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 (1:02 PM)
Hi, folks, hope all is well. A ton of great games and story lines last week, and more to come this week -- the Dodgers playing the Giants tonight before the first on tap. Let's get to it.
Chris (Boston, MA)
Buster, I am a yankees fan living in Boston. How hard should I celebrate today, are the sox really finished? I don't want to eat crow like in 2004...
Buster Olney (1:03 PM)
Chris -- Wouldn't crow too much, although I'd feel pretty good about the situation. Here's what should scare you. If Boston makes it as the wildcard team and the Red Sox go into the playoffs with Beckett and Lester in a short series, that's pretty potent. But as of today, the Yankees are clearly the best team in the majors (full disclosure -- I had 'em out of the playoffs in our pre-season predictions...)
Barney (Sacramento, CA)
**IF** Rios were to end up with the ChiSox, what kind impact do you see him having? Would he give the Sox a boost over his relatively unimpressive performance so far?
Buster Olney (1:05 PM)
Barney -- I think he'll definitely help them, and give them tremendous flexibility in terms of dealing with injury situations with the other outfielders or giving Dye and Quentin and Podsednik the requisite amount of rest. Rios is a decent major league player, but just overpriced, and if the White Sox are comfortable with the salary and are in fact the team that claimed him (and I think they are), hey, why not?
Phil (Westminster, CO)
Hello Buster! Do you see the Rockies trying to get any help for their rotation with Marquis and Cook fighting nagging injuries?
Buster Olney (1:06 PM)
Phil -- small stuff... There isn't a lot of big stuff to do.
White Sox fan here, and I'm not saying we can't win, but I think the biggest "additions" down the stretch in this division were Detroit getting Guillen back, and I really like that Avila kid (I watched him play and he looks really good - just the type of LH bat the Tigers needed. Adding him and Guillen to the lineup makes them really tough on righties.
Buster Olney (1:08 PM)
Matt -- and they get Washburn, too. But your team could get a real bump from Peavy, and if they get Rios tomorrow (and my guess is that they will), then they'll be that much deeper. The division is a toss-up... the only team that seems to be drifting out of it is the Twins, who have a pitching problem pop up every day.
Brian (New Jersey)
If the Giants make the plaofffs,How far do u think they could go with that explosive 1-2 punch in the front of their rotation?
Buster Olney (1:09 PM)
Brian -- I think that all depends on how healthy their offense was, and how much they were rolling. Let's face it, in the playoffs, Sandoval wouldn't see any pitches to hit, so guys like Molina would have to do major damage. But I'm sure the Giants would be the team nobody would want to face because of Lincecum, Cain, and maybe Baumgarner....
What's your outlook on Braves the rest of the year? The pitching is so good but I'm not sure the bats can sustain what they've been doing. Stranger things have happened though.
Buster Olney (1:11 PM)
CC: They're dangerous, because of the depth of their pitching, and I actually think they'll be able to continue to hit -- Prado and Escobar are pretty solid, and so long as McCann stays healthy, they'll have a decent lineup. It will be very interesting to see if they're at all tempted by the thought of summoning Jason Heyward in a couple of weeks and throwing him in there, to see what he can do, because he is destroying pitching in Class AA and his walk/K ratio is that of someone who has a pretty good idea of what he's doing at the plate.
Chris (Scottsdale, AZ)
What will it cost of the White Sox to get Rios? A prospect like Fields?
Buster Olney (1:12 PM)
Chris: If I had to guess, I think it will be a pure salary dump. I think the White Sox know that they don't have to give up anything to get him, and I don't think the Jays are going to let this opportunity pass to dump the contract.
Will the Cardinals win the division
Buster Olney (1:13 PM)
Brad: Full disclosure -- I had the Cubs winning before the year began, with the Cards as the wildcard. I do think the Cardinals are the team to beat now, especially with Aramis Ramirez feeling a lot of soreness in his left shoulder; that figures to be a problem the rest of the season, and the Cubs desperately need him to be productive.
Tim (St. Louis)
Can carpenter win the cy young or did he miss too much time?
Buster Olney (1:14 PM)
Tim -- I think Lincecum and Haren are such strong candidates that he'd have to go on a huge run and those guys would have to come back to the pack... What a great story, though.
Josh (FL) [via mobile]
Heya there Buster! The Rays? Are we going to make this thing interesting in these last two months, or is it a forgone conclusion the Sox hold onto the wild card? I think we have a shot and haven't really put all the pieces together yet
Buster Olney (1:17 PM)
Josh -- absolutely the Rays are in this thing, only 1 1/2 games back, but I am curious to see if there are any fireworks from the B.J. Upton situation in the next 24-48 hours. He is really upset about being dropped in the lineup, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, and this is a little stunning considering his .240 batting average and generally disappointing play, I do think the Rays will have to deal with this head-on. They look completely flat yesterday, Upton has struck out in about half of his at-bats since that lineup change, and I imagine Joe Maddon is thinking of ways to get Upton's attention...
Is Texiera the MVP in the AL? and who is the cy young in the AL? I feel Grenkie is doomed because he pitches for the royals. And halladay has to pitch 9 innings every outing which hurts his overall stats, your thoughts?
Buster Olney (1:18 PM)
Tom -- I haven't sat down yet and really taken a hard look at the MVP thing, but Teixeira is one of the first names that comes to mind, for sure. I agree with you that Greinke might have a hard time winning the Cy Young, in the end, partly because of the team situation and partly because he's just not pitching as well as he was earlier in the year.
What do you think will happen to Ozzie after making comments about retaliating against his players getting hit?
Buster Olney (1:19 PM)
Mike: Nothing. The comments, overall, were pretty tame. He didn't target one player or an umpire or say anything really that bad. Now, if the White Sox drill a bunch of people in their next game and immediately have a beanball war, that might be a serious problem.
Who do the Yanks go with as their #4 pitcher in the playoffs if they stick with the Joba Rules? Can you get away with only 3 starters in the playoffs?
Buster Olney (1:21 PM)
Joe: I'd got with Pettitte in Game 3 and Joba in Game 4, and if the playoffs started today, I'm thinking that this is what the Yankees will do.FYI -- I just got an e-mail -- a GM has to call me at 12:35, so I'll have to run then.
What did you think about Shane Victorino getting tossed from the game from centerfield by the home plate umpire yesterday?
Buster Olney (1:22 PM)
Noonan -- If he was as demonstrative as he seemed to indicate/acknowledge, it isn't a surprise. It's unusual, but I've seen umpires go after middle infielders for the same kind of thing, and it just so happens that Victorino did his protesting a little farther. Imagine if a pitcher did that kind of thing? The umpire would go crazy...
DO you think the Cubs can make to the playoffs if so would be by NL central or Wild Card
Buster Olney (1:22 PM)
Bernard... I think the wildcard is coming out of the NL West.
Sean (Virginia Beach)
What is going to happen with the Phils rotation when Pedro is ready to make the move to the bigs?
Buster Olney (1:23 PM)
Sean: The stories today in Philly made it sound like there is a real chance Jamie Moyer will be dropped out of the rotation, with Pedro sliding in.
Jeff (Seattle, Washington)
If you were the GM for the M's what would you do with Bedard?
Buster Olney (1:24 PM)
Jeff: I'd offer him a very low base salary ($500,000) with incentives based on games started. He's talented, he seems comfortable with that coaching staff, and given half an excuse, it seems like he'll stay. But obviously, any major investment in him in base salary would be nuts, given his injury history.
Andrew (San Diego)
Buster, who do you think the Dodgers will pick up? It seems like they need another pitcher, considering how their scuffling...
Buster Olney (1:25 PM)
Andrew: Pure speculation -- As soon as Smoltz was DFA'd, I thought that he was a perfect guy for Torre, who loves veterans, and for the National League. I'm assuming L.A. will be one of the many teams that talk about Vicente Padilla, as well.
Chris (NY, NY)
Buster, I hear Mark Mulder is almost ready to come back. What teams are interested in his services? Can he jump into a pennant race and be an effective 4th or 5th guy?
Buster Olney (1:28 PM)
Chris: yeah, talked to his agent last week, Gregg Clifton said that Mulder is about 7 to 10 days from throwing for scouts. Hopefully, that turns out to be the case and all goes well and he's back in the big leagues, after working with Rick Peterson. But there have been three or four situations in the last eight months when we've heard the same thing -- that he's almost ready to audition for scouts. It has to happen in the next week or so in order for him to be ready to pitch in the big leagues by September.
Buster, any word on who the PTBNL will be from the Twins in exchange for Pavano? It can't be too appealing, can it?
Buster Olney (1:28 PM)
Nick: I'm guessing, but I'm assuming the quality of the player will be conditional, based on how well Pavano does and how far the Twins advance.
Joe Mauer (Cretin-Derham Hall)
C'mon. Tex over me? I lead the league in BA, OBP, OPS and I am the best defensive catcher in baseball. Even Tex's grandma thinks I should be MVP.
Buster Olney (1:29 PM)
Joe: Never said Tex over you. You guys are both in the conversation...
do you agree the Dodgers are overrated
Buster Olney (1:31 PM)
Brad: Overrated? No. Fraying around the edges? Yes. Torre worked that bullpen constantly in the first half, especially Troncoso and Belisario and Broxton, and now all three are working like ... well, three guys who have been overworked. And with Billingsley now a major question because of that hamstring -- they don't know when he's going to pitch next -- they're scrambling for pitching.
Any word on the Nats signing Strasburg? I'm assuming it's either going to be 11:59 at the deadline or holding out until next year for Boras?
Buster Olney (1:32 PM)
Greg: Today, I heard the first positive vibe of the summer in regards to the Strasburg-Nationals negotiations ... Nothing really concrete, but some optimism that it will get done. We'll see.
Buster, have to be impressed with AJ, CC,
Buster Olney (1:32 PM)
Scott: Incredibly impressed, not only with how they've pitched but also with how they've handled New York.
Olney. How is Texieria the AL MVP. The man who replaced him in LA is having a statistically superior season. Is SOCAL's favorite Cubano in the mix?
Buster Olney (1:33 PM)
Brandon: I never wrote Teixeira would be the MVP. I said I hadn't taken a close look at it yet, and that Teixeira would be one of the prime guys to consider.
Mike W (Chicago)
Buster, you reported earlier that JJ Hardy hasn't passed through waivers yet. When it comes to August trades do both players have to pass through waivers to be included in a trade if their on a manager league roster? I ask because I could see JJ Hardy being the PTBNL in the David Weathers trade.
Buster Olney (1:34 PM)
Mike W.: I doubt it... but I never would've guessed that they would give up two pitching prospects for Scott Rolen, while absorbing his entire 2010 salary, so what the heck do I know... I'm assuming it would be a younng pitcher...
In the Winter the White Sox were trimming payroll, but now seem more than willing to add. Why the change within only a few months?
Buster Olney (1:35 PM)
Rob: They've got Contreras and Dye (presumably) coming off the books after this season, so they might figure that they can just slot Peavy and Rios (if in fact they're the team that gets him) into those spots in the 2010 budget, with only about $5 million in extra salary for this year.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD)
Do you think, if they want to dump Guzman, it makes sense for the Nats to claim Hardy? At worse, they would eliminate Boston's other decent SS choice, have to deal with Hardy for the rest of the year, get rid of all $$ commitments for 2010 at the position.
Buster Olney (1:37 PM)
Charlie -- I don't know about the Nationals and Hardy... I was told that as of 10 a.m. this morning, the Red Sox HAD NOT placed a claim on Guzman. We'll soon see if that changed in the last couple of hours.Folks -- thanks for all the great questions -- I have to run to do this interview. I'll be back for another chat in two weeks... headed off for a week of vacation next week.