Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Los Angeles Angels writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
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 Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (4:29 PM)
I'm getting ready to head back to the desert, this time to see a week of games. There's a lot of stuff to talk about this week, including Torii Hunter's comments. Let's get started.
Monica (Las Vegas,NV)
Mark, After watching a couple of spring training games, I still think the Angels Need a leadoff hitter. Way not go after Carl Crawford now. The Rays are saying they are above payroll this year and are cutting payroll next year. They are not going to win that division. They also have Desmond J ready to take over LF. The Angels should trade some of their prospects instead of letting them run out of minor league opitions? They could of traded Matt Brown when he had some trade Value look what he is doing in Texas.
Mark Saxon (4:33 PM)
Hi Monica,I wouldn't rule out the chance the Angels try to trade for Carl Crawford by mid-season. If not, they'll definitely try to sign him as a free agent. But bear in mind that he's not going to come cheap in terms of talent and the Rays might decide to keep him and trade Carlos Pena instead. But rest assured that the Angels are big Carl Crawford admirers.
Mark, we all know that the Angels sign Fernando Rodney so that Brian Fuentes 3 year doesn't vest. The Twins need a closer why not trade Fuentes to the twins? The Angels dont need 2 closer that pitch wild and walk batters almost everytime.
Mark Saxon (4:36 PM)
Hey Jess,The biggest stumbling block I see to that deal is the fact that Fuentes makes $9 million. I'm not sure the Twins would see him as being worth it, though they do have a problem on their hands opening a new ballpark without a proven closer. Also, I wouldn't be totally surprised if neither Fuentes or Rodney wound up the Angels closer by the end of the year. Did you see Kevin Jepsen in August?
Rocco (Santa Barbara,CA)
Mark, the Angels have 5 top picks in the Draft again this year. Why do they always Draft players that will sign contracts and cost less than players that have more potential and cost more? Why not take a chance with Top potential players? Their Farm System is Rated low by B.A.
Mark Saxon (4:39 PM)
Rocco,Most people criticize the Angels for doing the opposite: drafting expensive high-school kids when college guys are closer to being ready and often cheaper. I think your main criticism is that they don't draft high enough to take the well-known players, but to get those they have to lose a bunch of games. Is it worth it?They took Jake Locker in the 10th round and paid him $300,000 even though there's a snowball's chance in Arizona he'll ever play for them. They're not cheap with amateur talent.
Denice (Santa Monica,CA)
Mark, who do you think has a better season Brandon Wood or Sean Rodrigues? Who has a better Career?
Mark Saxon (4:40 PM)
Denice,I'm going to change it up and say Rodriguez has a better season, but Wood has a better career. I think Wood has to start hot in order to lock up the third-base job, because Maicer Izturis will be a viable option.
Now that Adeiny Hechevarria is free to sign. Have you heard if the Angels will make a strong push to sign him?
Mark Saxon (4:43 PM)
Ricard,I know for sure they were there to see his workout in the Dominican, so they're already showing interest. They'll have competition, though. The Cubs and Yankees apparently are very interested. I'd say they have a slim chance of getting him.
Mike (Laguna Beach)
Do you by any chance know when the MLB All Star game tickets go on sale by any chance, I know all the celebrity softball, fanfest things are on sale, but when does the HR derby, and game go on sale? Or should I ask a ticket broker?
Mark Saxon (4:44 PM)
Mike,I'd say ask a ticket broker or call the Angels. Sorry.
Mark, How does Scott Kazmir look this Spring? Will Mike Butcher turn him into the Ace he once was in Tampa?
Mark Saxon (4:46 PM)
Hi Daisy,That's hard to say, because a hamstring issue has been holding him back. He pitched a simulated game Wednesday and is supposed to make his first spring start Monday. I talked to him a couple of weeks ago and know he worked out hard in the off-season to strengthen his core. He thinks it will allow him to pitch longer into games effectively. He and Ervin Santana are the least-predictable members of the rotation.
Alfredo (Santa Ana, CA)
Mark, how do you see Hunter's statement affecting the clubhouse?
Mark Saxon (4:48 PM)
Great question, Alfredo. I'll be keen to find out when I get down there, if I can. It could go either way. If the team is doing well and guys are getting along, it probably won't matter. But I have seen ethnic tensions bubble up in a clubhouse before. We're talking about one of the most likable guys in the game, so my guess is it will be OK.
A.J. (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Mark, I see people talking about trading for a leadoff hitter but I'm willing to wait and see how Aybar does in that role, my big concern is still the Starting pitching, I know we have a deep rotation and that's great for the regular season but once the playoffs come around 2 or 3 dominant pitchers seem to do better than 5 solid ones. Don't you think we need to have that dominant pitcher to match up with CC and Burnett on the Yankees or Becket and Lack on the Sox? Who could we even pursue?
Mark Saxon (4:51 PM)
A.J.I'm not as high on Aybar as a leadoff guy. It just doesn't seem like his game is getting on base. But you're right that they might find themselves in the market for an ace if things are going well in July. There are a lot of very good starting pitchers who will be free agents next fall, so the pickings could be there to land somebody.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which Current Los Angeles Players do you think would be perfect Broadcasters?
Mark Saxon (4:53 PM)
I don't know about perfect, but Torii Hunter would be good if he could avoid the word "impostors." He says interesting things and he enjoys conversation.Maybe Scot Shields? Scott Kazmir seems to have things to say. It's mostly a quiet group.
Mark, I heard the Angels sign Luis Jolly out the Dominican.But According to scouts he's no star in the making. The Angels are always rumor to be after the top international players and come short. Why?
Mark Saxon (4:55 PM)
Joey,It was less than five years ago that they got Kendry Morales. That looks like it will turn out pretty well. Their scouting director Eddie Bane goes to almost all the workouts and the Angels negotiate with many top international players. It's not that they aren't trying, but more and more teams are getting involved so it's getting tougher.
Jesse (Santa Paula,CA)
Mark, I think the Angels made a huge mistake trading Sean Rodrigues. He is having a great Spring and always showed top potential. I was really surprise to hear he was the BTBN. The Rays were doing a salary dump. Will the Angels regret this move?
Mark Saxon (4:58 PM)
Jesse,You might be right, but where were they going to play Sean? They're set in the outfield and they still think Howie Kendrick will be an elite hitter. If you think he's better than Brandon Wood, you could argue they made a mistake. I think that Wood will be the better player in the long run.
Good or Bad Idea, should Baseball have a Salary Cap? It would give a every team a chance to win and to keep franchise players too.
Mark Saxon (4:59 PM)
I haven't thought about it very much, to be honest. The power of the players association is a huge obstacle, but you were asking if it would be a good idea. I'm sure the owners think it would.
Taylor (Dana Point)
What do you make of the Angels performance against the Reds yesterday? I'd be worried but the only thing I'm concerned about in spring training is injuries, is this the most important part about Spring training staying healthy
Mark Saxon (5:01 PM)
I wouldn't worry much about spring training results unless key pitchers just aren't able to find their good stuff. That can sometimes cause them to have slow starts. The Angels seem to be in good shape so far with injuries. A lot of times these games are decided late by players trying to make the Triple-A roster who will have zero impact during the season.
Mark Saxon (5:02 PM)
OK, looks like we're out of questions. Next Thursday, I'll be chatting with you poolside in sunny Arizona. Have a great week.