What's happening, Chat Nation? I've only got a half-hour to chat today, so let's get started.
Hey Jayson, at which level will the Cubs start Soler? How soon? Thanks!
Well, they have to finalize the contract first. Then they need to get him to Arizona and get him into game shape. It's been a long time since he actually played. So it'll be a while. I'm also interested to see where they start him. I've talked to several teams who had different ideas. I heard everything from a short-season league to high A ball. It certainly won't be higher than that. I think they need to eyeball him for a couple of weeks before they make that call.
Do you think the dodgers overpaid for Ethier?
That's an interesting question. Overpaid compared to what? This is the third-largest contract in history for a rightfielder, and I don't know that this guy has had a career that quite justified that kind of money. But if you spin forward and place him in this winter's free-agent market, was there an outfield bat besides Josh Hamilton who stood to make more than him? I can't find one. So I'd say these were market dollars, even if they're top-of-the-market dollars.
Thoughts on Andre Ethier's new contract. Does it mean no Josh Hamilton to LA in the winter?
Not necessarily. He can play left field, too. And the Dodgers only have two players -- Ethier and Matt Kemp -- signed beyond next season. But I'm not sure that one is going to happen. I suspect the Dodgers are wary enough of Hamilton's injury history and off-the-field history that they won't offer the number of guaranteed years it will take.
Jayson, I sense a Dodgers theme...I'll keep it going...Does Dempster to the Dodgers have any legs or all heresay? How is the Dodgers farm system for the Cubs to land any impact players if the Cubs do explore that road?
OK, one last Dodgers question. Then we'll move on to the other 29 teams. I'd guess they'd be more interested in Garza than Dempster, but I doubt they have the prospects to make that deal happen. The Dodgers' biggest advantage in the trade market is that they can take on money. The Cubs aren't trading Garza unless they get a huge prospect package. So in the end, they'll probably wind up being one of many teams in on Dempster.
True or False, Mike Trout is a top 10 player in the league already?
True. Absolutely. Since the Angels called him up, he's reached base more times than anyone in the league, scored more runs and stolen more bases than anyone in the league. And the only other 20-year-old in history who can match his slash line is ARod, once upon a time. Mike Trout is an impact player. Right now. Not even sure why there's a debate.
Does this team remind you at all of the Danny Ozark Phillies teams or is this just a matter of age and/or injuries?
Always good to drop a Danny Ozark reference. I've had other people ask me this, too. Is this 1979, when everybody on one of their best teams got hurt and they finished fourth, then came back to win the next year? Is this 1980 -- not their most talented team, but one that's still dangerous if they get to October? Impossible to answer that yet until we know when Utley/Howard/Halladay get back and what they'll be when they get back. But I'd lean more toward 1979 than 1980 right now.
Can the Pirates stay the course and be buyers at the deadline? Maybe adding Headley or Willingham?
I have zero doubt that, unless the Pirates do a cliff dive over the next few weeks, they'll be buying. They have to buy. They have to get that 19-year boulder off their shoulder. I don't see Willingham getting traded. But Headley is an excellent name to drop.
Trade deadline: are the sellers going to get more this year than in years past with more teams in the market to buy?
Look at the standings and you'll answer your own question. How many teams are truly out of it right now in a two-wild-card world? Cubs, Padres, Rockies, Mariners, A's. Who else? The Twins, I'd say, although they're almost out of last place. Even the Royals haven't given up. So if you have more than six sellers, I'll be surprised. That's too little supply, too much demand. Should be crazy.
OK. Had several requests, so what the heck. Mike Trout is on pace to hit .350, steal 30 bases and top double figures in homers. Only three active players have ever even hit .330/30/10. Want to try to name them? No cheating!
With the new MLB draft rules limiting the signing bonus, could teams pay the recommended slot and then give the player an exorbitant annual salary to entice someone to sign?
That's a no. The new labor deal bans major-league contracts. So that's not a loophole. Good try, though!
ARod, Pujols, Hamilton?
You're 0 for 3!
Ichiro, Kemp, and ARod
You're also 0 for 3
kemp, ellsbury arod
And you, too, are 0 for 3. Tough question!
Jeter is probably one of the three
"Probably" shouldn't get you credit, but Jeter is the easiest of the three. Good guess.
Han-Ram, Helton, Chipper
Helton and Chipper are wrong, but you got one of the tough ones. Hanlay is correct. One to go!
Glad we got that out of the way. Pretty sure Oswalt never hit .350!
Doesn't have the wheels!
Winner! Ryan Braun completes that trio. Good work. You didn't look it up, right, Don?
How impressed have you been with the Mets performance this year? Duda is a long term answer?
I must have said or written this 50 times: The Mets have been one of the best stories in baseball and one of the most fun teams to watch in baseball. Not sure it's sustainable, with the 30th-ranked bullpen in baseball. But it's been fun all the same, this weekend notwithstanding. Lucas Duda is an intriguing player. Big power. Big holes. He'll need to make some adjustments to be a long-term answer, but they need his power either way at the moment.
Jayson, always appreciate your work and injection of humor. Simple question: Can these Yankees win the World Series? You might sell me on Sabathia-Pettitte as a championship-quality 1-2 in October. But this lineup is more dependent on the home run than any baseball team I can ever remember seeing. Does that indicate they won't cobble together enough hits to win three postseason series?
Their inability to hit with runners in scoring position has been kind of scary so far. But that's likely to even out, given the track record of the guys they're running up there. So why wouldn't they be a team that can win? If I were making up a list of the top five or six teams in the game, they'd certainly be on it.
Jose Altuve: All Star?
I hope so! Somebody has to be the Astros' all-star. Jed Lowrie might be a better choice, but it depends how the roster pieces fit together. Has there ever been a 5-foot-5 all-star?
Nolan Ryan's comments on radio the other day lead me to believe the DH will become the standard in both leagues, it may take a while, but will happen, say 5-10 years down the road. Main reasons, owners who pay high salaries dont want their star pitchers running the bases getting hurt, and DH allows older players (who fans love) to play longer. (btw, I like baseball the way it was meant to be played, Pitcher hits). Actually, in InterLeague and All-Star game, I'd love to see each league playing by their own rules: AL uses DH, NL uses P. Then see how it plays out. It's better than changing rules on both teams during some series.
I don't see it for a long, long time. But I no longer think it's impossible. I wrote something a few weeks ago about Doug Melvin of the Brewers, making the observation that NL teams can't compete for the Princes and Alberts in free agency, because they can't match the number of years AL team can guarantee. And why not? Because the AL teams have the DH to fall back on.
It'd be Myers if not Altuve.
Another definite possibility.
They're 10 out in the loss column. Time to think wild card.
Oops. Never posted the question. Sorry!
Do you think the Phillies can make it back to the top of the NL East or at least claim the 2nd wildcard?
See previous answer!
Is there a way to stop some of the pitchers who take minutes in between pitches? I mean cant we put a shot clock on them, because lately it seems like the game is taking longer and longer and is almost unbearable to watch at times.
There's already a clock on them. The umpires need to enforce it if it gets out of hand.
OK, it's that time again. I only have time for one more.
Speaking of Braun, he's still putting up great numbers and even with less offensive help.
I wrote about this a week or so ago. He's been exactly the same player he was last season, and with no Prince hitting behind him. So I'm still waiting for an explanation of why that is from all those people who thought he cheated his way to the MVP award. You can say he was taking something undetectable, but it was detected last October! So what's the explanation? I don't have it myself. Just asking.
Thanks to everyone who checked in. And good work on that trivia question. See you down the road in Chat Land!