ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis
Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, Baseball America's Jim Callis will chat it up with SportsNation to talk about the MLB season at hand, as the All-Star break inches closer.
Send your questions now and join John on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jim Callis: (1:59 PM ET ) Just have to throw my last few warmup pitches, and I'll be ready for the questions, which already are piling up. We'll get this started in one second.
Sam (St. Louis):
The Reds and the Cards are tied for first in the NL Central - who eventually takes it this year? Jim Callis: (2:02 PM ET )
I still have a hard time believing in the Reds' pitching. At the beginning of the year, I thought the Cardinals were poised to fall back to the pack but still were the class of the NL Central. I still feel the same way.
Nick: (Huber Heights, Ohio):
With the recent explosion of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen do you believe that it is time for the Reds to bring up Homer Bailey and stick him in a Liriano/Papelbon situation? Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET )
With the Reds continuing to contend unexpectedly and Bailey on a hot streak, you know what? I would call him up and see what he could do. With an arm like that, maybe he makes the difference. And how about that? Starting a chat with two Reds-related questions.
Thanks for the time. ROY question for you. Should a younger player with a higher cieling (like Fielder) recieve more consideration than a guy who is older, and likely having one of his best years (like Uggla)? Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET )
I don't think that should matter. I think you're choosing the Rookie of the Year, not the Rookie with the Brightest Future.
Chip (Richmond, VA):
Jim, I love your work and I'm curious what you have to say about this question: Why do more teams not blow up their rosters, stockpile younger talent, and reap the benefits a few years down the road? The obvious answer is fans become disenchanted, but I ask this question in regards to two teams (Cubs and Orioles) who can never decide whether they are adding to a potential contender or building around a young nucleus for a bright future. Plus, their fans are already disenchanted (which I guess is part of the ?enchantment? on the northside). So why not go Beinfest on their rosters, stockpile young and elite talent, and actually build for a bright future? (PS I realize it's not as easy as going as going to Bill Stoneman, saying we'll give you Tejada, we?ll take Wood, Santana, and Morales off your hands and have a nice day sir.) Thanks! Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET )
It's a good question, Chip. The answer is I think it's hard to sell that to your fans, especially if you're a team like the Cubs or Orioles hoping to draw 3 million or so. I agree, trying to contend and rebuild and making a halfway effort to do so (or do both, if you will), it just doesn't work.
Dan (Chicago, IL):
Hey Jim, While Brandon Wood still is posting solid power numbers (.967 OPS), he is striking out at an alarming rate (100 in 300 ABs) and his 18 errors don't inspire confidence. Has his stock taken a dip with his first trip through AA, or is he still considered an elite, Top 5 type of prospect? Thanks and I love your work at BA. Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET )
You guys don't have to flatter me to get your questions answered . . . I still think Wood is an elite prospect. The power is real, and he'll be at least an average shortstop (unless he moves because the Angels have more shorstop options than they know what to do with). I would like to see him make more contract, but the power is for real.
Who out of the 3 new pitchers called up in the AL: (Jered Weaver, Jon Lester, and Jeremy Sowers) do you think will have the best career fantasy #'s? and have the best chance to be a #1 starter? Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET )
I like all three of those guys. Long term, I'd rank them Lester, Weaver, Sowers, though I go back and forth on the first two. That's also the order I'd rank them in for potential to be No. 1 starters.
What kind of prospect do you think the Cubs can get for Kerry Wood? Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET )
Not much. His $10 million option makes him worthless for 2007, and he has no faith in his shoulder.
Did the Yankee's overspend to get Montero? Also, if he had been drafted, would he have gotten as much money? Jim Callis: (2:12 PM ET )
With the international guys, it's really hard (because they're so young and haven't faced any kind of competition) to know what's hype and what's reality. The Yankees have more money than anyone, so they can afford whatever they want. Montero almost certainly would have gotten less in the draft, for the simple reason that he wouldn't have been a free agent.
Jim, what do you make of the recent struggles of Kemp and Billingsley? Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET )
They're rookies, and rookies are often wildly inconsistent at first. I still love them both for the long term, and I have more faith in Kemp than I did a year ago.
Come on admit it Jim - Philip Hughes is the best pitching prospect in baseball now! Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET )
Didn't I admit this last week? He certainly can make that case.
In a winnable NL West, you've stated that the Giants can win the division. If they do, could they get "Dallas Mavericked" in the playoffs to prevent Barry from winning a series and the trepidation that would come with it? Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET )
Nah . . . the umpires can't affect a game like refs can in the NBA. So many plays in the NBA can be called foul/no foul, while very few pitches or calls on the bases are that close. The refs can affect (or foul up) a game a lot more in basketball.
Nick Markakis has been on fire lately... are we seeing him turn into the player the O's thought he could be? Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET )
Markakis should be very good. He just needs some time, and getting rushed to the majors didn't help him. I bet he's pretty solid by next year.
Mike (Saratoga Springs, NY):
Hey Jim, If you were GM for the Yankees would you trade Philip Hughes this year for a frontline starter such as Willis or Zito or would you hold onto him for the future? Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET )
I'd keep Hughes. Shoot, I could probably sign Zito as a free agent in the offseason.
Jeff (United Nations):
Tyler Clippard has pitched very well in his last four starts. Can he bring a quality bat? Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET )
Sigh. Not as the centerpiece of a trade. He's a decent prospect, not a frontline guy.
Scott (Durham, NC):
Jim, does Jered Weaver have a heart, taking his big brother's spot in the rotation? Do you think that Jeff will be traded or released by the Angels? Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET )
Jered didn't really have any say in the matter, did he? He was told to report to Anaheim. Jeff doesn't have very much value, with the way he's pitching and what he's making, so he might get claimed on waivers rather than fetching something in a trade. If he is dealt, it won't be for much.
Jeremy, Peru Nebraska:
The Tigers schedule after the break looks harder than the pre break schedule. Will the Tigers be able to man up, and if they don't, will the current above .500 play the Tigers are enjoying be enough to keep them alive? Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET )
The Tigers do face a tougher schedule, and in any case it would be difficult to maintain their current pace. But they've played so well for half a season that it's hard to see them missing the playoffs, isn't it? At 56-28, if they just go .500, that's 95 wins and that probably gets them into the playoffs.
Aaron: Allston, MA:
I am very intrigued by the influx of quality young catchers this year. Of the following three rising stars, which do you think has the best chance of maintaining his current level or production or making the next leap: Russell Martin, Mike Napoli or Josh Willingham? (I know that he plays left now). Jim Callis: (2:24 PM ET )
Russell Martin. Napoli has exceeded my expectations, but Martin is a much better defender. Willingham won't be a regular catcher in the majors.
Peter (Fishkill NY):
Hey Jim, what do you think of Josh Fields? Is he in the same class as a Gordon,Laroche,or Marte? Can he be an All Star in the Bigs? Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET )
Fields is having a nice year, but he's not an elite-level third-base prospect. He's in the next tier. He could be an all-star from time to time, but I don't see him as a perennial choice like Gordon will be. May have to move to left field if Joe Crede stays put.
Rob (Miami, FL):
Any chance the Marlins win the Wild Card this year? Jim Callis: (2:28 PM ET )
Next to none. But you have to give them credit for playing so well after the first sale. Joe Girardi is doing an excellent job there.
Any news on Philip Humber? Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET )
He's back throwing again and throwing well. Given that he's coming back from Tommy John, he should be fine in the long run.
President Palmer or Pedro Cerrano? Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET )
The lightning round is still a few minutes off, but couldn't resist . . . I'll take President Palmer. Oddly enough, I didn't realize Dennis Haysbert played both rules until only recently.
What can MLB do to a team if they don't like the draft bonus' that a team is awarding? Like the Cubs this year... Jim Callis: (2:32 PM ET )
Nothing, really. They can fine the team if they don't go through the rigamorole MLB requires, but besides having Bud and Co. lobby the owner or team president, no much. If the team wants to spend, it will. And you're starting to see teams that lay out a lot of cash for the luxury tax or revenue sharing question why they have to toe the line in the draft when they already subsidize other clubs. The next step will be the less wealthy teams wondering why they should toe the line and miss out on top prospects if the wealthy teams aren't doing that.
What 2 players, 1 from each side, are you looking forward to see play in the Futures game? Jim Callis: (2:33 PM ET )
Nick Adenhart and Carlos Gonzalez.
Mark (Bangor, PA):
What do you make of Sowers start so far? He looks very refined to me, but with his very avg stuff seems very prone to give up the long ball if he's even a hair off on his control... Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET )
That's a fair assessment. Sowers is very polished but his stuff isn't close to overwhelming.
Why on Adenhart and Gonzo? Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET )
I was surprised that the Angels signed Adenhart right after he had Tommy John, and it's amazing how well that has worked out for both sides. Gonzalez may be the best prospect who doesn't get overhyped, and I've never seen him before.
Who is the best catching prospect in the minors right now? Jim Callis: (2:36 PM ET )
Jeff Clement of Seattle.
Joe (Indy, IN):
Jim, please comment on Shin Choo Choo. He's in the bigs now, any chance he will stick with the M's and be productive? Thanks...and Jessica Alba says whats up too. Jim Callis: (2:36 PM ET )
Choo is having a much better year than he did in 2005. I still see him as a Mark Kotsay-type player, without the defensive instincts to play center field. Tell Jessica hello for me.
Jim, Cubs fan on a ledge help me out, talk me out of it. Terrible Major League Team, top prospect hitting .240 with tons of K's at AAA, top pitching prospect shows up out of shape and has to start back in rookie league... and one dominating AAA pitcher who dominantes AAA batters like no other, but cant get major leaguers out. Where's my bright spot? Where should I focus my attention? Please Help! Jim Callis: (2:38 PM ET )
It's tough, Drew . . . not good times for the Cubs right now. Will this console you? The NL Central is probably the weakest in the majors right now, so it's not like the Cubs have to rebuild into a 100-win juggernaut. And they should be getting a new manager after the all-star break. Can't do much better than that right now.
I don't know about that, Jim. C.B. Bucknor changed the entire complextion of Monday's Yankees-Indians game with one bad ball/strike call. It can happen. Jim Callis: (2:40 PM ET )
I said it's a lot harder, John. And I know Michael Kay wailed about it, and it was a bad call, but the Yankees were down by three. Were they assured of a comeback if that pitch was correctly called a ball? Bad calls happen--I remember the Yankees winning a game last year when the ump blew a call on what should have been the final out against the Pirates, an egregiously bad call. But there are a lot fewer game-affecting close calls open to interpretation than there are in basketball. Not even close.
Ummm....the Livan-Gregg strike zone on 1997? Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET )
But here's the thing, Alex. Eric Gregg called the same ridiculous strike zone for both teams . . . it wasn't just against the Braves, it was also against the Marlins. Livan did a better job of taking advantage.
Jim..I have no doubt Hughes is a stud. But c'mon, if you can get a 24yr old Willis, a known quantity...don't you HAVE to do that trade? Zito is another thing as he is a f/a. Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET )
If you know Hughes is a stud, you don't make that trade. Even for the Yankees, having a stud who won't be eligible for arbitration for three years is a huge advantage . . . they can spend tons of money elsewhere. It's exactly that kind of thinking that has saddled the Yankees with an old club that blows MLB away in payroll every year yet doesn't dominate.
Jeff (New Orleans):
What is wrong with Saltalamacchia? Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET )
Good question . . . Not sure why he's having such an awful year at the plate. No rational explanation that he could be this bad.
Jason (Stuart, FL):
I thought this would be bigger news, but what about the Cubs giving an 11th round pick, Chris Huseby, 1.3 million dollars to sign? He just came off Tommy John surgery too, so do you think it was smart? Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET )
He apparently was lights out when he returned late this spring, and the clubs who saw him liked him. I've asked a couple of other teams about Huseby, and they both pointed out that Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken's track record is as good as anyone's. The Cubs are throwing a lot of money around in this draft, and they can afford to. On one hand, you could say that's excessive, but on the other, you could say that they have money to burn and are trying to get creative to add talent.
Jim, the latest rumor I heard was Dontrelle Willis to the Astros for Wandy Rodriguez and a prospect. That would be awesome but don't the Astros need a bat more? Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET )
That's a terrible rumor . . . why would the Marlins do that? Even if they need a bat more, why wouldn't the Astros do that?
Matt (Boston, MA):
Anything new on the Luke Hochevar negotiations with the Royals? He's only one of 6 first rounders not to have signed yet Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET )
I think that's actually down to five now with Drabek signing. Scott Boras could be waiting it out to see if Hochevar can get more than Andrew Miller, but the story I hear the most is that MLB wants the two sides to hold off announcing a deal so it won't affect other negotiations. Which is silly, because all the players right behind Hochevar have signed except for Miller, who's going to get a megadeal anyway.
I see your point (re: Willis) but don't agree, the Yanks have the resources and Willis is a bona fide all star who hasn't turned 25. MLB is littered with 'studs' who didn't 'pan out'. Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET )
If you KNOW he's a stud, like you said, Mike, you don't make that trade. Let's go to the lightning round.
Joe (Boston, MA):
Matt LaPorta or Lars Anderson? Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET )
Mike (San Diego):
Cesar Carrillo or Jered Weaver? Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET )
Nick Kelman (Palo Alto, CA):
Willy Aybar -- everyday starter or utility infielder? Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET )
Utility guy with a good bat.
Better career:Zumaya or Hansen? Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET )
Hansen, but it's close.
Michael (Portland, ME):
OK, just to test your Dodger loyalties (and spelling), Billingsley or Gorzelanny? Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET )
Not sure I have Dodgers loyalties and I like Gorzelanny, but this has to be Billingsley.
Mike (San Diego):
Headley or Antonelli? Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET )
Liriano or Santana? Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET )
Give me either. Forced to choose, I'd take Santana because of the longer track record and better health record, but I'd be more than happy with Liriano.
Sonny (South Bend):
What's a more saddening story: Ankiel or Josh Hamilton? Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET )
Josh Hamilton to this point, because it's mostly self-inflicted.
Brett (Philadelphia, PA):
Jack Bauer or George Mitchell leading the steroid investigation? Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET )
Jack Bauer might be the only guy who could get to the bottom of the steroid problem.
Russ Martin or Brian McCann? Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET )
Tough one. McCann, I guess.
Sean (Boulder, CO):
Scott Elbert or Clayton Kershaw? Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET )
Elbert. I explained why in last week's Ask BA.
Vince Young or Matt Leinart? Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET )
Matt Leinart. Wouldn't surprise me if both were disappointments, though.
Andy Marte or Kevin Kouzmanoff Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET )
I'll still take Marte.
Jeff keppinger or Anderson Hernandez? Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET )
Shaun (Madison WI):
Superman or Batman? Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET )
Gordon debuts in KC - 06 or 07? Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET )
Keith (Lansing, MI):
Zumaya or Verlander? Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET )
Anthony (Natick, ma):
Gibson or Koufax for one start in the playoffs? hehe Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET )
Mike A. (SD, CA):
More talent: Josh Hamilton or Delmon? Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET )
If you factor in pitching ability, Hamilton had more before his problems began.
Kennedy & Escobar for Pelfry & Bannister? Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET )
I wouldn't do that if I were the Mets. They're going to have the best record in the NL, regardless, and you don't give up Pelfrey for that package.
Tom (West Hartford):
the Haigwood trade (for the phillies): good or what the h*** were you thinking? Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET )
No big deal. Castro is a hard-throwing lefty, Haigwood is a finesse lefty, neither looks like a huge difference-maker down the road int he majors.
Brian (San Francisco):
Kemp, Eithier or Joel Guzman? Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET )
Liriano, Bonser and Nathan for AJ or Kazmir for Zambrano? Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET )
At least the Pierzynsky trade made sense at the time. Liriano and Nathan's stock has soared exponentially since the trade.
Rob (Miami, FL):
Joel Guzman or Andy LaRoche? Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET )
Liriano or Kazmir? Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET )
Liriano, and that's from someone who loves Kazmir. Jim Callis: (3:02 PM ET )
Thanks for all the good questions, as usual. See you again next week. Enjoy the Futures Game on Sunday!