Hey everybody, Let's talk some baseball. Oh yeah: Matt in Connecticut. You were the first one to post a question today, but I accidentally erased it. Send it again and I'll take a crack at it.
Jerry, are the Tigers finished?
Rick, No, they're not finished. But they certainly need Justin Verlander to step up and start pitching like an ace again. And it looks as if they'll have to beat out the White Sox and win the Central to make the playoffs, because they have four teams at least 3 1/2 games ahead of them in the wild card race.
Hey Jerry, Good stuff on Strasburg yesterday. Do the Braves have any chance of catching the Nationals? What needs to go right for that to happen?
Matt, I don't think the Braves are going to catch the Nats, but they're in great shape for the wild card. The big question is, who would Fredi Gonzalez want to pitch in a one-game playoff? Kris Medlen is the hottest Atlanta pitcher right now, but Tim Hudson has that veteran gamer quality you love in a big spot.
Shhh...dont tell anyone, but the Phillies are trying to make it interesting at least down the stretch! Do you think this bodes well for next year seeing how the core is preforming?
Mike, It's nice that they haven't quit, but you can also get in trouble if you place too much stock in numbers when a team is out of the race. Can John Mayberry Jr., Erik Kratz and Kevin Frandsen be useful pieces for the Phillies next season? Sure. Does Ruben Amaro Jr. ignore making offseason moves because he thinks they'll be huge pieces? I wouldn't count on that.
What Major League Managers will be fired after this season?
Chris, Right now, I would say Bobby Valentine, Jim Tracy and Manny Acta are managers who might want to look twice before picking up the phone this offseason.
Hi Jerry, off day for me today. I'm bored. Are there any current MLBers who are faster than me?
Anthony, Not sure if this is really you, but I can't think of many. Mike Trout is amazing from home to first, and Peter Bourjos and Michael Bourn can fly. If and when Billy Hamilton joins the Reds (in 2013 or later), that's another name to add to the list.
Hi Jerry, Do the proponents of sabermetrics cringe for fear of an irreparable credibility hit in the opinion of eye test scouts when articles accentuate the statistical fielding acumen of someone like Alfonso Soriano? As a fan who is not vested in any particular school of thought I am curious as to how there can be such a cavernous disparity between what we see with our eyes and the stats? Thanks! http://viewfromthebleachers.com/blog/2012/07/26/alfonso-sorianos-elite-defense/
Bill, I just checked the Fielding Bible plus-minus numbers on the Bill James Web site, and Alfonso Soriano ranks 22nd among left fielders with a minus-2 in runs saved. To your main point, there can often be a disconnect between the "eye test" and the metrics over the short term. I remember a few years ago, Russell Branyan was listed as one of MLB's best defensive first basemen according to the new metrics. Then the Indians released him, and one of the team's beat writers told me, "I couldn't stand to watch him play first base anymore."
What do you think of Medlen? He clearly can't be this good can he?
Donny, I had a Braves person tell me recently that they trust Medlen as much as anyone in that rotation. The kid really has a feel for pitching. I think people just tend to underestimate him, because that's so easy to do with undersized right-handed pitchers who don't throw 95.
What kind of impact has Robin Ventura had on the White Sox versus Ozzie?
Sean, They just needed to change the atmosphere there. I love Ozzie Guillen, but after so many years of brushfire after brushfire, I think that clubhouse was suffering from "conflict fatigue." Ventura is such a solid, stoic guy. If it weren't for Buck Showalter and Bob Melvin, he would be near the top of the AL Manager of the Year conversation.
In a wild card scenerio, if the game is close Atlanta's gotta bring in Kimbrel for 2 inning regardless of score, right?
Gavin, I don't know about two innings, but I don't think Fredi Gonzalez will be hesitant to bring him in for 4-5 outs if it's necessary.
Is Clint Hurdle at least partly to blame for the Pirates recent woes?
Jason, I don't think so. Hey, we all thought that team would fade eventually. Give Hurdle credit for keeping the mood upbeat and helping them hang around until September. Hopefully they can stop this slide and at least finish above .500 to get that monkey off their backs.
It's a bit early, I Know, for off season questions, but I am wondering what your gut tells you about the Rangers re-signing Hamilton. Will another team throw out a Fielder type contract to him?
Bill, There's no way Josh Hamilton gets a Fielder type contract. He's several years older and has that injury history and the off-field issues that limit the field of suitors. I still think it's best for Hamilton and the Rangers for him to re-sign there. It's just a matter of finding a deal both sides are comfortable with.
Strasburg going to pitch in postseason or now? THink he will use this as leverage when FA comes and he signs elsewhere because of this missed opportunity?
Jason, So you're saying Strasburg will hold this against the Nationals down the road because he's mad he won't pitch in the postseason? Yikes. I don't see that. But as some front office people have pointed out to me, if the Nats are going to such great lengths now to protect his arm, why doesn't he return the favor and sign a long-term deal? Maybe we need to ask Scott Boras that one.
Do the A's have what it takes to get through this september and if they do would they hot in October??
Rod, They've got a tough schedule and the rotation was really hurt by Bartolo Colon's PED bust and Brandon McCarthy's unfortunate incident last week. But I love the way that team grinds it out. (And Josh Reddick is extremely fun to watch). I'm picking them to make it based on sentiment, but the Angels are a better team and could very well shoot by them soon.
Are the Phillies going to get rebuilt this off season, including manager and coaches?
Jack, Charlie Manuel will be back in 2013, but I think they'll make a change or two in the coaching staff -- in part to get Ryne Sandberg to Philly and prevent him from leaving the organization. I know some people in Philly are down on Charlie, but with all he's accomplished with that team, he deserves a mulligan. A lot of things that happened to the Phillies this season simply weren't his fault.
Did Mike Trout just cement his spot as the AL MVP after outshining Miguel Cabrera in last weekends series?
Justin, I still have Trout as my AL MVP and Cabrera second. Trout wins out because of his defense in center and the stolen bases.
What kind of contract do you see Zack Greinke landing?
Bret, He's not in Cole Hamels territory for me. But if C.J. Wilson gets almost $80 million in free agency (and turns down $90-million plus from Florida), I have to think Greinke surpasses $100 million. If the Angels make the playoffs and Greinke shines in October, he could certainly raise that total.
hi jerry thanks for answering, if oakland make the playoffs do you think cespedes and reddick deserve ssome mvp votes, they wont win but they deserve some votes right?
Alex, Cespedes could finish second to Trout in the Rookie of the Year voting. He and Reddick might get a stray top 10 MVP vote, but that's about it.
Aside from Showalter, could you pick a most valuable Oriole?
Jay, Several names spring to mind. Adam Jones has been very valuable, and Nick Markakis played a huge role for that team before he got hurt. Jim Johnson has also been huge for them.
Are you surprised the Dodgers showed so little fight over the weekend in what was clearly a do or die series for them? On that note, how do you scratch your best pitcher when he says he is ok to pitch?
Tim, My initial reaction to all those Dodger acquisitions was, "Don Mattingly is going to have a hard time pulling this collection of talent into a team so quickly." Then I wavered last week and picked them as an NL wild card team. But they just seem sort of "blah." Too much trouble scoring runs. As for the Kershaw decision, I probably shouldn't express an opinion because I wasn't there and I'm not sure precisely how it unfolded.
Why does everyone have such a big crush on Grienke, take out the one year he won CY award, hes been slightly above average.
Larry, People are intrigued about him because he's amazingly talented. But he almost seems bored at times. That's why it's interesting to watch him in the middle of a pennant race. If he can keep pitching well down the stretch and in October, it will help dispel the perception that he can't handle the heat.
So... Jeremy Guthrie? What got into this guy?
Jason, He's been a pretty solid guy for a while now. I know he would dispute this, but I think pitching in Colorado got into his head. He almost seems liberated in KC.
Jerry, do you think I have an outside shot for MVP? I know my BA isn't the highest (.267), but I have 33HR, 96 RBI, and an OPS north of .900. If Buster Posey can win it, why can't I?
Jay, I was looking at some MVP candidates and your name came to mind. The power is great and I can see you making it into the top 10, but the home-road splits are very pronounced. Your defensive metrics also don't grade out well, although you certainly pass the "eye test" from my vantage point.
Will Medlen make it in the top 5 for the Cy Young and if Dickey and Cueto get lit up can Kimbrel win it?
DJ, I think it's too late for Medlen. You've got Dickey, Kershaw and Cueto along with guys like Matt Cain and Cole Hamels who've had very good seasons and will all be over 200 innings. And that doesn't even factor in guys like Aroldis Chapman and Kimbrel who will appear on some ballots.
Does the return of Andrelton Simmons significantly help the Braves down the stretch and into the playoffs?
James, Paul Janish is one of the few shortstops in baseball who can hang with Simmons defensively. But Simmons' bat definitely lengthens out the Atlanta lineup down the stretch. It's another plus for them moving forward.
Jerry, Gio Gonzalez is going for his 19th win tonight. He is currently tied with R.A. Dickey for the most wins in the MLB. With this being said, where do you have Gio in the running for NL Cy Young?
Steve, Thanks for mentioning Gio -- I neglected to include him with the other guys. For me, he's probably 4 or 5 in the Cy race right now behind Dickey, Kershaw and Cueto. But it's pretty fluid, and someone can take control of the race with a big final month.
Does Buster Posey get NL MVP? He has really done a oustanding job for SF this year despite a serious injury last year. This weekend on National TV he did some pretty amazing things! Whats your take on this???
Scott, He's at the top of my list right now. Andrew McCutchen hasn't been great since the All-Star break and the Pirates have faded, so I think Posey is the frontrunner. Any time a catcher provides that type of offense, it's huge.
Are the Rays a bust if they don't make it to the playoffs??
Rod, I never call a team a "bust" when it competes year in and year out the way the Rays do with those kind of resources. Disappointing if they don't make the playoffs? Sure. But it's only because they've raised the bar of expectations there over the past few seasons.
What are your thoughts surrounding Farrell to Boston? To me, he's just a manager, who like all, makes questionable moves. If they Jays can get a decent prospect for him, why not? Then the Jays could seriously pursue Francona, who I think is a better manager anyway. Is that wishful thinking? Karma can be beautiful Jerry.
Greg, John Farrell says he's happy in Toronto and Alex Anthopoulos seems to want to keep him, so I'll take that at face value. As for Francona to Toronto, I can't see the Blue Jays ponying up the kind of money Francona would command. He's in that $3-4 million superstar manager realm. Not a lot of markets can afford that.
No team is a bust if they don't make the playoffs. Well, maybe the Yankees, Redsox and Phills but that's it.
Tarek, Well said.
Is it safe to label Justin Smoak as a bust?
Damian, I hate to hang that word on any young player, but it looks as if Smoak will never be what everyone predicted for him three or four years ago. I think he has problems with the high-octane velocity, and that's a tough problem to overcome. On a positive note, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero have both shown flashes this year, so they might be for real.
Is it safe to say Drew Stubbs is a bench bat? And Chris Heisey is the starter?
Logan, Drew Stubbs is a great kid and brings a lot defensively and in center field, but until he learns to make better contact, it's hard to run him out there for 600 ABs a year. I'm not sure Heisey is a 600-AB guy either, but I like what he brings to a team. He's got a lot of energy.
When the big 3 ( Stanton, Heyward and D. Brown) were called up to the Major leagues big things were expected. Brown seems to be the only mediocre player of the 3. What happened?
Brad, I think the Phillies rushed him and his confidence took a big step backward. I was impressed with what I saw from Dom Brown in August, but he hasn't looked so good of late. He really has to work at his defense, and I'm not sure about his long-term future vs. lefties. The jury is still out on him, unfortunately.
Where is Braun in your NL MVP race? I feel he is at least top 3.
Keith, Right now I would go Posey, McCutchen and Braun in the third spot in the NL MVP race.
So do the Red Sox reload in free agency in the offseason, or do you think this is an honest to goodness rebuild? Who do you see them targeting?
Andrew, The good news for the Red Sox: They have a lot of money to spend. The bad news: There's not much in this free agent market to spend it on. I'm not sure if Ben Cherington can address all the team's needs through trades, but this is a bad winter to be throwing $100 million at someone just because you have it in the budget.
Since you described the Dodgers as kind of a "blah" team, can we just call the Cardinals/Dodgers series this weekend the "blah" series that will decide the second wild card spot? St. Louis hasn't exactly been lighting the baseball world on fire.
Mike, Fair enough. The Cardinals are very puzzling as well. It didn't help that Rafael Furcal went down, and Yadier Molina is gutting it out through injuries as well. They're a strange club, no doubt.
Do the O's survive losing Markakis and make the playoffs?
Nick, I thought they were a long shot even before Nick Markakis got hurt, but they keep proving me wrong. We picked our wild card teams last week, and I went with Tampa Bay and Oakland (with Detroit winning the Central). But you can't discount the Angels the way they're playing.
Jerry,The Mets need to go out and get some bats this offseason. Who can they target, with obvious limited funds? I am of the opinion that they could trade an affordable Dickey, who will be 40 by the time they contend.
Alan, Interesting thought. But if you trade Dickey, that's just another spot you have to fill -- and one of the few players who's even close to gate attraction there. If the Mets can get a couple of really good prospects, I would consider it. But Dickey is 37 years old, so I doubt that will happen.
Thanks for the emails, everybody. I'm heading to the Phillies-Marlins game tonight and going to Baltimore for the big O's-Rays series tomorrow. It should be a fun week. Talk to you again next Monday.