Chat with Buster Olney
Send your questions now and join Buster on Monday (and every Monday during the MLB season!) at 1 p.m. ET.
Buster Olney (1:00 PM)
Hey, folks, hope all is well. If you're a Tigers fan or a White Sox fan, this is a very good time -- Chicago locking down Buehrle for a great deal, and the Tigers just flat-out rolling, hitting .330 with RISP, a mere 40 points better than anybody else. Let's get it started... I'm picking Ryan Howard to win The Derby, by the way, although I'd love for Bonds and Griffey to jump in last-minute and get involved...
Buster, Rob Neyer disagrees with your statements from last week's chat, where you were doubtful that any other pitcher would win 300 games, except Sabathia. Do you really think he's the last chance to win 300 games?
Buster Olney (1:03 PM)
Jeff: I don't have the breakdown in front of me, but it stands to reason that as time goes on, starting pitchers will continue to have fewer and fewer victories, which cuts down the 300 chances... Right now, among young and active pitchers, C.C. has the best shot. Rob and I will check back in 25 years and fight it out then...
Hi Buster:who if anyone is out there for the yankees to get at the deadline to make a run at the playoffs who is the best fit in pinstripes
Buster Olney (1:05 PM)
Joe: They may do some minor tinkering -- maybe go after Shea Hillenbrand today, for example, if he becomes a free agent -- but I really don't think they have anything major planned. They feel like Clemens was their major upgrade of the summer.
Pete (East Greenwich, RI)
Alright, the Tigers are on a roll right now....but who's your favorite in the AL at the mid-way point.
Buster Olney (1:08 PM)
Pete: I'm sticking with my preseason WS winner pick of Cleveland, 'cause I don't want to be a flip-flopper. But if I got injected with truth serum (or a couple of beers) I'd probably say Detroit is the best team in the big leagues right now. Coincidentally, I sent out an e-mail to about 40 baseball types this morning (GMs, scouts, talent evaluators, execs, players) and of the 10 answers I've gotten back so far, 9 say the Tigers are the best team in baseball, and one says the Red Sox.
Better career: Maine or Pelfrey?
Buster Olney (1:08 PM)
Tim: Maine. He should be in San Francisco.
Would the tigs swap Maybin for Lidge?
Buster Olney (1:09 PM)
George: No chance. They have some older position players and they look at Maybin as being an impact guy who will be a major part of their next generation.
It's Chorizo Bobblehead day in Milwaukee on Sunday. Are you going?
Buster Olney (1:10 PM)
Godish: Actually, I'll be the guy in the Chorizo suit, running like crazy.
Joe (Chicago, Ill.)
Do the Cubs really have a shot at the Brew Crew in the NL Central? Jim Hendry has said he can add payroll to make the team better so what do they need and who do you see available that could help them?
Buster Olney (1:12 PM)
Absolutely they have a shot at winning the division, Joe -- 4 1/;2 out now, not that far out, especially with the Big Z doing what he does. I also wouldn't rule out the Cardinals, who get Carpenter back in a couple of weeks and have managed to hang around the race. If I had a mulligan on this pick, I'd take the Brewers (took the Cardinals before the season), but heck, the Cubs are right there.
Are you going to Milk a cow in Vermont during All Star Break?
Buster Olney (1:13 PM)
Gary: I'll be prowling for a herd of Jerseys right after this chat...
Roy: New York, NY.
Watched you yesterday discussing the 1st half on the Blitz. Mets have had some major injuries to both position players and pitchers. Who do you think they go after by the deadline and what's your take on Pedro Martinez returning in August and if so, what's the pitching staff look like? Who's the odd man out?
Buster Olney (1:16 PM)
Roy: The real problem in the trade market is that teams with assets (like a Jermaine Dye) are having trouble getting even 30 cents on the dollar for what they perceive thos players should be. A couple of weeks ago, the White Sox asked the Padres for reliever Scott Linebrink and shortstop Khalil Greene in return for Dye -- which wasn't remotely close to what the Padres would give up for him. But if the White Sox could get only a Grade B-plus or Grade B prospect for him, they might actually be better served by keeping Dye and just taking the compensation draft pick -- that's how far the value of prospective free agents has plummeted. So I'd be shocked if Omar Minaya has a major blockbuster in mind; he's told others he won't trade a major prospect for any older player...
Enough Mets and Tigers questions! Why don't the Phillies just designate Pat Burrell for assignment and start Bourn in LF everyday?
Buster Olney (1:18 PM)
James: They have too much invested in him -- something like $20 million left on his contract. You would assume that sometime in the next 12 months, however, that they'll trade him and eat a bunch of his salary (if he approves the deal).
Gato, Bay Area CA
Tigers best team in the AL??? I know Red Sox got sweep but come on.... Sox havent even started hitting yet
Buster Olney (1:20 PM)
Gato: Second-best starters' ERA in the AL, the only team in the majors which has scored over 500 runs, excellent prospects... If the Tigers get bullpen help, they'll be very tough...
Buster Olney (1:21 PM)
I'll be right with you guys -- on a GM call for a couple of minutes...
Chris, New York City
There seems to be a pretty big disconnect, then, in the asking price and actual value of free-agent-to-be's. This is just a trend, right? The value of draft picks haven't really gone up.
Buster Olney (1:26 PM)
Chris -- actually, it has gone up, because the value of young players has absolutely skyrocketed. There was an interesting story the other day in the SD Union-Tribune about how the Padres have been making trades with the idea that if they acquire prospective FA's, like Michael Barrett, then they'll get the use of the player and then get the draft picks. They've horded something like 11 compensation draft picks the last three years...
what are chances seattle gets wild-card?
Buster Olney (1:28 PM)
Quincy: Their chances are legit, obviously, with a great bullpen, a good lineup and King Felix throwing much better with his new curveball grip... To me, their chance rest heavily on two factors: Will Hernandez keep throwing great, and will Richie Sexson or Beltre (who has been hot) each have one of those stretches where they carry the team for a few weeks...
Steve (Buffalo NY)
Who is your surprise team in the 2nd half to make a late surge Marlins, Giants? They have young talent, perhaps they could turn it on in the summer months?
Buster Olney (1:29 PM)
Rockies. I don't think they'll make the playoffs, Steve, but I do think they'll be interesting. And I do think the Yankees will make a serious run, with 28 straight games against sub-.500 teams coming out of the break (I still think Boston will hang onto the division, but the Yankees will make it interesting...)
Peter Gammons reported that Clay Buchholz may be up with the Sox in a month or so, any truth Buster?
Buster Olney (1:31 PM)
Larry: He would know better than I would know on the Red Sox, and I'm sure this is the basic dynamic in place -- they have no idea what they can expect out of Curt Schilling the rest of the year. He could come back in August and be OK, he could come back and struggle, or he might not come back at all... Nobody really knows. And Buchholz has high-end talent, so I'm sure the Red Sox (like the Tigers with Miller) would like to see what he can do, as they prepare for the stretch drive and possibly October...
are the jays finished?
Buster Olney (1:32 PM)
Rich: Yeah, for this year, I'd say so. The young pitchers have done a nice job, but it's hard to expect them to hold it together, especially now that Burnett is such a question mark.
gus - nyc
do you think that if mlb drug tested all of the all-stars from tonight and tomorrow, then released the results of each one, it would help clean up the game?
Buster Olney (1:33 PM)
Gus: Interesting idea, but the union would never go for it, and us pessimists in the media would point out that the players might have known, because of circumstance, that they were about to be tested. See your point, though.
Matt (Portland, OR)
Texiera to NY? Chances of that happening this month?
Buster Olney (1:36 PM)
Matt: Zero-point-one percent. The Yankees won't give up the pitching to get him. It's going to be very, very, very, very difficult for the Rangers to generate a palatable Teixeira trade that will be acceptable to owner Tom Hicks or the Texas fan base. Can't see anybody trading a major pitching prospect for him; if anyone had the reason and resources to be aggressive, it might be the Tigers. Sean Casey is not giving them a ton offensively, and Teixeira would mash. But again, teams are not going to be willing to give up anything of major substance for a guy who is going to walk away from the team as a FA at the end of next season (he's represented by Scott Boras) and demand a $100 million contract.
Buster, A GM call? Any breaking news you'd like to share?
Buster Olney (1:37 PM)
David: No major news. The GM-phone-call-to-major news ratio is about 150 to 1...
Pedro, San Antonio
will the angels keep their young talent or try to get another slugger to help Guererro
Buster Olney (1:39 PM)
Pedro: Mike Scioscia is quoted in the L.A. times today saying that the team has better depth than the last couple of seasons, and if they weren't desperate enough to make deals last year, they won't be this year, with Kotchman, Kendrick and Cabrera all creating solid structure around Vlad...
Jeff (Sacramento, CA)
With Buehrle off the market, who do you see as the top SP likely to be traded by July 31?
Buster Olney (1:39 PM)
Jeff: Jose Contreras. He has said he'll waive his no-trade, and he may be the most attractive guy on the market going forward...
Buster, do you feel the pendulum has swung the other way and now teams are *too* conservative with their prospects because nobody wants to be the next GM to trade away a Bagwell or a Kazmir?
Buster Olney (1:40 PM)
Ryan: Excellent question, and coincidentally, the GM I just talked to make that exact point -- some GMs might be scared about making a mistake, and not have a Kazmir or Chris Young situation develop.
Russell Martin for MVP?
Buster Olney (1:41 PM)
Ben: Hard to argue with Prince Fielder right now, especially with the Brewers in first place...
Paddy (St. Louis, MO)
Hey Buster, What do you think of the speculation that Nomar's troubles at the plate are due to his new twin daughters? I have only one 3 month old that doesn't sleep through the night, and they may have a point.
Buster Olney (1:42 PM)
Paddy: Interesting theory... Can't say for sure, unless I were around Nomar every day and got a sense of his weariness. Interesting theory. So is the possibility that as a guy who threw himself around infields for years, he might just be regressing as a player...
Why would the Reds trade ken Griffey JR? He's been their most productive players and he brings fans to the ballpark
Buster Olney (1:44 PM)
Mike: here's the other part of your equation, to support your point -- because of his injury history and his salary (I think he's owed something like $20 million), nobody will give the Reds anything decent for him. Teams would only consider him if they could unload a salary for him, and wouldn't think about giving up a top prospect for him. So, to support your point, if the Reds aren't going to get anything for him, HOW can they trade him?
Kato (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Buster, respect your opinion. How long till Votto and/or Bruce are up in the big leagues? They got me salivating yesterday.
Buster Olney (1:45 PM)
Kato: You have to believe Votto is only weeks away... Not much point in throwing out Scott Hatteberg (with all due respect) in the lineup everyday when Votto can be learning while playing in the big leagues. If you're the Reds, and you're facing a turnover, you'd like to get Votto up sooner rather than later, to help him adjust/prepare for 2008.
Have you had a chance to read Stark's piece on improving the HR derby? What do you think could be done to make the HR derby even better?
Buster Olney (1:48 PM)
Mikey: Did a thing a couple of years ago with Kruk, and I thought he had a great idea -- designate different point awards for different parts of the ballpark. in other words, Ryan Howard might get one point for hitting a home run to right, two points for splashing down, three points for homers to straightaway center, two points to left... And use the ballpark's own natural landmarks and signage as boundaries. That way, the fans could think along with the hitters' strategy -- "I would've tried to go for McCovey Cove, instead of hitting the ball to center..."
Will the Milton Bradley move be enough for the padres line up to put some runs on the board or will they have to make another move to make a serious world series run?
Buster Olney (1:49 PM)
Brett: If I could have a mulligan on my Phillies-to-win-the-NL pick, I'd pick the Padres. And having Bradley will probably help, in part because he hates the Dodgers... and from the Padres' perspective, that's a good thing...
Patrick (Hoboken, NJ)
C'mon, throw me a bone here! This one is nice and easy....how many games do the Pirates win this year?
Buster Olney (1:50 PM)
Patrick... Hmmm... I say 71...
Will the Tigers be able to overcome the loss of Neifi Perez's intangibles? Thanks.
Buster Olney (1:50 PM)
Joe: Sarcasm; excellent. Yes, I'd say that their six runs a game will help make up for what Neifi brought to the table...
Hey Buster, how long will Trembley last? Through the season?
Buster Olney (1:51 PM)
John: All depends on how they finish, and what MacPhail thinks of him; the next manager will be Andy's call...
Buster, Do you think MLB will adopt a discipline policy to deal with players who find themselves in trouble with the law much like the NFL has?
Buster Olney (1:52 PM)
Rob: Can't do it, because the union is simply too aggressive in representing its players. Whether you think that this is a good thing or a bad thing, it is what it is; Bud Selig simply does not have the same power that Roger Goodell has...
Buster Olney (1:54 PM)
Shine, Collective Soul...
Granted, I'm a sox fan, but I can't help but look at Detroit and see some regression coming. Granderson's more like a 265 hitter than a .290 hitter. Ditto Pudge. And Magglio simply isn't going to stay hot for a full 162. Tigers are a great team, but it's starting pitching that will carry them in the 2nd half, not league-leading offensive output.
Buster Olney (1:57 PM)
Steve.... OK... we just disagree. I see Kenny Rogers coming back well, Andrew Miller getting better start to start, the offense really rolling... And I would disagree with you about Granderson -- he is the Tigers' version of Youkilis -- a guy who works his rear end off at making adjustments and devoting himself to getting better. Fifty extra-base hits by the break is not an accident... We'll see. Check back in October if the Red Sox wipe out the Tigers and tell me I was wrong...
Teach me how to speak, teach me how to share, tell me if there will be 8 in the HR Derby tonight and who will be the 8th???
Buster Olney (1:58 PM)
Matt: I wish I had the answer for you, at the moment... I'll see if I can e-mail somebody and get an answer for you in the time we have left here...
Barry Zito-worst signing ever! It may be early, but I have no faith and it at least cracks the top 10 of bad signings with Mike Hampton and Darren Dreifort. Any news on when Sabes gets the axe?
Buster Olney (1:59 PM)
Joe: Kevin Kernan of the NY Post reported on TV the other day that he's hearing that Brian Sabean will be let go after the All-Star break. Either way, it's hard to imagine him returning for '08...
Buster, let Matt know that Matt Holliday has been announced as the last HR Derby contestant.
Buster Olney (2:01 PM)
Ryan: Awesome, thanks... Holliday is great, but I bet he might struggle in the Derby... Plus, in that park, you gotta pick a left-handed hitter to win... We'll see. Have fun watching the Derby, everybody. talk to you next week...