I guess the White Sox have decided that they can't win the Central or they're going to do it with new players. That's a tough decision to make at this point in the season, but that seems to be the one they've made.
Joe, what do you make of the White Sox moves? Are you surprised at how many moves they made through waivers?
As I said, I think the moves mean that they've basically given up on winning the division, or they're going to try to do it with different players. That's what I see. They've claimed some people on waivers and put people on waivers. From what I see, they're in a can't win with this group and they want to go with a different group. I don't see how you can keep Konerko and other players that have been often injured. That's what I think they're doing - going in a different direction.
If the Twins fail to make the 2009 postseason, how much pressure will Minnesota's front office feel to surround Joe Mauer with playoff caliber talent to keep him from bolting for a major contender?
The purpose should always be to surround your superstars with the best talent you can to win. I think Joe Mauer is a perfect fit for Minnesota, because he takes advantage of the ball park. It's a small park, so he's doubled his home run production this year. That's a good place for him. If he plays in another stadium, he'll still probably be a great hitter, but his numbers will not be the same.
Don't ever underestimate the effect of the stadium that you play in can help your numbers.
Places like Philly, the new Yankee Stadium, Colorado. There are a lot of stadiums that have an effect on your numbers in a positive way. Minnesota is one of those places.
Mr. Morgan, after reading about the game between the Pirates and Reds yesterday where less than 2,000 fans showed up, I was wondering: Does crowd size have any effect on the focus and effort of the players on the field? Did you ever play in any game where so few fans were at the ballpark?
The focus should not be effected by the people in the stands. Once you're in the batters box, your focus is on the pitcher. That said, your adrenaline seems to flow better when you're at home and your fans are screaming for you. Yes, I've played in front of a small crowd. I don't remember the exact number, but in San Diego in the 70s, it seemed like it was just the two teams and their families. It's not fun to play just in front of your family. But even then, you have to focus and play the game.
Everyone seems to think Boston is going to come on strong and win the WC by 5-6 games. What odds are you giving Texas on being the WC at the end of the season? Also, After bad starts against NY and Tor, do you reconsider Holland in the rotation or leave the kid out there and hope he pitches another Gem like against ANA
I think it's going to be very difficult for Texas, especially after the loss last night. They've lost some tough games the last week. Last night they got close after falling behind 8-0 or 9-0. But then they lost it again. I don't think they can catch Boston, I don't think anyone can. Boston is a very good team. They're a team, like any that gets into the playoffs, can win the World Series. They have Beckett, Lester who is good and if Wakefield is healthy, that's three. We know St. Louis, the Yankees, Philly and even the Dodgers can win it, despite not having the stud pitchers. You can't underestimate the Tigers as well. I would think the team that has the biggest upside if they can get in is the Giants. I think they have the best starting rotation of any in baseball. Sanchez has been pitching great and Zito has bounced back. Lincecum and Cain are as good as any in the game. But the Giants are like all the teams, every team has weaknesses, and theirs is scoring runs against good pitching teams.
That's why this postseason is going to be great, there is no clearcut favorite. Not even the Yankess, who I think is the best team.
Do you think Johnny Damon's power surge is for real?
The one thing the Yankees have with the new stadium, all of their hitters are flyball hitters. In that ballpark, the balls fly out to right field. Damon has taken advantage of that and the short field to right. I don't think it's a different Johnny Damon, I think he's just taking advantage of his surroundings and that great lineup.
People always talk about Philly's offense. But so far in the second half the pitching has really carried them. Their RISP is atrocious. Why do you think this team has such a hard time scoring without the long ball?
Well, because they score most of their runs with the home run. When I was there Sunday, I think someone said over 46% of their runs are with HRs. They have four guys with over 24 HRs, led by Ryan Howard. They do have other ways of scoring runs, they can steal bases and hit and run. But the thing that hurts them is they also strikeout a lot. Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Rollins. You're looking at a team that strikes out a lot. If you're not putting the ball in play, you're not going to score runs unless you're putting the ball out of the ballpark. I don't think that's going to change. And when you get into the playoffs, I think it gets worse because you're facing better pitching every day. Even saying that, we saw last year when they won it all, that they would strike out a lot, but guess what, they came through when they needed it and got the home run.
Joe...who do you think is the best 3rd baseman of all time?
Very, very difficult question. I can only speak of my era, since I've been watching the game, say from 1950 until now. I would probably have to go with Mike Schmidt as having the most talent. Defense, hitting the ball out of the park, running the bases. I'd probably have to say Mike Schmidt. But obviously, there have been a lot of good ones. Brooks Robinson, George Brett. There have been a lot of really good third basemen that I've seen play.
Joe, how will the acquisition of Jim Thome affect my consistency? What do you think my team should do?
There going to have to use Thome as more than a pinch hitter. They're going to have to use him to keep him sharp. He'll bring some power to the lineup. James Loney is a good hitter, but doesn't have much power. Sometimes they'll need to score some runs with one swing instead of putting a few hits together to score. Having Thome on the bench and the ability to bring him in is a good move. If they get to the Series, they can have him DH for four games. I think it's a good move. Mainly because Thome is a good guy to have on your team. He's a veteran who's been through it, getting to the World Series.
what do you think of the dodgers trading 4 thome n garland
I think the Garland move is a similar situation to Thome. He's been there and is a veteran. Right now their top pitchers are struggling. Billingsley is struggling. Kershaw is struggling. You're adding an experienced pitcher to your rotation. That's good. I think if Kuroda wouldn't have gotten hurt, I don't think they make the move. But I think it's a good move.
do you think the the moves the dodgers have done over the past 2 days will put them over the top in the nl west
I thought they were going to win the NL West anyway. Even though Colorado got back within 2 or so, I still think the Dodgers will win the West. They're 5.5 games up with only 30 left. That's a lot of ground to make up. I think the Dodgers will win the West and the Giants will win the Wild Card. We've seen what Colorado has done on the road and they're not that consistent. Now they've lost 5 in a row.
Sportsnation says they'd vote Zack Greinke for the A.L. Cy Young. What are your thoughts on this considering his 13-8 record?
I definitely think Greinke should be considered, because he has pitched well. When you're looking at these awards, it doesn't say the Cy Young should be the best pitcher on a winning team, it's the best pitcher. It simply says that, the best pitcher in the league. Zach Greinke is definitely in that category. We still have a month to go to decide if he's No. 1, 2, whatever. If CC Sabathia wins four more starts, pitching for the Yankees and that pressure, he'll probably win it. But remember Greinke doesn't have as good a team behind him. Steve Carlton won it and his team only won 50 games or something. It's happened before.
How upset should Indians fans be when game 1 of the World Series is Cliff Lee against CC Sabathia?
They should be upset anyway. They have traded away two of the top pitchers in the game. If you're building a team in this era and you have the top pitchers, you should build around them. I would be mad anyway, because they've traded away two Cy Young winners.
They would not have had to pay CC Sabathia what the Yankees paid him. You're talking about two guys who grew up in that organization and they were not ready to leave. And they traded away Victor Martinez. Those are three guys that came up through their system that could have been there for a long time and they traded them away.
will the braves sneak up and take the wild card?
No. I say the Giants. The Braves, there is just something missing there. They have some good pitchers, but even the ones that are good are not dominant pitchers. Vasquez, strikes out a lot of guys, but he doesn't dominant the other team's offense. Jurrjens is a really good pitcher but he's still young and we don't know what he's going to do in September. Same for Hanson. Lowe, we know what he's about, but there's just something missing for me to say the Braves will leap frog two other teams.
Joe - What team is the biggest disappointment this season?
The Cubs. The Cubs were the best team in the NL last year, by far. Once they lost in the playoffs, they've gone down hill. Everyone has been waiting this year for them to make a run. I did a game in Chicago, the second month of the season or so, and said this is a different team from last year. When I watched them this year, there was not the same excitement as last year. They're a different team.
I think the MVP award in the AL is going to come down to the last week. There are several candidates who I think are capable of winning the MVP. I think there's one guy who doesn't get the credit he deserves. That's Kendry Morales of Anaheim. They could end up with the best record in baseball, and he kept them afloat with the injuries. He's now the offensive leader of that team.
Thanks for chatting Joe!