How many kids starting practicing the knuckleball today? Let's get going. I'll have to leave right at 4 ET for a meeting.
With what we've seen from Dickey and the re-emergence of Ike Davis (.462, 2 HR, 11 RBI, OBP .576 over the past 9 games), is it becoming a little less crazy for people to think the Mets have a chance at winning the East?
Absolutely. Mets are third in NL runs. You can go a long ways with a good offense and a dominant ace.
What do you think are the chances the Dodgers can land Cole Hamelsat the deadline?
A couple weeks ago, I didn't think the Phillies would be trading Hamels, but with their play over the past week, I think it's much more likely. Dodgers don't have a deep system, so that's working against them. Plus ... if you think you can sign Hamels in the offseason, do you have prospects to get him now? Or do you make moves that improve the offense (Youkilis)? I think offense is more likely than Hamels.
thoughts on the clemens trials
CNBC reported the trial cost the government $10 million. Just guessing that the money could have been put to better use.
After watching Smoak slam his helmet after drilling his second ball to the warning track in both gaps (400 ft away). Is it time to move the fences in at SAFECO. Jason Vargas mentioned that he was all for it.
There have apparently been talks about it. I would do it, if only because it seems the park HAS gotten into the hitters' heads this year. (Of course, most of them are just bad hitters.) Keep in mind, there's no reason that would make the Mariners better. But if they have any hope of ever signing a free agent hitter, they'll have to make the park a little more hitter-friendly.
Why isn't Conger getting a real shot at starting catcher, at least while Iannetta is out?
Because Mike Scioscia hates catchers?
THE BRAVES CAN'T SEEM TO GET ROLLIN.. WHEN THEY HIT, THEY DON'T PITCH. VICE VERSA!! ANY CHANCE THEY GO OUT AND TRY TO TRADE FOR W. RODRIGUEZ OF HOUSTON? I WOULD THINK HE MAKES ALOT OF SENSE SINCE WE ARE SO RIGHT HANDED AS A STARTING STAFF
What, you don't believe in Jair Jurrjens? Not sure the Braves would add Wandy's salary to the payroll. They usually stick to their budget. I'm guessing they'll run through Jurrjens, Medlen and Teheran and hope one of them sticks.
David, I read the current SI article on Andrew McCutchn and was interested to read that the Pirates organization wanted him to "max out" using his existing swing before they approached him about changing his swing approach, rather than try to change his swing approach immediately after drafting him. In other words, let him hit his "natural" ceiling before working on his swing. While this approach makes sense, I would think that some prospects wouldn't accept this philosophy as readily as McCutchen did. When scouts evaluate prospects, do they try to extrapolate how much a prospect's natural swing/throwing motion could be changed?
I didn't read the article but sounds interesting. Yes, that's definitely something scouts would try to project. I'm no expert on it, but I assume there are some aspects of technique that are easier to change (like raising or dropping your hands) as opposed to some guys who may get more torque simply because they have more flexibility in their hips.
$10 million is not the norm. Only that much bc a rich baseball player w deep pockets forced the issue. Its an unfortunate consequence of our legal system, but cases of perjury must go forward, otherwise witnesses will feel they can lie w/o penalty.
I don't disagree, but the government also has to know the strength of its case. Considering the jury barely deliberated, it seems the case wasn't very strong (and that McNamee just wasn't a believable witness in the eyes of the jury).
Hey David, I enjoy reading your SweetSpot Blog daily. If you had to choose between Alfonso Soriano, 3 years @ $54m and Alex Rodriguez, 6 years @ $143m, which one would you rather be stuck with? Thanks!
Man, that's a good one. If this is a real-world question, I guess I'd take A-Rod, since the Yankees can always absorb the salary even when A-Rod will be 42 years and hitting .205 as a platoon DH. In a neutral environment, I'd take the shorter-term contract.
am i the only one who thinks the anthony rizzo trade was an absolute steal for the cubs?
Well, I say we wait until Rizzo actually does something in the majors before declaring a "winner."
Youkilis rumors heating back up - where do you think he enevitibly ends up?
If I had to bet ... I say he ends up in ... Boston. Best other bet seems to be the Dodgers, who are getting no production from 1B or 3B. But would the Sox trade for prospects or would they prefer immediate help?
lowrie's off to a hot start and he was a highly touted prospect coming out of stanford for his bat. can you see him sustaining this level of play or do you foresee some regression? that deal looks like it going to haunt cherington
He's shown flashes of this. He's walking more than last year. As always with him, he has to stay healthy, but I think he can be a 20-25 homer guy.
The Royals are in a rather odd position, nt quite in yet not quite out of the division race in the AL Central. Do you think they'll just stay the course and hope for better things in 2013, or will they actually go out and try to acquire some help before the trade deadline?
I believe they stay the course. I know they're only 5 back, but that rotation is still pretty bad. However, Buster Olney is reporting the Twins are SEEKING pitching, so if the Twins think they're still in it, maybe the Royals do as well.
Where does Dickey rank on the most surprising individual stretches of the last 10 years? Him or Bautista?
Bautista came out of nowhere. Dickey has been a good pitcher the past two seasons. His run is amazing, but the fact that he's pitching well isn't a surprise.
Odds of Lincecum having a decent 2nd half???
Hard to predict. I know the BABIP guys will point to his good K rate and "unlucky" BABIP and predict he'll pitch better. But he hasn't been unlucky; he's been bad with bad command, a lot of line drives and so on. Odds are that he WILL improve, if only because he's been a good pitcher and will learn to adapt to his loss in velocity. Some Giants fans also believe he's been tipping his changeup, which hitters are laying off more this year.
What is next for the Mariners this season? They a have had a perfect game against them, thrown a no-hitter, and had the cycle against them. Can we get an unassisted triple play or four homerun game?
How about trading Felix? Just kidding, Mariners fans! Or maybe I'm not kidding.
What's up with Brandon Belt? Does he really have a future & his past week is a sign of things to come or will SF continue to sit him when he has a couple of off days?
I would hope this finally earns him a permanent spot in the lineup. Not a lot of hitters putting up a .379 OBP these days.
What penalty do the legislators and cops get when they lie in hearings or on the stand? This perjury crap makes me sick. What a waste of everyone's time.
I'm hoping the Reds will look to invest in a bat before the deadline, but should they be targeting a high OBP guy for the top of the order, or a power bat to stick between Votto and Bruce? If the Indians fell back, would they consider moving Choo before his contract expires? Cincinnati could definitely benefit from a quality, lefty lead-off hitter.
OBP guy. Or they should just move Phillips up to the No. 1 spot and hit Bruce fourth. Breaking up the left-handers is overrated.
The Longoria set back has to be a concern for the Rays. I don't know if i can watch another game with Will Rhymes and Elliot Johnson starting.
Isn't now the time for ATL to trade McCann? Signed through '13 and he's clearly in decline but not so much so that they won't get a premium for him. Plus he won't be worth a big, long contract at 30 yrs old after next year... but someone will surely give it to him. And it's painfully obvious that the Braves as currently constructed are not nearly good enough to win anything.
You sure you want to write him off after 215 plate appearances? Not disagreeing, but you don't want to make a mistake. Anyway, they're not going to trade him and give up on the season.
Is Trevor Plouffe following Bautista's path, or is this power surge just random?
I have no idea what to make of his hot streak. Never hit for much power in the minors, although Twins' Double-A and Triple-A parks aren't easy HR parks. I'm going random power surge for now.
I know the Tigers have dissapointed, but they are only 2.5 games back and starting to play better. How long until they take the lead in the division, and do they give it up once they do?
I don't think they're good enough to pull away. I see a three-team race all season, back and forth.
Give me one good non-Dusty related reason why Ryan Hanigan doesn't bat 2nd for the Reds.
Did I put that in the post. I was going to mention that: I'd go Phillips, Hanigan, Votto, Bruce, Frazier (at least the way he's hitting right now). And if Frazier loses playing time to Scott Rolen ...
you buying what Austin Jackson is selling? crazy turn around across every statistical measure it seems ...
I'll buy. Walk rate up, strikeout rate down. I'll say the improvement is real. Heck of a player right now.
Has there been a bigger train wreck in baseball this year than the Rockies? Have they vastly over estimated the POTENTIAL talent level of the team or are they simply epic failures at developing the talent they have?
I saw this one coming. Nothing dumber than signing mediocre veterans like Cuddyer, Hernandez, Scutaro, Blake ... face it, when you had to give Jamie Moyer a chance you weren't a contender.
It feels weird to say considering they've had pitching and no offense for so long, but do you think the Giants might actually look for a starter at the deadline?
I think they'll live (or die) with Lincecum. Zito seems adequate as the No. 4/5 guy.
Breaking up left-handers is especially overrated when one of them is Joey Votto.....
Exactly. Plus, it's more important to get the lead early in the game than worry about who you MIGHT face late in the game. And it's not like there are a lot of good lefty relievers in the NL right now. The two best ones are on the Reds!
Are we headed for a one game wild card show down of J. Weaver v. D. Price. That could be fun.
Do you mean a one-game wild card tiebreaker before the one-game showdown, or just a one-game showdown?
Dave, tell our fans to stay the course. #process
I thought the Phillies won 105 games last year...how long have I been asleep?!
thanks for answering my question, but I was more going toward the fact the Rox had to sign all these "bridge" players and the guys in their own system (especially pitching) either aren't or never will be ready.
Hard to say. Some of it is the park, but some of the guys like Alex White just aren't that good. Certainly, injuries haven't helped. Defense hasn't helped -- Rockies rank last in the majors in Defensive Runs Saved, if you believe in defensive metrics. (CarGo rates really bad this year, by the way.)
It is a common analytical suggestion that your best hitter should bat second. Are you suggesting Hanigan is the Reds best hitter? Please explain your position further.
Hanigan gets on base. That's why you would bat him second. In a theoretical world, sure, maybe you actually bat Votto second, but that would never happen in the real world. But there are perfectly good reasons to hit Hanigan there.
With Franklin Morales coming off a solid start, do you thinkt he rockies would be a contender if they had Morales, Jimenez and Paulino in their rotation?
Why would they be? Jimenez has been terrible and Paulino has been hurt. But giving away Paulino is an example of the Rockies' misjudging of talent.
So you're a GM starting a new team--and you get to choose between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Go....
Our weekly question!!! Let's have the readers answer ...
Do you think the Reds reach a World Series in the last 3 years with a different manager, or has Dusty been a net gain as a manager?
Manager doesn't make that much of a difference. They got swept in their lone playoff appearances, so I'd say no, don't blame Dusty for Cincy not reaching a World Series. So ... does that mean we should lay off Dusty?
Point is McCann's getting close to 30 and will command a contract greater than Molina's. Braves can't afford that for a declining player. Plus what they have isn't working. Better to restock a relatively barren ML system with their limited payroll, no? And btw, Braves fans (at least the smart ones) have given up on this season. With Beachy out for the year Chipper playing twice a week, there's no hope.
Yeah, I hear you. I agree that the Braves probably SHOULD listen to offers; I just don't see them shopping him around. Even in decline, he's a good player. Does that mean you sign him to a Molina contract? No.
Anyone who isn't enjoying this run by Dickey should have their own personal spot reserved in the afterlife where they get to do nothing but watch Tony LaRussa make pitching changes.
How much is it killing you that the Yankees have won 10 straight (and all against winning teams, so you can't even belittle the competition)?
My emotional state is not affected in any way by whether the Yankees win or lose. Unless it's 2000 and Arthur Rhodes just grooved one to David Justice ... damn you, Arthur Rhodes!
David, did you read the ESPN LA Article on Don Mattingly the dad? It was great. It makes me hate Edgar Martinez even more! Well, him and Boss George. :)
Whoa ... what's this about Edgar Martinez? Because he knocked out the Yankees in '95? Now those were good times!
Everyone in DC is spazzing about Zimmerman not performing to date. He had a minor injury, and the conspiracies are flying. Any real evidence as to what his plaguing him this year. Seems to me he hit a bad stretch, is pressing now, and altered his approach: swinging at bad pitches and trying to pull outside ones. Fixable quick, right?
Seems like you answered the question; as a Nats fan, you'd have a better idea than anything I can offer. I'll just there have been great players hobbled by a string of injuries, never to return to what they were. So it's possible that Z is never again that .890 OPS guy.
So you're a GM starting a new team--and you get to choose between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Go....That's a clown question, bro
I'd take Harper. These guys are comparable in a lot of ways, but what is even special-er about Harper is that this is his first taste of the big leagues. Remember Trout had two stints last year, and struggled a little bit. That's normal progression. Harper came to the big leagues and started dominating. That's just crazy. And he is going to keep improving.
I would take Harper over Trout because he bats lefty and has more power.
Dusty has been a net loss for the Reds, but I don't think my Reds could have advanced any further than they did in any of the 3 previous years with a different manager. This year is another story though, as leaving Chapman out of the rotation and the aforementioned top of the order concerns have certainly cost the Reds a few wins thus far.
Why are some top draft picks from last year's draft still yet to see the field? E.g. Bubba Starling, Taylor Guerrieri, etc? Seems like a waste of a year for everyone involved.
Starling will be 20 in August. He's older than Bryce Harper. But I guess the Royals believe he's so raw that he needed extended spring training -- where you get more reps, more practice, etc. Still, it does seem a little odd to me for such a high pick.
Do you think that, since umpires generally do not see many/any knuckleball pitchers regularly, they don;t really know how to accurately judge balls and strikes? That was an awfully large strikezone last night...at least while the Birds were at the plate.
I have no evidence on this, but it seems that umpires have been expanding the strike zone late in these games. Cain got a couple of gift calls, the final strike on Humber's game, Dickey got a couple calls late in the game. (Showalter was also barking early on at the ump.) Dickey's knuckleball actually doesn't seem that hard to call, since it's not really a traditional floater like Wakefield's or Niekro's.
taking in to account your "buy" for Austin Jackson, you dont think the Tigers have enough to pull away? looking at the AL central rosters, couldn't you make an argument that the top 4 players in the division are all on the Tigers? Ajax, Cabrera, Fielder, Verlander ...
Sure, but that's what makes baseball great -- you need 20 or 25 guys, not four or five. Boesch and Young have been terrible (OBPs under .300), Scherzer inconsistent, no second baseman. And outside of Jackson, they're a terrible defensive team. They have holes.
Is Ruben Amaro actually worse than Minaya was or are all the Phillies fans just being dramatic?
He's done some good things. But he needs to tell Charlie Manuel to start using Papelbon in tie games.
I think Dusty is underrated in regards to the value of getting 25 guys to play together. If you detract from Dusty for his in-game management costing the Reds wins every year, then you should concede that leading the 2010 team that was arguably less talented than the Cardinals and perhaps even the Brewers overall (Votto notwithstanding) to a division title was on him. Dusty did bring an attitude adjustment to Cincinnati that had been missing for about 10-12 years. I know this, previous Reds' teams would've folded in 2010 after the brawl with St Louis, or rolled over to the Indians and Mets last week after the inside pitches/bean balls.
Thanks, Rich. Good points. I do believe Dusty gets unfairly bashed at times. I think Rolen's return will be a good test. Rolen certainly *seems* washed up, but Dusty loves his veterans.
How long after the All-Star Break do your M's wait to give Mr. Hultzen his major league debut?
Thursday, July 26: At home against the Royals.
I knew that crack about Edgar would get you going.
Mattingly should have tagged Joey Cora.
Joey Votto's OPS is 400 points lower against lefties. Its still 900, but that's a big drop. Bruce's is only 40 points lower though.
250 points, not 400. And only 100 over his career. I'd still get Bruce up higher in the order. Why give more at-bats to Cozart and Heisey over Bruce?
Last night: Reds lose 10-9, top two hitters went 0-for-9. Their leadoff hitters have something like a .230 OBP on the season.
A Mets fan told me that because of his success this year, coupled with the fact that he is less likely to sustain a significant injury and may be able to pitch into his 40s, that he would take Dickey over Strasburg. Please tell him he's an idiot.
I'm pretty sure there are 30 GMs in baseball who would take Strasburg over Dickey.
If the Twins - or the Royals, for that matter - are looking for pitching, it has more to do with the fact that both teams are just trying to survive the season, not that they think they are in it. Both have been slaughtered by injuries and horrible starting staffs that are killing their bullpens.
Most draft picks aren't rushed to the majors. Especially, for example, Bubba Starling who was drafted right out of high school. Needs time to develop.
I think the question is more why Starling isn't in Class A ball right now, not the majors. He'll be 20 years old and playing in short-season ball, which puts him two years behind where most top high school prospects are.
Dusty's primary deficiency is on the offensive side, wouldn't you say? The guy hasn't gotten the memo that sac-bunting is detrimental to team success, and that his lineups cost his team over a dozen runs a year.
Dusty best asset as a manager, his willingness to back up his guys, can also be a his downfall when he sticks with guys like Stubbs and Cozart at the top of the order, and Rolen at cleanup.
Hey, kids, Joey Votto here! Eat your VottOs and hit the baseball like your favorite Canadian!
Joey Votto is the best player on Earth right now, yeah? Ridiculous numbers at the plate and solid defense. And he's not an injury magnet--this matters, you know.
Don't you know anything, Schoenfield? You can't bat Hanigan second- he's a catcher, and we can't have that slow catcher clogging up the bases by getting on base all the time! And we need someone to break up Votto and Bruce in case Billy Wagner comes out of retirement! Now move out of your mother's basement and get a real job, Mr. Fancy Stat Man!
I wasn't referring about rushing Starling to the majors........i'm talking about the MINORS. Kid hasn't made his minor league debut (even in Low A ball) and the draft was over a year ago.
Bold prediction: I'm in a Baltimore Oriole uniform this September for 3 mind-blowing starts. BOOM
And Starling actually tweaked a hamstring yesterday, so we'll have to wait a little longer for his debut.
Joey Cora! I'm going to cry in the corner now.
Sorry, had to do it! Greatest bunt ever? Arguably saved baseball in Seattle!
You're late for your meeting. Walk of shame!
You're right. Have to run! Believe it nor .. postseason planning! Maybe our editors already know who is in the World Series. Thanks for great questions and comments. Let's do it again next week.