Geoff Young focuses on west coast teams for the "Western Front" column, but he'll take your questions about any clubs in his Tuesday afternoon chat.
Geoff Young: Howdy folks, let's get this party started.
FletchLives (Wisconsin): Hi Geoff. I'm wondering if the new interleague schedule will have any effect on line-up construction? Will guys, like Buster Posey, benefit from the new format by being able to DH and get a day off behind the plate throughout the season? Will this have any effect, and, if so, is it enough to make a difference?
Geoff Young: Hi Fletch, love the hair. My gut reaction is to think that it might help a guy like Posey. But the DH role is funny. He's in the lineup but he's not actually playing baseball, and some people are better at waiting for their next at-bat than others. Jesus Montero, for example, hit two-thirds of his homers as a catcher last year despite getting 90 more PA as a DH. So I think it depends on the individual. If you find the right guy, then it could help. The downside - and this is the other issue with NL teams and the DH (hello, Ryan Theriot) - is that you could hurt yourself by putting Posey into a role where he is less likely to succeed *and* having Hector Sanchez in the lineup. The short version is, I don't think it will make a difference, although it will be interesting to see if some NL teams start carrying a guy who has experience in the DH role to try and gain an advantage there.
temple (madison wi): given the trade that brought crawford to the dodgers, where does yasiel puig play? i'm assuming puig will be big league ready by the middle of 2013.
Geoff Young: Hi Temple, thanks for the question. Puig has 23 minor-league games under his belt and turns 22 in December. The Dodgers signed him to a huge contract, and the easy comparison is to Yoenis Cespedes, but Cespedes played last season as a 26-year-old. I don't think there should be a sense of urgency to get Puig to the big club. Fans may want to see an immediate return on investment, but the real value is in getting him to LA and keeping him there. So for me, a guy like Crawford - assuming he's healthy - provides a nice safety net while the Dodgers evaluate Puig's development as a player and his acclimation to the United States. If Puig is as good as many folks think he is, he will create his own opportunity and "where he plays" will sort itself out before long.
Chopper (Indy): With the Cardinals' inevitable loss of Kyle Lohse, do you see them being active in the free agent sp market? Besides Wainwright, Shelby Miller, maybe Garcia, Carpenter and Westbrook, they are a bit light. I think Kelly or Rosenthal could replace Lynn.
Geoff Young: Hi Chopper. I'm not sure what the Cardinals might be thinking, but if I ran things, I'd wouldn't be looking to replace Lohse's 2012 performance. Adam Wainwright should improve a year removed from surgery and Chris Carpenter should give the team more than three starts. I'd be targeting guys to slot in behind those two, guys who maybe are on level with what Lohse was when he came to St. Louis. Specifically, I'd be looking at Joe Blanton, Edwin Jackson, Shaun Marcum, and Anibal Sanchez. If I wanted to gamble, I might make a play for Scott Baker. But this all says more about my process than the Cardinals', so take it with a grain of salt.
sykklone (IA): What are your thoughts on David Dahl in terms ceiling? Better or worse prospect than Story?
Geoff Young: Hi Sykklone. I'm a big Dahl fan and I know I'm not alone. The comps that keep getting thrown around are all former All-Stars. He's extremely young but I believe he has a chance to be an impact player. For as untrustworthy as Rookie League numbers are, the fact that he led the Pioneer League in total bases just out of high school while facing older competition is impressive. As to whether he's better or worse than Story, that's a tough call. Dahl for me has higher upside, but Story is closer to the big leagues and still pretty darned good in his own right. Basically it's a nice problem to have. Now if only the Rockies had more of those guys, especially on the pitching side.
jlarsen (chicago): Will Nick Hundley get non-tendered? Seems to me that the organization has soured on him greatly over the last year.
Geoff Young: Hi jlarsen, thanks for the question. The Padres signed Hundley to a 3-year, $9 million deal last March so he'll be in the mix. I don't know that the Padres have soured on him since then so much as they've witnessed the emergence of Yasmani Grandal, who appears to the be club's catcher of the present and future (at least until Austin Hedges is ready, which creates a nice "problem"). Assuming his right knee is healthy, Hundley gives the Padres an insurance policy for Grandal and could have trade value to another team.
temple (madison wi): in oakland with pennington traded, and drew not getting a contract, it seems that sizemore, j weeks and donaldson all get infield jobs. just asking for a gut reaction here--will they all be able to keep their jobs? who will come back with a better offensive year s sizemore or j weeks?
Geoff Young: Donaldson is limited to third base, which is also Sizemore's best position. My gut says that Weeks will be at second and Sizemore at third. Weeks will improve but continue to enigmatic like his brother. Although Sizemore lacks the power normally associated with third base, if he's healthy, his all-around offensive game is stronger than Jemile's. So I'll say Weeks at 2B, Sizemore at 3B, Donaldson at UT, with Sizemore having a better offensive year than Weeks.
fredlummis (Houston): Are the Astros as screwed as it would seem moving into the loaded AL West? I mean, if Oakland can win that division with low-rent fielders and home grown pitching, don't we have a fair chance to contend using the same model?
Geoff Young: Hi Fred. Yeah, the Astros are going to have a tough time for a while in their new division. Then again, that would have been true in their old division as well. Following the Oakland model seems like a good idea; the trick is getting the talent to make that happen. The Astros aren't there yet, but with smart people running the show, they might improve sooner than folks expect.
Chopper (Indy): What ETA would you expect for Skaggs and Bradley in the Snakes' rotation, and do you think Wilin Rosario is poised to be one of the leading offensive catchers in the game in the near future?
Geoff Young: Skaggs saw action with the big club last year, so he could be in the rotation at any moment. Bradley just finished his first pro season. It was a dominant performance, but he's 20 years old and he needs to improve his command. I'm thinking 2015, with a possible cup of coffee toward the end of 2014? As for Rosario, if he cleans up his defensive game, he'll be a stud behind the plate. If not, his bat is still good enough to be more than useful.
Bryant (San Diego): I know you're a "no fences" kind of guy, but what do you think of the Padres' decision to move the fences in at PETCO Park? Do you think it will have a positive or negative impact for the home team moving forward, or are you just waiting to see if it looks pretty, like me?
Geoff Young: Hi Bryant. I have concerns about the new dimensions mainly because the old ones served the Padres well. Every case is different and this is only one season's worth of data, but when the Mets moved their fences in last year, it benefited opponents more than the home team. I hope that doesn't happen at Petco Park. And yeah, no fences would rock.
BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): What do you think the Rays should do with James Shield and David Price?
Geoff Young: Hi Bobcat. Ride them until their arms fall off? Less facetiously, Shields still has two club options. I'd pick up this year's and, assuming all goes well, next year's when the time comes. Extending Price would be nice, but I have no idea how receptive he might be to that. His value on the open market probably won't ever be higher than it is now.
Marinersstill (Henderson ): What will it take to get an Upton in Seattle?
Geoff Young: Hi Mariners. An Upton, eh? B.J.: Too much money. Justin: Depends on Kevin Towers' mood. Seattle has some good young arms, but I'm not sure it makes sense to trade one of them for a corner outfielder who teases at greatness without ever getting there.
Bryant (San Diego): Rank your favorite Rob Crow projects. Plus, thoughts on the new Pinback album.
Geoff Young: 1) Heavy Vegetable. 2) [huge gap]. 3) Thingy. 4) Pinback. 5) Everything else. I haven't heard the new Pinback. It's probably awesome and it probably will make me long for Heavy Vegetable.
Frederick (T Hills): Thanks for the chat today. I have questions on a couple of guys. Darrin Ruf will he become a decent MLB bat?
Heath Hembree does he make the major league roster next season?
Geoff Young: Hi Frederick, thanks for the questions. Ruf's impressive power display last season is softened a bit by the fact that he did it as a 25-year-old in Double-A. Still, that was quite a display and I'd think a team would have room for his bat as a platoon option (he destroyed lefties in 2012) or coming off the bench. As for Hembree, that's a loaded bullpen, but we'll see him up with the Giants at some point.
Luke (SF): Blanco doesn't strike me as an full season, every day LF but I wouldn't mind him in a platoon CF with Brown after we sign Victorino, feasible?
Geoff Young: Hi Luke. Blanco had a good year, but I agree that he is stretched as a starter. Ideally he's a fourth outfielder for me.
jlarsen (chicago): What's the use of the Gold Glove awards if some of the voters factor in offensive prowess when deciding who gets the award at a certain position? I've noticed how some years that the best overall defensive player get passed over, due to fact that they hit below .300 and had single-digit HRs?
Geoff Young: What's the use of any award? I don't know. Sometimes I think awards exist solely for the purpose of generating arguments, but Rafael Palmeiro might have a different opinion.
sitdancer (DC): Any chance we will see Tijuan Walker in Seattle next season?
Geoff Young: Hi sitdancer. If we do see Taijuan Walker in 2013, my guess is that it won't be until the second half at least, probably September. Walker will play next year as a 20-year-old, so there's no hurry.
jlarsen (chicago): Reports going out today that Dodgers are "open to trading" Andre Ethier? Why sign him to a long-term extension earlier in the season if this was going to be the end result?
Geoff Young: Well, when the Dodgers signed Ethier to the extension, they didn't know they would acquire Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez two months later. So that changed. Also, when healthy, Ethier has a skill set that a lot of teams could use. Sometimes signing a guy to a long-term deal can increase his trade value because potential partners know he won't walk after a year or two.
Tommy (Flowmont): What happened to Chris Young (Ari) this year? Will A.J. Pollock and Adam Eaton earn some PT this year?
Geoff Young: Hi Tommy, thanks for the question. I don't think Young ever recovered from his early-season injury. He got off to that great start, then missed a bunch of time, and wasn't right the rest of the year. Seems like the Diamondbacks sold low there, but they know more about their player than I do. Pollock and Eaton are logical candidates to soak up some of his at-bats in 2013. Neither projects as a star but both are as ready as they'll ever be.
sitdancer (DC): Who are your favorite players not yet legal to drink in this country? Which of them might play in the big league without being able to sip the victory champagne due to their youth?
Geoff Young: I'm a huge Austin Hedges fan, but he won't be up anytime soon. Off the top of my head, and without doing actual research, I'd think Manny Machado is a good bet to be there next year at age 20.
jlarsen (chicago): You think that the Angels were kicking themselves a bit at the end of the season when Fernando Rodney broke Eck's ERA record? While Ernesto Frieri looked good, he was the team's 3rd or 4th closer for the year and wasn't even on the team to begin the season.
Geoff Young: I doubt the Angels are kicking themselves. They got good value out of Frieri, and Rodney had shown zero indication that he was capable of doing anything close to what he ended up doing. But such is the nature of relievers. Plus the hat. I still want to fix that for him.
Alex (Anaheim): How will 2013 be the first time the Yankees have visited PETCO Park?
Geoff Young: Hi Alex, good question. MLB scheduling usually makes so much sense. Seriously? I have no idea, but it will be good for attendance.
jlarsen (chicago): Haren, Santana, Morales, Bourjos and Trumbo...who do you see remaining with the Angels when the calendar flips in January?
Geoff Young: Total guesses, but I'm going with Trumbo and possibly Morales.
Gob (A magic convention): What does Chase Headley's line look like next year?
Geoff Young: Hi Gob. If one player embodied "youneverknow" last year, it was Headley. Just when I'd assumed he was headed down the Dave Magadan path of high OBP and no power, he went out and hit 31 homers. He's the right age and his home park is about to become less pitcher-friendly. This is a WAG, but I'd say .280/.370/.460 as a baseline.
jlarsen (chicago): Any non-superstar/star-level players who could be non-tendered that teams should kick the tires on?
Geoff Young: With the caveat that I did less than two seconds of research, some interesting names to me are Kyle Blanks, George Kottaras, Nyjer Morgan, Mark Reynolds, Brendan Ryan, Gaby Sanchez, Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart, Drew Stubbs, Dallas Braden, Philip Humber, Tommy Hunter, Jair Jurrjens, Mike Pelfrey, and Jerome Williams.
Bryant (San Diego): Which new team did you find yourself gravitating towards the most as you couldn't watch the Padres from the comfort of your own home?
Geoff Young: I watched mainly Angels and A's games. I gravitated more toward the A's over the final two months because they were fun to watch. They weren't supposed to be winning like that. Cespedes is awesome, and the whole "Weekend at Bernie's" thing amused me to no end. Plus A.J. Griffin went to my alma mater and I watched him pitch in college. Go Toreros!
Brandon (San Diego): Hopefully now that the Padres Pitching Plague is behind them, I feel a solid starter is a pressing need for the Padres. When Luebke returns back from the dead we should have Volquez, Luebke, Stultz, Richard, [body]. Whom do you think the Padres should throw in there? Personally, and I know this is a pipe dream, but I'm liking James Shields.
Geoff Young: Hi Brandon, thanks for the question. I like Shields, too, but we're gonna need a bigger pipe. The tricky thing with the fences moving is that they can't just go get some random Kevin Correia type and hope it works. Clayton Richard led the NL in homers allowed last year despite calling Petco Park home. Some of the guys I mentioned above as being candidates for the Cardinals might be good fits in San Diego as well. Edwin Jackson wouldn't be a bad idea, but do the Padres have what it takes to sign him? I don't know.
jlarsen (chicago): Which teams seem more likely to acquire pitchers through trades than Free Agency this offseason?
Geoff Young: I don't have an answer for this, but I love the question. It's the sort of thing that could get me thinking all day. Not only in terms of need, but in terms of which front offices prefer building through trades vs free agency.
temple (Madison, Wi): thanks for the chat. great job. i know this is an east coast question, but...do you see ruben tejada as a fringy starter or does he improve on last year's stats (granted he was hurt last year and did not get all the ABs that other starters did)
Geoff Young: Thanks, Temple! Tejada seems like a fringy starter to me. He has youth on his side but a low ceiling. My guess is he'll have a nice career - maybe a few years starting, then more of a utility guy - but never be an impact player.
Paul Sporer (Austin, TX): Awesome piece on the NL West draft history today, Geoff!
Geoff Young: Thanks, Paul; glad you enjoyed it!
Tommy (Flowmont): Is Scott Rolen looking to play another yeat? It seems like he retirement announcement was imminent, but nothing happened.
What should the Reds expect from Todd Frazier next year?
Geoff Young: I don't know, but I hope not. I drafted Rolen in a Scoresheet league when he was in A-ball, so I have fond memories of him coming up with the Phillies back in the day. It's tough to see his career crumble at the end. Same with Todd Helton. Or Brian Giles a few years ago. As for Frazier, he'll be as good as Dusty Baker lets him be.
Santi Cazorla (Sacramento): The Angels have lost both Eddie Bane and Tom Kotchman from their scouting department. Is this simply attrition or something sinister afoot?
Geoff Young: Hi Santi. Having no knowledge of the situation at all, my guess would be attrition. Guys move around a lot for many different reasons. But yeah, Kotchman has been there a long time, so... I guess what I'm saying is that your guess literally and figuratively is as good as mine.
Geoff Young: Okay, that's my time. Thanks for all the excellent questions. We'll do it again soon. Try the meatloaf, tip your waiter. If you're on the East Coast with these storms, be safe. Later!