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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday May 26, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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Contemplating making a move? Reconsidering your priorities? Before making a commitment, check in with R.J. Anderson!

R.J. Anderson: Hey everybody, I'll try to get through as many questions as possible today. Oh, and if you haven't already, please pay your respects to the departing Marc Normandin, owner of the finest hair in BPro history.

benrosenberg02 (boston): at what point of the season do you think real records and pythag records have actual meaning?

R.J. Anderson: Hi Ben,

Actually, an article was published about this by Chris St. John at Beyond the Boxscore just a few days ago, here, which provides a little more reasoning than me saying a random month.

PMCY (Moms basement): Explain why Carlos Beltran does or does not make sense for the Rays if they are still alive at the deadline.

R.J. Anderson: It depends on what their roster looks like. If Desmond Jennings and/or Brandon Guyer are up with Johnny Damon still at designated hitter, then they really don't have room for Beltran. Plus, the finances and prospect return required. I'm just not sure it's realistic at this point.

DanDaMan (SeaCliff): RJ- I traded Baker for Gallardo and Fuld and Nalasco for Kershaw? Thoughts? Also, I'm thinking of trading Wright away but am worried I can't enough in return. Dan

R.J. Anderson: I think you robbed two people, even if Fuld never returns to his early season form and simply becomes a Jason Tyner clone.

JoshC77 (Columbus, OH): I drafted Alexi Ogando this season banking that he would be the closer in lieu of Neftali Feliz. Fortunately, when it was announced that Feliz would remain the closer, I kept Ogando and have been rewarded with outstanding performance from a SP. So the question is, should I expect this to keep up, or should I sell high on him? I'm concerned about a career high usage and him having to pitch in Arlington this summer. What are your thoughts?

R.J. Anderson: There were concerns about Oganda's ability to get lefties out entering the season, but he has fared really well against them so far (an OPS against just over 600). Nobody is going to keep a sub-2 ERA, but as long as he stays healthy, he should be a decent option heading forward.

You have to tip your cap to Texas on reliever-to-starter transitions too. Either they've gotten lucky a few times, or they know what's up. Maybe a bit of both.

JayT (San Francisco): Darwin Barney has been way better then I would have ever expected. Is this just a mirage, or do you think he has a chance of keeping this production up?

R.J. Anderson: Barney sure seems to be turning into a fan favorite, doesn't he? His big league career line isn't too far off what he did in Triple-A, but I'm not certain he is as good as people want him to be because of his intangibles and personality.

BJM (AA, MI): Bigger loss over the last 24 hours: Posey from the Giants, or Normandin from BP?

R.J. Anderson: Normandin. Hair like that is an intangible.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): 12-team mixed non-keeper league, OF of Stanton, C. Young, Ichiro, Stubbs, Choo, and Rasmus. I can only start 4, so who makes the most sense to deal? I think Ichiro could bring the most back due to the name.

R.J. Anderson: Depending on the scoring and your needs, I'd probably go with Stanton, Rasmus, Choo, and Ichiro. Agreed on dealing Ichiro as well.

Mark Smith (Lexington, KY): What's your thoughts on catcher collisions?

R.J. Anderson: I don't think about them often, actually. What happened to Posey (and Santana and Cervelli before him) is unfortunate, but baseball hasn't mandated pitchers wearing helmets or facial protection either and that seems to pop up as often nowadays.

Hatfield (Moms basement): How do you feel about Dan Johnson's time spent at the big league level? Is he a career AAAA player, or would you consider yourself a 'Johnson guy'?

R.J. Anderson: It's difficult to say. My pet theory on Johnson right now is that his skill set just plays better at Triple-A. Maybe because he can work himself into better counts there against weaker pitchers and then use what power he has to flick a few balls over the fences. Maybe he just didn't get a long enough leash this year--he has had success in the majors before. I don't know. In the end, there is usually a reason a player isn't in the majors despite tearing up the minors.

Stephen MR (NY): Who's going to be the best pitcher traded at the deadline, and to which team is he going to be traded?

R.J. Anderson: River Avenue Blues represented. I liked your colleague Mike Axisa's idea to trade for Hiroki Kuroda. I couldn't give you a legit guess on who may be dealt and where at this point, but if Kuroda is moved, he would probably be near the top of my list.

hotstatrat (Zurich - honestly - and it is amazingly beautiful): Are teams still trying to dodge the super 2? Has it become a problem of many teams trying to outdodge the other teams by bringing up their best prospects later and later in the season?

R.J. Anderson: Difficult to say. Some teams do appear to be more aggressive with promoting their top prospects this season--Hosmer, De La Rosa, and possibly Ackley--so it looks like teams might prep for Super Two going bye-bye in the next CBA. At the same time, though, a team like the Rays--that usually beats others to these kinds of loopholes--hasn't promoted Desmond Jennings yet, and they could use him.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): In a mixed keeper league, I desparately need a 1B and I have an offer of Teixeira and Beltran for Floyd and McCutchen. Aye or nay?

R.J. Anderson: Yeah, I'd probably take that trade as soon as I quieted my inner McCutchen fanboy.

Ryan (DC): The Royals are on pace for 74 wins. The Marlins are on pace for 97. Both have a ton of young talent. Do you think both teams continue on current trajectory or depart?

R.J. Anderson: Can I get my #humblebrag on for a moment? I liked the Marlins in the preseason, but they aren't going to win 97 games. I think the Royals could go either way. You have to figure some more of the youth is going to climb the vine and it just depends on how those youngsters can perform in their first big league exposure. So, under for the Marlins and push on the Royals.

Charlie Schmidt (The Internets): For Marc:

R.J. Anderson: Truly unfauxgettable.

Rob (Alaska): Wow, Matt Joyce. I always him to get a real shot, but I was expecting more of a .260, 25 HR type of guy. What's your thought on where he ends up numbers-wise?

R.J. Anderson: I'm a big Matt Joyce fan. Joyce got off to a bit of a slow start on the home run front, but lately he seems to launch one every other game. I think 20-to-25 home runs is a fair estimate, especially if he gets a little more time versus lefties. He may not hit them well, but I think he can steal a homer or two off them.

Sandy Kazmir (The Roc): Assuming no money is part of the transaction, what is a suitable return for Jose Reyes?

R.J. Anderson: I couldn't even tell you after Fred Wilpon's comments and with Reyes health issues in the past.

Aceball (Reno): I am trippin out right now about the Buster Posey situation. Are the Giants in serious trouble? Should Buster be converted to another position? He was a shortstop as a freshman at FSU I believe. Why limit him to first base where Aubrey Huff is holding it down. I think because Buster is more athletic than the prototypical cathcer he just goes to hard behind the plate.

R.J. Anderson: Posey is more athletic than a lot of catchers and yes he did play some shortstop for the Seminoles--he also appeared at every other position during one game. Should they move him away from catching? That's hard for me to say. They knew the risks associated with catching--not just the play at the plate aspect either--and figured he was best served there, so should an incident like this change their outlook? I don't know. Maybe.

tommybones (brooklyn): Reimold just hit his 2nd homer of the day.... any chance the 2009 version returns?

R.J. Anderson: I'm hesitant to say yes because Reimold didn't hit very well in Triple-A last year or so far this year. He isn't a guy who will get by on defense or durability, so he has to hit to be on a major league squad. For now, I'd lean towards saying no, but there could be other explanations for his Triple-A stats than a slipping talent level.

Puppy-D (BAWSTON): We already know Epstien is one of the best GMs in baseball. Can't argue with 2 rings in 10 years. What do you think of how his moves from last off season are panning out?

R.J. Anderson: I was a bit stunned to see Sam Fuld still outhitting Carl Crawford a few days ago. I think he is pretty delighted to have Adrian Gonzalez on his squad, though, and eventually Crawford will turn it around. Now, if they can just get Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler healthy, the offseason could look about as good as it did in March.

Jquinton82 (NY): Considering trading Alvarez for Matusz in my dynasty league, already have ARod at 3B... thoughts?

R.J. Anderson: Usually, I don't like trading a bat for an arm. I like Matusz, and I know Alvarez has struggled, but I don't know. Maybe see how Matusz performs once he returns?

Toppah (Some reference that no one gets): With Buster Posey being out for the year, is there a sleeper at catcher that is worth getting? Also, gerrout.

R.J. Anderson: Depends on who is available in your league, but if you aren't opposed to trying to ride a hot hand, perhaps grab Saltalamacchia and see if his last few weeks are legitimate. He has an OPS near 900 in May.

fieldHat (Alaska): 12 team non keeper. I have Evan Longoria. Guy has obviously been in a terrible slump. My relief corps is very week... I was wondering how you felt about trading Longoria for a reliever?

R.J. Anderson: No. Don't do that. Just no.

S. Slowinski (A Commune ): Isn't it a shame that baseball teams don't take the spent shell casings from sunflower seeds and figure out a way to get them to generate electricity? I think it's incumbent on teams to lower their carbon foot print. Having said that, should the Rays try to sign Russ Branyan?

R.J. Anderson: Unless his medical files suggest his back is about to give out for good, I don't see the harm at big league minimum.

tommybones (brooklyn): Who appears in the bigs this year first, Kyle Blanks or Anthony Rizzo?

R.J. Anderson: I consulted with Normandin and he thinks Blanks will be up first so they find out what he's all about. Plus, the Padres have said once they bring up Rizzo, they want it to be for good.

Aceball (Reno): Yes, Buster Posey has been taking hard foul balls off the mask as well. They should put Sandoval behind the plate when he gets back. He came up as a catcher. Is that possible, to go back to catching on the fly?

R.J. Anderson: If they felt comfortable with Sandoval behind the plate, I can't imagine they would have moved him away from catching to begin with.

Matt (Chicago): The Cubs are a mess. Considering their big mkt expectations, what direction do they go in as deadline approaches?

R.J. Anderson: They could probably benefit from selling and slotting some of the ready youth (okay, mostly Brett Jackson) into the lineup, but looking around, it's not like they can move Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd is hurt, and Carlos Pena is struggling. Maybe they would move a starting pitcher (one who isn't hurt, at least) for a few prospects, otherwise, there isn't a whole lot they can do.

DaPriceIsRight (Republic of Congo): How do you think Niemann will do once activated from the DL? If he's still pitching like he was before the DL, do you see the Rays making a promotion from someone in AAA, or stay with Sonnanstine?

R.J. Anderson: Niemann probably won't be ready for another two-to-three weeks, if then, and I couldn't tell you if he'll be better than before when he returns. At this point, I'm not sure even they can justify running Sonnanstine out there. He lost his best asset and just doesn't look like a major league quality starter anymore. Maybe Alex Cobb and Alex Torres aren't ready, but gee, it doesn't feel like they could pitch much worse.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Hey R.J. Have your thoughts on the Rays place in the AL East changed two months in? Thanks for the chat.

R.J. Anderson: I still think they're the third best team in the division. I don't know how they were in first place (until a few days ago) though. They need help in order to make it a race down the stretch. Some of that will come from in-house promotions, but they need to go outside of the org for at least one player too.

Sandy Kazmir (The Roc): Continuing the Posey line of questioning, would the Giants look to move a bullpen arm for a catcher? I'd love to see a Runzler for Shoppach swap as they're stocked in the pen and Runzler's peripherals are much better than results so far.

R.J. Anderson: Supposedly the Giants wouldn't part with Runzler in the offseason for Jason Bartlett. I just can't see them turning around months later and dealing him for a catcher who hasn't impressed.

tommybones (brooklyn): Brett Lawrie's no doubt coming up soon. Any idea what a reasonable expectation for the rest of the season? What would his 2011 upside numbers be?

R.J. Anderson: My big question with Lawrie is how much of this offensive gain is because of the PCL. If it's a legit improvement then I think you look for him to become an all-star at one point or another in his career. As for this season, it's really just a coin flip. He could jump right in and perform well or he could have some struggles. He is only 21, after all.

Aceball (Reno): I don't know. I respectfully disagree with you. I think Sandoval was moved from catcher because they thought they had a guy who was going to hit .315 over a twelve year career and playing catcher would jeopardize that potential. Well, the lustere has worn off Pablo Sandoval and he is in great shape. They got Miguel Tejada, Fontenot, Manny Buress, and Sanchez to play 3B, SS, and 2B. Throw Sandoval behind the dish.

R.J. Anderson: That's fair, and the weight loss should help. I'm not sure if getting Burress into the lineup is really that much better than whoever would become the fulltime catcher.

Buc Wild (My Home Theatre (TM)): At the trade deadline, does Upton or Shields get dealt if we are within 5 games of the WC? What would the threshold be to move one or both guys?

R.J. Anderson: Again, it depends on the roster. Even if the Rays are in it, you might consider moving Upton if a package is right. Otherwise, you enter the offseason with him having only one year of team control remaining. I think Shields will stay through the end of the season.

ThgirSiEcirpAd (The Azores): Who do you project will be taken 1.1 in this year's draft? Furthermore, who do you believe the Rays will pickup with the 24th pick?

R.J. Anderson: The folks smarter than me about the draft seem to think Danny Hultzen might go first overall to the Pirates. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Rays go with someone like Brandon Nimmo at 24, but that's just speculation.

achaik (maine): Have you find a quality tonic for the stomach ailments that result from the phrase "Kyle Farnsworth loosening up for the Rays?" Because I am keeping Tums in business this season.

R.J. Anderson: Only once have I felt a little unnerved by Farnsworth closing and that came during an at-bat against David Ortiz in Fenway Park.

drmorris (SF): Posey is only the asset he is because he's a catcher. Move him to third base and he's just another bat...plus you've got a bad hitter behind the dish, just like every other club. You have to leave him back there.

R.J. Anderson: Also a good point, but if injuries continue to be a factor (and I'm not saying they will be) you have to weigh whether having him in the lineup at all is better than maximizing his value.

Aceball (Reno): The Giants wouldn't part with Runzler for Jason Bartlett. That was stupid of them.

R.J. Anderson: To be fair, Runzler's peripherals are a lot better than his ERA this season and Jason Bartlett isn't lighting it up for San Diego.

J. Keri (Montreal, NH): BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK

R.J. Anderson: The real Jonah Keri would never be so shrill. However, I would recommend The Extra 2% if you're looking for a good baseball/business book.

B. Foderero (Paml Hrabor): Do you see any more #Indians players getting #hurt? I've said for years that their #trainingstaff is going to hold them back. They're also in a division with #Verlanderhas2nonos

R.J. Anderson: I don't know enough about the Indians training staff to say either way.

mmaurer016 (FLA): Thoughts on Grady coming back? Im thinking he might be a good buy low target. Im in a 20 team head to head and a guy offered me Sergio Santos and sizemore for Beachy and Lowerie. What do u think?

R.J. Anderson: It's so hard to say because of Sizemore's health issues. I probably wouldn't do that trade, but I'm risk averse when it comes to trading talent for oft-injured players.

ElPrecioEsCorrecto (Guadalajara, Mexico): How do you feel about the Rays recent acquisition in Buente? Any chance he gets called up this season, and what would his perceived role be?

R.J. Anderson: It is what it is. Buente relies on his velocity and a good splitter, but doesn't have much else--he threw a few weak curves versus the Rays in his only big league appearance this season. For now, he'll be in Triple-A, but I just can't see him being in a major league rotation for long, although he might be decent reliever if used right.

DaPriceIsRight (Republic of Congo): Dear Mr. R.J. Anderson What is the current value of Lance Berkman in FBB and what do you think I could get for him?

R.J. Anderson: Depends on your league, but I would guess a decent haul.

tommybones (brooklyn): Aviles playing his 3rd game at SS today. Is there a shot that he takes over full time for the struggling Escobar once Moustakas gets the call at 3B?

R.J. Anderson: If I'm KC, I wouldn't unless it's just to help Escobar clear his head. Developing Escobar is more important than the upgrade Aviles provides for this Royals squad.

Bruce (toronto): What is going on with Carlos Santana?

R.J. Anderson: The natural reaction here is to cite Santana's low BABIP, but he is hitting a lot more groundballs this season. I don't know that putting the ball on the ground more helps a player of his skill set. Santana is also hitting more infield flies, so a portion of his balls in play are automatic outs. Given his history, I think he'll improve, but maybe not to the level he played at last season.

tommybones (brooklyn): Re: Aviles/Escobar at SS This IS the Royals we are talking about. I really think they have a shot at the post! Assuming they do believe that, would Aviles be the choice at SS?

R.J. Anderson: I just hope they aren't thinking like that because our Playoff Odds have them at 0.2%.

Eric Young (Colorado): When do I make it up?

R.J. Anderson: The Jonathan Herrera hype is either dying or dead, depending on your point of view and the Rockies are using Alfredo Amezaga some days at second. Anytime now, really, unless the Rockies are waiting for your Super Two date to pass.

DaPriceIsRight (Tardtown USA): What happened to David Price this year. Is he a #1 starter and having a bad year or was last year a fluke. In case you wondered, I'm awful.

R.J. Anderson: It's hard for me to believe we're talking about a pitcher with a 3.89 ERA ... and somehow his ERA is worse than the league-average. What a weird year. And I think Price is/will be fine. His peripherals have actually improved and his stuff is still really good.

Bruce (toronto): Do you think Gio Gonzalez has turned a corner and become an elite SP?

R.J. Anderson: I don't feel comfortable saying he is elite just yet, but above average? Yes.

paulbellows (Calgary): Any chance Raburn moves back to 2B? Both he and Sizemore are looking terrible right now.

R.J. Anderson: Oddly, they have identical OPS. Not sure moving Raburn back to second is doing much other than spinning the wheel.

paulbellows (Calgary): What are the chances A. Oliver sticks in the DET rotation?

R.J. Anderson: Slim this time, unless the Tigers are willing to move Brad Penny into the bullpen or onto another team.

Bruce (toronto): Bard seems to pitch well most of the time, but then will have some periods where he seems to lose his control or have problems with lefties. Can he take over from Paplebon as closer next year?

R.J. Anderson: Even if he's not, the Red Sox will still have Bobby Jenks sitting around. Also, I think most relievers go through stretches similar to Bard.

tlowell5 (Alaska): Is Philip Humber for real? He was a hot prospect for the Mets and ended up in Minnesota for Johan Santana. He never distinguished himself in the minors, but he's off to a great start with the White Sox. Can he sustain this level of performance?

R.J. Anderson: He has looked better than expected (someone in the annual threw out a Kyle Davies comp), but I'm not sold that he'll continue to have a .210 BABIP. Once that moves up, the ERA probably will too.

tommybones (brooklyn): Ugh. I meant to say that the Royals think that they can make the post! I don't think that! God, I look like an idiot now. *sigh*

R.J. Anderson: No, no, I got that. I'm just saying, I hope they don't buy too much into their chances.

paulbellows (Calgary): Any chance Carlos Santana gets sent down?

R.J. Anderson: Guessing not. Santana is still outhitting the average catcher, even with his struggles.

Bruce (toronto): Any news about John Lamb and the severity of his elbow injury?

R.J. Anderson: I haven't heard anything, but Kevin Goldstein or Jason Parks are your guys for this type of thing.

Carol (Grand Rapids): I just picked up Casey kotchman. Are you digging this move as much as i?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not sold on him at all. Still hitting a bunch of grounders and singles, which is the same recipe as before.

Just a few more before we wrap this baby up.

Dbullsfan (Tampa): The Rays are typically very methodical when the move up prospects but do you think there is any chance that Beckham and/or Lee and/or Deitrich get moved up this year. The first 2 are young for their leagues but performing extremely well and the ladder is older for his league and also performing well.

R.J. Anderson: You are correct about their patient approaches to promotions, but if they feel the players are showing real progress in the areas they designated, then yes, I could see that.

Puppy-D (Seattle): The 3rd place Rays of the AL East are facing the 3rd place Mariners of the AL West next week. How many total runs do you expect these two teams to combine for over a 4 game series? I'm going with 4 runs.

R.J. Anderson: I fully expect one team to have a 20-run outburst.

MW (Pinellas Park): Do you think RJ Swindle is close to a call up for the Rays?

R.J. Anderson: No. He isn't on the 40-man roster and the Rays have two left-handed relievers as is.

JayT (San Francisco): Would you rather have Saltalamacchia or Ramon Hernandez?

R.J. Anderson: In fantasy? Flip a coin. I don't think Hernandez will continue to play this well, but I'm not sold Saltalamacchia will build on this hot month either.

Andrew Friedman (Earf): Trust the process, brah

R.J. Anderson: That's probably a good place to end it.

Thanks for all the good questions and we'll have to do it again soon.

R.J. Anderson: Thanks for all the good questions and we'll have to do it again soon.


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