Hey everybody, I'm here in the press box at Yankee Stadium. Only five hours til gametime! Let's start the chat.
Jerry--am I the only one a little perplexed as to how the entire sports media has "forgotten" the fact that A-Rod admitting to using steroids at the beginning of this year? Or is it like all things--it doesn't matter how you succeed, as long as you succeed? The TBS announcers kept commenting on his "strength"--almost as if they'd never known he had tested positive. It's just pathetic, if you ask me.
Morgan, I hear what you're saying, but it's pretty tough to keep beating that angle into the ground. The people that think A-Rod is a fraud will always be inclined that way, and others are more forgiving. I give the "S" word a mention in stories here and there, but it's tiring to keep looking for ways to work it into every piece.
Jerry, I just saw that the Nats signed Roy Clark away from the Braves. That's a huge loss for the Braves. Who takes over as head of scouting for the Braves?
Ryan, The Braves just hired Tony DeMacio as their scouting director. Tony is a long-time scout and a very capable guy. He's the guy who signed Chipper Jones. He'll do fine in Atlanta.
Optimistic projections last spring had Pablo Sandoval at 15-18 HR, but he ended up with 25, and is still only 23 years-old. Could he be a 35 HR guy in the next couple seasons?
Dennis, The Panda hit 13 homers and slugged .600 at home this season, so the Giants' pitcher-friendly park didn't seem to have too adverse an effect on him. I guess it's not much of a leap to get from 25 to 35. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts if and when pitchers begin throwing him fewer strikes. Then again, I'm sure they already began doing that this season.
Mr. Crasnick:3 teams that should move and the 3 best cities for them? Probably there is no need for that, but just for fun give us your opinion.Thanks
Francisco, I'd take Kansas City, Milwaukee and Cleveland and move them to Paris, Rome and London. But maybe I'm just being selfish.
Jerry do you think the ALCS will start today? Or will it be pushed back to sunday (tomorrow should be worse than today).
Tarek, I'm at the park right now and the weather is fine. A little brisk, but I think they'll be OK.
Jerry,With the recent, and inexcusably overdue, firing of JP Ricciardi, what direction do you see the Jays taking over the next couple of years? Is it possible for them to become contenders in the AL East in reasonably short order, or is a major rebuilding project needed? *Can* the Jays contend in this division given the apparent financial limitations they are now under? Thanks.
Lee, For all the knocks J.P. Ricciardi takes, people forget that the Jays finished above .500 for three straight years prior to this season. It's not as if he drove the franchise off a cliff. They've done a pretty nice job of developing young pitching, with guys like Ricky Romero, McGowan, Brett Cecil, etc., and Adam Lind and Travis Snider are nice building blocks. But it's a long way from there to contending in that division.
Do you expect the Rockies to nontender Atkins and trade Hawpe this offseason?
Mike, I gotta think that Atkins is a serious non-tender candidate. I believe he could make around $7 million in salary arbitrationi; since they have Ian Stewart and Atkins had such a lousy year, there's no way the Rockies pay that. As for Hawpe, he made the All-Star team, didn't have a very good second half, and the Rocks are loaded with young outfielders (Fowler, Gonzalez, Seth Smith, EY Jr., et al). So I have to think Dan O'Dowd will explore trades. On the other hand, Hawpe is greatly admired in that clubhouse, and he's been a very solid hitter. So they're not just going to dump him.
I think the Angels will lose because of Brian Fuentes. What do you think?
Jayson, The thought has crossed my mind. I think the relievers in front of him are a little iffy as well. But a lot of people were sure the Phillies would lose because of Brad Lidge, and it hasn't worked out that way so far. Closers are hard to figure in the postseason.
Chipper was projected as a top pick whether the Braves took him or not. If that's the best line on Tony DeMacio's resume, the Braves are in trouble.
Steve, It was just a piece of trivia, not a summation of Tony DeMacio's scouting skills. The interesting story is that Tony and another scout went into Chipper's house, and signed him in about a half hour. As I recall, Chipper and his dad wanted $300,000, the Braves offered $250,000, and they settled right in the middle at $275,000.
Why do you think nobody is giving the Angels a legit chance in these playoffs? We took down our nemesis and we always give the Yankees fits. If CC bombs tonight the Yankees may one AJ firebomb away from being down 0-2, do you think people are overestimating the Yanks a little?
Robert, I think lots of people are giving the Angels a chance. Hey, they're 33-20 against the Yankees since 2003, so they always play New York tough. I picked the Angels to beat Boston in the first round, but I just don't have a lot of faith in Jepsen, Oliver and Fuentes in the late innings when Yankee Stadium is rocking. If they prove me wrong, good for them.
Scary rumors about Pat Burrell as a backup plan if Cards can't re-sign Matt Holliday. Your thoughts?
Tony, Yeah, "scary" is a good word for it. Since Burrell is strictly a DH -- and not a very good one, based on his production this year -- I can't see it happening. GM John Mozeliak would get crushed in St. Louis.
I saw an interesting note in the St. Louis paper today: If you were to trade Pujols now, when his trade value has peaked, what could you get for him? A few ruminations were Kemp and Kershaw, Lincecum, Longoria. What do you think? Is such a thing even feasible? Would the Dodgers, Giants or Rays make those deals?
Steve, As great as Pujols is, we're talking about players who are already All-Stars and major contributors on contending clubs. I wouldn't deal those guys if I were the Dodgers. And Longoria is costing the Rays a mere pittance in comparison to what Pujols will make over the next few years. I think it's just Hot Stove fodder, and nothing more.
Don't you think Cole Hamel's travails are a little overblown? Watching that NLDS game, the line could easily have read 2 ER as 4. The HR ball aside, he made good pitches and got some feeble swings... he just had some bad luck on those other two runs. Also, against the Dodgers, Hamels HAS been the Hamels of the '08 postseason. He's dominated them...
Bob, Hamels caught a bad break with that non-double play, but he didn't respond very well. It comes down to this: You hand him a 5-1 lead, and you expect him to hang onto it a while. He gets a "C" at best for that performance last night.
Do you think the Orioles will entertain offers for Brian Roberts in the off-season (looking at you, Chicago Cubs)?
Kyle, Brian Roberts' name comes up an awful lot in speculation, but I honestly don't think he's going anywhere. The Orioles like having him around as a veteran stabilizing influence to help Markakis, Jones and all the young kids. And the owner supposedly loves him. When you think of the doubles, the steals, the runs scored, etc., I don't think Roberts' contract is too excessive a burden for that club. It would take a lot to pry him loose.
Jerry, do you think the Dodgers can get back into this series?
Allen, Sure they can, but a win in Game 2 would be nice. I know I'm Captain Obvious here, but you don't want to go back and face the defending champs at home down 0-2.
Who are the Braves looking at to fill the power gap? I think if they had a solid run producer this season, they'd have made it into the playoffs considering the rotation might have been the best in baseball from top to bottom.
J.B., Atlanta would be a great fit for Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, but the Braves just don't have the money to play in that neighborhood. Jason Heyward is the wild card here. He's still young, but he was BA's minor league player of the year and he could be ready by June (if not sooner). Problem is, he's left-handed, and the Braves need a righty bat. We'll see if Frank Wren can do anything to solve the problem with his excess of pitching.
Jerry, do you find it troubling that the entire baseball world has completely forgotten that Manny was suspended for 50 games for drug use. LA treats him like a god, doesn't this just tell people its ok to use banned substances as long as you hit enough home runs?
Tom, See my above response to "Rodriguez, Alex." Look, everybody knows what Manny's transgression was. I just think it's tiresome to keep rehashing it. And as we've seen in the past, the home fans are a lot more forgiving of steroid offenders if said offender is productive. That's just the way life works.
What could we get if we put Papelbon on the trading block? What teams might be interested?
Theo, I can certainly see you exploring the possibility. You're not the type of club that's going to dole out a huge long-term deal to a closer, you have Daniel Bard waiting in the wings, and I get the sense some people in Boston are a little tired of Papelbon. As for who might be interested, it would have to be a big market club that's willing to spend some coin on a closer. Cubs? Angels? There aren't a lot of great options, from where I sit.
Jerry, there is talk in town here about the twins trading Joe Nathan this offseason. It makes sense from the standpoint that he will be making close to$12M this season, and that may be a bit much for a closer on a small-market team, especially given his post-season failures. With the possibility of an extension for Mauer and a few closer types (Mijares, Guerrier) at the ready, should the Twins explore trading Nathan, and for whom?
Kyle, It does make sense, because $12 million is a lot for a closer in that market. But as you can see from the previous question, Papelbon's name is starting to float around as a trade candidate as well. Why pay a closer big money when you can recycle a Ryan Franklin or develop a Jonathan Broxton off the farm? It would be a challenge for Bill Smith to move Nathan and get equal value for him.
Jerry I'm having an argument with my friend: Who looks better going into next season, The Rox or The Giants?
a D u B, I'll go with the Rockies. Their starting pitching isn't as good as San Francisco's, but Jeff Francis will be back next year, and if you throw him in with Cook, Jimenez and De La Rosa, that's pretty darned competitive. And I love the Rockies' athletic young talent, with guys like Fowler, Gonzalez and Tulowitzki. The Giants don't have anything to match that.
Jerry, with John Farrell removing himself for consideration, who is the favorite to land the managerial job in Cleveland? Are Indians fans going to be excited for the Manny Acta led Tribe in 2010?
Jeff, Unlike some other clubs, the Indians are trying to keep the interview process under wraps. From the looks of things, it appears that Acta will be managing somewhere in 2010, if not necessarily Cleveland. I've got to think the Tribe will look at guys like Brad Mills and Tim Bogar, who seem to be the hot new candidates this winter. Bob Melvin? Bobby Valentine? Buck Showalter? A lot of the same names have been floating around.
Jerry, can you articulate for me why Roy Halladay doesn't appear to even be in the AL Cy Young consideration? He pitched more innings than Greinke, issued less walks, won more games, threw more complete games and he did it in the AL East. Greinke never even faced the Yankees this season. I think it is ridiculous to not take the inbalanced schedule into consideration when voting on this award. Three of the four highest scoring teams in the AL were in Halladay's division and he faced those three teams HALF of his starts. You can't tell me Greinke's ERA (which seems to be the stat everyone is using to vote for him) would be close to the same if he actually had to beat those teams every other time out.
Mike, You raise a good point. The Greinke bandwagon began rolling early this season, and people didn't seem to take into account caliber of competition. Now that we've gotten away from wins as a major determinant and begun focusing on other statistics, maybe caliber of competition will become a greater focus. That said, Roy Halladay seemed to run out of gas a little bit after the whole trade saga played out. Greinke and Felix Hernandez would both be better choices.
As the majority of the national pundits - for the second year in a row - continue to pick against the Philles...and as the Phillies just continue to crank out win after win after win...a simple question: what is it about the Philles that the Jim Capels and Rob Neyers and the rest of the world continue to miss/ignore/disrespect about the reining world champions?
Bebop, I honestly don't see any anti-Phillies bias out there. Jayson Stark and I both live and work in Philly, and we've developed a great deal of respect for that club. The hesitancy for people to jump on the bandwagon this year is strictly a reflection of their bullpen issues. It's not because people think Utley, Howard, Rollins, Werth & Co. aren't good enough to win it again.
Will the Cubs go after Chone Figgins? Or do you see a deal with Tampa Bay coming for Upton or Crawford? Please tell me the Cubs will add some athleticism to their lineup?
Miller, I've mentioned this a bunch of times on these chats: Lou Piniella really likes Figgins because of his speed and versatility. But Figgins helped himself considerably this season, and I'm sure he expanded his market in the process. I can see five or six clubs going after him pretty hard this winter.
Could Jeter be the Gold Glove at SS in the AL???
Ed, Based on the defensive metrics, Elvis Andrus, Marco Scutaro and Jason Bartlett would probably be better choices. But Jeter hit .330 this year, so he's the frontrunner. I'm not taking anything away from his defense, because by all accounts he had a nice year in the field. But his name recognition and his offense can only help him with the AL coaches and managers when they make out their ballots. Sounds weird, but that's how the Gold Glove balloting works.
Thanks for the emails, everybody. There's a lot going on in the press box here, so I hope my responses weren't too disjointed. Let's do it again next week.