Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Los Angeles Angels writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
Saxon recently wrote that the Angels deal with Joel Pineiro made sense for the team.
Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.
Send your questions now and join Saxon Friday at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (4:02 PM)
Hey everybody, Thanks for stopping by. This is my first time hosting a chat here, so go easy on me. Just kidding. Fire away!
Nancy (Fillmore, CA)
How do you think got the Better end of deal? The Angels or Mets? The Angels paid to much money and only got 1 prospect for 20 million? They should of traded for Luis Castillo?
Mark Saxon (4:04 PM)
For the Angels, there was really no major upside here. They had a player who didn't want to be there, so they were pretty much forced to move him. In today's climate, they weren't going to save much money because nobody would pick it up for a reserve outfielder.The Mets clearly needed a guy to play center field for a while, so I guess they were the winners.
Rocco (Santa Barbara, Ca)
Mark, since you cover the Angels why do you think the Angels always come short in trades and F.A. signings? I thought this off season was going to be good for the Angels since their hosting the All-star game?
Mark Saxon (4:06 PM)
This question seems pretty indicative of how most Angels fans are feeling, a little cheated by the team's lack of action this winter. I'll say this: I don't think they're going to be in quite as much trouble as people think. Remember, they were missing three starting pitchers for most of the first two months last year and did OK.
Jesse (Santa Paula, CA)
Mark, Could it be possible Juan Rivera for Carl Crawford? 2 years of Juan for 1 year of Carl sounds better than losing him to F.A.?
Mark Saxon (4:07 PM)
Jesse,Why settle for Carl Crawford? Why not trade Juan for Albert Pujols.Just kidding. No, I don't see this happening, but I would keep a close eye on the Angels next winter as they're big admirers of Crawford and will try to sign him. I'm pretty sure of it.
Is Pineiro simply a bridge to Trevor Reckling or does he have a chance to turn into a solid number 3 starter?
Mark Saxon (4:09 PM)
My answer would be, "Both."I think he looks exactly like a No. 3 or 4 starter, but the Angels wouldn't have made this deal if Pineiro insisted on a four-year deal. They have a couple of young pitchers with big upsides who could be in their rotation by the time Pineiro's deal is up.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Where will Hideki Matsui play, with the Los Angeles Angels?
Mark Saxon (4:13 PM)
In Anaheim.Bah-dum-dum.I'm guessing he'll essentially be the fulltime DH, though he's saying he wants to play the outfield one day a week. Two surgically repaired knees? 35? I'm a bit dubious.
Jim (Dallas, Tx)
Why do most Prognosticaters predict that Seattle and Los Angeles are going to finish 1 2 in the division in whichever order, when it is the Rangers who haqve made the most improvements and it is the Rangers who finished second in the Division not the Mariners.
Mark Saxon (4:14 PM)
Good question, though I haven't actually seen any predictions yet, have you? By the way, I agree that the Rangers shouldn't be overlooked here. I also think the A's might surprise some people if those young starting pitchers keep progressing.My feeling this early in the process is that the whole division will get a little closer to the Angels.
Rachel (Ventura, Ca)
The Angels have players that are out of opinions and will be fighting for a spot on the roster? Will we see a trade?
Mark Saxon (4:17 PM)
Probably. Just not sure who it will be.Today was a glorious one for Reggie Willits, by the way, who looks like he's got a full-time locker in Anaheim now as the fourth outfielder. Maybe he's the big winner, not the Mets or Angels.
Gloria (S.P. CA)
Why do the Angels always hold their prospects and not make trades when they have value and run them out of minor league options?
Mark Saxon (4:24 PM)
Gloria, a lot of people wonder that. The main reason, though they may not admit it, is because it's much cheaper to hold onto prospects than to sign big-league guys. Look at their rotation: Weaver, Saunders, Santana. All homegrown, all cheap for how good they are.
Will the Angel's rotation be as solid as it was for the past 4-5 years?
Mark Saxon (4:26 PM)
I think it will be pretty close, but not quite as good as it was by September.
What kind of numbers do you think Clayton Kershaw puts up this year, takes a step forward or backward?
Mark Saxon (4:34 PM)
Matt,I happen to be talking to Tony Jackson, our Dodgers writer, as we speak. Here's what he says: 12-8 with a 3.95 ERA, 220 K's.Is that specific enough for you?
Cory (Monroe, La.)
The Angels got Pineiro, but do they have a clear cut ace? Will Kazmir blossom in LA? Can Santana bring back the '08 numbers? Or is Weaver on the rise in the rotation?
Mark Saxon (4:43 PM)
Weaver is the guy who stands out, but I've always felt he's a premier No. 3 type, but not a front-of-the-rotation guy. It looks to me like they have five guys just like that. I'll leave it to Scioscia to put them in order.
Jeff (Houston, Tx)
What is your Prediction on how the A.L. West will pan out this year? I say 1. Rangers 2. Angels 3. Mariners 4. Oakland
Mark Saxon (4:45 PM)
I'll go:1. Angels2. Mariners3. Rangers4. A'sThen again, it could be exactly the opposite.
Have the Angels added any other players but Matsui and Rodney this off season? And are the done? Is there still a player on their radar or not?
Mark Saxon (4:47 PM)
They added Joel Pineiro (pending his physical) and the pitcher they got for Gary Matthews Jr., Brian Stokes. To which you proabably say, "Whoop-de-do."
lets see, Lakers lose, UCLA=worst team theyve had in forever,USC football=Joke, Raiders??? Do they still play? Well cant wait until baseball season.
Mark Saxon (4:48 PM)
Tyler,And it's been raining here for four straight days. You make me want to take a long walk off a short pier.
Tara (Dallas, Tx)
What is your take on who the Texas Rangers will put in their rotation this year. With newcomers Colby Lewis, Rich Harden who do you see filling out the rotation besides those two I just mentioned?
Mark Saxon (4:50 PM)
Tara,I covered Rich Harden when he was 20 years old with the A's. He's got a huge upside, but he's always hurt. If he stays healthy all year, the Rangers could easily win the West. No starter in the division other than Felix Hernandez has better stuff.
Jim (Modesto CA)
Bigger loss for the Angels - Figgins or Lackey?
Mark Saxon (4:52 PM)
My feeling is Lackey will sting more. That may be a minority opinion since Figgins was a premier leadoff hitter and premier defender. But Lackey had a dynamic quality that will be missing from their pitching staff. Plus, he was a far better post-season competitor than Figgins was.
Ricky (San Francisco)
Wouldn't it make some sense for the Mariners to bat Figgins leadoff and Ichiro third. I can imagine lots of situations where Figgins gets on, gets to second and Ichiro just needs a single (which he does about 180 times a year) to knock him in.
Mark Saxon (4:53 PM)
Ricky,I'm with you. Figgins walks way more than Ichiro and at this stage of his career, he's a better base stealer. I would bat Ichiro second or third, but they'll do whatever their franchise player wants.
Mark missing lackey, Vlad, Figgins will make a difference even though they weren't lights out in the playoffs their experience is invaliable.
Mark Saxon (4:54 PM)
Here's one prediction: Vlad will still wreak some havoc down there in Texas. I don't think he's done as a hitter and I think he'll hurt the Angels badly at times.
Mark Saxon (4:55 PM)
It was fun, everybody.Thanks for all the good questions.Sayonara until next time.