (Cape Cod): On my strat teams, I refused to trade Grady Sizemore, Cole Hamels and Ervin Santana this offseason. Who is more likely to bounce back to top form?
Christina Kahrl: I think there's a good argument to be made--and has been made by my colleagues here at BP--that Hamels was and will be just fine. With a nod to them, I think Sizemore's the one who truly bounces back.
gluckschmerz (Tuscany): I'm partial to earthy super-Tuscan blends.
Anywho..., Colby Rasmus seems to be in a better place this spring. Being a young ballplayer sometimes isn't so easy as it seems.
Christina Kahrl: Good point... and yes. I've always wondered if it doesn't make more sense to pair up rookies, especially if it's on a team with a lot of veterans. If you're the one guy under 30, for the sake of argument, and the pennant's assumed as something of a birthright, of course it can be tough to adapt and integrate yourself into that environment.
BR (NYC): CK, since you have an interest in oft-obscured history, have you read Island at the Center of the World? It's non-fiction based on the lost records of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam translated from the Old Dutch records unearthed at the New York State Library. Excellent read for anybody with an interest in pre-colonial american history.
Christina Kahrl: Speaking as someone descended in part from someone Hudson kicked off the boat and left in a blockhouse, it should come as no surprise that I've really wanted to pick that one up, and it keeps slipping my mind. Thanks for the reminder, BR.
Sal Toscano (FL): Does Adrian Gonzalez get traded and to whom?
Christina Kahrl: I'm sort of skeptical about it under any time frame. Whereas in so many situations you might think that dealing him in 2011 instead of 2010 means that you're taking a big step down in terms of what kind of prospects you might receive in return, A-Gonz's deal is so cheap ($4.75 million this year, and a $5.5 million club option next) that he's still worth a big return next year. Then there's the Pads' anticipation that they might hang tough this year, added to the fact that he's affordable... in short, somebody's going to have really commit to dealing a lot of top talent to get him, this at a time when top talent is valued more dearly now than ever. Like I said, I'm skeptical anything gets done, because I don't know if anyone would part with what it ought to take to get him, and because there's no monster contract pushing the Padres to make a deal.
Tderrick17 (Chicago): You've scheduled tomorrow's Chicago event up against the NCAA tourney & DePaul finals (we're on the quarter system)... any chance there's another Chicago event in the works?
Christina Kahrl: Basketball? That's the game where the ball bounces, right? I think we'll be fine for turnout, but there *is* going to be a second Chicago booksigning, on March 30th down in Hyde Park on the University of Chicago campus. Details are on the events page.
She and Him (AM Radio of the 1970s): Some of the guys tell us what music they enjoy during their chats. Wanna share?
Christina Kahrl: Right now, I'm enjoying a blend mostly made up of Brazilian Girls, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Paris Combo.
ChuckR (Addison, IL): Re: Dunn ----> White Sox.
Speaking of which, any idea why Tyler Flowers is getting so few spring ABs? I think he has all of 9 or 10. Are the Sox just trying to figure out what they have in Brent Lillibridge and there aren't enough to go around, or what?
Christina Kahrl: Dunn would be a lovely addition on the South Side, absolutely. The problem is whether the Sox have enough to make it worthwhile; trading Becks ought to be a non-starter, and they'll need to keep Flowers for the inevitable post-AJP future. I think what's happened with Flowers is that he just really has no chance of making the club, and because they're serious about his future behind the plate, they don't want him DHing at the outset and being a third catcher of sorts when he could be solidifying last year's gains behind the plate in the early months as an everyday Knight down in Charlotte. The Lillibridge menace doesn't seem too likely; with Vizquel, Nix, Jones, Kotsay, and Castro all likely to make the team, he's up against the 12th pitcher candidates, and that's probably not a fight he can win.
TheBunk (Toronto): Funny you mention the berlin noir trilogy, I was just reading an article discussing how it would make a great tv series on a pay cable network. Are you an Ellroy fan?
Christina Kahrl: It would make a great series, although I'd worry they'd select someone too pretty, even on cable; Bernie Gunther's already an ill-used older man before WW2. I need to get into James Ellroy; would that life was made of spare time. ;)
TGisriel (Baltimore): When the O's traded for Adam Jones, you told me to be excited. You were right, obviously.
Should I be excited about any of the current O's prospects such a Bell, Matusz, or Arrieta?
Christina Kahrl: I'm far from prescient, but yes, yes, and yes. Bell may not be a third baseman far into the future, but he's worth the investment. Arrieta may not always be a starter, but he's worth the emotional capital too. Who needs realignment?
Matt (Whippleville, NY): Do you ever give other BP writers advice on how to conduct a chat? One of the newer writers had one the other day that was just awful - answering questions with questions and not answering others. I emailed him and got a snarky reply. Seems you - as the best chatter here - could help this person.
Christina Kahrl: It's a good question, Matt, although I'm flattered by the compliment. Sometimes, you work in this field, and you can get tin-eared, no differently than people on the inside. The thing I always try to remind people of, and take to heart, is that we're talking about baseball. If it wasn't my job, I'd still be doing it, because it's baseball. Of course, I'd also sit with Mom and talk about equestrian events at a horse show, but that's a lot less interesting to most.
Christina Kahrl: With that, I'm going to shut this down short of four hours. Thanks to everyone who chimed in, thanks to everyone for all of the well wishes, and enjoy the three weeks of spring training to come. If you make it to tomorrow night's Chicago booksigning, you can expect Kevin and I to be there with bells on. Well, not so much Kevin, but you get the point.