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April 2, 9:00 AM ET
Chat with Buster Olney

Finny (Bergen County, N.J)

Was letting go of a vet. like Johnny Damon a bad idea, or will Granderson fill his shoes well?

Buster Olney
  (9:03 AM)

Hi, folks -- good morning, and welcome to ESPN-New York... The folks running this site worked like crazy to start us off strongly, and we all hope you enjoy the stuff day to day, hour to hour. It should be fun.Finny: The Yankees wanted to re-sign Johnny, but they couldn't get him to the bargaining table until they were well down the road with Nick Johnson. Damon was a good player for the Yankees -- his steal of second and third in the World Series last year was probably the turning point against the Phillies -- but Granderson and Johnson will do well, and take advantage of Yankee Stadium in the way that Damon did. By the way: Heard that Damon is fitting in very well with the Tigers.

Dustin (Chambersburg, PA)

Buster, could you see the Rays knocking the Red Sox out of the post season race this season?

Buster Olney
  (9:05 AM)

Dustin: I could see the Rays knocking out either the Red Sox or the Yankees... they are a really, really good team. I picked the Yankees and Red Sox to make the playoffs, but it wouldn't be a shocker, at all, if the Rays ascended; on paper, they're probably one of the three best teams in baseball. Spoke to a number of talent evaluators with other teams and they echoed the same thought: The two best teams in Florida in March were the Braves and the Rays.

Michael Polak (New Hyde Park, NY)

Hi Buster, thank you for taking my question. Great job as always! As it stands right now, do you this Yankee team is better, worse, or at the same level as last year's championship squad?

Buster Olney
  (9:05 AM)

Michael: I think its a paper team on paper, because of the addition of Vazquez and because Hughes is that much further along in his development. But the Rays and Red Sox are better, too.

Steven (Knoxville)

Why have the New York Mets been so inept in celebrating past New York Mets history? I have always found it so bizarre, for example, that Tom Seaver seems to have no place in the Mets hierarchy...he WAS the New York Mets for so many years....

Buster Olney
  (9:08 AM)

Steven: It's pretty clear from how the Mets' front office reacted after the season that they heard the fan base's cries for more recognition of the team's history. I haven't been in the room for the Seaver/Mets conversation, but I suspect that part of the reason why Seaver is not part of the Mets' hierarchy (as opposed to Nolan Ryan with the Rangers) is that Seaver has other interests in his life, with his vinyard.

Jason ((PA))

Hey Buster, What do your season predictions look like?

Buster Olney
  (9:10 AM)

Jason: I've got the Phillies, Cardinals and Rockies winning their respective divisions in the NL, with the Braves winning the wildcard. Yankees, Red Sox (wildcard), Twins and Angels will make the playoffs.Yankees and Rockies in the World Series... and the Rockies win.But let's face it: maybe the most futile thing we do this time of year is make predictions, because we don't know who is going to get hurt, who is going to be acquired in a trade, and who is going to be far less or far more than we expected. I picked the Indians to win the WS in 2008, and the Rays in 2009, so my prediction credibility is not the highest.

Willie (Lincoln, NE)

Is Omar gone at the end of the year? Will the Wilpon's hire someone and give them the power to run the organization the way it should?

Buster Olney
  (9:11 AM)

Willie: It's all about the results, and I think everybody in the Mets' organization understands that. If the team wins 70-75 games, Jerry Manuel is probably going to be fired, and Omar is probably going to be marginalized even more. If they win 85-90 games and contend, both could be back. It's a make or break year for Mets' employees.

Anthony Smith (South Amboy, NJ)

Why isn't Ike Davis starting 1b for the Mets now that Murphy has a knee injury? I feel like Ike Davis could be our Teixera

Buster Olney
  (9:13 AM)

Anthony: At the outset of spring training, the talk in Mets' camp was that Davis was a very good first baseman -- but then he really struggled. And given his high strikeout totals in the minors, they wanted to send him back to get more experience, and learn more. But no question, they are excited about him.

Dan (CT)

When are we first going to see Jesus Montero in the Bronx?

Buster Olney
  (9:14 AM)

Dan: Sometime in 2010. Some teams don't think he'll ever be a regular catcher because of his size, and he runs like a Molina -- but the man can flat-out hit. It wouldn't be a shock to see him on the roster in September getting some at-bats at DH, if the Yankees have other injuries.

Danny Majerowicz (Baltimore)

Hey Buster, is this the year the O's finish over 500 and how much longer untill they contend for the playoffs

Buster Olney
  (9:16 AM)

Danny: In general, the Orioles are absolutely headed in the right direction -- but I think it's going to be a very tough year for them. They have a brutal schedule in April and May -- 12 straight games against NYY and Boston, at one point -- and inevitably, they'll trade off pieces and parts before the deadline, and might get beat up in August and September. But the pitcher I heard the most about from scouts this spring was Brian Matusz, who looks like he's ready to be the anchor of a staff and give them some traction against the good AL East teams. I'd bet they win 70-72 games... The injury to Brian Roberts is a major concern.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Buster's here. NOW it feels like baseball season. Mr. Olney, there has been talk that the Yankees might consider trying Jesus Montero out at other positions. Looks like he'll be behind the plate most of the time with Scranton. Do you think they may change their direction and try honing his catching skills or is the move out from behind the plate inevitable?

Buster Olney
  (9:18 AM)

J.B.: Good to hear from you. I don't pretend to be a scout, but I'd be shocked if anybody thinks he can play any other position other than first base or catcher. He is just painfully slow, and part of the questions about him at catcher are his feet. He reminds folks, in his hitting style, of Frank Thomas, and maybe by his 26th or 27th birthday, he'll be a full-time DH someplace.

Jon (Financial District)

Buster - where do you see Derek Jeter playing in the field three years from now? To me, he always seemed like a great candidate to play the outfield. Strong arm, and has always been so good at going back to catch pop ups. What do you think? Is this part of the discussion? Seems like an obvious solution.

Buster Olney
  (9:19 AM)

Hi, Jon -- wrote a thing today on our site that I think he'll wind up in right field. But I asked a bunch of scouts and evaluators for that piece about their projections, and their answers were all over the place -- second base, left field, center field. And former Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi thinks he'll remain at shortstop throughout his next contract.

Kyle Hall (Boca Raton)

Buster.. When will Strasburg start in the Show?

Buster Olney
  (9:20 AM)

Kyle: The only way he won't be in the big leagues by June 1 is because of injury. He showed in spring training, again, that he is a special, special talent.

Chris Corley (New Jersey)

Do you think the Yankees will make a push to get Carl Crawford at trade deadline, or during the offseason?

Buster Olney
  (9:21 AM)

Chris Corley: The Rays would want a huge return for an in-division trade in the middle of the season, so if the Yankees get Crawford, it'll be in the offseason, after he becomes a free agent.

Daniel (Queens, New York)

Why is Jenrry Mejia the Mets best option in the bullpen this year if he has never even faced triple hitting before?

Buster Olney
  (9:23 AM)

Daniel: I suspect you know the answer -- the Mets just didn't invest money in that part of their team. They think he can handle the inevitable mental setbacks that every pitcher goes through at the big league level, but let's face it -- the margin for error for the Mets is incredibly thin. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for them last year, with all of the injuries, and this year, everything that has to go right must go right in order for them to win. Mejia and Perez must be very productive, and Reyes, Beltran, Bay and Wright must stay healthy (once they're all back in the lineup together).

Jeremy Losak (Bronx, New York)

Will the Mets rank in the top half or bottom half in home-runs this season?

Buster Olney
  (9:25 AM)

Jeremy: Lower half. And I don't think that will ever change unless they restructure Citi Field (and I wouldn't do that... history shows that the pitchers' parks generate more contenders than the hitters' parks).

Kristin Johnson (San Diego)

Why do you think the Tribe will be the worse team in the AL. Come on KC is the worse. Tribe have more better players than KC.

Buster Olney
  (9:26 AM)

Kristin: I never said Cleveland would be the worst team in the AL. I agree with you, the Royals will be the worst team. I've written a lot about Fausto Carmona lately and how his great spring gives hope that the Indians will have enough pitching to stay in the AL Central race.

Daniel (Queens, New York)

If the 8th inning was so important to the Mets last year that they had to make a giant trade to land a set up man, why do they not have anyone to pitch the 8th this year?

Buster Olney
  (9:27 AM)

Daniel: My guess is that they tightened the purse strings midway through the off-season, as they got a sense about how their tickets were moving. So after landing Bay, they didn't really spend that much money.

Alex (Houston)

With berkman on the dl to start off the season what do u see the atsros doing with that spot on opening day? Do you see the astros making a huge trade at the deadline this year?

Buster Olney
  (9:28 AM)

Alex: There was a story in the Chronicle today that Pedro Feliz could play first base early in the season. Talked to Ed Wade the other day and they really don't think Berkman is going to miss much time.

gregg (baltimore)

is there any way to explain fautso carmona's wild control splits? other than "head case"?

Buster Olney
  (9:31 AM)

Gregg: He's a young guy and it's taken him some time to learn how to adjust in his own mechanics. Tim Belcher, the Indians' new pitching coach, mentioned to me that when he was Carmona's age, he was only a month into his big-league career. Carmona had success at age 22, but really hadn't learned how to make adjustments, and so he has struggled the last couple of years. The thing we have to remember about he and Cole Hamels and Chad Billingsley, etc., is that these guys are still pretty young.With that, folks, my time is up... Little more than two days until the first pitch of the season is thrown. Have fun.