ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

SportsNation Jim Callis: (1:58 PM ET ) I wonder if we'll be talking about any trades or potential trades today . . .

chad (shreveport, la): in monday's ask ba, you said matt weiters wasn't in the futures game because it was being used for olympic qualifying. why wouldn't team usa want weiters as the starting catcher in beijing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (1:59 PM ET ) I said MLB and USA Baseball picked the rosters to use them for Olympic qualifying. Not sure why Wieters wouldn't be included—also could be possible that the Orioles didn't want him on the Olympic team, though that would surprise me too.

Bob ( winthrop Ma): Hi Jim. I see where Bryan Peterson is off to a good start in the GCL. Is he going to be a steal for an 11th rounder, a product of a currently watered-down GCL, as many draftees have yet to sign, or is this just too small of a sample to glean anything meaningful from? Thank you.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:00 PM ET ) I like Peterson and think he could be a steal for the 11th round—he's a quality hitter. But it's too small a sample size and too low a level of the minors to read much into the stats.

Brook (Nashville): Jim, can you clarify something for me? If a high school player who was drafted enrolls in summer school, can he still sign? Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:01 PM ET ) Yes. That has been the rule for a long time (perhaps forever) and didn't change when MLB altered some draft rules a couple years back.

Josh (New Castle Indiana): The Indianapolis Indians' Andrew McCutchen seems to have a lot of potential. In your opinion will he be in the Major Leagues after the All-Star break?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) Yes, if the Pirates trade Jason Bay or Xavier Nady for prospects. That would make sense, because McCutchen is ready to play and Bay or Nady could help bring more young talent back.

Matt (Chicago, IL): What are your thoughts on the Harden trade? Did the Cubs give up too much in terms of young talent?

Ryan (Long Island): Did Chicago actually rob billy beane in this Harden deal? Seems like the only solid player they got back in the trade was Gallagher...and they gave up a potential star and a solid sub/bullpen arm

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) Two differing viewpoints . . . I was surprised the A's didn't get more. Harden is a risk with his health, and his last two starts haven't been stellar, but I don't think the Cubs gave up much. Gallagher can be a solid mid-rotation guy, but Murton and Patterson aren't regulars on good teams and Donaldson is having a rough year in low Class A. If I were the A's, I would have shopped for a better deal. Doesn't seem like they got enough considering Harden's huge upside and the inclusion of Gaudin as well. The Cubs wouldn't have turned down this deal if they had to wait two weeks. It amuses me that there's a lot of analysis on the blogosphere saying that the A's must know Harden is about to get hurt again, or else Billy Beane wouldn't have made the trade. Beane is a tremendous GM, but I swear, if Kenny Williams made a similar deal, he'd be getting killed for it.

Justin Abilene Tx: Matt Harrison Pitched great for my rangers last night against a very good angels team, in your opinion is this a fluke or is he the real thing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) I'm not saying he'll pitch like that every time out, but Harrison can become a solid mid-rotation starter.

David (Tempe): Any opinion of Collin Cowgill? When he was drafted a month ago, I read that his numbers in college played better than his ability and that he'd probably lose a lot of power using wood bats, but he tore through Northwest League pitching (1.200 OPS) and has already been promoted to South Bend. Did the pre-draft scouting reports miss something, or his is pretty incredible start only an anomaly? Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:09 PM ET ) I like Cowgill, and I think he'll reach the majors, but he's not THIS good.

Porkchop: Can Neftali Feliz crack your top 25 by next year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:10 PM ET ) Yes. We're updating our overall top 25 in the current issue (it will be up at shortly as well), and Feliz may be higher than you suspect.

Jim (WI): Is Gamel a better prospect than LaPorta?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) I don't think so. They're close, though, and Gamel's emergence as a stud hitter made it easier to deal LaPorta.

Brett (Mount Prospect, IL): LaPorta for the best 1-2 in baseball (at the time), a legit WS threat, insurance for Sheets' health, a first round and a first round supplemental pick when CC leaves via free agency (to be chosen by one of the best organizations at drafting.) Cleveland on the other hand gets a legit top prospect bat in return for a guy who was probably going to leave anyway. Is it ok to say the Milwaukee/Cleveland trade was a win on both sides?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:12 PM ET ) Yes, I think that's very fair. The trade made a lot of sense for both sides. In contrast to the Harden trade, I don't think the Indians could have done better. They couldn't have gotten a better prospect than LaPorta from anyone else, and Rob Bryson is a keeper as well.

Ray, St Louis: Read where Feliz was regularly throwing in the upper 90's and touched 101 several times. Wow! How far off is he from pitching for the Ragners?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) He only turned 20 two months ago and he's only in low Class A, so it's more a matter of being patient than anything. I think the Rangers will avoid rushing him, but he may push his way to Texas sometime next year.

Porkchop's dad (Minden, La.): What do you think about Chris Davis? Do you think there's any chance Texas sends him back to AAA when Blalock comes back? I hope not.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) I think that would be a hard sell. Davis has torn up the minors the last two years and has five homers in his first 12 big league games.

Taylor, Atl: Hearing all the prospects the Braves gave up for Teixeira playing great in the Rangers system makes me sick! Salty is growing as a player, Andrus looks like the future SS, Feliz a potential ace, Harrison a 3-4 starter, and Beau Jones a hard throwing lefty out of the pen. Question is, if the Braves look move Teixeira can they get half of what they gave up to get him? Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) Probably not much more than half, considering Teixeira will test free agency after the season.

Sean (Florida): On way to a meeting so I cant stay for the whole chat, please answer this for me quick!!! Is it just me or is selecting the HR derby particpants from only the players in the game itself a stupid idea? Let the fans vote for the HR contestants too from a ppol of players that say they will do it if asked. Can you imagine what it would be like it we could select Dunn, Fielder etc to participate in that thing? Guys that might never make an all star team itself, but can put on one heck of a HR show. What do you think?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET ) I agree with you. I also would like to see a smaller HR derby with four guys from the Futures Game, with the winner of that getting to compete against the big leaguers. Now head to your meeting.

Curt (IL): Just to pick up on your comment about Kenny Williams getting killed if he made the deal Beane did—Does K Will not have respect as a GM? I think he has done a tremendous job w/the Sox. Your thoughts?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:17 PM ET ) I think Kenny has, too. He has a World Series championship under his belt, and while I thought he was foolish for trying to contend this year, the White Sox are going to win the AL Central. But I don't think he gets nearly as much credit as he deserves—that was my point.

Jay, Dallas: Jim, Feliz is now with AA Frisco...made his debut Monday night.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:17 PM ET ) Mistake on my part, but I still think it's a mid-2009 ETA.

Steve (Cleveland): Can you discuss Taylor Green and Michael Brantley, the two players believed to be on the Indians "player to be named list?" Could they make the deal look a lot sweeter for the Tribe?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) Both solid mid-level prospects. Not the type of guys the Brewers can't live without, but two guys with a good chance to contribute in the majors.

John (Oakland): I think that Beane had two choices given Harden's last two starts: Trade him now and get whatever you can get or risk the possibility of having him get hurt again, thereby negating his trade value. Remember this is the first time in three years that Harden has made eleven starts in a row. Billy has managed to keep a very competitve team throughout the years dispite one of the lowest payrolls, so "In Billy we trust".

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) There is risk, but I still think they could and should have done better, or at least shopped him more. There's not a lot of quality starting pitching on the trade market. To use your logic, what if Harden was lights out in his next start? Then his value would be up. Not saying Beane isn't a tremendous GM, just don't think this is one of his stronger moves.

Rick (Boston): While Beane seems to have targeted guys the Cubs undervalued and managed to get 3 MLB ready young players there is very little upside there. Don't you have to get a little more even if Harden is essentially a lottery ticket?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) That's a good way of putting it.

Alex (Seattle, WA): What are your thoughts on Dennis Raben? He is off to an absolutely sick start in Everett; it may be a small sample size but it is still mighty impressive.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) I like Raben a lot. He had back problems this spring, otherwise he would have had a great shot to be a first-round pick. He was one fo the very best power hitters in the 2008 draft.

Jonathan (San Francisco): Jim, A's fans want to know, who would you have had to get from the Cubs to give up Harden & Gaudin? Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) I would have liked the trade a lot more if Jose Ceda was the fourth player instead of Donaldson. That still would have been worth the Cubs' while, too.

Pat (Boston, MA): Do you see any first-rounders this year not signing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) I think they all will sign in the end. We'll see most of the middle-of-the-round guys sign in the next couple of weeks, and there will be 10 or so who wait until near the Aug. 15 deadline.

Ryan (Long Island): This question is BEGGING to be answered!! Who in the world was Omar Minaya kidding when he said mark shapiro told him he had the players to get a Sabathia trade done. and that shapiro "liked his guys" This is ridiculous!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) I don't see it either — the Mets system is very thin and they couldn't make a deal comparable to what the Brewers did.

Scott Ames IA: What are you thoughts on Michael Stanton for the Marlins? Could he sneak into the top 50 propects if he keeps displaying good power in single a?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) He could, though the massive strikeouts make him more of a 51-100 guy for me. Michael Burgess with the Nationals is in the same boat.

Randy (VA): Would you risk signing Tanner Schneppers if you were the Pirates? Even if he wanted mid first round money?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) Probably not for mid-first-round money. It would all depend on the medical reports and his asking price.

Jordan (Rocky Hill, CT): Red Sox 2nd half SS: Lugo or Lowrie?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) I don't think the Red Sox are ready to pull the plug on Lugo yet, but they have to at least be thinking about it.

Ian (Pearl River, NY): Given A-Rod's recent marital issues, I thought I'd ask a question about Madonna. In her prime, what would the scouting report read for Madonna?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET ) The high pitch counts now would be very scary. In her prime, a No. 1 starter.

Mrs. Fowler (Georgia): is my boy going to sneak into the top 25 for next year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET ) Maybe. Though I'd like to see some more power first.

Jordan (Rocky Hill, CT): Hey Jim, has your opinion changed at all on Rick Porcell or is he still a top notch prospect?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:32 PM ET ) Still a stud. He's very young and adjusting to pro ball while making his debut in high Class A.

Ned (Chicago): How has Jeff Szmardija progressed?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:33 PM ET ) For all his stuff, he still doesn't miss a lot of bats. I still don't know what to make of this guy. You can make any projection you want with Samardzija and find enough ammo to defend it.

Tom (Portland): Do you understand value at all? Just say theoretically that Hardens value is a 9 right now, he throws lights out in his next start and maybe his value goes up to a 9.1. But if he gets hurt, how far down does his value go? The risk far outweighed the reward. Harden was a volatile stock and Beane sold when he could.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET ) If Harden's value theoretically is a 9 (out of 10?) right now, why take a 6 back for him?

Rory(Sacramento): Not one Yankee prospect question. What is the main thing that keeps Gardner from being an everyday player?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) Lack of power. There's concern that he'll get the bat knocked out of his hands in the majors, and he hasn't done anything yet to dispel that.

Robbie (Indianapolis): Tell the Szmardija and Porcello people to read past chats, like this guy does every week. Michael Brantley or Taylor Green? Who has the edge in the PTBNL race?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) I think it comes down to how Green looks playing second base. If he can handle the move, he'll be an Indian.

Matt (Evanston, IL): Do you see Josh Vitters (3rd overall pick in 07) ever making it to the minors? His BA has been horrid since being drafter.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:36 PM ET ) Actually, he's hitting .349 at Boise right now. He'll be fine.

Bill (Chicago): Jim, are you kind of defending Kenny Williams with that comment? I feel that he is an excellent GM who gets ripped for speaking his mind and wearing his emotions on his sleave. Trust me, as a White Sox fan, we love that it's obvious losing kills him as much as it does us.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) Yes, this is what I was trying to say. I think he does a good job and doesn't get enough credit. And it's refreshing to have him say what he thinks instead of trying to give non-confrontational answers.

Andrew (New York): With Steve Phillips no longer employed by a team, I have to think this was about as well as the A's were going to do with Harden. Nobody's backing up the truck for the ticking time bomb that is Harden's right arm, and the A's got... let's say one and a half immediately usable players.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:39 PM ET ) The problem is you can bag the word "immediately" — I think Gallagher is the only guy who can play a prominent role on a good team. I don't see the harm in trying to find a better deal over the next week or so. Harden has only one more start before the All-Star Game, right?

John (Boston): Thoughts on Sox sending Masterson down to convert to a reliever? Any concern the resulting lower IP will limit the IPs he can provide next year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:40 PM ET ) Not a concern for next year—they can stretch him back out again between now and then. I think it's a good move. It limits Masterson's IP this year, and Buchholz was ready for another shot in the rotation. The bullpen has been Boston's weakest link, and Masterson can help shore that up.

Chris:Winston-Salem: hey jim! Will the braves call up jordan shaffer this yr? even after the 50 game suspension..

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Sure. Bygones are bygones as long as Schafer doesn't fail a drug test or something. If he's ready to help the big league club, he'll come up.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Let's head to the lightning round . . .

Brock Sampson: Trevor Cahill or Neftali Feliz?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Feliz.

Bryan (Oxford, OH): Is Trevor Reckling of the Angels a legit prospect?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:42 PM ET ) Yes.

Tad (Bakersfield, CA): Hey Jim. How does the PTBNL actually work? Do the Indians have a say as to what position, minor league level, etc. the players they're looking at should be at so they can make get a better look at the pool of players?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:42 PM ET ) Teams agree on the pool beforehand.

Mitchell {NYC}: Do the Yanks sign both Texiera and CC this winter? They should have $70MM coming off payroll with Giambi, Arbreu, Mussina, Pavano, Hawkins and Farnsworth all leaving. And maybe $85MM if Pettitte leaves.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) Sounds like Sabathia is headed back to Cleveland or back home to the West Coast. An agent told me Sabathia told his former Indians teammates he wouldn't be playing east of Cleveland next year. Texeira is a better bet for the Yankees.

George (NY): So if the Yanks do sign both CC and TEx, who gets the 1st round pick?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET ) Depends on which player comes out higher in the Elias rankings. It doesn't matter who signs first.

Pat (Boston, MA): Wieters or any other C prospect

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

Jack Parks: Elvis Andrus or Tim Beckham?

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

John (Toronto): Isn't there a "Player to be Named Later" in the Cubs/A's trade? What if it is Vitters, but cant be announced till the 12 month period is over? (12 months after signing)

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) There is not.

Ben (New York, NY): Gardner of Melky?

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

Jordan (Rocky Hill, CT): Laporta or Heyward?

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

Oden (Motown): Jim, regarding the comment about the Mets not being able to make a comparable deal for CC: Would a deal have been comparable if it included Pelfrey? He has looked very good of late, and in a package with say F-Mart and Carp, that would have had to intrigue Shapiro, would it not?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) I'd rather take the Brewers' offer.

jack: lightning time..trevor cahill or neftali feliz?

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

Nate (Hubbard, Oh): Jim—K Law says Bowden doesn't impress him. Your thoughts on Bowden?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Not sure exactly what Keith said and it seems we're always getting misquoted in each other's chats . . . I don't think Bowden has frontline stuff, but I think he's a very solid mid-rotation guy.

Mal (Brooklyn, NY): Andrew Brackman, Humberto Sanchez, or Gerritt Cole?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Cole.

Chris Tillman Bowie, MD: how good am i?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Very good.

Mitch (Boulder, CO): Your thoughts on the Francoeur situation?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Much ado about nothing.

Chris (West Des Moines): Cahill or Feliz for the third time?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) I'm getting old, apparently.

Matt (College Park): NL Central: Cubs or Brewers?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Cubs. Brewers as the wild card.

Jim (Toronto): Snider or Laporta?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) LaPorta.

JP (NYC): When does Austin Jackson reach the majors with Yanks?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Mid-2009.

Eric (Atlanta): Tommy Hanson or Michael Bowden?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Bowden. But I like hanson, too.

Mad Dog (WFAN): Bumgarner or Alderson?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Bumgarner.

Mike (NJ): How about Angelini? He's struggled, but is he Jeter's longterm replacement?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) I think he needs to play a lot better before I'd go that far.

Brent(Minneapolis): Who wins the AL East?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Red Sox by a couple of games.

Josh Hamilton (Texas): Will I keep my numbers up for the rest of the year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Yes.

Rich (Boston): NL East Marlins, Mets, Phillies?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Phillies.

Dan (des moines): Didn't the handbook have Alderson over Bumgarner?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) It did but we're allowed to change our minds.

Chris (madison): Convinced Alcides Escobar can hit?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) Wouldn't say "convinced" but I think more highly of him than I did before the season.

Steve (Cicero, IL): I disagree with some that say Beane had to make this deal. Beane still had Harden under contract next year. So even if Harden got hurt they could of still got him ready for 2009. You can have tommy john sugery today and have no value and pitch a complete game shutout tomorrow and get top prospects in a trade.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) I agree with Steve.

Tom (NJ): Jackson or Tabata? Also, will both be in the Yankees OF?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Jackson. Beginning to have a lot of doubts about Tabata.

Joe (Chicago): Will Colby Rasmus make it up this year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) He should and I think he will.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) I'll be back next week . . . hopefully we'll have some more big trades to discuss.