Hey guys, I'm in St. Pete for the big Rays-White Sox series. It's wall to wall Evan Longoria fever down here (or maybe just a heat wave). Let's get started.
Jerry, tell me why I should continue to be a baseball fan? I'm a die-hard Cub fan who spent the past 6 months following them and then in the matter of about 30 hours it's all going to be over? Is this fair?!
Nick, Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I've been a Cleveland Browns fan since I was a kid, even though I grew up in New England. I feel your pain, and this has to be tough to watch for a Cubs fan, but don't give up yet. Maybe it'll take some pressure off for them to leave Chicago and go to the West Coast. And if Harden can win Game 3, they've got Ted Lilly going in Game 4. He's been awfully good lately.
Jerry, what is the last team you remember that was as together as the Rays? I have seen teams dialed in before, but every last guy on this squad is in the moment all the time!
Rich, I like the way the way Grant Balfour responded yesterday to that Orlando Cabrera challenge, and the way they came right back after that DeWayne Wise home run. Longoria is amazingly poised and mature for a kid of 22. And guys like Cliff Floyd, Gabe Gross and Eric Hinske are extremely valuable in the way they help the kids. It's a fun club -- and they're extremely well suited for the Trop.
Milwaukee got their comeuppance, right? Overusing CC in non-pressure spots just so they didn't overwork their bullpen over the past two months. They should've learned from his performance in the playoffs last year.
Scott, I figured the workload would eventually take a toll on CC, but he didn't throw an overabundance of pitches in those early complete games. And that team has been fighting for its life for a while now. I don't think the Brewers can remember the last "non-pressure spot" they encountered.
If you were starting a team, who would you rather have--Mauer or Pedroia?
Derek, I picked Pedroia as my AL MVP this year, but if I had to start a team, I'd take Mauer. A young, poised, professional, well-rounded catcher like that is so hard to find. As Twins fans have mentioned so often this season, Mauer's impact goes beyond winning a batting title. He's had a great influence on that young pitching staff as well.
Nate Mclouth a good fit for the Yankees?
Garrett, Nate McLouth would be a great fit for the Yankees, but I see no earthly reason why Pirates GM Neal Huntington would want to trade him to NY. He hit 26 home runs this year at a premium, up the middle position, and he's not eligible for free agency for a while. So what incentive would the Pirates have to trade him?
Hey Jerry! If Buerhle gets a W today, don't the Chisox look good going home to Danks and Floyd? Of all the teams that started 0-1 in this divisional round, I think they are in the least trouble. Thoughts?
Dan, I was talking to some White Sox people before the game yesterday, and they actually feel pretty good about this matchup. The Sox are terrible in domes, but they've got enough three-run homer power to make it interesting. And you're right about Danks and Floyd: They came a long way this year and showed they're big game pitchers. This series isn't close to over.
ichiro or ellsbury? better player for the next 2 years. thanks
Mike, Interesting question. Destruction Island? As for Ellsbury and Ichiro, their numbers were quite similar this year in a lot of respects. Given that Ichiro is making $34 million over the next two years and Ellsbury will earn a fraction of that, I think I'd take Ellsbury and buy myself a nice starting pitcher with the money left over. Is it sacrilegious to say that?
What players should the Angels add or subtract to help them in the post season. No one can hit!
Stephen, Hey, it was one game against Jon Lester, who's very, very good. That said, they need big performances out of Chone Figgins at the top and Howie Kendrick in the No. 6 spot. And if I were Mike Scioscia, I might give Juan Rivera a shot in RF. The Angels can't just rely on the big four in the middle.
Why did the White Sox trade for Ken Griffey Jr.? He is a sloth in CF now, and his bat is, shall we say, not what it used to be. Seems like a dumb trade to me. Thoughts?
Derek, Kenny Williams was taking a chance that a change of scenery and a pennant race would reinvigorate Junior. Unfortunately, it hasn't quite worked out according to plan. Junior has generally looked slow with the bat and in center field. But the Sox are in the playoffs, and one three-run bomb from Junior could have White Sox fans feeling much more favorable towards him.
So do you think Lou Marson will "win" the phillies catching job in spring training next year? He seems to be the mid point between Ruiz's Defense, and Coste's Offense...
Nick, Lou Marson is a very impressive kid, and that .433 OBP in the minors this year was certainly good. I think the Phillies will go to spring training with Carlos Ruiz as the No. 1 guy just to take some pressure off Marson. But if the kid has a strong camp, he won't have to worry about playing time next year.
Why is every article about the Cubs downfall rather than giving credit to the Dodgers rise? Do people understand how much this team has matured in the past few months?
Craig, Since so many people picked the Cubs and they were such a great storyline with that 100-year drought, this Cubs- related angst is predictable. Don't worry: If the Dodgers win this series, they'll get plenty of attention in the next round.
Do you think the Phillies are going to re-sign Pat Burrell this offseason? He has had an amazing year (had a rage inducing all-star snub) and the fans love him by evidence of them chanting "MVP...MVP" everytime he steps in to the ondeck circle! I can't believe Ryan Howard can concentrate on his hitting with all the commotion Pat's appearance causes amongst the fans!
Brian, That's a very cogent, well-reasoned analysis from you. Have you ever considered working in the media?
There's a report out there that has Bobby V interested in the Mets' managerial position. As Manuel has yet to sign the 2-year deal that was offered to him, do you think there is any chance that the Wilpons and Minaya entertain the notion of bringing Valentine back for a second tour?
Andrew, Hey, Bobby V. is a smart guy and he did a nice job in New York, but I think this is just a case of a writer calling him and Bobby throwing his name in the hat for the heck of it. My sense is that Jerry Manuel will be back, deservedly so. (You can't blame that bullpen on him).
Have Hamels and Myers been THAT good, or are the Brewers really this bad? The Brewcrew look lost at the plate...
Bob, Hamels and Myers are capable of being very good, but the Brewers are an impatient team and don't have a great approach at the plate as a rule. I'll really be interested to see how they far at home against Jamie Moyer and all those 76 mph changeups.
i hate to say it but, i hope the cubs win at least one game? because i have tickets to game 4...should i start making other plans for sunday?
Vince, I'll go out on a limb and say there will be a Game 4 in the Cubs-Dodgers series. (Then again, I don't have the greatest history when it comes to predictions)
Come next season, will K-rod be the closer for the Mets ?
Steiny, The Mets seem to be the most natural fit for K-Rod, but I really wonder if Omar Minaya has the stomach to give him five years and $75 million. I think the Mets will make an offer they feel is reasonable, try to hold the line, and hope he'll accept.
Hey Jerry, What players do you see the Indians trying to aquire by trade or free agency?
Billy, The Indians have to make a lot of decisions internally before they figure out what they need through trades or free agency. If they decide to move Peralta to third and Cabrera to SS, then they'll need a second baseman. Ben Francisco had a good year and faded at the end. Ryan Garko had what seemed like a disappointing season, but finished strong and had 90 RBIs. And so on. They have to make some serious evaluations of the guys they have before they know what they're looking for outside.
Jerry, tell me the Dodgers will go all out to resign Manny, no matter what peole think and say, he's made that much of a differance in the lineup.
John, Manny has become so popular, and he's such a dominant figure in that lineup, there'll be pressure on Frank McCourt and Ned Colletti to re-sign him. But if he has a huge postseason to go along with that great regular season, Scott Boras will obviously use it to drive up the price. And don't forget: The Dodgers are still on the hook for an awful lot of money for Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones.
Jerry, dont you feel that the starting of Vasquez in game 1 for the sox was kind of a give up? I mean talk about rolling the dice. This guy is terrible. Dont know if you agree but I see this being a long series
Mike, The White Sox were in a bind because of the extra games they played earlier this week. What was the alternative -- Clayton Richard? Now they've got Buehrle, Danks and Floyd going on full rest. If Buehrle pitches well and they steal Game 2 at the Trop, this series takes on a whole new dimension.
How can such a great team like the Angels by so physically and psychologically owned by the Red Sox?
Sprung, I thought the Angels got over that hurdle by playing so well against Boston during the regular season, but you're right: They really looked defeated as that game progressed. I'm not giving up on the Angels yet, but if they lose this series, you have to wonder if it didn't hurt them playing against such weak competition in the AL West this year.
Should Manny win the MVP? Nobody just hits .395 like that when they decide to turn it on so he clearly was the best hitter.
Cristian, I really have a hard time, in principle, giving the MVP award to a guy who was with his team for two months (not to mention that Manny forced a trade to LA by dogging his way out of Boston). I went with Albert Pujols, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the voters give the award to Ryan Howard.
Hey Jerry, How about Furcal? Please tell me the Dodgers will resign him. What a bunt last night!
Paddy, That team really feeds off Furcal, but I doubt the Dodgers have room for Manny, Furcal and a front-line starting pitcher in their budget. Ned Colletti has some tough choices to make this winter.
Why is everyone so quick to write off Robinson Cano? He is 26, and is worth more than his pay (even this past year with down numbers). He has shown he can hit well over .300 at a premium position. Would the Yankees be stupid to trade him for anything other than a top tier pitcher who is almost ready for the bigs?
Matt, I think Melky Cabrera is a fourth outfielder, but you're right about Cano: It's way too early to write this guy off. He needs to come back more committed and hungry next season, and there's no reason he can't hit .330 and make this year look like an aberration. Now is not the time to deal him, because his value might be at an all time low.
chances both chicago teams out in first round
Jeremy, Well, considering the Cubs are down 2-0 heading to LA and the White Sox could be down 2-0 after tonight, the chances are significantly better than me winning the Pennsylvania State Lottery.
If we can't win a playoff game with this team, will we ever? Please say something positive about the Cubs.
Tony, Lou won't let them quit. And I like their uniforms.
Those 76 mph pitches are Jamie's fastballs
Matt, Thanks for the instant scouting report. I guess the changeups are a little slower than that.
Hypothetically speaking, is there any kind of deal out there that would make the Mets consider trading David Wright (as a certain rotund blowhard has been advocating on the radio all week)? Even if it was the right move, which I don't see how any rational person would agree that it is, Hanley Ramirez and Sizemore are the only position players who would match up from an age, contract, and skills standpoint and they don't seem to be going anywhere for a while.
Christopher, I caught a little of the debate on the FAN this week, and I agree with fans who say they'd be very hesitant to deal Wright or Reyes. I know Wright has this reputation now as a guy who's failed in the clutch, but look at the numbers and he's been very, very good in September. It's really hard to see the Mets matching up with someone who could give them equal value for that guy. It would be a knee-jerk, panic move, and those usually don't work out very well.
Jerry - if you were Sabean wouldn't you hold onto Cain if your best offers were built around Howard/Fielder? Both are DH type 1st baseman who are going to be very expensive. I would hold out for a premium prospect at a premium position (SS or CF). Especially when the Giants do have prospcets at 1st base.
Bear, I think you're on the right track. Ryan Howard is a tremendous home run hitter, but he wouldn't fare quite as well in San Francisco's park. And Prince Fielder is starting to look more like a future DH to me. I can understand why Sabean might be hesitant to do a Cain-Fielder deal.
who gets the bigger contract this winter, CC or Manny?
Vince, CC by a mile. He's a lot younger, and No. 1 starters are awfully tough to come by (even those who have checkered postseason resumes).
Hey Jerry. Is Fukudome going to turn things around next season or have the Cubs wasted a ton of coin?
KO, Fukudome isn't going to turn it around unless he makes some significant alterations in his hitting approach. And as we've all seen, playing for the Cubs, with Lou Piniella in the dugout, is not the ideal situation for a player who's looking to experiment.
Who is going to win the series, Sox or Angels?
Peter, I picked the Angels to win, in part, because Boston seems so banged up. I watched that game on TV the other night, and Lowell and Drew aren't close to full strength right now. A lot depends on Josh Beckett and his injury. But right now, I really wonder if the Angels have the mental toughness to turn this thing around. They have to stop swinging at the first pitch with men on base, running into outs on the bases, etc.
Do you think howard really deserves an MVP for this season? I dont think so it should go to albert.
Mike, I said in a previous answer that I'd give the MVP to Pujols, but that I wouldn't be surprised if the Baseball Writers give it to Howard. I don't have a vote.
Hey Jerry who do you think will win the NL Cy Young this year?
Rich, I think Tim Lincecum will beat out Webb by a nose, and Santana and Lidge by a couple of noses.
Jerry, I know that EVERYONE is going to explain Sabathia's poor outing as him "running on fumes", but his line yesterday is perfectly consistent with his postseason career numbers (2-3 7.92 era, 25IP 22BB 24 SO K/BB 1.09 2.20 WHIP). Isn't it time to consider the possibility that Sabathia (maybe like Zambrano) psyches himself out for playoff games and his performance suffers? Do you think either a) it should or b) it will effect teams when bidding on him this offseason? Thanks
Jeff, I can't look inside Sabathia's head or his heart, but the workload sure suggests that the Brewers pitched him into the ground in their charge to the postseason. I don't think his stinker yesterday has a huge impact on his free agent fortunes. The guy is a proven horse who'll give you 230 regular season innings and 16-20 wins. Somebody is going to pony up big for that.
After CC is picked up, who's the best pitcher in this winter's FA market?
Vince, Well, Ben Sheets isn't looking like such a great buy with his late-season injury. After that, you have Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett (probably), Jon Garland, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and a bunch of other guys. Kyle Lohse is out of the mix after signing a four-year deal with St. Louis. But it's still a pretty strong crop.
Thanks for the emails, everybody. It was fun. Let's do it again next week. Enjoy the playoffs this weekend.