Chat with Buster Olney
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN The Magazine MLB writer Buster Olney will stop by to take your questions on your favorite team, favorite players and all the latest news on and off the field!
Buster Olney is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. A baseball reporter since 1989, Olney has covered the Padres, Orioles, Mets and Yankees. Olney, a bestselling author, joined ESPN The Magazine in 2003, after six years at The New York Times.
Send your questions now and join Olney Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buster Olney (1:05 PM)
Hi, folks, all is well with you. Just 11 days before the trade deadline... let's get it started.
Larry (New York)
Buster, I fell off my chair when I heard you say last week that the Tigers need pitching...please do your homework...the Tigers are an awful offensive team and need multiple bats, not pitching
Buster Olney (1:06 PM)
Larry -- You don't think you need a reliever? Zumaya may or may not be done for the year, and certainly, there's a hole there, and they've also tried a bunch of different guys at the back end of the rotation -- wouldn't you agree? I hear you about the bats, but they've got some pitching depth issues, too.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Milwaukee acquired Felipe Lopez, but didn't get Doug Davis along with him, despite their need for starting pitching. Does this imply that the Brewers are going for a better pitcher like Halladay or Lee?
Buster Olney (1:08 PM)
SprungOn... I'm sure the Brewers will continue to look for a starting pitching out of the Grade B bin -- Davis (who reportedly might work out an extension with Arizona), Jon Garland and (this is the name I'd keep an eye on) Brad Penny. Given that the Brewers don't want to trade Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel, it might be very difficult for them to trade for a Halladay or a Lee.
Do the Yankees have enough to win the division? For that matter make it to the postseason?
Buster Olney (1:10 PM)
Tom -- Sure, absolutely, especially if Joba continues to throw the way that he did yesterday. Now, I'll stick with my preseason picks of the Rays winning the division, the Red Sox as the wildcard and the Yankees out, but it would hardly be a surprise if any two out of those three were to make it. The Yankees, Sox and Rays are arguably three of the four best teams in the majors, along with the Phillies.
randy hulskotter (springfield il )
do u think the cardinals have a chance of getting roy halladay
Buster Olney (1:11 PM)
Randy -- if they put together a massive package, yes, but I don't think they will get him, in the end, because they ultimately won't be willing to part with either the minor league assets required, or the cash required. He'd be a great fit, though.
should the phillies hold off on halladay and just let Happ stay in place?
Buster Olney (1:14 PM)
Anthony -- they've suddenly have a huge lead in the NL East and yours is a question that's worth discussing in their front office (and you can bet that they are). They are going to win that division with or without Halladay, so is it worth it to overpay to get him. Now, if I was running the team, I would do what I needed to do to get him, because Halladay would make them the team to beat this year and next year, and I think he would have a very positive impact on Cole Hamels (and would give the Phillies insurance against a possible injury to Hamels; with Halladay, they could survive an elbow problem to Hamels in August or September or October, and without him, I don't know that they would). That all said, teams are grading the value of young players higher than ever, and it may be that in the end, the Phillies decide to keep their prospects and make a very conservative offer for Halladay. As I said, I'd do everything to get the guy, short of handing over the Liberty Bell. He'd be perfect for Philly.
Do you think Brad Penny will be traded? I'm hoping Buchholz gets more than the one start he had over the weekend.
Buster Olney (1:15 PM)
Scott: I think they will. Matsuzaka's rehab apparently is going well, Buchholz showed some good stuff the other night, and Penny has been OK, but not great, and he has some trade value.
Which team in the NL Central will make the move to become the favorite to win the division?
Buster Olney (1:16 PM)
Jeramie -- The Brewers will be the most aggressive in the trade market in the next 11 days, and they have a really, really nice schedule between now and Sept. 1, with only one series against a team with a winning record. But I'd still pick the Cardinals to win this division.
what's the point of no return for a halladay trade? in other words, if it's not done by X date, it's 99% to not get done.
Buster Olney (1:17 PM)
Alex: The Jays will listen right up to the deadline. And let's face it, their best chance for getting the most value will be to deal him in the next 11 days.
Kenny Williams (Chicago)
I'm going to surprise everyone and nab Halladay with a package that revolves around Alexei Ramirez and John Danks.
Buster Olney (1:18 PM)
Kenny -- you are aggressive and you like to work under the radar, but your offer might not necessarily work for the Jays -- it all would depend on how they evaluate Alexi Ramirez. If they saw him as a constant low OBP guy who plays some erratic shortstop, then they'd probably want more than that.
Ron Gardenhire (MN)
I need a 2B that can actually play at league average. Am I going to have one by the end of the year?
Buster Olney (1:19 PM)
Ron: Mark Grudzielanek will help. Not great, but should be OK, once he gets a few games under his belt. The chances of him succeeding will be better than that of Bret Boone a few years ago, for sure.
Buster: Will the Braves do anything to bring in some offensive help?
Buster Olney (1:21 PM)
Andy: They're looking. But I think it has to be a dollar for dollar thing ... they're not in a position to take on money. And I'm not sure if there's a difference-making offensive guy out on the market who would be worth what it would take to get him. Based on Matt Holliday's performance in games in Oakland, it would concern me that maybe he would struggle in Turner Field.
3D P (San Francisco)
Do you really think the Giants are going to pull the trigger and get a bat over here!
Buster Olney (1:21 PM)
3DP -- yup, I do. Corner outfielder/first base type. That market is beginning to develop, but Nick Johnson might be a good fit.
Evan (Florida )
do you know what the Tampa bay rays will do at the trade deadline
Buster Olney (1:22 PM)
Evan: They'll tinker a little bit in the reliever market, perhaps, but won't do anything substantial, based on what I heard last night.
Can you ever remember a more calamitous season than the one the Mets are having (injuries, new ballpark, payroll, recovering from collapses)?
Buster Olney (1:24 PM)
Andrew: In short, no. They essentially lost five of their eight best players to injury. You can't possibly overcome that, especially when the defending champs are in your division.
Patrick (Niagara Falls)
Does this mean you think the Dodgers are no better than the 5th best team in baseball?
Buster Olney (1:25 PM)
Patrick: In short, yes. If I did a power ranking right now, I'd have them fifth. Their bullpen is showing some cracks and their rotation is a pitcher short -- and this is why Ned Colletti is looking for help.
Larry Walker (CO)
Will I make into the HOF one day?
Buster Olney (1:25 PM)
Larry: I don't think so. You were a terrific players, and your career numbers are dwarfed by some of your peers.
do you think the cubs can win the nl central if a few moves are done at the deadline
Buster Olney (1:26 PM)
Brian: No, I think they can win if Milton Bradley starts to hit, and Aramis Ramirez starts to hit with power, and Alfonso Soriano continues to hit the way that he did this weekend, and Carlos Zambrano puts together two great months. In other words, the guys on their roster need to be better.
The M's look like contenders! How many wins will the AL West division winner have?
Buster Olney (1:27 PM)
Troy: 86-88. And if you are the Mariners, you have to like the way the pitching has come together, with Felix Hernandez pitching like The King and Jarrod Washburn picking this time to throw as well as he has since joining the Mariners.
What are the rumblings coming out of Cleveland about a potential firesale?
Buster Olney (1:29 PM)
Brett: It won't be a true firesale, like the one that the Padres had in '93. The Indians think they can bounce back and contend in 2010, which is why they probably won't trade Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez. They will, however, trade Rafael Betancourt and Carl Pavano and Jamey Carroll.
Freddie Sanchez (Pitt)
Will someone trade me to MN? I'm the answer to Ron's problem, and would look real good in that 2 hole in front of Mauer and Morneau... Someone make it happen.
Buster Olney (1:30 PM)
You'd be great in Minnesota, but as you know, this is not the Twins' MO this time of year. They don't make those kinds of deals, and folks with other teams say that the Twins' farm system is thinner than its been in years. So my guess would be that the answer at 2B for the Twins is going to be Grudzielanek, who is not a bad option at all -- veteran guy who plays hard and who will turn DPs. His range on turf might not be great, but you'll live with that.
Buster, if Doc is on the trading block, then I have to assume the Jays will listen to offers on everyone except Lind, Hill, Snider and the young pitching, right?
Buster Olney (1:32 PM)
Jack: I'd agree with that -- but who would take Vernon Wells, whose contract is now one of the three most immovable objects in the sport (Soriano and Zito have the other two), and Alex Rios is hardly a bargain.
Who will the O's move first? When will tillman be called up?
Buster Olney (1:32 PM)
Davis: George Sherrill. The other guys are owed too much money and the O's would probably have to kick in cash to make those deals happen.
Alon (Brooklyn, NY)
Can the Mets trade any of their veterans and get some prospects with value? Also, do you Valentine will be their manager next season?
Buster Olney (1:34 PM)
Alon: Great question -- you know they won't trade Wright or Santana, and some of the older guys like Sheffield or Livan or Castillo have no trade value. The one piece that might bring you back a really nice prospect would be Pedro Feliciano. If I was the Mets, I'd let people know I'm taking offers for him, and maybe they would get offered something good. If not, you just keep him for 2010.
Paddy O (St. Louis, MO)
Hey Buster, Lot of press in STL about the lack of appreciation for Stan Musial at the All Star Game. Other than Stan, what living ballplayer is the most underappreciated? I say Frank Robinson?
Buster Olney (1:35 PM)
Paddy: You nailed it. Frank Robinson was tremendous, as a hitter and as a leader and as a winner.
Where were you when the lunar lander did its thing?
Buster Olney (1:36 PM)
Noah: Hmmm.... I was actually in Florida, age 5, at my grandparents. Everybody was in the room watching, and I think I was playing with Matchbox cars in the other room. I have a distinct memory of that which is a little hazy. I was very aware of Neil Armstrong's name as the first guy on the moon... and the funny thing is, my own son is five years old now, and he's more apt to remember names and numbers than action, just as I was.
If the phillies get halladay, do they go back to the world series? if they dont get him, what do you think their odds are to get there?
Buster Olney (1:39 PM)
Kevin: If they get Halladay, I think they definitely go back to the World Series, and they increase their chances of winning, without a doubt. He's everything you'd want in a pitcher (except maybe you'd wish he was 27 or 28) -- he's a great pitcher who will age well because of the movement on his fastball, he's highly accountable, he's competitive, he's a tremendously hard worker, he's unassuming, he's modest, he's in great shape, he's like Mother Teresa... Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get the point.
Nick (Springboro, OH)
Buster, I was watching the ESPYS last night and I saw coach Meyer mention that you had befriended him, what a great story!
Buster Olney (1:41 PM)
Nick -- thanks. Coach Meyer made a great speech, and I'm thrilled for him that he had that stage; he's earned it. I met him in my first job out of college, at the Nashville Banner, when I covered David Lipscomb and Belmont on the city college basketball beat, and I'd go back to see him from time to time after I got jobs in other cities. He and his family were very gracious with their time after his accident and diagnosis last fall, and for someone who has had a lot of impact on a lot of lives, I'm glad he's gotten to hear from people how much he's meant to them.
John Mozeliak (St. Louis)
Should I call up Brett Wallace to play 3rd base full time and move DeRosa to LF? Cardinals fans are giving me a hard time. Help me out, Buster.
Buster Olney (1:42 PM)
John: I suspect that your Hall of Fame manager probably won't feel comfortable playing a rookie at third base in a pennant race.
Don (NY, NY)
So you were five in 1969. So before you really knew anything about baseball, you were probably 12 and it was 1976. So how in the world do you know anything about Frank Robinson?
Buster Olney (1:43 PM)
Don: I started following baseball when I was eight, in 1972, and covered the Orioles for two years and got to know Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell and Davey Johnson, etc. I've heard lots of stories about Frank.
Buster, do you think that the Phillies could get Halladay without losing Happ if they would agree to take Vernon Wells in the deal?
Buster Olney (1:44 PM)
Gregg: There's no chance that anyone will take Vernon Wells's contract, with or without Halladay. It's a simple as that.
hey buster do u think pujols could win the triple crown
Buster Olney (1:45 PM)
Darrion -- yes, absolutely.
Let's speculate a little more about Halladay and the fact that no one has a clue what's going to happen. Why can't the Giants take on salary? The gameplan at the beginning of the year was to do so if contending.
Buster Olney (1:46 PM)
Ken: As much as it would be incredible fun to see the Giants roll out a rotation of Halladay, Lincecum and Cain, I'm sure their focus will be on adding offense. Pure speculation: If I were the Jays, I might try to coax the Giants into taking Rios and Halladay, but I sure as heck would want the No. 1 pitching prospect in that deal -- and I don't think the Giants would do that.
Wells for Zito. Who says no first?
Buster Olney (1:47 PM)
Louis: The Jays. Wells still can play a good center field and he plays every day and can contribute some offensively. I cannot imagine Zito pitching in the AL East.
Buster,Trade proposal: Halladay Rios for Beltran, Pelfrey, Holt
Buster Olney (1:49 PM)
Harry: There is no way the Jays would do this. They want young and cheap players.
Rashad (San Antonio)
Houston Astros: Buyers or Sellers?
Buster Olney (1:50 PM)
Rashad: Neither. They're contenders in the division and won't be selling off players (except maybe in late August, if they fall out of contention), and Ed Wade told me last month that they cannot add more payroll.
Will the O's be willing to trade Sherrill within the AL East? Seems like they've been opposed to that in the past
Buster Olney (1:51 PM)
Dan: Other teams don't think they will trade with the Yankees or the Red Sox. He'd be a fit with the Dodgers, Marlins, Angels, among others...
Shaharier (Queens, NY)
Buster, Do you think the jays may consider a Joba, Melky, Swisher and a top prospect for Rios and halladay from the yanks?
Buster Olney (1:51 PM)
Shaharier: As of last night, the Yankees were not involved in any Halladay discussions, and didn't expect to be.
Mike (St. Louis)
Buster, we are hearing rumblings of the Cards going after Adam Dunn. Are you hearing the same thing? If so, what could they offer the Nats for him. Would the price be less if the picked up the full salary?
Buster Olney (1:52 PM)
Mike: Wouldn't surprise me, but the word from rival GMs is that the Nationals have set very, very high prices, and Dunn has been a solid player for them. I think the Nationals would have to be overwhelmed to move him.
The Dodgers won't be foolish enough to trade Billingsly or Kershaw and Kemp for Halladay would they?
Buster Olney (1:53 PM)
Tom: I think there's almost no chance that they move Kemp, Billingsley or Kershaw.
Tommy Sargent (St. Louis)
Buster, what is your reaction to Bob Gibson's stance on allowing cheaters in the HOF? An ace like that, with that opinion, may get other stars to side with his stance.
Buster Olney (1:55 PM)
Tommy: I really respect his honesty. But I also think that he is in the minority when it comes to this issue, among his HOF peers. A lot of others don't feel the same way. I think it's going to be very difficult for the guys suspected of using PEDs to ever get into the Hall of Fame, either through the writers' vote or through the veterans' committee.
Who are the Red Sox most likely to trade, Penny or Buchholz?
Buster Olney (1:55 PM)
If the Cardinals where to trade for Halladay who would have to be the main center piece of the deal?
Buster Olney (1:57 PM)
Nick: Unless something changes drastically, there won't be a Halladay deal with the Cardinals. St. Louis would have to give up Brett Wallace and maybe Colby Rasmus, and maybe that's where the conversations would end. Plus Halladay is making a lot of money, and the Cardinals don't have a lot of financial flexibility. It's a trade that might match up in baseball cards, but not in the baseball economy of 2009.
Sleepless in Seattle (Seattle)
Buster, will Seattle try to stay in this or sell as usual?
Buster Olney (1:58 PM)
Sleepless: Talked to Jack Z. last week and he made it clear that he hadn't made that decision. Based on how they played the last two weekends, I think it's more likely that they'll make measured (read: Cheap) additions, rather than buy big or sell.
Buster- Are the Rockies going to win the NL wild card? The Giants lack of an offense has to catch up to them at some point, right?
Buster Olney (1:59 PM)
Will: If I had to bet the family farm, I'd pick the Rockies (to be clear, before the year I picked the Cubs to win the NL Central and the Cardinals to be the wildcard, with both the Rockies and Giants out of it altogether).
Come on Buster.. No more Halladay trade proposals please. The odds are against him going anywhere, especially since teams won't be allowed to negotiate an extension with him. Talk to us about how impressive Hughes has been for the Yanks.
Buster Olney (2:00 PM)
Mark: I don't know if I could say much more than what his pitching line was the other night: two innings, no runs, six strikeouts.
Wouldn't Scott Rolen be a good fit in San Francisco?
Buster Olney (2:01 PM)
Josh: In theory, yes. But he's owed about $5.5 million for the rest of this year, another $11 million or so for next year, and he doesn't hit for power. It would depend on how much money the Giants would be willing to take on.
John Mozeliak (St. Louis)
Let's clear it up. Wallace and Rasmus aren't going anywhere!
Buster Olney (2:01 PM)
John: I'm with you. I think there's no chance of that happening.
Better player in 3 years Adam Jones or Matt Wieters?
Buster Olney (2:02 PM)
Dan: Hmmmmmmmm... What a great sitting-at-the-bar or in-the-college-suite question. I'd probably take Adam Jones...
Hey Buster...do you think the Cubbies will make a big move this year before the trade deadline?
Buster Olney (2:03 PM)
Sunny: No, I don't. I think they've got to win with the guys they have. They might tinker a little bit with some minor addition, but nothing major.
Think the Giants are glad Rios for Lincecum fell through?
Buster Olney (2:04 PM)
chris: Absolutely. With that, folks, my time is up. Thanks for all the great questions -- about 1,500 in all, which is SOP around the trade deadline. Have a great week, folks...