With the Winter Meetings approaching, BP's resident former GM drops by to share his offseason thoughts.
Dan Evans: Really have enjoyed these BP chats in past! Looking forward to all your questions. Happy Birthday to Vin Scully, Ross Porter, and Minnie Minoso. Let's get started!
BusterR (Queens): How much influence do you have over the prospect lists coming out on BP?
Dan Evans: Leading off, BusterR! Jason Parks and our prospect staff do an incredible amount of work of those, and I get to see everything they do in preparation. I contribute too. I am really impressed with their ability to assemble information and the lists. The Red Sox list is out today.
Derek (Kansas City): If you were to redraft the 2012 class, how would you round out the top 10?? Thanks!
Dan Evans: Thanks for participating, Derek! I think it is a little too early to reshuffle the deck on the 2012 draft, as until players get into a full season you're not sure of how well they will adjust to the pro game. I am a huge fan of Max Fried. Keep in mind that the new CBA rules were involved for the first time also.
Tommy (Flowmont): Do you anticipate any surprises of players that are non-tendered?
Dan Evans: Good question, Tommy, especially with tomorrow being the key day for that. It is a difficult process, because sometimes clubs have their own internal salary restrictions due to budgets and cannot be public about it due to strategy. I think that you will continue to see moves in the next 24 hours as teams juggle their tender decisions. Seldom involves starting pitching. This is all about knowing your opponents, and if your ear is to the ground, you can swoop up and make a solid move.
Junior (AZ): What prospects were you surprise were not added to their team's 40 man roster and might get drafted in the 5 rule draft?
Dan Evans: Thanks for the question, Junior. Guessing that you're not one of the two Powerball winners. Rather than go into individual names for the Rule 5 Draft, you need to know that when a club leaves a player unprotected, it is not because they don't like the player, it is usually because they think the player, if drafted, will return, and in effect it gives them ability to protect another guy. Clubs tend to overprotect guys early in their career, hoping for the player to get it all together. I left guys available at times who I really liked but thought the risk to lose another player permanently was too great. There are some good arms available this year, mostly in deeper organizations who have a tough time getting everyone on their roster.
jlarsen (chicago): Lots can be said about the Rays farm system, anywhere from it being a seemingly never-ending factory for pitchers or the thin amount of power-hitting positional prospects that are contained in the 9 different teams. First, what is your opinion of the Rays farm system? Next, Mikie Mahtook seems to never get much mention as he nears landfall in St. Pete. Will he have any impact at the major league level or is he just a fun, high-intensity guy to watch?
Dan Evans: Thanks for your question, jlarsen, wondering what part of my hometown you're writing from today. I have a lot of respect for the Rays, as what they have done in their incredibly tough division is remarkable. Their scouting director, RJ Harrison, is really good, and their player development staff, led by Mitch Lukevics, is also top notch. It is REALLY hard to find power, especially when you're drafting deeper die to having a winning club. Their 2011 draft will benefit them for years. They have done a great job developing pitchers, a key ingredient to a winning organization. As for Mahtookl, I have seen him since LSU
jlarsen (chicago): The Rays outspent the 2.9 MIL IFA bonus pool by good margin and will be penalized for it in the '13 class. However, the interesting question is...why is the penalty regulating how much the team can sign a player for and not a lowered bonus pool?
Dan Evans: Wish I had the CBA nearby. Will work on this as we go through this chat and hopefully get to you. Lots of questions.
michaelgrace (Chicago): With the Cubs' fondness for 'damaged goods' players this off-season, are there any once-broken 3B options the north siders could go after?
Dan Evans: Thanks for the question, michaelgrace. Third base is a really tough position to find options, as it might be the most difficult infield position to fill. It all comes down to the Cubs' game plan, and whether they are interested in long term solutions. They may have the long term answers in their system. I saw where Vitters joined a second Venezuelan club this week and I am sure ey are hoping thatbhenis an option
Bryant (San Diego): Was wondering about San Diego-based draft classes for 2014 & beyond. Besides guys like Grant Fennell & Alexander Jackson, are there any teams/players I should be on the lookout for? Thanks.
Dan Evans: Great question, Bryant. That area is always solid, but seems to be even better the last couple years. I loved what I saw from Alexander Jackson at the Area Code Games, as he was the most impressive player there for me. Showed lot of bat potential at a young age and looked as though he may be able to remain behind the plate which would make him a very early draft. I also like Jordan Pearce from Oceanside area in the '14 class. It appears the 2015 class might be even better.
Bill (New Mexico): Thanks for doing this. As a former GM, how difficult is it for a GM to go to the winter meetings and sit on his hands? Is there pressure to make moves just to be perceived as doing something? I ask because it looks like that's the position John Mozeliak finds himself in -- nothing to do but grit his teeth unless someone offers him something ridiculous. Would you trade places with him?
Dan Evans: Good question, Bill. You have to keep in mind that the Winter Meetings are really an artificial element in the off-season, because moves can be made at any time. When I started in baseball there was a deadline after the meetings, which made it pressure packed. John is in a good spot, in that he has a good club, a terrific farm system, so he'll be okay. You do feel as though you would like to do some things at the Meetings, because there is a lot of attention on your club, huge media contingent, and a lot of staff there with you. Key is what you do over the course of the ENTIRE off-season.
Frank (Singapore): Hi Dan,
Bucs fan here, and as you know we get our thrills over small victories! Just saw the Bucs signed 4 new scouts (Ricky Bennett, Carlos Berroa, Ron Hopkins, and John Kosciak), all senior guys with lots of experience. Is this a good, under-the-radar move, or common? Is there now a leaning back toward scouts, vs sabermetric guys?
Dan Evans: Wow, Frank, Singapore? You win the farthest question award! The Pirates hired some good people there, solid guys. Any organization that thinks you don't need scouts or saber metrics isn't as smart as they think. A blend is essential to making good decisions. Considering that most players on a post-season aren't stars, but instead solid, contributing players with good tools and instincts, scouts are key in the process.
Reggie (Btown): Thanks for the chat.
Is Broxton really the answer in Cincinnati? I know the contract is not extreme and they have Marshall and Arrendondo. Just not any of the moves I was expecting from the Reds.
Dan Evans: Thanks for the question, Reggie. Broxton was drafted on my watch in Los Angeles, so I am partial to him. Solid guy with experience. It all depends what the Reds a going to do with Chapman. Bryan Price is one of the best pitching coaches in the game, and really solid on evaluation, so he will play a major role here. I like Marshall a ton, think he has absolutely nasty stuff. Their pen was pretty darn good.
jlarsen (chicago): Which prospect would you pick if you had the first pick in the Rule 5 draft? Also, can you explain the Minor League portion of the Rule 5? Same 40-Man standards that make prospects eligible for the MLB portion or is it years in the minors?
Dan Evans: If my organization had the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft, I would take the individual who had the highest long term upside according to the scouts who saw him. If he is a while away, I would make sure that the manager participated before the selection to fully understand why his roster might actually be 24 the following season. If that guy didn't exist, then I would look for someone who could be a solid contributor to the Major League club in 2013, a subordinate player with skills that our organization did not currently have. I love the Rule 5 because it rewards organizations who are hard working and creative. It is a fantastic process, and a great way to fully examine other organization's depth.
Jesse (CA): Your thoughts on what type of contract Zack Greinke should get?
Dan Evans: He will be well-rewarded, as for me he is clearly the best available starter in the open market. He was outstanding the final couple months for the Angels. I saw him completely dominate clubs. Have LOVED his arm since he was in high school, and feel that whoever gets him will be very happy and whoever doesn't will not like their options as much.
Leo (Texas): What type of contract would you offer Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton?
Dan Evans: Leo, it is all about supply and demand, and weighing the free agent market against the trade possibilities. I would have more interest in Greinke than Hamilton, only because I am really pitching oriented, plus Greinke is 29 months younger.You have to identify your fall back positions and see whether you need to get uncomfortable in your offers because you covet the player's talent that much compared to your options. Also need to examine your budget and see what fits.
Justin (MO): In a keeper league would you rather keep Brett Lawrie or Kris Medlen? Thanks for the input!
Dan Evans: Thanks for participating, Justin. What stats are critical in your keeper league?
MacDice (Seattle): The bigger name free agents always take longer to sign. At what point as a GM, with limited resources, do you switch from plan A (assuming you think that you are still in play for that player) to plan B so that you don't get shutout and still improve your team? The longer you hold out for a specific player increases the chances that you fall back plan may be gone.
Dan Evans: You had best be working on Plan B the entire time, MacDice from the great city of Seattle. Actually might want to examine Plans C, D, E, and F too. If you have limited resources, as you mention, not knowing your options can be a disaster. If creative and flexible, you can always get the job done. I had less than $5 million to spend before the 2004 season and it all worked out well with a division title. Sometimes you have to walk away from your best option because the cost is too great and the risk of staying in the hunt is too costly.
Alex (Anaheim): Will Upton be an upgrade over Bourn assuming the Braves let him walk?
Dan Evans: Thank you for your question, Alex. Raining there this morning? I like both of those guys, and feel they are different type players. Bourn is more of a table setter where Upton is a middle of the order bat. I think the Braves had two great options, and likely felt they needed more run production from the right hand side, and the loss of Chipper contributed to that. I like the signing for the Braves, and feel that Bourne will have plenty of interested parties too.
tim (Illinois): The 2 new Cubans. As a Cubs fan, any chance on my team signing them by mid-January?
Dan Evans: Good question, Tim. Have not seen those two guys in person, so at a bit of a disadvantage regarding their skills. Always a lot of complications regarding international sig Inge when they involve defections, so my suggestion is that we monitor the situation fully. I wish I had a better grasp of their exact situation, but very few would at this stage.
jlarsen (Highland Park, IL): Yankees acquired Eli Whiteside, then sign him to a deal within last week or so to avoid arbitration. However, they end up just DFA'ing him yesterday to make room for Pettitte. Why all the trouble in acquiring & signing him to a deal, when you were just going to attempt to put him through waivers in long-run in hopes to have him ready in SWB "in case of emergency"?
Dan Evans: Love Highland Park, jlarsen. Great place to live. You don't win with 25 guys, and an older club needs even more depth. Brian Cashman is absolutely brilliant, constantly finds options, so I like that deal. If you're rigid in your thinking this time of the year, you will regret it next season when you don't have options.
Patrick Newman (SF Bay Area): Any picks on "4A" players could could surprise next year?
Dan Evans: Hello, Patrick, good to hear from you! Those 4A contributions are usually a product of excellent scouting and creative organizations. Smart teams recognize their flaws and sometimes one of those guys fits perfectly for their team that year and might not be a good fit the following. I would hate to label a particular guy as a 4A player in a chat, but think you win when you have the most toys over the course of the grinding season.
John Carter of Hootstown (Toronto by way of Connecticut): Toronto claims that Maicer Izturis is their starting secondbaseman. Boston has Jonny Gomes and David Nava penciled in their starting outfield. Is there a trend now from sabermetric oriented teams away from young high ceiling players to overachievers?
Dan Evans: Outstanding question, John Carter of Hootstown! I will focus on Izturis, who I really like because of his intangibles. Has a knack for doing a lot of little things right on a daily basis, extremely good instincts, and he is a terrific hitter in clutch situations with quality at bats. Great selection by the Jays in my opinion, as he is a winning player. Makeup so important, and he, Gomes, and Nava are those types. Their contribution to a club is big picture. Scouting always adds dimensions that cannot be achieved strictly by stats, and that's why smart organizations rely on both to minimize risk and maximize their return.
Andrew (Los Angeles): Hi Dan, enjoy your work. Thoughts on Yasiel Puig?
Dan Evans: Thanks for the kind words, Andrew. Serious power and tools. Saw him in Rancho Cucamonga and liked his talent. Big guy and only 21. Dodger scouts have good feel for players. Have heard he needs to grow up a little and that is part of anyone's development. If he hits with the type of power that he is equipped with, no one will question what it took to get him.
dipotonotdipoto (brooklyn): Can you explain how teams key in on minor league free agents? Did you focus on players you used to like or was it based on scouting done during the season?
Dan Evans: Really good question, dipotonotdipoto from Brooklyn. Minor league free agents are part of a season long scouting approach, identifying those guys from Day One of spring training if you're doing it right. Identify the players who have that status in the upcoming off-season and really scout them closely. Lot of really good players have been discovered and got opportunity because of that rule. Sometimes it is a guy whom you have had a gut feel on in the past.
John (Florida): Favorite 2014 draft prospects from WWBA in Jupiter ?
Dan Evans: Loved the WWBA tourney run by Perfect Game, John. have attended it numerous times. I ended up liking the underclassmen as much as the 2013 players. Loved RHP Touki Toussaint the best of anyone there. Also liked Nick Gordon, Justus Sheffield, Grant Hockin, Kei Johnson, Jonah Patton, Cobi Johnson, Dalton Guthrie, and Partick Wiseman. Loved Dazmon Cameron from the 2015 class, chance to be an exceptional player and has great parents.
Steve G. (Athens, OH): Hey Mr. Evans,
What would you say was the most difficult or frustrating part of your job as GM of the Dodgers?
Dan Evans: Appreciate the questions, Steve G from Athens. Easily the most frustrating aspect of the Dodgers situation was not being able to see our gameplan through, but so proud of how well it worked out. Every element of the club improved, both in the big leagues and within scouting and player development, and that was my goal. Thought we would win by year three and did. Hardest part was not being able to see as many players as I had in the past or do now, but that comes with the territory. I was so lucky to be able to assemble such a great staff and just loved my time there.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): I know there is little to no chance (and even that is an exaggeration) that Texas would trade Profar. But if the Cardinals would be willing to include Shelby Miller & Trevor Rosenthal, would that at least pique the Rangers’ interest?
Dan Evans: Thanks for the question, Kingpin. Guessing a lot of threes being hoisted in your gyms recently. I always think you should be willing to at least listen, because you never know what value the other club paces on your and their players. There are guys who you believe you would never consider moving, but a good professional relationship with the other side usually provides some element of reality. Keep in mind that about 90% of deals discussed never get to the finish line anyway.
Tommy (Flowmont): Let me pose another question directed toward being a former GM. What is your take on the Marlins recent situation? Plus are you more understanding from sitting in the GM chair?
Dan Evans: Having been in the game a while and having the GM position gives me a linkage angle on that one, Tommy from Flowmont. Ultimately, the owner of the franchise makes the final decision, and if you recognize that, every difficult situation gets more manageable. The Marlins' senior baseball staff are solid guys with a really good track record, so they'll make the best of it. I do think that a lot of people overrated them entering the 2012 season.
jj0501 (Eastern Washington): I keep hearing Tampa Bay likes Mark Reynolds as a potential fit for their system. My question is what in his
skill set makes him a match for them ? As an outsider, I just see a lot of K's, decent walks, and a couple of hot streaks every year. Is this a case of the price being right for the customer's budget and special needs ?
Dan Evans: Good question, jj0501 from Eastern Washington. Reynolds, like every player, has flaws, but also has skills that aren't easily found. The Rays have seen him a lot over his career since they are in the same division, so their field staff knows him well also. Again, supply and demand comes into play, as how many right-handed bats are available, and how much will he cost and for how many years? Plus, is there anyone in the system who will be blocked? American League clubs have that added ability of the Dh, which gives you some flexibility in making position player decisions. I liked how he took to 1B in 2012, as he displayed much better hands than I had expected. Plus, in Late August and early September he was amazing against the Yankees.
zlatko (winnipeg): compare mike trout and matt kemp in terms of defensive contribution, kemp's 2011 season vs. trout 2012
Dan Evans: Zlatko from Winnepeg, those are two guys that I get a chance to watch play a lot in person. Kemp throws better than Trout, and I think they both play absolutely fearlessly in center field. I think Trout's 2012 defense was superior to Kemp's 2011, as Trout was so special on balls over his head, as good as I have I ever seen. I won't use any sabermetric tools to evaluate them, and go right from the gut and my eyes, but I would favor Trout '12 over Kemp '11.
Chris (AZ): Hi Dan, thanks for the chat. If you are Dayton Moore, do you even begin to think about trading a guy like Wil Myers for Jon Lester or James Shields?
Dan Evans: You have to always consider a deal for an established, high-end starting pitcher, especially when your side is moving an unproven minor leaguer. That doesn't mean that you have to do it. Myers' value will never be higher than it is right now. Those two starters you mentioned might not even be available, so don't get too excited. It all comes down to what your other options are, and how much they will cost in terms of players, money, and commitment. The Royals are on the brink of some really good things, and that fan base is so damn ready for a winning product. Dayton Moore has a good feel for the game, and learned from one of the greatest GM's ever in John Schuerholz.
Cole (St. Louis): Do you think Brett Lawrie bounces back next year?
Dan Evans: Cole, I like his game, and feel that he should be a better guy in all phases next year. I didn't think he was as good a defender in 2012 as he was a year ago, but I do not see him play everyday. it is about expectations, too. If you think he is going to be a 30-homer guy at the hot corner, I think you'll be disappointed more often than not. He needs to be more patient at the plate and calm his game down just a little bit.
Brian (Tinley Park): Dan -
Always enjoy the articles and your chats.
Assuming that there are some differences in how things will be run between Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams, how much freedom do you expect Rick to receive in putting his stamp on the current roster as well as how trades and the minor leagues are run?
I am interested in seeing if Rick will favor a more balanced approach to how the lineup is constructed rather than the all or nothing approach that has been prevelant under Kenny's watch.
Thanks again, Brian
Dan Evans: Thanks, Brian. How's Tinley Park today? I think Rick is going to be a very good GM and he has the respect from the people in his organization. You never know how someone will be in that role until they get there, but my guess is that the White Sox will be in very good hands under Rick's tenure. He has Buddy Bell as one of his closest advisors, and that gives him a great chance of succeeding.
Justin (MO): It's about even with hitter and pitcher stats with 10 categories in each area including: (Hitters) H, R, HR, TB, RBI, BB, K, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG; (Pitchers) H, K, QS, CG, W, L, SV, HD, ERA, WHIP, K/9. Thanks for your response
Dan Evans: I would take the pitcher over the hitter, Justin
Cole (St. Louis): Early predictions: Who are your favorites for NL and AL rookie of the year for next year?
Dan Evans: Tough one, Cole. Wish I had more time to ponder that great question. My gut says that Trevor Bauer and Adeiny Hechavarria will impact their big league clubs next year, but I don't have everyone's names in front of me right now. I should have brought Jason Martinez' great MLB Depth Charts with me today but forgot them. Sorry.
Rob (Alaska): On the theory that teams know their own players best, is there any concern for other teams that Atlanta passed on Bourn? Or is Upton just a better fit? I think some teams are worried that if Bourn's legs/speed go, there's nothing left.
Dan Evans: Rob from Alaska, my guess and it is only a guess, is that they felt Upton's power was superior to Bourn's speed package. They are such different players, different roles in the lineup and overall skills. I don't think clubs are necessarily passing on Bourn, instead exploring options. Bourn is a really good player and they have had him for the last year and one-half.
cristian (los angeles): in your opinion can you please rate the top 3-5 SPs, in terms of talent and being able to perform on a big stage....
Dan Evans: Great question, cristian. For me, there are only about 12-15 true #1 type starting pitchers, and part of being that guy is the ability to step up your game and produce when your club most requires it. My top five starters, in no particular order, would be Kershaw, Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Cain, and Price, with Jared Weaver a close sixth.
edwardarthur (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois): Thanks for the chat, Dan! Mark Buehrle's comments have cast a light on the practice of unwritten agreements between players and teams. My sense is that, unlike in Buehrle's case, these are fairly common and generally are followed by both sides (Roger Clemens' handshake extension with the Yankees comes to mind). Is that right and, if so, can you comment on what you would view as legitimate (and illegitimate) reasons for making such agreements?
Dan Evans: Edwardarthur, good question. First off, I have Known Mark since he was drafted by the White Sox, as we were both in that organization together at the time. He is an absolute winner, one of the best teammates I have ever been around. When negotiating a contract, a lot of stuff is said, all of it on the record between the two parties. There are contract clauses that can be included if you feel strongly about an item. Every club has its own concepts about they will and will. It do, but every player can also talk to every team. Ultimately, everybody has to decide what is the best overall deal. I was taught that anything you say you'll do, you better be really sure that you back it up. Tough situation for both sides there.
Jake (Kalamazoo): What do you think the implications are of all the new TV money for MLB parity? If you combine the new incoming TV money plus revenue sharing plus the luxury tax, isn't there a chance that the spread between top and bottom payrolls tightens significantly? Would this be a good thing? It seems to me it would at least address a perception concern among casual fans.
Dan Evans: That's a great question, Jake, and I wish I was more aware of every club's contractural situation in regards to broad asking, but I will check wi Maury Brown on this later. Having a lot of financial resources doesn't mean you will always make the right decision however, as you still need to know who can play and who fits fits best. I agree that there is a threat to the overall balance when a club has a significant dollar advantage, but that team still has to make good decisions.
Jim (Seattle): A quick glance in the chat script and hopefully this one hasn't been asked. How do you view "the new TV money" and projected 2014 luxury tax limit big market teams like Yankees/RedSox? On the other end, Dodgers seems ready to purchase the Moon plus Mars if they can, but without young talent injections, that approach spell "bubble" to me. Did I miss something?
Dan Evans: Good question, Jim, and we have discussed it a little. Plus I was cut off in my last answer. You still have to make good baseball editions, regardless of how much money you have at your disposal. If a club has huge dollars but makes poor moves, they will be hamstrung down the line and lose chances of getting better, becoming stagnant. The Moon has good lateral movement by the way, but has yet to hit a breaking ball.
zlatko (winnipeg): Thanks Dan, last question for you regarding Trout. He posted a 10.7 WAR, was 3 runs shy of tying DiMaggio’s A.L. rookie runs record (132), have we seen the best of him? Or is he the real deal?
Dan Evans: Zlatko, he is totally the real deal, a great throwback type player with exceptional drive and instincts who comes to play every single day. I really enjoy watching him play every day. He may never attain those type numbers again, but he has exceptional skills. Impacted a club like no position player rookie that I have seen since Griffey because he was excellent offensively and defensively in the middle of the diamond. A joy to watch play everyday.
jlarsen (Highland Park, IL): What good-to-very good college player has disappointed you the most in fact that he never acclimated to hitting or showed the immense power that he once had in College?
Dan Evans: Biggest disappointment for me through the years was that JD Drew never was the player whom I thought he might be on a consistent basis. Joe Borchard would be my second choice.
zlatko (Winnipeg): Blue Jays are being marketed as "Canada's Team", and hypothetically speaking that would include over 20 million households, do you see the Blue Jays as a big market club and do you see them reaching the World Series within the next five years?
Dan Evans: Zlatko, the Jays' fan base is massive, and It is the largest MLB city with only one franchise. I will never forget how tough it was to play in SkyDome in the early 1990's. I think they were shrewdly waiting to act like a big market club when their farm system could support it and their foundation strong enough to compete in that tough division. They still need to address their bullpen a little bit, but they are set up to be a vastly improved club in 2012. But their division might only allow incremental improvement and that is where expectations will be key for their fan base. How much better can you get in that division with the likes of New York, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Boston being around?
GoBacksGo (AZ): Dan, thanks again for doing this, great answers. What would you cons
Dan Evans: Thanks for your kind words, GoBacksGo. Looks like your question was cut off.
Dan Evans: As always, this was a lot of fun and I am really impressed with the level of questions from our BP readers. Thanks so much, looking forward to the Winter Meetings!