Hey, everyone, welcome to this week's chat on a rather momentous day in sports. Just as I was about to begin I noted a tweet from my ESPN colleague Howard Bryant, that being an icon and being beloved are two very separate categories. He was, of course, alluding to George Steinbrenner.
What was the relationship between John Henry and George Steinbrenner?
Dan, before John owned the Red Sox he was a limited partner with the Yankees, so their relationship extends for many years. For all the shots across the bow between the two men in recent years--John is greatly aggravated by the financial gulf between the two teams, I think their relationship personally was a good one. After John spoke warmly to me one day about George, before I left his box he said to me, "Was I soft on communism? We still want to win."
I think George Steinbrenner is the most influential person in baseball over the last 30 years. Do you agree?
Capper, I can think of perhaps only one man whose impact rivals, and perhaps eclipses, George in that time period, and that would be Marvin Miller, the players union leader who transformed the landscape of sports
I hear Papi is making noise about a lucrative contract extention. Is he getting word that there will be no more PED testing?
Phil, so what are we to believe, that when Ortiz is slumping he's off the juice, and when he's hitting, he's cycling up again? We cannot know with any certainty about what any player might or might not be using, and I know Ortiz has never fully addressed how it was that he tested positive in '03, but I suspect he has been sufficiently chastened by that experience that he does not want to go down that path again. Can I say that for sure? Of course not. But again, that is the sad legacy of the steroid era, that no player is above suspicion.
With Prince Fielder and A. Gonzalez hitting the market in the next two years, would it be wise to make a move for one of them by not re-signing Ortiz and then slide Youkilis over to 3B?
Frank, that's what makes this off-season particularly intriguing. There are so many variables in play. Do the Padres move Gonzalez or the Brewers move Fielder this winter? Do the Sox have the stomach to pay Fielder his asking price when his agent, Scott Boras, is already invoking Mark Teixeira as a comparable? What about Beltre? Does he fit in future plans? Many questions.
I am gettins sick of the PED talk with Big Papi....I know he was on some PRIVATE list back in the early 2000's but after that you have heard nothing else unlike you have from many other PED users so I think this surge is him working hard and there is no proof of the PED usage so these people need to get off his back...
Guy, I am inclined to think the way you do, but as long as there are no tests for HGH and the chemists stay one step ahead of the testers, we can never have absolute certainty about anyone, not just Ortiz.
Hey Gordo, do you see the Sox making a play for Scott Downs of the Jays, or former Jay and current Mariner Brandon League? He has been having a solid year, and could potentially be the bridge to Bard and Papelbon
Johnny, those are two good names. I think especially with Okajima struggling the way he has, the Sox priority is to bolster their bullpen
What are your thoughts on Ortiz comments on a contract extension? How many years should Sox brass give him?
Jesse, it's so striking how the conversation has changed. In May, when Ortiz was hitting .185, the question was whether Ortiz would finish out the season. Picking up his contract option was unthinkable. Now David is lobbying for an extension. Because David will be 35 in November, I find it hard to imagine the Sox offering him more than two years and an option, and even that will depend on whether they think they can make a play for Gonzalez or Fielder. The payroll is already $170 million....if the Sox finish third this season, they may well decide it's time to transition to post-Papi era. They don't have to give him an extension, of course. It's their prerogative to just pick up the option.
Barring setback are we looking at maybe July 21st or 22nd for Beckett's official return date?
Gavin, That's a pretty good guess. The only question in my mind is whether the Sox will want to give him one more rehab or not.
I thought your article about Ellsbury was very interesting. Has there been any fallout from his media session the other day?
Sara, it will be difficult to gauge fallout until Ellsbury is back with the club, and now he's in Fort Myers rehabbing. Jacoby in my view did not take the easy route when he elected to openly challenge the team's version of his injury, from the fact that they did not detect the fractured rib in his back to his allegation that that failure led to him aggravating his lat muscle and suffering nerve damage, delaying his return even more. That obviously will not sit well with the medical staff and others in the Sox front office, and there are questions within the clubhouse as well. My experience with Ellsbury and judgment of him is that I respect his integrity and find accusations that he is soft ludicrous.
Will Dice K go down as one of the most disliked players in Red Sox history?
Clifford, he certainly ranks among the most aggravating, and I think people harbor more resentment because he came so highly touted. I think he's hurt, personally. Scouts think it's his back or shoulder; they don't see him finishing his pitches.
Did Buchholz not get the memo that he was announced as the starting pitcher against Texas this week? Or is he really that, um, dim?
Fredo, and what memo would that be? I haven't seen it. The team has always stipulated that Buchholz will go this weekend if he's OK, and if not, another rehab. I think he'll be pitching against the Rangers, but the short answer is, no, he's not that dim.
Should Brad Mills have waited for better opportunity before jumping into that mess in Houston?
Makes you wonder, doesn't it, Frank? On the one hand, there are only 30 managing jobs, and you never know whether you'll get a shot at another one. The flip side is, you take a job in a place where you have little shot at winning, your career may well be one and done.
Hi Gordon....Do you see Bard being the closer sometime this season?
No. Jonathan Papelbon is the closer this season, unless he badly falters, which I don't see happening. 2011 may well be a different story.
I know hindsight is 20/20 and Boston won a WS with him, but with the Beckett injuries mounting do you think the Sox have any regrets about the Hanley Ramirez trade? I know Theo is on record saying he wouldn't have made it and was wondering if they had a do-over would they still make it?
If it was up to Theo, probably not. But Beckett and Lowell delivered a World Series title, and that cannot be minimized. Bill Lajoie, who had a big hand in the deal, asked Larry Lucchino, Do you want to win now? Lucchino said yes, and the Sox went ahead and made the deal.
Cheers Gordon. Would you trade a top prospect not named Kelly or Iglesias for Joakim Soria? More importantly, would Theo Epstein? Seems to me Soria would solve a lot of the pen's problems this year and for the next 3 years (the extent of his contract's control). Seems like a top 10 prospect would be a fair deal for an elite reliever who could also be an elite closer should this team decide to trade Papelbon in the off season or let him walk after his contract. Thoughts?
Delmont, don't need to trade for Soria when you have Daniel Bard waiting in the wings.
Which injured player do you think the Red Sox miss the most?
To me, it's Pedroia. I've called him Boston's Jeter, and I know that's huge praise, but that's how much Pedroia means to this team.
What gets better ratings tonight, the All-Star game or the Phil Harris dies episode of Deadliest Catch?
Chris, I think that question might be better asked about future versions of the HR Derby? I know we were in laidback SoCal, but the crowd was hardly engaged last night, IMO
Will the red sox make a move with big papis contract before the season is over or wait till it is over?
Kevin, any decision the Sox make on Ortiz will wait for after the season.
So is there any timetable for Victor Martinez or will we get more cryptic information to sift through for a couple of weeks ala Ellsbury ala Pedroia ala Beltre ala Clay ala Beckett?
James, all I can tell you is that Victor says he's still experiencing some pain in his thumb, so I don't see him coming back any time soon.
Hey everyone, my apologies, but I have to cut this one short. I have some stories to do before I head out to the ballpark. We'll chat again next week. Thanks for your questions.