Hey everybody, I have a piece on the site today about Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. Great kid and a real feel-good story as a hometown boy in a pennant race. Let's start the chat.
who do you see as the best fit for the Braves? Greinke, Liriano, Dempster, Garza, someone else?
Brian, Of that group, I think Dempster is the guy you'd probably feel most comfortable relying on in a pennant race. But I'm sure the Braves aren't the only team that feels that way.
If your life depended on it: Strasburg? Shut him down or pitch him to a World Series victory?
Antwan, I think the Nats can use a little imagination and reduce Strasburg's workload by skipping him for a start or 2 or going to a 6-game rotation for a bit. I'm not sure it has to be an "either-or" proposition. I just can't imagine them taking the ball from his hands in August or September and saying, "You're done."
Do you see the Reds winning the division? Or do the Pirates stay hot the rest of the way?
Gordon, I'll go with the Reds. But I'm a little concerned about the lack of depth in that rotation. They've only used 5 starters this season. If something happens to Cueto, Latos or one of those guys, they could have problems.
Jean Segura, Garrett Richards, and Taylor Lindsay enough to land Greinke?
David, For two months of Zack Greinke? I think that's plenty.
Do you ultimately think the Phillies will trade Cole Hamels? and who else do you see them trading before July 31st?
Joe, I'm not sold on the Phillies moving Hamels. With the new draft compensation rules, I'm not sure that Ruben Amaro is going to be blown away by the offers he receives. And the Phillies aren't ready to give up, even though they have to go about 49-23 the rest of the way to have a shot.
Jerry, thanks for the chat! Do you feel that these Upton rumors are more hype than substance? Kicking the tires but nothing coming about?
Sean, At first I thought the Upton rumors were out there as a way for the Diamondbacks to get his attention. A wakeup wall, as it were. But this is now the second time he's been bandied around in trade rumors. I get the feeling that owner Ken Kendrick isn't a big fan. So I think it's a little more than that.
Who are the 3 most exciting players to watch in baseball, right now?
Scott, If you're partial to young players, you could do worse than Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton. And if you're including minor leaguers, let's throw in Reds SS Billy Hamilton, who might steal 160 bases this season.
Do you see the Indians making any moves before the deadline?
Keith, I know Chris Antonetti would like to do some things. But money is always an issue there, particularly with their lousy attendance. They could use a RH bat and maybe another starter.
Do you think that the Pirates are for real?
Harrison, They're more "for real" than last year, and I think they'll break the sub-.500 curse. But as much as it pains me to say this, I see them falling short of the playoffs. Everybody talks about the lack of offense, but I'm not sure the starting rotation will hold up, either.
The Pirates are 10 games over .500 and this team believes they can go to the playoffs. Why not make a trade for a guy like Justin Upton and part with a kid such a Jameson Taillon? Easier said then done but having Mccutchen and Upton hitting 3 and 4 with this rotation would do wonders.
Sam, It makes for a heck of a debate. Upton is only 25 years old and he's under contract for a while yet, so I don't think you can rule it out entirely.
Would it be a good thing or a bad thing for baseball if the Nationals won the World Series?
Nathan, I always think it's a good thing when a new market goes ga-ga for baseball. And we're not exactly talking about Hooterville here,
what's your thoughts on the ubaldo trade after almost a year? Who won in that deal, Rockies or Indians?
Jordan, It's kind of a wash so far -- and not in a good way. Pomeranz has a chance to be pretty good, but most people seem to think Alex White is a reliever. I'm not sure what the deal is with Ubaldo. Either he's a head case or he got worn down by pitching 2 or 3 years in Coors Field. I watched him the other day against Toronto, and he basically looked disinterested.
Please tell Phillies fans they're delusional thinking they can get Mike Trout back in a Cole Hamels deal.
That is where I feel it hurts not signing Mark Appel. If they were able to sign the Stanford ace, it would of been easier to part with one of your three big time pitching prospects. Do you agree?
Sam, I agree. I'm sure the Pirates envisioned all three in the rotation, but it definitely put a crimp in their depth in the pipeline.
Keith Law is of the opinion that the new CBA is a failure as Appel didn't sign. Do you have an opinion?
Jesse, A lot of people saw this coming with Appel. Scott Boras doesn't like to play ball with teams before the draft, and Appel was such a mystery that a lot of teams were scared to pick him. The system didn't work for Appel, but I'm not ready to label it a "failure" just yet.
Please tell me the Orioles aren't going to make some stupid deadline move thinking they have a shot????
Jay, I don't think Dan Duquette will do something irreparable like trade away Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado. But if he could package, say, Brian Matusz and Xavier Avery and get a starter, I wouldn't be shocked. Personally, I think the Orioles are going to fade pretty quickly here. One more starter isn't going to save them.
Jerry thank you for answering my questions. I interned for two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The organization has had an amazing transformation under Neal Huntington. Would love to see them achieve their goals. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Sam. You have to enjoy watching the resurgence in Pittsburgh, regardless of what happens the rest of the way.
Hey Jerry, love your stuff. What moves do the cardinals make at the deadline? Do they go after Hamels and possibly make some bullpen moves because as you can tell, they are costing them a lot of games. Thanks!
Tyler, I think Mozeliak will make a push for a starter, but I couldn't tell you which one. Right now we've got Hamels, Greinke, Wandy, Dempster, Garza, Liriano, Saunders, Colon, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie and Edinson Volquez available. So it's not as if he lacks for options.
What do you see the Tigers doing at the deadline? Second base is obviously an issue but how about a jolt to the lineup with Justin Upton? Would Castellanos, Boesch and maybe a second tier prospect like Andy Oliver get the job done?
Austin, The Tigers are always a sleeper at the deadline, because owner Mike Ilitch loves to win and he's willing to take chances. Personally, I think the Tigers are focused more on a second baseman and a starter than Justin Upton.
Keith Law is correct about the system failing. It punishes the small market teams that were willing to spend in the draft to build a better farm system. The Pirates would have been able to sign Appel in previous years.
Brady, Pittsburgh, KC and the small market teams didn't like the system because they were spending a lot of money on the draft. I agree that the draft is a great arena for small market teams to compete in a relatively cost-efficient way. I'm just not sure I would point to the Mark Appel fiasco as a "system failure." You can't discount the presence of Boras and his draft history as a factor in what happened with Appel.
The Twins are struggling mightily. With their best talent 3-4 years away in the minors, is it time to sell, sell, sell and even consider starting over with a new manager
Bert, If I were Terry Ryan, I would listen on pretty much everybody. I can definitely see Liriano going in the next 2 weeks. Not sure what will happen with Span, Morneau and others.
Is Tigers prospect Nick Castellanos untouchable? If not would a one for one trade for one of the big guns on the market work? i.e hamels, grienke, upton.
Austin, The problem with Hamels and Greinke is, you're only getting them for two months. Under the new rules, the Tigers can't even offer them salary arbitration in December and get a draft pick in return. Just ask the Giants how they feel about trading away Zack Wheeler for a two-month Carlos Beltran deal last summer.
Great chat so far! Rumor around WI this weekend was that the Brew crew is prepared to offer Greinke a 5 year 100 mil contract. Hear anything about that and is that enough to keep him or should he be traded?
Scott, I don't know the specifics, but I assume the Brewers need to do their due diligence and make a run at signing Greinke before they start shopping him more actively. They have six games upcoming with St. Louis and Cincinnati this week. I think we'll see more clarity once that stretch is over.
Kenny Williams has shown a strong willingness to be aggressive when the Sox are in the race. Who do you see him targeting and do you think he gets a significant deal done before the deadline?
Robert, The White Sox would like to add pitching depth, but they already made a significant deal when they acquired Kevin Youkilis. Their farm system is really thin, so I'm not sure if Kenny Williams has another significant trade in him this summer.
In your article, you say that in a Baseball America poll managers ranked Neil Walker as the NL's third best defensive 2B, but his metrics put him 22. What is the major reason for the huge gap?
Rob, Coaches and managers go by what they see, and the defensive metrics often contradict that. I was shocked recently when I looked at the Bill James plus-minus numbers for third basemen, and they listed Pedro Alvarez as the third best defensive 3B in MLB this season. You're also looking at small sample sizes. I think the new defensive metrics can be misleading over short durations.
So what do you make of T. Linceccum? I really cannot think of anyone recently who has such a weird season where if you eliminate those terrible innings he has been good in those other innings and yet so terrible. What is going on? Is it in his head?
Erich, I've talked to some Giants people, and I think it's a combination of him: a) having to learn to pitch with less velocity; and b) having to deal with an incredibly unorthodox delivery. He's been a great pitcher for a few years now, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him get on a roll.
My Gold Glove proves the managers are infallible in evaluating defense.
Good point. Thanks for weighing in, Rafy.
Yes, we won the World Series, and in the end that's what matters. But do you think the Cards will regret trading Colby Rasmus for what little we got in return?
Bill, I think a World Series victory was worth it. And there was no evidence there to suggest that Rasmus was going to break out with the Cardinals (at least under a Tony La Russa regime). It was a classic "change of scenery" deal.
It's a bummer the Reds swept my Cardinals this weekend. I'm curious, what do you think the Reds need to do for Baker to get extended?
Jason, I wrote about this in my Dusty Baker story last week. I think the Reds have to get to the playoffs and at least make it to the LCS to secure another deal for Dusty. My impression is that his support upstairs is lukewarm at best.
Your favourite ballpark to visit. Go!
Andrew, I love PNC Park, AT&T Park, Dodger Stadium and Camden Yards in Baltimore. Minute Maid in Houston is very underrated. Also, as a native New Englander, I would be remiss in not mentioning Fenway.
Do you think there will be a strong market for Shaun Marcum when he returns from injury, assuming the Brewers are out of the NL Central race after this upcoming stretch?
Scott, It's July 16. He doesn't have a whole lot of time left to show he can help someone in advance of the trade deadline.
Could Rickie Weeks gets traded somewhere, also K-Rod too?
Dave, K-Rod is definitely on the block. Rickie Weeks is hitting .199, so his trade value isn't exactly at its peak.
Lets get some Mets love in here! If the Mets were offered Justin Upton for Zack Wheeler straight up, would they take it?
Chris, Great question. Given the Mets' payroll situation, they would probably take a pass.
What is Billy Beane going to do? I have a feeling he is going to both buy and sell since there is so much depth at SP with McCarthy, Anderson and Braden due back.
Kevin, That's actually possible to do. Billy can selectively sell off veteran assets like Colon and Balfour while maintaining the team's young nucleus. I'm sure he and David Forst have a couple of moves up their sleeve.
Some fan bases kill me. An A plus pitching propsect for the guy who got 4th in the MVP vote last year.
Jason, Yeah, but Justin Upton bears only a slight resemblance to that guy. Otherwise, he wouldn't be on the trade market.
How was your All-Star game experience? Hopefully you made more friends in KC than Robinson Cano.
James, I really enjoyed the All-Star Game experience. The people in Kansas City were incredibly friendly. I guess it sounds funny that I should say that, given the whole flap about the Robinson Cano HR Derby situation.
Jerry, you didn't answer Scott's question about Kenny Williams:Robert (Madison, WI)Kenny Williams has shown a strong willingness to be aggressive when the Sox are in the race. Who do you see him targeting and do you think he gets a significant deal done before the deadline?
Ryan, I thought I did. I'm sure Kenny Williams would like to make a trade. But the White Sox have a weak farm system, so he doesn't have any significant chips to trade. And he already brought in Kevin Youkilis. I don't see anything big on the horizon for the Sox.
Jerry, please tell Justin from Redlands, CA, that us sober Phillies fans have no delusions about getting Mike Trout for Cole Hamels, just like Angels fans shouldn't think that Peter Bourjos for Hamels is going to cut it for us.
Mark, Message conveyed. I knew that savvy Phillies fans are a little more realistic than that.
do you think elvis andrus could be available at next years deadline because of the emergence of profar?
Alex, I'm sure the Rangers would like to sign Andrus to a multiyear deal. But he's a Boras guy, so that's not going to be easy. Profar is great insurance policy. But it's hard to envision Texas moving Andrus at next year's deadline and plugging a rookie into a pennant contender in July.
Philly fans ARE saying such things. I have heard Hamels for Trout and Trumbo BOTH on talk shows...as well as trading Papelbon to the Rangers despite them having an effective closer.
Todd, I guess this is why I try to avoid listening to radio talk shows.
I'm getting the feeling that we'll see some trades before this weekend. What do you think?
Eric, I'm definitely waiting for the Cubs to do something. Between Dempster, Garza, LaHair, Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano, Theo and Jed have to start clearing the decks here soon.
As a dedicated Cubs fan who routinely reads articles and views the comments, it's embarrassing to see some of the things my fellow fans say. "Don't trade Dempster! Who else will pitch for us??" "Hey guys, we're only 14 games out now...WE'RE ON A ROLL!" etc. Using logic and common sense in response gets boring and tiring after a while...what are some of your favorite responses to idiotic fan comments/theories/viewpoints?
Bleeding, Unless the comments are abusive, I'm fine with letting people vent. It's better than apathy. And Cubs fans will never be accused of being apathetic.
How much do you know about every team? I find it impressive you can talk about AAA prospects from every organization. How much time do you research/study a week?
Sagar, I don't know a fraction of what people like Keith Law, Jim Callis or Jonathan Mayo know about minor league prospects. I try to keep up with the minors as best I can. But it's hard enough following 30 big league clubs.
You mentioned Barney on the block for the Cubs - why is that? Not performing? Somewhat of a valuable trade chip as contenders need 2nd basemen? Thanks
Paul, Yeah, he's a handy guy who could be an upgrade for a team like Detroit. But we're not exactly talking about a blockbuster deal -- even in Chicago or Detroit.
All this Hamels talk and he isn't even the best pitcher on the supposed trade block. Dempster has been lights out this year. Yeah Hamels is younger, but Dempster had an off day on Saturday and still threw 6 scoreless innings.
Jeff, It's easy to underestimate Dempster because he's older and not very flashy. But he could be a huge pickup for someone here at the deadline. He'll blend in with a contender and hit the ground running. Great fit in any clubhouse, too.
How good do you think Jason Kipnis can be?
Danny, I really like Jason Kipnis as a hitter. In my Neil Walker story today, I point out that he and Walker are tied for third among MLB second basemen in WAR at 2.7 this season. I think Kipnis has a few All-Star Games in his future.
How great of a pickup was Ben Sheets?
Tom, It sure looked good yesterday. I'm not sure that Sheets will hold up for the next two months. But it was a nice stealth move by Frank Wren while everyone is hyperventilating over Hamels, Greinke and the other pitchers on the market. That's a good piece of general-managing.
Can anything be done to force Selig to address the A's stadium issue? What if Lew Wolff staged a one-team lockout and refused to play until he gets some answers?
Chuck, I was at the Baseball Writers meeting last week when Bud Selig spoke. And trust me, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle asked him about the A's stadium situation six different ways. Bud just refused to crack.
so do you think teams "breaking the bank" to land Upton is a bad idea? has his swing/approach changed a bit or does he just need a change of scenery. at just 24 years old seems like his best days should still be ahead of him ...
Ben, He's such a mystery. In the back of teams' minds, I wonder if they're concerned that he might wind up like B.J. -- a big bundle of potential who never quite lives up to the hype. It's too early to say that, but GMs have to consider everything when they make a deal like that.
Why only Kipnis as a hitter? His defense has improved tremendously...he is definitely superior as a hitter but give some credit.
Adam, I'm not knocking him as a defender, but I think he has to work harder at that aspect of his game.
Greinke was just pulled from next Monday's start...interesting...
Todd, I wouldn't read too much into that. He's made three starts in a little over a week thanks to that one weird, abbreviated effort. Apparently he just needs to recharge the batteries. Hey, if the Brewers say so ...
Hey, thanks for the emails everybody. I'm looking forward to seeing Barry Larkin go into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown next weekend. Then it's on to the trade deadline. Let's talk again next week.