Chat with Buster Olney
Send your questions now and join Buster on Monday at 1 p.m. ET.
Buster Olney (12:59 PM)
Hi, folks, hope all is well -- thanks for checking in. I've got about a half hour today, so let's get it started...
Chris (Lynchburg, VA)
What is your opinion on two struggling 1B, David Ortiz and Derrick Lee? Are both of them heading rapidly towards the end of their careers with no power?
Buster Olney (1:01 PM)
Chris: I actually thought that the swings that David Ortiz had on Sunday night against Matt Garza were the best I've seen from him all year. Whether it was just one good night remains to be seen, but without a doubt, he looks awful at the plate. Derrek Lee was sent for an MRI on Sunday on a bulging disc in his neck, so whether he is permanently affected by a problem or if this is something that can be treated remains to be seen.
Braves & Marlins clearly have the best pitching in the East. Can they hang w/ NY and PHI? If McCann and Chipper stay healthy, I know ATL can.
Buster Olney (1:03 PM)
CC: If McCann can stay healthy, the Braves should be in the race all year; they'll soon be helped by the promotion of Tommy Hanson, who has been dominating Class AAA. The Marlins' backbone has to be their starting pitching, and they just lost Anibal Sanchez for a couple of months and don't have a lot of starting pitching in the highest levels of their farm system. I'd think that the Braves have a better chance of contending than the Marlins do... we'll see.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Does Tommy Hanson get a chance in Atlanta this year? JoJo Reyes hasn't been great and maybe Glavine can finally retire.
Buster Olney (1:04 PM)
J.B. -- I think Hanson will be up within a month.
What did you think of Aubrey Huff mocking the Joba fist pump after his first inning homer?
Buster Olney (1:05 PM)
Seymour: I think it's actually kind of funny, and after the game, Joba said it didn't bother him. I assume that he won't throw at Huff because of it; if he does, this would be more than a little hypocritical.
What is the perception of the Brewers, in media and around the league? Punks or just having fun? They don't seem to be looked at the same as other young teams like the Rays.
Buster Olney (1:09 PM)
Matt: They have some swagger, for sure, and of course that's led by Ryan Braun. My own view on Braun is that he's just having fun... but then, I'm not the guy whose pitch just landed 450 feet deep in the left field stands, as Braun tongue-wags his way around home plate. Braun's situation is a lot like Joba's situation to me: He has the right to have fun, but must know that some players are going to take offense and may react in a way that he isn't going to like. Either way: The Brewers are one of the teams that I find most fun to watch (along with the Cardinals and the Rays).
Mike (San Diego)
Any words of consolation for a suffering Padres fan?
Buster Olney (1:10 PM)
Mike: The sun will rise tomorrow. And the day after that, and the day after that, and maybe after a few hundred sunrises, your guys will be in the hunt again. I do think Towers understands pitching and that ballpark, and that the turnaround will be relatively swift.
Bobby Parnell has pitched great so far this season - can he keep it up and keep the Mets' bullpen as strong as it's been?
Buster Olney (1:11 PM)
Joe: So long as they watch his innings counts, there's no reason to think he won't continue to throw that well. He's been among the most underrated performers in the game so far this season.
Perhaps I'm just exhibiting bias here, but it kind of bothers me that when Joba pumps his fist he's out of line. But when Papelbon does his little song and dance after a save, Steve Phillips says he;s just "showing enthusiasm". Why the double standard?
Buster Olney (1:12 PM)
Adam: personally, I don't care about the fist-pumping. But I do think that some players do, and so Joba, Braun, etc. have to understand (if they don't already) that there will be some backlash. I actually think Joba needs that kind of stuff to create some adrenaline.
Buster, What do you think about the Rays' struggling pitching? Is it something that will work itself out over the season, or do they need to make a move (not including bringing up Price)?
Buster Olney (1:14 PM)
Greg: Kazmir is the guy who would worry me. He struggled at the end of last season, struggled in the post-season, and he's struggling again. I wonder if he'll ever have the same slider/fastball combo again. That all said: I think the Rays are about to take off (and they've won 7 of their last 11).
Ryan Zimmerman (Washington DC)
What more do I have to do to get some love?
Buster Olney (1:14 PM)
Ryan Zimmerman: Can you give up some of your dough to make sure the Nats sign Strasburg? Just kidding... If your streak happens to reach 40 games, you will getting more national media love than you ever dreamed of (or wanted).
Speaking of mocking gestures, Casey Blake did the same to Brian Wilson's cross-armed celebration he does after every save. Wilson flipped out over it. Big deal?
Buster Olney (1:16 PM)
Rob: I think Brian Wilson is entitled to do whatever celebration thing he wants, but I would hope that somebody would go to him and explain that Casey Blake is really a good guy and almost certainly had no intention of insulting the memory of Wilson's father. Others talk of Blake as being among the best guys in baseball, and I tend to doubt whether he had any idea what Wilson's symbol means, or means to him.
Adam (Morristown, NJ)
What is wrong with Geovany Soto?
Buster Olney (1:19 PM)
Adam: I've talked with advance scouts who wonder if his shoulder has bounced back from his WBC service... they think his swing reflects some problem. But as the ballplayer credo goes, he's playing, so he doesn't have any excuses.
I'm really hoping the Mets can poach a starter during the season. Who would be the most likely candidates - Peavy, Lee?
Buster Olney (1:20 PM)
Brad Penny might be a perfect guy, Dave -- the Red Sox might soon be willing to deal him, he'll be relatively inexpensive, and pitching in the NL, he'll be effective. He might not be a Cy Young caliber pitcher right now, but he's decent and might cost the Mets a Grade B prospect or two.
Buster, as a Yankee fan I can honestly say that I don't really like Joba throwing at people or fist pumping to the extent to which he does it. But the Red Sox of all people cannot complain. In the last 10 years, they've had 3 of the most prolific hitting batter pitchers (Pedro, Schilling and Beckett) and a closer who yells more than anyone in the game... kind of hypocritical don't you think? Especially from upper managament.
Buster Olney (1:22 PM)
Mark: To be clear, what I think is fine is the fist-pumping. I never understood why a pitcher would drill a hitter on purpose after giving up a homer to that hitter, or the guy who follows him in the lineup. That is pretty weak, actually -- just make a better pitch the next time around. And I don't know how much guts it takes to drill a prone target.
With Brett Cecil throwing really well for the Jays yesterday, what do you think their rotation will look like when everyone(Romero,Litsch,Jannsen) gets healthy? Enough to contend?
Buster Olney (1:23 PM)
Geoff:They'll go with the five hottest starters, whoever that is at the time (and I was told that Romero should be back pretty soon, with Janssen following him later in May and Litsch coming back in June). The Jays have done a great, great job of setting themselves up for the Yankees/Red Sox/Rays portion of their schedule, which begins Tuesday.
Gene Tenace (Tenacity)
Whats the deal with Brian Tallet of the Jays? Can he be a legitimate 3/4 starter the rest of the way or is he destined to move back to the bullpen?
Buster Olney (1:24 PM)
Gene Tenace: I suspect that the Jays would like to move him back to the bullpen, and if they get Romero/Janssen and Litsch back, they'll switch Tallet back to the bullpen. But we'll see how it develops.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Pedro is top __ pitcher of all time.
Buster Olney (1:25 PM)
wht do you think about the dbacks?
Buster Olney (1:27 PM)
Sergio: At a crossroads, clearly. Their young players didn't progress after 2007, and if the young players don't make progress under Hinch, then Arizona's future looks much, much differently than what we expected. I think Chris Young will be a good player -- but what if he's just a .260/25 homer guy? What if Jackson and Reynolds and Tracy are just journeymen? I think those are legitimate questions now.
Nick (Albuquerque, NM)
Can the Giants make up 4.5 on the Dodgers while Manny's out?
Buster Olney (1:28 PM)
Nick: If I had to guess, I'd say no. But the Giants clearly are beginning to address their offensive issues -- according to Andrew Baggarly, they're thinking about shifting pablo Sandoval to first and installing Juan Uribe at third.
Just my opinion but I think Janssen would be better suited to working out of the bullpen, keeping Tallet in the rotation. He hasn't pitched since 2007 so to throw him into the rotation immediately might not be prudent. What's your take?
Buster Olney (1:29 PM)
Kevin: It's my impression that their intention is to use Janssen in the rotation. But your question is legit, and I'll make a phone call on it later...
Nora (St. Louis)
What is it about the Cardinals that you like watching?
Buster Olney (1:30 PM)
Nora: They're focused; they're into every pitch; they seem to have really good character guys; and, of course, Pujols, the best player on the planet.
Charlie Manual (Philadelphia, PA)
What should I do with Jimmy Rollins?
Buster Olney (1:30 PM)
Charlie Manuel: Keep running him out there. Took him awhile to get going last year, too, with his left-handed swing.
Halladay-Burnett - who wins tomorrow?
Buster Olney (1:31 PM)
Kevin: Hard to bet against Halladay. Can't wait for that game.
I know the Nats are an easy target, but they can flat out hit. Is a Strasburg, Zimmermann, Martis, Lannan rotation, plus that offense a contending team?
Buster Olney (1:32 PM)
Jon -- if they sign Strasburg and land three other good pitchers, that's a team that can be in the NL conversation for next year. Don't you think?
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Can I get some encouraging words about the Orioles? We used to have the Rays to occupy the East cellar, but now we rot there.
Buster Olney (1:33 PM)
Jason: This year will continue to be ugly, but along the way, you'll see Wieters and others, and next year, you'll see the best of the young pitching. That is developing into a great lineup. With that, folks, I have to run. Sorry to cut it short this week. Have a great time in the days ahead.