Klawchat, 2/9/17.

My latest boardgame review for Paste covers The Blood of an Englishman, an asymmetrical, two-player card game based on the Jack and the Beanstalk story.

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Klaw: There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air. Klawchat.

Ryan: Cubs traded for Alec Mills yesterday, is he a starter long term?
Klaw: Yes. Opinions I’ve heard range from okay fourth starter (so, think a little below league average) to swingman. I think he’s probably a decent fifth starter option, which the Cubs needed. Nothing really exciting.

addoeh: My favorite Dylan song! Would she change it all if her hair was still red? Starting pitching depth the biggest concern of the Cubs? Top four is set. Fifth, and in case of injuries beyond, not so much.
Klaw: I think acquiring Mills gives them at least 3 viable options for the fifth spot with him, Anderson, and I guess Montgomery (who I still think is better suited to relief). The issue is as you said that they’re not well set up to fill an extended opening in the front four.

Steve: Very much agree on your ranking for Quantrill. Not a lot to there to not like. How soon before we see him in the majors? Late 2018 too aggressive?
Klaw: On stuff/command it’s not too aggressive, but I imagine his workload this year will be heavily restricted, and that may push his debut further back even if he doesn’t suffer any further injuries.

Dan: You said in the last Klawchat that if you knew you’d be in this industry you wouldn’t take the same education path. What would you study if you could go back?
Klaw: I’d major in applied math and take a bunch of foreign language classes, because I love all of that stuff and would have enjoyed college much more had I done so.

guren: I seem to recall reading somewhere (on Twitter?) that you will not be providing the narration for the audiobook version of Smart Baseball. Was this your decision? I personally would be more inclined to purchase the audiobook if you were the narrator, but rest assured I will still purchase the hardcover book.
Klaw: Publisher’s decision. Not sure I have a good voice for that, and of course there’s a time commitment involved too.

jay_B: Do you think Jeimer Candelario has a MLB-regular future? Tough to tell from your capsule on him but it doesn’t sound great.
Klaw: Yes, but not with the Cubs. I have seen him very bad at 3b. Other scouts claim he’s better than that.

J: In the past couple years, I feel like you’ve been ahead/higher on a couple guys who are now moving up lists in general – thinking of Alex Verdugo and Kevin Newman specifically. Not a compare/contrast to others’ work, but do you think there’s anyone who fits that description this year?
Klaw: I haven’t compared my list to Mayo/Callis’ yet but I imagine we have some wide differences. I probably had Quantrill a lot higher?

Marky Mark: Why is one 6 WAR player more valuable than 2 3 WARS
Klaw: Because roster spots are scarce.

Cory: Lots of positive press about Hunter Greene going #1 to the Twins in the draft. Why should the Twins take someone other than Greene?
Klaw: Because high school pitchers are a high-risk class, and this draft has several college players who are 1-1 worthy.

Paul: Bundy bringing back the cutter this season. Reason for optimism or added risk to the injured wing?
Klaw: I think it’s good for Bundy, but he wore down badly at the end of the summer and already had shoulder damage before the season. I don’t think the cutter adds to that concern, but I’m bearish on him staying healthy.

Nick: Rhys Hoskins, Dominic Smith, Rowdy Tellez. Hoskins is 23 w/ a lot of question marks for me. But Tellez and Smith are both 21, I would argue Tellez had a far superior 2016, both were in AA. How is Smith a top 30 guy, and Tellez nowhere to be found? Also like the Tellez is 6’4″ instead of Smith’s 6’0″. Thoughts?
Klaw: I dispute that Tellez had a “far superior 2016,” since NH is a very good park for LH pull power hitters. Smith’s a much better pure hitter, able to hit velocity Tellez can’t touch, and is a much better defender at first (Tellez is more likely a DH).

Joe: Keith, do you have any opinion on the Bart Hubbuch saga?
Klaw: I’m not familiar enough with that NY labor law to have an opinion.

ND republican: I’m not a fan of Trump in the slightest, but just curious if the republican nominee would’ve been Romney instead of Trump, would you still have voted Clinton?
Klaw: It depends on which Romney – the 2012 nominee version, or the Massachusetts Governor version (for whom I did vote back in ’04 or whenever that was).

Andres Alvarado: Hey KLAW, I’m at work and won’t be able to log on today, so I’m taking a sec to send in my question. Hopefully I can get you to answer and read up on it late. What do you think of the full LP by Ten Fé? It finally released!!
Klaw: Liked it quite a bit, although all the best songs were the ones we’d already heard as singles.

Ted: What is your assessment of Bobby Dalbec and was he close to making your top 100?
Klaw: Power over hit right now, never had a consistent stance or swing in college. 70 arm at third. Not close to the top 100; wasn’t even on my predraft top 100 after he had a horrendous spring with an unacceptable K rate.

Andy: I know you place emphasis on depth in ranking the farm systems, but I’m having a hard time understanding how the Indians, with two top 100 guys (and a couple more HMs) are next the the Red Sox, who still have so much elite talent. How deep/shallow are the relative systems that they can be so close? Is this almost anomalous?
Klaw: I think you answered it – after Boston’s top 4 guys there’s a big dropoff.

Adam: Is there a team whose 11-20 is better than another’s 1-10?
Klaw: No. I get this question pretty much every year, BTW, and I don’t think I’ve ever answered “yes.”

Adam: Jacob Nix is consistently ranked 6 or 7 on most Padres prospect lists. Could you expand on what Padres fans can dream on in regards to him?
Klaw: Potential #2 starter. Three pitches, good delivery, control already there.

Tyler: Keith, you left guys like Dietrich Enns and Jordan Montgomery off of your Yankees prospect list. Both guys dominated AA-AAA last year. I understand that success in the minors does not translate to the pros and that there are so much that goes into it. (1) Can you give a brief explanation why they are ranked so low to give me a better understanding and (2) can I expect to see them get called up during the season to fill a back end starter role with the Yankees rotation being so thin? Thanks.
Klaw: I don’t think either is a big-league starter, so what are they then? Middle relief options? I think guys like those are a dime a dozen, and while a few will end up having big-league value – an unexpected velocity spike, a new pitch, magic pixie dust – I don’t see anything to separate them right now from all the other similar guys in the upper minors.

Nelson: When scouting, do you take all height/weight listings with a grain of salt? If Fransisco Lindor is listed at 190lbs, hes gotta be the strongest skinny person Ive ever seen
Klaw: I ask teams if I think a listed height/weight is wrong. Often public sites still have info from when the player signed or was drafted.

Ben (Washington, DC): In your review of “The Blood of an Englishman” you mentioned that you hadn’t come close to the 30 minute suggested game time. Does this mean it took you longer or shorter to get through a game?
Klaw: Much shorter. We finished in 15-20 minutes every time.

Jesse: Are there any board games currently in the 101-150 range that could move way with a good season?
Klaw: Nicely done.

Michael: I’ve never been political until now, but in the last month have called and written by Senators/rep, attended a town hall, called Congress to oppose Bannon.What I can’t comprehend is how each party isn’t up in arms that Trump is blatantly and brazenly profiting off the office. How is this not a bigger deal? It violates the constitution and our basic principles of democracy.
Klaw: I think today’s Kelly Anne Conway exhortation to buy Ivanka products is a bellwether. She appears to have violated a federal law. If the Republicans won’t support an effort to charge her, well, then you’ve got your answer.

Pei: What happened to Gordon Beckham? Went from projected star to utility player almost overnight it seems
Klaw: I flip-flopped on him – was way out after seeing his swing when he was a sophomore, he had a huge junior year and easily a dozen people told me I was wrong, so I figured hey, maybe he’s like Hunter Pence and can hit with that huge hitch. So I was right, and then wrong. Anyway I think that’s the explanation – he never could get over the hitch and get the bat to the zone on time.

Nelson: Gleybar Torres held his own at a young age, but didnt really break out last year unless you consider the AFL. Why the big surge in your rankings?
Klaw: He spent most of the year in Myrtle (great pitchers’ park) and then some in Tampa (good pitchers’ league in general) and hit for more power with a higher walk rate. I think that’s a breakout.

Nelson: Not all republican senators are dummies, so how can you explain them voting in DeVos? Are the afraid of going against Trump? Against Ryan?
Klaw: I assume so. Follow the party line and you’ll get something that matters to you down the road? I think the majority of Congresspersons operate that way.

Elf: What are your thoughts on Daniel Murphy getting close to repeating last year’s numbers? An ESPN cohort of yours has an article saying yes, but uses a lot of loathsome phrases like “eye test” and “lineup protection” to make his argument.
Klaw: I guess it depends on “getting close” but I’d bet the under. He set career highs in BABIP and ISO last year, and while there’s some mechanical explanation there, there was almost certainly some good fortune involved too. If you offered me three choices for his performance in 2017 – his 2015 line, his 2016 line, or right down the middle of those two – I’d take the third option.

Freddie Gibbs: Have you ever seen Oscar De La Cruz pitch?
Klaw: Nope. He hasn’t pitched that much due to injuries. But after I listed him as a Cubs sleeper a scout I know texted me to say he approved of that choice.

Geno: Appreciate all of your hard work Keith. What are your thoughts on the Alec Mills for Donnie Dewees swap? Thanks!
Klaw: Mills I discussed earlier. Dewees can run and put the ball in play but has no power and a 20 arm. I don’t think you can use him in CF, so what is he? Bench bat?

John Liotta: Will you be updating your KLaw Top 100 novels soon? This year?
Klaw: I think I’m due, but of course last year was crazy busy so it wasn’t a priority. I need to update my iOS boardgame apps list too.

Ben: Is AJ Minter being a bit overhyped with people saying he’s best braves reliever prospect since Kimbrel? Or is he really that good?
Klaw: Wildly overhyped because people are scouting the stat line.

HugoZ: So which is worse, the seven-inning game, or a runner on second to begin extra innings?
Klaw: The seven inning game might end me as a baseball fan.

Tim: I believe you have contested the idea that PEDs led to the spike in offense during the 1990s/200s. I think part of your reasoning is lack of evidence. But what level of proof are you looking for? If the standard was simply more likely than not – such as in a civil case – would that change your opinion? Asking because it seems your belief is based on a lack of scientific evidence, which is a pretty high standard of proof.
Klaw: Offensive levels spiked very quickly from 1992 to 1993, so unless you think everyone started using the good shit all at once, the PED explanation doesn’t pass even your “more likely than not” test. I’m sure PEDs were part of it, but they don’t suffice as the whole explanation or even a major part of it. Just to be clear, though, my issue with steroids/HGH/similar drugs is that we don’t know what their effect on performance is or was, so trying to say “well, this guy wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer without them” is pseudointellectual masturbation. We just don’t know, and we can’t know, so it’s a waste of time.

Andrew: Bummed Ohani won’t be playing in the WBC. Or exhibition games so who cares?
Klaw: This killed my number one reason to watch. I shouldn’t say that, I guess, because I love the concept of the WBC, but he was the main attraction for me.

Frank: Can we finally agree that if the Marlins, one of the worst run baseball teams are actually going to sell for 1.6 Billion that no owner is ever allowed to cry poor again and ask the public to pay for a stadium.
Klaw: We can agree but voters will derp every time they’re asked for a “bond guarantee” or some other euphemism for a handout.

Nelson: Any interest in the Twin Peaks re-boot coming out in May?
Klaw: I liked TP season one back in the day, but I think 2-3 episodes into season 2 it petered out completely. I’ll wait and see what Sepinwall etc. say about it. I did record Legion last night so that might be my next new series.

Tim (KC): KLaw – Thoughs on the Minor League implementation of having a runner start on 2nd base for every extra inning? (And possible MLB implementation?) Personally, I feel it is stupid as they are fixing something that is not broken… I mean extra- innings are a gift. MLB wants people to get their sleep in the playoffs I guess?
Klaw: Agree. It’s a solution in search of a problem. And was anyone complaining about how WS game 7 played out?

Matt: Why do the Mets feel the need to take guys like Anthony Kay in the draft who projects as a 5th starter when they seem to crap out an Ace every other year?
Klaw: I thought he projected as more than that.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: Which is more foolish: the 4-year/5-year deals to Melancon, Jansen, et al; or what the Nats are doing: rolling the dice on Kelley, Glover, Treinen, et al.
Klaw: The long-term deals. I think there’s a closer in that mix for Washington – Glover has the stuff and aggressiveness, just not the command – and that Rizzo has played this out very wisely.

Sam: Javier Lopez retired yesterday. Greatest LOOGY of all time? If nothing else he helped define one of the best baseball terms ever.
Klaw: He retired as the best MLB pitcher to ever come out of UVA by WAR.

Johnny: Is Victor Robles pronounced “Rob-LES”, or “Ro-blay”
Klaw: ROBE-less, like he left his robe at home.

Dave M: Are you a fan of Philip Roth? Have you read American Pastoral or Portnoy’s Complaint?
Klaw: Read both and didn’t love either. I think I particularly dislike Zuckerman the character, and in AP, the scene where Swede sees his daughter again and doesn’t attempt to physically rescue her is unfathomable to me.

Marty: Do you have any thoughts on the Eddie Butler trade for the Cubs?
Klaw: If healthy, he’s got great shit. I’d take that flier and see if it was either the injury or the altitude that killed him.

Jobu: Hi Keith. Thanks for your recommendations of coffee roasters. I’ve really enjoyed several of their selections. Any Boston/Cambridge are roasters you’ve had in the past that you’d recommend?
Klaw: I haven’t been to George Howell but he’s a legend in third-wave coffee and I want to try his stuff out this summer.

Matt: if you had to put odds on Frankie Montas sticking as a starter, what would it be? 1/10?
Klaw: Yep, that sounds about right. Lacks the third pitch or maybe even a good enough second one, the command, or the body.

Ron: Hi Keith- If Buxton is up all of 2017 and is the full-time CF for the Twins, Where would you rank his arm among CF in both leagues? One of the best or above average? Hope he can hit decent and get on base. Packs a lot of wallop in that frame!
Klaw: It’s at least a 70 arm. He’s a legit 5 tool guy, and regular readers know I hate when that term is thrown around loosely.

Jer: How far would have had to list the Mets prospects to have Tim Tebow? 316?
Klaw: Maybe 23.2.

Alec: What do you think of raising the minimum wage? Every time this comes up–as it has in my state now–it makes me angry. I feel it’s just catering to a high voting base, and anyone with any sense sees it does nothing good–creates job loss due to higher costs, raisers prices, puts businesses out of business, etc.
Klaw: The academic research on the subject doesn’t favor your appeal to common sense argument; its effects on employment are mixed, at least. Doesn’t it also depend on the new wage level? Raising from $7 to $8 won’t have the same effects as raising from $7 to $15.

Jay: PECOTA projecting the Dodgers to win 98 games (and score more runs than most AL teams) with mostly the same roster (except Forsythe) which had among the worst wOBA against lefties in all MLB?
Klaw: Does PECOTA consider platoon splits? I don’t know the answer.

Rick: I heard an explanation that Otani can’t pitch and play the outfield on “off” days because of the throwing that outfielders have to do, so what about using him as a DH in between starts?
Klaw: Yes, you definitely want your ace to miss 4-6 weeks after straining an oblique muscle while swinging the bat as a DH.

Lyle: Did the Mariners get enough in return for Gohara?
Klaw: His stock was way down, so while I prefer Gohara, I understand their side of the deal.

Tim (KC): RE: 90’s and 2000’s power surge: 4 Expansion teams in the 90’s… which means more pitchers to pitch those increased number of innings/games. Basically, the talent level of the average pitcher decreases due to the increase in pitcher spots to be filled from what is a finite supply of quality pitchers.
Klaw: Yes, also very true – we’ve seen outlier individual seasons in every expansion year, I believe, including 1961 and 1998. And new ballparks, some of which played more hitter-friendly than the parks they replaced.

Mike: Why is PECOTA consistently way off on the Orioles? For example projecting 71 wins this season. Underrating the bullpen?
Klaw: Again, I can’t answer anything about PECOTA. I would say that they project to have one of the worst rotations in baseball (again) and that their offense is almost certain to be worse this year after a career year from Trumbo and no apparent upside there. And can Britton possibly match what he just did? I’ve long been a big believer in his stuff, but I could never predict any pitcher to put up a year like that.

Mike: Any business that claims it will go out of business because it had to pay a higher minimum wage was going to go out of business anyway. Seriously, if you build your business on having the cheapest possible labor, you are just wasting your time and money.
Klaw: if you build your business on having the cheapest possible labor, you can become Secretary of Labor!

Zac: Is Lucas Erceg a guy you could see “vaulting” up your rankings with a strong season?
Klaw: I was pretty aggressive with him this year. Lowest drafted player (2016) on my top 100, I believe.

Jim: When you say a player might get too big for SS, do you really mean too slow? If a guy got bigger but could maintain his lateral quickness somehow, wouldn’t he be just as good or better?
Klaw: Slow would imply foot speed; I’m talking about agility and yes lateral range. Rare is the guy who can get bigger without losing either or both of those.

Anonymous: Does Houston really NEED to add a starter? Where do you rank a Keuchel/McCullers/McHugh trio, given the play near their “reasonable expected level,” whatever that is? Do Musgrove/Martes/Morton/Fiers round out a solid enough 4-5? I feel like the rotation is very middle of the pack, could be top 10, or bottom 10 also though.
Klaw: Need, no. Would help, yes. I don’t think you can reasonably expect 25 starts from McCullers, but I think they have five other solid starter options. Adding Quintana would still be a 3-win upgrade though.

Scott: Any good Environmental/Climate Change organizations that you recommend donating to?
Klaw: I haven’t given to any yet – so far it’s been Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, and a lot to our local food pantry, Food Bank of Delaware.

Mitch: Youve said before that you voted Republican in the past. May I ask which GOP candidates you voted for? Reagan?
Klaw: I’m too young for Reagan; my first Presidential election ballot was 1992. I’ve voted GOP at all levels – mentioned Romney above, voted against Ted Kennedy every ballot I had, etc. Last year, however, I was straight-line Democrat, and I won’t vote GOP again until this strand of white nationalism is out of the party.

Tristan: The Blue Jays aren’t exactly blocking Dalton Pompey with their planned platoon of Carrera & Upton. Can he still be a long-term asset, with speed and defence, even if the bat never fully blooms? He’s still young and has upside. What’s your take on his future?
Klaw: Still think he’s got value. Obviously came up too soon, had a hard time adjusting, but the talent that made him a top 100 guy is all still there.

Joe: Kevin Gausman had, in a lot of ways, one of the 15 best seasons of any AL starter last year. Is there another step for him to take?
Klaw: Yes, sort of. I think he started to take that step in the second half. Breaking ball was consistently better after he moved back towards the middle of the rubber.

Liberal Fringe: am I paranoid waiting for Trump’s Reichstag?
Klaw: Nope.

Nelson: Ever been to Iceland? Have any recommendations?
Klaw: I have. Go to Gullfoss. Breathtaking.

Alberto, Dom. Rep.: Hi Keith. What’s your interest level in the WBC? and what are your thoughts on it? Here in Latin America we take it very seriously but it sure doesn’t seem that way in the States.
Klaw: This is why it matters – it’s good for marketing the game in Latin America and east Asia. I don’t ever want the US to win because that defeats the tournament’s whole purpose.

Greg: So you don’t think Minter is elite RP prospect since people who are really high on him are just scouting the stat line?
Klaw: Strawman. I don’t think he’s an elite prospect because I’ve seen him and don’t evaluate him that way. Really, did you think you had a point with this question?

Ridley Kemp: The governor of Texas is actually trying to foment a constitutional convention and bring back nullification and has taken to use the phrase “You’re fired!” As bad as things are in D.C., they could always be worse, huh?
Klaw: Just leave us Austin and Texas can go back to being its own country.

Santino: Are you going to do your “breakout players” under 25 this year? I truly tried to look up the schedule that was posted a while back but could not dig it up.
Klaw: Two separate pieces. Breakouts in March. Top players under 25 I don’t know.

Bulgakov: What do you make of the recent paucity of African American big league catchers? Ever since Charles Johnson last played 12 years ago, I think only Russell Martin (technically Afro-Canadian) is the only one to log significant, if any, playing time. Do you think there’s a bias somewhere along the line that keeps African Americans away from the backstop position?
Klaw: I don’t even see African-American HS catchers very often, so if there’s a bias (likely) it may be happening even before scouts see these kids. Martin was a converted infielder, too.

Dave: Klaw, on raising the minimum wage, wouldn’t the higher minimum wage lead to less need for welfare, etc which could lead to tax breaks for businesses offsetting the raise? Or am I delusional…..
Klaw: It’s a very complicated economic question. It’s not as simple as drawing a supply and demand curve. And a fair minimum wage in NYC would be a lot more than a fair minimum wage in Utica.

Andy: Based on various terrible laws, will that impact your traveling to see prospects this year?
Klaw: I don’t think so, although where I have discretion I’ll try to see certain players on the road (e.g., JB Bukauskas) to avoid spending extra money in states with discriminatory laws on the books.

Chris: Wondering if you have seen the 13th on Netflix? It seems like the white nationalism has been in the Republican party since it migrated from the Democrats in the 60s. Amazing that some people think the impact of race is in this country is overstated. It has defined politics in this country since the beginning.
Klaw: This is next on my watchlist.

Ethan: Have you ever read or spoke with anyone at Pirates Prospects? I value their work on Pittsburgh minor league system and was just wondering if you had any reason to ever come across it?
Klaw: Spent some time with Tim last March. Really enjoyed my chat with him.

Stan: Higher wages don’t lead to less welfare. Less welfare would be the result of forcing people to choose a way to support themselves outside of welfare. The old “work or starve” analogy.
Klaw: Actually, the best way to get people off welfare is to cut welfare. We tried that c. 1995 and it worked fantastically.

Hank: As a Twins fan, I fear that Miguel Sano is going down the Chris Carter path. I still believe, but I also think this year is a make or break year for him….as far as for the Twins, not for his career by any means. Do you think he can improve and be the star everyone thought he would be?
Klaw: I think he’s a better hitter now than Carter ever was.

Nathan: Percent chance Glasnow reaches his upside?
Klaw: A year ago I would have said over 50%. Now, maybe 30-40%.

Scott: Do you think Manaea has the durability to become a #2?
Klaw: I’m not sure he has all the elements to be a #2 (someone who’s ranked somewhere between, say, 20 and 50 in MLB). I feel better about saying he’ll most likely end up a #3, with a fairly small chance to be more.

Henry: I am intrigued by the welfare question. Welfare is a lifestyle for many, even if most on it are struggling to survive. There are simply people who choose the path with the least amount of responsibility attached. So, if you want to get the most people off of welfare, the best way is to eliminate welfare so that people have to find other ways to feed themselves and their dependents.
Klaw: What ways would you suggest they find? You can tell them to get off welfare and get a job, but what if there isn’t a job there for them? Who takes care of their kids? How do they get to/from work? What if they’re physically unable to work? What if it’s more lucrative for them to do something illegal? And is welfare really “a lifestyle for many?” I fully understand the economic disincentives of handouts, but let’s not pretend this issue is as simple as “get a job.”

Ethan: Making Shrimp Po Boys and can’t decide what to serve with it; any suggestions?
Klaw: Something with acid. Fresh cole slaw?

Andy: The problem with the “work or starve” mentality, is that some people would starve, which creates a problem with crime/vagrancy, without even getting into the moral issues.
Klaw: And you have victims there – kids who are malnourished, perhaps otherwise abused, who then grow up to become financial burdens on the state. There’s a financial incentive to take care of these kids now, but there will be adults who take advantage of any such system.

Pat: I am very concerned about the Orioles’ cavalier approach to Bundy’s health. Last year, they set a 75 inning limit and blew way past it (he threw almost 110), and he wore down. Now going into 2017 they seem willing to let him loose with no innings limit. What gives?
Klaw: It became more important to make the playoffs (for one game, as the last entrant) last year than to protect him or Tillman going forward. I didn’t like the abrupt change in plans, and if I were publishing forecasts on individual players I’d adjust both pitchers down for 2017.

Patrick: What do you think are the best coffee(s) or types of coffee for cold-brewing?
Klaw: I’ve never cold-brewed. It’s all pour-over or espresso for me.

Joe: Some of these questions on welfare are borderline stunning in their cruelty. Is this what we’ve actually become?
Klaw: I’d just say they lack some compassion. Stories of “welfare queens” are generally unfounded. Any government program that transfers wealth to specific individuals or companies will be abused. You want to limit such abuse, yes, but there’s still a policy goal here, or several goals, that we can’t just throw away.

Timothy: An argument of fairness and striving for something. I’m college educated and make $17.50/hour, so why is it right for a fast food worker to make $15?
Klaw: Why does that fast-food worker’s wage matter to you? Is he holding your wage down?

CJ: As relievers are typically pitchers who can’t handle starting, do you think that a starter with non-traditional closer stuff – think Tom Glavine – would have been a dominant reliever?
Klaw: Relievers are often guys who couldn’t handle the starter workload, lacked the third or second pitch to start, lacked the fastball command to start, or got hurt. I don’t think Glavine, working with a lot of average stuff, would have been a dominant reliever.

Tim (KC): RE Immigration: When you over generalize a group of people (like say those on welfare) and give them a certain stereotype (they are all lazy and looking for a handout)… then you lead to further illogical thoughts like “let’s ban everyone from a specific country” or worse.
Klaw: I’d agree with all of this. I wouldn’t generalize any group – those on welfare, or those who pay the most into the system and thus end up supporting those on welfare.

Ridley Kemp: On Anthony Bourdain’s Part Unknown, he had an interesting discussion with Jiao Tong University who noted “The difficulty is that the technology is so advanced that we don’t really need that many people.” His premise was that there simply isn’t enough need for work to provide sustainable employment for everyone (or that there were too many people). Is there any reasonable solution to this problem that isn’t monstrous? That seems like a looming issue of almost global warming dimensions.
Klaw: That’s the argument behind a Universal Basic Income. I truly don’t know what to make of that – I think the arguments around it are too far beyond my education – but I agree that we’re going to face questions around finding sufficient employment for future generations, not because of immigration but because of automation.

Garrett: Speaking of converted catchers, you think Texas’ Josh Morgan makes it as a big league backstop?
Klaw: If he moves there permanently, I think he’ll be at least a 55.

BD: Not saying I agree with this, but the flipside to a guy like Bundy, is go ahead and “fire the bullets” so to speak, extract what value is there, as he is a ticking time bomb.
Klaw: Understood, but he and Tillman had worse results as they fatigued too.

Zach: Your response to the fast food eage question is everything. Just because someone gets a raise doesn’t mean it comes out of your pocket. I’m noy sure why people have a hard time understAnding that.
Klaw: The only time I’ve ever cared about what someone else was making was when it was someone in the same role as mine or one similar enough that it was useful in comparison for negotiations, or as a sign that I was underpaid and should leave the company.

Kyle: Re: Lack of black catchers; Do you think it could have something to do with the high price of catcher’s equipment? Not to over generalize, but anecdotally the majority of high-end african american players seem to have been either multi-sport athletes at some point, or came from inner city baseball leagues. Is the several hundred dollars requisite for a good set of gear a road-block for players who a) play several sports and don’t want to make a heavy financial investment in just one, or B) do not have the wiggle-room in their budget to afford to?
Klaw: I think that’s the argument, or at least an argument, why we don’t see enough black players in youth baseball, period.

Archie: Is there any single pitch that you think specifically causes injury to pitchers?
Klaw: No. I guess it’s possible the screwball does, but we have almost no samples to examine anyway. I think it’s less what you throw and more how you throw it.

Mikey: Are the Rangers mishandling Jurickson Profar? I realize he hasn’t been truly healthy but isn’t he being stifled by lack of playing time? Wouldn’t he make for a better fielding 2B than Odor, who by many metrics is below average?
Klaw: I would like to see Profar get 500 AB if healthy this year. Wherever it happens is fine with me. (But yes, I think he’ll be a better defender at 2b than Odor.)

Billy: Unintentionally, I think we have gotten to the crux of Trump’s Detroit campaign speech wherein he built on his immigration stance by saying the jobs illegals have been working will now be available for Americans, particularly those struggling in the inner city. Which begs the question….is it unreasonable to expect people receiving handouts to take available jobs in construction, agriculture, or other industries that they do not feel like working in?
Klaw: Many of those jobs require skills that the working poor or unemployed poor don’t have, or physical access they lack (you can’t tell someone living in the inner city, hey, go take a farm job).

Timothy: In some ways, yes, the fast food worker’s wage does affect me. As middle class, my wage does not go up, but doubling wages will affect what I have to pay for goods/services, thus lowering my spending power.
Klaw: I don’t believe that will apply at the lowest end of the income scale. The point of a “living wage” is to cover basic living expenses, which have relatively inelastic prices. Raising the minimum wage to $25 or $40 an hour might do so, because then you’re giving a whole new class of people disposable income they can use on nonessential items with greater price elasticity.

JR: Your response on wages reminds me of this excellent Louie CK quote: “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
Klaw: Compassion. Pass it on.

Klaw: OK, that’s all for WelfareChat this week. I’ll be back next Thursday to do it all over again, and will have another Insider column up on Tuesday too. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions. I’m sorry I couldn’t get to more.


  1. I might have missed your opinion before……but I would like to know your thoughts of how to improve the WBC? How can they make it to where the top stars of the (US in particular) game would want to play and the respective teams would allow them to play? Thanks Klaw.

  2. What do you expect out of Z Collins in his peak 4 years?

  3. Heaven forbid any raise in wages at the bottom come out of executive pay. The executive compensation culture we’ve established is the biggest stumbling block to maintaining a living wage at or near the bottom of the scale. This is most clearly illustrated by looking at the Daimler/Chrysler merger, which failed in large part due to Chrysler execs being unwilling to compromise on compensation packages their German counterparts thought obscene. That horse has left the barn, and since so many Americans have internalized progressive taxation as “punishing the rich”, we’re in an epic bind.

  4. Keith, you mentioned guaranteed basic income in the chat, would love to hear your thoughts on it. I go back to it often in my head and it feels like one of those things that would work if we could overcome the huge (yuge) inertia of the current system.

  5. The thing about the minimum wage increase that I don’t see get covered enough is it impacts a lot more people than just fast food workers or people currently making minimum wage. My wife has a college degree and two minors and has worked in her field for nearly ten years and hasn’t made more than $12/hour. An increase to a $15 minimum wage bumps her pay too.

  6. Best KLAW chat ever!!! As a person who was on welfare as a kid (my father left which forced my stay at home mom to take up three part time jobs to keep us fed and a roof over our heads. However, before these jobs came along we were really struggling.) I appreciate that you can see that not all of us have the same opportunities in life and that not everyone is looking for a free handout. My family didn’t chose to to go on welfare. We were forced into it through unforeseen circumstances. And having that safety net saved my family. It drives me crazy when people tell me that people on welfare don’t want to work and just want free money. Living on welfare is stressful. It just barely covers enough to survive. People who complain about giving welfare have no idea of what it feels like to not know when you will get your next meal or how will you pay for the next months rent. If you haven’t had to experience that then good for you. I could say so much more but I struggle to put into words how upsetting it is to be judged so harshly by people who have no understanding of what it is like to have that experience.

  7. Keith: If you’re not going to do the audiobook, I think you should get them to hire Frank Caliendo, and instruct him to read it in Morgan Freeman’s voice.

  8. RW: I feel your pain. Now all white people are racist. No exceptions.

  9. “We oppose people earning $17,000 per year working full-time [$8.50/hr, before taxes, etc.] getting a pay bump to $20,000 per year [$10/hr].”

    This is literally what people are arguing against. Even if you go from $10/hr to $12/hr ($20,000 per year to $24,000), it still isn’t easy to live on those wages, no matter where you are in the country.

  10. Eppa Rixey came out of UVa and finished with 57 bWAR / 66 fWAR. Hall of Famer.

  11. Klaw, please do update your iOs boardgame rankings.

    RW, thank you for that. People get kind of wild talking about welfare or minimum wage as an abstract concept. When forced to confront lived experiences of poverty and general insecurity, it becomes a different story.

    • Of course, this is true with so many things. Muslims, gay people, Mexican immigrants, etc. are much easier to hate when they are just abstractions.

    • CB – absolutely. It’s strange that the people who would seem to be most insulated from the “others” (gay people, immigrants, Muslims), because they live in rural areas, are the ones most opposed to all of them; while those of us who live in the bigger cities are the most in favor of them. Or it’s not strange because we know them and realize they are people just like us.

      RW – my mom went through that exact same situation. Father left, mom stuck taking care of 4 kids while trying to work full-time. One Christmas the only thing she got was a used doll from the Salvation Army and it was one of her favorite gifts ever.

      I went to school, lived, and worked in one of the poorer areas in my city for years and saw all kinds of people on different forms of assistance. Despite having actual interactions with those people who were taking advantage of the system (as opposed to most people who just refer to “welfare queens” and have never really met one) it’s necessary and I would never be in favor of a “work or starve” policy change.

  12. “I agree that we’re going to face questions around finding sufficient employment for future generations, not because of immigration but because of automation.”

    This is exactly what is so obnoxious about people buying the “I’m gonna bring our jobs back to the US!” nonsense from the Orange One. Their jobs haven’t been taken by some foreign country or “illegal” (love the implicit dehumanizing effect of that word), but replaced mostly by automation. That being said, you can’t let reality get in the way of a good derp.

    • Can’t both be true? Obviously automation has taken, and won’t relinquish, many jobs; but that doesn’t mean the US hasn’t lost some to other countries as well. And even if it is just an automated factory that’s built, that’s still beneficial to an area. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I’m generally in favor of his stance on trade, derpy as it may be.

    • His stance on trade – protectionism, really – is about the only subject where you’ll get broad agreement from economics: It’s bad. Free trade tends to improve the economies of all partners. Now there will be individual ‘losers’ in each market, and I think it’s the responsibility of those countries to figure out how to help the affected workers, but growing the economy as a whole should always be the first priority of any government. Trump’s brand of protectionism risks shrinking the U.S. economy instead.

    • A Salty Scientist

      If the GOP figured it would net positive votes, I have little doubt they would promote a Luddite platform.

    • The bigger and long-term issue is that the Democrats would do the Luddite platform right along with the GOP. With 1 or 2 exceptions, Congresspersons are mainly interested in being Congresspersons as long as they can, not in leading us anywhere. As long as we say we hate Congress because it’s irresponsible and untrustworthy, yet keep electing our own senators and reps because they bring home their share of the pork, we’re stuck.

  13. To Timothy re wages

    The other point to Timothy about the fast food worker wage is this — most studies show that raising the minimum wage also raises those wages that are just above the minimum wage. Many companies dont want to be seen as paying only the minimum, And they want to ensure they can compete for better employees, so they go just a touch higher. It’s entirely possible that if fast food workers are making $15, Timothy’s wage would likewise increase.

    Also — Keith — there are far better gay rights organizations than HRC. Think Lambda legal, GLAD. Human Rights Campaign has accomplished little and takes money away from local organizations. I’m a gay non-fan of them.

  14. If I can just pile on, I’d like to add that Timothy is assuming that he went to college and is a striver and so deserves a higher wage, while the fast food employee chose to be a fast food employee and wants nothing more. Obviously I don’t know anything about Timothy, but there’s a large amount of luck to anybody who has achieved success, whether it be in academics or anything else. Not to say that successful people don’t work hard, but the American Dream is mostly a myth. If you are a ‘striver’ ask yourself what made you so lucky to be in the position to strive for something. Ask yourself what factors other than innate ability or ambition might have stopped someone else from being able to achieve the same things as you. Consider for a second that no successful person has earned their success on their own and that maybe being born in the wrong context shouldn’t preclude you from making a living wage.