Hey everybody, Let's bat around some baseball questions as we look forward to the dog days of August. Has everyone recovered from their post non-waiver trade deadline hangover?
When will we see Giancarlo Stanton back on the field for the Marlins?
Tyler, Giancarlo Stanton spent the weekend on an injury rehab assignment in the minors. Unless he had a setback I'm not aware of, he should be back in the Marlins' lineup this week -- perhaps as soon as tomorrow.
Do the Red Sox have a shot at re signing Jacoby Ellsbury in the off season or after next season, or possibly do they try to trade him because I cant see him coming back with Boras as his agent.
Tyler, I don't see much happening on that front. Ellsbury has appeared in only 29 games this year, so he would be signing with his value at an ebb. You'll never see Scott Boras agree to that. Conversely, the Red Sox already have a ton of money invested in Crawford, Lackey and other injury-riddled, non-producing assets. So they have no desire to give Ellsbury a nine-figure deal when they're not sure he can stay healthy.
Tony Campana stole 20 bases in the first ~2 months of the season, since then, about 2. What's going on there? He barely even pinch runs anymore....
Mark, Tony Campana's speed is a nice tool, but he has a sub-.600 OPS for the Cubs this year. Yesterday they sent him to the minors to make room for Brett Jackson. Theo, Jed and Dale Sveum are ready to take a serious look at the kids.
Who will I be watching in Glendale next spring as the Dodgers starting LF?
Shaun, The Dodgers just called up Jerry Sands from AAA and designated Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment. I think they'll take a serious look at Sands over the next couple of months. They rushed him the first time, but he's got power. And if he can play, that frees up money for them to address other needs in free agency.
Reds, 2012 MLB champs? huh? huh? wink wink, nudge nudge.
Chris, I wouldn't rule it out. I've been trying to think of young pitching staffs with a lot of "stuff" that could go on an extended run in October. Cueto, Latos and Bailey could be those type of guys. The question is, how much will they have left in the tank in October after logging busy workloads all year? But we know the Reds can hit, and their bullpen has the old Nasty Boys feel to it.
Who won the Dempster battle between Ned Colletti and Theo? Did they talk to each other this past weekend in LA?
Shaun, I think Ned Colletti did fine. He stuck to his guns and didn't give away a big prospect for Dempster. And he wound up getting Blanton, who should probably help them down the stretch. The Cubs guys were in a bind with Dempster after the Atlanta trade fell through, because they had zippo for leverage. They were lucky to spin him to Texas at the deadline.
Why would Fredi bump Medlen from the rotation when Hanson comes back? First off Medlen is better than Hanson. Heck he might be the 2nd best starter we have after Huddy. I just don't get the "VIP" treatment of Hanson. He's not very good at all.
CC, That's a tad harsh, I think. Hanson got whacked around in July, but he had a back issue that put him on the disabled list. He's a 25 year old kid who has some inconsistency, but he's still a better bet against an elite lineup in October. And as well as Medlen has pitched in a starting role, he's very valuable to the Braves because of the flexibility he gives them in the bullpen. I know people love to knock Fredi, but I have a hard time criticizing him for this one.
If I continue my pace through the rest of the season, what are my chances of unseating Bryce Harper as the NL Rookie of the Year?
Anthony, The NL Rookie race is pretty jumbled. Wade Miley is 12-6, and guys like Wilin Rosario and Todd Frazier have put up numbers that are as good as Bryce Harper's. Rizzo has been terrific, but it's tough when you give your main competitors a 250 at-bat start.
When Votto gets back...what do the Reds do with Frazier and or Rolen? Both are playing fantastic now.... who sits?
Chris, I checked on this one, and Rolen is hitting .355 with a .994 OPS since the All-Star break. Frazier is .244 with a .708 OPS. Throw in Rolen's defense and the fact that he's a veteran player (Dusty isn't the only manager who likes his veterans in a pennant race), and it doesn't appear to be a very difficult decision.
Are you a fan for Instant Replay....why or why not? What would you change?
Peter, I like it for home run balls, fair or foul calls and trapped balls in the outfield. But I'm more hesitant to use it on safe or out calls. MLB needs to have more instant replay in the postseason for the sake of disaster prevention. Bud Selig, thankfully, is moving in that direction with lots of prodding.
Hi Jerry, how do you see the Oswalt situation playing out in Texas?
Jay, Not very well. Oswalt has been a great pitcher in the big leagues. But there were some people in Philly who wondered about his focus and commitment last year. For Ron Washington to throw that out there publicly -- that Oswalt wouldn't throw one more inning -- makes you think there are some internal-dynamic issues in Texas.
Jerry -- Hanson tops out at 87/88 now and walks the ballpark. And he isn't a "kid"... that term is an excuse. 3 years ago he threw 94 and every year since he's dropped 2-3mph off his fastball. The downward spiral is more than a fluke.
CC, I tend to be a little more forgiving of players early in their careers. I assume you probably bashed Jason Heyward a couple of years ago and lobbied for the Braves to trade him. Kris Medlen is a handy guy, but I think he's more valuable in the swingman role than being in the rotation every fifth day. As for Hanson's dropoff, I'm not sure how related it is to health issues. Sometimes pitchers get hurt. (Does the name "Jair Jurrjens" ring a bell?)
Do you see the DBacks trading Upton over the winter? Would Hanson(if he pitches well down the stretch)/prospects be enough, considering that Arizona was looking to acquire pitching at the deadline?.
Dan, I think the Diamondbacks are going to have a hard time moving Upton over th winter, but there's some fraying in the relationship there after the latest round of trade rumors. If he does get traded, it would take a lot more than Tommy Hanson for the Braves to be in the mix.
Jerry, no idea how my O's keep winning (aside from a great bullpen), but can they stay til the end? The "small sample size" argument is running out of steam?
Brooks, The Orioles have a run differential of minus-57. Only KC, Minnesota and Cleveland are worse in the American League. That tells me they're on borrowed time. Their bullpen has also logged 360 innings, third most in the league. That tells me their starters better pick up the pace. I just don't see it happening.
Is Bud Selig the BEST Commissioner Baseball has ever seen? Why or Why Not? He has done many things to improve the sport with Instant Replay, Wild Card, and Interleague Play etc etc. Thoughts Jerry?
Peter, I think Bud Selig is a lot better commissioner than people give him credit for. Of course, the steroid era will hurt his legacy, but he wasn't alone in being part of that. I honestly think people like to make fun of Bud because he's a frumpy, heartland guy who doesn't fit their image of what a commissioner should be. But on the whole, his legacy is a positive one to me.
Was Suzuki a significant upgrade for the Nats?
Mike, Kurt Suzuki is terrific at working with a staff, but he was never a great offensive player, and some people think he got worn down by his workload in Oakland. Given his positive clubhouse presence and his defensive attributes -- and the fact that team is built around pitching -- he was a nice pickup by Mike Rizzo.
Jerry -- Hanson was diagnosed last year with a partially torn rotator cuff but did not require surgery. Since then it's been all downhill. I just don't see how he gets *it* back since shoulders are so problematic. And no, I never wanted Heyward gone. I worried more about him being injury prone than anything. And he is still a kid... big difference b/ him and Hanson.
CC, I agree with you that shoulder injuries are problematic. If Hanson isn't healthy, that's probably contributed to the decline in velocity. But I think Medlen is more a back-end, long relief guy than a pitcher who's going to be a dominant starter in October.
If the rumors are true and they do shut down Strasberg at 160 innings, would they bring him back if the Nats were to make the playoffs?
Jackson, I don't think so. The only thing worse than pushing a pitcher too far is shutting him down, then bringing him back a month later in a mega-competitive situation like the playoffs. The Nats would never do that.
Why is this a private discussion between you and CC about Hanson?
Kyle, Yeah, sorry about that. I just got carried away trying to defend the kid's honor.
As a Dodger fan I have mixed emotions about Philly keeping Lee...Seems to me it was a no brainer for Philly to shed some serious cash.
CP, You're not alone. But I think the Phillies still have hope they can vault their way back into contention behind the Big 3 of Halladay, Hamels and Lee next year. And it's a little different for Ruben Amaro when the expectations are so high and the team has sold out 250-something consecutive games. The Phillies are trying to walk that fine line between retooling and trying to field a contending team every year.
Jerry, do you think the Nationals are lookin to pick up a pitcher on waivers or do you think they'll go with John Lannan who seems to be under appreciated / underrated by the baseball community outside the DC metro area. Thanks.
Todd, It was hard enough picking up an impact starter before the waiver deadline. I don't see the Nats magically coming up with an impact starter in August. I'd rather run John Lannan out there every five or six days. He's a resourceful guy who can at least keep them in games.
Selig the best commish ever? Hmmmm- plusses would be limitde instant replay use (even though a challenge system ala football would be better), current labor relations with players. Minus- Steroid Era, cancelled a World Series, the silly All-Star game deciding which league gets home field advantage, interleague play. Best I can give him is "passable"...
TJ, I didn't say the "best ever." But baseball has actually had an extended run of labor peace. Revenues have exploded, they've built a lot of new parks, and the wild card experiment has been quite successful. I just think Selig gets picked on a lot more than Roger Goodell and David Stern. Their press is a lot more reverential than his is.
Royals designated Betancourt yesterday. Fine with it. Will Myers is bored in AAA. When is he coming? Love Frenchy but is there a market for him at all to move on?
Chadwick, If the Royals thought they could move Francoeur for a minor league arm, they would do it tomorrow. But he's killed his trade value this season. And now he's platooning with Jarrod Dyson.
Regardless of Hanson, you have to admit that the future and current youth movement for the Braves is pretty impressive. Heyward, Freeman, Simmons, McCann or Bethancourt, Kimbrel, plus all of their young arms...
Tyler, Yep. And Brandon Beachy was great until he got hurt. We'll If Teheran and Minor can turn out to be what they hope, it'll be a nice core moving forward. The McCann question is interesting. Last spring Chipper Jones said he should be the face of the franchise moving forward. But how much money are they willing to commit to him with Bethancourt in the pipeline?
Do you think Lyle Overbay, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Derek Lowe and or Bobby Abreu or Yuneski Betancourt will be signed by any teams given that they have either been released and or designated for assignment?
David, Someone asked if the Reds are interested in Overbay as a LH bat off the bench. Throw in Damon, Abreu and Matsui, and Walt Jocketty doesn't lack for veteran options. I don't see anyone rushing to scoop up those guys, but I suspect a couple of them will find a home.
You said Sands may be the answer in LF but isn't it more likely they try him at 1B to replace Loney?
Warren, With Victorino in left field now, that makes the most sense. I was thinking of next year, after Victorino potentially has left through free agency. But you're right -- I assume Sands will get a chance to provide the kind of pop they haven't gotten from James Loney at first base.
Are there any good baseball books that you recommend? Preferably either historical or fiction.
Ryan, I just read Dan Barry's book, "The Bottom of the 33rd," about the endless game in Pawtucket in 1981. Good read. Now I'm into Leigh Montville's book on Ted Williams. Montville is terrific. I usually try to refrain from baseball books. I guess I just caught the bug this summer.
What is going on with the Rangers? Tied for best record in the AL yet players are barking at coaches on the field and declining to pitch when asked. Is Ron Washington losing his control over the team? Are we seeing more in-game tactical miscues from him or does it just feel that way? Should fans be worried about a 2011 Red Sox-style meltdown down the stretch?
Emily, It's a little perplexing, given how tight that team has been and the way the players love playing for Washington. You've got Hamilton's free agency, Michael Young's decline, pitching injuries, this little Roy Oswalt thing, and the pressure to try and make it back to the World Series for three straight seasons. They're all pros in Texas, and I suspect they'll get things sorted out. But it's been a rocky couple of months.
Dusty is lame duck manager. Much talk here is that Jockety is not a fan. Is Dusty manager of Reds in 2013?
John, He's certainly improved his chances lately. If he can get to the playoffs and win a round, it might be tough for the Reds to sack him.
Jerry, why is there such a big disconnect between the Cardinals run differential and their record? they are +38 more than the reds yet they are 7 games back.
Ryan, That's always a tough one to figure. Record in close games, bullpen performance, bad luck, and I'm sure some people in St. Louis lay some of the blame with Mike Matheny. But I couldn't give you an honest, informed answer on the fly. It's certainly great food for thought, though!
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Let's do it again soon. Enjoy the games -- and the Olympic Games. (They've been fun to watch, too).