R.J. takes your questions on the playoffs and upcoming off-season moves.
R.J. Anderson: Hey folks, let's get started.
Frank (Singapore): Hi RJ,
Of all the starting pitchers aquired pre-trade dealine this year (Greinke, Dempster, Sanchex, Wandy, etc), which ones do you believe had the biggest impact on their teams short-term, and will have the biggest long-term?
R.J. Anderson: Hey Frank, I would say Zack Greinke had the biggest short-term impact. He pitched like himself with the Angels, which is to say he pitched well. Obviously Greinke wasn’t enough to push the Angels into the postseason, but it’s hard to blame him for that.
As for long-term impact, I think it has to be Rodriguez because the others are free-agents-to-be and will not bring back draft picks under the new CBA. In that sense, their value is contained to this past season only.
jlarsen (chicago): Between Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, which will likely be a better and likely cheaper "steal" in a very deep OF market in Free Agency?
R.J. Anderson: Cabrera. Pagan is coming off a good season without much in the way of blemishes. I would be surprised Cabrera signs for longer than one year. Maybe next winter.
deech (Long Island): Assuming the Mets re-sign David Wright, what do you see as their biggest move the offseason? The starting pitching is probably already their, do they trade Murphy and look at Valdespin at 2B? Sign and trade for a outfielder? Simply add to the bullpen? What can Mets fans expect this offseason?
R.J. Anderson: Tough to say what any team’s biggest move this offseason will be at this point, but I could see the Mets trading Murphy. I think they’ll move one of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, as well. My money would be on Duda heading to an American League team. He’s tough to hide on defense and his bat isn’t good enough to just accept the defensive woes. They'll probably make a few other moves, too—I could see someone like J.P. Howell landing in that bullpen.
jlarsen (chicago): Hello, old friend! James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Alex Torres, Cesar Ramos, Alex Cobb, Wade Davis or Chris Archer all likely not going to remain with the team past Winter Meetings, let alone Spring Training. How do the Rays better their roster, knowing there's a huge logjam of pitching and there's room for improvement offensively. James Shields kicked it up a notch after the deadline, but can the Rays withstand another horrible 1st half from him again?
R.J. Anderson: I don’t think Archer is going anywhere. Part of his problem was philosophical—he pitched off his slider more than he should. He seemed to solve those after getting a taste in the big leagues and realizing his fastball plays against the big boys. Otherwise, he doesn’t fit the profile of someone they’d part with at this juncture in his career.
I do see Tampa Bay trading pitching. If you want a name I’d say Nick Hundley. San Diego has enough catching, in the majors and in the minors, to move him for value. He’d fit nicely on Tampa Bay’s roster. I don’t have a good feel for what the market at first base or DH will be like (if they don’t bring back Luke Scott). Logan Morrison’s name might pop up if Miami is tired of him.
Chris (lunch): Performance-wise, the best starter acquired pre-deadline this year was Jeremy Guthrie.
R.J. Anderson: Good point. That looked like a sound deal for Kansas City at the time. I'd be surprised if they don't bring Guthrie back for another year.
Howard (Freeport, ME): With free agents pretty much out of the question, who do you see the Mets attempting to trade for?
R.J. Anderson: I think the cutesy answer here is tying a few of the previous questions together and proposing Duda to the Rays for one of those big-league ready arms. I’m not sure which arm, and I don’t know that Tampa Bay would do it. Duda would seem to fit their roster better than New York’s however.
Shawn (Waltham, MA): What (if any) moves do you see the Houston Astros trying to make this off season?
R.J. Anderson: Houston should be in full asset accumulation mode. That means making a few more trades. Jed Lowrie seems like a prime candidate to be on the move. Granted, there will be some reservations based on the premise that Lowrie might stay healthy for an entire season and then bring back a bigger bounty. I think you’ll see Houston snatch up some veteran free-agent types on one-year deals, too. In part to reenergize the fanbase, and also in part because they could get some value out of those players.
jlarsen (chicago): With the possibility that Boston can coax Toronto to part with Farrell, is there any way that Boston can get him without parting with Matt Barnes, Xander Bogearts, Gavin Cecchini or Jackie Bradley Jr.?
R.J. Anderson: Ben Cherington is a smart guy. I would be stunned if he parted with a top-five prospect type in order to acquire Farrell’s services.
Bill (New Mexico): Re Cabrera over Pagan: if Melky is going to be that much of a "steal," why aren't the Giants interested in keeping him? The fact that he's worn out his welcome there is one of the more intriguing post-season stories so far, IMO.
R.J. Anderson: It’s not a foregone conclusion that Cabrera will leave the Giants. Andrew Baggarly recently wrote that there is “openness within the Giants organization to the idea re-signing Cabrera after this season.” So who knows; they might bring him back after all.
dipotonotdipoto (brooklyn): Do you have any rooting interest in the two postseason series?
R.J. Anderson: I do not—at least not beyond rooting for two lengthy, good series. I am enjoying watching the Cardinals lineup on a near-daily basis.
Billy (Ocean): Are you contributing to the next annual?
R.J. Anderson: I am. I'll be authoring two chapters (both NL teams). That process has already started, actually.
Lil' Sebastian (The Barn): Favorite prospects?
R.J. Anderson: The last time I answered a variation of this question I believe I said Kolten Wong and Chris Archer. I'd still say those two are tops.
Hard Knox (Cali): Have you read Nate Silver's book yet?
R.J. Anderson: Nope. I do intend to pick it up after the postseason. I would say that I've heard good things, but it's Nate Silver, so what do you expect?
Jeff (Springfield): What's gotten into Pete Kozma?
R.J. Anderson: Kozma is having one of my favorite random hot streaks of the year. How often does a guy hit .232/.292/.355 over 500 Triple-A plate appearances and .333/.383/.569 over 82 big-league plate appearances in the same season? And it’s carried over to the postseason. What a weird year.
jlarsen (chicago): Barring a miracle trade of Vernon Wells, it seems likely that the Angels may part with Bourjos and one of their many extra 1B this offseason. Do you see the Rays making a push for a trade?
R.J. Anderson: Sure. The Angels could be in a position where they need another starting pitcher. They reportedly were interested in Shields and Davis before. I think a deal where Bourjos and a first baseman land in St. Pete would make sense. Though beyond that I'm not in a position to offer specifics.
dipotonotdipoto (brooklyn): Speaking of the deadline pitchers. Which haul did you like best?
R.J. Anderson: I thought Milwaukee did well getting Segura, Pena, and Hellweg.
jlarsen (chicago): Have the St. Louis Cardinals turned into this generation's Minnesota Twins? They seem to have a #10-15 range farm, but seem to reload and have a team that is prominently homegrown. Also, if loving Kolton is Wong...do you ever wanna be right?
R.J. Anderson: I wouldn't make that comparison, no. But I get the premise.
R.J. Anderson: Thanks for the questions, everyone. It's time to go get ready for today's games.