Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 22, 2:26 PM ET
Chat with Buster Olney

Buster Olney
  (12:58 PM)

Hi, folks, good afternoon. Lots of good stuff going on this week, with the Phils-Mets, Cardinals-Brewers, Yankees-Red Sox, Webb going for 20th win, Lee going for 19th... Let's get it started...

Chris (Ann Arbor, MI)

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Pedro Alvarez hasn't shown up after agreeing to his contract. They also suggest that Boras often prevents his clients from reporting to their new teams for a week or more. What gives? And should the Pirates be concerned?

Buster Olney
  (1:00 PM)

Chris: No. He'll show up, he'll play. But I'm sure that for an organization which just agreed to pay him over $6 million, it is being read as a piece of insight into how closely tied Alvarez is to Boras. Really, it seems silly to me; Pedro is a baseball player -- just go play. Forget about sending a message or a power play or any of that garbage.

Jason (San Diego)

Recent speculation about CC Sabathia's interest in SF has met with a tepid response from journalists in the Bay Area. They site Zito's contract and the strength of the Giants rotation as undermining the potential for a deal. Still, the Giant's are 20 mil under thier '06 salary and I have to believe 200 innings of Sabathia in place of Correia, Downs, et al would go a long way toward cutting into the Giants run differential. What am I missing?

Buster Olney
  (1:02 PM)

Jason: I just don't think the Giants and CC are a fit, unless he agrees to some incredible cut-rate deal in the $70 million range (or about half of what the Yankees might offer). They already have a huge obligation in Zito, and they've got Lincecum and Sanchez and Cain; they need position players, and if they're going to spend money, that's where they probably should invest the cash.

Otis (Mt Airy NC)

I was distressed by the NL ROY vote last year (it completely ignored Tulowitzski's defensive value and Braun's, well you know). But now I wonder who is really the better player. You're choice?

Buster Olney
  (1:06 PM)

Otis: I thought Tulowitzki should have won the ROY last year, and this year, there's no comparison -- Braun is the better player. There was a story in the Rocky Mtn. News Monday that Tulo isn't going to be completely healed from his quad injury until sometime this off-season, and clearly, that's had a major impact on him, even since he came off the DL.

Buster Olney
  (1:07 PM)

Just a heads-up here, folks -- my computer is a little squirrely today. Sometimes it's working, sometimes not... Onto the next question.

Yankee Fans

Joba wins the ROY right? It's Joba after all.

Buster Olney
  (1:07 PM)

Yankees fans: Sarcasm noted. For me, right now, Longoria is No. 1, Ramirez No. 2.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

Rob Neyer just said on that other chat he felt he could make a bold prediction that the Indians can win 92 games next year. Are you buying that? I'm an Indians fan, and even being optimistic I can't see that happening.

Buster Olney
  (1:09 PM)

Chris: I could see it, if Hafner comes back, or if LaPorta steps in and makes an immediate impact. They need a bopper to come through. But don't look for me for predictions on the Indians -- I picked them to win the WS the last two years, and look how that turned out.

Blake (Athens Ga)

When do we talk college football. Go dawgs sic em.

Buster Olney
  (1:09 PM)

Blake: No way! Vanderbilt rules! Well, actually... I take that back.

Mike (Philadelphia)

Buster, Amazin's or Phightin's?

Buster Olney
  (1:12 PM)

Mike: This should be a great window into the final month -- the Mets are throwing out their best in Pedro and Santana, and the Phillies' hitters seem to be coming around, and Heilman takes a career ERA of over 9.00 in CBP into this series -- looked it up today, and LH hitters are batting .300 with 7 walks and four homers in 30 at-bats, for an .833 slugging percentage. I'm curious to see how he responds, if he's called on for a save. I really have no credibility for forecasts this year -- I picked the Braves to win the NL East, and the Mets to be the wildcard team, and neither one of those is going to turn out to be right. As of today, given the Mets' pitching injuries, I'd give the edge to the Phillies.

Daniel (o'fallon MO)

Great blog on Pujols. It seems he gets over looked because he puts up the same great numbers every year. When he retires he might go down as one of the top 10 hitters ever, and he will have just one MVP.

Buster Olney
  (1:15 PM)

Daniel -- thanks for the kind words. I think he's the frontrunner for the MVP this year... Others in the conversation -- David Wright, Webb, Hanley Ramirez, Utley, Braun, Reyes -- even Delgado might be in the Top 10. It's interesting that as good as the Cubs are, they probably don't have any strong candidate for this award, which is a reflection of their incredible depth.

Adam (NY)

Not to question the you because you certainly know more than me. But couldn't one argue that Pelfry is really the Mets 2nd best right now?

Buster Olney
  (1:15 PM)

Adam -- I meant that more in stature... You are correct, sir. Pelfrey has been terrific.

Will (Milwaukee)

Buster, is our fellow Commodore David Price going to be called up prior to the September roster expansion so he's eligible for the post season?

Buster Olney
  (1:17 PM)

Will: He'll get called up. The date doesn't really matter, because so long as the player is in the organization on Aug. 31, they can use guys on the 60-day DL to create spots. We'll see how he does -- I suspect that they'll try him in one-inning appearances in September in situations when he's matching up against lefties (Ortiz, or Abreu/A-Rod/Giambi) and they'll see how he does.

anthony(london)

with maine down the mets are thinking of calling up jon niese. how does he project as a starter in the big leagues right now?

Buster Olney
  (1:19 PM)

Anthony: Everybody I've talked to likes his talent. And he's 21 years old -- so he's a complete wildcard. Look at the Yankees' 21-year-olds in the last year -- Joba was great, Kennedy was awful, Hughes was awful in spots and put a lot of pressure on himself. You won't really know until the light goes on how he'll respond.

Nate (Madison)

Do you see Gamel and Escobar getting called up in September after their seasons are done?

Buster Olney
  (1:20 PM)

Nate: Yes, I think they'll call them up... The M J-S had a story the other day that Gamel was promoted to Class AAA for a look-see in the last week, in what was essentially an audition for a call-up. If the Brewers think Gamel will be in the big leagues early next year, there's really no harm in it -- and it might even be a benefit to the player, to be able to experience that kind of atmosphere, even if they're not playing.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Mr. Olney: As a fan it looks to me like the Braves are headed towards being the Pirates South. Can you see them actually being players in the FA market this coming off-season or will they continue to fill their roster with not-yet-ready rookies and low-end FAs?

Buster Olney
  (1:22 PM)

J.B. -- I think the Braves are going to spend some money this winter -- maybe one or two pricey contracts, and one of those will be a pitcher. Pure speculation from me: I wouldn't be surprised if they bid on Sheets or Lohse.

John

Do the playoff roster go back down to 25 or do they stay expanded like in September of the regular season?

Buster Olney
  (1:23 PM)

John: It goes back down to 25.

Pete (NJ)

Buster, your from Randolph, VT. I lived in Bethel for some time. I had to move back to Jersey. The excitement and nightlife in Bethel/Randolph was too much for me.

Buster Olney
  (1:24 PM)

Pete -- yeah, lots of nightlife in my hometown of Randolph Center. You can cruise past the only store in town, Floyd's General, which closes at 7. Woo-hoooo.

Dave (Flagstaff, AZ)

Are the D-Backs absolutely committed to Justin Upton, or could we be seeing him in another uniform in the next few years?

Buster Olney
  (1:24 PM)

Dave -- they are committed to him. He's a monster talent.

bg (toronto)

Hi Buster. Who do you think will end up with Burnett this off-season? And what will his contract look like. Thanks.

Buster Olney
  (1:26 PM)

BG: I don't mean to not give you a straight answer on your question, but because A.J. is probably the third or fourth best FA this fall, it really depends on how other cards fall. In other words: If the Yankees miss out on Sabathia and Sheets, could they overload a bid for Burnett? It might happen that way. But what if Sabathia or Sheets takes the Yankee dollars -- then Burnett might wind up in Atlanta, or maybe with the Mets, or some other team.

Josh (Los Angeles, CA)

Will anyone pay the 15 mil per year that Francisco Rodriguez reportedly is after? $200K per inning pitched is a lot of scratch.

Buster Olney
  (1:27 PM)

Josh: I'd be shocked. I could be very wrong, but I'd be stunned if he got anything close to that 5/75 or 6/90, the kind of numbers being rumored. I'd bet he gets closer to 4/48 or 4/50.

Jim (Olney, MD)

I live in your last name, at least answer my question. Can you say anything good about my Orioles and their future?

Buster Olney
  (1:29 PM)

Jim: I think Andy MacPhail's a smart guy and he made a great Bedard trade. But they certainly are in desperate need for some pitching foundation blocks. Tillman could be one; they probably could use three or four more.

Chris (LA)

Buster, as I White Sox fan, I just wanna make sure that I'm not biased. I really don't see another logical choice as AL ROY besides Alexei Ramirez. And I don't see another logical choice as AL MVP besides Carlos Quentin. Your thoughts?

Buster Olney
  (1:31 PM)

Chris: Longoria has had a huge impact on the team that might be the best in the AL -- not only with his bat, but with his defense; he is arguably the best third baseman in the league already, with all due respect to Mike Lowell. I'd pick Longoria.

Dave (Manhattan, NYC)

Wait a sec, Buster, you pick the Phils over the Mets in the East then list 4 Mets out of your 7 NL MVP candidates, point how Pelfrey is as solid as Johan right now, and finish off by writing how their sterling top pitching prospect [Jon Niese] is well-regarded across the board. Is it your computer that's broken, or mine?

Buster Olney
  (1:32 PM)

Dave: If you are a Mets fan (and I suspect you are), then you know better than I -- it'll all come down to the Mets' bullpen. It's a roll of the dice right now. Who knows?

Eric (chicago, il)

Doesn't ARod play 3rd?

Buster Olney
  (1:33 PM)

Eric: Of course, but he's not as good as Longoria defensively.

Brian in Round Rock, TX.

Buster - Don't forget about Detroit's Armando Gallaraga for ROY, he's been pretty good this year. And tell the White sox fans to give up on Ramirez over Longoria already.

Buster Olney
  (1:33 PM)

Brian: Galarraga has saved some serious face for the Tigers this year. Imagine where they would be without him.

Derrick Shea (cleveland)

So the HR king this year only gets 44 HRs? what happened to 50?

Buster Olney
  (1:35 PM)

Derrick: I think the steroid-testing and Fed HGH busts have had an enormous impact on baseball over the last three years. Not everybody was dirty, but not everybody was clean, for sure.

anthony allentown,pa

can you please say something about the dodgers stranding 10,000 runners in the Philly series?

Buster Olney
  (1:37 PM)

Anthony: Larry Bowa probably had the angriest words about it in the L.A. Times today; he seemed to blame a lack of focuse. I do think it's almost impossible to generate 13 hits without a run -- there is some simple bad luck involved in that. But it's a little shocking that their drought took place in CBP.

JasonMisher (Oceanside,NY)

How come noone mentions all the underrated moves that Omar Minaya has made? Oliver Perez as a throw in, Ryan Church, John Maine was an absolute steal, Santana for absolutely nothing? Except for maybe Louis Castillo he has made some great moves.

Buster Olney
  (1:39 PM)

Jason -- his record has been excellent in some years (2006) and spotty in others. I still don't understand why he didn't add a pitcher before last year's deadline, or this year, despite signs this July that Maine was in serious trouble and despite the fact that Pedro Martinez is one of his starters (bearing an ugly injury history). The Mets, once again, have virtually no margin for error when it comes to injuries and ailments down the stretch, and a Paul Byrd could've been had before the deadline for almost nothing.

Jeff (Chicago)

Speaking of great moves, Buster, would you agree that Hendry wins GM of the year with Piniella winning Manager of the year??

Buster Olney
  (1:40 PM)

Jeff: Right now, I'd pick Hendry for executive of the year, and La Russa for manager of the year. I cannot believe that the Cardinals have had this much success, given what their projected rotation was coming out of spring.

Vincent (London)

Hi Buster, no Red Sox questions yet. Humor me as I am writing from across the pond. Do you think Clay Buchholz will suffer any long-term emotional damage from his disastrous year in the bigs? Will the Red Sox regret rushing him (even though he threw a no-hitter)?

Buster Olney
  (1:42 PM)

Vincent: I don't know for sure, but I think it's a good sign that he went down to the minors and immediately pitched well there. From what scouts say about him, he seems like a guy who can put stuff behind him, so maybe he can and move on. He's still loaded with talent, and he seemed to understand the fact that he really had a lot of work to do when he was sent down. Clay Kershaw struggled earlier this year, was sent out, and has fared better since coming back. Maybe it'll be that way with Buchholz.

Chris (NJ)

Minaya's barren minor league system should be mentioned too. Anyone can spend money. A GM is supposed to discover & develop talent.

Buster Olney
  (1:43 PM)

Chris: Agreed, the farm system is an issue.

Kevin (STL)

What about Freddie Gonzalez? Doesn't he garner some attention for Manager of the Year?

Buster Olney
  (1:43 PM)

Kevin: If I had filled out a ballot today, it'd be 1) La Russa, 2) Gonzalez, 3) Piniella. Lou's done a great job with the Cubs, but the depth of their talent, relative to other teams, is staggering.

Mike (Tampa)

You never answer this question, but I will ask again. What is the Rays rotation at the start of next year?

Buster Olney
  (1:45 PM)

Mike: Pretty much the same as it is now, yes? And maybe Price forces the issue along the way. If I were sitting in the chair of Andrew Friedman, I might think about trading Edwin Jackson -- in a winter of very expensive free agents -- and capitalizing on his value. But the safe play is to keep the pitching.

Dan (Washington Heights, Ny)

How do you decide which questions to answer?

Buster Olney
  (1:46 PM)

Dan -- usually grab the one on top on my screen, unless something else jumps out...

Andre GA

Mr. Morgan suggested that as great as Pujols is, Delgado should be the front runner in the NL MVP race. Your thoughts? If Delgado were to win it, does that seal his ticket to Cooperstown?

Buster Olney
  (1:48 PM)

Andre: Delgado's emergence has been incredible, but wow, Pujols's recent run has began to separate him from the other NL candidates. If he winds up leading the majors in average, OBP, slugging, with a 2 to 1 BB/K ratio, while playing for a contender that nobody expected to contend -- those are pretty good credentials. Part of the reason why the Mets are in a dogfight now is that Delgado did nothing for the first six weeks or so. You can't say that about Pujols.

Bob Brooklyn NY

Kevin Youkilis MVP. Who else has kept them in the race with all the injuries? Whats the status of Lowell, Drew, Wake, & Beckett and are the Sox thinking of making any waiver moves for a bat or the Gambler per se?

Buster Olney
  (1:48 PM)

Bob: Youkilis would be in my Top 10. Right now, I'd vote for Carlos Quentin as the AL MVP, with Mauer in the top 3 someplace, probably. I really haven't taken a close look at it beyond the frontrunners, yet.

Will (Waynesboro, PA)

What is more annoying? Someone starting a question with "You never answer this question." or someone accusing you of being biased against (fill in favorite team). By the way you'll never answer this question because you're biased against Will from Pennsylvania!

Buster Olney
  (1:49 PM)

Will: Appreciate the humor, for sure.

Ron ( Youngstown, OH)

Hi Buster, just got on so I may have missed the update. How is Wang's foot progressing, any chance he is back in Sept?

Buster Olney
  (1:50 PM)

Ron: They basically think there is little to no chance has any impact on the regular season.

Jay (Bowie, MD)

Who is Manager of the Year in both leagues?

Buster Olney
  (1:51 PM)

Jay: I posted the NL picks earlier. In the AL, I'd go right now with Maddon at No. 1, and some mix of Gardenhire/Guillen/Scioscia to follow.

Chris (Phoenix)

Brandon Weeb CyMVP!!???

Buster Olney
  (1:52 PM)

Chris: He'd be in my Top 10 someplace right now. Look at their record; look at the D-Backs' record. It's hard to argue that many other players have had a greater impact on what their team has done.

Mike (Houston)

Buster has an interim manager ever won Manager of the Year? Seems likely no, but J-Man must be considered, no?

Buster Olney
  (1:53 PM)

If they make the playoffs, he's in the conversation. But if they miss the playoffs, he wouldn't be in the Top 3.

Dan (Wisconsin)

How many home runs will ken griffey jr hit in his career?

Buster Olney
  (1:55 PM)

Dan: Hmmmmmmm. I wish I knew exactly how long he planned to play. I gotta believe that there is a chance next year could be the finish for him, because I think he really, truly does value his time with his family and looks forward to the day he can be at home. So I'll guess 625, or, less than Mays.

Mike (Toledo)

Should I blame the Indians disappointing season on the injuries? Or the hitting in the first half of the season, or the bullpen that only is good every other season?

Buster Olney
  (1:56 PM)

Mike: Their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters got taken out, their No. 2 starter got hurt, and their bullpen was a disaster for four months. It does tell you something that since Jensen Lewis has solidified the bullpen with his closer performance, they've been winning games...

Tim (Athens)

Will Jim Thome finish with more HRs than Willie Mays?

Buster Olney
  (1:57 PM)

Tim: No, but he's fast moving into the category of first ballot HOFer. With that, folks, my time is up ... thanks for all the great questions. We'll chat again soon.

Buster Olney
  (1:57 PM)

Tim: No, but he's fast moving into the category of first ballot HOFer. With that, folks, my time is up ... thanks for all the great questions. We'll chat again soon.