Hey folks, It's time to chat. Before we begin, I'd like to send out best wishes to Ernie Harwell, one of the nicest people I've ever met anywhere -- never mind the game of baseball.
Jayson Stark mentioned that you asked Jeter about his contract, and he said he isn't thinking about it, but you were given the impression that he has received assurance from the Steinbrenners. Care to elaborate?
Brian, Jeter really is a day-to-day kind of guy, so I'm sure he's being truthful when he says that. I don't know if he's received definitive assurances about his future, but honestly, can you imagine him ever leaving? Never mind that fact that he's going to have 2900-something career hits when his contract expires. Are the Yankees going to let him leave thru free agency and collect No. 3,000 somewhere else? I have a better chance of being elected U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.
Since moving to 1B, Daniel Murphy has played much better. Would you agree that keeping Murphy at 1b wouldn't be a problem at all if the Mets find a slugging LF (of which there are many available to choose from this coming off-season via free agency)?
Jason, Yeah, a team can live with a line drive hitting singles and doubles guy at first base, but they better make up for it with power at second or short or somewhere else. Murphy has, indeed, made strides, and I think he has a chance to be a .300 hitter. But he's not there yet. First base is one of a boatload of areas the Mets will have to address this winter.
Hey Crasy, who do you see closing in Toronto next season?
Scott, For some reason, this is a recurrent question in my chats. Right now it looks like Scott Downs, who has 39 K's in 39 innings this year. He's making a reasonable $4 million next year, so he fits into the Jays' budget. Jason Frasor is the other candidate.
all my friends say ichiro is better than pujols. is that true?
Fitzy, You need to find a new circle of friends. I'm a big admirer of Ichiro, but come on...
Will the Cardinals have Matt Holliday playing LF next year? I know he'll cost a lot, but I'm thinking that they will have enough to pay him. We have quite a bit of money coming off the books with players that were of little or no impact in 2009. So why not sign him?
Andrew, I'm sure the Cards would love to sign him, but with Pujols' contract getting closer to the end, it's tough for a team like St. Louis to fit two position players of that magnitude into the budget. Holliday was recently quoted about wanting to stay in St. Louis, which seemed odd for a Scott Boras client. Boras' guys usually go to great lengths to keep their options open.
Will I win a Gold Glove this year?
Nick, The subject came up when I was in Baltimore the other day. You're a Gold Glove caliber guy, and those assists are impressive. But six errors are a lot for an outfielder. Coaches and managers tend to pay attention to that stuff, rather than the new fangled defensive metrics.
Does Brian Dopriak deserve a shot in the Majors some place? Former top prospect that was rushed by the Cubs; he's been lights out for 2 years now.
Jeff, The Jays had a chance to promote Dopirak earlier this year, and they opted for Randy Ruiz instead. Dopirak is having a nice year in Las Vegas, but it's hard to judge offensive numbers in the PCL.
Bochy's decision not to bunt Velez to second last night was inexcusable. As a Giants fan who has watched every game this season I am frustrated with all the love he gets from "baseball people" who see the odd game here and there when I get to see him bungle game after game with management "skills".
Matt, I think you mean bunting to advance him to "third," right? I guess you could knock Bochy for it, but that was pretty lousy situational hitting by Edgar Renteria, hitting a groundball to the left side. Isn't Renteria supposed to be one of those savvy veteran guys who knows what to do in a situation like that?
Manager of the year: Ron Washington or Joe Giradi?
Anthony, For me, Mike Scioscia has to be the guy. I've mentioned this before, but he had to deal with more than anyone because of the death of Nick Adenhart and the early injuries that decimated his pitching staff. He's done a great job bringing that team along.
with the add of brad penny and getting most our giants players close to healthy what do u think our chances of being a cinderella team this year is
Martin, I love the pitching, but that lineup leaves an awful lot to be desired. I just don't think the Giants have enough hitting. Lincecum, Cain, Zito and Penny are going to have to win a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games down the stretch. If I had to choose, I'd take Colorado for the wild card.
Jerry, what is your favorite ballpark to watch a game at?
Bill, Good question. Fenway Park and Chicago have the history, obviously. Among the newer parks, I like Camden Yards and PNC Park in Pittsburgh (although the press box is above the clouds there). I think Pittsburgh is the prettiest park in the majors. Minute Maid Park in Houston is a very underrated venue.
I don't see Atlanta getting the wildcard, since they can't even stay ahead of Florida, so I'll ask an offseason question: how do you see the Braves solving their pitching logjam?
Chris, Tommy Hanson's innings are starting to mount, and Kenshin Kawakami is probably a little gassed, so I don't think it's a huge problem. Too much pitching isn't the Braves' biggest issue. The issue is, they're too far behind the Rox and Giants and they didn't get the job done in Florida.
Jerry, There was a good article in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times by Gordon Wittenmyer about how Cub fans are wrongly blaming Soriano for the team's misfortunes. He elaborates as to how Soriano's struggles are more the exception than the norm and how he is a class guy who shows up to play every day. This doesn't get expressed in the media. What are your thoughts?
Matt, There seems to be more than enough blame to go around in Chicago. If it's not Soriano, it's Milton Bradley, and if it's not Bradley, then the players are too "uptight" under Piniella. That's what happens when a team underachieves like they have.
Over Under: Tim Lincecum wins 5 Cy Young Awards.
Taylor, I'll take the under -- although Lincecum is well on his way to No. 2. Did you hear what Pedro Martinez said about him last night? "He reminds me or me," Pedro told reporters at the Phils game. "Only twice as better."
Someone walks up to you with a fistful of cash, how much of it does it take for you to shave the 'stache right there?
Cosmo, That's a heck of a question. My wife and two daughters have had a running debate over whether I should shave the 'stache? How much $$ do you think I should hold out for?
To the dismay of Twins fans, is Garrett Jones the new David Ortiz?
Matt, I don't think he's that good, but he's definitely got some pop. FYI -- Atlanta drafted Jones in 1999, so the Braves might also be wondering why they didn't hang onto him a little longer.
Looking at your picture, that looks like a $2K 'stache - not a penny less.
Cosmo, Thanks for the vote of confidence. I think that's about $1,995 more than most people believe it's worth.
This may be a stupid question, but with most of the divisional races looking like they'll be decided with 1-2 weeks left in the season when do teams start thinking about aligning their pitching for the playoffs. Do you just go along with your normal rotation and wait until you actually clinch to arrange things or do you start to plan now to try and set it up?
Shawn, It's not a stupid question. This comes up every year. The difference this season is, most of the postseason spots will be sewn up in plenty of time, so managers will be able to tinker around and set things up the way they want. That'll start happening in the last week or two. The Colorados, San Franciscos and other teams fighting for a berth won't have that luxury, of course.
Is Grienke still the favorite to win the CY?Felix had another nice outing and win the other night and I never hear his name in the discussions.
Mustard, The consensus is that Greinke is the guy in the AL unless the voters punish him for his mediocre won-loss record. He's first in ERA, second in innings, first in complete games and second in strikeouts. Plus, he has to go out and pitch every fifth day for the Royals. He should get bonus points for that.
Hey Jerry. What do you think Kenny Williams will do this offseason to improve the White Sox? Thome Contreras are already gone. Dotel Dye might be next, but I think they'll bring Dye back. They have a lot of $ coming off the books. They need a left handed bat for that lineup. Thanks
Curtis, When you think about it, Kenny Williams really got a headstart on his offseason rebuild when he traded for Peavy and picked up Alex Rios. The White Sox have a $12 million option on Dye, which seems a little pricey in the current environment. It's funny: We've been hearing rumors for about the last three years that Dye might be traded, and now people are wondering if they'll bring him back.
Jerry, why is Jeter's hit record such a big deal? He's 56th all time. I understand he's set to pass Lou Gehrig, but those hits are as Yankees! I mean in reality Babe Ruth had more hits, just not as a Yankee!
Saadat, Hey, it's Lou Gehrig. Who cares where he ranks on the all-time list? The name "Lou Gehrig" carries an awful lot of weight with most fans. It's a name that transcends baseball in a lot of ways.
"twice as better"? twice as good?
Trav, He said "twice as better," which made it twice as good a quote.
Jerry, what do you think about those new helmets?
Jake, Hey, if they're going to keep players safer, I'm all for them, but at first glance I was really taken aback by how big and obtrusive they look. Right now it's a process: The young players in the minors will wear them and get used to them, and in a few years a lot more players will be wearing them in the big leagues.
Brian Cashman for executive of the year?
Tom, Cashman deserves credit for hitting on his big free agent acquisitions, but the deck is going to be stacked against any exec who spends $425 million to help revamp his team. I'm not sure who the Exec of the Year is: John Mozeliak and Ruben Amaro certainly made big moves at the trade deadline that worked out nicely. And when you think about it, Frank Wren has done a pretty nice job in Atlanta with that pitching staff.
Thought's on V-Mart? Does he stay and produce in Boston for a few MORE years?
Dave, Well, he stays next year, because the Sox will pick up that $7 million option. I think he'll sign something longer term as well, based on his comments about wanting to play in Boston. Victor is a perfect fit for that lineup and that clubhouse.
How come Smoltz and Penny have been pitching so well in the NL? Is the NL just that much worse than the AL, or did the BoSox have a bad pitching coach? Or something else?
Rob, A lot of people have cited the performances by Penny and Smoltz -- not to mention Cliff Lee and Matt Holliday -- as evidence that the NL is a much weaker league. I think there's some merit to the argument. But I will say this: You don't see many pitchers go into Philadelphia and shut down that lineup the way Penny did the other night. The guy does have legit stuff.
Are you a fan of Jose Guillen, I am.
Hayden, I've always liked Jose Guillen personally. He's a fascinating and very engaging guy. But I think even he would tell you that he should be contributing more in light of that contract in Kansas City.
I'm currently 5 points over the single-season record for catcher BA; I'm leading the AL in on-base, slugging and OPS; my third batting title and second Gold Glove are within reach; but I missed the first 22 games this year. Am I the MVP?
Joe, Yeah, you're my guy. Jeter, Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera and a bunch of guys will get votes, but you're the frontrunner.
Mcutchen, Garret jones, happ, hanson are all names being talked about for nl rookie of the year! What does coghlan have to do further, to steal it away? he already leads all rookies in runs, avg, obp etc!
Mendel, Chris Coghlan strenghened his case with a huge August, but it's still a big jumble. This is one of those years when the ROY voters will really have to be paying attention. (You'd like to think they always do, of course).
I'm not talking about the big moves Mr. Crasnick, but the Hinske, Hairston, Gaudin, Mitre, and Swisher acquisitions. Swisher has been a huge acquisition and we got him for Wilson Betemit and Jeffrey Marquez.
Tom, You make a good point, but when people look at the story of the Yankees' revival this season, they're going to spend a lot more time talking about Tex and Sabathia than Nick Swisher and Eric Hinske. That's just life in the big city. Brian Cashman has been around long enough to understand that.
The NL is so inferior that it's only won 4 of the last 8 World Series. Can we move past this AL lovefest already? What will it take?
Chris, A win in the All Star Game would be a nice start.
J.A. Happ is having a nice year, but most of his stats say this is a fluke and that he can't keep it up. Wold the Phillies be smart to trade him in the offseason with his value high?
Paul, I know my colleague Keith Law thinks Happ is living on borrowed time, but I don't see the Phillies moving him unless they can get some nice pieces in return for him. He's a young, affordable lefty starter, and even if he's a No. 4 or 5 guy, there's no compelling reason for them to dump him. They didn't want to part with him in the Roy Halladay deal, so apparently their scouts like him.
Hey Jerry, Tell Sadaat in NY, that Jeter has over 2700 hits in 14 years (amazing!) and if he stays healthy he'll wind up with 3500 hits and in the top 10 all time.. just appreciate you got to see a consistent player consistently play hard and care about winning in this era!
Rich, I'm amazed at how much players in other clubhouses admire Jeter for the way he plays the game and carries himself as a star player in New York. The guy is never in the paper for the wrong reasons. He's only in the paper for getting hits and dating super models. Pretty impressive.
Ned Colletti hasn't done to bad of a job this year,
Robert, Yep, you're correct. The Orlando Hudson deal, the Randy Wolf deal, and his recent spate of August acquisitions. (Not to mention Manny). It's been a pretty good year for Colletti. But expectations are always high in Los Angeles. Let's see how far they go in October.
Is Chase Utley the 'Derek Jeter' of the NL? Albeit without the dating prowess...
Bob, There are a lot of similarities. They're great baserunners and attentive to all the little things. And they don't have to say a lot to get their point across. I was talking to a Phillies player last night who told me, "Guys in this clubhouse don't want to mess up, because they don't want to disappoint Chase." That was amazing to hear.
Someone in these chats tells you at least once a week that you look like one of the state troopers from the movie "Super Troopers," right?
Nick, No, I never hear that. But I've had that same pair of Wal-Mart sunglasses for about 10 years, and Troy Renck of the Denver Post told me they look like the shades that William Shatner wore in "T.J Hooker."
Felix Pie is on a tear lately! He should get regular playing time with Jones out. Do you see him keeping this up for the remainder of the season?
Kevin, I'm not sure, but Terry Crowley has apparently had a big positive impact on Pie in terms of changing his approach at the plate. Pie has always had the skill, and he's still only 24 years old, so maybe it'll start to click for him here soon. There's a tendency to give up on hotshot prospects when it doesn't happen immediately for them. Sometimes guys don't "get it" until their second or third team. Maybe Pie is one of those guys.
Why hasn't 'The Big Piece' really caught on as a nickname yet? I love it...
Craig, That's Charlie Manuel's nickname for Ryan Howard. I like it too. If it gets bandied around in October, maybe it will catch on.
Thanks for the questions, everybody. It was fun. Let's do it again next week. Jayson Stark is up next.