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February 1, 2:12 PM ET
Chat with Buster Olney

Buster Olney
  (2:01 PM)

Hi, folks, hope all is well with you, now that football season is over, and now that spring training is staring us right in the face. Hopefully, you've gotten a chance to take a look at the Bargain Hunters draft we've done -- trying to construct a team with a budget of $40 million. My strategy is to load up on the best cheap talent at the outset of the draft, and then have money for the later rounds. I know this, after the first five rounds -- there will be tons of good, expensive players around at the end. The key is to get the best cheap players, in my mind.

Brian (NYC)

Hi Buster - Soto over Sizemore? I understand the issue of depth at catcher but Grady Sizemore is a BEAST. Care to explain?

Buster Olney
  (2:03 PM)

Brian -- the way I looked at it is that Soto was far and away the best cheap player at his position... I can get players at Sizemore's price later, but there are not many $450,000 catchers with Soto's ability sitting around. Catcher is a tough position to fill...

Brian(NY)

Huge Mets fan...why don't they go sign Manny 3 year deal...backload the contract, when they have delgado's contract off the books as well as Putz who the mets have a 8 mill option for next year(which I'm sure they won't pick up with him being a setup man)

Buster Olney
  (2:04 PM)

Brian -- Folks with the team say they don't have the money to do it; it's as simple as that.

matt ny

how long will it take for matt weiters to become one of the best catchers in the game? also how good can he be?

Buster Olney
  (2:05 PM)

Matt -- I'm told that he probably won't be in the big leagues until mid-season, so he probably won't really establish himself until next year. But as we've seen with Mauer, McCann, Soto, etc... you can make a name for yourself pretty quickly at catcher. The only thing holding him back will probably be the competence of the Baltimore pitching staff. The better they look, then the better he will look, and it looks like they are a ways away from being good.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Is the braves going to get a big power hitter?

Buster Olney
  (2:06 PM)

Brad: We saw how they can change course quickly in the Derek Lowe situation, but as of Friday, they had indicated to others that they won't be part of the Dunn, Abreu, etc. bidding. Now again, that can change with one phone call, especially since the asking prices for guys like Abreu are coming down quickly.

Gary NH

Buster, I hate to be a greedy Mets fan, but wouldn't locking up Dunn for 2 years be a smart move? He will be cheap due to the economy, he can play corner OF this year and 1st next year after Delgado leaves. And who wouldn't want 35-40 homers in the new ballpark. Mets ownership needs to step up after the last 2 seasons.

Buster Olney
  (2:07 PM)

Gary -- I think Dunn is going to make somebody look really smart this year, because it appears somebody is going to sign him on the cheap, and he's going to put up big numbers.

Dan (Cedar Falls, IA)

Any chance you save enough money to get A-Rod or Pujols as your last pick?

Buster Olney
  (2:08 PM)

Dan -- I've thought about that, but when you run the numbers ... Forget A-Rod; you can't do it. And even Pujols, at $15 million... I think you're better off going after three $5 million players. But I was thinking right along with you, at first.

Jim (South Bend, IN)

If the Padres want to cut 4-5 million in payroll, why wouldn't the Yankees go after Peavy at (11 million) and send them Xavier Nady (at 6.5) with a couple strong prospects (any combo of Hughes, Kennedy, Zach McAllister or Romine...or even Betances) and move Joba back to the 8th inning?

Buster Olney
  (2:10 PM)

Jim: I don't think the Yankees or Red sox necessarily look at Peavy as being a slam-dunk performer in the AL East. He tends to throw a lot of pitches, even while playing in a relatively weak division, and if you put him in the AL East with that style, he might turn into a six-inning pitcher.

More Peavy Questions

I saw on another site a Peavy to Brewers rumor. Could it be true, and what do you think about it if it was? I don't really believe it because of his no-trade clause. But the Brew Crew is one of the teams that have the prospects to pull it off (Gamel, Escobar or Hardy)

Buster Olney
  (2:12 PM)

More: I don't know this to be fact or fiction at the moment, but I tend to doubt that the Brewers would give up a handful of prospects to get him. Doug Melvin rightly values his prospects, and I'd guess that he'd be inclined to hang on to his best young guys, especially after giving up a couple of good prospects in the Sabathia deal. That said, I could be wrong. If the Brewers (or any other team) waits, there might be a bunch of good players available in mid-season, if the economy has the impact that everybody assumes it will.

Don (Holly Springs, NC)

The Cleveland Indians look like a sleeper to get to the Series, if they are healthy...They are deep from pitching to defense and could have the best offense

Buster Olney
  (2:12 PM)

Don: I'm with you. I'm picking them to win the Al Central (again...)

Alex (Austin)

You've been hyping the Manny-Giants possibility for a while, but what would they do with the mess of mediocrity in Fred Lewis, Rowand, Winn, Roberts, and Schierholtz? The dodgers both fill a need and won't have to give up a pick.

Buster Olney
  (2:14 PM)

Alex: Hyping it? Not at all. I don't think he's going to the Giants. I don't think they're serious about giving him a huge deal; I think they just want to push the price for the Dodgers, and position themselves in the off-chance that he gets angry at the Dodgers and is willing to take a one-year deal. But I don't think that's going to happen, and I'm pretty sure the Giants don't think it's going to happen.

Darren (LA)

The Cubs just dumped Rich Hill and Michael Wuertz. What do you think of those moves? Hill was out of options, so I understand that one. But Wuertz had some value out of the BP - it seems like the Cubs got nothing for him either.

Buster Olney
  (2:15 PM)

Darren: I'm with you, I've liked Wuertz for awhile. But it's clear that the Cubs are making deals to cut out what they consider to be the excess stuff on their roster, and to create more roster flexibility.

Rick (Ny)

Assuming the Mets complete this Oliver Perez deal (rumors of 3/36 with an option), are they finished for the winter?

Buster Olney
  (2:17 PM)

Rick: I think they'll bottom-feed, as so many other teams are doing... A $600,000 veteran here, a $600,000 veteran there. But what I've been told is that Perez's deal would basically eat up almost all of the flexibility they have left, unless they get a new mandate from ownership.

Bill Friedman, The Best-chester

Are the Mets better than the fightin' Phils, assuming they sign Oliver Perez?

Buster Olney
  (2:18 PM)

Bill -- hard to say that, don't you think? Phillies look like they could be a pretty damn good team, and they've got the experience of the last two years working for them. As of today, I'd still go 1. Phillies, 2. Mets, 3. Marlins in the NL East, the Mets and Marlins pretty close...

Ben (SF)

If the Giants are willing to discuss a bad defender with a big bat at a huge price in Manny, why don't they discuss Dunn? It seems like you could hide that bad glove a little better at 1B than LF, no?

Buster Olney
  (2:19 PM)

Ben: Totally with you. If I were the Dodgers OR the Giants I'd move on from the Manny talk and sign Dunn or Abreu, plus Orlando Hudson, to create tremendous depth.

Steve (NYC)

Where were you able to get the player's salaries...if HRam is at 5mm this year, where is Reyes?

Buster Olney
  (2:20 PM)

Steve -- google baseball, contracts, and it'll get you to a couple of sites that have pretty good information (I don't have the .com addresses right in front of me, at the moment).

Tom (Stafford, VA)

If Perez if 3yr/36mil and Manny is too expensive, what about the Mets doing Sheets 2yr/12 mil plus incentives and 3rd yr vesting at 350 innings for 12 mil?

Buster Olney
  (2:21 PM)

Tom: They talked about doing that, but signing Perez has been a priority for them for awhile, and it is all but done. If they had turned to Sheets or Wolf, I think they would've signed Abreu, too.

Doug (NY)

If the Yanks deal Nady and/or Swisher, any way they jump into the Manny hunt?

Buster Olney
  (2:22 PM)

Doug: Nope, they say they are done with any major free agent signings -- so no matter what they do with Nady or Swisher, they will not bid on Dunn or Abreu, or anybody. Personally, if I were running the Yankees, I'd move Nady and Swisher for pitching (because they cannot trade Matsui in the current climate) and sign Dunn.

Max (Chicago ,Illinois)

Buster, Mistake for the Sox to go with Fields or Viciedo over resigning Crede?

Buster Olney
  (2:23 PM)

Max -- I don't know all the particulars, or all the he-said, he-said, but it sounds like the bridge was pretty much burned in a possible Crede/White Sox reunion.

James (Cincinnati, OH)

Buster, A great site for contracts is Cot's Baseball Contracts. It's a great site in general. Just google it. A question about my beloved Redlegs. Wouldn't they be smarter trading Harang this season. There is no way they afford him when he goes FA.

Buster Olney
  (2:24 PM)

James: Thanks... you're right.

JR (Vegas)

FYI, Joel Sherman is reporting the Mets/Perez deal is done. 3/36. Good deal for the mets?

Buster Olney
  (2:25 PM)

Yes. Most of the time, he's an effective pitcher, and when you consider that in recent years, Carlos Silva got $48 million and Miguel Batista got $25 million and Derek Lowe got $60 million, $36 million for a pitcher who is dominant as often as Perez is is a pretty good deal.

jordan, sf

Would the A's be better off signing hudson than cabrera and moving ellis to short.

Buster Olney
  (2:25 PM)

Jordan: Watch the Athletics and Cabrera. Just keep an eye out...

Tom, WA

Why haven't the Mariners made a pitch for Adam Dunn, Abreu, or even Griffey. They need a power hitting lefty and Branyan is just a lesser version of Sexson.

Buster Olney
  (2:26 PM)

Tom: From what I gather, they'd like to, but they have a bloated payroll and need to shed money. Once again, it shows that they should've dumped Washburn when they had the chance, last summer.

Geoff(Rochester,NY)

Buster, it seems like the Blue Jays are stuck between contending and re-building. It seems to me that it might be time to consider moving Halladay and/or Wells to start over.

Buster Olney
  (2:27 PM)

Geoff: Totally agree with you -- if I were the Jays, I'd take offers on both Wells and Halladay and do what you suggest.

steve ,staten island ,ny

Hi Buster, Do you think the yankees are going to trade for a centerfielder

Buster Olney
  (2:27 PM)

Steve; From what I've heard: No.

Pete Helena, Mt

How do you think John Maine's surgery will affect his velocity and control? I heard he's been throwing well and pain free.

Buster Olney
  (2:28 PM)

Pete: I've heard that the big thing with Maine is that he needs to get back to the same between-starts regimen that he had under Peterson. Apparently, that worked well for him.

Sally, Syracuse

Buster! - Who has the best rotation in the MLB right now..?

Buster Olney
  (2:29 PM)

Sally: Hmmmmm.... If I had to take any group of five, I might take that of the Rays, who didn't lose a start to injury for four months last season.

Seymour, Brooklyn

Who wins the AL East?

Buster Olney
  (2:30 PM)

Seymour: I think I'm going to pick the Rays. The kiss of death for them.

John (Portland, ME)

What are the odds that Manny signs for less than the $20M per he would have made with the Red Sox?

Buster Olney
  (2:30 PM)

John: If he doesn't get it from the Dodgers, I don't know where he gets it from... With that, folks, my time is up. Thanks for all the great questions -- talk to you in a few weeks. It's getting very close now...