Hey everybody, Any day that begins with a bankruptcy filing is not a great day in baseball. Let's begin the chat.
Do you think the Bankruptcy filing by the Dodgers effect at all their play or the culture of the clubhouse?
Keith, I think the players in the Dodgers' clubhouse are pretty much immune to Frank and Jamie McCourt-related news at this point. If the Dodgers don't play well, it's because they're not very good -- not because they're "distracted" by the ownership situation. And MLB will step in and make sure they can paid, so I don't think that's going to be an issue.
The Braves had one of the best OBP's in the majors last year. Now, Larry Parrish has them hacking at the first good pitch they see and the results have been predictably awful. I'm not usually one to blame failure on a coach, but in this case isn't he a big part of the problem?
Jim, Flash back to a year ago in Atlanta, and everybody was complaining that Terry Pendleton couldn't get the best out of certain Braves hitters. The Braves' OBP is down a lot this year, and it appears they've been more aggressive at the plate. But that was a thin lineup to begin with, and they couldn't afford extended absences by guys like Prado and Heyward. And I have no idea what the heck is going on with Dan Uggla. Short answer: Give Parrish some more time. He's a highly-regarded guy, and I'm sure he's suffering through this more than the fans are.
Jerry, not sure if you commented on this last week or on Twitter but thoughts on Riggleman? I thought he was selfish and thought of himself first. What kind of message does that send to the players?
Eric, The best way I can put it is, Jim Riggleman is a good person and "good baseball man" who made a very short-sighted decision. I think he knew he wasn't Mike Rizzo's guy so he issued an ultimatum and badly overplayed his hand. I would wager that he's going to wake up one day very soon and realize he should have done things differently.
Jerry - Do you think J.J. Hardy signs a 3 year extension with the Orioles or does he go to Free Agency?
Pete, If the Orioles offered him a three-year extension, I assume that Hardy would take it very seriously. But he could have a market this winter as a low-cost, reliable alternative to guys like Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins.
I've been trying to get this question answered for weeks so let me try you Mr. Crasnick. In the beginning of the year if you asked anyone who the best pitchers in baseball you got Lee, Halladay, JJ, and King Felix but no one ever mentions Verlander in that conversation. They are now but IMO he has been for years now. Why don't people in the business give him his due? I am not a Tigers fan BTW just as honest observation.
JC, I received your email earlier and went on the ESPN.com predictions page, and seven of our staff people (including me) picked Justin Verlander as the AL Cy Young Award winner this year. He hasn't gotten the attention of Felix Hernandez, but most people in baseball would have ranked him as a top 8-10 starter going into this season, I believe.
What do you think of Andrew Miller with Boston?
Alex, Encouraging, certainly. Tall lefties tend to mature late, so we'll see what happens. I know a lot of other clubs were interested in Miller last winter and were disappointed that he signed with Boston.
Do you think the Phillies need to get another right handed bat via trade? if so who?
Warren, All the usual suspects have been mentioned already: Ryan Ludwick, Michael Cuddyer, Jeff Francoeur and Josh Willingham, to name a few. I keep hearing the Phillies don't have the money -- and they also might opt for bullpen help instead of a bat. But I find it hard to believe it that the team has sold out 160-something straight games and they could badly use a RH bat, and that GM Ruben Amaro won't at least try.
The White Sox offensive seems to be "too patient" at times to me. Dunn, Quentin, Pierre, etc. Would aggressiveness at the plate seem to help them?
Terry, I checked and the White Sox rank 24th in the major leagues in walks -- and they have the second fewest strikeouts in baseball -- so they're putting the ball in play a lot. So I don't think it's a lack of aggressiveness. It would take longer than this email to go over the list of maladies that are causing the problem
Let's be honest, the White Sox are better off sending Adam Dunn home for the next 3 and half years and sending him his paychecks. Has to be the worst free agent signing in the history of organized sports, even going back to the days of the Gladiators.
Willow, Hey, you guys could have traded for Dan Uggla and signed him to a five-year deal.
Prince to the Orioles this winter: good move for a young team, or Albert Belle 2.0?
Kyle, It doesn't seem very Andy MacPhail-like for the O's to sign Prince to a deal in excess of $150 million. He's going to be a great pickup for someone, but it all depends on the price.
The Carlos Gomez experiment is over right? When will clubs stop the obsessing over tools when players have no talent than speed and a splash of defense.
Terry, I don't know if I'd say the Gomez "experiment" is over, but it looks as if he's now your basic speed-and-defense OF whose lack of plate discipline is going to limit him to a couple hundred ABs a year. He was raw and the Mets, Twins and Brewers hoped he would eventually develop more of a strike zone, but at this point it's probably not going to happen.
Jerry (and Willow).. Giants fan here, and we'd be ecstatic with either Adam Dunn or Dan Uggla!!!!
Scott, You probably haven't seen those guys play much of late, have you?
What are Jorge Posada's chances of the HOF? I balked at first, but then looking at his numbers compared to the most recent HOF inducted catchers (Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk) and I don't see how he doesn't fit in. Especially with 4 rings, maybe 5 after this year.
James, Posada has a very nice resume, but as a primarily offensive catcher with about 1,600 hits, I don't think he's a Hall of Fame guy.
IMO, why is it that the Cardinals are pretty good when their good and them really bad the next day
Joe, They're not unlike a lot of teams in this season of parity. And when you think about the injuries to Wainwright, Pujols and everybody else (not to mention their closer issues earlier this season), the Cardinals probably have a better excuse than most for being so hot-and-cold.
If Lonnie Chissenhall isn't in Cleveland by the 4th then do you think the Tribe doesn't really care about winning this year?
T-Money, He's only hitting about .265 in Triple-A ball, so I'm sure they wanted to give him a chance to get his feet on the ground. Chisenhall is still only 22 years old and barely has 1400 professional ABs on his resume. It's not fair to the kid to call him up when the team is in the tank offensively and expect him to be the "savior." I suspect they'll take a more serious look soon enough if he's really raking in the minors.
Do you James Shields will be able to sustain Doc like numbers for the remainder of the season or is he just currently on a roll? Prediction AL East?
Andrew, Shields has 117 strikeouts and 28 walks this year, so he's not doing it with mirrors. One stat I found interesting: He's got an 83.5 percent LOB %, so he's really buckled down with runners on base. Maybe if a few of those hits fall in, his numbers might look a little different. But still ... the guy is for real. I talked to him in May, and you could tell he came back energized to prove that his bad 2010 season was the aberration. He's been great this year.
Will Ryan vogelsong start the rest of the season?
Victor, As long as he keeps pitching the way he has, he will. But as we've seen so far, things always pop up during the regular season to give pitchers opportunities. First it was the Zito injury, and now Jonathan Sanchez is hurt. It's up to Vogelsong to keep pitching well, and let Bruce Bochy worry about the rest.
If Ted Simmons can't make the HOF...then Posada shouldn't...
Todd, I'm glad you brought up Ted Simmons' name. I don't know if he's a Hall of Famer, but he deserved a heck of a lot more respect than he got in the voting.
Do you think it's possible that halladay, hamels and lee all make the all star game?
Josh, Part of it depends on which pitchers have to go from losing teams and take up spots on the NL roster. But if you based it strictly on merit, then yeah. I think Halladay and Hamels should be locks, and Cliff Lee has built a strong case by going 4-0 with a 0.27 ERA in June.
Is Jesus Montero really worse behind the plate than Cervelli at this point?
Eric, Funny, we've been hearing about Jesus Montero for so long, I didn't realize he's only 21 years old and only has about 1,600 ABs in the minors. Problem is, if he's not going to play 5 or 6 days a week in NY, it doesn't do him any good to be up there backing up Russell Martin. And for what it's worth, he's not having a great year in Triple-A ball. He's got a .744 OPS and 5 HRs in Scranton.
Ho long will it take for Roy oswalt to retire if he keeps getting injured?
Victor, Oswalt is on a $16 million contract this year (with a buyout) and he just gives that up if he retires today. I can't see him taking the Gil Meche route in late June. I'm sure he'll spend the next month rehabbing and give it another legit effort in August in hopes of pitching in the postseason. As for this winter, maybe he more seriously considers retirement then.
Hello Mr. Crasnick, If we had a time machine and could bring Babe in his prime to play in the present, what kind of numbers would he have? just for fun sake...
Francisco, That probably depends on whether Babe is mainlining hot dogs or going to GNC in hopes of getting "buffed." I don't think the pudgy, skinny-legged Babe is good for any more than 25 bombs a season.
The NFL and NBA do not mandate that a player from each squad makes the all-star game. Since we have this joke of a gimmick that "the game counts", should they not take the best players and not a rep from each team? If not, they have a watered down team deciding something that they have no business deciding.
Willow, Personally, I like the idea of every team being represented. But you're right -- it seems to be at cross-purposes with the "This Game counts" concept. But I don't see either thing changing anytime soon.
Are the pirates for real?
Matt, The term "for real" is all relative. Do they have enough energy, young legs, pitching and Clint Hurdle-generated karma to win 76-82 games? Sure. When you haven't had a .500 season in two decades, that's plenty of reason to be enthused.
What Major League Baseball teams will play in the 2011 World Series?
Chris, Well, I picked the Braves and Red Sox in spring training. At this point, the Phillies and Red Sox look like a better bet. They start a three-game series tomorrow night with Cliff Lee taking on Josh Beckett. Should be fun.
It's pipe dreaming to think the Nats have a chance at the wildcard this season, right? But they sure have been playing well for the last few weeks. Are they a potential contender from 2012 on?
Greg, Yeah, I don't see the Nats as a wild card team this season. But that team does have a lot of pieces in place -- good young DP combination, some young star power on the way in Strasburg and Harper, and some middle of the order production with Werth and Zimmerman. So they're headed in the right direction.
Jerry, What happened to John Lackey?
Lisa, I'm not very close to that situation, so I don't know for sure. Lackey's wife has some medical concerns, and you can never rule out how much that weighs on a guy's mind. But I'm also not sure if he was the best fit for Boston. He seems like a pretty testy, thin-skinned guy, and that's not a great combination when things go wrong in a city like Boston. It's also tougher pitching in the AL East than the AL West. Lackey probably didn't realize how tough when he signed that longterm deal with the Sox.
Biggest need for the Reds: SS, LF, or SP?
John, They could use a stud, No. 1 starter, but that commodity simply isn't out there. With Bruce, Stubbs, Heisey and Gomes in the OF -- and Yonder Alonso in the minors -- I don't see who they're going to go out and get who's a major upgrade in the OF. So I guess my answer is SS.
Would you say the bigger need for the Phillies is an OF bat or a solid veteran reliever?
John, I guess it depends on whether Lidge and Contreras can come back and be healthy and productive in time for the playoffs (and that this Ryan Madson "hand" thing is nothing serious). Throw in Stutes and Bastardo and a rotation that goes deep into games, and I think they can get by with the bullpen. Personally, I think they have a bigger need for another RH bat. That offense has not been very good.
DO the Tigers have enough talent to win the whole thing this year? If not, what do they need to get to complete their push to the World Series?
Matt, The Tigers have some intriguing pieces, but I'm not sure that lineup can produce consistently around Miggy all year. And while Verlander is amazing, the rest of the rotation doesn't stack up with about six others for contending teams in baseball. Stuff-wise, maybe. But not consistency wise. They can win the AL Central, but they're not a World Series team.
What kind of contract would Jose Reyes get on the open market? Are we talking Carl Crawford money?
Steve, It's hard to say, but if he keeps producing the way he has, I assume his agents will be looking at the Carl Crawford deal as a comparable. Dynamic, late 20s speed guy who can make a lot of things happen. Seven years and $142 is a lot of money for Reyes, but that doesn't mean he won't ask for it.
Do you think it is neccessary the Twins get rid of Morneau, Mauer and or Nathan's contracts?
Josh, We're mixing apples and oranges here. I believe that Joe Nathan's contract is done after this season (he has a $12.5 million club option for 2012). Joe Mauer, on the other hand, is signed for eight years and $184 million. So he's not going anywhere. And Justin Morneau is simply a mess physically. So he's not going anywhere either.
Could Mark Cuban own the Dodgers
Oakland, The sense I get is that the Mark Cuban-owning-the-Dodgers scenario ranks pretty far down the list of things likely to happen. Maybe Mark Attanasio tries to buy the Dodgers. Or former agent Dennis Gilbert puts together a group to buy the Dodgers. Or somebody else not named Mark Cuban buys the Dodgers. If you read Jayson Stark's piece the other day, Bud Selig probably isn't on board for a Cuban sighting at Chavez Ravine.
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Let's do it again next week