ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

SportsNation Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Plenty of day games to keep us entertained while we chat today.

Justin (Nashville, TN): Do you know if Pedro Alvarez is eligible to return to Vandy next year if things don't work out with the Pirates?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I don't work for the NCAA—and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night—but I think it's safe to assume the answer is no. Alvarez agreed to a professional contract and has used an agent, so I can't see how he'd still be eligible.

John, Atlanta: Chris Dickerson - fluke or can he be a quality CF for the next few years?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Fluke. He's a good athlete but he's playing over his head. I think he's destined to be more of a reserve than a regular, and certainly not a star.

Luke (Des Moines): Jim, what's up with Jay Bruce? After a week or two of success, he's really struggled in the big leagues this year. What can we expect next year? Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: He has struggled, but keep in mind that he's also 21. I could easily see him hitting .280 with 25 HR next year, and he's still going to be a superstar.

Jake (VA Beach): How much of a travesty would it be if Alvarez became a FA and the Yankees signed him?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I don't think it's likely that Alvarez will become a free agent. With the precedent of a J.D. Drew grievance from 1997, I think the most likely scenario is that the arbitrator will rule that MLB should not have changed the deadline arbitrarily, but because Alvarez isn't a union member, he can't rule on Alvarez' specific fate. I think we'll see MLB get told to not monkey with the deadline in the future, but Alvarez will be left with two options: sign for $6 million or sit on the restricted list, which would prevent him from re-entering the 2009 draft.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama): Why did David Price not get called up?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Because Durham is in the International League playoffs and the Rays are going to cruise into the postseason without him. They'll call him up after Durham is done, and there are loopholes that can be exploited to put Price on Tampa Bay's playoff roster.

Greg (LA): Could Pitt be spiteful and sign Alvarez for the $6M (assuming they win) and then leave him in the minors for the next 5 years?

SportsNation Jim Callis: They could, but that would be stupid. Why pay someone $6 million just to spite them, and how would that make the Pirates a better team?

Sean (Silver Spring, MD): Okay, so what exactly would happen if Alvarez were on the restricted list?

SportsNation Jim Callis: My understanding is that he wouldn't be allowed to re-enter the 2009 draft and would remain there until he signed the deal he verbally agreed to.

Ryan, Ottawa: What is the use of having a draft signing deadline if MLB apparently will grant exceptions? Haven't they created their own monster here??

SportsNation Jim Callis: That's the MLBPA's point with the grievance. Their position will be that by MLB unilaterally deciding to grant the Pirates extra time without consulting with union, it gave the team extra leverage while taking some away from Alvarez. If Alvarez wanted to sign, he needed the team to get the extension and thus would be more likely to accept their terms.

Patrick (Baltimore, MD): Jim, where do you project Green going in the draft next year? Do the Orioles have a shot at him?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I assume we're talking about Southern California SS Grant Green, who's the top position prospect for 2009. It looks like 2009 will be a down draft for position players, which enhances Green's chances. Based on today's standing, the Orioles would pick ninth, and Green will be long gone by then. He'll go somewhere in the first five picks, maybe as high as No. 2 behind San Diego RHP Steven Strasburg.

Jordan (Morgantown, WV): Good afternoon Jim. I was wondering where this leaves Boras in the Pirates in future drafts? Boras brings in good talent, but is there any way these two could work together again?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Right now, the Pirates would pick fourth in the 2009 draft. Boras will be advising several top prospects again next year, so if the Pirates try to avoid his clients, they could be taking a lesser players (as they did when they chose Daniel Moskos over Matt Wieters in 2007). If they're worrying about ability and not signability, they very well could draft another Boras client in the future.

Derek (DC): The loss of Crow is still leaving a bad taste in my mouth where I am. Are the Hendricks Brothers the second coming of Boras?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I think both sides screwed this one up, considering they were just $500,000 apart at the end. But before you get all worked up about the Hendricks Brothers, I'll say this. If you told me in June that Aaron Crow would sign for a $4 million major league contract, I would have thought the Nationals were getting about a $1 million discount on the market value for a top college pitcher. That is the market value, and the Nats turned that deal down at the end. They'll get the 10th pick in next year's draft as compensation, but it's unlikely they'll get as good a talent value with that choice as they would have gotten with Crow at No. 9.

chris (NY): Doesn't Phil Hughes for Jay Bruce make sense for both teams? Given all the Yankees "excess" pitching prospects and the Reds "excess" hitting prospects?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I wouldn't make that trade if I'm the Reds.

Chris Mashpee: would you say that other summer leagues are catching up to the prosperity and talent of Cape Cod? And why is there only a top ten list instead of a top 30 list for the Cape like last year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: There are some other strong leagues out there, but the Cape is still clearly the best to me. I did the Top 10 in a column (that's all that will fit in that space in the magazine) but the annual Top 30 will be up at tomorrow.

Brett (Mount Prospect, IL): What happens to Hosmer if his contract and Alvarez's contracts are considered void? Does he lose college eligiblity because he signed a pro contract and played pro ball? Can he do the juco thing like Danny Almonte did? Since the contract was voided can he play DI ball (hard because most schools have started.) Does he sue Boras for the money he thought he had?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I don't think either contract will be voided, especially in Hosmer's case. No one (Hosmer, Boras, the Royals) is contesting the validity of the deal, and the MLBPA has stated that it hasn't filed the grievance on behalf of a particular player or against a particular team. It's against MLB for unilaterally changing a rule that was collectively bargaining. The ruling likely will be more significant to future players (so MLB doesn't try to alter the rules and leverage, if that's what happened here) than to Alvarez or Hosmer.

eric sf: Is there any way that Scott Boras can be banned by Bud? While I am not a fan of the Pirates but a fan of the game Boras is destorying the game with is unacceptable tactics

SportsNation Jim Callis: Two things to remember here. 1) Boras works for his clients. His job is not to make the teams happy and his clients are free to leave him or disregard his advice if they so choose. 2) It's very possible that MLB and the Pirates are in the wrong here more than Boras and Alvarez are.

SportsNation Jim Callis: And no, the commissioner can't ban an agent. The MLBPA could decide to no longer sanction Boras as a player representative, but that's not going to happen.

willy (pitt): San Diego #1 prospect: A. Kyle Blanks B. Jaff Decker C. other

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'd vote for Blanks.

Scott (Deerfield, IL): Hi- Madison Bumgarner has had a great year in low A ball. Is he one of the top 5 or 10 pitching prospects in the minors and what is his ETA for San Francisco (can he move like Lincecum did)? How good will the future rotation of Lincecum, Cain, J. Sanchez, Alderson, and Bumgarner be? Thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: Yes, he is that good. I'll set his ETA as mid-2010. The Giants will have a strong rotation in the future, but that lineup needs a lot of work.

Johan (Twin city): When will BA's league top 20 come out? Who do you think had the best minor league season?

SportsNation Jim Callis: We're working on the league Top 20s right now. I haven't seen our web schedule yet, but they'll should start appearing in mid-September. I think Orioles C Matt Wieters had the best year of anyone in the minors.

Jeff (LA): Jim, do you think Brian Matusz killed Aaron Crow's value in the draft? Matusz signed for well below any of the recent top college starting pitchers. Then the Nats only offered as much as Matusz received to Crow. Doesn't it seem like they just followed the top college pitcher, meaning Matusz is the reason Crow could not get more money?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I think that was a part of it. Matusz signed a major league contract with next to no guaranteed value on top of the bonus—just a baffling contract. The Nationals, like most clubs, rated Matusz better than Crow and didn't think Crow should make more than Matusz. But why should Crow be tied by someone else's bad contract? If Matusz' deal meant the Nats could have signed Crow for $4 million, and that offer was on the table at the end, they should have taken it rather than arbitrarily deciding he couldn't get more than Matusz. Their last offer was a $3.5 million bonus—and that was worth more than Matusz' deal.

Paolo (Tempe, AZ): Jim, what's your take on Lambo's numbers in AA? Pretty impressive no?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Yes. Lambo might be the best unhyped young hitter in the minors.

Brett (Mount Prospect, IL): Are the Brewers serious? Do they really want an entire process reviewed for the sake of personal glory and individual statistics? The official scorer has no impact on the outcome of the game. Shouldn't they be more worried about winning the games and Sheets' health?

SportsNation Jim Callis: They should. Kudos to C.C. Sabathia for taking the high road. The scorer's judgment should stand.

Charlie (DC): What happened to Andrew Cashner's command? For a guys with his stuff he doesn't get many strikeouts either. Should he go back into the bullpen already?

SportsNation Jim Callis: His stuff never has played as well when he has been a starter, and command has never been his strong suit. I see him as a reliever all the way.

Rick (Boston): Hi Jim, Snider now or Bruce 9/3/07?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Bruce a year ago.

Rick (Boston): Snider or Weiters?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Wieters. And despite those last two answers, I do think Snider is an elite hitting prospect.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Let's call this the start of the lightning round . . .

Kyle (FL): Cashner or Ceda?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Jose Ceda.

Evan (Saratoga Springs, NY): Lars Anderson or Austin Jackson?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Lars Anderson.

Josh (NC): Mets #1 Prospect-Fernando Martinez or Wilmer Flores?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Wilmer Flores.

Jaybird(Boston): Juan Carlos Perez & Danny Almonte. Serious prospects?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Perez more than Almonte, though you can't take those junior college numbers seriously.

Chris, Mo: Who do you think is the Cardinals top prospect? Wallace, Rasmus, Jones or Kozma? Where would you rank their system?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I'd go with Rasmus over Wallace with positional value as the tiebreaker. The system is getting better, it's on the rise.

Gerry (Seattle, WA): Best prospect you've ever rated?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Alex Rodriguez.

Josh (Los Angeles, CA): Since Kershaw has exhausted his prospect status, is Lambo the Dodgers' #1 prospect at this point?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Yes.

Jake, NC: Luis Sumoza: good talent or too many strikeouts?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Sumoza is the player the Red Sox traded for Mark Kotsay. Good upside, but still very young and needs to make more contact.

Ryan, Ottawa: What is the latest on Phiippe Aumont, the big lefty from Canada? Did he get hurt??

SportsNation Jim Callis: He had elbow soreness throughout the summer. The Mariners shut him down as a precaution.

Rob (Whitestone): When healthy, Brackmen or Betances?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Brackman.

Joey (North Hollywood, Ca.): Best pitching prospect you ever rated?

Gerry (Seattle, WA): Best pitcher? Mark Prior?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Yes, it would be Mark Prior.

Matt (LA, CA): Scott Elbert or Homer Bailey?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Bailey.

Jason (Cleveland): Laporta ETA, and position? is the tribe going to do the Longoria technique to avoid super 2?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Sometime in 2009, LF.

Nick (Long Island, NY): Brad Holt's future, starter or reliever?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Reliever.

John(CA): Matt Dominguez or Mike Moustakas?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Moustakas.

Bill (Chicago): Vitters or Moustakas?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Moustakas.

Craig (Albany, NY): Josh Reddick or Austin Jackson?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Jackson.

Sam (Chicago): Prospect that still baffles you because he never clicked in the big leagues...

SportsNation Jim Callis: Sean Burroughs is the first name that jumps to mind.

Mike Chicago: Is Micah Hopfauir a 4A guy or starting 1b? I want to dump D. Lee.

SportsNation Jim Callis: I think he's more of a 4A guy who will probably have to settle for trying to take Daryle Ward's job next year. I had more on this in the last Ask BA at

Chris (STL): When will Wallace be ready for the bigs? 2009?

SportsNation Jim Callis: This is also touched on in the last Ask BA . . . Wallace could hit in the majors next year but the Cardinals have Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus on the infield corners.

Lory (Bangladesh): Jim, you may be a Boras apologist, but even you can't deny his asking prices for his clients are at the very least absurd, and at the most, plain and simple - GREED. I'm fairly certain his newer clients aren't the ones who compare themselves to current Major Leaguers prior to signing their contracts in order to get as much coin from teams as possible.

SportsNation Jim Callis: My position on negotiations is the player has every right to ask for whatever he wants and the team has every right to draw its line wherever it wants. Neither side can force the other to accpet the deal.

Satya, Augusta: Jason Heyward or Jay Bruce?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Bruce.

Shawn Pittsburgh,PA: Does Alvarez ever play for the Pirates?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Yes. After the grievance runs its course, I think he'll sign.

CJ (Queens, NY): What do you project for Jon Niese?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Chance to be a No. 3 starter, but give him some time. He's not ready to do that yet.

Jamie (DC): Kemp or Jackson?

SportsNation Jim Callis: If that's Matt Kemp vs. Austin Jackson, give me Kemp.

Rich Philly: Could the Pirates just let Alverez go and take the 3rd pick next year. personally I wouldnt want to pay him a dime. Then if he a has a bad year and doesn't get a seven figure bonous Boras has the egg on his face and the Pirates still get a good player.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Interesting . . . I'm not sure they could back out at this point if Alvarez wants to sign after the grievance runs its course. If Alvarez continued to delay, the Pirates perhaps could walk away at that point. If Alvarez re-enters the 2009 draft, he'll get paid by someone else. I imagine he'd go to indy ball and fare quite well.

Dan (DC): Montanez or Reimold?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Reimold.

Tom (NY): A. Jackson or Brett Gardner

SportsNation Jim Callis: Jackson by far.

SportsNation Jim Callis: Lunch calls . . . I will see you guys next week.