Talk playoffs with Matt.
Matthew Kory: Hey BP'ers! I'm terribly sorry I'm late. But I'm here now so let's talk some baseball!
John (Chicago): Matt,
What did you think of the Abreu signing, what his numbers might look like this year and what will happen with Konerko ?
Matthew Kory: I thought it made sense. Look at the White Sox this season and you see a team that couldn't hit. Abreu should be able to help with that. The Sox don't have anyone in the pipeline at first base either, so it's not like he's blocking anyone substantial. It remains to be seen what Abreu is, but I thought it was a smart move to get him. Remember, he didn't cost them a draft pick like a free agent would. Good move. Even if it doesn't pan out, I think it was worth a shot.
Greg (KCMO): Any players you see flying under the radar to make a big impact next season?
Matthew Kory: Under the radar? No. I mean, if they were on the radar I'd be tracking them, but under the radar is much harder. It's dark down there. Probably spiders too. I don't like spiders.
I think it's always tough to answer a question like this. Take Michael Wacha. Nobody, not the Cardinals, not Michael Wacha, not any prospect writer thought he'd turn into this. An ERA below a half a run in the post season? Hitting 98 with his fastball late in the game? Credit Wacha and credit the Cardinals but I don't think anyone saw this coming, at least not to this extent. And really, if we all could see everything coming, baseball wouldn't be much fun.
R.A.Wagman (Thornhill): Matthew, which Muppet/Sesame Street character would you hire to manage the Blue Jays next year? As a follow up, which one should play second base? AS a follow-follow up, is it possible that Jose Reyes was created by Jim Hensen?
Matthew Kory: The Blue Jays have a manager and I don't believe he's going anywhere, but hypothetically, I'd go with Kermit. He seems to have the best head on his shoulders. Okay, Kermit doesn't really have shoulders, but you know what I mean. For any field position I'd go with the Swedish Chef. Not that I think he'd do a good job -- he wouldn't, he'd be terrible -- but I just love the Swedish Chef.
Mike (The Couch): Do you think Michael Choice can crack the opening day roster for the A's? If so, what kind of season could you see him having? Thanks Matt!
Matthew Kory: I think he could. It depends on whether or not there's an open spot in the outfield. How long is Josh Reddick out? Do the A's pick up Coco Crisp's option? Do they trade Cespedes and if so do they get an outfielder in return?
Tee (Phoenix ): A bit off topic Matthew but I'm a senior in college looking for a thesis topic. Is there anything you can think of that you would like to know more about that involves baseball and statistical analysis? Thanks
Matthew Kory: I have a few thoughts, but I think this is a great one to open up to the crowds. What do you all think? Any ideas?
Jay Cook You (Byrd Gang): Don't know why Sox fans are feeling so good. They had a sub. 250 obp last night & Wacha Flame pitching tonight. Who are some sleeper closers for next year?
Matthew Kory: 8-1 is why Sox fans are feeling so good. As good as Wacha has been, Wainwright is the Cardinals ace and the Red Sox made him look terrible. It's an open question as to who was more responsible for Wainwright's bad game, Wainwright himself, his defense, or the Red Sox offense. I think the blame can be shared, but when you crush the other team's ace in Game One, you feel good. That's just how that works.
Sleeper closers for next year? Look at any reliever who was bad this year. There's your sleeper closer.
Geovany Broto (Anywhere): Favorite part of game one?
Matthew Kory: I really loved most of it. Napoli's bases-clearing hit was a personal highlight, but Beltran's catch was spectacular, as well. Lester's performance was fun to watch as long as you aren't a Cardinal fan too. I really enjoyed, or maybe that's not the right word, but was gratified by the umpires getting together and getting the call in the first inning right. That spoke well of them and it spoke well of Dana DeMuth who missed the call initially that he would allow his fellow umpires to over-rule him.
Fip Lincecum (Yay(o) Area): Think its pretty cool how the giants are embracing saber concepts signing Lincecum based of dips theory. Any chance Rays move Yunel Escobar to Centerfield where his arm can shine and Desmond Jennings back to left?
Matthew Kory: Did the Giants come out and say that? Because I've read pieces that say 'this justifies the signing' but I've never heard anyone connected to the Giants make that statement. I suspect they haven't because if they did the internet would explode.
I'd be shocked if the Rays moved Escobar to the outfield. Who would they put at shortstop? Don't think Delmon Young would cut it there.
nictaclacta (Glendale): Thesis topic for Tee (Phoenix)
Correlation of specific home plate umpires to pitcher ERA and WHIP.
Matthew Kory: There's one!
Jay Cook You (Bang Bang Byrd Gang): Yea but the 8 runs weren't really 8 runs. I mean its not logicial that they're gonna score 8 runs again. Their wOBA was that of a crappy middle infielder. I feel much better about the Cards chances. They got BABIP'd and there should be regression on both sides.
Matthew Kory: The 8 runs are right there on the scoreboard. Boston had the best offense in baseball (a bit above St. Louis, in my humble opinion) this season, so they could absolutely score eight again, though I wouldn't necessarily bet on it. As for getting BABIP'd, Boston hit plenty of line drives. I didn't get the sense many/any of their hits were cheap. Pedroia's single through the left side is the only thing that springs to mind. Maybe a good third baseman makes that play.
Am I missing something here, chatters? Seemed like the farthest thing from lucky to me. I mean, I don't expect the Cardinals to field that badly again, but aside from that.
Cole (Jeff City): Any surprising prospects you see that crack the Top 101 Prospects when it comes out?
Matthew Kory: I'm so not the prospects guy. Sorry. I honestly have no idea. I'm sure Jason and the prospects team will surprise and amaze as they always do though.
Dave (Pittsburgh): What do the Pirates do about their first base situation going into next season?
Matthew Kory: It's an interesting question. They could bring back Morneau, but it really seems like he's not ever going to be Justin Morneau again. A first baseman that slugged .411 with a 323 on-base just doesn't seem like a good answer. Mike Napoli may be available if the Red Sox don't lock him up between the end of the Series and the start of free agency, but aside from him, I think the Pirates might have to see what they can find on the trade market. Or, sign Morneau, cross your fingers, and power up at other positions.
Slim Harderway (The Tweets): Best song of the last 12 months? I think its Sherane aka Master Splinter's Daughter by K Dot.
Matthew Kory: I'm listening to the Dismemberment Plan's latest on a loop these days, but how can I answer this question without saying this:
LIGHT A MUP MUP MUP, LIGHT A MUP MUP MUP!
Derek (The Recliner): Do you think these guys can build off of their solid year and potentially have break out performances in 2014: Jason Castro, Brandon Belt, Kyle Seager, Danny Salazar?
Matthew Kory: I've always liked Belt, but I don't know if a guy who is coming off a .289/.360/.481 season can really break out. I mean, I guess he could hit .350/.420/.590 but I don't see that coming. Seager was a five win player by WARP too. That's beyond solid and into very good range. But of those players I like Belt and Seager the best to repeat their performance and/or improve incrementally.
Jim (STL): Thanks for the chat Matt! Now that the Giants have resigned Big Time Timmy Jim, who else will the Giants pursue in the pitching department? They still have possibly two more rotation spots to fill. Any possibilities with Masahiro Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana?
Matthew Kory: They could go after any of those guys, but considering they already have a tremendous amount of cash going to Timmy, Bumgarner, and Cain, I'd expect they won't be dropping a ton of cash on the last two rotation spots. That money is probably better spent elsewhere. Like on a personal trainer for Panda.
Brett (Kansas City): What kind of player could Alexander Guerrero be? What's his ceiling? Thanks!
Matthew Kory: Not sure, and not sure that anyone knows. For anyone who doesn't know, Guerrero is the Cuban player the Dodgers just signed to a four-year deal to play second base. He's played in Cuba, he's played well there, he's not that tall and he's kinda stocky. How will that translate to MLB? I don't know, and the Dodgers don't either. Obviously they think he can play the position defensively or they wouldn't have given him $28 million.
More significant, at least for this off-season, is what this means for Robinson Cano who has seemed like he'd be willing to sign with another team if the money was there. The Dodgers may have been the best chance for the money to be there. Maybe the Dodgers will still give Cano a go though, after all they have four high priced outfielders, so what's two high priced second basemen? More likely though, Cano is going to have to find his $300 million elsewhere, which maybe means New York.
Bad Ziegler (Bad Land): Saw this mentioned elsewhere, but should teams take a velo-hitting specialst like Donnie Murphy more serious? Seems like he would help the Sox in this series.
Matthew Kory: Do teams not take him seriously? I don't know. I know velocity shortens the time the batter has to react to the pitch, so he must make decisions more quickly, which increases the likelihood that he isn't able to react in time. But pure velocity gets hit all the time in MLB. Kyle Farnsworth is a prime example. He could throw 100 but was never more than a mid-bullpen guy because he didn't have the command an his fastball was too straight. Pure velocity is nice, but that's not necessarily why the Red Sox had trouble with Verlander and Scherzer. They had problems with those guys because they have great command, lots of plus pitches, AND because they throw the heck out of the ball.
Mitch (The Toilet): Do you think Mike Moustakas can ever find his groove and become a relevant fantasy player? Thanks!
Matthew Kory: At this point, almost 1,500 plate appearances into his pro career, it's hard to project a breakout. He's still young, relatively at 25, so there is absolutely still a chance that he turns into something more than what he is, but with the Royals in win-now mode (for some reason) I'm not sure that's the best organization for him to try and figure things out.
To answer your question more specifically, I'd guess no. But with the caveat that I could be wrong!
jlarsen (Chicago): When thinking about the KC Royals & GM Dayton Moore's unwaivering goal of being loved & getting fan approval, does anyone else think of "The Lion King"? Dayton holding up his newly-acquired "ace" that he traded a hitter(prospect or big leaguer for) that is replacing a departing SP? Today...I bring you...(insert pitcher name)....Oooooooh (Sir Elton John's "Circle of Life" playing in background of presser)
Matthew Kory: That was an odd quote, wasn't it? You can say a lot of things about Moore's term as GM in KC, but one of the strangest and probably the least relevant as far as winning games on the field, is his penchant for saying silly things every once in a while. It's not that he's completely wrong, it's just that he's a bit tone deaf to how the words sound to the fans and media. I suspect though that if the Royals don't win something soon, he'll have some time off to take some media relations classes.
Scott (LA): Who do the St. Louis Cardinals target when they inevitably trade a young arm for a SS and who do they part with? Is Joe Kelly enough to get someone like Didi Gregorious? They aren't going to do something crazy like deal Carlos Martinez, are they?
Matthew Kory: They don't necessarily have to deal a young arm for a shortstop though, right? They could, of course, but they could also sign Stephen Drew who very likely won't be back in Boston next season as his spot will be taken by Xander Bogaerts.
But, if the Cardinals do decide to do that, you could do much worse than trading a bullpen arm for a starting position player. Bullpen arms, even ones that throw 100, continue to be over-valued, certainly by fans, and likely by teams, if not to the same extent.
(That's not to say Martinez will be in the pen forever, just a general comment on the value of bullpen guys)
Nathan (Utah): If Taijuan Walker and Yordano Ventura find themselves in their teams' respective rotations, what kind of years could we expect from them? Both very exciting to watch!
Matthew Kory: I'd imagine Walker will be in the Mariners rotation at the start of the season, and he's quite the young pitcher. He has some work to do to iron out his secondary stuff, if I remember correctly (I'm going off memory for this one), but I'd expect he'll be a part of a pretty good rotation in Seattle. As for Ventura, I don't know what the Royals plans are. Will they re-sign Santana? Maybe Ventura sneaks in there anyway. He was pretty good in Triple-A this season so wouldn't shock me.
Matthew Kory: Sorry everyone about the late start today and about the early exit. I'm the worst. Hopefully I can make it up to you all in the near future. Enjoy the World Series and hope to chat with you all again soon!