ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

SportsNation Jim Callis: Right as I got ready to step into the chat room, I got a release that said Pedro Alvarez has been placed on the restricted list and Scott Boras is claiming that he signed after the deadline and wants to renegotiate. Should make for some interesting discussion . . .

Daniel (san diego, ca): You have to be a believer in Kyle Blanks now, right? He is 21 hitting in a pitchers friendly league and park. He hits for a high average, doesnt strike out a ton, and his power is developing nice.

SportsNation Jim Callis: I do now, yes. Always was skeptical of the lack of power, but scouts like him more than ever and I believe more now, too.

Polly, Montgomery AL: Why haven't we seen Pedro Alvarez yet? I heard there was some sort of delay with his physical, but don't know anything beyond that. Could you fill us in? Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: As I alluded to in the intro, the Pirates released a statement saying that Boras has informed them that Alvarez won't report unless the Pirates renegotiate. Boras contends the deal was reached after the signing deadline — not sure why that would grant Alvarez extra time to negotiate. The Pirates raised the issue that fellow Boras client Eric Hosmer signed after Alvarez, and that this gambit might put Hosmer's deal in jeopardy. The statement walks a fine line between not slamming Alvarez and slamming Boras.

Rick (Boston): Hi Jim, What can you tell me about Bryce Harper? I just read the old "one scout called him the best HS prospect he'd ever seen" story. Hyperbole or does he really compare to the Upton/ARod class of HS prospect?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Harper is legitimately supposed to be that good. That said, he won't be draft-eligible for three more years, and a lot can happen between now and then. The highest-touted freshmen and sophomores don't always become the cream of their high school senior crop. Justin Upton did maintain the hype—he's one obvious exception.

Jon (New York, New York): When can high school players like Gerritt Cole who choose not to sign with the team that drafted them reenter the draft?

SportsNation Jim Callis: If they go to junior college, their eligible for the next draft. If they go to a four-year college, like Cole did, when they're juniors or turn 21 within 45 days of the draft.

Jarrett (Medford, MA): Jim, Thanks for the chat, what can you tell us about the prospect the sox gave up for kotsay, sumoza i believe?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Luis Sumoza is a Venezuelan outfielder with some interesting power. Still young (turned 20 this summer) and still a ways to go, but he led the Gulf Coast League with 24 extra-base hits last year and is second in the New York-Penn League with 11 homers this year.

Steve NY: Your pick for the yankees between Austin Jackson and Melky?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Jackson.

Brian (Brooklyn): What kind of hitter does Wilmer Flores project to be, top of the order or middle of the order? Also where does he end up plying defensively?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I think more middle of the order, because there's a good deal of power in there. His ceiling — and I stress that he's a LONG way from his ceiling — is Miguel Cabrera. I think he gets big enough that he slides over to third base.

Lance (Livingston, TN): Yonder Alonso made his debut last night and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, and strikeout. What type of upside does he have: 30 hr, .400 obp?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Maybe more 25 HR, but I think he'll hit for a high average and walk a lot too.

Jake (Tampa FL): Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but if both Alvarez and Hosmer signed after the deadline, wouldn't their contracts become null and void? Doesn't sound like either Boras or the team could renegotiate anything if they wanted to.

SportsNation Jim Callis: I too don't understand how if a guy signed after the deadline, that means he can continue negotiating today. I confirmed with multiple sources that the Royals and Hosmer were granted an extension by MLB. I also heard but could not confirm that the Pirates and Alvarez (and the Nationals and Crow) got the same extension, and that Alvarez signed a few minutes after the deadline but before Hosmer. As the Pirates mention in their statement, if Alvarez' deal is invalid, that could put Hosmer's in jeopardy. And why wasn't this raised earlier?

Matt - Washington, DC: Jim, I followed the Cape this summer, what are your thoughts of Marc Krauss (Ohio University)and thoughts of him in the draft next year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: He had one of the better years up there, but opinions were somewhat mixed. Some guys really liked the bat and thought he could play the outfield. Others thought he just served stuff to the opposite field and would be a first baseman. Right now, I'd guess fourth to seventh round.

Ryan (Arlington, VA): I'm as confused as you about the Boras/Alvarez thing. What does your gut tell you about Boras' intentions. If I were Alvarez or his parents right now I would be concerned.

SportsNation Jim Callis: My gut says Boras wants more money. Not quite sure I follow the logic that the deal should be invalidated AND he should be able to continue negotiating. Alvarez and his parents, of course, can assert themselves as they see fit. Boras works for them and Alvarez can accept the deal if he likes it.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK): Is Andy Oliver a 1st round pick next draft? Your thoughts on him please.

SportsNation Jim Callis: I think so. His status is in limbo after his former agent/adviser got him into trouble with the NCAA, but even if he couldn't pitch next year for Oklahoma State, he could show his wares in indy ball.

John: (Boston): What have you thought of Jed Lowrie's maturation as a major league SS?? Do you think the sox are gonna eat Lugo's entire salary to dump him ala Renteria?? The knock on Lowrie was that he couldn't play consistent SS . . but he couldn't be any worse than Lugo, could he??

SportsNation Jim Callis: Lowrie looks clearly better to me than Lugo at this point. Maybe Lugo becomes the super-utility guy for Boston next year, because I would play Lowrie. The Red Sox may eat part of his salary, not sure they'd eat two years and $18 million to have him play elsewhere.

Oden (Motown): Jim, in your tools issue who rated the players? Sorry to be disrespectful, but what were they smoking? Cano a better defensive 2bman than Roberts?!?!? David Wright the BEST defensive 3bman in the NL?!?! Puh-lease!

SportsNation Jim Callis: Blame the major league managers . . . that's a straight vote!

SportsNation Jim Callis: Sorry, got sidetracked by the Alvarez stuff, back in another minute . . .

SportsNation Jim Callis: OK, now I'm back.

Adam (Pittsburgh, PA): What are you hearing now?? Your answer decides if I tell the kids about my day or the bottom of a glass of scotch.

SportsNation Jim Callis: We won't have a resolution today and the rhetoric will get ramped up, I'm sure. It's interesting to note that Boras tried the same thing with A-Rod in 1993. After a long holdout, the family asked someone else to talk to the Mariners on their behalf and a deal was reached. Boras filed a grievance saying that the team ignored A-Rod's right to his chosen representative, and wanted A-Rod granted free agency or (sound familiar) the right to renegotiate. The Pirates' statement says that "an agreement was reached only after Pedro took control of the negotiations," so I wonder if that's the basis of Boras' complaint. That didn't work with A-Rod, though.

Greg (toronto): Would baseball be better served if potential draftees had to declare for the draft and there was a deadline to withdraw (like the NBA) and that team held the prospect rights indefinitely but still allowed someone to go to high school if they wanted? There are probably NCAA rules that need to be worked out, but it would give teams more leverage while not negating the option for someone to get their education.

SportsNation Jim Callis: That would better serve the teams, sure, but would hurt the players. If you think about it, the draft already restrains fair trade. When we had four first-rounders become free agents in 1996, two of them got five times what the No. 1 overall pick got.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK): They say that if you can hit they'll find a position for you. I've heard nothing about the padres trying to move Blanks to another position. What do they ultimatley end up doing with Blanks?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Though he's athletic for his size, he's so big that I don't think he can move anywhere else. So with Adrian Gonzalez on hand, Blanks may have to be traded.

Bryan- MA: What's the story with Buchholz? Why does he dominate minor league hitters, but gets rocked in the majors?

SportsNation Jim Callis: He needs better fastball command, and his confidence deserted him. Then when he tried to work on his fastball more, he lost effectiveness with his secondary pitches and it just got worse. The stuff is still there, he just needs some more time.

Kevin (Pittsburgh, PA): Jim, help clarify some of this Alvarez situation. In reading the Pirates press release, it does not appear the team even defends this claim that a deal was reached after the deadline. It simply says another Boras player was reached after Alvarez. Did this occur after the deadline? If so, what is the point of even having a deadline?

SportsNation Jim Callis: The Pirates go out of their way in that statement to not say when the deal was reached, only that MLB confirmed the deal was submitted in a timely fashion. I've previously reported that Eric Hosmer's deal came after the deadline after confirming that with multiple sources. I've also heard talk that Alvarez may signed after the deadline but before Hosmer, but I haven't been able to confirm that. I was not able to get an answer as to why MLB granted an extension.

Brian (Alexandria, VA): What pick will the Yankees get for not signing Gerrit Cole? Is it the 29th overall selection or the pick after the regularly slated #28 pick which would make it either 30th or 31st overall based upon the Nationals compensation for Crow and a potential pick for the Mariners and Fields?

SportsNation Jim Callis: It's the pick after the regularly slated No. 28 pick, making it No. 30 right now and No. 31 if Fields doesn't sign.

nick: albuquerque, new mexico: help me clarify this as well, if the royals were granted an extension for hosmer, how could he be affected?

SportsNation Jim Callis: If Alvarez' deal is invalid, then it follows that Hosmer's deal should be as well.

Dan (New Jersey): I want to know the same thing about Ian Kennedy and Hughes. How coe they both can dominate the minors but get crushed in the majors?

SportsNation Jim Callis: It usually takes time to adjust from the minors to the majors, and then we're talking about the pressure cookers of Boston and New York. With Hughes, he's rarely been fully healthy with the Yankees. Kennedy had some physical problems too this year.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Let's do some quick lightning round before I head to my youngest daughter's birthday party!

JD (Nashville_: Hosmer's deal would still be valid if he had a properly-granted extension, whether it was done after Alvarez's or not. I don't see how Alvarez's deal would affect Hosmer's at all unless neither had been granted an extension by MLB.

SportsNation Jim Callis: According to the statement, Boras is claiming one deal should be invalid because it came after the deadline, whether MLB granted the extension or not. By that logic, Hosmer's deal should be invalid as well. Just explaining the argument, not advocating a position there.

Matt (Glendale, CA): Based on what you know: Alvarez's contract- valid or invalid

SportsNation Jim Callis: Valid, especially if MLB granted the extension.

Brian (Milwaukee): Brewers catcher of the future: Salome, Lucroy or Lawrie?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Lawrie, though he still has to prove he can handle the defense.

Eric (Albany): Progression of Weiters from now through next year (with timelines)

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'll keep it simple: He's starting for the Orioles on Opening Day.

Matt (Sacramento, CA): Boras= Good for baseball or Bad for baseball

SportsNation Jim Callis: Almost always good for his clients, and that's who he's supposed to serve.

Lane Meyer (NoMaas, NY): How close are Zach McAllister and Michael Bowden?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Close. Bowden has proven himself at higher levels, but McAllister deserves more hype than he has received.

Scrapper (Illinois): Gun to your head and you must pick one: Sheets at $14 million per year for 5 years ($70 million) or Sabathia at $20 million per year for 6 years ($120 million).

SportsNation Jim Callis: Sabathia. I just trust his health more.

Dan (Miami, FL): Rays catcher of the future? Jaso or Navarro

SportsNation Jim Callis: Jaso.

Patrick (Chicago): So would this mean that Hosmer would/could no longer be in the Royals organization?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I doubt that will happen. He already is playing in their system, and I'm sure Boras will come up with some reason that Alvarez' deal should be invalid while Hosmer's remains valid.

Nick (Boston): Is Ian Kennedy really in the class of Hughes, Buchholz and Lester?

SportsNation Jim Callis: No, he's not. He can be a No. 3 while the other guys are better than that.

Vin(New York City): The Yankees first baseman next season is ______.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Mark Teixeira.

Dave (San Diego): Wade LeBlanc, future #3, 4 or 5?

SportsNation Jim Callis: No. 4 or 5.

chris (madison): Are all 3 of the previously mentioned Brewers young catchers legit prospects, or just Lawrie?

SportsNation Jim Callis: All legit prospects.

Aaron (Cincinnati): More likely to end up a frontline starter. Homer or Hughes?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Hughes.

Ben (Centerville, OH): Reds 2B of the future after Brandon Phillips: Chris Valaika, Justin Turner, or Alex Buchholz?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Valaika.

will: jason heyward..his potential is what

SportsNation Jim Callis: Superstar potential with the bat.

Mort (San Diego): Kyle Blanks or Chris Davis?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Davis.

Josh (Los Angeles, CA): Lindblom - sp or rp in the long-run?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Reliever.

James (NYC): What's it going to take to make the Yankees as great a team as they cost? I've sadly started to admit defeat in 2008, but are there certain off-season moves that can give me some actually-certain hopes for 2009? Obviously bats aren't enough, so would a CC, Sheets pr Burnett do it alone? Or would they need more? Help me sleep better in the off-season!

SportsNation Jim Callis: More Carl Pavano.

Jim (Pittsburgh): Will Alvarez be a Pirate?

SportsNation Jim Callis: In the end, I think he will be.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Now I've got to go get ready for that birthday party. See you next week. And visit early and often — I'm sure we'll have more on the Alvarez story.