Hey everybody, It's raining here in Philly all week, so we'll see how that big Phils-Nats series plays out. Hope it's better in your part of the country. Let's start the chat.
Hi Jerry, do you expect payback from the Nationals this week against the Phillies?
Matthew, I don't see a lot of fireworks in that series. The Nats already plunked Cole Hamels, so they got their payback. It was a prime example of letting teams work out their hostilities on the field. I think we'll see a relatively serene series, with a focus on baseball.
Why don't the Detroit Tigers designate Ryan Raburn for assignment? He is batting less than the weight of an average female.
Paul, Ryan Raburn is hitting .144 with a .429 OPS. It's tough to have an OPS 100 points lower than Chone Figgins, but he's done it. But here's something positive to chew on: Last year Raburn had a .608 OPS at the All-Star Game, and got really hot and posted a .967 OPS in the second half. The question is, will Jim Leyland give him that kind of time to work out his problems in light of how bad he's been? Hard to see that happening
Lawrie is back today and the word out there is that Toronto is going to make some additional roster moves. Will David Cooper finally be given a shot at the 1B job??
Chris, The Jays like Yan Gomes, baseball's first Brazilian born player, and I believe he can play first base. So I have to think John Farrell will give him a look over there. I checked and David Cooper has an .859 OPS in Las Vegas. Pretty good, but not outrageously good considering the numbers you see coming out of the hitter-friendly PCL.
Just looking at Mike Trout's early start and can't help but wonder, can he pull an A-Rod 1996. Granted he doesn't have A-Rod's pop, but if he can keep this up could he be an all star this year.
Mike, I watched some of the Angels-Padres game yesterday and Trout is capable of some special things. His speed is such a weapon, he's going to get a lot of hits that should be outs. It might be a little too early for All-Star talk. But if he doesn't make it this year, there should be about a dozen All-Star appearances in his future.
Mike Trout has shown every reason why releasing Bobby Abreau to make room for him has been a great decision and why he has been touted as the arguable number one prospect entering 2012!
TD, Yep, I hear you. It's also going to be fun watching the AL ROY race shake out. You've got Yu Darvish, Wei-Yin Chen of the Orioles, Ryan Cook of the A's and a bunch of great rookies along with Trout. It's a way better crop than the NL this year -- Bryce Harper notwithstanding.
If the Redsox trade Kevin Youkillis, where will he most likely end up?
Dom, It's hard to say. I reported yesterday that the Phillies and Indians are both scouting him. The Indians have a chance to really compete in that division and they need a RH bat, so I would think they'd be motivated to be in the mix for Youkilis.
Hi Jerry, Are all the older superstars in MLB suddenly getting older at once or is this something to do with better drug testing? We are seeing historic drop offs from ARod, Pujols, etc. And the veteran teams like Philly, NY, and Boston are struggling to stay above .500.
James, I don't know what each aging star has in his medicine cabinet, but it's no accident that in recent years teams have become more wary of signing star players in their early to mid 30s to long-term contracts. It's really a bad bet. But you still wind up seeing some illogical 8- and 10-year deals. A lot of them are ownership driven, because GMs have to be scared to death by them.
Lance Berkman would be looking on the outside of the HOF if he chooses to end his career, correct - even though he lines up well with other switch hitters?
Todd, It's tough to rule out a guy with a .409 career on base percentage and a .955 OPS. (I think that's better than Chipper Joneses'). But Berkman only has about 1,800 career hits. I think that will fall short of Cooperstown consideration. Amazing hitter, though. And one of the all-time great guys in baseball.
Wasn't it unfair for a lot of sports writers/analysts to blame the Hatcher firing on Pujols? Jerry DiPoto explained that it had everything to do with Hatcher refusing to follow the organizations new philosophy (i.e. stressing OBP, working counts), but too many reporters thought it was a better story to blame Pujols.
Tom, For what it's worth, I talked to a baseball person this week who said Angels owner Arte Moreno might have been more involved in the Mickey Hatcher firing that everyone reported. I don't know that for certain. But Moreno is the guy who pushed hardest for the Pujols signing. So I wouldn't rule it out.
Your thoughts on Chris Perez's comments over the weekend? Obviously the Tribe are in first place at the moment, but I'm not sure CP understands the concept of fans not wanting to spend their hard-earned money to support an owner who refuses to spend enough of HIS money to remain competitive on at least a semi-consistent basis. Remember, there were no issues with attendance (and they even set a record for consecutive sellouts that has since been broken by the BoSox) when the Jacobs family owned this franchise.
Ry, I think that whole "they're not spending money" excuse is a bit of a crutch for fans. The Indians are playing well and they deserve better support -- and I admire Perez for having the guts to say it. On another front, why do fans in Cleveland support the Browns? They're absolutely horrible year in and year out, yet fans generally support them. I can't understand that one.
Yu Darvish is not a rookie. I understand that the ROY voting rules define him as a "rookie" but he is not a rookie. Can we fix this?
Cheese, We've encountered this issue a few times, and there's a legit case to be made that Darvish, Ichiro and Hideki Matsui really aren't rookies. But as long as they're on the ballot, it's hard for writers to take it upon themselves not to vote for them. I suspect a couple of writers will exercise that rationale and take a pass, though.
What's wrong with Eric Hosmer? Do you think he is pressing too much?
Patrick, It could be a bunch of things: Mechanics, high expectations, simply pressing, or teams coming up with better plans of attack and Hosmer being slow to adjust. But I still think he's going to break out in a big way this year. He has too much talent not to, and he's also a very mature, professional kid. He'll be fine.
Hi Jerry,Is it just me, or does Scott Van Slyke look more like the son of Gorman Thomas than Andy Van Slyke? Go Dodgers!
Tim, Funny you say that. I saw him in a game recently and didn't think he looked anything like Andy. He's one big boy.
No 3000 hits, no 500 homeruns. To you, Chipper is still a first ballot Hall of Famer?
David, He is for me.
I enjoyed your article for Baseball America discussing Bundy. Another great outing yesterday for the young phenom. Do you think he will remain in Delmarva working on his pitch repotoire until after the All-Star break or will we see a move sooner? How high will he make it this season? Is Bowie the ceiling?
TD, When I wrote the story, the O's were hesitant to promote him because he was only throwing 3 or 4 innings per start. Now he's graduated to 5 innings, I believe. I think it's time to promote him from Delmarva to high A, and give him a taste of the Eastern League in Bowie in August.
How do you explain what's happened to Adam Lind? He was good in the minors, had a great first full season and then just completely fell off the map.
John, Beats me. In 2009 he hit 35 homers, had 114 RBIs and a .932 OPS. The Jays obviously saw something to give him that multiyear contract. I read a story where John Farrell said he had become almost too passive and wasn't attacking the ball in hitter's counts. Maybe that had something to do with his dropoff.
Let the Matt Adams era begin! He looks like a football player doesn't he?
Jason, When I was in Florida for spring training, I did a story on David Freese. I asked Mike Aldrete and Mark McGwire who impressed them in camp, and they both mentioned Matt Adams. They love the kid. As big as he is, he apparently also has a great feel for hitting. The pride of Slippery Rock!
Realistically, what can David Wright do this year? Can he hit .350 with a .450 OBP?
Mitch, I'm not sure if those numbers are attainable over a full season, but if he hits .320 with a .400 OBP, that still makes him an All-Star, a potential MVP candidate and one of the best third basemen in baseball. Wright is the kind of guy you root for, because he plays the game professionally and he's gone through a lot of extraneous garbage in New York and been under a microscope for a long time. Now they need to figure out a way to keep him long-term.
Rick Peterson said today Bundy will make 1 more start in Delmarva and then get promoted to Frederick
Eric, Thanks for the update. That makes sense. South Atlantic League hitters will rejoice once he goes to the next step.
If in an alternative universe the Yankees could cut Arod and not pay his salary, BUT had to start Nunez at 3B for the next 5 years, would you do it?
Greg, I guess it depends on how they invested the money they saved from dumping A-Rod's salary.
So it came to me this weekend as Max Scherzer was dominating the Pirates. He symbolizes the Tigers in one complex, talented nutshell, capable of driving people nuts, in good ways and bad. He's overpowering at times, as they are. He's befuddling at times, as they are. He's all or nothing at times, as they are. Thoughts?
Shawn, I don't know if I can say it much more succinctly than you just put it. Everybody thought the Tigers would win that division by 15 games. If Scherzer, Porcello, Fister and Smyly fall into line behind Verlander, they're still the best team in that division. They've just been sort of exasperating to watch through the quarter pole.
Is it realistic to think Mike Trout can finish the year with a slash line of .327/.390/.560 with 20HR's and 30SB's?
David, That might be a little optimistic on the rate stats. But as I mentioned earlier, his speed makes him relatively slump proof. Just curious: Why was every number general except for the .327?
How is Chipper a first ballot but yet Bagwell hasn't been voted in yet? I have to shake my head at the hypocrisy of voters in general. He was never connected to steroids by anyone or named in any reports but yet he's lumped in with them. He had solid numbers throughout his career, not just 2 or 3 peak years.
Jon, I vote for Bagwell, and I think he'll make it eventually. Chipper gets extra credit points for playing on all those winning teams in Atlanta. And the entry bar for third basemen isn't quite as high as it is for first basemen. He also has that working in his favor.
On Sunday vs the Yankees, Aroldis Chapman saved his first game of the season (2nd of his career). How permanent do you believe this role is? Most of us Reds fans are dying to see Chapman in the rotation, but perhaps not until after the All-Star break in order to limit his innings. And for what its worth, some speculate that Madson wants to pitch (and presumably close) for the Reds next year to prove his worth.
Doug, Yes, it would be fun to see what Chapman does in the rotation. But if the Reds put him there and he has trouble with the transition, they weaken themselves in a bunch of areas. Given that the Phillies spent $50 million on Jonathan Papelbon this year, I don't see the problem in letting Chapman close for now.
jerry, Can the red sox really take my bat out of the lineup when youk returns? I've belted more homers, Driven in more runs and scored more runs in less at bats than youk. I've also seemed to spark the team and the fanbase. Am I destined for another trip down I95 to play for the pawsox?
Will, There seem to be enough teams scouting Youkilis that the Red Sox won't have to wait long to move him once clubs are convinced he's healthy. So maybe they have to take a short term hit and give you a seat to give the veteran a showcase. For what it's worth, I'm also hearing that the fallout from the whole Valentine-Youkilis spat never completely dissipated. They're not exactly pals. So if the Red Sox can get decent value in return for Youk, it's probably time to move him.
how far away do you think the Mariners are from really being a serious threat?
Aaron, Unfortunately, the Mariners are a ways away. People are coming to the conclusion that Justin Smoak isn't going to live up to his billing, and Dustin Ackley is going through some growing pains. And they also have to cope with Texas and (I think) the Angels in that division. I don't see a big window of opportunity in front of them.
Do you think there is a difference between a #1 starter and an ace? As an example, Halladay, Kershaw and pre 2012 Lincecum are, in my opinion, Aces. Sabathia, Hamels, Cain aren't quite there...#1 starters in performance, but not at the level of an Ace. Do MLB clubs have similar opinions as far as the difference between an Ace and a #1 starter?
Stephen, Great question. I think there is a difference between a No. 1 starter and an ace. But I would certainly include CC Sabathia on any list of baseball aces. And if the Giants were willing to give Matt Cain $120 million (and someone will give Cole Hamels a similar deal), what difference does it make how these guys are labeled?
Chooch is having an amazing start to his season but still seems to be an underrated catcher. Do you think this year we will see him at the all star game?
Joe, I think it would be a crime if Carlos Ruiz doesn't make the All-Star team this year. Phillies fans would freak out, justifiably, if he's slighted.
In your opinion who has the best breaking ball in all of baseball right now?
James, Great question. Justin Verlander and Gio Gonzalez are a couple who spring to mind. Stephen Strasburg's curve is pretty special, too. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch.
In your opinion is there a baseball stat, that gets a bad rap, that should be taken more seriously?
Justice, I understand that RBIs are passe because they're dictated by circumstance. And a 100-RBI season isn't necessarily a sign that a guy had a great year. But I would like to at least be able to mention a player's RBI total in a story I write without some stat guy telling me I'm a moron. So there's one stat that comes to mind.
White Sox took a flyer on Orlando Hudson, does he have anything left? Or is this a case of "best available" to fill the hole, or rather shallow divot, left by Morel's trip to the DL?
Cheese, The O-Dog gives you energy and can still drive the ball when he runs into a fastball, but he's clearly not the player he was 2 or 3 years ago. That said, he looked a lot better than Jason Bartlett did in San Diego this season.
What do you make of the Rockies? I came into this season with such high hopes, ugh.
Steven, Very disappointing team. When Jamie Moyer is essentially the pillar of your rotation, it doesn't bode well. And not much scares you beyond Tulo and CarGo in that lineup.
Jerry, it is too early to determine buyers and sellars at the trade deadline?
Rick, I think so, although we can safely say that the Twins will not be buyers.
Please tell me Beachy will not pull a Jurrjens and be considered to start the all-star game and then never be seen from again.
Tom, Yikes, that's a little pessimistic. I remember the Braves people talking about Beachy when he was in the minors and raving about his poise and his control. It's funny that of all the hyped pitchers they've developed in recent years, he's the one having the monster breakout season.
Are you surprised more minor leaguers are not taught the knuckle ball as opposed to having no career? Every team could use one as starter or long reliever and they can pitch forever.
Dave, I've talked to a lot of people about this. The knuckler is such a strange, capricious thing, it's hard to "teach" it with the expectation that it can be effective long-term. A pitcher can have a good knuckler, but the pitch is so hard to master from one outing to the next. The pitchers who make careers throwing the knuckler generally seem to do it based on desperation: They have nowhere else to go.
If you were told at the start of the year that an Arizona SP would contend for ROY, how many guesses would it have taken before you got to Miley?
Charles, Wade Miley would not be at the top of my list. But right now he's right up there with Yonder Alonso as one of the top 2 rookies in the NL. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that Harper kid from Washington creeps into the conversation eventually.
The Orioles are going to throw the money at Adam Jones right?.....RIGHT?
Aaron, I have to think they'll try. There aren't many center fielders that young with an all-around skill set like Jones has. But Matt Kemp set the standard with an eight-year, $160 million deal, so Jones isn't going to come cheaply.
After years of watching Brandon Inge strand runners at third with less than two outs for my beloved Detroit Tigers, I appreciate the ability of a hitter to produce RBI!
TJ, Thanks for the support!
OK- we know the Twins won't be buyers, but what would they legitimately be able to sell this year? I'm assuming Marquis won't be around much longer- can they really get much for Pavano, Capps, Span, Carroll, or Doumit? (Those are the only guys I could see them offering up)
Kirk, I have to think Denard Span could fetch a pretty nice return. A team in need of a veteran arm could use Pavano, and everybody needs bullpen help at the deadline. But I don't see Terry Ryan landing a whole bunch of talent for that group as a whole.
Ok, folks. I'll take one more. Let's do it again next week.
Are you surprised that there hasn't been more talk about Ryan Braun's fantastic start following the events he just went through or is it because the brewers have been so terrible?
Norman, It is a bit odd, now that you mention it. After everything Braun went through during the offseason -- and in spring training -- I imagine he has no problems quietly rolling along with a .635 slugging percentage. It beats the alternative.