Hey everybody, I was working on a story and I had a mega-brain cramp. Sorry I'm late. Let's begin the chat.
If the Brewers win the NL Central this year will that force them to make Prince Fielder a huge offer or do you think he is playing for another team no matter where the Brewers finish the season?
Cheesehead, If the Brewers go deep into the postseason, it would certainly help their financial position. But it's going to be tough for them to meet Prince's financial demands, especially if those rumors of Scott Boras wanting $200 million are true. Then again, at that rate, it's going to be tough for anyone to meet Prince's financial demands.
Can the A's under Bob Melvin turn things around?
Mark, Bob Melvin is an underrated manager who deserved better than what happened to him in Arizona. I think he would have been a nice fit for the Mets, although Terry Collins is doing a very good job there. But that team is too offensivel-challenged and the pitching is too injury-ravaged for the A's to be a contender in the AL West. On a positive note, Melvin will help restore some badly needed order in the clubhouse.
Are the Orioles still in contention for the playoffs?
Bandc21, I'm pretty confident that's a "no." But anything close to .500 would be cause for optimism in Baltimore.
Do you think the Twins will complete the comeback and win the AL Central?
Austin, I know the Twins have some impressive second half surges in their history, but they've dug themselves too big a hole. That team needs to run off a 16-4 stretch, and I don't see it happening.
All of this divison re-alignment is giving me a mega-brian cramp Jerry. There really is no solution that would be approved by both sides is there?
Mark, Baseball needs to do something, but it's awfully difficult to come up with a solution when you have one league with 16 teams and another with 14 teams, and interleague play throwing a monkey wrench into the scheduling. One thing's for sure: I can't see any way two 15-team leagues will fly.
The Mets have to be one of the strangest stories this year. Expected to stink, but have been OK despite having Wright, Davis, Pagan, Santana and Young OUT of lineup most of the year and Bay IN the lineup. What do you think they do with Reyes and Beltran?
Dave, The Mets are in the same boat with the Mariners, Indians, Orioles, Diamondbacks and a bunch of other teams that figured to be automatic sellers. I would think they'd still deal Beltran if it's possible, but I heard even earlier this year that it's no slam-dunk they'll move Reyes. If the return haul stinks, they can always keep him, offer him salary arbitration and take the draft picks. Anybody who tells you they know for sure what Sandy Alderson will do is just guessing.
Why are the Seattle Mariners waiting so long to bring Ackley up? Is there a defined "super 2" line?
Christopher, They're not even sure there'll be a "Super 2" designation in the next labor agreement. But if it's anything like past years, it's come and gone. Where Ackley is concerned, I think the defensive transition to second base plays into it as well as the hitting. But I can't see him staying in Triple A too much longer.
Who do you see as the rookie pitcher with the highest ceiling this year?
Tate, Probably Michael Pineda because of his combination of power and strike-throwing ability. But Jeremy Hellickson and Zach Britton are both in the conversation.
Between 2 payrolls and Manny's money, McCourt has to shell out over $25M in the next 17 days. Does he have the money? Will MLB have to make the payments for him?
Greg, Whatever happens, MLB is going to cover for McCourt and make payments. From what I understand, the commissioner's office has diligently kept in touch with the players union and made it clear it won't be a problem. The ramifications of missing a payroll are too great -- there's no way Bud Selig would allow that to happen.
Right now the NL East is within 2 games. Do you think that the Phillies are going to run away with the division eventually or do you think that the Braves and/or Marlins will hang in for the long haul.
Bryan, I picked the Braves as my World Series champion (hey, I went out on a limb), so it's too late to turn back now. Right now it looks to me as if two playoff teams will be coming out of the NL East this year.
Do you believe Ruben Amaro when he says the Phillies will not be in the market for a bat?
John, A lot of people questioned that contention because Ruben Amaro Jr. has a history of saying he won't do anything, then going out and doing something. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Phils go out and pursue a right-handed OF bat in the Ryan Ludwick mold. I know they're taxed financially, but they've sold out what -- almost 160 games in a row?
Is there any way the Giants can win in the playoffs with their roster as is? No Posey, potentially no Sanchez-- and not knowing what will happen with Sandoval or Belt. I expect Lincecum to have a short off stretch here and there, but will they need to make a trade?
Brent, It reaches a point where the injuries are so devastating, you can only do so much. I can't see Brian Sabean ravaging the farm system in a trade for a bat, so the Giants will try to fill in with guys like Bill Hall, then re-assess where they are after the All-Star break.
Back on the Prince free agent question -- isn't a team committing to 6+ years of him taking a big risk given how a guy with his body type is likely to age?
Jeremy, Sure, that's a theory, but at 27, Prince is younger younger than Ryan Howard and some other sluggers who've signed long-term deals. I'm sure that will be a big part of Scott Boras' sales pitch. There's always a risk in long-term deals with power hitters like that. But Prince can sign for six or seven years and he still won't even be 35.
What are your thoughts on struggling stars Choo and Uggla? Are they turning it around or is 2011 a lost season? Thanks
Charles, Apparently Uggla is healthy, but he got into some bad habits mechanically and he's been pressing with his new contract and the move to a new team. I won't be surprised if he goes on a tear here soon. As for Choo, he and Santana are going to kill the Indians if they don't start picking it up soon. Choo has a pretty good track record, so I have to think he'll snap out of it as well pretty soon.
Jerry- NL and AL MVP's so far?
Mike, That's a tough one. Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera are pretty close in the AL. Gonzalez's overall numbers are better, but he gets a lot more help in that Boston lineup. It's a free-for-all in the NL. Matt Kemp is having an amazing year, and Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun certainly have to be in the discussion. We've got a long way to go.
do you think the Tigers are now a clear favorite in the AL Central? or can Cleveland rebound after a tough stretch the rest of the way?
Ben, I guess the Tigers are the favorite, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the White Sox work their way into it. The Indians will snap out of this thing soon, but an 81-83 win season for them looks pretty good at this point.
What are your thoughts on Bryan Harper? Will he be a guy that only Nationals fans will be able to root for? Seems like he has A LOT of maturing to do.
John, I think he's a decent kid, but he's so good at age 18, there's bound to be a sense of entitlement. That's why the Nationals were right to make it clear he won't be coming up this season. And given his need to upgrade his baserunning and defense, he could benefit from spending all of next year in the minors, too.
Regarding the question about the rookie pitchers, Ogando has to be on that list, no?
Jon, Alexi Ogando pitched 44 games in the big leagues last year as a reliever, so I don't believe he's still classified as a rookie.
Jerry, most of the vets Kevin Towers brought in to fill out the Diamondback bench are having lousy seasons while guys like Colin Cowgill, Wily Mo Pena, and Paul Goldschmidt are lighting up the minors. With the team in contention, isn't it time to make some changes?
Charles, If you're going to bring up kids, you want to give them a chance to play every day. As for Wily Mo Pena, I have no idea where he fits in the equation.
It'll never happen, but wouldn't it be awesome if Matt Kemp could play half his games at Coors Field? His numbers would be ridiculous.
Brody, You could say that about a lot of people. Matt Kemp has enough ability that it probably doesn't matter where he plays. His ability to use the entire field is really impressive.
Any chance that the Dodgers (MLB?) trade Matt Kemp before he becomes eligible for arbitration?
Tim, Don't see it happenin.'
Any concerns with Jose Bautista, it's 14 games without a HR now. What's up with this drought?
Jon, I have to think that Bautista isn't getting a lot of strikes to swing at these days. And if you're an opposing club, it's hard to blame you.
If Reyes keeps this up, and the Mets hold onto him, can he be the MVP even with the Mets only near .500?
Jake, If you're a slashing, doubles and triples type guy, you have to put an awful lot of stuff in your basket to be an MVP candidate. And it's doubly tough when your team finishes third or fourth in its division. So I'd say that Reyes is a longshot.
Bigger problem for the Red Sox going forward ... SS or RF?
Skrable, That's tough to answer given that they've averaged about 12 runs a game over the past week. You should probably worry about the Bruins rather than the Red Sox: They're the ones who need your support at the moment.
Hey everybody, Thanks again for the questions. Sorry I hopped on late today. Let's do it again next week.