Hey folks, Let's talk some baseball -- and if I can find the time, I'll squeeze in a seven-round mock draft at the end.
Jerry, with all the Jays' pitchers dropping like flies, is Ricciardo going to be working on something? Pedro?
Toronto, The Jays just recalled Brian Burres and Bryan Bullington from the minors, so as J.P. Ricciardi has said, it appears they're in "hold the fort" mode at the moment. They're hoping that Ricky Romero, Jesse Litsch and Casey Janssen are all back by mid-May. I don't envision Ricciardi making a move before then.
How come nobody is talking about how big of a bust Milton Bradley has been for the Cubs so far? Also, is it safe to say that the Cubbies are NOT the best team in the NL? LA and STL look pretty darn good and we still still think Milwaukee is a pretty darn good team as well.
Jake and Elwood, I don't know if I would classify a 1-for-23 start as "bust" material, but there sure are a lot of red flags flying with Milton Bradley, aren't there? My biggest concern going into the season was that the guy just can't stay healthy; he's always a groin pull or a quad injury away from being shut down for two weeks. As for who the best team in the NL is, it's a little early to start that discussion in earnest.
Jerry, Is Washburn this years Cliff Lee?
Brian, Jarrod Washburn isn't going to go 22-3 and win the Cy Young award, but he's authoring a nice little turnaround story so far. As I mentioned last week, a scout told me that he's throwing his two-seamer more and the cutter less. Whatever he's doing, it's working.
How about Bret Cecil for the Jays? Why wasn't he the one called up after almost making the squad out of ST? Thanks.
Chet, Brett Cecil's numbers have been absolutely awful so far in Las Vegas. I know it's the Pacific Coast League, but he's off to a rough start in Triple A, so I'm sure they'd like to give him some time to get settled.
jerry what do you think of this trade-maine,church,f mart and delgado for halladay and rios?
Josh, I think it ain't happening in this or any other lifetime.
Where do you see the Orioles in 5 years?
Hook, If Wieters, Tillman, Arrieta, Reimold and Matusz are as good as the Orioles' people seem to think they are, I don't see why the O's can't be dangerous within three years, much less five. Markakis and Adam Jones are two big cogs in the outfield and Guthrie is pretty solid, so that's a decent start right there.
Cueto or Nolassco for next week as each has 2 starts and can only keep 1 active for the week. Thanks for the tips.
Billy, I'm not Mr. Fantasy, but I'll take a stab at this one and tell you to go with Cueto. He's throwing better than Nolasco at the moment, and his next start is at home against Houston's Roy Oswalt -- who's a career 23-1 against Cincinnati. Doesn't the law of averages say the Reds are due to pound Oswalt one of these years?
why cant my a's score any runs.... again. matt holliday is killing his free agent value right now, and it smells like a june fire sale.... again.
Matt, Another scout told me that Holliday is out on his front foot all the time, that his mechanics are all messed up and he's getting beaten by the high fastball. And you have to wonder when he'll start pressing. There's a huge payday at stake for him based on how he plays this year. I know Holliday is a real pro, but you have to wonder if that's going to affect him eventually. (See: Jones, Andruw).
Jerry, since you mentioned Roy O, Should I be worried about they way he's pitched so far, I mean, he will be 32 in a couple on months. Do you think the arrow is pointing down? Thanks
Jeff, Jayson Stark wrote a piece earlier this week and talked to a couple of personnel people who were concerned about Oswalt's stuff. Look, the guy is still a very good pitcher. But historically, scouts are wary of short right-handed power pitchers because of the long-term durability issue. We'll see if that's the case with Oswalt.
Who is the worst manager this season. LaRussa, for benching a .299 37 HR hitter against RH pitchers when the batter hits RH hitters better....or Scioscia for calling Brandon Wood up and not playing him and putting a Little Leaguer in the #3 spot?
Benchville, Geez, the Cardinals swept the Mets series, didn't they? Scioscia and La Russa are both great managers. But I will say I'm a little baffled by the Angels' unwillingness to just stick Wood in the lineup and let him play. If you're never going to have enough faith in the guy to give him a 300-400 AB shot, then trade him now while he still has some value.
Is Ron Washington gone by the end of the month (please say yes)?
Brian, According to Jon Daniels, the answer is no. And I'm not sure why it's Ron Washington's fault that no one there but Millwood and Brandon McCarthy seems to be able to give the Rangers a decent start.
Pujols is the best player to play the game. Period. So much so that I have started to convert all Chuck Norris jokes into Albert Pujols jokes. Being from Stl this statement holds the weight of a Papal decree. Could you explain to me why the rest of the baseball community hasn't come to conclusion yet?
Phil, I don't know who you've been talking to, but I think just about everybody in the baseball community has reached that conclusion. I picked Chase Utley as my pre-season NL MVP this year just because it was too easy and boring to pick Pujols. The guy is ridiculous.
What's wrong with Big Papi - 2 words - Manny Ramirez.
Ralph, Sorry, but I just don't buy that. There's no question that Ortiz's bat has slowed down because of age, injuries, etc. On the plus side, he's looked a lot better in the past week. I'm not going to write the guy off yet. Remember all the people last year who said Carlos Delgado was finished?
prediction - who wins this weekends series? The good guys or the evil empire?
Dave, Geez, I'm not sure which is which. If you mean "good guys" as the Red Sox, I think they'll take two of three this weekend because of Beckett and Lester. And they're really a different team at home. That Beckett vs. A.J. Burnett matchup Saturday should be tremendous.
Are you buying Brandon Inge's hot start? I sorta am.
John, He should hit 25 home runs and provide great defense every day, but that .315 BA is going to come down. One positive sign: He has 9 walks and 9 strikeouts so far. That doesn't sound like the free-swinging, strikeout-prone Brandon Inge we used to know and love.
Would you rather have Jerrod Washburn or Paul Maholm?
Marc, I'll take Maholm.
Red sox as "good guys"? Ha, the rest of america laughs. Anyways, what is going on with the Twins pitching (starters and bullpen), seems like the only reliable ones are Perkins and Nathan?
Kyle, I don't know what the deal is. Liriano's walks are up, but his hits per inning ratio is OK -- yet he still has an ERA over 7.00. One thing I've learned about the Twins is that you don't want to draw snap conclusions with that group. Ron Gardenhire weathers the storm and gets things straightened out as well as any manager out there.
Hey Jerry, love your work. What do you think of the Dodgers? I know they probably need one more pitcher, but with the way Billingsley is throwing and that lineup, are they a real threat to reach the series. I realize it's early, but they look like they could be there til the end. Thanks
Josh, It looks as if Kemp and Ethier are ready to have breakout years, and they've really meshed well in that lineup with Manny and Hudson. I had a little concern over how Billingsley would bounce back after throwing 200 innings last year, but he has the potential to be a real horse at the front of that rotation. I think they might be one of those teams that's built well for the regular season, but doesn't have enough starting pitching to go deep into October. Time will tell.
I keep hearing that the Dodgers need an ace, but it sure looks like Billingsley has fulfilled that role. Thoughts?
Mark, He's looking like an ace. I'm just not sure if they'll have enough consistency behind him. Then again, in that division, with that offense, the Dodgers might have enough to win 90-95 games with only a so-so rotation.
The All Star game voting started yesterday, don't you think its a little early for the voting? I mean we are still in April and the season started a week late!! Do you think that fan voting is the proper way to choose the All Star starters?
Steve, Yep, it's a tad early for me. But the ballpark crowds aren't real big right now, so the big vote totals shouldn't start rolling in until June, I would think. The fans will get it mostly right at the end. They usually do.
When will my son Matt Wieters be called up?
Matt, He just missed a few games with a hammy strain, so that set him back a little bit. I would think he'll be in Baltimore by June.
What have you timed with a radar gun other than a baseball?
Bob, A bullpen cart?
Danks,CY Young this year?
Tom, It's a little early for that, but I'm starting to get the impression that he'll be in the conversation.
Why don't the Rockies just plug Fowler in CF and Stewart at 2B and let the youngsters play? Staring Clint Barmes and Seth Smith will put them in the basement of the NL West. Do you think they will eventually do exactly that? Thanks.
Chet, Ian Stewart seems to be adapting well to that jack-of-all-trades job. I think the Rockies feel he's a little too big to be an everyday second baseman. Long-term, he'll be their third baseman.
Why is everyone so down on the Dodgers rotation? Billingsley, Kershaw, Kuroda and Wolf are a solid 1-4. They do lack on depth but if, and i know thats a big IF, everyone stays healthy I think they have a very good pitching staff. Thaoughts?
Mike, It's pretty good, but Kershaw is still a kid, Wolf is now your basic No. 4 starter, and Kuroda is getting up there in years, so you have to wonder if he'll stay healthy all year. What they really need is the Jason Schmidt from five years ago. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed.
You really think Kemp with his long swing won't go through slumps to balance out the hot streaks (like right now)? Plus, it seems like every time he has a bad day in CF it affects his hitting...
Uncle J, Kemp's a big guy, but he's very athletic, and he didn't have the grounding that some players did because he played so much basketball as a young kid. He'll still have ups and downs, but he seems to be starting to "get it" now. I really think Manny Ramirez has helped him a lot with his approach.
What are the chances of the Giants acquiring the 20+ hr bat they desperately need this season?
Sam, If they couldn't figure it out over the winter, it's tough to see them finding the answer in April.
Jerry, love your work! As a BIG Mets' fan, am very disappointed right now. Miserable rotation aside from Johan, they play with NO fire, a very passive team. Any chance Maine & Pelfrey turn it around? How about moving Castillo to the #2 spot so that Reyes actually runs & they play some situational baseball? Thanks!
Ryan, Daniel Murphy has a .361 OBP out of the No. 2 hole and he's taking a ton of pitches, so he's not the problem. (It's his defense that's the issue). It really does come down to starting pitching for the Mets, and I'm afraid I can't help you with the answer to that one. Maine and Oliver Perez are both certified "enigmas" at this point. I think the Mets have surpassed the one-enigma-per-rotation quotient.
I know it's still early, but it looks like the Pirates have finally found some legit starting pitching...do you think they can develop into a contender within the next 2-3 years, especially with the impending arrival of McCutchen, Alvarez and Tabata to the lineup?
Brandon, They have to be encouraged with the impact that new pitching coach Joe Kerrigan has had on that staff. Maholm is legit, Ohlendorf and Snell have always had very good stuff, and Zach Duke's mechanics really got messed up under the old regime. With McCutchen and Alvarez on the way, the Pirates actually have some things to get excited about. What a novel concept!
hi jerry. the phillies. please explain.
Eric, I do think there's a bit of a World Series hangover, but the pitching in general hasn't been very good. They're giving up a ton of home runs, and there's no way the bullpen was going to pitch as well as it did in 2008. They need Cole Hamels to get his act together and reel off 7-8 good starts in a row. I'm not sure what the likelihood of that is after he got thumped by that Prince Fielder line drive yesterday.
Does Pedro get a job this season, or are his baseball playing days over?
Ernie, He'll land a job fairly soon, but I'd like to see him drop his price and get it over with. Given Pedro's durability issues, it might not be the worst thing for him to show up in, say, June and shoot for 120 innings.
embarrassing for NYY/MLB to have all those empty seats? I love Hal's comments in an earlier ESPN article, "when we came up with these prices, we didn't figure the economy" - so if the economy was strong is "OK" to overcharge for seats?
Rob, The concept is known as "supply and demand." If enough people are willing to pay exorbitant prices for seats to fill a stadium, then are they really overpriced?
Have you heard anything new on Willis? Should I hold out any hope of him ever returning and being at least serviceable or is he done for good?
Jason, Supposedly Dontrelle is doing a better job of throwing strikes in the minors and the Tigers are encouraged. But it's a long way from throwing on a field in Florida with nobody watching to facing a big league lineup before 40,000 people. I'm still skeptical at this point.
How many homers do you see Griffey hitting this year, and what do you think his career total will come to once he retires?
Kevin, Junior hasn't done a heck of a lot so far. But when the weather heats up, I think he's still capable of hitting 15-20 bombs. In all likelihood this will be his final year, so that means he'll finish somewhere in the 630 HR range. Not a bad haul, wouldn't you say?
Brad Bergesen, is he in the Orioles rotation for good?
Joe, He'll be there for a while if he pitches the way he did against the White Sox the other night. I watched him go 12 pitches against Carlos Quentin before striking Quentin out. He works quickly and he has good control, and you have to like that.
Why is ESPN so infatuated with the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry? Outside of New York and Boston, nobody cares until October. Yet ESPN covers these games like it is the World Series. Give it a rest.
Jeff, I know people in the other markets don't like to hear it, but the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets and Cubs pull very good ratings compared to a lot of other clubs. I don't make the programming calls, but that obviously factors into it.
Jerry, I have Cliff Lee on my fantasy team and drafted him pretty highly. He got alot of "hype" pre-season, do you think he'll bounce back to last season's form?
Kevin, Cliff Lee isn't going to approach last season's numbers. But with that offense behind him, he's fully capable of winning 15 games if he can stay healthy.
What does Joba have todo to be successful tonight in Fenway?
Alex, He absolutely has to do a better job of getting ahead of hitters. If he's at 35 pitches after the first inning, he's got problems. I'm sure I'm stating the obvious here, but that's what it comes down to for Joba.
Thanks for taking my Cardinals question, Jerry. I have been a fan for 50 years, saw Musial, Mays, McCovey and the rest of the great hitters play. I am biased, certainly, but when I watch Albert Pujols--hitting, defense, stealing and/or taking an extra base (and he may be the best at that of anyone I have ever seen)--I really feel like I am watching the finest all round player in my lifetime. Putting aside for the moment the question of how long he plays, are we looking at the greatest all-round player in history? Where does he rank? Thanks.....
Rich, Thanks for the note. I don't know if Pujols can be called the greatest all-around player in history ahead of Mays, Aaron and some others, but you raise a good point: We really should sit back and appreciate the all-around brilliance of the guy. And it's not just his hitting. It's defense, baserunning, everything.
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Jayson Stark is up next. Enjoy the weekend's games, and we'll talk again next week.