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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 12/17/13

6:40
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody! I’ll be flying solo tonight, I believe, as Jeff is under the weather. Get your questions in. This will be our last chat of the 2013 calendar year! See you soon. (polls at bottom of transcript)
8:59
Paul Swydan: One chat for the year left. One beer left. Let’s do this thing.
8:59
Comment From Sgt. Knobface
Am I crazy to believe that Middlebrooks, Boegarts and JBJ will all produce 2+WAR? Or are you crazy for not believing so?
9:02
Paul Swydan: You’re not crazy, but at the same time, I wouldn’t peg it as a likely occurence. One of them is going to fall under that bar. I’d say the least likely to fall under that bar is Bogaerts.
9:02
Paul Swydan: Sorry, baby spit up everywhere.
9:02
Comment From David
Andrew Albers or Vance Worley?

9:02
Paul Swydan: Oooh, neither!
9:02
Paul Swydan: I guess Worley.
9:02
Comment From DLowe
Now that Balfour has signed in Baltimore, where do you see Rodney ending up? He had a rough start to last year but he finished great – any chance the Yankees sign him? Any other teams in the running, like Seattle?
9:03
Paul Swydan: I’d put the odds on him signing with the Yankees as long, but I could definitely see Seattle.
9:03
Comment From Guest
Do you think Stanton could be traded before the deadline?
9:03
Paul Swydan: He certainly COULD be, but I think it would take some sort of catastrophe in Miami for that to happen.
9:03
Comment From Bree Olson
Assuming they were willing to listen, what would it take for the Red Sox to get Chase Headley? Does 1-2 “good not studly” prospects get it done given Boston’s minor league depth?
9:04
Paul Swydan: Probably not. If things break right for the Padres, they could easily be in the wild card race this season, so the San Diego really has no reason to trade Headley.
9:04
Comment From Dale S
Baseball America ranked Henry Owens as the Red Sox #2 prospect right now… seems like an aggressive ranking given how good that system is. Is the buzz on Owens that good?
9:05
Paul Swydan: When you put up a 1.78 ERA in your first taste of Double-A at the age of 20, these things will happen. Whether or not Owens is deserving of that ranking, only time will tell.
9:05
Comment From Edge O
Does Urrutia see significant ABs in 2014 after hitting close to 350 over all levels last year and tearing up the AFL?
9:06
Paul Swydan: As I wrote on Monday for ESPN Insider, right now Urrutia is definitely slated for some good playing time – 300 PA or so at least – given how Baltimore’s left field and DH options are lining up. Whether or not he SHOULD is another matter entirely. I think the Orioles need to sign Choo pronto if they want to contend, but they don’t seem inclined for such things.
9:06
Comment From Jujubees Pupu
Stephen Drew sweepstakes (if you can call it that) seems to have narrowed to the Mets if the price drops significantly or to the Red Sox if the commitment is short enough – maybe the Yankees as a long shot? Where and for how much do you ultimately see him signing? (Any mystery teams in need of a SS?)
9:07
Paul Swydan: Total mystery team with Drew. I really don’t buy the talk of him going back to the Re Sox. I think Boston is smart enough to know that he is more valuable as a draft pick, but I also can’t really call who signs him.
9:08
Paul Swydan: The problem with Drew as an attractive free-agent target is that while he is better than many shortstops who have starting jobs, he’s not THAT MUCH better than them that they should a) sign someone they don’t know and b) give up a draft pick for the pleasure.
9:08
Comment From Dayton Moore Talking Head
Royals lose Santana but add Vargas, Aoki, and Infante. Is that enough to win 90 games and actually challenge for a playoff spot, or is it another mid-80s win team?
9:09
Paul Swydan: I think it’s enough. And if they get Santana back for less than anticipated because no one wants to fork over the draft pick, even better.
9:09
Comment From Edge O
Is Sea going with internal option for closer? If so who? Farquhar? Pryor?
9:09
Paul Swydan: Lord Farquhar should absolutely be the guy. But I have a feeling they will sign someone to take the reins.
9:09
Comment From Storm
In 2007, Bonds put up a 157 OBP, .288 ISO, 28 homeruns and .480 OBP, right before retiring at 42. How would he do in a comeback attempt?
9:10
Paul Swydan: Well, he’s close to 50 now, and as good as he was, no one would feel bad about challenging him in the zone now. I’ll say that he would do no worse than Giambi and Berkman have the past two years, but I certainly wouldn’t be expecting greatness.
9:10
Comment From A Tribe Called Kipnis
Who are a few unheralded relievers to target this offseason who may end up closing by June?
9:11
Paul Swydan: Cody Allen for sure. Lord Farquhar if Seattle signs Rodney or someone of his ilk.
9:11
Paul Swydan: Let me know who else in the comments. Those two stick out right away.
9:11
Comment From Storm
People are forgetting how dominant Bonds was,
9:12
Paul Swydan: Let me just drop this on you. Bonds didn’t post his second > .400 wOBA season until age 27. Trout did it at age 21. Not sayin. Just sayin.
9:12
Comment From Edge O
Do you think Davidson is the CWS starting 3B out of ST? How do will he be?
9:12
Paul Swydan: No, I think they’ll let him simmer in Triple-A until the Super Two date passes in June. Absolutely no reason to start his clock on Opening Day.
9:13
Comment From A Tribe Called Kipnis
Rank the bounceback potential for fantasy purposes: Braun, Hamilton, Pujols?
9:13
Paul Swydan: Braun, Pujols, …… Hamilton
9:13
Comment From A Tribe Called Kipnis
Rate the bounceback potential, SS-division: Andrus, Cabrera, Castro, Reyes, Rollins?
9:13
Paul Swydan: Reyes, Andrus, Castro, Rollins, Cabrera
9:13
Paul Swydan: Gap after Castro
9:13
Comment From Os Nos
Baltimore has basically replaced its closer, and done nothing else. What?
9:15
Paul Swydan: Yeah.

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove13/story/_/id/10145919/determining-which-suitor-needs-shin-soo-choo-most-mlb

I think the Duke is being reticent until he has no choice, because that is what Angelos demands. We’ll see if he makes a late January splash.

9:15
Comment From Jaack
Bonds had a combined OBP of .331 against all 415 pitchers he never got a hit against.
9:15
Paul Swydan: That is pretty incredible.
9:15
Comment From Ryan
If A-Rod’s suspension gets upheld, what do the Yankees do with the cash that’s freed up? Could they trade for one of the many high-salary Phillies rumored to be on the block?
9:16
Paul Swydan: A-Rod’s suspension is not going to be held up.

BUT, if it does, it’ll be a trade, as you suggest, and I would think they would make a push for Headley. Not sure if they have the chips to land him, but that — or a move similar to that — makes a lot of sense. Maybe they try to buy out the Braves for Uggla’s deal and see if he rebounds.

9:16
Comment From Jaack
This chat seems a bit lonely without Jeff…
9:17
Paul Swydan: It does. But then…
9:17
Comment From Jeff Zimmerman
Thanks you for doing this. I just got done sleeping 5 straight hours
9:17
Paul Swydan: Feel better Jeff!
9:17
Comment From Mr. Wrestling IV
Die Hard is the best Christmas movie. Might be the greatest action movie of all time.
9:17
Paul Swydan: It is certainly front and center in the discussion, that’s for sure.
9:17
Comment From Guest
The Pirates seem to need someone to bat directly behind mccutchen. if they get one of the lh first basemen often mentioned, then they might as well bat Alvarez 4th and the new first baseman 6th or 7th.
9:18
Paul Swydan: I actually don’t think that I agree with this. I think it would have been fantastic if they could have gotten a big fish for first base, but with Polanco on the way, I think the Bucs have been right to hold their cards close to the vest this winter.
9:18
Comment From Jaack
Die Hard premiered in July of 1988. It is a Christmas movie like Raul Ibanez is an outfielder.
9:19
Paul Swydan: Jaack, spoiler of fun.
9:19
Comment From Mr. Wrestling IV
And the Die Hard/Christmas motif doesn’t end after the first one, because Die Hard 2: Die Harder is also set on Christmas Eve.
9:19
Paul Swydan: Yeah, but that movie was pretty bad. I own the first four in a box set, and I have only watched the second one once. That was all that was necessary.
9:20
Comment From Jaack
One beer left for the year? That sounds miserable.
9:20
Paul Swydan: No, no. Just one more beer until I buy more. Which won’t be tonight, since it’s snowing, and I’m not cleaning off the car in single-digit temperatures just to go get more beer late at night. I like beer, but I like my fingers more.
9:20
Comment From Guest
Sounds like Mike Rizzo is mostly done, other than some minor moves like maybe a backup catcher or something like that. So now his attention turns to extensions to Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond. Do you think he’s able to lock either of them up?
9:21
Paul Swydan: If I was him, my attention would turn to finding a way to get Adam LaRoche to the bench. I never know how to answer the extension question because it is completely dependent on the player and how much he values security, and I don’t know either player personally.
9:22
Paul Swydan: But, if I was Mike Rizzo, I’d want absolutely no part of a Jordan Zimmermann extension.
9:22
Comment From filihok
Matt Kemp – Over/Under 20 WAR for the rest of his career?
9:22
Paul Swydan: Under. But 20 is the right number for that question. It’ll be close.
9:22
Comment From Rick
Bigger regression candidate: Chris Johnson’s Batting Average or Chris Davis’s HR/FB rate?
9:23
Paul Swydan: Johnson. If you read Blake Murphy’s case study on Davis in THT ’14, you’d be confident in Davis retaining those HR/FB gains. Of course, then you would read Jeff’s article on shifts and how zealously Davis was targeted, and you’d dial back your expectations for Davis anyway. Because he can’t hit everything for a homer!
9:23
Comment From Wicked Hahd-On
Reynaudo and/or Barnes contribute at all next year for Boston?
9:24
Paul Swydan: It feels like we’ll see Raunado and Webster at some point. Barnes coming up will depend on how those two do, I think.
9:24
Comment From Jojo
Would you rather trade for Gregorius or Owings? And do you think Oswaldo Arcia straight up would be enough?
9:25
Paul Swydan: Arcia straight up would not be enough for either player, no. An average shortstop — which is what both of them look like they’ll be — is FAR more valuable than an average outfielder, and if Arcia’s defense doesn’t improve, he might not even be that.
9:25
Comment From David
Out of Garza Santana and Jimenez who would you pick, draft picks not considered.
9:25
Paul Swydan: One sec.
9:27
Paul Swydan: Ubaldo is either younger or the same age, and has been a four WAR better than both. I’m not even sure why this is a question. For me, it’s not even close.
9:27
Paul Swydan: The ONLY reason you’d want Garza is because there is no draft pick attached.
9:27
Comment From Jaack
Die Hard for the NES > Die Hard the movie. Its so realistic!
9:28
Paul Swydan: That’s one I never played. My parents kept me mostly to sports games. I only got to play cool games like Contra and Double Dragon when I went to my friends’ houses.
9:28
Comment From pat
Speaking of Polanco, when do you see him in Pitt?
9:28
Paul Swydan: I think he’ll be up the second the Pirates think they have passed the Super Two deadline, but I’d like to see him up on Opening Day.
9:28
Comment From 2ndHS
“Die Hard premiered in July of 1988. It is a Christmas movie like Raul Ibanez is an outfielder.” Christmas in July!
9:29
Paul Swydan: Happy Love Day everyone!
9:29
Comment From Rocket Roger
Do you think Alex Wood ends up being a top of the rotation guy?
9:30
Paul Swydan: Just looking at the page, it’d be hard to argue. But I hear enough bad things about his delivery that it gives me pause. So I’ll say no for now.
9:30
Comment From Guest
Interesting you want no part in a Zimmermann extension. He’s been pretty consistent over the last several years. Is there any reason in particular or just because he’s a pitcher?
9:31
Paul Swydan: He had Tommy John once, so the clock is ticking on his second surgery.
9:31
Comment From Chicago Mark
Some at FG think Matt Kemp is done as an elite player because he’s been bad 2 of the last 4 years. Do you agree? Have injuries done this?
9:31
Paul Swydan: Done is a strong word. But I think I am no longer BANKING on him being an elite player.
9:32
Comment From Senor Poop
In your opinion, biggest fantasy sleeper SP right now?
9:32
Paul Swydan: Danny Salazar.
9:32
Comment From Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo
Baseball Stars for NES: the best baseball video game of all time? To say otherwise is intellectual dishonesty.
9:32
Paul Swydan: See, I never had Baseball Stars either. My parents bought me RBI Baseball, and I loved that, so they never bought me another baseball game. I regret nothing.
9:32
Comment From Chicago Mark
The clock is ticking on Zimmermans second TJS? Why do think this?
9:34
Paul Swydan: Jeff Zimmerman postulated in last year’s THT Annual that pitchers – on average – go about 400-600 major league innings in between needing their first and second TJ. The sample size is frightfully small, but there is a reason for that. The vast majority of pitchers who have one TJ don’t last another 600 innings in the bigs.
9:34
Comment From Rated Rookie
Isn’t then the clock ticking on Salazar’s next TJ?
9:34
Paul Swydan: Get him while he’s hot.
9:34
Comment From Jojo
Re: Arcia. But did you see what they gave up for Trumbo? Maybe they want a left handed bash bro for him.
9:35
Paul Swydan: That logic no longer follows because they have Trumbo though. They have Parra, Pollock, Trumbo and Ross all worthy and capable of 400+ PA in a season. There really isn’t room for more. Especially with a totally capable 5th OF in Campana, and a guy like Prado, who will probably log some OF time too.
9:36
Paul Swydan: Also, calling Arcia a bash bro is a bit of a stretch. Steamer has him at a .452 SLG. Nice, but nothing special.
9:36
Comment From Jujubees Pupu
re: some of your earlier comments, why would the Padres trade Headley to the Yankees and not the Red Sox?
9:37
Paul Swydan: They wouldn’t. I’m just saying that if A-Rod’s suspension is upheld the Yankees will have more of a reason to PUSH for such a trade. The Red Sox are in a much better position to execute such a trade, but they also may not have the need if Cecchini is all they think he will be.
9:37
Comment From ben m
What’s in store from Epstein for the rest of the pre-season? They’ve been outclassed so far by the Sox.
9:38
Paul Swydan: I don’t think that’s fair, because I’m sure that Rick Hahn would much prefer Castro and Rizzo than what he’s got. What I mean is, the White Sox are now where the Cubs were a year or so ago. And the Cubs have a much better farm system. That’s not taking anything away from the job Rick Hahn and Co. have done, but outclassed is a bit strong.
9:38
Comment From David
Yeah but those mechanics…get me away. Santana is safest IMO
9:40
Paul Swydan: This is about Ubaldo?

198.2
218.0
221.2
188.1
176.2
182.2

Not a lot of pitchers out there pumping six straight seasons of 176.2+ IP. The mechanics aren’t preventing him from taking the ball every fifth day. The walks can be bad, no doubt. But their WHIPs are basically the same.

9:40
Comment From Guest
Never giving any pitcher who has had TJS an extension seems like an overreaction to me. There’s always risk, but I have a hard time believing TJS is necessarily a death sentence after 400-600 innings. I’d be curious to see what the rate is after a guy throws, say, 200 innings. Because if it’s an average I’d guess that it’s dragged down by guys who never return, or guys who come back and immediately have setbacks. Or if you get past 400 innings, what the chances are. Etc. I could be way off, but I think the more innings you throw after TJS, the less likely you are to need TJS, not the conventional wisdom that it’s more likely.
9:41
Paul Swydan: I’m not saying that you’re wrong. I’m saying that I would not want to commit the big dollars to such a pitcher until it was necessary. Right now, the Nationals have control over Zimmermann whether they give him an extension or not.
9:42
Comment From Cobbie
Why does bald bull still torment me after all these years?!?!
9:42
Paul Swydan: I don’t know, I never had much trouble with him. Don Flamenco, on the other hand…
9:42
Comment From Cobbie
Not baseball but can everyone agree that Miami’s PA announcer makes Heat games unwatchable
9:42
Paul Swydan: We can.
9:42
Paul Swydan: Amateur hour, is the phrase that most frequently comes to mind when I hear him.
9:42
Comment From carl r law
Take a stab in the dark – who’s a very young player/rookie that a competitive team is relying on who will have a disappointing 2014? Bogaerts? Wacha? One of the Braves’ pitchers?
9:43
Paul Swydan: He’s not young per se, but the one who comes to mind first is Corey Kluber. Sorry, Carson.
9:43
Paul Swydan: The other obvious choice is Puig.
9:44
Paul Swydan: It would be hard for Puig to duplicate his massively successful rookie season, and any slip at all and the press will be HOWLING for his hide, especially if Ethier isn’t traded.
9:44
Comment From Chad
Baseball America ranked Mookie Betts as the Red Sox #7 ranked prospect? Do you think he should be rated higher?
9:45
Paul Swydan: No, quite the contrary. I’m surprised he was ranked that high. I’m even more surprised that they seemed to allude that he was going to be in the top 100. Don’t get me wrong, I love that, but it was surprising.
9:45
Comment From filihok
RE Carl r law: Alexander Guerrero
9:45
Paul Swydan: Sure. I don’t really have expectations for him yet though.
9:45
Comment From Bree Olson
It’s bizzare-o world and the Cubs have offered any 5 players in their farm system for Trout. Do the Angels take it?
9:46
Paul Swydan: Not unless the Cubs are also taking Hamilton off their hands.
9:46
Comment From David
WAR is not the best stat in this case because it’s a counting stat and some have played longer than others
9:46
Paul Swydan: David, I lost this comment. Which discussion was this related to?
9:46
Comment From Brutus
Dusty got his well deserved share of the blame for the Reds last year. What about Walt. He seems to have made his share of mistakes too. Do you think he has lost his touch? Do you think he has a plan?
9:47
Paul Swydan: I’m not sure Walt ever had much of a touch. I think Walt benefited a great deal from the great work Jeff Luhnow and John Mozeliak did for him in St. Louis. He has rarely shown the ability to make the same kinds of moves that he seemed to be making in St. Louis during his tenure in Cincy.
9:48
Comment From David
Other than Choo, do you believe any free agent left will get 100M?
9:48
Paul Swydan: Tanaka will, if you’re counting him. Other than that, no, I would be a little surprised.
9:48
Comment From Jordan
Chris Perez closes for who?
9:48
Paul Swydan: No one. He’s not good.
9:48
Comment From Chicago Mark
A-Rods suspension will not be upheld? Your opinion on what happens please.
9:48
Paul Swydan: I think he gets the 65 games that Braun got.
9:48
Comment From Guest
Who do the Jays have to give up to get Samardzija?
9:49
Paul Swydan: More than they should. Sanchez, for starters.
9:49
Comment From Steve
You think it’s wise to go into the season with Gaby Sanchez as the full time 1B?
9:49
Paul Swydan: Not even a little bit, no.
9:49
Comment From Rated Rookie
If you are Andrew Friedman, which young flame thrower do you want as the centerpiece for a David Price trade, Taijuan Walker or Danny Salazar?
9:49
Paul Swydan: Walker is probably the safer bet because he has more of a pedigree, but I don’t think he is going to get either.
9:50
Paul Swydan: I also don’t really think the Rays HAVE to trade Price. I find it incredibly hard to believe that the Rays could trade Price and still compete for a playoff spot in 2014, and if they want to keep haranguing local government about getting a new ballpark they need to be competitive. No bridge years.
9:50
Comment From ben m
Is Trout the best player over the next ten years? Is that a clown question ‘bro?
9:51
Paul Swydan: Not a clown question, but if you’re asking me to take one player, that’s who I’m taking.
9:51
Comment From Val
What baseball player, coming out as gay, would generate the most insane buzz in the media? A-Rod? Trout? Someone random and hilarious like Jonny Gomes?
9:51
Paul Swydan: Derek Jeter.
9:51
Comment From ben m
Mike Olt…bonafide or bonfacio?
9:52
Paul Swydan: Wow, that might be my favorite question of the year. Bonafide or Bonifacio. Classic.

I’ll say more Bonifacio, but he never got a fair shake in Texas, and that could have messed with his performance.

9:52
Comment From Robert
After the Addison Reed trade yesterday, do you think the White Sox don’t value “proven closers” or is this just a case of not needing a good closer for a rebuilding team?
9:53
Paul Swydan: I think probably both, to be honest. Even under Kenny Williams, they showed absolutely no love for closers. They traded Koch, they traded Putz, they let the big man walk to Boston before his career fell apart. So I think there is a good organizational pattern there of not falling in love with their closers.
9:53
Comment From Ronny R
1st place in their division team least likely to repeat next year – Braves?
9:53
Paul Swydan: I think so, yeah.
9:54
Comment From Jim
How do you feel about the Gavin Floyd signing?
9:54
Paul Swydan: I think I didn’t care about it.
9:54
Comment From Ronny R
If the Tanaka contract approaches $110M+, who is realistically competing with the Yankees at that point? Do the Cubs push that far?
9:54
Paul Swydan: All 30 teams should be realistically competing for him, or did you miss the report today where MLB eclipsed $8 BILLION in revenue this year. Anyone not in on Tanaka will essentially be lying to their fan base about their finances.
9:55
Comment From Cornelius
You’re David Price – which team that has been linked to trading for you would you most like to play for?
9:55
Paul Swydan: Probably the Dbacks. He could put them over the top.
9:55
Comment From ben m
Why no love for Jordan Zimmermann? Isn’t he on the verge of breaking out to be an #1?
9:56
Paul Swydan: I like Jordan Zimmermann just fine, I just wouldn’t pay him — or any pitcher — big dollars until I absolutely had to.
9:56
Paul Swydan: As for him breaking out to be a #1, no. His FIP- the past two years were 90 and 89. That’s a great #3, and a good #2. But not close to #1 status.
9:57
Comment From Ronny R
I mean yeah, baseball is making a ton of money, but it’s not like every team is just rushing out to sign every single player. You don’t think pushing $110M puts a lot of teams out of the running?
9:57
Paul Swydan: It WILL. It SHOULDN’T. I get the reticence for not giving up $110 million to a 30-something like Choo who has defensive and platoon issues, but Tanaka is 25 and a great pitcher by all accounts. Every team needs him.
9:57
Paul Swydan: BRB
9:58
Paul Swydan: Ok, back.
9:58
Comment From filihok
Did you buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket? $600 million. That’s one Mike Trout career.
9:59
Paul Swydan: I didn’t. I need the REAL BIG money to impress me. I work for FanGraphs, baby! You better recognize!
9:59
Comment From Guest
That JZimm question has sorta dominated this chat.
9:59
Paul Swydan: It has, hasn’t it? Who knew?
9:59
Comment From Guest
Sidebar to the Zimmerman discussion: was the Adam Wainwright extension a bad one? TJ surgery in 2011…
10:00
Paul Swydan: I wouldn’t have done it in a vacuum, but he may just be an outlier, and the Cardinals – by virtue of having oodles and oodles of cheap pitching on hand – were incredibly well prepared for such a move to backfire on them.
10:00
Paul Swydan: The Nationals are not similarly positioned. And Zimmermann is not as good as Wainwright.
10:00
Comment From Senor Poop
There’s a massive cockroach outbreak and infestation at the restaurant I work at. I can’t tell anyone in real life but it’s a relief telling you. Yikes! Crunchy bastards!
10:01
Paul Swydan: I had cockroaches once when I lived in Boston. We told the super to do something about it. He said he would. He didn’t. So we called the Orkin man. Super came in, furious. “You can’t call him without my permission.” We told him he had his chance and told him to get the fuck out.
10:02
Paul Swydan: In a related story, my friend and I did not renew our lease when they decided to raise the rent at the end of the year.
10:02
Comment From Ace
Can you please explain the Doug Fister trade? How did the Nationals pull that off? Im sure other teams would have given up more…right?
10:03
Paul Swydan: The best explanation I can give you is that the Nationals always keep the lines of communication open, and when the moment to strike such a deal presented itself, they were in the best position to pounce because they had kept up with Detroit and had an offer in hand.
10:03
Paul Swydan: I have no idea whether or not that is true.
10:04
Paul Swydan: But after the trade went down, Dave Cameron tweeted that a bunch of execs were flabbergasted because they didn’t even know Fister was on the block. But as anyone who has watched a whopper of a fantasy trade go down unbeknownest to you, the only way you can know sometimes is if you ask. People don’t always bring the info to your doorstep.
10:04
Comment From Jojo
What kind of beer was it?
10:05
Paul Swydan: Sam Winter.
10:05
Paul Swydan: Not sure if that is fancy enough for ya’ll, but it was delicious.
10:05
Comment From Tony
Paul. Do you wear pants when you do chats?
10:05
Paul Swydan: Nike sweatpants. Dark grey. White swoosh.
10:05
Comment From Fee Fee FO FO
Predict the year that Harper takes that BIG leap forward that people are waiting for. Obviously he’s already really good, but what’s your gut: Slow and steady improvement each year? 2014 is the coming out party? Further down the line? Or does he never make it.
10:06
Paul Swydan: He will make the leap. I hope it is this year, but the knee injury (or concussion, if you believe Stefan Fatsis) kind of threw off his 2013 season, so it’s hard to know what to expect this season.
10:06
Comment From Seever the Beever
Most heartbreaking single moment for a fan of the losing team in the 2013 playoffs? (not including the last out of the world series… too easy)
10:07
Paul Swydan: Watching Joey Votto waive at that Liriano slider in the top of the first in the play-in game. It was all over after that. Cueto dropping the ball was the icing on the cake, but once it was clear Liriano that was dealing, whoo – that had to take the air out of the sails of Cincy fans.
10:07
Comment From Senor Poop
I always take my pants off for the second hour of FG chats.
10:08
Paul Swydan: Obligatory.
10:08
Comment From Tony
If the Cubs sign Tanaka, could they be a .500 team?
10:08
Paul Swydan: I wouldn’t rule it out, but it’ll still be a best-case scenario.
10:08
Comment From Robert
Who gets fired first: Jack Z or Ruben Amaro?
10:09
Paul Swydan: Will say Ruben, just because Jack Z got his extension and will get a grace period to see how the Cano move works out.
10:09
Comment From Joe N
As a tigers fan who hosted many playoff parties, I’ve never seen the air go out of a room as quickly as the Ortiz grand slam
10:09
Paul Swydan: Yeah, true. That had to be doubly deflating, especially when Hunter didn’t bounce right up.
10:09
Comment From ben m
what’s your concern about Kemp? Would think that he can average 2+WAR for the next 10 years to reach 20 WAR total
10:11
Paul Swydan: In the past five years, he has two +5 WAR seasons, but he also has two 0.1 WAR or worse seasons. You have to look at the whole picture, and the whole picture is an inconsistent player who may not stay healthy enough to play those 10 years.
10:11
Comment From Cornelius
I have no problem with it, but what do you think the reaction to someone like Jeter coming out as gay would be (besides shocked)? Would there be a lot of negative backlash, even for someone so beloved?
10:11
Paul Swydan: I can’t call it beyond a lot of snark about who was really getting the gift baskets all these years.
10:12
Paul Swydan: I would hope that we’re in a place as a society now that the vitriol would be kept to a minimum, but I think I know too many Yankees fans to really, truly believe that.
10:12
Comment From Jacob
Which team is going through a rebuilding phase the best right now?
10:13
Paul Swydan: The Astros and Cubs are doing things the right way. And the Mets have been pretty disciplined as well.
10:13
Comment From filihok
oooh…shots fired at Yankee fans specifically….
10:13
Paul Swydan: Just the ones I know or knew from college. Not the most open-minded group. But hope springs eternal.
10:13
Comment From filihok
Do our impressions of Ned Colletti need to change now that he’s not under the McCourt pilfering of all the Dodgers’ money?
10:14
Paul Swydan: He’s still the guy who gave Brandon League three years. I think we’ve probably been a little hard on him, because he’s an easy target, and because he looks like Ned Flanders, and because it’s fun to hate the Dodgers sometimes. But I don’t think our opinion on him needs to have a 180 degree shift.
10:15
Comment From Joe N
I don’t think it’s Yankee fans specifically at all… the sports world is still not gay-friendly by any stretch
10:16
Paul Swydan: Yeah, it’s hard for me to answer that question, to be perfectly honest. In a very real sense, I live inside a bubble. I live in an educated suburban town, and my online community is also pretty educated because I simply have no reason to follow people who I don’t find intellectually stimulating. I don’t listen to sports talk radio, because I don’t like it when my ears bleed. So while I am not ignorant of the casual fan’s perspective, it’s not one that is constantly permeating my conversations.
10:17
Comment From Gila Monster
Are the Pirates the biggest disappointment so far this off season? I mean starting Sanchez at 1st is kinda inexcusable.
10:18
Paul Swydan: No, the Orioles and Reds have had far worse offseasons. The Bucs have a trio of prospects to look forward to in Polanco, Hanson and Taillon, so their need for spending big is lessened. There were no slam dunk 1Bs on the market this year. Even Napoli carries with him significant risks, and if we take him at his word he never wanted to leave Boston anyway.
10:18
Paul Swydan: The Braves too.
10:18
Comment From Senor Poop
If you ate something that had a cockroach on it, would you still tip 20%?
10:18
Paul Swydan: Nevermind tipping 20%, I wouldn’t even be paying 20% of the bill.
10:19
Comment From filihok
If the Cardinals were split into 2 teams of equal strength, where would those two teams finish the 2013 season in the NL Central?
10:19
Paul Swydan: Probably third and fourth. They’re not THAT good.
10:20
Paul Swydan: Maybe even lower than that. It’s an interesting question.
10:20
Comment From Tony
Paul. Gut check guess. Who signs Tanaka and for how much?
10:20
Paul Swydan: Oh, I have no illusions of anyone besides the Yankees signing him. And for however much it takes. $120+ is my guess.
10:21
Paul Swydan: Alright folks, this was fun, but I need to sign off. If you have had already celebrated your holidays, I hope they were happy. If your holidays are still to come, I hope they are similarly happy. We’ll get back at it in 2014. See you then!

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