ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis




Marques Utica, NY : After next year, is Tabata going to be good enough for the Yanks to let Abreu walk?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET ) Tabata is very talented but he has yet to play above high Class A yet. So that would be pushing it a little bit for a team that expects to contend for a World Series title every year. The safe bet would be that Tabata would be ready for 2010, not 2009. That said, he's talented and could make a big step forward next year.


Bruce (Des Moines, IA): Which would you prefer? A prospect with great ability and average personal makeup. Or great personal make up and average ability?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET ) Makeup is important, but this one is easy. I'll take Door No. 1. If the guy has average makeup, he should be able to get a lot out of that great ability. The guy with great makeup, there's only so much he can get out of average ability.


Rob (Chicago, IL): Jim.... lots of talk over the past couple of days concerning Mark Prior. Is it me or would the Cubs be crazy to let this guy go? $3 million for a chance to get a #1 starting pitcher. Seems like every team in MLB would take that risk.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) I like Mark Prior as much as anyone, but how can you call him a No. 1 starting pitcher when he has won one start in the last two years? ONE. They'd like to keep him, but they can only cut his salary so far and he's a free agent after 2008. Their intent seems to be to sign him to a two-year deal with incentives.


Jinn, Carlson KS: Bounce back year for Michael Bowden? He was only 20 in AA and still maintained an almost 3:1 k/bb ration despite the 4.00+ ERA.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) You know, he doesn't really need to bounce back so much as he needs to keep developing. He was young and pitched very well for his age in Double-A, not to mention tamed the beast that is Lancaster. Will his numbers be better in 2008? Probably, but I wouldn't call it a bounce back. He had a good year in 2007.


Lance (Livingston, TN): My buddy and I have been arguing over this for months. Who will be better: Jay Bruce or Jordan Schafer? I'm a Bruce man, please tell me I'm right.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) You're right. I like Schafer a lot, but Bruce is the best prospect in the minors.


Tyler (denton, texas): Common i gotta know.. Ian Kinsler or Noah Lowry.. good deal for both sides?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) Texas needs pitching, San Francisco needs hitting, would make sense for both sides.


Jason (NJ): Am I the only one who thinks Hughes, Cabrera and Jackson is a weak offer for Santana. I think Melky is WAY over rated by some of these writers. If I am the Twins GM, I ask for Hughes and Cano, plus a lesser guy. Whats your opinion?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) We did a bunch of Santana trade questions last week, so I'm going to try not to get bogged down with too many today. I don't think Cabrera is anything special, but that's not a horribly weak offer. I love Philip Hughes. I don't think the Yankees will part with Cano, so if I'm the Twins, maybe I counter with Hughes, Cabrera, Tabata (or Jackson if I can't get more than Tabata) plus Ian Kennedy.


Phil(Chicago): If the Cubs decide to trade Prior, what type of return do you think he would bring?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) Not much. He's barely pitched in the last couple of years, so it would be hard to give up much for him.


Anthony (Brooklyn NY): Ian Kennedy; Is he legit or product of Yankee hype? Would the Twins accept him in a deal instead of Phil Hughes?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) Some of each. Kennedy's stuff is nothing special, but he pitches above his stuff. He can become a No. 3 pitcher, but he's not budding Mike Mussina. I think the Twins would be happy to have him, but not as the centerpiece of a Santana deal. He's not that good.


Norman, Putney, VT: Word here (which means rumors) has the Sox offering Buchholtz OR Lester, plus Coco, Lowrie and Masterson OR Bowden for Santana if the Twins grant the 72 hour negotiating window. Too much, too little, just right?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) I'm getting dragged back in . . . That's the type of deal that could work for both sides. Boston gets to keep Ellsbury, they can afford to give up a quality young starter with Santana coming in, Lowrie is blocked in Boston right now but ready to play, and the Red Sox could afford to give up Masterson or Bowden in that deal, too. If I'm the Twins, I'd obviously prefer Ellsbury, but that's an interesting package. Maybe I get Brandon Moss, who's blocked also, thrown in as well.


Tony Almeida (Some underground terrorist hideout in Washington): OK it's time to get serious. What's going to happen to me when 24 starts back? Am I going to be as evil as I'm made out to be in the trailer?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) How can you possibly alive (though I've seen the trailer) and why would you be this evil? Sounds like the new season is getting delayed by the writer's strike, so we'll have to wait longer to find out.


Steve (Norwich CT): I think you should break Simmons marathon chat record after he breaks Neyers. You game?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) Not during Prospect Handbook season.


Jeff (NY, NY): The fact that phrases like "Buchholz OR Lester" are being thrown around are almost as funny as "Chamberlain, Hughes, OR Kennedy." Kennedy and Lester don't belong in those sets.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) Lester has more ceiling than you give him credit for, but no doubt, you'd want Buchholz or Chamberlain or Hughes.


Mike(NY): Dan Haren and Calero for Gomez, Guerra, and Mulvey. Is that a good trade offer?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) Good for the Mets. If I'm the A's, I want more than that. I'm not sure how many great chips New York has to play with. I love Milledge's talent, hate the makeup. I'm not as big a fan of Pelfrey, Humber and Gomez as others might be. I just don't see enough enticing pieces to pull off a blockbuster.


Dave (South Bend): Is Mulvey, Pelfrey, and Milledge enough for Haren? Please say no. What about Blanton?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) I'd still rather have Haren. But you know what, I suspect we're going to see a deal that involves sending Milledge to Oakland and Blanton to New York.


Brandon (LA): So if the Angels trade Willits Saunders Matthews and Wood for Santana. The play Rivera in left, Hunter in center. and DH Morales and GA. Doesnt this drastically improve their hitting as well as their pitching?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) Well, sure, but the Twins aren't going to take that deal. That's not even close.


Jason (NJ): Whats your opinion of Jason Kubel? He was a top hitter a few years ago in the minors. ACL tear obviously hurt his development. Can he ever recover. Seems he just needs to play all year and see if he gets his timing back? What do you think? Or is he done?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:24 PM ET ) I still believe in the bat, no reason the knee should affect his hitting long term.


Nathan (San Diego): When I open Baseball America's 2008 Prospect Handbook, which team's farm system am I going to find made the biggest jump from last year? Also - are any new Indians prospects going to break into the top 100?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) The Rangers. Via trades and the draft, plus the improvement of prospects already on hand, they'll jump from No. 28 last year to perhaps the top five. I haven't broken down all the systems, so I can't be more precise.


Sam (Los Angeles): Jim, I see a lot of talk where people include Chad Billingsly in trades the Dodgers will make, but he doesn't seem like a prospect anymore, but an established, very good, big league pitcher, and the Dodgers would be crazy to trade him. Do you agree?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) Depends on the deal but I wouldn't want to trade him. It will require some patience, but if I'm the Dodgers, I don't go make a blockbuster deal and give up any of my core young players this year. They have a great nucleus and can contend for a while. Just stop making bad free-agent moves.


Steve Chicago: Over or under for Lind in Tor - 15-70-.280

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) That's a fair projection. I'd take slightly under if I had to go one way or the other, but you nailed it pretty well.


Chris (Ames, IA): Cameron Maybin or Jay Bruce?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) Bruce.


Hillary (Iowa): Hi Jimmy, when does the Handbook hit the stores, I think I am going to have alot of time to read up on my Cubbies.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:28 PM ET ) People who order for us should have it by mid- to late January. I think it should be in bookstore in early February.


Jon, Dallas TX: Over-under Ellsbury-Bos 12-75-.311

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:28 PM ET ) Under. Like him, but don't see the 12 homers as a rookie and .311 also sets the bar high.


Joey, Pittsburg, PA: Jacoby Ellsbury or Cameron Maybin?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) Maybin.


Adam (VA): Who will be the first player born in the 90s to make their ML debut?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) Giants slugger Angel Villalona. Have to love Big V.


Ryan (PA): Hey Jim, will we see Bruce in CIN this season? If so out of ST or after the allstar break? Thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:31 PM ET ) I'd have him in the Opening Day lineup. But the Reds have more outfielders than spots, so we're probably going to have to wait until the break.


Jake (Sacramento): You're insane if you think the Yankees are going to include Hughes AND Kennedy plus Cabrera, Tabata, and/or Austin Jackson. I am not going to hype up Jackson or Tabata, but 4 or 5 guys for one is just crazy. The Yankees are idiots if they make that trade.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:31 PM ET ) Well, right back at you . . . you're insane if you don't think the Twins are going to get four young players for Santana. I'm not saying I'd pay the cost, but that's what it is.


Writers on Strike (Hollywood, CA): Chuck Norris? No match for Jack Bauer. John McClain? Jack can handle him. State and Local Justice system? He even got them to sentence around his schedule... who would have guess Jack's kryptonite would have been... THE WGA! MWUAHAHAHAHA

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:32 PM ET ) Probably would have been more interesting to watch this unfold than what we got in the last season of "24."


Dan (Chicago, IL): It's amazing how a team can go from winning a World Series in 2005, then the next year go 72-90, then have no free agents want to sign with you. What has happened with the White Sox?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:33 PM ET ) They got old quick and now it's ugly on the South Side. The farm system is very thin, and I'm not sure how they're going to put together a contender in the near future. When they won in 2005, they deserved it, but even at the time I don't think anyone was thinking dynasty. Just a good team that got hot at the perfect time.


Chris (madison): Jim, are you filling up the gas tank on the Brewers '08 bandwagon? Does Weeks make The Leap into stardom after his promising finish to last season?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET ) If the Brewers can find some pitching this offseason, I will fill up the tank. Either way, they have the best future of any team in the NL Central right now.


Chris (Norman,OK): Hey Jim, what would you say the value is in Red Sox prospects Bryce Cox and Jed Lowrie? Big futures, or role players?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:36 PM ET ) I think Lowrie can be a solid regular, playing adequate defense at SS or better than that at 2B or 3B. Cox lost his arm slot again last year. If he can recapture his magic from the summer of 2006, he has closer stuff. That may be a big "if," though.


Marc(Gatorland): Who do you like for the Heisman?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) Tim Tebow will win it.


Mike, NJ: Jim, I always ask this question but it never gets answered - what superstar player did you not "get" while he was in the minor leagues. The kind you would have called a 4th outfielder or back of the rotation guy at the time?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:40 PM ET ) Hmmm. I don't think we've missed too many superstars. We've missed more on guys we thought were going to be great and didn't pan out — that's the nature of prospecting. But most of the superstars are obvious right off the bat. Pujols didn't build up that much hype, because he spent one year in the minors, but we also had him as a good prospect. Same thing with Santana, because he got Rule 5ed he didn't have the normal progression and was never labeled a superstar. Some of the bat-only guys, like a David Ortiz and Ryan Howard, it's hard to project them being 50-HR guys. Those are the ones that come to mind immediately. But I can't think of anyone we thought was a fringy big leaguer who became great.


James (New York): I still haven't figured out what the Angels were thinking last year with Gary Matthews. Have you?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) No. But we're in a time when the teams have more money than they know what to do with and the demand for talent far outstrips the supply, hence crazy contracts.


Mike St.C loud, Mn: What are the chances the Twins get Wright and a prospect from the Mets if they traded Santana?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:42 PM ET ) Zero. I'd be stunned if the Mets dealt David Wright.


Doug (NY): How about Piazza on that question from Mike?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET ) That's different, I think. No one saw Piazza coming when the Dodgers made him a nepotism draft pick. But once he got going in the minors, no one was calling him a backup catcher.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET ) Let's head to the lightning round.


Frank (NJ): 2-3 years from now, who is the better Long Beach State product: Troy Tulowitzki or Evan Longoria?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:45 PM ET ) I'll give Tulowitzki bonus points for shortstop defense. Longoria will have a better bat.


Todd (Philly): Tim Raines deserving of HOF or not?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) Yes.


Clint (Hawaii): Cole Rohrbough or Adam Otavino?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) Rohrbough.


Arin (ca): Steve Pearce - 4th outfielder, average starting OF, good OF, all-star?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) Average starting OF, subpar defensively out there.


Jon (Dallas, TX): Michael Main or Blake Beavan?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) Beavan.


Nathan (San Diego): Jordan Brown or Beau Mills?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Mills.


Michael (Dallas): Kershaw or any other pitcher in the minors?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Kershaw.


Tyler Smith (Conyers, GA): Chuck James, Jo Jo Reyes, Jair Jurrjens for next year? Rest of their careers?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) James in 2008, Jurrjens for career.


Matt,MPLS : Garza to the Rays for an Young?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Would be shocked if Delmon gets traded, despite the rumors.


Clint (Hawaii): Chase Headley or Kouz?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Headley.


Doug (NY): But does Raines get into the HOF?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) That's a harder question. I'm going to say no in his first year of eligibility.


Joe, Boston, MA: Is it finally Jim Rice's time for the Hall?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) It's his best chance.


Brian: Round Rock/Austin, Tx.: Kazmir or Bedard? Wainwright or Lincecum?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Kazmir, Lincecum.


Ashely (Alexandria, VA): Nationals prospect with best odds of being an impact player/all star? Burgess? Marerro?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Marrero.


Zac (MN): How about Bert? Should he be in the HOF?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Yes. Will he be? Still doubtful.


Jake (VA Beach): BUT is Jim Rice deserving of the HOF? Neyer says no.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) You can make the case for and against. He was helped by Fenway, his career ended abruptly . . . he also was very good for a while. I won't lose any sleep either way.


Jack, Deerfield, MT: "Fringy" big leaguers - I know it was only a 1 year sample but a lot of people were predicting Pedroia would be marginal at best.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) True. I also wouldn't call Pedroia a superstar, either. My point remains, I don't think people often underestimate players who become superstars because their talent is so apparent.


Justin (Queens, NY): If your Omar: Reyes for Santana?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) No.


Anthony (NY): True or False: In 25 years we look back and call Alex Rodriguez the best baseball player ever.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) True.


Ian: Shouldn't a HOF player play in more than 140 games in more then 8 seasons? Shouldn't more then one of his last 10 seasons include an 130 game season.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Are we talking about Rice here? Regardless, cherrypicking numbers to state someone's case for or against the HOF is the most boring part of those arguments.


Eli (Toronto): What's a good success rate for 1st round picks? Should a good GM be getting good major leaguers 3/4 of the time out of first rounders?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) The general rule of thumb is that one-third become useful or better big leaguers, one-third become fringe big leaguers and one-third wash out.


Greg, TX: Whittleman or Davis?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Chris Davis.


Russell (McKinney, TX): John Mayberry Jr. or Chris Davis?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) And back to Chris Davis again.


Goose (Chicago): Any HoF that allows Jim Rice in before Andre Dawson is a joke. Dawson was Vlad before there was Vlad.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) Uh, what?


Kyle, Marion, SD: Do you think the Twins should trade away Nathan, Garza, Bonser, Bartlett etc. on top of Santana in order to completely rebuild? Or do you think they are a few good bats away from contending?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) If they make a good trade with Santana and Francisco Liriano comes back, no reason they can't contend.


Joe (Whitefish, MT): Since Kirby got in Donnie Baseball has to eventually too, right? Both careers ended early due to injury, similar stats, Mattingly better defensively and had the most dominant stretch.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Also silly: the lowest common denominator argument. Mattingly isn't a HOF for me. Again, I don't lose sleep over these things.


Jason (NJ): Who is Chris Davis. I never heard of him. Give us a super brief profile please?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Power-hitting corner infielder in the Rangers system.


Brad (GR): Felix Pie for Garza?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) I'd rather have Garza.


Marc: What do you lose sleep over?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) This time of year, getting the Prospect Handbook done.


Stephen (Sacramento, CA): Chris Davis or Brandon Wood?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) Wood.


Jake (VA Beach): Omar again - Gomez for Garza, and Milledge/Heilman for Blanton?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) I'd do those deals if I were Omar.


Eli (Toronto): Top 3 hitters of all time: Ruth, Williams, and...

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Bonds.


Kevin (Rutgers University): Buzzer beater: D. Jennings or J. Schafer?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) Schafer.


Brian (Bainbridge, Wa): True or false: Davey Concepcion was the best shortstop of the 70s and as such should be in the HOF.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) I don't think that necessarily puts him in the HOF. But he was one of the best SS in his era.


Jeff (Ann Arbor): The Braves opening day centerfielder is....

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) Josh Anderson.


Cody (Mt. Vernon, IA): Felix Pie or Ryan Sweeney?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Pie.


Mark (Boston): T or F: Robbie Alomar HOF? (Altho they will be sure to enshrine him outside of spitting distance from the Umpires' section)

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) True.


Mike A. (SD, CA): Verlander or Joba?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Verlander.


Ryan (PA): Dodgers 3b this year? LaRoche, Nomar, trade/FA signing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) LaRoche if they're smart.


Chris (Torrance, CA): Adenhart or Billingsley?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET ) Billingsley.


Kevin(New Brunswick, NJ): When does the BA Rule 5 preview come out?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET ) Chris Kline has already begun his incomparable Rule 5 coverage. Check it out at http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/news/265252.html. And with that, I'm off to make a phone call and find some lunch.