Hi everybody, The snow is melting, Tony La Russa has retired, and we're already full-bore into the offseason. Amazing how time flies. Let's begin the chat.
Tony LaRussa top five manager in history?
Nathan, Hard to compare with the John McGraws and Connie Macks, but I can't think of too many over the past half century with a greater influence. He's up there with the Sparky Andersons and Earl Weavers as a slam dunk Hall of Famer. Of course, Casey Stengel's name would have to be mentioned in any conversation. I'm just rattling off names off the top of my head.
Jerry, do you think Derek Lowe will transition well to the AL?
Jason, Given how he pitched this season in Atlanta, I have to wonder how much Lowe has left in the tank. He's really more a No. 5 at this point in his career. But the Indians probably figure that you're going to pay more than $5M over one year for a decent, veteran No. 5, so why not give it a shot?
Hey Jerry, Happy Halloween! What's your take on Jerry Dipoto and the Angels? Was he the right choice for them?
Doug, I covered Jerry DiPoto when he was a reliever in Colorado, and I've always been a big fan of his. Good people skills, a real sense and awareness for the history of the game, and the ability to embrace both the scouting and statistical sides. I think it's a great move for the Angels.
Hey Jerry! Best guess as to the next MGR of the Red Sox. Am I studpid to think they need a tough, established leader in light of the issues brought out at the end of the season?
Jay, We're hearing Dale Sveum and Torey Lovullo's names out of the chute, but I imagine the horse race will change a few times before this is through. I think Terry Francona was uniquely qualified to handle managing in Boston, because of his ability to handle the media and the fan base and relate to the players in the clubhouse. They don't have a ready-made successor, so I think they're going to have to figure this out on the fly.
Jerry, is St. Louis now the best managerial job available? Do you think that Terry Francona is a candidate there?
Jason, Very interesting thought. I'm sure they'll be talking to Jose Oquendo internally, but if they want a name guy with instant credibility who won't be overwhelmed by the thought of replacing La Russa, Francona is a guy they would have to take a look at. One point worth noting: How is Albert Pujols' going to react to the next managerial hire?
Jerry, any thoughts on the Walker hire by the Braves? Step up or back?
Clay, From all the people I talked to last winter, the Braves thought the Larry Parrish hire was a big positive step. So I'm not sure the answer I give you now is going to be worth much by the middle of the summer. On a positive note, I've always liked Greg Walker personally. But he sure seemed like a lightning rod for fan discontent in Chicago.
Does Dave Duncan come back next year? I know he's under contract for one more year, but with everything that's going on with his family and the fact that LaRussa left, I feel like he might step down too.
Mike, It wouldn't shock me if Duncan stepped down too, even if it's just to regroup and take care of his wife during her illness. It's hard to imagine Duncan without La Russa, or vice versa. But I have no personal insight into Duncan's mindset at the moment. The La Russa news was a big enough shock.
You spoke about Oquendo and Francona, who else d oyou think may be a candidate for the managers job for the cardinals?
Allen, Don't know at this point. I'm sure you'll see a bunch of names filtering out in the coming days
Jerry, is Charlie Manuel on the hot seat with the way the Phillies fell short in the playoffs this year?
Kyle, No, the Phils were a big postseason disappointment. But Charlie is not on the hot seat.
If you're the Yankees and have to choose between CJ Wilson and Roy Oswalt, which one are you choosing? Which one can also be gotten for a lower price?
Jack, C.J. Wilson is looking at a 5 or 6 year deal on the free agent market, and Oswalt seems to be year to year, so they're two different animals. I'm not even sure how interested Oswalt is in pitching much longer. Interestingly enough, they're both represented by the same agent, Bob Garber. He'll be a busy guy this winter.
Do you see the Blue Jays pursuing any major free agents this year? They have to fill holes at closer and 2nd base, plus perhaps an arm to the rotation. personally I think they need to throw top money on a closer, but what have you heard? Thanks...
Bill, Alex Anthopoulos doesn't seem like the kind of guy, to me, who is going to throw big money at a closer. He's very cost-conscious, and I think he'll take a more innovative, less costly approach to filling Toronto's back-end-of-the-pen issues.
So many huge free agents, as a Mets fan Reyes is gone. Where do you think he goes? My guess to stick it to the organization Phillies.
Micah, Phillies, Giants and Brewers are among the teams with a potential shortstop void this winter, so Reyes should have a pretty active market
What are the Red Sox onto by picking up Marco Scutaro's option? They now have three shortstops, including their shortstop of the future sitting in the minor leagues. What's the deal?
Luke, Correct me if I'm wrong, but Marco Scutaro is reasonably priced and did a pretty nice job for the Sox this season. He certainly wasn't the problem there. I think he gives them a nice, one year security blanket for the Iglesias transition to continue.
Hey Jerry, do you think Dave Dombrowski will make any headline moves? If so, what?
Nick, Keep in mind that the Doug Fister trade turned out to be a pretty impactful deal, so the Tigers got a head start on their offseason activity. They have to get younger and more athletic in some areas, and second base, third base and pitching will be among the items on the agenda. They already have a lot of money tied up in Verlander and Cabrera, so I'm not sure that Dombrowski does anything huge.
"tough, established leader" in BOS? How 'bout Larry Bowa? Followed Tito in PHI too.
Greg, I don't see that happening. But the sportswriters might chip in some money to help pay Bowa's salary. That would certainly be fun to watch.
Jerry, are you surprised Davey Johnson is back? With the Nats suddenly talented, I thought this would have been a good opportunity to grab a high end candidate like Dave Martinez or even make a run at Tito.
Matt, Mike Rizzo loves Davey Johnson, and the players responded pretty well to him. There's no harm in bringing him back for another year.
Hi Jerry, Jesus Montero had a great audition for the big leagues down the stretch. Will the Yankees dangle him for a top tier starter? I don't see a lot of names o the market through free agency
Matt, From what I saw of Jesus Montero this year, the Yankees aren't in any hurry to trade him. If they moved him, it would have to be for a relatively young guy who's under contractual control for a while. (A James Shields type, I would think)
Don't you think the Rangers are wishing they had made the rumored trade for Heath Bell work. They might be world champs right now, if they had pulled it off.
Ron, I don't know -- Mike Adams did pretty well, and Ogando was fine until he ran out of gas at the end. Neftali Feliz has the stuff to be a great closer, but there might be a little something missing in his makeup. (And Nelson Cruz didn't help him by messing up that David Freese ball to right).
Albert Pujols Player Manager? Already can call the hit and run.
Jumpin: Good idea. They can apply the $1-2 million they save on a new skipper to help sweeten Albert's compensation package.
Okay, the Os still haven't hired a GM. What is the story???
Jay, I think I've been reading Tony LaCava's name for about three weeks now. He's a sharp guy and ready for his opportunity. But that's not the easiest gig in Baltimore.
The overwhelming sentiment about the Rangers is that they will stand pat - for the most part - aside from some minor tweeks. But I keep hearing about them pursuing names like CC and Fielder. Where do you see the Rangers going this Winter? Big moves, or minor tweeks?
Rick, Jon Daniels and Thad Levine don't discount any possibility, so one thing I can assure if that the Rangers will be mentioned in conjunction with a lot of big names. I think Scott Boras sees Texas as a great fit for Prince Fielder; I'm not sure if the Rangers are quite as enthusiastic. But we'll see.
Would the phils really let JRoll walk and sign Reyes?
Greg, It doesn't seem like the most coherent strategy to me, since they could probably re-sign J-Roll for a couple of years less. But they're a huge money-making club with a void at shortstop, so they're going to be mentioned on all fronts.
$1-2M on a manager? LaRussa was making over $3M for the last several years (not that he didn't earn it). Duncan was making well over the league average too. In MLB terms they are sure to realize a cost savings on their next manager.
Steve, Unless it's Terry Francona, I wouldn't expect the Cardinals' next manager to earn close to what La Russa was making.
Quick question, Jerry: When teams decline options on players, do they collect free agent compensation for these players or not?
Rahn, I believe that teams collect the draft picks if they offer salary arbitration to those players, and they refuse. That's the way it works with guys who become free agents. If I'm wrong on this, I apologize. I'm still a little fried from spending 10 hours at the St. Louis airport Saturday.
I find all of the Pujols talk kind of a slap in the face to the other Cardinals. He wasn't in the top 5 most valuable Cardinals in the playoffs and was no better than Berkman and Holliday during the regular season. The emphasis on him diminishes the accomplishments of the rest of that great team. Do you agree?
Steve, In light of Albert's track record in St. Louis, you can't compare him to guys like Berkman and Holliday. He's the greatest player of his generation and he might leave St. Louis through free agency after a decade there. So no, I don't think all the Pujols talk is a slap in the face to anybody.
With the Phils flaming out so fast there was a lot of talk about teams no longer needing a top level starter as long as the bullpen was great. Didn't the Rangers more or less prove you still need that money starter that they lacked?
Matt, I guess you could say that, but if Neftali Feliz doesn't blow a 7-5 lead in the ninth in Game 6, the Rangers' formula worked out just fine. There's a very thin line between success and failure in the postseason.
High risk high reward Sizemore and Rollins a good fit for SF?
John, Different cases to me: I think Rollins should get a four-year deal, anyway, while Sizemore's next deal will be for a shorter term and more loaded with incentives. Wouldn't be surprising to see a very active market for Grady this winter because of that.
Jerry, what do you expect Bill Smith to do with all the Twins free agents? It would be kinda sad to see Cuddyer somewhere else. What a great clubhouse guy and a great team player. I'm assuming Nathan, Capps, and Kubel are gone for sure.
Jon, The Twins really value their "family" concept and place a premium on continuity, so I'm sure they'll try very hard to get something done with Cuddyer. I don't know that the other guys are gone "for sure," but my guess is the relievers have a good chance of landing somewhere else.
One quick point: I hope to be up to speed more on the free-agent sweepstakes in a week. It's tough to keep track of this stuff while the games are still going on. And we still have to get the new labor agreement finalized. That should be happening shortly. The GMs and front office people will have to deal with that as they think about reworking their rosters. So it's going to be a hectic couple of months.
Is Albert worth $300m?
Andy, His agent, Dan Lozano, probably thinks so. But I get a nosebleed just reading that figure. And I imagine a lot of front office people do, too.
What do you think of a pitching staff of Jimenez, Masterson, Carmona, Lowe and Tomlin? Is that the rotation of a serious contender as the Indians are claiming they want to be for the next couple of years?
Ken, Looking at those names, Jimenez and Carmona jump out as the wild cards. They've had big seasons in the past, but can they duplicate that? It's a big "if." I also wonder about Carlos Carrasco. He had some huge games last season. If he's healthy and his head is screwed on straight, I wouldn't give up on him yet, either.
Bud Selig was not happy with the Jayson Werth deal the Nats gave. I know Pujols is a different animal, but do you see any scenario where Selig steps in?
Steve, I'm sure there are a lot of deals that Bud Selig isn't thrilled about. But it's not his job to "step in" when a team overpays for players. That's how a free market works -- teams are free to make mistakes. Very big ones, sometimes.
I think the Rangers need a left fielder and a first baseman. M. Young is a great player, but his play at first cost them dearly.
Ron, I can buy that. I love Michael Young's leadership and day-in, day-out production, but he's better at DH than first base at this stage of his career. As for LF, I could live with David Murphy for 110-120 games and a decent RH bat for the other 40-50. When you have Hamilton, Cruz, Kinsler, Young and Napoli in the lineup, chances are the left fielder is going to be hitting 7th or 8th most of the time anyway.
As a Braves fan I can't believe they found someone to pay Lowe even $5m of his deal! Can't imagine what the Indians are thinking. Funny how the Lowe was the fallback when they "missed out" on AJ Burnett. What a bunch fo false hope those guys were!
CC, Yeah, to be honest, I figured the Braves were going to have to pay most of Derek Lowe's $15M salary to move him. So I imagine Frank Wren has to be pretty pleased. They have lots of young kids ready to step into the rotation with Teheran, Delgado, etc.
Who is the Cubs manager in 2012?
Jim, This is just my opinion. But if I'm Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, I would consider letting Mike Quade begin the 2012 season as manager. If they just fire him and bring in a new guy -- say, Ryne Sandberg -- what happens if Sandberg doesn't pan out? Then Theo and Jed have already wasted one of their bullets, and people start looking at them as the problem. Know what I mean?
Do you reallt buy the Nats as a playoff contender next year? I think they're improving, but jumping Atlanta and/or Philly looks like an awfully tough task.
Mike, Yeah, I think that's a little soon. Strasburg, Zimmermann and Detwiler have the makings of a good rotation, but the Nats have some issues to address. Center field, for starters. And is Jayson Werth gonna be better than he was in 2011? The Nats are making progress, but I think they're at least a year away from butting heads with the Phils and Braves.
Is Jay Bruce on block? if so, where is he going?
Johnny, No, I would be shocked if Jay Bruce were on the block. The Reds just signed him to a long-term deal, so they envision him as a core piece there for years to come. As for Joey Votto, we'll see how that plays out. But Walt Jocketty has gone to great lengths to stress that the Reds have no immediate plans to move him, either. More than anything, the Reds need to figure out their pitching issues to contend in the NL Central.
Jerry, I don't think you understand how bad it's going to be here in Chicago if Quade comes back. Living here, being in it, fans want ZERO part of Quade coming back. It cannot be an option. The blacklash will be larger if he keeps Quade vs Sandberg coming and having a bad 2012. Most fans expect a bad 2012 to begin with, but want no part of Quade teaching anything else to the young core.
Steve, I'm sure I'm in the minority on this: I know people in Chicago felt that Quade was over his head and that the franchise needs to move forward. But if Theo and Jed's first big move is to replace the manager, they better make the right call. Because if they blow it, it won't be long before the scrutiny starts landing on them.
Chances that Blue Jays land Morrison?
Johnny, That kind of move is right up Alex Anthopoulos' alley. But I think the Marlins would be making a huge mistake to move Logan Morrison because he Tweets too much. He's a potential .400 OBP guy, year in and year out. They need to figure out a way to make it work with him, rather than move him and get less than equal value because of a personality clash.
Reyes to the Tigers. Solidify top of the order (put jackson near the bottom) + solidify the infield. Johnny can go back to 3rd or someone can move to 2nd.
Mike, Several good points. They desperately need a leadoff hitter, and Peralta is really better served being off SS. Mike Ilitch likes to win and this year had to whet his appetite for it, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Tigers in the Reyes sweepstakes.
Why not Terry Francona as manager for the Cubs? He knows how Theo runs an organization, and Tito & Theo seemed to have a great relationship in Boston. Is that not an option?
Chet, I wasn't close to the internal dynamic in Boston this year, but my sense is that Theo and Tito could use a break from each other after all that stress and intrigue down the stretch. If not, the move makes sense. But I get the feeling Epstein would ultimately like to put a different stamp on the Cubs rather than make them the "Red Sox Midwest."
For Steve, Quade was not part of the problem, he simply did notave a talented team.With that said, is there any way that Quade and Sandeberg would accept Quade managing for one more year with Sanberg as the ebnch coach and then taking over?Also, what is the latest on the compensation for Theo and Hoyer?
Bryan, I'm not sure how Quade would feel about that, but he's an organization guy -- like Dave Tremblay, Edwin Rodriguez, etc. -- so he might be able to live with it. As for the Theo compensation, it's not going to be an issue at this point. So the name(s) will come out when they come out.
Thanks for the emails, everybody. It's going to be a crazy offseason. Let's do it again soon.