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August 15, 2:32 PM ET
Chat with Buster Olney

Buster Olney
  (1:02 PM)

Hi, folks, hope all is well. Less than six weeks to go in the regular season... you could see the tension in the faces of players over the weekend. Lots to talk about here today, for sure. Let's get it started...

Ben (Brooklyn, NY)

The Mets just traded for Luis Ayala in their desperate attempt to shore up their bullpen, but can he actually help? This year he has been awful, with an ERA over 5. Is there anyone else they can trade for/pick up for some more consistency?

Buster Olney
  (1:04 PM)

Ben: I just think he's depth, and as we've seen with relievers, they can get hot or cold very suddenly, and without explanation. There really aren't any quality relievers to be had, and presumably, they won't be in position to pick up Brian Fuentes when he comes through waivers; presumably, the Dodgers and the D-Backs will both place claims. Let's face it: The Mets' bullpen will be as good, in the next six weeks, as Aaron Heilman is.

Scott (Chicago)

Buster, my alma mater, Miami University, plays your beloved Vanderbilt next Thursday. I bet you a Coke Vandy loses.

Buster Olney
  (1:05 PM)

Scott: I've watched too many games of Vanderbilt football over the last 25 losing seasons to take that bet. Best of luck to you, and I hope we hammer you.

Kirby (NY)

I know you blogged about this, but what thoughts can you share for free regarding CC? Because the Brewers have little chance to sign him as a free agent, they can run him out there as much as they want. And there is something unethical about this, right?

Buster Olney
  (1:09 PM)

Kirby: We in the media pounded Manny Ramirez for handling his last days with the Red Sox irresponsibly. Well, in a sense, this is a management version of that -- to send out Sabathia for 130 pitches with a lead that ranged from five to seven runs in the last three innings was not appropriate, either for the team's sake or CC's sake. He has completely given himself over to the Brewers in what they're trying to accomplish and they should not abuse that, in light of what he stands to lose as a free agent this fall -- but even if you take the impending free agency out of the equation, I don't understand tactically why it makes any sense to ask a guy who has already thrown 195 pitches to give you another 30 in innings eight and nine in mid-August in a one-sided game.

dave (fl)

being that the marlins always look to the future how good are the marlins rotation set up to be for next year?volstad sanchez and johnson are here to stay and even with olsen and nolasco up for arbitration they still have miller in the wings

Buster Olney
  (1:13 PM)

Dave -- sorry it took so long, but I'm having some computer issues... Geek Squad is on the way. You could make a case for the Marlins being the early favorite to win the NL East next season, given the late-season showing of some of their starters.

Don (syracuse, NY)

Is Richie Sexson done, or will someone take a chance on him?

Buster Olney
  (1:14 PM)

Don: Someone will take a shot at him this winter, if not down the stretch. And if an injury comes up, he'd only be a phone call away.

Roberto (DC)

Lastings Milledge or Adam Jones?

Buster Olney
  (1:15 PM)

Roberto: I have not watched Adam Jones play much in person, but if I were to defer to scouts and evaluators who have seen Jones play, I'm sure they would pick Jones over Milledge in a slam-dunk decision (to steal a phrase from George Tenet).

Tom (nyc)

If we were talking about Rich Harden I would agree with you, but Sabathia is a workhorse. I think managers need to do a better job handling pitchers on an individual basis rather than putting them on pitch limits. It seems like Sabathia wants to be finishing these games. This is totally different than the Manny Ramirez saga.

Buster Olney
  (1:16 PM)

Tom: Yes, he is a workhorse, but what compelling reason could there to ask him to throw Innings 8 and 9 last night? It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

Phil albany ny

where is manny play next year?

Buster Olney
  (1:17 PM)

Phil: He will play with the team that offers him the most money. Simple as that.

Chris (Scottsdale)

How good can Alexei Ramirez be? and does he have a shot at rookie of the year?

Buster Olney
  (1:17 PM)

Chris: He's in the conversation, for sure. I'd probably have Longoria as my favorite, if I had a vote.

Aaron (West Des Moines, IA)

Buster, let's talk about your top 10 athletes of all-time. I think you had a good list, but the biggest one I thought you left out was Jim Thorpe. This guy was the ultimate athlete. He played baseball, football, and basketball and won Olympic medals! How could you leave him off?

Buster Olney
  (1:19 PM)

Aaron: In the e-mail I got on that, Thorpe's is the name raised most often as an omission; Bo Jackson was another. If you picked either guy on your list of 10, I couldn't possibly tell you you were wrong. I thought about Thorpe, but like my list.

Todd (Philly)

Buster - Just curious speculation - say Mussina wins 20 this year - and for whatever reason doesn't win another game the following year - is he a HOF?

Buster Olney
  (1:21 PM)

Todd: I think a 20-win season would clinch Mussina as a Hall of Famer, because it is one of the glaring holes on his resume. I covered the game in '95 or '96 when he put himself in position to win No. 20, and Armando Benitez blew a late-inning lead -- and wept over it afterward, saying how Mussina was his favorite baseball player.

Mike (Rutland, VT)

Hi Buster, I always look forward to your chats. Do you have any thoughts on the performance of the Pirates' front office during the trade and draft signing deadlines? Thanks for your time.

Buster Olney
  (1:23 PM)

Mike: I thought they did exceptionally well, getting the players they needed to get, particularly Alvarez. Whether it is fair or not, and whether it's right or wrong, the front office would have been judged in a big way by the Pirates' fan base if they had failed to sign Alvarez. There's a column by John Perotto today in the Beaver County Times about how good the front office is doing -- and imagine how different that column might have been if Alvarez had gone unsigned. That was a big hurdle for them.

Evan Czarnomski (Bay Shore, New York)

Do you think the Yankees are gonna throw the big bucks at Sabathia?

Buster Olney
  (1:25 PM)

Evan: Yes. As in: Blank Check. And why not? They've got $85 million coming off the payroll, they're charging $2,500 per game, per seat, for some seats in new Yankee Stadium, and they are loaded with cash. The question remains: Will CC take it?

Brian (Milwaukee)

Have you seen the Milwaukee bullpen?? Torres was not going to pitch due to a lingering groin issue. Therefore, your options for the 8th and 9th were Mota (rewind to large lead blown at Colorado), Gagne ($10,000,000 mistake), Villanueva (replay Andre Ethier over the weekend), Shouse (can't get a righty out), and Riske (prone to the long ball with his ONE pitch). Also, CC will have 5 days rest before his next start with the off day coming up. I rest my case.

Buster Olney
  (1:26 PM)

Brian: If you can't trust a six- or seven-run lead to your bullpen for three or six outs, well, you might as well forget about contending.

Craig (PA)

I know you guys at ESPN love the east coast, but how have you gone this long without talking about Maddux's impact on the Dodgers?

Buster Olney
  (1:27 PM)

Craig: Yeah, ask all the Brewers' fans about how East Coast they think they are, and then check back.

Charlie (Milwaukee, WI)

I think the Brewers put CC out there in the ninth because the bullpen was taxed during the Dodgers series and CC will get an extra day of rest due to an off-day. If Hardy and Durham turned what should have been a double play, CC would have been out of the game in less than 120 pitches. Going into the ninth, it looked like CC would be able to get out of the game with a reasonable pitch count. However, hindsight is always 20/20.

Buster Olney
  (1:28 PM)

Charlie: It was not a second guess; it was a first-guess. I was watching the game and was stunned when he was sent out for the ninth with a seven-run lead and a pitch count of 111, and I can promise you that a lot of folks within baseball felt the same way.

Sam (Lake Bluff)

Is Zambrano-Harden-Dempster the best 1-2-3 pitching combination in baseball?

Buster Olney
  (1:29 PM)

Sam: They could be, but Zambrano has to bounce back from his last two starts, when it looked like his arm angle was down and he left a whole lot of fastballs and sliders over the middle of the plate. Harden, on a given day, can be as good as anybody.

Matt (PA)

How good is the back end of the Cubs bullpen (Wood, Marmol, Szmerdjia, Gaudin)? Do they rank up there with the Angels?

Buster Olney
  (1:30 PM)

Matt: I'd rank them as the second-best 'pen in the majors, behind the Angels' 'pen.

Chris (Phoenix)

To Sam in Lake Bluff- right now its Webb, Haren and Johnson. Thanks for stopping by.

Buster Olney
  (1:30 PM)

Chris: You have a strong case...

Jon (DC)

Is Jim Bowden a goner after this year?

Buster Olney
  (1:31 PM)

DC: I think that depends entirely on the Lerner's view of Bowden's situation vis a vis the scout scandal. And they really haven't said anything publicly about that yet.

Jason (NY, NY)

To Chris in Phoenix, I'll take Johan, Ollie Perez and Pedro/Pelfrey.

Buster Olney
  (1:33 PM)

Jason: I think you would agree with me that your trio's ranking would depend entirely on whether you're getting the Jekyll Ollie Perez or the Hyde Ollie Perez. We had this discussion the other day -- the pitchers with the most movement on their fastballs have to be Roy Halladay and Perez.

Alex(NY)

To everyone: I'll take rasner, ponson, and pavano

Chris (Toronto)

To Chris in Phoenix - I'd rather have Halladay, Burnett and Marcum over those 3....

Max (Coral Gables)

Buster, what are your thoughts on this Daniel Murphy guy the Mets brought up a few weeks ago. He seems to have a great eye at the plate and has one less hit than Uber-prospect Jay Bruce did in his first 42 at bats. 1. Is there any chance he can keep this tear going, and 2. do you see him as a long term solution to the Mets corner outfield problems?

Buster Olney
  (1:35 PM)

Max: He looks like the real deal, eh? And even if he doesn't project to a star player, you watch him take his at-bats with such patience and you figure he'll be around a long, long time, a la Scott Hatteberg, who has had a pretty good career.

marlins fan

dont over look the budding trio of johnson ,sanchez and volstad

Jon (Minny)

Who are your top 3 AL MVP candidates as of right now?

Buster Olney
  (1:36 PM)

As of today: 1. Carlos Quention. 2. Kevin Youkilis. 3. Joe Mauer.

Jake --- Philadelphia

Sports writers really bother me sometimes(no offense). CC Sabathia went 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA in September last year. So, according to just about every "baseball analyst" in the country, his body must have decided to become fatigued the very second that the post season started and not a minute sooner... It's almost as though that has been written off as fact just because everybody in the media decided to agree on the most simple and accesible story...

Buster Olney
  (1:36 PM)

Jake -- OK.

neil(MA)

It has been a frustrating season as a tiger fan, do see them dumping payroll by trading mags this offseason? I have heard rumors

Buster Olney
  (1:37 PM)

Neil: There's a lot of buzz within baseball that they will be looking at a significant payroll cut this off-season. We'll see; they're already committed to something like $100 million next season.

Aimery(Venice, CA)

Buster love your chats. What can we expect out of Maddux? Also who do you have coming out of the West? The schedule is pretty easy for both the DBacks and Dodgers for the rest of the season, but the Dodgers seem to be hitting their stride(finally!). Thanks.

Buster Olney
  (1:39 PM)

Aimery: I'd pick the D-Backs, but heck, I picked the Indians to win the World Series and the Rockies to win the West, so what do I know? I think Maddux will help them, and I'd love to be a fly on the wall for the conversations between the uber-talentClayton Kershaw and the uber-baseball genius Maddux; that will help Kershaw.

Anthony (Bronx NY)

Buster, everyone is already writing off the Yankees. The Yankee haters are making tombstones RIP Yankees, which is pathetic. But, do you have them written off? I think if they can get this lineup going and have some clutch hits they have a chance especially since they play the Red Sox and Rays 6 more times each. Thanks

Buster Olney
  (1:40 PM)

Anthony: I've long since stopped writing off teams, in the aftermath of the Cardinals in '06 and the Rockies last year. Do I think they'll make the playoffs? No. But as you mention, they have lots of hea to head games left, and if they get hot, they could be right back in a tight race within 10 days.

Brett (Los Angeles)

With Brad Penny, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent and your beloved Man-Ram coming off the books at the end of the season, which players do you think will resign and what other significant free agent pick ups can the dodgers pull this off=season?

Buster Olney
  (1:41 PM)

Brett: It's hard to know, because there is a lot of conflicting information about how much available cash they have, and will have. If they're cutting payroll markedly, well, who knows?

Dusty (Hill County, TX)

The Rangers seem to have a tremendous amount of injuries, both to position players like Kinsler and Bradley and to their terrible pitching staff. is it just bad luck or is there something that they are doing wrong? if it is bad luck, can we assume that they might be in the hunt if they did not have all of these injuries in the 1st place. Wild Card hunt by the way.

Buster Olney
  (1:43 PM)

Dusty: A really smart baseball guy who doesn't have an agenda asked a smart question back in May about the Rangers -- why is it that so often, the pitching talent they develop doesn't translate with them? Chris Young, Danks, Galarraga, Volquez, etc. I don't know the answer; it is worth the Rangers asking themselves that question, I think.

John (Orlando, FL)

Do you think the Rays will pick up anyone off the waiver wire?

Buster Olney
  (1:45 PM)

John: If I ran the Rays, I'd go after Mark Kotsay, who has cleared waivers. But if I ran the Rays, they probably wouldn't be in first place, and from what I gather, they like the outfielders they have. They have some interest in Sheffield, I'd say, but only at the very right price (the Tigers eating just about all of his contract, while getting little in the form of a prospect).

Chris (St. Petersburg, FL)

Buster -- Rays look great. Can they actually win this whole thing?

Buster Olney
  (1:46 PM)

Chris: Yes, without question. As I mentioned on TV last week, I'd rather have the problems that the Rays have (Longoria, Crawford, Percival out) than the problems that the Red Sox and Yankees have (major rotation issues).

Paul (NJ)

Buster: would you NOW consider the Yankees not trading for Santana to prove to be a stupid move? They wanted Melky Cabrera (AAA), Ian Kennedy (AAA)and/or Phil Hughes (DL) with another prospect or two.

Buster Olney
  (1:47 PM)

Paul: No, because the Yankees' objection, besides the players they would give up, was the contract. They didn't want to give up the prospects AND the record-setting contract.

Bobby John, (Oshkosh, WI)

Robert, how many people snd questions to you during these chats? And why do you NOT answer any of the controversal ones?

Buster Olney
  (1:49 PM)

Bobby John: You're right, I have expressed no opinions here.

Buster Olney
  (1:50 PM)

I just got a call from my boss, and he's calling me away -- with that, thanks for all the great questions. We'll chat again next week...